WILLIE MOORE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
WILLIE MOORE
“Willie Moore” was written by Dick Burnett, he lived in Monticello, Kentucky, played
the banjo and sang. He was blinded by a robber’s gunshot in 1907, and (like many blind
people in the south) was forced to become an itinerant professional musician. According
to the notes of the reissue, he composed “Man of Constant Sorrow” in 1913, which, by
itself should be enough to get him into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1914, he
hooked up with a fellow Monticello native, Leonard Rutherford (then a teenager), who
played fiddle. They made numerous recordings for Columbia in the 1920s, including this
one. The words were from a printed broadside (called a “ballot” in the mountains), and
the music is the fine part (the high part) of an old ballad tune that was floating around
Kentucky.
Willie Moore was a king, his age twenty-one
He courted a damsel fair
Oh, her eyes were as bright as the diamonds in the night
And wavy black was her hair
He courted her both night and day
‘Til to marry they did agree
But when he came to get her parents’ consent
They said it could never be
She threw herself in Willie Moore’s arms
As ofttimes had done before
But little did he think when they parted that night
Sweet Annie he would see no more
It was about the tenth of May
The time I remember well
That very same night her body disappeared
In a way no tongue could tell
Sweet Annie was loved both far and near
Had friends most all around
And in the little brook before the cottage door
The body of sweet Annie was found
She was taken by her weeping friends
And carried to her parent’s room
And there she was dressed in a shroud of snowy white
And laid in a lonely tomb
Her parents now are left alone
One mourns and the other one weeps
And in a fresh-made mound before the cottage door
The body of sweet Annie still sleeps
This song was composed in the cloudy West
By a man you may never have seen
Oh, I’ll tell you his name but it is not in full
His initials are J.R.G