Little Birdie

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry Garcia with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers in June 1962, and also in a solo performance in San Mateo in November 1962. "Little Birdie" has obvious links with the songs Dark Hollow and East Virginia Blues. Jerry Garcia introduced it: "this is a song that was originally recorded by the Coon Creek Girls, whoever they are" - see below.

Little birdie, little birdie
Come sing to me your song
A short time to stay here (note 1)
And a long time to be gone

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun don't never shine
Than to see you be some other's darling
And to know you'll never be mine

Little birdie, little birdie
What makes you fly so high
It's because my own true lover
Is waiting in the sky

Little birdie, little birdie
Come sing to me a song
A short time to stay here
And a long time to be gone
Notes
(1) these two lines have a clear echo in Box Of Rain.

Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     11 Jun 1962 Before The Dead Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers

Origins
The Coon Creek Girls were an Appalachian string band, formed in the 1930s. Their version of 'Little Birdie' differs a lot from Jerry Garcia's, so he must have learnt it from another source.
Little birdie, little birdie
What makes you fly so high
It's because I have a true little heart
And I don't care to die

I'd rather be here, honey
Than any place I know
But to help me down trouble
Down this road I go

Little birdie, little birdie
What makes your wings so blue
It's nothing else but grieving
Grieving over you

I'd rather drink muddy water
Rather sleep in a holler log
Than to stay here on this old river
Be treated like a dirty dog

Little birdie, little birdie
What makes you fly so high
What makes you fly so high
It's because I have a true little heart
And I don't care to die

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|