Little Bessie

DESCRIPTION: The little girl tells her mother that she is ill (with what sounds like heart disease). She reports that a voice called her, saying, "Come, be my child." The girl bids her mother not to grieve, then dies
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1928 (Recording, Buell Kazee)
KEYWORDS: death children mother religious
REFERENCES (3 citations):
McNeil-SFB2, pp. 172-173, "Little Bessie" (1 text, the same as that in Abrahams/Foss; 1 tune)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 132-134, "Little Bessie" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 122-123, "Little Bessie" (1 text, the same as that in McNeil-SFB2; 1 tune)

ST MN2172 (Partial)
Roud #4778
Leroy Anderson, "Little Bessie" (Champion 45059, 1935)
Blue Sky Boys, "Little Bessie" (Bluebird B-8017, 1939)
Dixon Brothers, "Little Bessie" (Montgomery Ward M-7171, 1937)
Kelly Harrell, "I Heard Somebody Call My Name" (Victor 23747, 1929; on KHarrell02)
Roscoe Holcomb, "Little Bessie" (on Holcomb1, HolcombCD1)
Buell Kazee, "Little Bessie" (Brunswick 215, 1928)
Holland Puckett, "Little Bessie" (Gennett 6720, 1928/Supertone 9324, 1929)
Kid Smith [Walter Smith] & Family, "Little Bessie" (Victor 23576, 1931)

NOTES [67 words]: McNeil reports that a song called "Little Bessie," credited to "someone named Keutchman," was published in 1870. No copies of this piece are known, however, so it cannot be determined if the two are the same.
Given how often this was recorded by old-time bands, and how rare it is in tradition, I have to suspect that Viola Cole (Foss's informant) learned it, at least indirectly, from a recording. - RBW
File: MN2172

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