Jesse James Farewell Blues

Utah Phillips
Language: English

Related Songs

Yellow Ribbon
(Utah Phillips)
Trooper's Lament
(Utah Phillips)
Casey Jones, the Union Scab
(Joe Hill)

Parole di Bruce 'Utah' Phillips.
Sulla melodia di “Farewell Blues”, un brano di Glenn Miller.
Nel songbook “Starlight On The Rails and Others Songs – The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”, raccolta di canzoni scritte da Bruce ‘Utah’ Phillips tra anni 60 e primi 70.

Starlight On The Rails

“Now we come to an occupation highly honored among people in the old and new West. At the end of the Civil War a lot of guys came home to the border states, Kansas and Missouri, found out their stock had been run off and their land had been expropriated, or the mortgage had been foreclosed, and they didn't have any home to come back to. They figured, ‘For this I went off and fought for the Union? Maybe got an eye or an arm shot off. I spent four years of my life to find out I don't have a home anymore.’
A lot of these angry young fellows decided to become outlaws, bank robbers and train robbers. I always did feel there were two kinds of desperate people in the world: outlaws and gangsters. Gangsters make their living grafting off of poor people: your rent gouger, your interest gouger, your slum lord, your smack peddler, your loan shark, used car salesman, bank president, any kind of president. Those are gangsters.
Outlaws make their living grafting off of gangsters, and I never could see anything wrong with that. It's probably my own character defect, but I can't see anything wrong with robbing banks as long as nobody gets hurt.
This song is about Jesse James. He came home and found out the farm was gone. It may be a little inaccurate historically, but I had a lot of fun making this one up. The tune is an old Glenn Miller number called "Farewell Blues" which Earl Scruggs played as a 5-string banjo instrumental.”

“Ora veniamo ad una professione molto apprezzata tra la gente nel vecchio e nuovo West.
Alla fine della guerra civile moltissimi ragazzi tornarono a casa negli stati di confine, come Kansas e Missouri, e non trovarono più una sola bestia o un acro della loro terra, tutto confiscato ed espropriato. ‘Per questo ho combattuto per l'Unione? Per questo ho perso un occhio o un braccio?. Ho trascorso quattro anni della mia vita in guerra per tornare e scoprire che non ho più una casa.’, pensavano.
Molti di questi giovani reduci, giustamente incazzati, decisero di (o non poterono far altro che) diventare fuorilegge e rapinatori.
Ho sempre pensato che ci fossero due tipologie di persone fra i ‘desperados’: fuorilegge e gangster.
I gangsters vivono campando sulle spalle dei poveri: affittacamere esosi, prestasoldi, strozzini, usurai, boss dei bassifondi, ambulanti truffatori, venditori d’auto usate, presidenti di banca, ogni genere di presidente. Questi sono i gangster.
I fuorilegge invece campano alle spalle dei gangster, e non ci ho mai visto nulla di sbagliato in questo. Forse è un mio difetto, ma non posso trovarci nulla di sbagliato nel rapinare le banche, sempre che qualcuno non ci rimetta la pelle.
Questa canzone è su Jesse James. Quando tornò a casa [dalla guerra] scoprì che la sua fattoria era andata. Forse il testo non è proprio storicamente accurato ma mi sono divertito molto a scriverlo. La melodia è quella di un vecchio pezzo di Glenn Miller chiamato ‘Farewell Blues’, con Earl Scruggs che suona un bajo a cinque corde nei passaggi strumentali.” (Utah Phillips)

Jesse Woodson James (Kearney, Missouri, 5 settembre 1847 – Saint Joseph, Missouri, 3 aprile 1882) è stato un fuorilegge e criminale statunitense. Ex soldato confederato, fu attivo con la sua banda negli anni successivi alla Guerra di secessione. Rapinò banche e treni in Missouri, il suo Stato natale, Kentucky, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi e Minnesota insieme ai membri della James-Younger Gang, costituita dal fratello Frank, i fratelli Cole, Jim e Robert Younger, William "Bloody" Anderson, i fratelli Ed e Clell Miller, William Clarke Quantrill, Archie Clement e Dave Pool. Divenne l'icona del rancore e della rivalsa del Sud fino alla sua morte avvenuta per tradimento da parte di un neo-membro della sua banda, Robert Ford, nel 1882. (it.wikipedia)
Jesse James he lived in Arkansas,
And he was always running from the law
So he polished up his draw and he told his maw and paw,
These times they are the worst I ever saw.

He said, "I think the world is full of hoods,
And they're busy robbin' everybody's goods,
But when they start in on mine, that's where I draw the line,
So I think I'll go and hide out in the woods."

Jesse James he robbed the trains out on the plains;
He used his brain, that was his claim to fame;
But they had him framed to hang, he said, "Please let me explain,
I ain't ashamed, and I'd do it all again."

One morning Jesse woke his brother Frank,
He said, "The sheriff's sneakin' up our flank,
That's a dirty prank I thank”, so he gave his Ford a crank
And they stole a tank and sank a yankee bank.

Jesse hung a picture on the wall,
And Robert Ford he made old Jesse fall;
He was a brave outlaw, 'bout the best you ever saw,
And he stole from everyone and kept it all.

Oh, how I hate to sing these farewell blues,
The blues I choose to use abuse my shoes,
But the posse's on my trail, don't forget to hold my mail,
'Cause you never know when I'll be oozin' through.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2014/5/28 - 14:45

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by