Stella Got A New Dress

Bob Gibson wrote this song with Bob Camp in the early 60s. Gibson was my first influencer for folk music. In 1957 He came to the Latin School of Chicago and performed a 45 minute set that blew me away! I ran up to Louise Ganter, my music teacher, who had invited Bob and asked what type of music that was? She told me it was folk music and suggested that I check out the newly opened Old Town School of Folk Music. Well after three years of studying there I was a professional musician. So Gibson’s appearance was a life changing event for me.
The Smothers Brothers recorded this song and Tommy who passed away recently, was a good friend. I put this song up as a love ballad for Valentine’s Day as well as a tribute to Bob Gibson and Tommy Smothers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Lyrics:
In the key of F in the D position with a capo on the third fret.

[D] Stella’s got a new dress [A] just today.
[D] Everywhere she goes the [A] people say.
[Em] Who’s that walkin’ [A] down the street?
[Em] Pretty little girl so [A] dainty and petit
[D] With a brand new way to [A] wear her hair
[D] And a brand new [F#m] bright new [G] dress to wear.
Who could imagine a [Em] sight so fair
[A] As Stella in her pretty new [D] dress?

Stella’s got a new dress don’t you know.
Everybody turns to watch her go.
All dressed up she looks so sweet
Pretty new shoes on her pretty little feet.
The very first time she passed my way
Stella stole my heart away
Who could imagine that lovely day
When Stella got a pretty new dress.

Stella’s got a new dress just today.
Everywhere she goes the people say.
Who’s that walkin’ down the street?
Pretty little girl so dainty and petit
With a brand new way to wear her hair
And a brand new bright new dress to wear.
Who could imagine a sight so fair
As Stella in her pretty new dress?

Hey Lilee

“Hey Lilee” is a song I played with the Limeliters on my first professional recording, “Tonight In Person.” We recorded it live at the Ash Grove folk club in Los Angeles in July of 1960. Although I didn’t receive credit on the album, I made a lot of cash as the opening act and backup musician for the Limeliters, on guitar and banjo.
This is an improvisational song where the audience was invited to make up verses on the fly. I decided to write some love stanzas instead.

Lyrics:

CH: [E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]
[E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]

Hey Lilee come dance with me,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
We will set our spirits free,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the meadow, twirl and spin,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A dance of joy, where love begins.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

We will let our laughter ring,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Chase fireflies, on gentle wings,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —- CH
CH
Through the night, we’ll laugh and play,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Memories, in a special way.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the night, our hearts unite,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Enchanting worlds, where dreams take flight,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Hand in hand, through forests deep,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A journey for our souls to keep.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —— CH
CH
With every beat, our hearts align,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A love so pure, and so divine.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Through sun and rain, we will stand strong,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
And in each other’s arms belong.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo — CH X 3

Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe AKA (Jackie Frazer; The Wars of Germany) [Laws N7] Roud (268)

A rich girl loves a sailor; her father does not, and has the boy pressed to war in Germany. She disguises herself in men’s apparel and enlists under the name (Jackie Monroe). When her lover is wounded, she sends for a London doctor to heal him. She reveals her identity; they are married

“Jack Monroe” dates back to 1818 in the collection of (Garret, _Merrie Book of Garlands)
The chorus Lay the lil·​ly-low ˈliliˌlō
chiefly dialectal, England
Webster’s dictionary definition: as a bright flame indicating the intensity of their love relationship.

This version comes from Hot Springs, North Carolina and was sung by Mrs Gentry, though there are many variations of this tune, including Jack a Roe and Jack the Sailor.
The melody has also been used in the popular worker’s song “Which Side Are You On?”

Lyrics:
[G] Jack he went a-sailing
With trouble on his mind
To leave his native country
And his darling girl [Em] behind

[G] Lay the lily low
[D7] So fare the well my [G] dear

She dressed herself in a man’s array
And apparel she put on
And to the field of battle
She marched the men along

Your cheeks are red and rosy
Your fingers neat and small
Your waist too slim and slender
To face the cannon ball’

‘My cheeks are red and rosy
My fingers neat and small
But it never makes me tremble
To face the cannon ball

The battle being ended
She rode the circle round
And through the dead and dying
Her darling boy she found

She picked him up all in her arms
She carried him down to town
She sent for a London doctor
To heal his bleeding crown

This couple they got married
So well they did agree
This couple they got married
So why not you and me?

Shady Grove

This is a modern adaptation of the classic Bluegrass song, “Shady Grove” from my Limited Edition CD. I have always liked the drums in Hip Hop music and thought it would be fun to add them to this traditional song. The result is what I call “Pho-Cop” being a combination of folk music and Hip Hop. The five string banjo adds a level of antique authenticity. Today marks the 27th anniversary of the Folk Den!
Limited Edition CD

Lyrics:
Mostly in Am

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

Wish I was in shady grove
Sittin’ in a rockin’ chair
If those blues would bother me
I’d rock away from there

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

Had a banjo made of gold
Every string would shine
The only song that it would play
Wish that girl was mine

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

When I was in shady grove
Heard them pretty birds sing
The next time I go to shady grove
Take along a diamond ring

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

When you go to catch a fish
Fish with a hook and line
When you go to court a girl
Never never look behind

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

When I was a little boy
All I wanted was a knife
Now I am a great big man
Lookin’ for a pretty little wife

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

Wish I had a big fat horse
And corn to feed him on
Wish I had a pretty little girl
To feed him when I’m gone

Shady grove my little love
Shady grove I say
Shady grove my little love
Going to shady grove

Mary Ann

This is a traditional calypso song about a sailor looking for his lost love in Trinidad.

Lyrics:

All day all night Mary Ann
Down by the seaside sifting sand
Even little children love Mary Ann
Down by the seaside sifting sand

Sailing down through the islands man
I am searching for me Mary Ann
Sailing down through the islands man
Searching for my Mary Ann

Origin of “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”

This is the strange history of an obscure Irish ballad that became a popular song. I only played the public domain melody on my Rickenbacker 12-string with some 5-string banjo and bass thrown in. I left out the copyrighted lyrics. The original song is about a dead cow. It was adapted from the traditional “Drimindown / Drumion Dubh.” Lead Belly heard folk singer Sam Kennedy perform it in Greenwich Village and had it translated to English. It was not an easy translation. Pete Seeger and Lee Hays loved the melody but they felt they needed to rewrite the lyrics. The love song “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” was the result of their collaboration. Once you read the lyrics, you will understand why Pete and Lee changed the words.

We hope your Valentine kisses are sweeter than ever!

These are the original Lyrics almost translated from Gaelic:

Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

And that everyone but Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

When the old man heard that his cow she was dead
Over hedges and ditches and fields he had fled
Over hedges and ditches and fields that were ploughed
—– visit to the wife til they came to his cow
Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

When he first saw Jemma she was in the green grass
No ——————— Jemma so fast
She gave her milk freely without any bill
But the blood of her life spilled out of her pail
Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

So now I sit down and eat my dry meal
But I have no butter to put in my tea
I have no milk to sup with my bread
————————–
Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

If it wasn’t for Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down

Flowers In The Valley

This is a traditional English song. I’ve created a little video with the lyrics to make it easy for you to sing along.

Lyrics:
Flowers in the Valley

[G] There was a woman, [C] oh but she was a [G] widow
Fair as the flowers in the [C] valley [D]
[G] With a daughter as fair as a [C] bright shining [G] meadow
The red and the green and the [C] yellow [D]

Ch.: [D] No harp, no lute, nor pipe nor flute nor [G] cymbal
As sweet grows the [C] treble violin [D]

This maiden so fair and the flower so rare
Together they grew in the garden
Oh, then came a knight all dressed in green
Fair as the flowers in the garden
“Will thou be my bride, Will thou be my queen”
The red and the green and the yellow

Ch.: No harp, no lute, nor pipe nor flute nor cymbal
As sweet grows the treble violin

“Oh no” said she “Oh you’ll never win me”
Fair as the flowers in the valley
then came a knight all dressed in yellow
Fair as the flowers in the valley
““Will thou be my bride? and my fair one said he
The red and the green and the yellow

Ch.: No harp, no lute, nor pipe nor flute nor cymbal
As sweet grows the treble violin

Oh yes said she, I’ll come with thee
Farewell to the flowers in the garden

Oh yes said she, I’ll come with thee
Farewell to the flowers in the garden

Pretty Peggy-O

Pretty Peggy-O is about the unrequited love between a captain of Irish dragoons for a beautiful Scottish girl in the fictional town of Fennario. The narration is from the voice of one of the captain’s soldiers. The captain promises the lady safety and happiness, but she refuses the captain’s advances saying she would not marry a penniless soldier. The captain subsequently leaves Fennario and later dies of a broken heart.

This tune was used in the song “Oh Freedom” and the last line “Before I’d be a slave, I’d Be buried in my grave” comes from that.

I’m amused that a lazy way to make lyrics rhyme is to put a -O after each last word in a sentence.

Peggy-O

[E] As we rode out to [A] Fennario,[E] as we rode on to Fennario [B7]
[A] Our captain fell in [C#m] love with a lady like a [A] dove
[E] And called her by a name, pretty [A] Peggy-O.[E]

Will you marry me pretty Peggy-O, will you marry me pretty Peggy-O
If you will marry me, I’ll set your cities free
And free all the people in the are-O.

I would marry you sweet William-O, I would marry you sweet William-O
I would marry you but your guineas are too few
And I fear my mama would be angry-O.

What would your mama think pretty Peggy-O,
What would your mama think pretty Peggy-O,
What would your mama think if she heard my guineas clink
Saw me marching at the head of my soldiers-O

Come steppin’ down the stairs pretty Peggy-O,
Come steppin’ down the stairs pretty Peggy-O,
Come steppin’ down the stairs combin’ back your yellow hair
Bid a last farewell to your William-O.

Sweet William he is dead pretty Peggy-O, sweet William he
is dead pretty Peggy-O,
Sweet William he is dead and he died for a maid
And he’s buried in the Louisiana country-O.

As we rode out to Fennario, as we rode out to Fennario
Our captain fell in love with a lady like a dove,
And called her by a name, pretty Peggy-O.

Cafe With My Love Again

This is a traditional song rewritten to address optimism for the end of a plague that has disrupted our world.

Lyrics:
[D] No more [G] plaguing [D] virus for me
[G] No [D] more [A] no [D]more
[D] No more [G] plaguing [D] virus for me
[G] Many [D] thousands [A] gone
[G] Many [A] thousands [D] gone

No more face masks for me
No more no more
No more face masks for me
Many thousands gone
Many thousands gone

No more ICU for me
No more no more
No more ICU for me
Many thousands gone
Many thousands gone

We will be together again
Once more once more
We will be together again
Brighter days to come
Brighter days to come

Cafe with my love again
Once more once more
Cafe with my love again
Brighter days to come
Brighter days to come

Singing up on stage again
Once more once more
Singing up on stage again
Brighter days to come
Brighter days to come

The Foggy Foggy Dew

“The Foggy Foggy Dew” is an English folk song describing the outcome of an affair between a weaver and a young lady he courted. Burl Ives made a version of it popular in the 1940s. He spent the night in jail for singing it in Mona, Utah where authorities deemed it a bawdy song.
It is No.558 in the Roud Folk Song Index.
Lyrics:
[G] When I was a [Am] bachelor, I liv’d all alone
[D] I worked at the weaver’s [G] trade
And the only, only thing that [Am] I ever did wrong
[D] Was to woo a fair young [G] maid.
[D] I wooed her in the [G] wintertime
[D] And in the summer, [G] too
And the only, only [Em] thing that I [Am] did that was wrong
Was to [D] keep her from the foggy, foggy [G] dew.

One night she came to my bedside
When I was fast asleep.
She laid her head upon my bed
And she began to weep.
She sighed, she cried, she damn near died
She said what shall I do?
So I hauled her into bed and covered up her head
Just to keep her from the foggy foggy dew.

So, I am a bachelor, I live with my son
And we work at the weaver’s trade.
And every single time that I look into his eyes
He reminds me of that fair young maid.
He reminds me of the wintertime
And of the summer, too,
And of the many, many times that I held her in my arms
Just to keep her from the foggy, foggy, dew.