Big Tent Revival

The Ballad of Arlis Richards

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The Ballad of Arlis Richards


Arlis Richards was a man

Who lived among the blacks

He was a crosstie walker

With a guitar on his back

Barely educated

Couldn’t write his name

But when he played his guitar

Everybody sang


I have been set free

Pain and misery

No longer follow me

I know Jesus


Just outside of Memphis

Back in ‘52

Arlis was a ramblin

The way that he would do

Playin on his guitar

Sitting in the shade

People came to listen

To the music that he made


Some folks walked on by

When they saw the color of his skin

Others stayed and cried

When they saw the man within


When his song was over

Arlis went his way

But some folks say revival

Started that day


Steve Wiggins


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