When First To This Country (I)

DESCRIPTION: The singer courts Nancy, who turns him down; he steals a horse and is imprisoned. He complains of his ill-treatment, then adds "With my hands in my pockets and my cap put on so bold/With my coat of many colors, like Jacob of old"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1934 (field recording, Gant Family)
KEYWORDS: courting love rejection prison theft thief
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Lomax-Singing, pp. 315-316, "When First To This Country a Stranger I Came" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 29, "When First To This Country" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 71, "When First Unto This Country" (1 text)
DT, WHENFRST*

Roud #15600
RECORDINGS:
Maggie & Foy Gant, "When First Unto This Country" (LC 65 A2)
New Lost City Ramblers, "When First Unto This Country" (on NLCR02, NLCRCD1)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "In Eighteen-Forty-Nine" (floating lyrics)
cf. "When First To This Country (II)" ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics)
cf. "The Banks of the Bann (I)" [Laws O2] ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics)
cf. "The Frowns That She Gave Me" ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics) and references there
cf. "When First Into this Country" ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics) and references there
cf. "When First To This Country (II)" ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics) and references there
cf. "In Eighteen-Forty-Nine" ("When First Unto This Country" lyrics) and references there
ALTERNATE TITLES:
When First unto this Country
NOTES: This should not be confused with the kids' song "When I First Came to This Land," written -- well, translated -- by Oscar Brand in the 1940s. -PJS
[Or with the whalers' song "When First Into this Country." - RBW]
Paul Stamler mentions the prisoner's "coat of many colors," which he believes unconnected with the rest of the song. He may be right -- considering that the person who wore the "coat of many colors" (properly a "long robe with sleeves") was Jacob's son Joseph.
However, it is worth noting that Joseph's possession of the robe (which the author presumably thought resembled prison apparel) caused his brothers to resent him; the end result was that Joseph became a prisoner in Egypt. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
File: CSW029

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