The Butcher’s Boy

The Butcher’s Boy
Buell Kazee recorded this on January 16, 1928 in New York City. The original recording was included on Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music” Originally released in 1952 on a six LP set and again in 1997 on a six CD set. The “Harry Smith Anthology” was the cornerstone of the folk revival of the 50s and 60s. I didn’t own a copy but learned many of these songs second hand at places like the Gaslight in Greenwich Village. “The Butcher’s Boy” is another of the sad ending songs popular in Appalachian love ballads. I love the G modal banjo tuning on this.

She went upstairs to make her bed
And not one word to her mother said

Her mother she went upstairs too
Saying, “Daughter, oh daughter, what troubles you?”

“Oh mother, oh mother, I cannot tell
That butcher’s boy I love so well

He courted me my life away
And now at home he will not stay”

“There is a place in London town
Where that butcher’s boy goes and sits down

He takes that strange girl on his knee
And tells to her what he won’t tell me”

Her father he came up from work
Saying, “Where is my daughter, she seems so hurt”

He went upstairs to give her hope
And found her hanging from a rope

He took his knife and cut her down
And in her bosom these words were found

“Go dig my grave both wide and deep
Place a marble slab at my head and feet

And over my coffin, place a snow white dove
To warn the world that I died of love