Tom Dula's Lament
DESCRIPTION: "I pick my banjo now, I pick it on my knee, This time tomorrow night, It'll be no more use to me." Dula says that Laura (Foster) loved his banjo playing, and says he never knew how true her love was. He bids Ann (Melton) to kiss him goodbye
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: death execution music love
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
BrownII 304, "Tom Dula's Lament" (2 texts, but the second is a single-stanza fragment, not found in the "A" text, and is included in the "Tom Dooley" text sung by Frank Profitt)
McNeil-SMF, p. 24, "(Tom Dula)" (1 text)
ST BrII304 (Full)
Sheila Clark, "Tom Dula's Own Ballad" (on LegendTomDula)
cf. "The Murder of Laura Foster" [Laws F36] (subject)
cf. "Tom Dooley" [Laws F36A] (plot, lyrics)
NOTES [152 words]: This song may possibly be a rewritten version of "Tom Dooley" (or vice versa); they share lyrics, and can be sung to the same tune. But this one is in the first person, "Tom Dooley" mostly in third person. Plus this one shows Dula lamenting his errors -- which he never showed any sign of doing. They look separate to me, as they did to the editors of Brown.
As usual with goodnights, there is no evidence whatsoever that Tom Dula wrote this. And there was a reporter present at his execution, and John Edward Fletcher, PhD (with a foreword by Edith Marie Ferguson Carter), The True Story of Tom Dooley: From Western North Carolina Mystery to Folk Legend, History Press, 2013, p. 142, points out that this reporter makes no mention of Dula writing any such song (even though he was known to be a fiddler. He did not play banjo).
For background to the Dula story, see the notes to "Tom Dooley" [Laws F36A]. - RBW
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