O’, I’m a Good Old Rebel

 

Something for the weekend.  O’, I’m a Good Old Rebel by Major James Randolph.  When it was published in Louisiana in 1866 it bore an ironic dedication to Radical Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens.  This rendition is sung by Bobby Horton, who has fought a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.  It is the most moving rendition I have heard of this song, with Horton conveying well the bitterness and despair felt by almost all Confederates after the conclusion of the War.  The author served on the staff of General J.E.B. Stuart.  The song has always been popular in the South and was a favorite of Queen Victoria’s son, the future Edward VII, who referred to it as “that fine American song with cuss words in it.”

O, I’m a good old Rebel,
Now that’s just what I am,
For this “Fair Land of Freedom”
I do not care a damn;

I’m glad I fit against it —
I only wish we’d won,
And I don’t want no pardon
For anything I done.

I hates the Constitution,
This Great Republic too,
I hates the Freedman’s Buro,
In uniforms of blue;

I hates the nasty eagle,
With all his brags and fuss,
The lyin’, thievin’ Yankees,
I hates ’em wuss and wuss.

I hates the Yankee nation
And everything they do,
I hates the Declaration
Of Independence too;

I hates the glorious Union —
‘Tis dripping with our blood —
I hates their striped banner,
I fit it all I could.

I followed old mass’ Robert
For four year, near about,
Got wounded in three places
And starved at Pint Lookout;

I cotch the rheumatism
A campin’ in the snow,
But I killed a chance of Yankees,
I’d like to kill some mo’.

Three hundred thousand Yankees
Is stiff in Southern dust;
We got three hundred thousand
Before they conquered us;

They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot,
I wish they was three million
Instead of what we got.

I can’t take up my musket
And fight ’em now no more,
But I ain’t going to love ’em,
Now that is sarten sure;

And I don’t want no pardon
For what I was and am,
I won’t be reconstructed
And I don’t care a damn.

Here is a version sung in the movie The Long Riders (1980):

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Published in: on May 30, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Anymore information on the author? I understand it was penned as a poem and when was it first set to music?

  2. Craig the song first was published in 1914, although it had been sung since the Civil War, beginning when it was written in 1866. The tune is from “John Bowers” a song which became popular in the Gold Rush of 1849 in California.

    The song was indeed first a poem and here is more info on the author:

    http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/lp-2001/randolph.html

    Here is more on the song:

    http://www.banjohangout.org/topic/195688


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