PRETTY BOY FLOYD

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • PRETTY BOY FLOYD
    Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was an American bank robber and alleged killer,
    romanticized by the press and by folk singer Woody Guthrie in his song “Pretty Boy
    Floyd”. In March of 1939, five years after Floyd’s death, Woody Guthrie, a native of
    Oklahoma, wrote the song. The song has the form of a Scottish “come-all-ye” ballad
    opening. This song has been performed by many of the great figures in country and folk
    music, including Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bob Dylan (on the Smithsonian‘s
    tribute to Guthrie in 1988), The Byrds (on their album Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Wall of
    Voodoo, the folk-punk band Ghost Mice, Alastair Moock, and Guthrie’s son Arlo.
    Come gather round me children, a story I will tell
    Of Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw, Oklahoma knew him well
    Was in the town of Shawnee on a Saturday afternoon
    His wife beside him in the wagon as into town they rode
    A deputy sheriff approached them in a manner rather rude
    Using vulgar words of language and his wife she overheard
    Well, Pretty Boy grabbed a long chain, and the deputy grabbed a gun
    And in the fight that followed, he laid that deputy down
    Then he took to the trees and rivers to lead a life of shame
    Every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name
    Yes he took to the trees and timbers on the Canadian river shore
    And the outlaw found a welcome at many a farmer`s door
    Yes, there`s many a starving farmer, the same story told
    How the outlaw paid their mortgage and saved their little home
    Others tell about the stranger who came to beg a meal
    And underneath the napkin left a thousand dollar bill
    It was in Oklahoma City, it was on a Christmas day
    Came a whole carload of groceries and a letter that did say
    Well, you say that I`m an outlaw, and you say that I`m a thief
    Here`s a Christmas dinner for the families on relief
    Well, as through the world I`ve rambled, I`ve seen lots of funny
    men
    Some rob you with a sixgun, some with a fountain pen