Rosa Lee McFall

Lyrics: Charlie Monroe
Music: Charlie Monroe

This was played a few times by the Grateful Dead in acoustic sets in 1970 and then again in 1980. Garcia also played it with the Black Mountain Boys on 7 March 1964 and later with the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band in 1987.

The title on the LP "Reckoning" was given as 'Rosalie McFall'. But the original Monroe Brothers' LP has the title 'Rosa Lee McFall' and that is what is used on the CD version of "Reckoning".

Out on the lonely hillside
In a cabin low and small
Lived the sweetest rose of color
My Rosa Lee McFall

Her hair was brightsome color (note 1)
Her voice was sweet to me
I know that I will always love her
And I hope that she loved me

A asked her to be my darling
And this is what she said
You know that I will only be happy (note 2)
When you and I are wed

Then God way up in heaven
One day for her did call
I lost my bride, oh how I loved her
My Rosa Lee McFall

I've searched the wide world over (note 3)
Cities great and small
But I've never found another
Like my Rosa Lee McFall

Out on the lonely hillside
In a cabin low and small
Lived the sweetest rose of color
My Rosa Lee McFall
Notes
(1) I had thought this was a mistake. But "brightsome" is a word ("Bright; clear; luminous; brilliant" according to Webster's), and many versions of the lyrics to "East Virginia" have a similar line beginning "Her hair was of some brightsome color" (eg Alan Lomax's collection). The Monroe Brothers' version, however, was:
"Her eyes were bright and shiny"
and that seems to be what Garcia sang back in 1964 with the Black Mountain Boys.
(2) the Monroe Brothers version is "You know that I'll always be happy"
(3) the Monroe Brothers sing a rather different verse:
I've roamed the wide world over
Through cities great and small
Till God prepares my home in heaven
With
Rosa Lee McFall
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     25 Sep 1980 Reckoning
 
Jerry Garcia Recordings
      Oct 1987 Pure Jerry 3: Lunt-Fontanne: Best Of The Rest Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
     24 Oct 1987 Ragged But Right Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
     4/5 Feb 1993 Pizza Tapes Garcia/Grisman/Rice
 
Other Dead-Related Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1984 Red Hot Pickers Peter Rowan
     1993 Dead Ringers Dead Ringers

The original Monroe Brothers recording is on their LP "Early Bluegrass Music".

Peter Rowan's version with the Red Hot Pickers has rather different lyrics:
Up on a lonely hillside
In a cabin low and small
Lived my sweeheart of the mountains
My Rosa Lee McFall

Her eyes were bright and shiny
And her lips were ruby red
On her breast she wore white lilies
Where I long to lay my head

Her eyes like flowing rivers
Her lips were sweet as wine
I told her that we could be happy
If she'd only say she's mine

But God way up in heaven
For her one day did call
I missed my girl, oh how I loved her
My Rosa Lee McFall

I'll roam this wide world over
Through cities great and small
Till God prepares my home in heaven
With Rosa Lee McFall




Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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