SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 31)

A song I got to know from a version recorded by Johnny Cash and later on by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran looked a lot like me

The judge said, “Son what is your alibi?
If you were somewhere else then you won’t have to die”
I spoke not a word though it meant my life
For I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

The scaffold is high, and eternity nears
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night when the cold wind mourns
In a long black veil she cries over my bones

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me, nobody knows but me, nobody knows but me

It was written in 1959 by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin, the latter being one of the few females able to make any sort of living as a songwriter in those days.  Her most famous composition, written in the mid-70s alongside Kris Kristofferson, is the country/christian ballad, One Day At A Time, a version of which, recorded by Scottish cabaret singer Lena Martell, spent three weeks at #1 in the UK in November 1979, much to the disgust of my 16-year old self.

Long Black Veil has been recorded by hundreds of different singers and groups, and just last year, the original version was selected by the Library of Congress in the USA for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

mp3 : Lefty Frizzell – Long Black Veil

JC

3 thoughts on “SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 31)

  1. Reading the lyrics I realize the Gary Moore song Over the hills and far away is mo(o)re than a little inspired by this one!

  2. Great doomy song. Nothing beats a good murder ballad. One of my favourites is “Memory Making Night” by John & Audrey Wiggins.

  3. Thank you for reminding me of this song, I came across the Johnny Cash version which I adored. Time to take a detour from listening to new indie to listen to some old country.

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