John Harty

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played during the Dylan/Dead rehearsals but never at a show. Also played by Jerry Garcia with the Black Mountain Boys a couple of times in 1964. The title is sometimes written as "John Hardy."

According to Alan Lomax:

John Harty, a West Virginia Negro tunnel-worker, killed a man in a gambling dispute, and was hanged on 19 January 1894. At the scaffold he is said to have advised all young men to take warning from him and avoid card-playing and whiskey-drinking.
Lyrics:
John Harty was a desperate little man
Carried two guns every day
Killed him a man on the West Virginia land
Oughta seen John Harty getting away
Oughta seen John Harty getting away

John Harty walked the East Stone bridge
He thought he was free
Up stepped the sherrif and he takes him by the hand
Saying Johnny, you'd better come along with me, poor boy
Johnny, you'd better come along with me


He sent for his mama and his papa too To come and go his bail
But there were no bail for a murder charge
So they threw John Harty back in jail
Threw John Harty back in jail

John Harty had a pretty little girl
The dress she wore was blue
The very last thing that she said to him
Said Johnny I'll be true to you
Johnny I'll be true to you

I've been to the East and I've been to the West
I've been that wide world round
I've been to the river and I've been baptised
And now I'm on my hanging ground
Now I'm on my hanging ground

Recordings
None by Dylan or the Dead. But it has been covered and recorded by many others.