Weavers ( The ) - On Top Of Old Smoky

First performance: 25/10/1980


Bruce covered the song only once:
1980-10-25 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR 
Only performance of traditional folk song "On Top Of Old Smokey" (sung in reference to Mount St. Helens, which erupted in May 1980).


On top of old smokey a traditional folk song of the United States. It is catalogued as Roud Folk Song Index No. 414. Using an arrangement by Pete Seeger, The Weavers recorded a version which reached the pop music charts in 1951. It is unclear when, where and by whom the song was first sung. In historical times folksongs were the informal property of the communities that sang them, passed down through generations. They were published only when a curious person took the trouble to visit singers and document their songs, an activity that in America began only around the turn of the 20th century. For this reason it is unlikely that an originator of "On Top of Old Smoky" could ever be identified.

Bruce on the artist

"We got a special song, we learned it just for Portland….somebody told me that that mountain is only 40 miles away….lookout, I think it´s a-rumbling….Steve…"


On top of old Smokey
All covered with snow
I lost my true lover
For courtin' so slow
For courting's a pleasure (for courting's a pleasure)
But parting is grief (but parting is grief)
And the false hearted lover (and the false hearted lover)
Is worse than a thief (is worse than a thief)
A thief will just rob you (a thief will just rob you)
And take what you have (and take what you have)
But a false hearted lover (but a false hearted lover)
Will lead you to the grave (will lead you to the grave)
And the grave will decay you (and the grave will decay you)
Turn you to dust (and turn you to dust)
Not one boy in a hundred (not one boy in a hundred)
A poor girl can trust (a poor girl can trust)
They'll hug you and kiss you (they'll hug you and kiss you)
Tell you more lies (and tell you more lies)
Than cross ties on a railroad (than cross ties on a railroad)
Or the stars in the sky (or stars in the sky)
So come all you young maidens (come all you young maidens)
And listen to me (and listen to me)
Never place your affection (never place your affection)
On a green willow tree (on a green willow tree)
For the leaves they will wither (the leaves they will wither)
And roots they will die (the roots they will die)
You'll all be forsaken (you'll all be forsaken)
And never know why (and never know why)