Jesse James

Lyrics: Robert Hunter (+Country Joe McDonald)
Music: Barry Melton (+Country Joe McDonald)

Recorded for Robert Hunter's unreleased solo album "Alligator Moon." The liner notes for "Country Joe" say that Country Joe McDonald performed it with Hunter and liked it so much he put it on his own album (with modified lyrics - see below). Not to be confused with the traditional song also titled Jesse James.

I come here to pass the time
To court the ladies and taste the wine
Jesse James from Abilene
Where do you think they're gonna lay me?

Down under
Under the ground
Way down under the ground

Got one old hat and two old shoes
Come here, sweet Mama, 'cause I got the blues
I been thinking 'bout all that I see
One of these days they're gonna lay me

Down under
Under the ground
Way down under the ground

You sit down 'cause I'm gonna sing
If you like my song I might buy the drinks
I see by your smile you're the salt of the land
Keep your paws on the table while I deal your hand

Down under
Under the ground
Way down under the ground

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
You look like a man that I can trust
Robert Ford, you're my good friend
I got bread and a bed to lend

You can call me Howard but it ain't my name
The people all know me as Jesse James

And there ain't no man with the law in his hand
Can track me down in this whole land

You can call me Howard, but it ain't my name
Everyone knows that I'm Jesse James

Down under
Under the ground
Way down under the ground
Down under
Under the ground
You put me
Way down under the ground
Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1975 The Fish Barry Melton
     1975 Country Joe Country Joe McDonald
      1978 Alligator Moon Comfort (note 1)
Notes
(1) recorded by Robert Hunter with the band Comfort, but never released.


Country Joe McDonald modified and added to the lyrics for his version (thanks to Matt Schofield for the transcript):
I come here to pass the time
To court the ladies and drink the wine
Jesse James from Abilene
Where do you think that they're gonna lay me?

Way down under the ground
Way down under the ground
Way down under the ground
Way down under the ground

Frank James one and the same
I guess you always heard my name
Jesse and I robbed the Glendale Train
Hey, I'll gladly do it over again

Down down down
Way down under the ground
Down down down
Way down under the ground

Jesse and I were young men
We were getting started
Had to rob and cheat day and night
Just to make ourselves a dollar

No one seemed to know us then
No one seemed to care
Now that we got money
We got enemies and friends everywhere

They put us down down down
Way down under the ground
They put us down down down
Way down under the ground

We come here to pass the time
To court the ladies and taste the wine
Frank and Jesse from Abilene
Oh how could they be so mean?

They put us down down down
Way down under the ground
They put us down down down
Way down under the ground

You can call me Howard, but that ain't my name
The people all know me as Jesse James
Ain't no man with the law in his hand
Can track me down in this whole land

Oh yeah, Jesse James
Robert Hunter performed a version on 20 July 1978 that combines both his original lyrics and those added with Country Joe:
I come here to pass the time
To court the ladies and taste the wine
Jesse James from Abilene
Where do you think they're gonna lay me?

Down under
Under the ground
Way down under the ground

You sit down now, 'cause I'm gonna sing
If you like my song I might buy the drinks
I see by your smile you're the salt of the land
Keep your paws on the table while I deal your hand

Down
Down
Way down under the ground

Jesse got one old hat and two old shoes
Come here, sweet Mama, 'cause I got the blues
I been thinking about all that I see
One of these days they're bound to lay me

Way down
Way down
Way down under the ground

Great God, lay me down
Lay me down
Way down under the ground

Jesse James, I'm one and the same
I guess you'll all have heard my name
You know, my brother Frank and I, we robbed the Glendale train
Lately thinking 'bout doing it again

Don't put us down
Way down
Way down under the ground

No, 'cause Frank and I were young men then
We were just getting started
Had to rob and steal, day and night
Just to make an honest dollar

There was nobody seemed to know us then
And nobody even seemed to care
But now we've got a little money and fame
We've got our friends and enemies everywhere

Yes, they put us down
Way down
Way down under the ground

Down
Way down
Way down under the ground

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
You look like a man that I can trust
Robert Ford, you're my good friend
I got bread and a bed to lend

You can call me Howard, but that's not my name
Everybody knows I'm Jesse James

And there ain't no man with the law in his hand
Can track me down in this whole land

You can call me Howard, but that ain't my name
But how do you do? I'm Jesse James

Don't put me down
Down
Way down under the ground

And there ain't no man with the law in his hand
Can track me down in this whole land

'Cause I come here to pass the time
To court the ladies and taste the wine
And there ain't no man with the law in his hand
Can track me down in this whole land

'Cause I'm Jesse
Yeah I'm Jesse
I'm Jesse James

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

 


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