Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Miller, AR 9/7/61

Click here to listen to the original recording

You ask me why so often, Father,
That tears pour down my cheek.
You think it strange indeed that I
Should own a grief or speak,
But oh, my grief’s so real, Father,
My brain is almost wild.
It breaks my heart to think that I
Am called a drunkard’s child.

Chorus: A drunkern’s child,
Oh, Lord, how sad,
And Mother was so mild,
But now she’s sleeping in her grave,
And I’m an orphan child.
My father never stays at home;
He’s drinking all the while,
And it breaks my heart to think that I
Am called a drunkern’s child.

My playmates now all shun me, Father,
Or pass by in cold scorn,
Because my shoes are ragged,
And my dress so old and torn,
And if I heed them not, “There goes
That drunkard’s child,” they cry,
And then how much I wish that God
Would only let me die.

(Chorus, with “resting in the tomb” substituted for “sleeping in her grave.”)

You used to be so kind, dear Father,
And life was very sweet.
Mother and I were warmly clad,
And we had food to eat.
You never did speak unkindly then,
Or dealt me an angry blow.
Oh, Father, dear, it’s hard to think
That rum has changed you so.

(Chorus, with “sleeping in her grave.”)

Oh, don’t be angry with me, Father,
Because I tell you this,
But let me feel upon my brow
Again your loving kiss,
And promise me those lips no more
With drink will be defiled.
Then from a life of want and woe,
Please save your weeping child.

(Chorus, with “sleeping in her grave.”)

(Dr. Wolf: “Just tell where you learned this, if you remember it. Just say, “I learned this song . . .”
Mrs. Riddle: “I don’t remember where I learned this song, as so many others. I’ve just known it since I can remember.”)

Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #331.

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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