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Look Up, Look Down That Lonesome Road

Composer: Traditional

Recordings

no info Dulcimer Songs and Solos, Paul Clayton, 1962
info Gone To The Country, New Lost City Ramblers with Tracy Schwarz, 1963
no info Traditional Music Of Beech Mountain, NC, Vol. II, Various Artists (Lee Monroe Presnell), 1965
no info Lonesome Road, Doc and Merle Watson, 1977
no info Old Time Music From Fancy Gap, Abe Horton, 1978
no info The Watson Family, Doc Watson (CD only), 1990
no info Buell Kazee, Buell Kazee, 19??

Notes

Played by an unnamed bluegrass band with Garcia on banjo at an unknown venue in Burlingame in January 1962.

The lyrics from the version performed on the Burlingame tape are as follows;

Well it's look up and look down that long lonesome road,
Hang down your head and cry, my lord,
Hang down your head and cry.

Wish to my soul that I'd never been born,
Or died when I was a baby, my lord,
Died when I was a baby.

The best of friends must someday part,
Why not you and I my lord,
Why not you and I.

Well you'd better quit your rough and rowdy ways,
Gonna wind up in the County jail someday,
Wind up in the County jail.

Now I wished I had some nice young girl,
To tell my troubles to, my lord,
To tell my troubles to.

(?) the girl that I'm going with,
Tells everything that I know, my lord,
Tells everything that I know.

Well I'm tired of eating that cold corn bread,
Sopping my brown salty gravy, my lord,
Sopping that salty gravy.

Well it's look up and look down that long lonesome road,
Hang down your head and cry, my lord,
Hang down your head and cry.

This song may also occur as Hattie Belle. The song is similar to and often shares verses with In The Pines. In 1929 an arrangement of this song with altered lyrics was copyrighted by Gene Austin and Nat Shilkret. This song featured in the musical Show Boat and became a popular song with the swing bands of the 30s being recorded by Ted Lewis, Jimmie Lunceford, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. This popular song subsequently influenced performances of the original traditional song causing some confusion in the identification and naming of the song. Versions of the popular song usually do not contain floating verses from In The Pines.