“Willie (I)”

Author: Elizabeth Cotten
Earliest date: 1979 (copyright, recording)
Keywords: grief jealousy warning fight violence crime homicide prison death burial police
Found in: US(SE)

Description

Johnson tells Willie that if he comes to his father's house, he'll shoot him. He goes; Johnson kills him, then falls on his knees with grief. He turns to drink; when he returns, Officer O'Daniel arrests him. The hearse takes Willie to the cemetery

Notes

According to Cotten, Willie was a person, a "kind of tease. He found Johnson couldn't take it. And he'd tease him about his girlfriends...just say anything. And Johnson would believe it, and they said he got so mad he jumped on him then, said 'The next time you come to my father's house I'm going to kill you..' ..He just shot that boy, he shot him dead...I'll never forget that." The song, not traditional, is by a traditional performer and created in traditional style, so I index it. - PJS

Recordings