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Asa Martin, vocal and guitar; Jim Gaskin, fiddle; Buz Brazaele , autoharp; Earl Barnes, banjo - The Death of J​.​B. Marcum

from Survey of Traditional Music, Vol. 5: Grown on American Soil by Field Recorders' Collective



For an in-depth discussion of this track, see the album notes: tinyurl[dot]com/V5NATnotes


It was on the fourth of May, half past ten o'clock that day
J.B. Marcum then was standing in the door
In the courthouse of his town, where Curt Jett was lurking round
Just to get a chance to lay him on the floor.

Thomas White, a friend of Jett's, no worse man was ever met
Then came walking boldly through the courthouse hall.
And as he was passing by, he looked Marcum in the eye
Knowing truly well poor Marcum soon would fall.

Jett advanced through the hall with his pistol, lead and ball
And he killed poor J.B. Marcum on the spot.

Marcum leaves a wife to mourn all her life
His little children stand it well and brave
But that little Curtis Jett, Thomas White and others yet
Are the men that laid poor Marcum in his grave.

Now the final trial is past, Jett and White are doomed at last
To a lifetime in the penitentiary
When that and other crimes they must labor all the time
[Until] death shall come and set them free.


from Survey of Traditional Music, Vol. 5: Grown on American Soil, released August 7, 2023
Recorded by Mark Wilson and Gus Meade, Irvine, KY, 12/72.


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