Polk Salad Annie - Tony Joe White

Polk Salad Annie

Tony Joe White

(Tony Joe White, MONUMENT 1104, 1968)

If some of ya'll never been down South too much
I'm gonna tell you a little bit about this
So that you'll understand what I'm talking about
Down there we have a plant that grows
Out in the woods and the fields
Looks somethin' like a turnip green
Everybody calls it polk salad, polk salad
Used to know a girl that lived down there and
She'd go out in the evenings and pick a mess of it
Carry it home and cook it for supper
'Cause that's about all they had to eat
But they did all right.

Down in Louisiana where the alligators grow so mean
There lived a girl that I swear to the world
Made the alligators look tame

Polk salad Annie, polk salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was working on the chain-gang
(A mean, vicious woman)

Everyday 'fore supper time
She'd go down by the truck patch
And pick her a mess o' polk salad
And carry it home in a tote sack

Polk salad Annie gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was a-workin' on the chain-gang
(A wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin' woman
Lord have mercy. Pick a mess of it)

Her daddy was lazy and no count claimed he had a bad back
All her brothers were fit for was
Stealin' watermelons out of my truck patch
Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was a working' on the chain-gang
(Sock a little polk salad to me
you know I can eat a mess of it)

Also performed by Elvis Presley and Sleepy LaBeef

I'd like to give you some information as regards Tony Joe White's Polk Salad Annie. The correct spelling of the plant in the southern United States is "poke sallet." The pronunciation is as would be expected from the spelling. The plant is an perennial, so it returns each year, unbidden. When mature, it produces purple berries in large quantity which grow in bunches similar to grapes. The aboriginal Indians used to mash the liquid from them and use it for a dye or stain.  -- J.W. Beasley --

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