Little Birdie

Composer: Traditional

Jerry Garcia recordings

info Before The Dead, Jerry Garcia, 2018

Other recordings

no info Al Craver , 192?
no info Coon Creek Girls, 193?
no info Perry Westland and the Blue Mountain Boys, 1950
no info Single, Sauceman Brothers, 1950
no info Single, Perry Westland & the Blue Mountain Boys, 1950
no info Single, Stanley Brothers, 1952
no info Single, Wade Mainer and the Sons of the Mountaineers, 1952
info Bowling Green, Kossoy Sisters with Erik Darling, 1956
info Banjo Tunes and Songs, Pete Steele, 1958
no info Mountain Music Of Kentucky, Willie Chapman, 1960
no info EP, Don Reno, Red Smiley & the Tennessee Cutups, 1961?
info The Music of Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward, Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward , 1962
info The Greenbriar Boys, The Greenbriar Boys, 1962
no info Single, Down State Ramblers, 1962
no info Folk Concert, Stanley Brothers, 1963
no info Single, Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, 1963
info The Old Reliable String Band, The Old Reliable String Band, 1963
no info Children's Concert At Carnegie Hall, Pete Seeger, 1963
no info Single, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, 1964
no info Single (Little Birdie / You Left Me This Morning), Lee Brothers, 1964
info Friends of Old Time Music, Various Artists (Stanley Brothers), 1964
no info Better Late Than Never, Greenbrier Boys, 1966
no info Single, Stanley Brothers, 1967
no info Single (Little Birdie / All The Love I Had Is Gone), Jack Lynch & the Lee Brothers, 1967
info Serves 'Em Fine, Hedy West, 1967
no info Memorial Album, Frank Proffitt, 1968
no info More Clawhammer Banjo Songs & Tunes, Various Artists (Gaither Carlton), 1969
no info Banjo Music Of The Southern Appalachians, Various Artists (Robin Roberts), 196?
info Pickin And Singin, Jim McCall, 1972
no info The Man and His Music, Ralph Stanley, 1974
no info Art Of The Mountain Banjo, Art Rosenbaum, 1975
info Walkin' in the Parlor: Old Time Music of the Southern Mountains, Iron Mountain String Band, 1975
info Blue Grass Sring Band, Vol. 2, The Virginia Mountain Boys, 1977
info 20 Years: Concert Performances, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1978
no info Clawhammer Banjo, Vol. 3, Various Artists (Glen Smith), 1978
no info Ballads and Railroad Songs, Vernon Dalhart, 1980
no info Early Radio Favorites, Coon Creek Girls, 1982
info Stanley Series, Vol. 2 #1, Stanley Brothers, 1984
no info Making The Air Resound, Sara Grey and Ellie Ellis, 1985
info Stanley Series, Vol. 3 #1, Stanley Brothers, 1987
no info Rock Dust, Morgan Sexton, 1989
info Stanley Series, Vol. 3, No. 3, Stanley Brothers, 1990
no info Bound To Ride, Ralph Stanley, 1991
info 1959-1963, Flatt and Scruggs, 1992
no info Sanders Theater Sing-A-Long, 1980 , Pete Seeger, 1992
info Country Music For Kids, Various Artists (Chris Hillman), 1992
no info Early Years 1958-61, The Stanley Brothers, 1994
info Old Time Music, The New Lost City Ramblers & Friends, 1994
info Clinch Mountain Bluegrass, Stanley Brothers, 1994
no info Mountain Music of Kentucky, Various Artists (Willie Chapman), 1996
info 1971-1973, Ralph Stanley And The Clinch Mountain Boys, 1995
no info Beyond The City, The Cox Family, 1995
info The Music Of Kentucky: Early American Rural Classics 1927-1937, Vol. 2, Various Artists (John Hammond), 1995
info Rebel Records: 35 Years of the Best in Bluegrass (1960-1995), Various Artists (Red Allen / Frank Wakefield), 1996
info Stanley Series, Vol. 3 #4, Stanley Brothers, 1996
info Stanley Series, Vol. 4 #1, Stanley Brothers , 1996
info Land Of Yahoe, Various Artists (Ola Belle Reed), 1996
info Mountain Music of Kentucky (CD), Various Artists (Willie Chapman), 1996
info High Lonesome Sound, Roscoe Holcomb, 1998
info Southern Banjo Sounds, Mike Seeger, 1998
info This Is Your Land: The Story of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Roscoe Holcomb), 1999
no info Prairie Bluegrass, Various Artists (The Bray Brothers with Red Cravens), 19??
no info Hammered Dulcimer Reunion, Cathy Ron Penix, 19??
no info Holland Puckett, 19??
no info Sauceman Brothers, 19??
no info Come Along, John! 8 American folk songs for children, Peggy Seeger with Barbara and Penny Seeger, 19??
info Prairie Bluegrass, Bray Brothers & Red Cravens, 2000
info Bluegrass Bonanza, Various Artists (Coon Creek Girls), 2001
info 40 Years of Concert Performances, New Lost City Ramblers, 2001
info The Very Best of Ralph Stanley, Ralph Stanley, 2002
info Best of the Vanguard Years, The Greenbriar Boys, 2002
info Classic Bluegrass From Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Stanley Brothers), 2002
no info Songcatcher II: The Tradition That Inspired the Movie, Various Artists (Roscoe Holcomb), 2002
info Songs from the Heart: The History Of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Roscoe Holcomb), 2002
info The King Years 1961-1965, The Stanley Brothers, 2003
info Kentucky Mountain Music, Various Artists (Pete Steele), 2003
info Keep on Going: The Rebel & Melodeon Recordings, Red Allen, 2004
info The Essential Masters, The Stanley Brothers, 2004
info An Evening Long Ago: Live 1956, The Stanley Brothers, 2004
info The Best of King & Starday Bluegrass, Various Artists (Wade Mainer), 2004
info Blazing Bluegrass, Various Artists (Stanley Brothers), 2004
info Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest (DVD), New Lost City Ramblers/Greenbriar Boys, 2005
info Best Of Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups, Vol. 2, Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups, 2006
info True Bluegrass Essentials, Various Artists (Red Allen), 2006
info The Definitive Collection 1947-1966, The Stanley Brothers, 2007
info Classic Bluegrass Collection, Vols. 1-4, Various Artists (Red Allen), 2007
info Raw Country!, Roscoe Holcomb, 2023, Acoustic Disc


Played by the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers in San Carlos on June 11th 1962. Also played by Garcia, solo, at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo on November 10th 1962.

This is another song that shares elements with the Dark Hollow family of songs - it occurs with many variations in the verse and chorus. Two elements of the song that would reappear in the Grateful Dead's music at a later date occur in the version performed by the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers. The kyrics they used are as follows;

Little birdie, little birdie,
Come sing to me a song,
A short time to stay here,
And a long time to be gone.

Rather be in some dark holler,
Where the sun don't never shine,
Than to see you (?)
And to know you'll never be mine.

Little birdie, little birdie,
What makes you fly so high,
It's because my own true lover,
Is waiting in the sky.

Little birdie, little birdie,
Come sing to me a song,
A short time to stay here,
And a long time to be gone.

Neither the dark holler chorus nor the phrases which echo in Box Of Rain occur in all versions of Little Birdie.

The lyrics of the version performed solo by Garcia on 11/10/62 are virtually the same. On the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers tape Garcia introduces the song as first recorded by the Coon Creek Girls.