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Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow

I recorded this song, first recorded by the Carter Family in 1927 during the famous Bristol sessions, over a weekend in the South Mountain back at Ed Cox’s cabin in 2011 shortly after Hurricane Irene blew over many trees up and down the east coast of the United States causing a lot destruction all through the Appalachians. Pennsylvania was especially hit, and the autumn ground was still very damp from September’s flooding rains. I had to watch where I stepped in the grass if I didn’t want my sneakers soaking wet.

Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow is one of my favorite songs. I’ve always remembered it. It’s very much like What A Friend We Have In Jesus. My mother saw the Carter Family sing when she was a little girl. Mom was a good singer although she rarely sang. But once she held the microphone, it was hard to get it out of her hands.

Singing I’m aware of the minstrel songs of the British Isles and Ireland that existed long before the printed word, an oral history that arrived in the American colonies, influenced by the slaves as well adding their African rhythms singing work songs in the cotton fields.

Some might think of country music, especially the Carter Family, as rooted in European traditions, but it was an African American, Lesley Riddle, who worked with A.P. Carter, selecting songs for the Carter Family to sing. It was Riddle too who influenced Maybelle Carter’s influential guitar style known as “the Carter scratch,” and I have changed some of the words myself—it is what we do singing a song that has come from the beginning of human time, adding ourselves to the mix.




My heart is sad and I am lonely
For the only one I love
When will I see her?
Oh no, no never
Unless it’s in heaven above

She told me that she loved me only
How could I believe her untrue?
Until today a neighbor told me
She’s been untrue to you

Bury me under the weeping willow
Under the weeping willow tree
When she hears there I am sleeping
Perhaps she’ll weep over me

Tomorrow was our wedding day
Oh where oh where is she?
Gone to find her another lover
She cares no more for me

Bury me under the weeping willow
Under the weeping willow tree
When she hears there I am sleeping
Perhaps she’ll weep over me

Undertaker, undertaker
Undertaker, please drive slow
For the body that you carry
Oh I hate to see it go

When she hears there I am sleeping
Perhaps she’ll weep over me.



Sara, A.P., and Maybelle Carter

Lesley Riddle

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