Sung by: W.P. Detherow
Recorded in Batesville, AR, 6/25/52

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(Mr. Detherow: "This is a song of Joe Bowers. Joe Bowers lived in Pike County, Missouri, and he had a brother they called Ike, and he was engaged to a girl by the name of Sally Black. It's a true story, and they agreed for him to go to California. That was during the gold rush, a hundred years ago now. And he went out there and the girl went back on him and married another fellow, and he made a song about it and sung away his troubles in a kind of a humorous way.")

My name, it is Joe Bowers.
I have a brother, Ike;
I came from old Missouri,
Yes, all the way from Pike.
I'll tell you why I left there,
And how I came to roam,
To leave my dear old Mammy
So far away from home.

I used to love a girl there;
Her name was Sally Black.
I asked her to marry me;
She said it was a whack.
Says she to me, "Joe Bowers,
Before we hitch for life,
You'd ought to have a little home,
To keep your little wife."

Says I, "My dearest Sally--
Oh, Sally, for your sake,
I'll go to California
And try to raise a stake."
Says she to me, "Joe Bowers,
You are the chap to win,
So give me a kiss to seal the bargain,"
And I throwed a dozen in.

I'll never forget my feelings
When I bid adieu to all.
Sal, she catched me around the neck,
And I began to bawl.
When I set in, they all commenced--
You've never heard the like,
The way they all took on and cried
The day I left old Pike.

When I got to this here country,
I hadn't nary a red.
I had such wolfish feelings,
I wished myself most dead.
At length I went to mining--
Put in my heaviest licks--
Came down upon the boulders
Just like a thousand bricks.

I worked both late and early,
Through rain and hail and snow,
For I was working for my Sally,
And it was all the same to Joe.
I made a very lucky strike,
As the gold itself did tell,
For I was working for my Sally,
The girl I loved so well.

One day I got a letter
From my kind, dear brother Ike.
It came from old Missouri,
Yes, all the way from Pike.
It told me the goldarndest news
That ever you did hear.
My heart it is a-bursting,
So pray excuse this tear.

It said my Sally was fickle.
Her love for me had fled,
That she had married a butcher
Whose hair was awful red.
It told me more than that--
It's enough to make me swear--
Said Sally had a baby,
And the baby had red hair.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #187; Brown, Vol. II, #258; Belden, p. 341.

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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