Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

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

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This song was written in 1925, after the death of Floyd Collins, Kentucky, who was trapped when the walls of the cave which he was exploring fell in upon him. He remained a prisoner thirty feet below the surface of the earth, in view of the workers who gathered from all parts of the countryside and worked in shifts night and day for six days, only to have him die just before they reached him. His family, which before the tragedy had belonged to the poorer farming class, became comfortably well-to-do from the proceeds of version B of this song and from the toll system which they inaugurated, charging sightseers fifty cents each to \iew the scene of the catastrophe. These two versions are interesting because of their recent origins and the character of the variations played upon a theme identical in subject and locale. For a close parallel to Michigan B see Henry, pp. 82-83.
Version A was obtained in 1931 from Miss Mabel Tuggle, Detroit; she had heard the song in Virginia.
i O come all you people, And listen while I tell The fate of Floyd Collins, The lad you all knew well.
2    His face was fair and handsome, His heart was good and brave, And now he lies sleeping
In a lonely sandstone cave.
3    The day was dark and lonely, But Floyd he was so brave;
He never thought he'd get trapped While exploring that dark cave.
4   The people they all gathered, They worked both night and day To save poor Floyd Collins Was all that they could pray.
5   But after five full hard days, They say it was in vain,
For Floyd's poor eyes would ne'er look Upon this world again.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III