Little Willie's My Darlin

WPA Painting, circa 1930.

Nothing to do with the song, really, I just liked it.

This variant of 'Down in the Valley' can be heard on Mike and Peggy Seeger's wonderfully tender album 'Fly Down Little Bird'. It included several songs they had learned as kids, listening while their mother Ruth Crawford Seeger transcribed field recordings for the Lomax's.

Mike passed away not long before the album was published.

Little Willie is from the singing of George W. Smith, recorded in Raleigh, NC, 1934 by John and Alan Lomax.


Little Willie's my darling, little Willie's my dear
If you think I don't love her, you got a foolish idea.

She said that she loved me just to give my heart ease
Just as soon as my back was turned she loved who she pleased.

I rapped on her window, I knocked on her door
She give me short answer, "Don't knock there no more."

Little Willie's my darling . . .

The judge said, "Stand up, George, and dry up your tears;
You're sentenced to Raleigh for twenty-two years."

She wrote me one letter, she sent it by mail
She sent it in care of the Washington jail.

Sitting in the prison with my back to the wall
Old corn whisky was the cause of it all.

Little Willie's my darling . . .

Gonna build me one steeple on a mountain so high
So I can see Willie passin' on by.

If I'd only listened to what mother said
I'd have been there today in her feather bed.

Little Willie's my darling . . .