I've Been All Around This World

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry with the Grateful Dead, and with many of his solo partners, including John Kahn, David Grisman and the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band.

See below for the history of this song.

Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I'll take my stand
Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I'll take my stand
A rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Lord, Lord, I've been all around this world

Lulu, my Lulu, come and open the door
Lulu, my Lulu, come and open the door
Before I have to walk on in with my old forty-four
Lord, I've been all around this world

Mama and papa, little sister makes three (note 1)
Mama and papa, little sister makes three
They're coming in the morning, that's the last you'll see of me
Lord, lord, I've been all around this world

Hang me, oh hang me, so I'll be dead and gone
Hang me, oh hang me, so I'll be dead and gone
I wouldn't mind your hanging boys, but you wait in jail so long (note 2)
Lord, I've been all around this world

Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I'll take my stand
Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I'll take my stand
A rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Lord, Lord, I've been all around this world
Notes
(1) Jerry sings this verse on the 1970 Bear's Choice version, but not on later versions
(2) "... but the waiting takes so long" in some bersions

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     14 Feb 1970 History Of The Grateful Dead Vol 1 (Bear's Choice)
     27 Oct 1980 Reckoning
 
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     31 Oct 1987 Pure Jerry 2: Lunt-Fontanne Jerry Garcia Band
      3 Dec 1987 Almost Acoustic Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
      199? Been All Around This World Garcia/Grisman

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads


History
The origins of this song are uncertain, and I'm not sure where Jerry learnt it from. I am grateful for Matt Schofield's help in putting this history together. It includes a version titled Dixon and Johnson, and versions by Justus Begley, Dave Van Ronk and Joe Val.

The 'Hang Me' verse is thought to derive from "My Father Was A Gambler", a US ballad, which is thought to be about a murderer who was hanged in 1870. The chorus given in Ozark Folksongs from a 1929 field recording is:
Hang me, oh hang me, an' I'll be dead an' gone
Hang me, oh hang me, an' I'll be dead an' gone
I wouldn't mind the hangin', but to lay in my grave so long
To lay in my grave so long
One possible source for the song is `Dixon and Johnson' which seems to have been a later introduction into the States from UK - collected in 1890s in UK but only later in the US, sometimes as The Three Butchers - again from Ozark Folksongs a field recording from 1941 (the tune given is fairly similar to that we know for I've been All Around This World):
Dixon and Johnson went riding out one day
Dixon and Johnson went riding out one day
They rode up on a mountain ten thousand miles away
Oh Lord, I've been all around this world

They rode up on a woman, as cold as cold or more
They rode up on a woman, as cold as cold or more
He wrapped her in his coat and set up behind him
Oh Lord, I've been all around this world
and another 6 or so verses. The 'story' doesn't match "I've Been All Around The World" though.

George Milburn's The Hobo's Handbook of 1930 has a song called I've Been All Around This World with similar tune, but different lyrics. Milburn notes that it is sometimes called "The Hobo's Lament".
Bring to me my supper boys, O'll eat her done or raw
Bring to me my supper boys, O'll eat her done or raw
For I haven't had a square meal since I left Arkansaw
Gaw damn, I've been all around this world

The railroad is finished boys, the cars is on the tracks
The railroad is finished boys, the cars is on the tracks
You can take from me my baby, but money will bring her back
Gaw damn, I've been all around this world

Come to me my honey, and I will pay your fine
Come to me my honey, and I will pay your fine
And each and your troubles I surely will make mine
Gaw damn, I've been all around this world

The bulls will never get me, and I will tell you why
The bulls will never get me, and I will tell you why
For I'm going to wander and travel till I die
Gaw damn, I've been all around this world
Sigmund Spaeth, the musicologist, collected a version from the illustrator Robert Wildhack with the same tune as Milburn's and many verses in common. Interestingly, it starts with the same verse as Garcia's version. Spaeth included it in his book "Weep Some More, My Lady", noting that Wildhack had added the final verse himself. Spaeth also records that, as well as the title "The Hobo's Lament", it is also sometimes known as "The Hobo Blues".
It's on the Blue Ridge Mountains, oh there I'll take my stand
It's on the Blue Ridge Mountains, oh there I'll take my stand
My rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Gaw darn I’ve been all around the world

[remaining verses as in the last three George Milburn version above]
There's also a song called The Horse Trader's Song in which each stanza ends:
I've been around the world
But there's no real similarity in any other way.

The oldest version that seems to have quite a bit in common with the one sung by Garcia is that sung by Justus Begley, vocal/banjo, Hazard, KY, for the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress, 17 Oct 1937:
I started out from Memphis with two dollars and a dime
I started out from Memphis, boys, with two dollars and a dime
But I landed in old Hazard, boys, I did not have a shine
Lord, I've been all around this world

I went to work on the railroad, boys, the mud up to my knees
I went to work on the railroad, boys, the mud up to my knees
The boss come round to boss me, boys, I done just as I pleased
God knows, I been all round this world

I went up to the Midway Inn with money to shoot some dice
I went up to the Midway Inn with money to shoot some dice
They took from me my money, boys, I begged them for my life
God knows, I've been all around this world

The new railroad is finished, boys, the cars are on the track
The new railroad is finished, boys, the cars are on the track
My doney girl has left me, boys, I know that she won't come back
God knows, I've been all around this world

I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains and there'll I'll take my stand
I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains, boys, and there I'll take my stand
With a rifle on my shoulder, boys, and a six-shooter in my hands
God knows, I've been all around this world

The officers came and arrested me and they take me down to jail
The officers came and arrested me and they take me down to jail
They said to me, old fellow, now you know you're allowed no bail
God knows, I've been all around this world

They take me to the court house, boys, and there I had a crowd
They take me to the court house, boys, and there I had a crowd
The sentence was to hang me and leave my wife and child
God knows, I've been all around this world

The sentence was to hang me, well I don't care if you do
The sentence was to hang me, well I don't care if you do
But look out boys, when you hang me, it's liable to injure you
God knows, I've been all around this world

Father and mother, boys, and little sister make three
Father and mother, boys, and little sister make three
Came weeping to the gallows, boys, and see the last of me
God knows, I've been all around this world

You all can sing this song, boys, when I am dead and gone
You all can sing this song, boys, when I am dead and gone
Just think about old Justus, boys, they sung it 'fore he was gone
God knows, but he went all around this world
Dave Van Ronk sings a version called "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" (featured in the Coen Brother's movie "Inside Llewyn Davis"):
Chorus
Hang me, oh hang me, I'll be dead and gone
Hang me, oh hang me, I'll be dead and gone
Wouldn't mind mind the hanging, but the laying in the grave's so long
Poor boy, I've been all around this world

I've been all around Cape Giradeau, parts of Arkansas
All around Cape Girardeau, parts of Arkansas
Got so goddam hungry, I could hide behing a straw
Poor boy, I've been all around this world

Went up on the mountain, there I made my stand
Went up on the mountain, there I made my stand
Rifle on my shoulder, and a dagger in my hand
Poor boy, I've been all around this world

[chorus]

Put the rope around my neck, hung me up so high
Put the rope around my neck, hung me up so high
Last words I heard him say, won't be long now before you die
Poor boy, I've been all around this world

[chorus]
Joe Val sang a version that was much closer to Garcia's:
Up on the Blue Ridge mountains, oh there I'll take my stand
Up on the Blue Ridge mountains, oh there I'll take my stand
With a rifle on my shoulder, six shooter in my hand
Lord knows, I've been all around this world

Oh Lulu, my Lulu come and open the door
Oh Lulu, my Lulu come and open the door
Before I have to open it with my old forty-four
Lord knows, I've been all around this world

She took me to her parlor and cooled me with her fan
She took me to her parlor and cooled me with her fan
She whispered low and and [her mamie's heard?], just a luckless travelling man
Lord knows, I've been all around this world

Hang me oh hang me, so I'll be dead and gone
Hang me oh hang me, so I'll be dead and gone
I wouldn't mind your hanging boys, but your staying in jail so long
Lord knows, I've been all around this world

Now papa and mama and little sister makes three
Now papa and mama and little sister makes three
They'll walk me down to the gallows boys, that's the last you'll see of me
Lord knows I've been all around this world
Grandpa Jones recorded a version in around 1943-44 for the King label, with almost identical lyrics to those Garcia sang. This may be the earliest commercial recording (and Joe Val credits the song to Grandpa Jones). [Thanks to Jim Nelson for this information].

Another twist on the origins of this song is the liner notes for Drew Reid's album "The American War":
"I Been All Around This World (Traditional) - This is part of a fine body of old tunes written along the same theme. I hadn't heard this song for years until I attended a Pat McCune concert, and thanks to Pat for doing some research on it for me. This one is a partisan song of Kentucky. Sometimes the actions of the "unofficial" troops outdid the Regulars in savagery and intensity."



Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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