Flu and theology

In nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an’ women sure was dyin’,

From de disease what de doctors called de flu.

People was dyin’ ev’ywhere; death was creepin’ th’ough de air,

For de groans of de sick sure was sad.



It was God’s almighty hand; he was judgin’ this old land;

North an’ South; East an’ West could be seen,

Yes, he killed de rich an’ poor, an’ he’s goin’ to kill more

If you don’t turn away from your sins.


In Memphis, Tennessee, doctors said it soon would be,

In a few days influenza will (we’LL?) control.

But God showed that He was head, an’ He put de doctor to bed,

And the nurse they broke down with de same. [Chorus]


Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees;

‘Tis a fever ev’ybody sure does dread;

Puts a pain in ev’y bone, a few days an’ you are gone

To a place in de groun’ called de grave. [Chorus]


Sung by Ace Johnson, Clemens state farm, Brazoria, Texas, April 16, 1939. “”Learned it off a holiness boy in Amarillo, Texas.”

Text transcription from the Library of Congress “American Memory” site; recording collected by John and Ruby Lomax can be heard here.