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Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies

Traditional Appalachian. Also called "Come all ye Fair and Tender Maidens" or "Little Sparrow." Most recorded versions are painfully slow. 

Commonly in D, something like:
D D D D G G G G 
D D D D G Em - -
D G G G   G Bm - -
C C C C  G D D D

Links
  • Maybelle Carter, autoharp [utoob]
  • Carter Family on TV [utoob]
  • Dave van Ronk solo banjo [utoob]
  • Slow duet with guitar & banjo [utoob] (Rebecca's favorite)
  • Slow duet with tight harmonies, guitar [utoob]
  • Solo, slide guitar [utoob], man has a powerful voice.
  • Pete Seeger [amazon]
  • We have a CD with a nice version by Dave Bromberg [amazon].
  • Tired Hands String Band do the Bromberg version [utoob]
  • Clawhammer banjo [utoob] also shown at right.
  • Dolly Parton recorded "Little Sparrow," almost the same tune.
Lyrics

Come all ye fair and tender ladies.
Be careful how you court young men.
They're like the stars on a summer's morning.
First they'll appear and then they're gone.

They'll tell to you some loving story
They'll tell to you such a terrible lie
Then they'll go away and court another
Leave you alone to pine and sigh.

Do you remember our days of courting
When your head lay upon my breast
You could make me believe with falling of your arm
That the sun rose in the West

I wish I was a little sparrow
And I had wings and I could fly
I'd fly away to my false true lover,
And when she'd ask, I would deny.

But Iam not no little sparrow,
I got no wings and I can't fly
I'll go away to some lonesome valley
Just sit and pass my troubles by.

If I had known before I courted
that loving was such a terrible crime
I'd have locked my heart in a box of golden
and tied it up with a silver twine.

Alternate Lyrics

They'll tell you some loving story
They'll declare to you their love is true
Then they will go away and court some other
And that's the love they have for you

They'll tell to you some loving story
And they make you think that they love you well
And away they'll go and court some other
And leave you there in grief to dwell

I wish I was a little sparrow
And I had wings with which to fly
Right over to see my false true-lover,
And when he's talking I'd be nigh.

But I'm not a little sparrow,
I have no wings with which to fly
So I sit here in grief and sorrow,
To weep and pass my troubles by.

I wish I was on some tall mountain
Where the Ivy rock is black as ink
I'd write a letter to my false true lover
Whose cheeks are like the morning pink

If I had known before I courted
that love was such a killing thing
I'd have locked my heart in a box of golden
and fastened it up with a silver pin.

Oh, love is handsome, love is charming
And love is pretty while it's new
But love grows cold as love grows older
And fades away like morning dew

My daddy was a handsome gambler
He had a chain five miles long
On every link a heart gets dangled
Of another maid he loved and wronged

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