The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32737   Message #1239110
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
02-Aug-04 - 03:49 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Jesse James I
Subject: ADD: Jesse James (Woody Guthrie)
(Woody Guthrie)

Jesse James and his boys rode that Dodge City Trail,
Held up the midnight Southern mail,
And there never was a man with the law in his hand
That could keep Jesse James in a jail.

It was Frank and Jesse James that killed many a man,
But they never was outlaws at heart;
I wrote this song to tell you how it come
That Frank and Jesse James got their start.

They was living in a farm in the old Missouri hills,
With a silver-haired mother and a home;
Now the railroad bullies come to chase them off their land,
But they found that Frank and Jesse wouldn't run.

Then a railroad scab, he went and got a bomb,
And he throwed it at the door-
And it killed Mrs. James a-sleeping in her bed,
So Jesse grabbed a big forty-four.

Yes, Frank and Jesse James were men that was game
To stop that high-rolling train-
And to shoot down the rat that killed Mrs. james,
They was Two-gun Frank and Jesse James.

Now a bastard and coward called little Robert Ford,
He claimed he was Frank and Jesse's friend,
Made love to Jesse's wife and he took Jesse's life
And he laid poor Jesse in his grave.

The people were surprised when Jesse lost his life,
Wondered how he ever came to fall,
Robert Ford, it's a fact, shot Jesse in the back,
While Jesse hung a picture on the wall.

They dug Jesse's grave and a stone they raised,
It says, "Jesse James lies here-
Was killed by a man, a bastard and a coward,
Whose name ain't worthy to appear."

Song composed by Guthrie in 1930s? Printed in Irwin Silber, 1967, "Songs of the Great American West, p. 256. Jesse James
The bomb "that killed Mrs. James" is based on this- "On 25 Jan 1875 Pinkertons laid seige to the Samuel home. James and Frank got away. Some time during the shoot-out, a device similar to the mon otov [Molotov] cocktail was thrown threw a window, where it hit Mrs Zerelda Samuel, taking most of her arm and killing her nine year old son, Archie Samuel." From Yvonne James Henderson, in Univ. Kansas, families website. Her remarks are a little scrambled and may have errors: James Family