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Lyr Req: Two Convicts

GUEST,Guest 05 Feb 02 - 03:21 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 02 - 10:21 PM
Joan from Wigan 13 Feb 02 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Guest 13 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM
Joan from Wigan 14 Feb 02 - 03:35 AM
53 14 Feb 02 - 09:17 PM
Joan from Wigan 16 Feb 02 - 03:00 AM
Art Thieme 17 Feb 02 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,Laura 18 Feb 02 - 07:56 PM
19 Feb 02 - 12:07 AM
Joan from Wigan 19 Feb 02 - 02:15 AM
Art Thieme 19 Feb 02 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,Arkie 21 Feb 02 - 05:37 PM
Goose Gander 06 Mar 06 - 12:20 AM
Goose Gander 06 Mar 06 - 12:10 PM
Goose Gander 08 Mar 06 - 11:04 PM
Goose Gander 26 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 06 - 08:59 PM
Goose Gander 27 Jul 06 - 05:57 PM
Goose Gander 18 Apr 07 - 03:54 PM
Goose Gander 18 Apr 07 - 04:52 PM
Goose Gander 18 Apr 07 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,manda 11 Nov 08 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Simon Crook 08 Feb 09 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,GUEST 14 Mar 11 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,kev 22 Mar 11 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,phil kent 07 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Dennis London. 25 Jul 11 - 08:51 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 11 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,clive hodges 03 Jul 12 - 12:32 AM
Goose Gander 03 Jul 12 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 23 Aug 12 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,999 08 Sep 12 - 06:31 PM
Joe Offer 09 Sep 12 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,jean russell 25 Oct 12 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,jean russell 25 Oct 12 - 01:53 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 12 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Melvyn Kitson 31 Jan 14 - 06:44 PM
GUEST 08 Jun 14 - 01:36 AM
GUEST 13 May 17 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 17 - 04:34 PM
Joe Offer 14 May 17 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,Carolyn McDaniel 20 Aug 18 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Guest 09 Nov 18 - 10:55 AM
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Subject: Convicts
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 03:21 PM

I am searching for the lyrics to one more old song that my grandmother sang. It is about a convict telling his story to the other convicts.

It begins like this:

Two convicts were seated in a prison cell.
The story of their past lives to each other they did tell.
I had a home boy said the elder of the two.
A wife I loved so dearly and a little baby too.

It ends like this:

No where on earth boy no where to call my own.
I have no place to shelter me except a prison home.

I am trying to write the words to these old songs to keep passing down. I'm hoping that someone might know these. Thanks again!


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Subject: Convicts Lyrics
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 10:21 PM

Here are some of the words to a song. I would like to know the name of this and all of the lyrics, if anyone is familiar with this. Thank you.

Two convicts were seated in a prison cell.
The story of their past life to each other they did tell.
“I had a home, boy,” said the elder of the two.
“A wife I loved so dearly and a little baby too.

“We were living happy until the tempter came.
I tell you all the truth; I was not to blame.
I came from work one evening and with him she had fled.
The weary months of suffering, I'd much rather be dead.
I started drinking what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions, became a burglar too.”

(Then there are some verses where he went to rob a house and it ended up being the house where his wife and child lived. He is taken to court and sentenced and he sees his wife there crying and the man. I don't know those). Then it is something like this:

“There across the courtroom seated all alone
...was the man who wrecked my home.
I sprang toward him with murder in my heart.
I clasped my hands around his throat 'til we were torn apart.
Nowhere on earth, boy, nowhere to call my own.
I have no place to shelter me except a prison home.”

Thanks for the help.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 27-Feb-02.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 04:16 AM

I have searched Google with most of the phrases mentioned, but have so far found no matches (you may already have done the same searches). Have you any idea who the singer is? Or approximately how old the song is likely to be? Sorry to be no help so far, but at least another post stops the thread dropping into the void for now, and maybe someone else will see it and be able to help.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM

Thanks for the help. I haven't been able to come up with anything either. I don't know who sang it, but my family is from the Missouri bootheel and my great grandmother and grandmother sang it at least as early as 1940 my mother said.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 03:35 AM

Still no luck, so refreshing the thread again.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: 53
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:17 PM

Check Merle Haggard songs, that sounds like one of his.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 03:00 AM

You may well be right about it being by Merle Haggard, but it's certainly not one whose lyrics are on the web. And his discographies only seem to list albums, not the individual tracks on each album, so can't even identify possible titles. Can anyone else help?

Joan


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 08:30 PM

I've just sent 5 e-mails to likely folks who might know this.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: GUEST,Laura
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 07:56 PM

Thank you Art. I'm still looking for the lyrics to that song. Hopefully someone out there will recognize it.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From:
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:07 AM

Sorry, I have never heard this one.

Do you have any logging songs?

Art did you ever receive the CD of my cowboy collection?

Paul Roseland


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:15 AM

Paul, if you enter "@logging" (without the quote marks) into the "Digitrad & Forum Search" box at the top of the forum, it will come up with a number of songs and loads of threads to link to. If you're looking for a particular song and can't find it by searching via the same box (best done by entering a memorable phrase from the lyrics), your best bet is to start a new thread with the song title in the thread title; otherwise, your request will go unnoticed by those who may be able to help if it's buried in another unrelated thread. Welcome to Mudcat, and happy searching! (And check out "membership" - it's free and gives you all sorts of advantages, like Personal Messages, etc - check out the FAQ at the top of the Forum).

Joan


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:13 PM

Dear Paul, YES, I got it and it is wonderful. I wrote you a longish E-mail and was hoping that it got there all the way up in Alaskan Sourdough country.

(People, PAUL ROSELAND is well-known in folkloristic circles as the SINGING SOURDOUGH up there in the last frontier country sometimes called Alaska by some. His CDs (BOTH SUPERB by my reckoning) of "Cowboy Songs (1880s - 1950s)" and "Songs Of The Alaskan, Yukon and Klondike Gold Rushes (1849-1941)" are available from Paul at:

Alaska Folk Music
P.O. Box 91324
Anchorage, AK 99509

or

dianns@alaska.net

Paul Roseland also has done recordings for Folkways Records back when Moe Asche was building that great company from the ground up and also before everyone here was born probably. Those were called "LPs" then -- meaning "Long Play albums" but they were shorter in length than Compact Discs are now even though they were much larger than CDs these days. The LPs were "groovier" -- if ya know what I mean !!

ALL THE BEST TO YOU PAUL. I do home you and yours are well, healthy, not ill and even "happy".

Respectfully,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 05:37 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Goose Gander
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:20 AM

Two Convicts

This appears to be the song referred to in the initial posting, it was recorded in Arvin, California, in 1941, and it can be found on Voices From the Dust Bowl

A song called 'Two Convicts' was mentioned in this article
in Musical Traditions magazine, but I don't know if it's the same song.

The guest who asked about this song mentioned hearing it in Missouri, which would be consistent with the population sources of the 'Okie' migration of the 1930s.


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Subject: ADD: Two Convicts (from Hudson)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:10 PM

TWO CONVICTS

Two convicts sitting in a prison cell
The story of their past life to each other tell
"I had a home, boys," said the elder of the two,
A wife that I loved dearly, and a little baby too.

"We were living happy until the tempter came;
I'll tell you all the truth, boys, I was not to blame.
It was on one day that I missed her, and with him she had fled;
Oh, how I suffered; I wished that I was dead!

"Then I went to drinking — what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions, became a burglar too.
Then I went to robbing, to rob a mansion grand;
The tools were in my pocket, revolver in my hand.

"I crawled in at a window, and all was still as death;
I fired — a flash; I saw her face: Oh, God, I'd shot my child!
I was taken across to the courthouse and sentenced for twenty-five years;
And just across the court-room sat my wife in tears.

"There by her side sat one I loved so dear;
I thanked the Lord with all my heart my baby had not died.
Just across the court-room sat the man that wrecked my home,
Sitting in a shadow, smiling there alone.

"Then I sprang toward him with murder in my heart;
My hands were clasped upon his throat when we were torn apart.
I have no friends in all this world, boys, no place to call my home;
I have no place to shelter me — none but a prison cell."

"Communicated by Mr. Sanford R. Hughston, principal of the Courtland (Panalo County, Mississippi) Public School, who obtained it from one of his pupils."

Source: Arthur Palmer Hudson, "Ballads and Songs from Mississippi," The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 39, No. 152 (April-June, 1926), p. 144-145.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWO CONVICTS
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 11:04 PM

Well, the link isn't working, but if you go to the song list at Voices From the Dust Bowl it's the third title from the top.

Here are the lyrics:

TWO CONVICTS

Two convicts were sitting in a prison cell
The story of their past life to each other tell
"I had a wife, sir," (said) the eldest of the two,
"A wife that I loved dearly, and a little baby, too."

We were so happy until the temptor came
Oh, remember boys, my wife was not to blame
One night I missed her, and with him she had fled
Now my heart is aching, and I wish that I were dead."

Then I went to drinking, what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions, became a burglar, too.
One night I went to rob . . . .
(recording cut off)

Despite the abbreviated recording and some minor differences, this clearly draws from the same text as the full version from Mississipi printed by Hudson. This ballad wouldn't sound out of place on a hillbilly 78, but I can't find it in Meade's Country Music Sources or Russell's Country Music Records. By any chance, does anyone know if the 'Two Convicts' sung by Mrs. Amy Ford of Sommerset in the Musical Traditions article is the same song?

    Link Fixed. -Joe Offer-
Joe's transcription of the same recording:

TWO CONVICTS

Two convicts were sitting in a prison cell
The story of their past life to each other tell
"I had a wife," said the eldest of the two,
"A wife that I loved dearly, and a little baby, too."

We were so happy until the tempter came
Oh, remember boys, my wife was not to blame
One night I missed her, and with him she had fled
Now my heart is aching, and I wish that I were dead."

Then I took to drinking, for what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions, became a burglar, too.
One night I went to rob . . . .
(recording cut off)


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PRISONER
From: Goose Gander
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM

From the CD Romany Roots by Viv Legg ....

THE PRISONER

Two convicts one day were seated, in a lonely prison cell -
The story of their past lives to each other did tell.
"I was once young and happy," said the elder of the two,
"I had a loving wife and a little baby too."

"One night as I went home, after working hard all day,
I found the fire had gone out and my wife had run away.
It was then I started drinking - for what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too."

"One night as I went out, to rob a mansion grand,
The tools were in my pocket, a revolver in my hand.
As I climbed through that window a gentle voice I heard.
I fired a shot, then cried a lot. By God I've shot my child."

Without a friend in all this wide world, not a friend to speak my name.
Praying to God that I might die, praying all in vain.
For after all that I have suffered, no man could ever tell.
With no place to shelter, but this lonely prison cell.

"We have been unable to trace this sentimental song to any printed source. Collectors first noted it in America, firstly from a singer in Mississippi (see 'The Journal of American Folklore' # 39 (1926) pp. 144-45), and, secondly, from a singer in California in 1941 (Library of Congress disc 5117 B2). It may be that the song originated in America, although it has turned up occasionally on this side of the Atlantic. A number of Gypsies and Travellers are known to have sung the song (these include Wally Fuller, a Sussex Gypsy who sang the song to the BBC in 1952, two Scottish Travellers, John McPhee and Marty Powers both recorded in Blairgowrie, Perthshire - and an Irish Traveller called Andy Cash, living to the west of London in 1973). Another trio of singers, this time from Suffolk, have also been recorded singing versions of the song and one of these versions, from the singer Tony Harvey, can be found in John Howson's book 'Songs Sung in Suffolk' (1992) p.60.
Song transcribed by John Howson
Song notes: Mike Yates"


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Two Convicts
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 08:59 PM

Hmmmm. Interesting song, Michael. There are 15 related songs in Roud, but nothing in the Traditional Ballad Index. time for more research.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Two Convicts
From: Goose Gander
Date: 27 Jul 06 - 05:57 PM

I still have no solid evidence regarding a source and a path of transmission. It does seem to be American in origin and, if so, it seems to have made its way to the UK around mid-century (carried by soldiers during World War II?).

One thing - and it may be nothing - Thomas Winthrop Hall published a story called 'The Two Convicts' in Munsey's magazine (vol.7 No. 6, September, 1892). I haven't seen the story so I cannot comment on any relationship.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Goose Gander
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:54 PM

Here's a working link for the recording at Voices From the Dust Bowl . . .

Two Convicts recorded at Visalia FSA Camp 8-13-41; no artist listed.


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Goose Gander
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:52 PM

Here are some more references from the Roud Index . . .

BURGLAR SONG - BBC recording 18719, Wally Fuller (England, Sussex, 1952), collected by Peter Kennedy.

CONVICT'S SONG - Howson, Songs Sung in Suffolk (1992) p.60

CONVICT'S SONG – recording, Veteran VT 104, Tony Harvey (England, Suffolk), collected by Howson.

CONVICTS SONG – recording, Lanham NL01 ('Songs of Essex, Suffolk, Cambs. Border'), Jack Tarling (Suffolk, England), collected by Neil Lanham

TWO PRISONERS – recording, Folktracks 60-183 (`Tam Buie'), John McPhee (Perthshire, Scotland, 1955), collected by Peter Kennedy.

BURGLAR – recording, Andy Cash (Ireland : Co. Wexford / England : London, 1973), Jim Carroll / Pat Mackenzie Collection

TWO CONVICTS THEY WERE SEATED - Dunn, Fellowship of Song (1980) p.239

TWO CONVICTS – recording, Folktracks 60-184 ('The Jolly Travellers'), Marty Powers (Perthshire, Scotland, 1955), collected by Isabel Sutherland and Joby Blanshard


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Subject: RE: Convicts Lyrics
From: Goose Gander
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:40 PM

From mustrad.org.uk, here's a review of a cassette of Jack Tarling's singing put out by Neil Lanham. Tarling performs The Convict's Song on this collection.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PRISONER
From: GUEST,manda
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:33 PM

The version below is the one that my grandfather from Letter Kenny taught my mother (born in 1929) and he and she both sang to me. My grandfather told me that his father sang it to him when he was young. So the roots I found are in Ireland in the early 1900. Not Mississippi


THE PRISONER

Two convicts one day were seated, in a lonely prison cell -
The story of their past lives to each other did tell.
"I was once young and happy," said the elder of the two,
"I had a loving wife and a little baby too."

"One night as I went home, after working hard all day,
I found the fire had gone out and my wife had run away.
It was then I started drinking - for what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too."

"One night as I went out, to rob a mansion grand,
The tools were in my pocket, a revolver in my hand.
As I climbed through that window a gentle voice I heard.
I fired a shot, then cried a lot. By God I've shot my child."

Without a friend in all this wide world, not a friend to speak my name,
Praying to God that I might die, praying all in vain,
For after all that I have suffered, no man could ever tell,
With no place to shelter, but this lonely prison cell.


mandaqu@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,Simon Crook
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 03:51 PM

I recorded my grandmother, Annie Crook, singing this very song about 1976. She learnt it from a work colleague in 1912 in the Bendon Valley Laundry in Wandsworth, south London (England). To me, it has the melodramatic feel of a Victorian music hall song, though this thread is virtually the first mention I've found of it. The only other mention (found ten minutes ago!)is www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/amyford.htm. According to this, the Somerset singer Amy Ford learnt it from a Londoner stationed locally in the Second World War, so I'd tend to go for a London music hall origin.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWO PRISONERS
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 11 - 01:14 PM

Two prisoners were seated In a lonely prison cell
When stories of their past lives To each other they did tell.

"I'll tell you a story," Said the elder of the two.
"I had a wife, a charming wife And a baby daughter too.

"One night as I came home From working hard all day,
I found my house deserted. My wife had ran away.

"I took to drink and gamble, Just like a man would do.
I mixed with bad companions And became a robber too.

"One night as I set out To rob a mansion grand,
My tools were in my pocket, My revolver in my hand.

"As I climbed through the window, There was a voice I heard.
I turned around and fired a shot. Good God, I'd shot my child!

"Not a friend in all this wide, wide world, Not a friend to call my own.
I'm praying to God that I might die, Praying for death alone.

"Oh, how I've suffered, There is no man can tell,
No one to keep and hold me now But this lonely prison cell."


My mum used to sing this to me when I was a kid, and I am sixty now.
She came from the East End of London and sang songs I have never heard anybody else sing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,kev
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 05:52 PM

My mother used to sing this song the parts I remember are:


Two convicts were talking in a lonely prison cell.
Talking to each other, of their past lives they did tell.

"As I set out one evening to rob a mansion grand.
My tools were in my pocket my revolver in my hand."

I climbed in through the window I heard an awful cry
I fired a shot then cried out loud, "My God! I've shot my child!"

Not a friend in this whole wide world, not a friend to call my own,
I'm praying to God that I may die praying to Him alone.

Oh, how I miss him! There's no one here can tell,
No place on earth to shelter me but this lonely prison cell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,phil kent
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM

I am 57 now and i remember my mother singing this to me when i was a toddler and i think her mother sang it to her when she was a baby.my mothers passed now but for some unknown reason ,that song has always stayed with me in a cloudy sort of way( always in the back of my mind and knowing the tune but only remembering snippets of the song). I was so pleased when i found this website for now i can actually put words to the memory of my mother singing it. sounds silly from a grown man but that has really cheered me up. lol
thanks everyone.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,Dennis London.
Date: 25 Jul 11 - 08:51 PM

My father used to sing this song to me and my brothers when we were small. I think he learned it in the army. I too only remember snippets of the lyric but what I do remember is a slight variation on these existing threads.

Two convicts were seated, within a prison cell.
Said one unto the other my life story I will tell.

(Don't remember the next line)
I had a wife, a lovely wife, and a little baby too.

One night when I came home after working hard all day
I found the fire it had gone out, my wife had run away

It was then I took to drinking what else was I to do?
I mixed with bad company and became a burglar too.

One night as I set out to rob a mansion grand.
I had my tools laid at my side and my revolver in my hand

As I crept through the window a gentle voice I heard
I fired one shot then cried aloud "my god I've shot my child.

Not a friend in all this wide world to tell my troubles to.
Nowhere to rest my weary head but within this prison cell.

I have racked my brain trying to remember more of it and perhaps I have subconsciously borrowed from other versions on this thread but this song has stuck with me all my life. My mum hated it. She used to say dad was being morbid if he sang it.
My dad was born in 1912. I don't think he would have heard a lot of American music at that time so I suspect the song is English in origin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 05:22 PM

There were two lonely prisoners in a lonely prison cell
Both had wives and daughters both had a tale to tell
Now listen to my story said the elder of the two
If your wife should leave you don't let her take your daughter too

One night when I came home after working hard all day
I found the fire had gone out and my wife had run away
It was then I took to drinking what else was there to do
To mix with bad companions and become a burglar too

One night when I set out to rob a mansion grand
My torch was in my pocket my gun was in my hand
I crept in through a window I heard a gentle voice
I fired a shot and cried oh lord for I had shot my child

That's what I can remember but I would love to hear it again

YVONNE (MIDLANDS)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,clive hodges
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:32 AM

two convicts once woes sitting inside a prison cell
the story of there past life to each other there would tell
ill tell you my past life story said the elder of the two
i had a wife a lovely wife and a little baby too

it woes once when i came home tired after working all day long
i found the fire had gone out and my wife she gone away
it woes then i took to drinking and became a gambler to
i mixed with bad companions and became a bergular to

it woes once when i went out steeling to rob a mansion grand
the tools were in my pocket and a revolver in my hand
as i crept through the window i herd a gentle voice
i fired a shot then cried out lord good god i shot my child
not a friend in all this wide world not a friend to call my own
praying to god that i might die praying to god all alone


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: Goose Gander
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 11:33 AM

Clive, can you tell us more about where and when you heard this song, from whom you learned it, etc.?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 05:23 AM

Hi. I have sung this song so many times as my father sang it to me, I can only give you the version which I know, it is similiar.

Two convicts were sitting in a lonely prison cell
Their stories of their love life to each other they did tell.
Well I'll tell you a story, said the younger of the two,
I had a wife, a lovely wife and a pretty baby too.

One night when I came home, after working hard all day,
I found the fire had gone out, and my wife had run away,
Twas then I took to drinking, what else could i do?
God had me a bad companion, and became a burglar too.

One night when I went out to rob a mansion grand
My tools were in my pocket, a revolver in my hand,
As I climbed through the window, I heard a gentle voice,
I fired a shot, and cried aloud, good God I've shot my child.

Not a friend have I in this wide wide world,
Not a friend have I to call my own,
There's nothing left to shelter me but this lonely prison cellTwo .


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Subject: ADD: The Prisoner
From: GUEST,999
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 06:31 PM

Found at

http://resistantbutpersistent.blogspot.ca/2010/10/missing-song-found.html

[Please note some similarities with the song that follows this one.]

THE PRISONER

Two convicts one day were seated, in a lonely prison cell -
The story of their past lives to each other did tell.
"I was once young and happy," said the elder of the two,
"I had a loving wife and a little baby too."

"One night as I went home, after working hard all day,
I found the fire had gone out and my wife had run away.
It was then I started drinking - for what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too."

"One night as I went out, to rob a mansion grand,
The tools were in my pocket, a revolver in my hand.
As I climbed through that window a gentle voice I heard.
I fired a shot, then cried a lot. By God I've shot my child."

Without a friend in all this wide world, not a friend to speak my name,
Praying to God that I might die, praying all in vain,
For after all that I have suffered, no man could ever tell,
With no place to shelter, but this lonely prison cell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Convicts
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 02:53 AM

The Roud Index has several citations for this song, mostly from UK sources.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,jean russell
Date: 25 Oct 12 - 01:40 AM

A woman I worked with used to sing this song, in the 1950s.

Two convicts were seated in a lonely prison cell,
The story of their lifetime to each other they would tell.
When I was a young man, said the elder of the two,
I had a wife, a lovely wife, and a little baby too.

I got home one night after working hard all day,
I found the fireplace empty and my wife had run away.
Twas then I took to drinking, what else could I do?
I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too.

I set out one night to rob a mansion grand,
My tools were in my pocket, my revolver in my hand
As I climbed in through the window, a gentle voice I heard,
I fired a shot into the room, Oh God, I shot my child.

I remember the tune, I often sing it, but thats all I can remember.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,jean russell
Date: 25 Oct 12 - 01:53 AM

Im told there was this verse too:
Without a friend in this wide world, not a friend to speak my name,
Praying to God that I might die, praying all in vain,
After all that I have suffered, no man could ever tell,
With no place to shelter, but this lonely prison cell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 08:10 PM

I am from South Africa..I grew up with my Grandmother singing this song to me..

There once was two convicts inside a prison cell
The story of their life time To each other they did tell
I'll tell you a sad story said the elder of the two
I had a wife, a lovely wife, and a little kiddie too.

One night as I had come home, after working hard all day
I found the fire and gone out, and my wife had run away
Then I took to drinking, what else could I do
I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too..

One night as I had gone out to rob a mansion grave
The tools were in my pocket, the revolver in my hand
As I climbed through that window, a gentle voice I heard
I fired a shot and cried out, my God I've shot my child

Not a friend in all this wide world, not a friend to call my own
I pray to God, that I shall die, inside this prison cell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,Melvyn Kitson
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 06:44 PM

As my dad sung it....

Two convicts they were seated.
Inside a prison cell
They were gaily talking
Of the past life they had led....

I'll tell you a story
Said the elder of the two
I had a wife a pretty wife
I had a kiddie too

One night when I returned
From working hard all day
I found the fire had gone out
My wife Had run away

Twas then I turned to drinking
What else was there to do
I mixed with bad companions
And became a burglar too

We planned to rob a mansion
A mansion tall and grand
The keys were in my pocket
A revolver in my hand

I crept up to the window
So desperate and wild
I fired a shot and cried out loud
My god I,v shot my child

No friends have I to see me
No friends to go my bail
I'm stuck with my companions
And I'll die inside this jail




Im 55 years of age and my dad song this when I was a little kid
hope this helps..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 14 - 01:36 AM

I was born and reared in Arkansas and my first memory of this song was in appx. 1941. My mother, grandparents and great grandmother all knew this song. I am 76 years old.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 17 - 03:41 PM

One night as I came home after working hard all day I found the fire had all gone out and the wife had ran away
''Twas then I took to drinking what else was I to do? I mixed with bad companions and became a burglar too!
One night as was out, .................I climbed in through the window I heard a shouting turned about BANG! I cried aloud " my god I've shot my child! N
Not a friend in all the wide world not a friend to call my own!

Sorry that's all I can fill in.
My dad sang this as his party piece!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 17 - 04:34 PM

I've written this before on other threads.

There are crazy people out there who like to study different versions of songs and how they've evolved. It really helps them in their studies if posters can give as much detail as possible on their version, particularly where and when it was heard and from whom.
PLEASE!

The internet is rapidly becoming the main repository for much folkloric material and the more info we can glean with each piece of folklore the more useful it is to us. People like Mark Gilston (US) are putting performances of their family folklore and songs on Youtube and that's great!

Harry Liston 1843-1929 had a song called 'The Convict' in his repertoire, and Bessie Wentworth had 'The Convict's Story' but that was a recitation, according to Kilgarriff.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 May 17 - 01:19 AM

I'll second that, Steve!

Goose Gander linked to a field recording from California at the Library of Congress American Memory Collection. The URL of that recording has changed, so I corrected it above. Here 'tis:

Goose Gander also found a version of the song in an article by Arthur Palmer Hudson titled "Ballads and Songs from Mississippi," The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 39, No. 152 (April-June, 1926), p. 144-145.

I thought it would be in Palmer's book, Folksongs of Mississippi and their background (Folklorica Press, 1981), but it isn't there. I've always had the impression that Hudson's book was built on his JAFL article, but somehow this song was omitted from the book. The article is available at JSTOR (click) which now has free, limited access that works really well. Now we can access JAFL and other scholarly journals - I've been wishing for this for a long time. I proofread Goose Gander's post of the lyrics from Hudson's article, and standardized the format of that and two other songs above.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,Carolyn McDaniel
Date: 20 Aug 18 - 10:07 AM

My grandmother sang this song when I was a child in the 50’s. She was born in 1907.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Two Convicts
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 10:55 AM

I remember my father singing this since I was very small. My mother says that he knew this song from when she met him in 1947. My father is nearly 96 and came from south London.


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