Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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252         Ballads and Songs of Michigan
For a discussion of the history of this song, a form of the Irish song "The Unfortunate Rake," see Barry, JAFL, XXIV, 341. For references and texts see Cox, pp. 2427-246. See also Bulletin, VII, 16-18, and VIII, 16-17; Eddy, No. 109; Larkin, pp. 14-15; Mackenzie, p. 302; Sharp, II, 164-165; Ina Sires, Songs of the Open Range (New York, 1928), p. 4; and Stout; pp. 103-105.
Version A was sung in 1934 by Mr. Charles E. Meeker, Detroit, who learned the song from his sister in Wolverine, Michigan, about 1893.
1   As I rode to Grecian, to Grecian's fair home, Twas early one morning, 'twas there for to roam, I spied a wild cowboy all dressed in white linen,
All dressed in white Jmen, all clothed for the grave.
"Then beat the drum lowly as you play the fife o'er me;
Play the death march as you carry me on.
Take me to the prairie and roll the sod o'er me,
For I'm a wild cowboy and know I've done wrong.
2   "As I rode in my saddle I used to be happy, As I rode in my saddle I used to be gay,
First I went to drinking, from that to card playing; Got shot through the breast, and now I must die.
3   "Will some one go fetch me a cup of cold water, A cup of cold water?" the poor fellow said. But e'er I returned, his spirit departed,
Gone back to the Giver; the cowboy was dead.
Sung in 1931 by Mrs. Edna Nummer Mercer, Belding, who learned the song from her aunt; Mrs. Julia McFall, of Belding. A fragment of two stanzas and chorus very similar to Cox A.

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