Billy Grimes The Rover

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Perfomed by Jerry Garcia with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers and the Hart Valley Drifters in 1962.

Tomorrow morn I'll be sixteen
And Billy Grimes the rover
Has popped the question to me, ma
Wants to be my lover

And he'll be here this morning, ma
He'll be here quite early
Take a pleasant walk with him
Across the fields of barley

Oh daughter dear you shall not go
There is no use a'talkin'
You can not go with Billy Grimes
Across the fields a'walkin'

Imagine such presumption too
The dirty, ugly rover
I wonder where your pride has gone
To think of such a lover

Oh mama dear, I must confess
That Billy is quite clever
With an ounce of gold we'd not be found
In this wide world all over

Oh daughter dear, I am surprised
At your infatuation
Think of having Billy Grimes
It would be ruination

Oh mama dear, old Grimes is dead
And Billy is the only
Surviving heir of all that's left
About six thousand yearly

Oh daughter dear, I did not hear
Your last remarks quite clearly
Billy is a nice young lad
And no doubt loves you dearly
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     fall 1962 Folk Time Hart Valley Drifters (note 1)

(1) also released on Before The Dead

According to Matt Schofield:
At least three versions of Billy Grimes were published in 1852: "Billy Grimes, or, The country lassie and her mother" by Wm. H. Oakley (published by Firth, Pond and Co.); "Billy Grimes the drover" by N. C. Morse (published by G. W. Brainard and Co.) and "Tomorrow I'm sweet sixteen" by James Bellak (published by Lee and Walker). This, more or less, simultaneous publication of different versions suggests that the song existed before this date and achieved some sort of popularity that prompted the publications in 1852. Online copies of these sheet music publications can be viewed at the Music For The Nation: American Sheet Music site.

The Shelor Family (Jesse T. Shelor, Clarice Blackard and Pyrhus D. Shelor) recorded the song on August 2, 1927 in Bristol, Tennesse. This was one of the now famous Bristol sessions, often referred to in later years as the "big bang" of country music.

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


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