CD's to date:
Songs of the West

Four Cords 

Track 16: LETTER EDGED IN BLACK

Though many folklorists would like to overlook the fact, this song may be the one most commonly known to the folk. It has managed to creep into many collections, usually found in practically the same form. Fredrickson probably learned this by word-of-mouth, he thinks.

I was standin' by my window yesterday mornin' 
Without a thought of worry or of care
When I saw the postman coming up the pathway 
With such a happy face and carefree air.

He rang the bell and whistled as he waited 
Then he said, "Good morning to you Jack"
But he little knew the sorrow that he brought me 
When he handed me that letter edged in black.

With trembling hands I took that letter from him 
I broke the seal and this is what it said:
"Come home my boy your dear old father wants you, 
Come home my boy your dear old mother's dead."

"The last words your mother ever uttered 
Were 'Tell my boy I want him to come back,"
My eyes are dimmed my poor old heart is broken 
As I write to you this letter edged in black.

"Those angry words I wish I'd never spoken 
You know I did not mean them don't you Jack? 
May the angels bear me witness I am asking
Your forgiveness in this letter edged in black."

I bowed my head in sorrow and in sadness 
The sunshine of my life it all had fled
Since the postman brought that letter yesterday mornin'
Sayin' "Come home my boy your mother dear is dead."

I could hear the postman whistlin' yesterday mornin' 
Coming up the pathway with his pack
But he little knew the sorrow that he brought me 
As he handed me that letter edged in black.