Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played during the Dylan/Dead rehearsals, but never performed live by the Dead. Played by the Wildwood Boys (Garcia, Hunter, Nelson and Von Mastricht) in 1963. Also played by Jerry with the Great American String Band and with the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, all with rather different lyrics. More recently, covered by Phil Lesh & Friends.

First, the version from the Dylan rehearsals.

Chorus
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Lay around the shack
Till the mail train comes back
Roll in my sweet baby's arms

I ain't gonna work on the mill
Ain't gonna work on the farm
Lay around the shack
Till the mail train comes back
Roll in my sweet baby's arms

[chorus]

Where were you last Friday night
When I was in jail?
Walking on streets with another man
[Wouldn't even] go my bail

[chorus]

[?] operator
Sister can weave and can spin
Daddy's got an interest in that old cotton mill
[Watch] all that money roll in

[chorus]
[chorus]
The version by the Wildwood Boys in 1963 (thanks to Matt Schofield for this) was pretty similar:
Chorus
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Goin' to lay 'round the shack
'Til the mail train comes back
Goin' to roll in my sweet baby's arms

Now where were you last Sunday
Well I was down in jail
Walking the streets with another man
(Got money to?) go my bail

[chorus]

Mother's a (beauty?) operator
Sister can weave and spin
Daddy has an interest in that old cotton mill
See how the money rolls in

[chorus]

I know that your parents don't like me
They sent me away from your door
If I had my life all over again
I wouldn't go there any more

[chorus]
[chorus]
The version by the Great American String Band was more different. It was sung by Taj Mahal, with others including Maria Mulduar helping on some of the lyrics and the chorus. Thanks again to Matt Schofield for the lyrics.
I ain't gonna work on your railroad, baby
I ain't gonna work on your farm
I'm going to lay around the shack
Till the mail train comes back
And roll in my sweet baby's arms

Chorus
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Roll in my sweet baby's arms
Going to lay around my shack
Till the mail train comes back
And roll in my sweet baby's arms

Papa's been working hard grinding corn
Papa's been working hard grinding corn
Well he's grinding corn
Well you know what he's on
Well been on that chain gang too long

[Chorus]

[Chorus]

She said who's going to kiss my ruby red lips?
Who's going to glove my hand?
Who's going to shoe my pretty little feet?
When you're off in your long distant land

She said poppa's going to shoe my pretty little feet
Momma's going to glove my hand
Sister's going to kiss my ruby red lips
And I don't need no man

[Chorus]
[Chorus]
[Chorus]

Recordings
None by the Dead or by Dylan. It's an old bluegrass standard recorded by Bill Monroe and almost everyone else.


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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