Digital Tradition Mirror

On the Wilderness Trail

On the Wilderness Trail
(Copyright: Jimmy Driftwood)

I once had a fortune and a place of abode,
But I gave 'em away for the Wilderness Road.
When I couldn't pay all the debts that I owed,
I started to travellin' on the Wilderness Road.

High over the mountains, through the beautiful vales,
I counted the cabins on the buffalo trail.
I crossed the Kentucky, crossed the Tennessee;
I crossed Big Muddy and the lone prairie.

     On the Wilderness Road, on the Wilderness Road,
     I've been a-travellin' a long, long time on the Wilderness Road.

I met all the people 'way back In the hills;
I prayed in their graveyards and I drunk at their stills.
I heard of their joys and I heard of their wrongs
In their wonderful stories and their beautiful songs.

They planted their gardens by the beautiful stream,
And they planted their fathers in the land of their dreams.
With a pure inspiration, they carried their load,
And they built up a nation on the Wilderness Road.

If I was a rich man, I'd pay what I owed;
Build me a cabin on the Wilderness Road.
But I ain't a rich man, so I guess you know
I'll keep on a bummin' on the Wilderness Road.

The trail through the Cumberland Gap later became known as the
Wilderness Trail.
As sung by Art Thieme on _On the Wilderness Trail_, Folk-Legacy, 1986
He says: Sometimes life singing an the road can be quite wonderful, with
good friends and camaraderie all along the way.  But, often, life on the
highway can turn into a lonesome, worry-ridden chore, where pushing
through storms and mechanical breakdowns threaten to make travel more
trouble than it's worth. it's during those hard trips that thoughts of
family, friends and home - and singing songs like this last one - are what
keeps you going on our modern Wilderness Roads.


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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