American Ballads and Folk Songs: page - 0218

Complete Text, Lyrics & Sheet Music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Index Next
American Ballads and Folk Songs
He walked out for to borrow a gun, Something Bill Martin had never done.
Ella Speed was downtown havin' her lovin' fun, Long came Bill Martin wid his Colt 41.
De fust ball it entered in po' Ella's side, De nex* ball entered in her breas', De third ball it entered in her head j Dat's de ball dat put po' Ella to bed.
All de. young gals come a-runnin' an' cryin', All de young gals come a-runnin' an' a-cryin', "It am' but de one thing worry de po5 gal's min'— She leP her two lil boys behinV
De deed dat Bill Martin done, Jedge sentence: "You gonna be hung."
They taken Bill Martin to de freight depot, An' de train come rollin' by, He wave his han' at de woman dat he love An5 he hung down his head an' he cry.
All you young girls better take heed,
Don' you do like po5 Ella Speed;
Some day you will go for to have a lil fun
An' a man will do you like Bill Martin done.
That bad man of the ties, Railroad Bill, is a completely legendary character. It is interesting to note that he was killed or arrested by an­other Negro, after he had eluded the white officers of the law that set out after him.
*Text and tune are quoted from Odum and Johnson's Negro Workaday Songs (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press).