Down By The Drowning Creek


Lyrics by Christian Lopez copyright 2004
  1. The Miller's Daughter
  2. Patrick Delaney
  3. Bounty Jumper
  4. Under The Mountain
  5. Julia Bulette
  6. One Fine Spring Day
  7. Little Red Cap
  8. Mossy Grove
  9. Cold Frosty Morning
  10. Vesey's Hotel

"The Miller's Daughter"

Down by the drowning creek
A green-eyed girl soaks her feet
In the heat she's walked a ways
To call on the miller’s daughter today

The miller’s daughter was a rare beauty
A father’s pride, a girl’s envy
Long curls across her breast
Simple lust in a cotton dress

Beauty, say is oh, so deep
Deep as the drowning creek
You can look in the eddies but you won’t find
For it’s there in the shallows it crossed my mind

The miller’s daughter was fancied much
She let ‘em look, she let ‘em touch
The boys across the countryside
To the other girls they paid no mind

A green-eyed girl was near as fair
She coveted the beauty’s hair
The circumstance it left her sore
She cursed the miller’s daughter whore

Beauty, say is oh, so deep

A cruel summer day came down
The miller was away to town
The fair young girl came down the road
Her green eyes cold and hard as stone

There in the shallows with no care
The miller’s daughter washed her hair
She dipped her head and heard no sound
But the thrashing of the water as she stayed down

Beauty, say is oh so deep

Down by the drowning creek
A green-eyed girl soaks her feet
In the heat she’s walked a ways
To call on the miller’s daughter today

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"Patrick Delaney"

They call me Patrick Delaney
To Andersonville I came
From the 83rd Pennsylvania
Now I lead a Raider gang

No prisoner here is spared our thieving
Hand o’er your rucksack, greenbacks, and bread
Sullivan killed Corporal Wilson
‘Cause he’d not give the banjo like we said

There was that boy from Boston
Now buried beneath my tent
He just had to take up for Wilson
I left him lyin next to his friend

Condemned for my treachery
The regulators sentenced me:
“For your crimes, Patrick Delaney
You will swing for all to see”

But my name, you see, it’s not Delaney
So my family, at least, will be spared
The shame and knowing of my demise
And the evil deeds I dared

So call me Patrick Delaney
Delaney’s Raiders, that’s my gang
By trade I’d been a shoemaker
It’s in Andersonville I’ll hang

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"Bounty Jumper"

Damn the gray Georgia rain
Hear the sickness in my chest
I fear I’ve seen my better days
Andersonville’s seen all the rest

The other boys in Illinois
In ’61 were duty bound
It was easy enough
To collect the bounty
Any man’s mark I put down

Many names I’ve taken since
Many a bounty I’ve claimed
Many I’ve left with a pocket cut
A union rope or the Rebs
The risk’s the same
So from Shiloh to the Shenandoah
Good luck was at my side
Til I ran off near Petersburg
When a Reb picket come out of the night

Here in hell, Andersonville
A hundred men die a day
If the fever don’t get you
The Raiders will
Andersonville will find a way

The scoundrels here we’re worse than the Rebs
I stole a sick man’s bread
With the Regulators I must agree
I’ll be a better man dead

As these brave pass on to glory
I’ll be in their ranks
For though I’ve known no earthly honor
The Lord forgives me - give thanks

Now hear, my time is near
I wait for my release
Unto the Lord another soul to keep
A bounty jumper, coward, thief

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"Under The Mountain"

In ol’ Virginny town high in the mountains
Is a treasure as precious as gold
My love so comely she shines like the silver
Call her the queen of the Comstock Lode

I worked the Ophir mine deep down dusk to dawn
To show my love I was steady and strong
The shaft was dark and hot as the sun
Many a miner’s got rocks in the lungs

I’m going under the mountain
I’m going away
I’m going under the mountain
A thousand feet to earn my pay

There’s gambling and dancing and fiddlers too
They’d play just to see her lively step
Her turns were many and my dance overdue
She held the favor of many a gent

I asked her to meet me the sunday next
To walk a while in the mountain breeze
I’d something to ask her, but not just yet
She smiled and gently stole into the eve

I’m going under the mountain
I’m going away
I’m going under the mountain
A thousand feet to wait the day

Sunday came not too soon for the waiting
Me in my best shirt for a picnic
She was there like she said all a shinin
Wasting no time we went off quick

We climbed up to the top of the mountain
Where I begged her there to answer me
“Could you love me now or will you love some other?
“Oh, my darling tell truthfully”

There at the very top of the mountain
My love denied me gracefully
Now my heart is broken and I’ll never love another
I’m going to find a deep dark sleep

I’m going under the mountain
I’m going away
I’m going under the mountain
A thousand feet I’m bound to stay

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"Julia Bulette"

Deep into a Nevada winter
The rocky ground froze
Men dressed in their Sunday best
Upset the new fallen snow
It was there somewhere east of town
Only the working girls now know
They laid to rest Julia Bulette
In a grave beneath the snow

Julia worked the red light
In old Virginia City
Everyone knew her parlor at
The corner of Union and D
Her parlor was always full
Past the setting of the sun
They brought her gifts but she fancied most
The men of Engine Company Number One

For when flames engulfed the city
The company was quickly drawn
Julia worked the engine brakes
Until the fire was out at dawn
Julia was the favorite of
Engine Company Number One
The firemen made her an honorary member
For the many favors she’d done

One January morning
Julia didn’t rise from her bed
Her many gifts and finery gone
A thief had strangled her dead
No one could say
And no one could be found
To tell who’d been in Julia’s parlor
The night she was taken down

A silver-handled casket
Was the last gift of the firemen
Who carried her to the cemetery
Following a big brass band
Then sixteen carriages with her sisterhood
Dressed in the blackest clothes
So great was the grieving that day
Even the saloons were closed

But the procession was turned away
By the virtuous folk in town
For no woman who worked the red light
Could be buried in hallowed ground
So it was there somewhere east of town
Only the working girls now know
They laid to rest Julia Bulette
In a grave beneath the snow

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"One Fine Spring Day"

Near the road to Virginia
One fine spring day
There in a canyon
A great spectacle was made

By foot, horse, and carriage
Even women and children came
For there was built a scaffold
Just below Geiger Grade

Four thousand witnesses
Gathered that April day
Eating squirrel sandwiches
Before the hanging of Jean Millain

Millain was a Frenchman
The state had condemned
For the murder of Julia Bulette
A Virginia City courtesan

Some of the ladies pitied him
In his defense some spoke
He thanked them for their kindness
There beneath the gallows pole

Then he eyed the scaffold
As if to judge its worth
Then he skipped up the last few steps
And looking out said a few words

He spoke in his native tongue
His innocence, no doubt, professed
He knelt in prayer with Father Manogue
And showed no fear of death

And then the sheriff fit the rope
Around his neck
And beneath his ear he fixed the noose
So it’d snap right and quick

When the sheriff pulled the drop
Even the children looked
Through the trap his body shot
There he hung and jerked and shook

It was then in late April
On the finest spring day yet
Jean Millain was hanged in the canyon
For the murder of Julia Bulette

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"Little Red Cap"

The governor called the militia when the fighting had begun
But some of the boys just would not go marching to Richmond
Drum and fife played “The Girl I Left Behind Me”
One year later I joined the West Virginia Infantry

I was just thirteen - a volunteer - “drummer boy,” I said
All in all four feet tall with a red cap on my head
And the 10th West Virginia was as tough as they come
From Beverly to Lewisburg I marched and beat the drum

It went bad at Moorefield Junction - Reb cavalry rode down
One score West Virginia boys captured and sent south
They sent along the 26th Alabama infantry
To Andersonville prison to guard Yankees

Those boys from Alabama stood six feet toe to brain
They held the road at Sharpsburg now called Bloody Lane
The 26th Alabama, they say had iron will
Many they lost but took the day at Chancellorsville

Private Jones from Alabama said to me one day
“Llittle Red Cap, liberties you’ll have if you drum for our parade”
But I refused for I would not beat the drum for Confederates
I would not turn coat. I’d suffer like the rest

But Lewis Jones came to me again the next day
“Little Red Cap we’ve found a drummer and a fifer to play
You are but a child though indeed you are brave
With the 26th Alabama you’ll keep outside the stockade”

Few recall those boys from Alabama with iron will
Whose losses were many and then were slow to kill
They took pity on the prisoners, our circumstances grave
Kept their fingers off the triggers and made us a few trades

But an order finally came for the 26th to leave
And we lamented their going for Georgia reserves were mean
Lewis Jones had saved my life for surely I was lost
Lewis Jones I waved off and again I saw him not

So all ye Federals and Confederates at last
Hear the drummer boy who wore the red cap
Those nineteen West Virginia boys died at Andersonville
But for Lewis Jones from Alabama I would have perished in that hell

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"Mossy Grove"

It tore through Mossy Grove
On a wet November day
Left nothing but the two-lane road
And blew the headstones away

It picked up the four-door
Though they tried with all their might
To outrun the F-3
That deadly autumn night

Oh, Mossy Grove
Drop me down in Mossy Grove
Oh, Mossy Grove
There’s little left of Mossy Grove

He rushed to the rescue
First at the scene
But his heart couldn’t take it
And he fell there in the rain

Oh, Mossy Grove…

The Henry kid was swept up
But big sister caught his leg
Mother grabbed her’s
Father held on and they lived

Oh, Mossy Grove…

It blew through Mossy Grove
And wiped it off the map
Along with headstones
And all they thought would last

Oh, Mossy Grove…

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"Cold Frosty Morning"

(Instrumental)

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"Vesey's Hotel"

The wind was fell
The tempest raged
The gods drove me inside
At Vesey’s Hotel
I saw your eyes
In the flicker of the firelight

Eyes like coals
Black and aglow
I’ve searched the land over and o’er
For some mark in the deepening dark
All the land over and o’er

Such is my fate
I’ll now speak a word
True you knew my heart
Your eyes set on
My weary face
And your smile was warm as the hearth
We sat awhile
As the fire burned low
And I held you close in the dark
We swore we’d steal away
When the weather let up
We sinned in each other’s arms

Eyes like coals
Black and aglow
I’ve searched the land over and o’er
For your mark in the deepening dark
All the land over and o’er

My heart’s betrayed - of this I tell
You were gone ‘fore the light of day
I knew not your way
From Vesey’s Hotel
Where I go none know your name

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All songs written by Christian Lopez
Copyright 2004
'cept Cold Frosty Morning (trad.)