Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Trad Tuesday: The Blackest Crow sung by Bruce Molsky and Cara Dillon

The origin of The Blackest Crow is hard to pin down. It’s also known as My Dearest Dear and The Time Draws Near. The tune was heard in both the Appalachians and the Ozarks after the Civil War, though no recordings of it are found in the early years of commercial music. Most of the lyrics still used today appear in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag (1927) as The Lover’s Lament.

Current knowledge of the song grew mainly through the teachings of fiddler Tommy Jarrell (1901-1985) who included it in his old-time repertoire as My Dearest Dear. Contemporary artists who have recorded The Blackest Crow include Jean Ritchie, Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, Bruce Molsky and Uncle Earl.


As time draws near my dearest dear when you and I must part
How little you know of the grief and woe in my poor aching heart
Each night I suffer for your sake, you're the girl I love so dear
I wish that I was going with you or you were staying here
The blackest crow that ever flew would surely turn to white
If ever I prove false to you bright day will turn to night
Bright day will turn to night my love, the elements will mourn
If ever I prove false to you the seas will rage and burn
And when you're on some distant shore think of your absent friend
And when the wind blows high and clear a light to me pray send
And when the wind blows high and clear pray send your love to me
That I might know by your hand light how time has gone with thee

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