Friday, December 11, 2009

*In Folklorist Harry Smith’s House-Volume One-Ballads-"Henry Lee" — Dick Justice (1932)

Click on the title to link to a presentation by the artist or of the song listed in the headline.

The year 2009 has turned into something a year of review of the folk revival of the 1960s. In November I featured a posting of many of the episodes (via “YouTube”) of Pete Seeger’s classic folk television show from the 1960s, “Rainbow Quest”. I propose to do the same here to end out the year with as many of the selections from Harry Smith’s seminal “Anthology Of American Folk Music,” in one place, as I was able to find material for, either lyrics or "YouTube" performances (not necessarily by the original performer). This is down at the roots, for sure.

"Henry Lee"

Get down get down little Henry Lee
And stay all night with me
The very best lodging I can afford
Will be far better with thee

I can't get down I won't get down
And stay all night with thee
For the girl I have in that merry green land
I love far better than thee

She leaned herself against the fence
Just for a kiss or two
With a little pen knife held in her hand
She plugged him through and through

Come all you ladies in the town
A secret for me keep
With a diamond ring held on my hand
I'll never will forsake

Some take him by his lily white hand
Some take him by his feet
We'll throw him in this deep deep well
More than one hundred feet

Lie there lie there loving Henry Lee
Till the flesh drops from your bones
The girl you have in that merry green land
Still waits for your return

Fly down fly down you little bird
And alight on my right knee
Your cage will be the purest gold
In deed of property

I can't fly down I won't fly down
And alight on your right knee
A girl would murder her own true love
Would kill a little bird like me

If I had my bended bow
My arrow and my sling
I'd pierce a dart so nigh your heart
Your warble would be in vain

If you had your bended bow
Your arrow and your sling
I'd fly away to the merry green land
And tell what I have seen

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