Sung by: Ollie Gilbert
Recorded in spring 1963

Click here to listen to the original recording

(Jimmy Driftwood: “Dr. Wolf, I like that song that we got her to sing a little of down at the house a while ago about, you know, these golden curls that hung over this fellow’s pillow?”
Ollie Gilbert: “You’d have me singing here all night and all day tomorrow and the next day and the next day if I let you.”
??: “Come on, let’s have the golden curls.”
Gilbert: “ . . . I thought you was wanting 'The Golden Willow Tree'.”
Driftwood: “Well, do you know this one where . . .”
Gilbert: “Yeah, I know what you want.”
Driftwood: “Any one you want to. Sing what you want to. You’re doing this.”
Ollie Gilbert: “I don’t know whether I could get to sing that too good or not. I might can; I don't know. You want me to try that one? That's what you want?” Driftwood: "It won't hurt to try.")

I dreamed last night of my true love;
All in my arms I held her.
When I woke, it was a dream;
I had to lay without her.

Her long yellow hair like strings of gold
Come dangling ‘round my pillow.
It was the girl that I loved so well;
Her name was Rainbow Willow.

I rose next morning, put on my clothes,
Determined I would find her.
I rode those hills and valleys through,
But never did I find her.

I rode ‘til I came to her uncle’s hall,
Inquiring for my darling.
He answered me, he answered me,
“I have no such in keeping.”

She heard my voice in another room,
And whispered through the window,
Saying, “I wouldn’t be here in prison alone,
If locks and bolts didn’t hinder.”

I broke those locks, and I bent those bolts,
And I sent them all asunder,
I'm in the room with my true love,
And I’ll die before I leave her.

Her uncle and another man
Come walking in together,
Saying, “Get out, get out, get out of here,
Or in your blood you’ll wallow.”

I took my sword in my right hand,
My true love by the other.
I marched her through her uncle’s hall,
With all her looks (?) and pleasure.

Then we joined right hands in the wedlock band,
And we'll live in peace forever.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #110, “I Dreamed of My True Lover.”

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

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
Back to the Song Index
Back to the Wolf Collection Homepage
©Copyright 2002 Lyon College