“Death Letter Blues”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (verses floated to recording by Papa Harvey Hull). As a discrete song, 1966 (recording, Eugene "Son" House)
Keywords: grief love home return burial death mourning lover
Found in: US(SE)


Singer gets a letter, telling him to come home, because the girl he loves is dead. He comes home, to find her on the "cooling board." He buries her, weeping, telling her he'll meet her on Judgement Day


The Hull recording ["France Blues"] incorporates the core of "Death Letter" but adds floating non-narrative verses from "Mobile Line" and elsewhere. - PJS

Cross references