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Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)

GUEST,hermie 29 Aug 06 - 04:52 PM
Sorcha 29 Aug 06 - 05:03 PM
Phil Cooper 29 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,Gene 29 Aug 06 - 06:54 PM
Peace 29 Aug 06 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Gene 29 Aug 06 - 08:04 PM
Peace 29 Aug 06 - 08:06 PM
Stewie 29 Aug 06 - 08:16 PM
Snuffy 29 Aug 06 - 08:40 PM
Sorcha 30 Aug 06 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Mrr 30 Aug 06 - 09:56 AM
BTMP 30 Aug 06 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Ian Pittaway 30 Aug 06 - 01:46 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Aug 06 - 07:34 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM
Artful Codger 17 Feb 10 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,999 18 Feb 10 - 12:37 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 10 - 02:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 10 - 08:28 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 13 Dec 10 - 10:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 10 - 08:23 PM
TonyA 03 Jan 11 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,Sue, L.A. 26 Oct 11 - 02:04 AM
Gene 26 Oct 11 - 04:45 AM
Gene 26 Oct 11 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Don Reed 03 Apr 13 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: GUEST,hermie
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 04:52 PM

Does anyone know a song (a poem really) about a man going to the train station to pick up his son--it turns out his son was dead but this wasn't apparent until the end of the poem. I think Grandpa Jones used to do this but maybe it was someone else.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 05:03 PM

Do you have any words at all?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM

Is it "Coming To Us Dead?" The 97th regiment string band (civil war re-enactors) did a version on their first recording. I, unfortunately, can only recall a few lines.

something like:

treat the coffin gently, it contains our son, Jack;
He left the ways that you boys are,
This way he's a-coming back.
He broke his poor old mother's heart,
her sayings have all come true,
She said that's the way that he'd come home,
If he joined the boys in blue.

That's the tail end of the song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE IS COMING TO US DEAD
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:54 PM

FOUND ONLINE...

HE IS COMING TO US DEAD

One morning when the office had opened
a man quite old in years
Entered the express office
showing signs of grief and fear
When the clerk approached him
his trembling voice did say
I'm waiting for my boy, sir
he's coming home today

You have made a small mistake
and you must surely know
This is the express office, sir
and not a town depot
If your boy is coming home
this cold rainy day
You'll find him with the passengers
at the station just over the way

You do not understand me, sir
the old man shook his head
He's not a-coming as a passenger
but by express instead
He's coming home to mother
the old man gently said
He's coming home in a casket, sir
he's coming to us dead

Just then a whistle pierced the ears
the express came in on time
The old man rose in a breathless haste
and quickly rushed outside
Then a long white casket
was lowered to the ground
The scene was filled with the grief and tears
of those who gathered around

Don't handle that box roughly, boys
it contains our darling Jack
He went away as you boys are
see the way he's coming back
He broke his poor mother's heart
her saying's all come true
She said, this is the way that he'd come back
when he joined the boys in blue


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Peace
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 07:36 PM

I think that is from

www.playingbyear.com/songs/he-is-coming-to-us-dead


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 08:04 PM

Peace, David Ball had me in mind when he sang.

I've Got A Thinkin' Problem...

it slipped my mind to post the link

gg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Peace
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 08:06 PM

No problem. I have done that about twenty times. Bad of me not to compliment you finding it. Good one, Gene. (PS: I only know that about 'where it comes from' because Joe has had to tell me so many times.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 08:16 PM

This song was written by Gussie Davis in 1899. The first recording was by Grayson and Whitter in Atlanta in October 1927. You can find it reissued on County CO-CD-3517. Norman and Nancy Blake have a beaut rendition on their recent 'Back Home in Sulphur Springs' album [Plectrafone Records 80302].

The song has been recorded with a variety of other titles such 'A Hero's Death' [Molly O'Day], 'The Boy in Blue' [Stuart Hamblin], 'Roamin' Jack' [Ted Hawkins Mountaineers]. [Info from Meade p 18].

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 08:40 PM

When I saw the thread title I thought it might be this one by Eric Bogle: THE HERO'S RETURN (BELFAST SONG) a.k.a My youngest son came home today


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 09:50 AM

Now all we need is Hermie.....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 09:56 AM

Reminds me of The Baggage Coach Ahead... in the line where the man says She's dead in the coach ahead, we always envisioned her just sitting in a seat, dead.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: BTMP
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 01:35 PM

Yes, the Baggage Coach Ahead ... a great old ballad often performed by Mac Wiseman. Another Wiseman cover of the same ilk is the Little Box of Pine, where a son is coming home after dying in prison. Ironically, the warden had just received a note from the mother, asking when her boy would be sent home to her. The line goes, 'She didn't know the angels had unlocked those prison gates; the one she loved at last had been set free. ... There's a little box of pine on the 729, has returned a lost sheep to the fold. For a pardon from above has returned the one you love ... a sadder story never has been told.'   Great stuff ... Oh, man, I've got to go get my guitar and Jameson's ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: GUEST,Ian Pittaway
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 01:46 PM

Reminds me of a song by Eric Bogle. I'll search for it if it turns out it isn't any of the others people have suggested.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: son coming home in casket
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 07:34 PM

Stewie: Exactly which song were you referring to when you said "This song was written by Gussie Davis in 1899"?

My research shows Gussie L. Davis wrote IN THE BAGGAGE COACH AHEAD, but that was 1896. Did he also write HE IS COMING TO US DEAD (which is clearly a different song)? I don't find any song by that title in the usual collections (Levy, Library of Congress, University of Indiana) although I have found lots of songs by Gussie L. Davis.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM

The British Library Integrated Catalogue says that they have a copy of the sheet music of HE IS COMING TO US DEAD by Gussie L. Davis (New York: F. A. Mills, 1899).

However, it is not viewable online and I have been unable to find it in the catalog of any other library.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 07:16 PM

Yes, Gussie Lord Davis wrote both songs. He was most noted for writing tear-jerkers like this. He also wrote "One Little Word", which the Carters lifted and simplified (of course, without credit).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 12:37 AM

November, 2006, The Tillinghast Collection

JD and AC: you might want to google that. Please note the collection is in three pieces. See links near the top of the page.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BOYS IN BLUE / THE EXPRESS OFFICE
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:29 PM

The Boys In Blue (The Express Office)

The office was just open
When a man quite worn in years,
Upon his care-worn face
He wore a sign of tears;
And as the clerk approached him,
With tear-dimmed eyes he said,
"l am here to wait all for my son,
He is coming home today."
"This is not an express station,
But just the town depot,
And if your son is coming home,"
The clerk did smile and say,
"You will find him at the station
With the passengers on their way."
"You do not rightly understand,"
The old man shook his head,
He's not coming as a passenger
But by express instead;
He is coming home to mother,"
With tear dimmed eyes he said,
"He is coming in his casket,
He is coming to us dead."
Just then the whistle pierced their ears.
"The express!" somebody cried,
With quickening steps the old man rose
And quickly rushed outside;
From the baggage car a long white box
Was lowered down to them,
The sight was most heart-rendering
To all that stood around.
"Don't handle it so roughly,
It contains my dear son Jack,
Who left us in his health and strength,
See how he is coming back;
He has broke his dear old mother's heart,
Her words are coming true,
For she told him he would come back dead
If he joined the boys in blue."
####.... Variant of The Express Office written by Gussie L. Davis ©1899 ....####
Collected in 1951 from Francis O'Brien of Trepassy, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive
tamarasparkes@yahoo.ca...........my late Grandfather sang this his whole life and many came to hear it sang I have an MP3 of him singing basically this version if you would like a copy.Contact me at
tamarasparkes@yahoo.ca for the MP3 and the words as he sang them, very similar to the words I posted.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:28 PM

"The Express Office" (He is coming to us dead)", version from Randolph, is in the DT. Randolph printed two other versions, (Boy(s) in Blue.
Score at Numachi.
Also see post by Stewie.
Lyrics to the Grayson and Whitter version are given in "Long Steel Rail," Norm Cohen, and in the Google excerpt on line; titled "He Is Coming to Us Dead)." They may have been the source of the "Boys in Blue" line in the last verse of some versions.
Published 1899, both words and music credited to Gussie Davis (not seen). Cohen says Grayson's tune is simpler than the one writen by Davis.

Norn Cohen speculates that there is an antecedent.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:19 PM

Molly O'Day also recorded another song on a very similar theme called "Teardrops Falling In The Snow".
HERE


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE'S COMING TO US DEAD (Grayson, Whitter
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 08:23 PM

The first recording was made by G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter, 1927 Victor master 40303, released 1928 Victor 21139. Most 'folk' collections are based on this recording.
The lyrics posted by Gene in 2006 are mostly correct; the following copied from Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail, contains a few corrections. Cohen was uncertain about line one of the last verse.

Lyr. Add: HE'S COMING TO US DEAD
Sung by G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter, 1927

One morning when the office had opened, a man quite old in years
Stood by the express office, showing signs of grief and tears.

When the clerk approached him, in trembling words did say,
"I'm waiting for my boy, sir, he's coming home today."

[Spoken:] Take warning from this song.

"Well, you have made a slight mistake, and you must surely know,
That this is a telegraph office, sir, and not a town depot.

"If your boy is coming home," the clerk in smiles did say,
"You'll find him with the passengers, at the station just o'er the way."

Take warning, folks.

"You do not understand me, sir," the old man shook his head,
"He's not a-coming as a passenger, but by express instead."

Take warning, good people.

"He's coming home to mother," the old man gently said.
"He's coming home in a casket, sir, he's coming to us dead."

Then a whistle pierced their ears; "The express train," someone cried;
The old man rose in a breathless haste and quickly rushed outside.

Then a long white casket was lowered to the ground,
Showing signs of grief and tears to those who'd gathered 'round.

"Do not use him roughly, boys, it contains our darling Jack,
He went away as you boys are, this way he's coming back.

"He broke his poor old mother's heart, her sins have [?her fears have since] all come true.
She said this the way he'd come back, when he joined the Boys in Blue."

A lot of them come back that way, too.

Pp. 300-303, with brief musical score.

Cohen comments: " There is nothing in the text of this song to link it unequivocally with either the Civil War or the Spanish-American War."
Norn Cohen, 1981, Long Steel Rail, University of Illinois Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Dav
From: TonyA
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 08:06 PM

quote: "There is nothing in the text of this song to link it unequivocally with either the Civil War or the Spanish-American War."

6-700,000 casualties in the Civil War, about half of them combat deaths, and more than half of them Union soldiers, or "boys in blue." - source

2,430 American casualties in the Spanish-American War, 385 of which were combat deaths - source


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: GUEST,Sue, L.A.
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 02:04 AM

There's an awesome bluegrass band based in L.A. called The Americans, I saw them on 10/21/11 for the first time, they're PHENOMENAL! One of their songs is Coming Home Dead. I didnt know what the song was about until I listened to it a few times. Such a great song, a real tear jerker. I came online hoping to find lyrics, and found your post here. I am posting this video for you guys, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

You can find this band on Facebook too.

http://youtu.be/aVAA0WTaqUU

Sue


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: Gene
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 04:45 AM

Johnny Cash recorded a "heart rending song" of similar circumstances.

Route 1 Box 144

Gene


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROUTE 1, BOX 144 (Johnny Cash)
From: Gene
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 04:51 AM

ROUTE 1, BOX 144
As recorded by: Johnny Cash\

(Sung)
His dying barely made the morning paper
And they summed it up in twenty words or more
Killed in action leaves wife and baby
At Route 1 Box 144

(Narration)
He grew up on a little farm just a couple of miles out of town
As a boy he worked in his daddy's field
And when his daddy could spare him
He hired out to the neighbors
For whatever they could pay him
He was thought of as just average, a good boy
Nothing more, the average amount of friends
He married his high school sweetheart
They brought a little plot of ground
Couple of miles out of town, on a mailbox it said
Route 1 Box 144

Well back in town there were very few people that really knew him
Because he hardly ever came to town
Except for maybe on Saturdays,
Of course the usual crew was always there
But he didn't spent a lot of times with the usual crew
He took care of his business
Bought what he had to have or could afford for his family
And went back to his little farm
With a baby on the way he went to the army and it was a short while
That the news came that he was killed in action
His body was sent back on a plane and then by train
And then they brought the body from the train station
To Route 1 Box 144

(Sung)
He never did great things to be remembered
He'd never been away from home before
But you'd've thought that he was president or something
At Route 1 Box 144


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Is Coming to Us Dead (Gussie L Davis)
From: GUEST,Don Reed
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 02:14 PM

I remember this old song from earliest childhood and can still see my Mother, born in 1905 in eastern Oklahoma, as she sat at the piano and sang the sad old song most of her life. I never knew whether it was a Civil War or WWI song and would be interested in knowing. There was no chorus to the song - each short stanza contained identical music, repeated over and over. Here are the words as I recall her singing them:

Twas late one autumn evening,
an old man feeble with age
wandered into this village,
from off a dusty stage

"Is this the express office?
I've come to meet my son
They tell me that the train is due
at this place half-past one"

"You've made a slight mistake, sir,
I wish for you to know,
This is an express office,
and not a train depot"

"You do not understand me, sir
the old man feebly said
He's coming as no passenger,
He's coming to me dead"

Just then a whistle pierced the air,
"The Express," someone cried,
And then with slow and trembling steps,
The old man passed outside

And then, a casket in a box
was lowered to the ground
It was a rough and noisy crowd
that quickly gathered round

"Don't handle the lid so roughly, boys,
It is our darling Jack
He went away as you boys did,
but you see how he's come back"

"He's broken his dear old Mother's heart,
and brought her warnings all true
She told him that he'd come back dead
when he joined those boys in blue"


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