Letter that Never Came, The

DESCRIPTION: Day after day, a man asks the mail carrier if there is a letter for him. Day after day, he is disappointed. The chorus asks from whom the letter might come. But come it never does; the man dies, and asks that the letter, if it comes, be buried with him
AUTHOR: Paul Dresser (1857-1906) and Max Sturm
EARLIEST DATE: 1886 (date of composition)
KEYWORDS: death lastwill
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE) Ireland
REFERENCES (5 citations):
OCroinin-Cronin 170, "The Letter That He Longed For Never Came" (1 text, 1 tune)
Stout 47, p. 64, "The Letter That Never Came" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 699, "The Letter that Never Came" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Rorrer, p. 76, "The Letter That Never Came" (1 text)
Gilbert, p. 142, "The Letter that Never Came" (1 text)

ST Gil142 (Full)
Roud #4860
RECORDINGS:
Blue Ridge Mountain Singers, "The Letter that Never Came" (Columbia 15580-D, 1930)
Pie Plant Pete [pseud. for Claude Moye], "The Letter That Never Came" (Supertone 9363, 1929)
Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "The Letter That Never Came" (Columbia 15179-D, 1927; on CPoole01, CPoole05)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "No Letter in the Mail" (theme)
cf. "The Eight-Pound Bass" (tune and structure)
NOTES: Gilbert observes that this song, unlike almost all popular music, preserves the mystery to the end: We never do learn from whom the letter might have come.
For the story of Paul Dresser, see the notes to "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: Gil142

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