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Heading For Home

by Peggy Seeger

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My face to the sky, my back to the wind Winter is entering my bones The day has been long, night's drawing in And I'm thinking of heading for home. (2) The cradle and grave, the fruit and the seed, The seasons mirror my own The geese flying south are calling to me And I'm thinking of heading for home. (2) Always on the move with banner unfurled, Yet gathering moss on the stone, I sing for the children and cry for the world And I'm thinking of heading for home (2) As Time's my old friend and Death's my new kin I'm not taking the journey alone, I am old, I am young, I am all that I've been And I'm thinking of heading for home. (2) The memory of love will burn in my heart Till embers and ashes are gone, The light in your window is my northern star And I'm thinking of heading for home. (2) And it's time I was heading for home, (2)
Now come all you good kind people While I've got money to spend; Tomorrow may be Monday And I'll neither have a dollar nor a friend. Now when I had plenty of money, good people, My friends were all standing around; But as soon as my pocketbook is empty Not a friend on earth could be found. My papa told me a plenty, kind people, My momma told me more. Said 'Honey, if you don't quit your rambling ways Find trouble at your door.' O, if I had-a listened to my momma, good people, I would not have been here today; But drinking and a-ramblin' and gamblin' At home I could not stay. All around this old jailhouse you see me, good people, Forty dollar won't pay my fine; Those men have ruined my body Corn liquor has ruined my mind. Dig a hole, dig a hole in the meadow, kind people, Dig it deep in the cold, cold ground. Come gather around all you kind friends And see your poor Honey go down. And when I'm dead and buried My pale face turned to the sun. Will you stand around and mourn, little lover, And think on the harm you have done?
Jackie Rover 03:00
On business to market, butter and cheese to buy He rode out a-singing all on the diddle-i-day There he spied a pretty girl and a-being so inclined, It's 'Do you want to ride along?" Well, she hopped on behind. They rode on together so pleasant was the scene. They chatted and they ambled till they come to yonder green. She stepped down to tarry, 'twas then he did espy, My dearest pretty darling: your ribbon's come untied. O, sir, would you be willing, sir would you be kind For to tie it up again? Dear girl, I wouldn't mind. She held wide her tender arms and he fell right between Such a tying of a ribbon, love, as never has been seen. Now since you've been so forward, tell to me your name And what is your business and wherefrom have you came? My name is Jackie Rover, I hail from Back Bay I spend my time in ups and downs all on the diddle-i-day. They talked on a little further, being so inclined Forgetting all their business nor never once brought to mind. She looped her tender arms again and he rolled right between Untied her little ribbon, love, then tied it up again.
Once I had a dear companion Indeed I thought his love my own But then a dark-eyed girl persuaded Now he cares for me no more. O, go and leave me if you want to That will never trouble me. If it's in your heart to love another Then in my grave I would rather be. Many a night while you lie sleeping Dreaming in your sweet repose. There's me, poor girl, lies here a-weeping Listening to the wind that blows. When I see your baby laughing It makes me think of your sweet face. But when I hear your baby crying It makes me think on my disgrace. I am writing you a letter Telling you that you are free. From this moment and forever I will care no more for thee.
Oma Wise 04:23
I'll sing you the story of little Oma Wise How she was deluded by John Lewis's lies. He promised to meet her at Adams's Spring Said he'd bring her some money and some other fine thing. He brought her no money but he flattered her case, Said, We'll go and get married, there'll be no disgrace. So hop up behind me and away we will ride, We'll go and get married and you'll be my bride. She got up behind him and away they did go Riding down to that river where deep water flow. John Lewis, John Lewis, tell me your mind, Is your mind for to marry me or leave me behind? Little Oma, Little Oma, I'll tell you my mind, My mind is to kill you and leave you behind. O pity, pity, spare me my life! And I'll go a-beggin', I won't never be your wife. No pity, no pity, I won't spare your life, You won't go a-beggin', nor you won't be my wife. He hugged her, he kissed her and turned her around Throwed her in the river where he knowed she would drown. The people all come from the city and town, They're coming to that place where little Oma was drowned. They sent for John Lewis to come to that place, They set her up before him so he could see her face. They took him to the jailhouse and locked him inside, You know, he would not have been there if he had not killed his bride. From window to window, slowly he go, Looking down to that river where deep water flow.
CHORUS: John Gilbert is the boat Di-dee O, Di-dee O, John Gilbert is the boat, Di-dee O, Runnin' in the Cincinnati trade. You see that boat a -comin' Comin' round the bend. Loaded down with cotton She's comin' in again. (chorus) She run peanuts and cotton And then she run so many, Her men they run from her Never get a penny. (chorus) You see that boat a-comin', Comin' round the bend, Loaded to the bottom With Louisiana men. (chorus)
John Riley 03:36
As I walked out one morning early To take the sweet and pleasant air Who should I spy but a fair young lady Her cheeks being like a lily fair. I stepped up to her, right boldly asking Would she be a sailor's wife? O no, kind sir, I'd rather tarry And remain single for all my life. Tell me, kind miss, and what makes you differ From all the rest of womankind? I see you're fair, you are young, you're handsome And for to marry might be inclined. The truth, kind sir, I will plainly tell you I might have married three years ago To one John Riley who left this country He is the cause of all my woe. Come along with me, don't you think on Riley, Come along with me to some distant shore; We will set sail for Pennsylvanie Adieu, sweet England, forevermore. I'll not go with you to Pennsylvanie I'll not go with you that distant shore; My heart's with Riley, I will ne'er forget him Although I may never see him no more. And when he seen she truly loved him He give her kisses, one two and three, Says, I am Riley, your own true lover That's been the cause of your misery. If you be he, and your name is Riley, I'll go with you to that distant shore. We will set sail to Pennsylvanie, Adieu, kind friends, forevermore.
I'm going to join the army I'm going to volunteer I'm going to be a soldier Before another year. I'm going to Pensacola To tarry awhile; Far from you, my darling, More than a hundred miles. O hear the cannon roaring, See the bullets fly Hear the drum a-beating To drown the soldier's cry. O stay at home, dear Johnny, Make me your wife If you go to Pensacola They'll surely take your life. They'll put you in the center, There you'll be slain It'll burst my heart asunder To never see you again. Let me go with you, Johnny I'll travel at your side When the war is over Then I will be your bride. No stay at home, dear Nancy Lead a single life If I do come back again I'll make you my wife. They marched him through the country Marched him into town He marched to Pensacola And there they shot him down. I'm weary of the fighting Weary of the war Farewell, my Johnny I'll never see you no more.
Jenny's wearing strings and rags. Jenny's gone away, Jenny's wearing strings and rags, Jenny's gone away, CHORUS: Jenny's gone away, Jenny's gone to Ohio, Jenny's gone away. Jenny left her baby when she went away, Jenny's gone away, Wanted to keep him, couldn't find a way, Jenny's gone away, (chorus) Jenny was young when her hair turned gray, Jenny's gone away, Jenny was a pretty girl in her day Jenny's gone away, (chorus) Jenny didn't want to go away, Jenny's gone away, Company took her house away. Jenny's gone away, Jenny's man died in the Farmington mine, Jenny's gone away, Company insurance didn't give her a dime, Jenny's gone away, (chorus)
O, the first time I saw my love, happy was I I knew not what love was, nor how to deny; So I made too much freedom of my love's company, Saying, My generous lover, you're welcome to me. My friends and relations, they angry are all Because I went with you from my father's fine hall, But my friends and relations, let them all angry be, For my generous lover, you're welcome to me. He said, Now my darling, it's I must away, For I no longer in this country can stay; So keep your mind easy. love. keep your heart free, And let no man by thy sharer, my darling, but me. This poor pretty creature she turned herself round With her cheeks white as ivory and the tears pouring down, Jimmy, dear Jimmy, you're the first one e'er wooed me, And I'm sorry now I ever said 'You're welcome to me.' O, happy's the girl that ne'er loved a man She may easy tie up her narrow waistband; She's free from all sorrow, all sad misery That never said, my lover, you're welcome to me.
Henry Lee 06:17
Light down, light down, love Henry Lee And stay with me this night. You will have my candle and coal And my fire's burning bright, My fire's burning bright. I won't light down, I can't light down Nor stay all night with thee; There's a lady ten times fairer than you In Lord Barnet's hall for me, (2) He's leaned him o'er her soft pillow For to give her a kiss so sweet; With her little pen-knife held keen and sharp She's wounded him full deep, (2) I will light down, I must light down I will come in, said he. There is no lady in Barnet's hall That I love more better than thee, (2) O live, my love, Lord Henry, she said For an hour or two or three - And all these cards about my waist I'd freely give to thee, (2) All them cards about your waist They'd do no good to me; Love, don't you see my own heart's blood Come twinkling at my knee, (2) She took him by his long yellow hair, She dragged him by his feet, She threw him down her cool draw-well Full fifty fathoms deep, (2) Lie there, lie there, you Henry Lee I know you will not swim; That lady ten times fairer than me She'll never see you again, (2) Light down, light down, you pretty little bird Light down all on my knee. No, a girl who'd murder her own true love Would kill a little bird like me, (2) I wish I had my bending bow My arrow and my string - I'd shoot my dart so nigh your heart That you'd no longer sing, (2) I wish you had your bending bow Your arrow and your string - I'd fly away to Barnet's hall You'd always hear me sing, (2)
It rained, it poured, it rained so hard, Rained so hard all day. That all the boys in our school Came out to toss and play. They tossed their ball again so high, Then again so low; They tossed into a flower garden Where no one was allowed to go. Up stepped a beautiful lady All dressed in yellow and green; Come in, come in, my pretty little boy And fetch your ball again. I won't come in, I shan't come in Without my playmates all; I'll go to my father and tell him about it, And that'll cause tears to fall. She first showed him an apple seed, Then a guinea gold ring; Then she showed him a diamond, And that enticed him in. She took him by his lily white hand And she led him through the hall; She put him into an uppermost room Where no one could hear him call. O, take these finger-rings off my fingers, Smoke them with your breath; If any of my friends should call for me, Tell them that I'm at rest. Tether the Bible at my head, The Testament at my feet, If my dear mother should call for me, Tell her that I'm asleep. Tether the Bible at my feet, The Testament at my head; If my dear father should call for me, Tell him that I am dead.
I am a girl of constant sorrow I 've seen trouble all my days I left my home in old Kentucky The place where I was borned and raised. My mother how I hated to leave her Mother dear, now she is dead But I had to go and leave her So my children could have bread. Perhaps, dear friends, you're a-wondering What the miners eat and wear This question I will try to answer For I think that it is fair. For breakfast we have bulldog gravy For dinner we have beans and bread For the miners don't have any supper Just a tick of straw that we call a bed. For our clothes be always ragged And our feet be always bare And I'm sure if there's a heaven That the miners will be there.


Heading for Home Notes

THE ALBUM is one I have been planning to record for years. I just needed the push. For years I have not recorded traditional songs as so many other singers have done so. The songs on Heading for Home are, all but one, Anglo-American traditional pieces. The selection is classic, the accompaniments simple. These are songs with which I feel completely at home, songs which have lasted for generations and which, I hope, will last for generations more.

The 'push' came from my partner, Irene Pyper-Scott and from my children Neill, Calum and Kitty MacColl. Irene sings with me on one song, Neill and Calum are responsible for the recording, accompaniments, direction and production. They also donated supporting vocals as did my daughter Kitty who, with her friend Katie Lillington designed the booklet and the cover.

A total family production! Heading for Home is the first album of THE HOME TRILOGY. It is the most serious of the three projected CDs. Love, Call Me Home (2004 issue, hopefully) will be a mix of heavy and light traditional songs with a few new songs that are in the Anglo-American folk idiom. She's Coming Home (2005?) will be almost entirely in a light and bawdy vein. This website will announce their arrival.

For those who are interested: the cover photograph was taken ca. 1921. It portrays my father with his first wife, Constance (a superb violinist) and their three boys. Charles and John are in the car with my father's hand on John's shoulder. Pete stands by his mother.

THE NOTES have been written by Joe Hickerson. I have been friends with Joe, from nearby and at a distance, for nearly fifty years. He knows about as many songs as I do but seems to remember them better these days. I first met him at Oberlin College in 1957 when I was barrelling west on my Lambretta motor scooter from New York to Chicago, where I was taking up a three-month stint at The Gate of Horn. I asked him to write the notes because I literally could not write them properly myself. I made suggestions and did a modicum of editing. About himself, Joe writes the following:

Pete Seeger has called him "a great songleader." Peggy calls him "my friend Joe." He calls himself a "vintage pre-plugged paleo-acoustic folksinger." Over the past 50 years, Joe Hickerson has performed over a thousand times throughout the U.S.A. and in Canada, Finland, and Ukraine. His repertoire includes a vast array of folksongs and allied forms in the English language, many with choruses. In 1957 (the year he met Peggy Seeger) he was the first President of the Oberlin College Folk Song Club. In 1960 he wrote the 4th and 5th verses of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." From 1957 to 2003 he recorded for Folk-Legacy and Folkways. His concerts are guaranteed to "Drive Dull Care Away." Joe also has a career as folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist and librarian; after studying and working in these areas at Indiana University (1957-63), he was employed from 1963 to 1998 as Librarian and Director of the Archive of Folk Song/Culture at the Library of Congress. He lectures and writes on a variety of folk music topics, and is available for song and copyright researches. And he now coordinates the "Songfinder" column for Sing Out! magazine.

For hiring information and annotated list of recordings, please contact Joe Hickerson, 43 Philadelphia Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912(tel: 301/270-1107; e.mail: jhick@starpower.net; website: www.joehickerson.com

THE TUNINGS are given after each set of notes. To make it easier, I give the key in which the song is sung, then the actual pitch of each string. For the 5-string banjo, begin with the tuning of the 5th string, then progress with the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and lst. With the Appalachian dulcimer, I begin with the string nearest the player's body. I double the higher strings so that the dulcimer has four strings instead of three.

THE SONG TEXTS - scroll down for notes and texts for all of the songs on the album.


released October 7, 2003

Appleseed Recordings
Produced & directed by Neill & Calum MacColl
Mixed by Rafe Mckenna with Calum and Neill MacColl
Mastered by Duncan Cowell at Ace Sound Mastering, London, England
Designed by Katie Lillington and Kitty MacColl


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Peggy Seeger Oxford, UK

Peggy is one of the most influential folk singers on either side of the Atlantic. She is Pete Seeger’s half-sister and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s daughter; her first life partner was the English songwriter Ewan MacColl, who wrote First Time Ever I Saw Your Face for her. She has made more than 22 solo recordings to date. Please check ewanmaccoll.bandcamp.com for other albums featuring Peggy. ... more


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