Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Prodigal Son

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Prodigal Son

Prodigal Son
 (Dock Boggs)

 CHO:     (Well) I believe I'll go back home

I believe I'll go back home

I believe I'll go back home

Acknowledge I done wrong

 When I left my native home
 Well I was well supplied
 Made a mistake when (and) I did go
 Now I'm dissatisfied

 I'll go back to my father's house
 I'll fall down on face
 Say I am unworthy
 I seek a servant's place

 Well I'll go back to my father's house
 To the place I love so dear
 There they had bread to eat
 While I am starving here

 Well Father seen him comin'
 He did greet him with a smile
 Throw his arms around him sayin'
 Here's my wanderin' child

 Father said to his servant
 Go and kill the fatted calf
 Invite all the friends and relatives
 My son's come home at last

 Well all were seated at the table
 All sorrow had passed
 My father's heart was filled with joy
 His son's come home at last

 Well, Eldest son he was jealous
 I believe I heard him say
 Give my brother his portion
 'Cause I never went away

 Father said to his Eldest son
 You have been both good and kind
 Not a calf have I given thee
 But all I have is thine
 The song is usually credited to Dock Boggs (1898-1971), who actually learned it
 from his brother-in-law, Lee Hunsucker, around 1930 or so. (But everyone who pe
rforms it today traces their version back to the Dock Boggs recording). Lee Huns
ucker was a holiness preacher with many sacred songs in his repertoire. Dock's v
ersion was recorded by Mike Seeger in 1963, and
 issued on Folkways Records; this version has been recently reissued on Dock Bog
gs: His Folkways Years 1963-1968, Smithsonian Folkways SF 40108. I was mostly in
fluenced by the version recorded by Sara Grey on her Harbourtown recording Sara.
 Yet another recording can be found on Rick Lee's Natick, Waterbug WBG0016. All
three of these recordings are
 accompanied by banjo; I sing it a cappella. My timing/rhythm is most like that
of Sara Grey's version. The recorded versions also vary in the repetitions of th
e chorus: Sara Grey repeats it between every verse, while Dock Boggs puts the ch
orus only after verses 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8. I like to repeat it every time myself.
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