Joe Bowers

My name it is Joe Bowers and I’ve got a brother Ike,
I came from old Missouri, yes, all the way from Pike,
And why I left that pretty place I’ll tell you in my song,
And if you’ll pay attention I’ll not detain you long.

When I was there I courted a pretty fair maid, her name was Sally Black,
I asked her if she’d marry me, she said it was a whack;
Said she to me, “Joe Bowers, before we hitch for life,
You want to get a little home for to keep your little wife.”

“I’ll do it, dearest Sally, I’ll do it for your sake,
I’ll go to California and I’ll try to raise a stake.”
Said she to me, “Joe Bowers, you are just the man to win,
Here’s a kiss to bind the bargain,” and she hove a dozen in.

When I got to California I hadn’t nary a red,
I had such wolfish feelings, I wished myself most dead;
But the thoughts of my dear Sally soon made them feelings get,
And whispered hopes to Bowers, I wish I had them yet.

Then I commenced a-mining, put in my biggest licks,
Came down upon the boulders just like ten thousand bricks;
I worked both late and early through rain and ice and snow,
I was working for my Sally, but it was all the same to Joe.

One day I got a letter from my dear brother Ike,
It came from old Missouri and all the way from Pike;
In that letter came the darndest news that ever you did hear,
My heart is almost busting, so pray excuse the tears.

It said that Sal was false to me, her love for me had fled,
She had got married to a butcher and the butcher had a red head;
And more than that, the letter said—’twas enough to make me swear,
That Sally had a baby and the baby had red hair.

Now, I’ve told you all I can about this sad affair,
About Sally having a baby and the baby having red hair,
But whether it was a boy or gal child the letter never said,
Only that Sally had a baby and the baby’s head was red.

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Location Recorded: 
Canton, St. Lawrence County , NY
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19011A: G84 Misc 138

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