Doc Watson chante ici, en 1964, une chanson traditionnelle dans une version un peu particulière. I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago (Je suis né il y a dix mille ans), qui relève d’un folklore humoristique, a connu de nombreuses versions. Il semble que Doc Watson (qui ramène modestement à six au lieu de dix le nombre des milliers d’années de son âge) ait appris cette chanson sans son enfance. Elle a servi de base à la chanson de Woody Guthrie The Great Historical Bum (Le Grand clodo de l’histoire) que l’on trouve sur ce site sous le titre The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done (La Plus grande chose que l’homme ait jamais faite). Dans sa version, enregistrée avec Larry Mohr, Odetta mélange d’ailleurs les deux chansons.

C’est l’histoire d’un homme qui a tout vu (la chanson de Guthrie est celle d’un homme qui a tout fait). Il a vu la fille du Roi Pharaon sauver Moïse des eaux, vu Noé bâtir l’Arche, épousé en secret, à Milwaukee, la Reine Elizabeth, enseigné l’ABC au Roi Salomon, et voyagé avec Mathusalem. Il a bien connu Satan, et aussi Adam et Eve, qu’il a vu chassés du Paradis terrestre, et assisté au meurtre d’Abel par Caïn, pour une misérable histoire de poker.

Doc Watson ponctue sa chanson par un refrain : pendant qu’au cours des siècles tous ces personnages d’antan faisaient ce qu’ils avaient à faire, lui se bornait à chanter sa petite chanson…


BORN SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO

I was born about six thousand years ago
They ain’t nothin’ in this world that I don’t know
I saw Old King Pharaoh’s daughter find Little Moses on the water
And I can whip the man that says it isn’t so

I saw Noah when he built that famous ark
I slipped into it one night when it got dark
I saw Jonah swallowed by the whale, and I pulled the lion’s tail
I can whip the man that says it isn’t so

Chorus:
I’m an educated man, to get more sense within my head I plan
Well, I’ve been on earth so long, and I used to sing a little song
While all of them old timers took their stand

Queen Elizabeth fell dead in love with me, (hee, hee, she did)
We was married in Milwaukee secretly
Then I took her out and shook her, and I went with General Hooker
To fight mosquitoes down in Tennessee.

I taught Solomon his little A B C’s (smart feller)
And through all his books, I tutored him with ease
Then I sailed out on the bay with Methuselah one day
And I played with his flowing whiskers in the breeze

(Chorus)

I seen old Satan when he searched that Garden o’er, (old booger)
Saw Adam and Eve driven from the door
When the applese they were eating, from the bushes I was a-peeping
I can prove it from the man that ate the core

I saw Cain when he killed Abel with a spade
And I know the game was poker that they played
I was hid behind the shrub when he slapped him with that club
Poor old Abel caught him a-cheatin’, and now he’s dead

(Chorus)