Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley: The Kingston Trio

Throughout history
There’ve been many songs written about the eternal triangle.
This next one tells the story of a Mr Grayson, a beautiful woman
And a condemned man named Tom Dooley…
When the sun rises tomorrow, Tom Dooley… must hang…

[Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you’re bound to die]
I met her on the mountain
There I took her life
Met her on the mountain
Stabbed her with my knife
[Chorus]
This time tomorrow
Reckon where I’ll be
Hadn’t a-been for Grayson
I’d a-been in Tennessee
[Chorus]
This time tomorrow
Reckon where I’ll be
Down in some lonesome valley
Hangin’ from a white oak tree
[ending chorus]

Tom Dooley” is an old North Carolina folk song based on the 1866 murder of a woman named Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Impoverished Confederate veteran Tom Dula (Dooley), Foster’s lover and probable fiancé, was convicted of her murder and hanged May 1, 1868.[2] Foster was stabbed to death with a large knife; the brutality of the attack partly accounted for the widespread publicity the murder and subsequent trial received.

The song is best known today because of a hit version recorded in 1958 by The Kingston Trio. This version was a multi-format hit, reaching #1 in Billboard, the Billboard R&B listing, and appearing in the Cashbox country music top 20. It fits within the wider genre of Appalachian ‘sweetheart murder ballad’ songs such as “Down in the Willow Garden“, but “Tom Dooley” is based on a real event.

Wikipedia

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About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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