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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Larry Saidman Origins: Jesse James I (83* d) RE: Origins: Jesse James I 13 May 10


I made an interesting discovery about the Jesse James variant where the chorus goes "I Wonder Where My Poor (Old) Jesse's Gone". I first heard it by The Chad Mitchell Trio in the early 60's, and it was later recorded by The Golden Ring. THe Chad Mitchell Trio credited it to Paul Clayton. The only reference to it related to Paul Clayton is an LP by Clayton from 1957 entitled "Wanted For Murder". I can't find the record, but assume that it is that particular variant and that this is where the Chad Mitchell Trio got it. Hence, it wouldn't appear to be traditional.

However, on another Mudcat Post on "Most Embarrassing Moments", someone called Deckman refers to singing the better known version of Jesse James (Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life) in a town in Missouri and getting a cool reception--then being told by an 81 year old resident that the version they sing there is ""I Wonder where my Poor Jesse's Gone", and singing it to Deckman to illustrate. This, interestingly enough, was in 1955--two years before the Paul Clayton recording.

Paul Clayton was a recorder of traditional music, so it's likely that he got his version from traditional sources. So, it's likely that this version has probably gone through some kind of oral tradition and nobody knows who wrote it. Making it a true folk song.

Deckman (Most Embarrassing Moments post)


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