“Go Down, Old Hannah”


"Go down, old Hannah, well, well, well! Don't you rise no mo'. If you rise in the mornin', Bring Judgment Day." The singer describes the dreadful conditions in the Brazos River prisons, and hopes for release in any form


The amount of common material in this song and "Ain't No More Cane on this Brazos" makes it certain they have cross-fertilized. They may be descendants of a common ancestor. But the stanzaic forms are different, so I list them separately.

The name "Hannah" refers to the sun. - RBW

Cross references


  • James "Iron Head" Baker, Will Crosby, R. D. Allen & Mose "Clear Rock" Platt, "Go Down Old Hannah" (AFS 195 A2, 1933; on LC08) [note: the AFS reissue identified this as 196 A2; this listing comes from Dixon/Godrich/Rye] (AFS 617 A3, 685 A2, 696 A1, 717 B, all 1936)
  • Mose "Clear Rock" Platt, "Go Down Old Hannah" (AFS 2643 A1, 1939)
  • Dock Reese, "Go Down, Old Hannah" (on AschRec2)
  • Texas state farm prisoners, "Go Down, Old Hannah" (on NPCWork)
  • Unknown artists, "Go Down Old Hannah" (AFS CYL-7-1, 1933)


  1. Lomax-FSNA 286, "Go Down, Old Hannah" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 745, "Go Down, Old Hannah" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Courlander-NFM, p. 142, "Go Down Old Hannah" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 71, "Old Hannah" (1 text)
  5. DT, OLDHANN2*
  6. Roud #6710
  7. BI, LoF286


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1933 (recording, unknown artists, AFS CYL-7-1)
Found in: US(So)