The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18313   Message #340128
Posted By: Stewie
13-Nov-00 - 08:14 PM
Thread Name: Penguin: George Collins
Subject: Lyr Add: THE DYING HOBO (Kelly Harrell, 1926)
Here's an American version derived from the Child #42 and #85 family. It is from a recording by Kelly Harrell of Virginia. Harrell was a fine singer and associate of other pioneering hillbilly recording artists such as Charlie Poole and Henry Whitter. Like other American versions, and evidently also some southern English versions, this is much lighter and shorter, consisting of lopped-off final elements of the major ballads to form an independent piece. Although it may appear tragi-comic or humorous, it was not a parody but rather a song of serious intent. A recording of this version and extensive notes on Clerk Colvill/Lady Alice may be found on volume 7 of MacColl and Seeger's 'The Long Harvest' Argo ZDA 72. The transcription below is from Harrell's original recording in the Victor studios in New York on 9 June 1926. It was issued as Vi 20527. It has been reissued on CD on Kelly Harrell 'Vol 1 (1925-1926)' Document DOCD-8026.


'Twas at a western water tank
One cold December day
And in an empty boxcar
A dying hobo lay

You see his girl in yonders hall
A-sewing her silk so fine
But when she heard poor George was dead
She laid her silks aside

She followed him up, she followed him down
She followed him to his grave
She fell upon her bending knees
She weeped, she mourned, she cried

'Oh daughter, o daughter what makes you weep so,
There's more young men than George'
'O mother, o mother, he's won of my heart
And now he's dead and gone'

Then take off his coffin lid
Lay back his linen so fine
And let me kiss his pale sweet lips
For I know he'll never kiss mine

You see that dove in yonders grove
It's flying from pine to pine
It's mourning for its own true love
Why can't I mourn for mine?