I Washed My My Hands In Muddy Water

Lyrics: Joe Babcock
Music: Joe Babcock

This was played only once by the Grateful Dead, in 1971, when Garcia managed a rather truncated version:

I washed my hands in muddy water
I washed my hands but they wouldn't come clean
I washed my hands in muddy water
But I must have washed my hands in a muddy stream

Well I was born in ol' Virginia
North Carolina, I did roam
If I'd listen to what daddy told me
I would not be so all alone


Origins
The first recording was by Stonewall Jackson in 1964. It was subsequently recorded by many others, including Johnny Rivers who had a hit with it in 1966. The Stonewall Jackson lyrics are:
I was born in Macon Georgia
Met my dad in the Macon jail
Dady said "Son, if you keep your hands clean
You won't hear them bloodhounds on your trail"

But I fell in with bad companions
Killed a man up in Tennessee
Sheriff caught me way up in Nasville
They locked me up and they threw away the key

Chorus
I washed my hands in muddy water
I washed my hands but they didn't come clean
I tried to do like my daddy told me
But I must have washed my hands in a muddy stream

I asked the jailer when my times up
He said "Son, we won't forget
But if you try to keep your hands clean
We may make a good man of you yet

I couldn't wait to serve my sentence
I broke out of that Nashville jail
And I crossed that line of Georgia
And I can hear the bloudhounds on my trail

[chorus]