The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16598   Message #155538
Posted By: Stewie
30-Dec-99 - 01:17 AM
Thread Name: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
Subject: Lyr Add: ROSE CONLEY (from Grayson and Whitter)
Here's what I posted to an earlier thread:

Here is a transcription of what is probably the first recorded version of the song which was known either as 'Rose Conley' or 'Rose Connally'. It was recorded in 1927. It is close to the 'Down in the Willow Garden' version in DT. The story is also akin to 'Banks of the Ohio' and 'Knoxville Girl'. Grayson and Whitter also recorded a short version of 'Banks of the Ohio' under the title of 'I'll Never Be Yours'. The song is thought to have originated as an Irish stall ballad, but was mainly collected in the southern mountains of the United States. Along with Eck Robertson and Fiddlin' John Carson, Grayson and Whitter were the first rural recording artists. Grayson, who was blind, played fiddle and Whitter the guitar and harmonica. 'Rose Conley' became a standard and was later recorded by the likes of Doc Watson, Charlie Monroe etc.


Down in the willow garden
Where me and my love did meet
Oh there we sit a-courting
My love dropped off to sleep

I had a bottle of the burglar's wine
Which my true love did not know
And there I poisoned my own true love
Down under the banks below

I drew my sabre (pron 'saybree') through her
Which was a bloody knife
I threw her in the river
Which was a dreadful sight

My father always taught me
That money would set me free
If I'd murder that pretty little miss
Whose name is Rose Conley

He's sitting now in his own cottage door
A-wiping his weeping eyes
A-looking at his own dear son
Upon the scaffold high

My race is run beneath the sun
Though hell's now waiting for me
I did murder that pretty little miss
Whose name is Rose Conley

Source: G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter 'Rose Conley'. Recorded Atlanta GA 18 October 1927. Transcribed from 'The Recordings of Grayson & Whitter' County CD 3517. There are some spoken comments between the verses, such as 'poor little girl', but, as they are mainly indecipherable, I have omitted them.