Long Black Veil

imagesI’ve wanted for a long time to send this one in to Dave’s Blog of Funny Names. Lefty Frizzell has won special recognition on Dave’s blog. And rightly so. What a name and what a singer!
Arguably Lefty’s greatest hit was Long Black Veil, a song written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin. I heard it first on a Johnny Cash album. The Band did a cover of it on their first album. Dave Mathews, Joan Baez and every country singer and his brother have recorded it. Not to be left out of the fun, here’s Bumba and Maybank giving it a go. It’s an easy song to play and sing so give it a try. The lyrics of course tell a poignant story.

“Long Black Veil”

Ten years ago on a cool dark night
There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene and they all did agree
That the man who ran looked a lot like me

The judge said “Son, what is your alibi?
If you were somewhere else then you won’t have to die”
I spoke not a word although it meant my life
I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave where the night winds wail
Nobody knows, no, and nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

The scaffold was high and eternity neared
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night when the cold wind moans
In a long black veil she cries over my bones

8 thoughts on “Long Black Veil

      1. That’s their favorite part.
        Mine is the second verse. It’s such a simple line, but conveys so much: the judge practically begging the singer to exonerate himself.

        I’m actually pretty good as a bedtime singer. I have a very clear singing voice, which, while it doesn’t make me an interesting performer as it lacks distinction, makes me a perfect fit for mellowing kids out. “TLBV” is a favorite because of the warm memories and because it fits so neatly within my vocal range. However, I do change up the playlist for these semi-regular concert events. Among my arsenal are: This Land is Your Land, Pretty Boy Floyd, I Ain’t Got No Home, Puff the Magic Dragon, Love Me Tender, Van Diemen’s Land, Stagger Lee, Shenandoah (sometimes in a darkened room with only my three boys as an audience, I can break my own heart with that one), and probably a few others that I’m forgetting.

        1. Wow, that’s some repertoire. No wonder your kids don’t want to fall asleep. Yeah the lyrics on LBV are just great. The part about the judge is great. Each verse tells a piece of the story. Keep singing that country music!

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