Jesse James

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry Garcia with Marshall Leicester and Robert Hunter at the Carlos Bookstall in July 1961. Not to be confused with the Robert Hunter song, also titles Jesse James. Thanks to Matt Schofield for the lyrics.

A version of Jesse James was sung by Chris Robinson with Phil Lesh & Friends in 2016. I haven't yet heard a recording, so I'm not sure what version it was.

Went down to the station not many days ago
I did something I'll never do again
I got down on my knees and delivered up the keys
To Frank and his brother Jesse James

Jesse had a wife, she's a mourner all her life
Three children, they were brave
But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave

Oh, Jesse was a man and a friend of the poor
He would never see a man suffer pain
But [with his brother] Frank he robbed the [Chicago bank]
And stopped the Glendale train


Well the people in the west when they heard of Jesse's death
They wondered how it was he came to die
It was Ford's pistol ball brought him tumbling from the wall
And he laid poor Jesse down to die


Now old Jesse's gone to rest with his head upon his chest
And the devil will be upon his knees
He was born one day in the county of Clay
And he came from a solitary race


Now this song it was made by old Billy Gashade
As soon as the news did arrive
Said there was no man with the law in his hand
That could take Jesse James when alive

Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     July 1961 Before The Dead Garcia, Leicester & Hunter

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


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