Collected by Merlin Mitchell
Transcribed by Kyle Perrin
February 20, 1950
Joe Bowers (with explanation)
High •• He's my wife's uncle.
M• •••• Oh, is that right?
High •• Yeah, he was raised rightdown here in Missouri and his right name
is Stanley. Joe Bowers is the nickname. They called her Sally Black.
M• ••••W ell, that's interesting. I never realized that. Why, you read
that song in books everywhere.
High •• Yeah, you can go out in a bunch of people and say, Do you know
"Joe Bowers" of five and one out of five anywhere in the United
States will say, I--I've heard it or heard of it. And I've been
a-trying that in different towns about, you know. And they'd say,
Yes, I've heard it. So, I'd say, That's my wife's uncle.
M• •••• He lived here in Arkansas.
High •• We 've got his boy's picture right in there--a fine as you--yes,
we got him in that book there. It says, Joe Bowers in there.
M• ••••W ell, listen, how about singing that one for us, will you?
High •• I can't--hits hard to sang--I can't hardly sang it. I could sang
it enough that you could git the tune and then if you had that--
M• ••••W ell , that would be all right.
High •• If you had that, Why,--
M• •••• You just sing What you can of it, then. If you want to use this,
why follow it along.
High •• You git in there to it--that'll git you the tune.
M• ••••S ure, I'vebeen wanting to learn that song.
High •• It seems like the last times I ever tried to sing it I'd git too
loud or something another, and I never could just git it--
M• ••••W ell, you just goright ahead, it--
High •• --git it going right.
M• •••• Do whatever you want to.
High •• Now, just commence any time?
M• ••••s ure.
High •• Right here?
M ••••• Yes.
High •• Well, let's just cut loose.
M• •••• You bet. It'll be ready.
My name it is Joe Bowers, I had a brother, Ike,
I came all the way from Missoury, all the way from Pike,
I'll tell you how it happened and how I came to roam,
And to leave my dear old mother so far away from home.
I use to court a girl there by the name of Sally Black,
I asked her to marry me, she said it was a reck(?),
She said to me, Joe Bowers, before we hitch for life
You ought to get a little place to take your little wife.
Joe Bowers (Cont.)
Oh, Sally, Darling, Sally, Oh, Sally, for your sake
I'll go to California and try to raise a stake,
So, give to me a kiss to bind the bargin in,
And she hooved a dozen in.
When I got to that country, I had a (narry) red,
My feelings at that moment, I almost wished myself dead,
At length I went to my mining, struck in my biggest lick,
I come down on the borders like a thousand pound of brick.
I worked through ra n, sleet and snow,
I was working for my Sal, it was all the same to Joe.
At length I got a letter, it came from brother Ike,
It came all the way from Missoury, all the way from Pike,
It said that Sally's love had fled,
And Sally had married a butcher, and the butcher's hair was red.
As to a girl or boy, the letter never said,
But Sally had a baby and the baby's hairwas red.
M• • • •• That's awful good. That's the first time I ever heard a fella
sing that song that really knew it from the old times .
High •• Well, I never did see him. He was borned and raised and was through
here before I was here , you see. His time was before my time was--
before the Civil War.
M• •• •• That's right . Well, how far is Pike County from here? Do you
High • • Where?
M •• • •• Pike County, Missouri .
High •• Oh, It's Stone County. Pike was the post office. It's a mile
and three quarters from the Missoury line. Straight here--to
Stone County, Missoury. And from there on--it--f'rom there--oh,
it was about--I didn ' t know where Pike was--never did find out .
M • •••• In Stone County?
High •• Yeah, hits in Stone County.
M •• • •• I see .
High • • It wasn't very far off and her Poppy and Mommy married there--
down there in Missoury In Galinny(?)--they got the liscense
in Galinny(?)--and I've got a record of what time they married
and everything wrote up there and he wanted--
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