John Riley


h1 February 1st, 1996

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I first heard this song in 1960, at the Club 47, in Cambridge Massachusetts. Joan Baez was performing. She was young and beautiful, with long, flowing black hair. She played and sang with more feeling than anyone I had ever seen before. Her finger-picking technique particularly impressed me, because a lot of folk singers just strummed. But she could really pick.

I was in love that autumn, with the colors and smells of Cambridge and with Joan Baez.

The 12-string is in the Dm position, but played in the key of E with a capo on the second fret. The 5-string banjo is in the G position with the fifth string tuned down to E.

Lyrics:
[Dm] Fair young maid [G] all in her [Dm] garden
Strange young man [G] come riding [Dm] by
Saying fair young [F] maid will you marry [C] me?
And this dear [Em] sir was her [Dm] reply

Oh no dear sir I cannot marry thee
For I've a love who sails the deep salt sea
Though he's been gone for seven years
Still no man shall marry me

What if he's died all in some battle slain?
Or if he's drownded in the deep salt sea
What if he's found another love
He and his new love both married be?

Well if he's died all in some battle slain
Or if he's drownded in the deep salt sea
I'll remember his good name
And still no man shall marry me.

And if he's found some other love
He and his true love both married be
I wish them health and happiness
Where they now live all across the sea

He picked her up all in his arms
And kisses gave her one two and three
Saying weep no more my own true love
For I'm your long lost John Riley
Saying weep no more my own true love
For I'm your long lost John Riley

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