Welcome! For research click LYRICS or ROOTS

Hi, this is my educational research site dedicated mainly to traditional music. Currently I'm working on US and Canadian versions of the Child Ballads (click Bluegrass Lyrics>Ballads> 305 Child Ballads). The Child Ballad section (the 305 Child ballads) is way over 10,000 pages! Also check out my books and articles (Click Roots> Roots; Old-time Folk & Bluegrass and related Books- it's near the bottom of left hand column). Anyone who wants to help do research on this site; edit; or just comment please- contact me: Richiematt7@gmail.com I do this research for you! If you want to help me please do; you can make a donation or a suggestion, share some lyrics. I want to thank you for using and sharing this research - this site is dedicated to you and all who have shared their songs through the ages. Carry on!

Richard L. Matteson Jr. 2014

   [Below is my painting of Tenbrooks and Molly: which is exhibited at the Country Music Hall-of-Fame Museum in Kentucky]

Painting by Richard L. Matteson Jr. of Molly and Tenbrooks, the song that created the bluegrass genre. To see all of Richard's "Bluegrass Series" Paintings: http://www.mattesonart.com/bluegrass-series.aspx Comments, donations, or to contact Richard: Richiematt7@gmail.com

Richard Matteson, Earl Skruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs before a concert in Winston-Salem NC

Above is Richard Matteson's new book, Acoustic Music Source Book, published in October 2010. Available now from Mel Bay Publications 1-800-863-5229 or Amazon.com The book has the melody, history (origin), lyrics and chords of over 200 bluegrass and old-time songs.


Richard Matteson's Bluegrass Picker's Tunebook. Matteson is the founder and current guitarist of the Bluegrass Messengers, now in Port St. Lucie, FL. Bluegrass Picker's Tunebook, still in print, was published by Mel Bay in May 2006. It features the melody, history (origin), lyrics and chords of 213 bluegrass songs. Also has an introduction detailing the bluegrass style and history. Available still from Mel Bay Publications 1-800-863-5229

Bluegrass Messengers Play with Doc Watson in Eden NC


Vicksburg Girl- Mrs. G. C. Philley (AR) 1959 Parler O

Vicksburg Girl- Mrs. G. C. Philley (AR) 1959 Parler O

[Ozark Folk Song Collection- online; Reel 309 Item 5. Collected by Mary C. Parler. cf. Town of Vicksburg- Nancy Philley, 1959 Parler N (relative).
Listen: http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/OzarkFolkSong/id/1245/rec/21

R. Matteson 2106]

The Vicksburg Girl- sung by Mrs. G. C. Philley Eudora, Ark. Recorded in Fayetteville, Ark. July 25, 1959.

'Twas in the town of Vicksburg,
The town you all know well,
'Twas in the town of Vicksburg,
We ran a flour mill.

'Twas there I met a pretty fair maid
With dark and roving eyes,
But little did this fair maid know
That I loved her in disguise.

I called at her sister's house
One night about eight o'clock;
I asked her if she'd take a walk;
Of course, she said, "All right."

We walked along, we talked along,
Till we came to level ground,
There I picked up a sycamore stick
And knocked the fair maiden down.

She fell to the ground on bended knees,
O Lord, have mercy, she cried,
"O Willie dear, don't murder me here
For I'm unprepared to die."

But little did her pleadings take,
I only struck her more,
Until the ground around her
Was in a bloody flow[1].

I ran my fingers through her coal-black hair
To cover up my sin,
I carried her to the river's edge
And there I plunged her in.

Go down, go down, you Vicksburg girl,
To me you'll never be tied,
Go down, go down, you Vicksburg girl,
And find a better side.

I called at my mother's house
That night about twelve o'clock,
My mother being weary,
She woke up in a fright.

My son, my son, what have you done
To bloody your hands and clothes?
The answer that I gave her
Was, bleeding at the nose.

I asked her for a handkerchief
To bind my aching head,
I asked her for a candle
To light myself to bed.

I rolled and I tumbled,
No comfort could I find
For the flames of hell around me rolled
And in my eyes did shine.

Three months, three weeks, three days from this,
The Vicksburg girl was found
Floating down the river's edge
Close by another town.

Her sister swore my life away,
She swore without a doubt
She swore that I was the very young man
That led her sister out.

They took me on suspicion,
They placed me in a jail,
I had no one to help me out,
No one to go my bail.

So here I am in this awful place,
A dreadful death to die
To hang up twenty-eight feet high
Between the earth and sky.

Come all young men and warning take
Before it is too late
Don't ever let the devil get
The upper-hand of you.

1. usually "gore"

Sing Ivy- Charlie Potter (Sus) 1956 Tony Wales

Sing Ivy- Anon (Sus) 1976 Tony Wales

[No informant known. From: "We wunt be druv" by Tony Wales, 1976, Galliard (1976 edition)p. 54.

R. Matteson 2018]

   Sing Ivy- from  Wales, "We Wunt Be Druv" p.54

My father he gave me an acre of ground
Sing ivy, sing ivy,
My father he gave me an acre of ground
Sing allegro, whistling ivy.

I  ploughed it with a ram's horn,

I sowed it with some peppercorn,

I cut it with my pen knife,

I thrashed it with my rat's tail,

I carried it away on a mouse's back

I measured it up by the thimbleful,

And money came back by the sackfuls,