Pickle My Bones in Alcohol
DESCRIPTION: A dying request, with the verse, "When I die don't bury me at all... Just pickle my bones in alcohol" (or, sometimes, corn pone). The rest of the song varies widely, usually with other requests for the burial; it may also have blues floating verses
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: drink burial floatingverses
FOUND IN: US(SE) West Indies
REFERENCES (3 citations):
BrownIII 38, "Pickle My Bones in Alcohol" (1 relatively full text, 3 fragments plus mention of 2 more)
BrownSchinhanV 38, "Pickle My Bones in Alcohol" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
Shay-Barroom, p. 24, "When I Die" (1 short text)
Edith Perrin, "When I Die" [fragment] (on USWarnerColl01)
cf. "Hard Times in the Mill (I)" (floating lyrics)
NOTES: This piece is one of those Big Problems, because the key verse ("When I die don't bury me at all") floats, and also has a variable ending. We do the best we can with it.
Edith Perrin's West Indian version is so distinct that I thought about calling it a separate song:
Mama, when I die
Don't you bury me at all
Just cure my bone and body in alcohol.
Two bottles of beer,
One at my head and one at my feet,
Then to show the world
That my bones can cure,
My bones can cure.
I suspect that this may have mixed in part of another song -- just possibly, in fact, a religious song, since the Bible tells, e.g., of the curative power of Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:21). But we really need more text to prove it.
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.