Digital Tradition Mirror


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Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available


Batson been working for Mr. Earle
Six long years today,
And ever since he been working for Mr. Earle
He never have got a pay.

     Cryin', "Oh Mamma,
     I didn't done the crime."

Batson asked Mr. Earle
Can he take a walk
Mr. Earle answered Batson
"You can go and come right back."

Batson hitched up Mr. Earle's
Two bay horse and a wagon,
Took it back uptown
To get him a load of feed.

When he got back to the house,
Onhitched those two bay mares,
And he walked on back uptown,
See something he really liked.

He was walking down Ryan Street
Looking down in the showcase,
He thought he had something,
Something what he really need.

'Bout the time he was looking in the showcase
Here come Mr. Henry Reese,
Mr. Sheriff, police come a-walking,
Throwed two forty-fives in his face.

Mr. Henry Keese's deputy come a-runnin',
Slapped him across the face,
Says, "Stick 'em up, Batson,
For we constitute you under arrest."

Batson asked Mr. Henry Reese,
"What you arresting me for!"
Says "That's all right, Batson,
You know all about it yourself."

'Rested poor little Batson,
They took him to the county jail,
And then the people begin to gather
From miles and miles around.

When Batson got in the jailhouse
Locked up in the place,
He took a pencil right in his hand
He marked every day he laid.

Batson told Mr. Sheriff,
"Don't you know that's wrong,
You got me charged guilty unfriendly,
And I know I ain't done the crime."

     Cryin', "Oh, Mamma,
     I never harm no one."

Batson begin to cry,
Tell you what he did do,
You could hear old Batson crying
Just like a baby child.

The day Batson cried
This is the words he said,
"You're trying me for murder,
And I know I never harmed no one."

Well, the judge found him guilty,
The clerk he wrote him down, The
jurymen passed the sentence,
Poor Batson, he had to be hung.

Batson begin to wonder,
Batson begin to moan,
Batson told his people,
"You just have to leave your home.

"You may bring me coffee,
You may bring me tea,
 You got to bring me everything I want
'Cept that black jailhouse key.

"Now you may dress in red,
You may dress in black,
You may dress any color you want,
 But you'll never bring Batson back.

Batson's little girl begin to wonder,
Batson's little girl begin to cry,
Batson's little child begin to ask him,
"Daddy, what they going to do with you?"

Batson's mother cried,
Batson's sister cry,
Batson's sister asked him,
"When you coming back again!"

They brought poor Batson to the gallows,
They brought him back to the hall,
Batson asked the judge
If they going to take his life.

Batson asked the judge
Was they going to take his life;
Judge asked Mr. Batson,
"Haven't you done that crime;"

Batson begin to moan,
Batson begin to groan,
Batson begin to tell those people
He'd never see home no more.

Batson told his brother,
The day they brought him back at home,
Says, "If your brother has to lose his life,
I tell you what I want you to do."

Batson asked the sheriff,
He asked him that two, three times,
Says, "All I want you to do for me,
Take care of my two little girls."

Batson's mother cried,
Batson's mother cried,
Batson's mother had tears a-running
Clean out of her eyes.

They brought him home to the gallows,
They brought him back to the jail,
He started looking around over the people,
To see 'em for the last, last time.

They brought his coffin,
The day he come to die,
And he told the sheriff,
"That's the last thing I'm going to lay down."

Then the priest told Batson,
"Black box takes you down,"
Says, "Here comes your black box,
You'll never rise again."

They put a black bonnet above his head,
They put a rope right on his neck,
They put handcuffs on his hands,
Balls and chains on his foot.

The people begin to cry,
Poor Batson he is dead and gone."

The clear blood run out of his eyes,
Nobody they couldn't see his face,
Had a tongue stuck out out of his mouth
Six inches long.

A rubber-tired buggy,
Decorated horse,
You know they brought Batson to the graveyard,
Says, they brought his family back.

His wife walked up to the grave,
Fell down on her knees,
Says, "Lord, have mercy,"
Says, "Batson, are you gone?"

Batson's wife began to pray,
Pray as hard as she could,
Prayed so much until it looked like
The Lord done answered her prayer.

I thought I heard somebody say
Awhile before she left,
Says, "You're goin' leave me,
But I' meet you some lonesome day."

Batson's little girl cry,
Batson's little child cry,
That's all he asked them people,
"Take keer of them two little girls."

The tears run out of his eyes.

Think I heared somebody say,
"Bye-bye, Batson, bye-bye,
Bye-bye, Batson, bye-bye"
And I believe he's dead and gone.

From Our Singing Country, Lomax
Laws I10
DT #782

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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