Front cover of "Green Fields of Illinois"GREEN FIELDS OF ILLINOIS --

SONG TEXTS


SONG TEXTS

Side A, Band 1: GREEN FIELDS OF AMERICA

(Instrumental)

Side A, Band 2: STONEY POINT

(Instrumental)

Side A, Band 3: FAIR FANNY MOORE

Yonder stands a cottage all deserted and alone,
It's paths are neglected, with grass overgrown.
Go in and you'll see some dark stains on the floor,
Alas it is the blood of the Fair Fanny Moore.

To Fanny so bloomin' two lovers there came,
One offered young Fanny his wealth and his name.
But neither his money nor pride could secure,
A place in the heart of the Fair Fanny Moore.

The first was young Randall, so bold and so proud,
Who to the fair Fanny his haughty head bowed.
But his wealth and his house both failed to allure,
The heart from the bosom of the Fair Fanny Moore.

The next was young Henry, of lowest degree;
He won her fond love, and enraptured was he,
And then at the alter he quick did secure,
The hand with the heart of the Fair Fanny Moore.

As she was alone in her cottage one day,
When business had called her fond husband away,
Young Randall, the haughty, came in at the door,
And clasped in his arms, this young Fair Fanny Moore.

"Now Fanny, O Fanny, reflect on your fate,
and accept of my offer before it's too late;
For one thing tonight I'm bound to secure,
'Tis the love or the life of the Fair Fanny Moore

"Spare me, O spare me",  the Fair Fanny cried,
While the tears quickly flow from her beautiful eyes;
"Oh no," says young Randall, "Go home to your rest."
And he buried his knife in her snowy, white breast.

To Fanny, all blooming in her bright beauty died;
Young Randall, the haughty, was taken and tried;
At length he was hung on a tree at the door,
For shedding the blood of the  Fair Fanny Moore.

Young Henry, the shepherd, distracted and wild,
Did wander away from his own native isle;
Till at length, claimed by death, he was brought to this shore,
And laid by the side of the Fair Fanny Moore.

Side A, Band 4: OLD AGE PENSION

When our old age pension check comes to our door,
We won't have to dread the poorhouse any more.
Though we're old and bent and gray,
Good times will be back to stay,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

When her old age pension check comes to her door,
Dear old grandma won't be lonesome any more.
She'll be waiting at the gate,
Every night she'll have a date,
When her old age pension check comes to her door.

Grow a flowing long white beard and use a cane,
'Cause you're in your second childhood don't complain.
Life will just begin at sixty,
And we'll all be very frisky,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

There's a man who turned this country upside down,
With his old age pension rumor going 'round.
If you want in on the fun,
Send your dime to Washington,
And that old age pension man will be around.

Side A, Band 5: CROW CREEK -- JAY BIRD -- TENNESSEE WAGGONER

(Instrumentals)

Side A, Band 6: THE BLACK SHEEP

In a quiet country village, not so very far away,
There lived a rich an aged man whose hair was turning gray.
He had three sons, his only ones, both Jack and Tom were sly,
While Ted was honest as could be and would never tell a lie.

The brothers tried to ruin Ted in the old man's eye;
The poison soon began to work and Ted was much despised.
The old man called and said, "Begone, you're heartless to the core."
These are the words that Ted replied as he stood there by the door:

"Don't be angry with me dad, don't drive me from your door,
I know that I've been wayward, but I won't be any more.
Just give to me another chance, and put me to the test,
And you'll find the black sheep loves his dad far better than the rest."

The years went swiftly flying by, the old man soon grew old,
He called both Jack and Tom to him and gave them all his gold,
Saying, "All I need is this little room in here by your fireside."
One night on Jack's returning, he brought with him a bride,

The bride she grew to hate the man, more and more each day,
And once he heard the three declare, "The old fool's in the way."
So they agreed to send him to a poor house that was near,
And then the black sheep's words came ringing, ringing in his ear:

"Don't be angry with me, dad, don't drive me from your door,
I know that I've been wayward, but I won't be anymore.
Just give to me another chance, and put me to the test,
And you'll find the black sheep loves his dad far better than the rest."

A wagon drives up in the yard, it is the poor house van.
The brothers pointed out their dad and said, "There is your man"
Just then a manly form appeared, pushing through the crowd.
Said he, "Stop this, you brutal beast, that will not be allowed."

"You took the old man's gold, and all -- all that he could save,
You even sold the little lot, containing mother's grave.
I'm his son but not your kin, from now till Judgment Day."
The old man grasped the black sheep's hand, and the people heard him say:

"Don't be angry with me son, I drove you from my door,
I know that I have wronged you, and I've repented o'er and o'er.
I wish I'd given you all my gold; for you have stood the test.
I find the black sheep loves his dad, far better than the rest."

Side A, Band 7: THE LETTER EDGED IN BLACK.

I was standin' by the window yesterday morning,
Without a thought of worry or of care,
When I saw the postman comin' up the pathway,
With such a happy face and jolly air.

He rang the bell and whistled while he waited,
And then he said, "Good morning to you, Jack."
But he little knew the sorrow that he brought me,
When he handed me that letter edged in black.

With tremblin' hands I took the letter from him,
I broke the seal, and this is what it said:
"Come home, my boy, your dear old father needs you,
Come home, my boy, your dear old mother's dead."

"The last words that your dear old mother uttered
Were, 'Tell my boy I want him to come back.'
My eyes are dimmed and my poor heart is breaking,
That's why I write this letter edged in black."

I bowed my head in sorrow and in sadness,
The sunshine in my life had all now fled,
Since the postman brought that letter yesterday mornin':
"Do come home, my boy, your dear old mother's dead."

"Those angry words I wish I'd never spoken,
You know I didn't mean them, don't you Jack?
May the angels bear me witness, I am asking,
Your forgiveness in this letter edged in black."

I could hear the postman whistlin' yesterday mornin',
Comin' up the pathway with his pack.
But he little knew the sorrow that he brought me,
When he handed me that letter edged in black.

Side A, Band 8: DRINK 'ER DOWN

Here comes number one, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number one, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number one, and we'll have a little fun,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down..

Here comes number two, drink ‘er down,
here comes number two, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number two, and we know it'll never do,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number three, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number three, drink ' er down,
Here comes number three, and we'll have a little spree,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number four, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number four, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number four, and we'll have a little more,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number five, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number five, drink ' er down,
Here comes number five, and we're all yet alive,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink 'er down.

Here comes number six, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number six, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number six, and we're in a purty fix,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink 'er down.

Here comes number seven, drink 'er down,
Here comes number seven, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number seven, and we're on the way to heaven,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number eight, drink for down,
Here comes number eight, drink: ‘er down,
Here comes number eight, and we'll take our likker straight,
Drink 'er down boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number nine, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number nine, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number nine, and were standing in a line,
Drink ‘er dorm, boys, dorm, drink 'er down.

Here comes number ten, drink 'er down,
Here comes number ten, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number ten, fill our glasses up again,
Drink ‘er down, boys, down, drink ‘er down.

Here comes number eleven, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number eleven, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number eleven, and we're about to enter heaven,
Drink 'er down, boys, down, drinks ‘er down.

Here comes number twelve, drink ‘er down,
Here comes number twelve, drink ' er down,
Here comes number twelve, and we're all going to ...,
Well that's the end of the song folks.

Side A, Band 9: GREEN CORN 

(Instrumental)

Side A, Band 10: HASTE TO THE WEDDING

(Instrumental)

Side A, Band 11: SALLY GOODIN

(Instrumental)

Side B, Band 1: BILLY IN THE LOW GROUND

(Instrumental)

Side B, Band 2: BUFFALO NICKEL

(Instrumental)

Side B, Band 3: MY LITTLE GIRL

My little girl, she got sleepy,
And she went upstairs to bed.
She laid her false hair upon the table,
And her leg in under the bed.
She laid her glass eye upon the window,
And her teeth upon the chair.
My little girl, you know I love you,
Although you're scattered here and there.

Side B, Band 4: BILLY RICHARDSON'S LAST RIDE

Through the west wood Virginia mountain comes the morning mail,
Number three was westbound, the fastest on the rail,
Pulled right into Hinton, the junction along the line,
The Baldwin mounted engine made the run on time.

Billy Richardson's son at Hinton was called to make the run,
Pulled the fastest mail train from there to Huntington.
Fireman 'ported on duty just along the line,
Reading them train orders, left Hinton right on time.

Billy said, "Dear fireman, how happy I would be,
If I could die while pulling a train like number three."
Wanted to die on duty in his engine cab so free,
While pulling eastbound number four or westbound number three.

Fireman said, "Billy, you know you're old and gray,
Your name is on the pension list, you should retire some day."
Billy said, "Dear fireman, the truth I'm tellin' you,
I'll die right in my engine cab and nothing else will do."

Pulling down the river came westbound number three,
Sterning through the cotton hills*, and danger could it be.
His head-end struck a mail train while pulling down the line,
He'll never pull his train again through Huntington town on time.

He pulled the fastest time freight, he pulled the U.S. mail,
He pulled the fast excursion to the music of the rail.
He lost his life on duty in his engine cab so free,
While pulling in Montgomery on westbound number three.

Now ladies if your husband is a railroad engineer,
You know he's in lots of danger and death is ever near.
You know he loves you dearly when he is by your side,
Remember while it's his next run might be his farewell ride.

*On the Banner disc by Dalhart (see third section, NOTES), this is: "By Thurmond, then by cotton hills..."

Side B, Band 5: APPLES IN THE SUMMERTIME

(Instrumental)

Side B, Band 6: OLD COON DOG -- MISSISSIPPI SAWYER

(Instrumentals)

Side B, Band 7: PUT MY LITTLE SHOES AWAY

Mother, come and bathe my forehead,
For I'm growin' very weak.
Let one drop of cooling water,
Fall upon my burnin' cheek.

Tell my loving playmates, mother,
That I never more will play.
Give to them my toys, but mother,
Put my little shoes away.

(chorus) Mother, I am going to leave you,
              Please remember what I say.
              You will do this, won't you mother,
              Put my little shoes away.

Santa Claus, he brought them to me,
With a lot of other things.
And I think he brought an angel,
With a pair of golden wings.

Soon the baby will grow larger,
They will fit his tiny feet.
He will look so nice and handsome,
As he walks along the street.

(chorus)

Side B, Band 8: MISSISSIPPI FLOOD

Of all the great disastren as come upon our land,
Down where the Mississippi flows on its way so grand,
The springtime flowers were bloomin', the world was bright and gay,
And folks along the levee were happy all the day.

Until the skies grew cloudy and rain came falling down,
Four days of mighty towering came pouring to the ground.
The streams throughout the country kept swelling day by day,
Until the angry river was roaring on its way.

At last there came a warning: "The levee cannot stand."
Brave men fought and struggled to save their native land.
And then the raging water kept pounding at the shore,
Until it broke the levee and through the country tore.

Many alive [a life?] were taken, brave men knelt to pray,
For all that they had buried had madly swept away.
The world will gladly help them to pay the awful cost,
But gold can never save them, our loved ones who is lost.

We cant explain the reason this great disastren come,
But we should all be ready to say, "Thy will be done."
Although the good may suffer for other peoples sins,
There is a crown awaiting where eternal life begins.

Side B, Band 9: TRAMP ON THE STREET

Only a tramp was Lazarus' sad fate,
He who laid down at the rich man's gate.
He begged for the crumbs from the rich man to eat.
He was only a tramp found dead on the street.

He was somebody's darling, he was some mother's son,
Once he was fair and once he was young.
Some mother rocked him, her darling, to sleep,
Then they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

Jesus who died on Calvary's tree,
Shed his life's blood for you and for me.
They pierced his sides, his hands, and his feet,
hen they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

If Jesus should come and knock at your door,
For a place to come in or crumbs from your floor,
Would you welcome him in or turn him away,
Then God would reward you on the great Judgment Day.

He was Mary's own darling, he was God's chosen son,
Once he was fair and once he was young.
Mary she rocked him, her darling, to sleep,
Then they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

Side B, Band 10: FARTHER ALONG

Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder,
Why it should be thus all the day long,
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.

(chorus) Farther along we'll know all about it,
              Farther along we'll understand why.
              Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine.
              We'll understand it all by and by.

When we sea Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky,
Then we shall meet Him in that bright mansion,
We'll understand it all by and by.

(chorus)

When death has come and taken our loved ones,
It leaves our home so lonely and drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.

(chorus)

Side B, Band 11: LORD, BUILD ME A CABIN IN GLORY LAND

Many years I've been looking for a place to call home,
But I've failed here to find it, so I must travel on.
I don't care for fine mansions on earth's sinking sand,
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

Yes, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land,
In the shade of the tree of life that it may ever stand,
Where I can just hear the angels sing and shake Jesus' hand.
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

Blessed Lord, I'm not asking to live in the midst,
For I know I'm not worthy of such splendor as this.
But I'm asking for mercy while humbly I stand: L
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

Yes, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land,
In the shade of the tree of life that it may ever stand,
Where I can just hear the angels sing and shake Jesus' hand.
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

Side B, Band 12: LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN

Life is like a mountain railroad, with an engineer that's brave;
You must make the run successful, from the cradle to the grave.
Watch the curves that fills the tunnels, never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail.

(Chorus) Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us, till we reach that blissful shore;
              Where the angels wait to join us in Thy praise forevermore.

You must roll up grades of trial; you must cross the bridge of strife;
See that Christ is your conductor on this lightning train of life.
Always mindful of obstruction, do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.

(Chorus)

song text transcriptions by:

Dick Adams
Joke Walsh

 


"Green Fields Of Illinois" was a record of traditional folk music performed by artists from southern Illinois,  released by the Campus Folksong Club of the University of Illinois in 1963.  It was accompanied by a booklet with extensive documentation about the artists and their songs.  At this website I have reproduced much of the content of that booklet as well as some of the images and cover art.

 


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