“In the Hills of Roane County”

Alternate titles: “Rhone County Prison”; “Hills of Rome County”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1941 (recording, Blue Sky Boys)
Keywords: grief courting love marriage fight violence farewell crime punishment prison revenge brother wife
Found in: US(Ap,MW,So)

Description

Singer courts and marries; his wife's brother Tom stabs him. Three months later, he kills Tom. He's sentenced to life in prison. His family mourns; he tells prison friends that when they write home, "put one of my songs in your letter for me"

Long description

Singer courts and marries; for unknown reasons, his wife's brother Tom stabs him. Three months later, he kills Tom. Tried, no one will speak up for him, and he's sentenced to life in prison. His mother weeps and his sister watches as his train departs; he now works in a prison foundry and awaits death, telling prison friends that when they write home, "put one of my songs in your letter for me"

Notes

I could *swear* we did this one someplace else. - PJS

That happens to me all the time. The interesting thing, to me, is whether the song was known prior to the Blue Sky Boys recording. Roud has an interesting mention of a collection by Beck, possibly in the 1930s, but this does not seem to be well-documented or publicly available. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Roud #3387
  2. BI, RcItHoRC