Published on Feb 4, 2010
Doc Watson performs the bittersweet traditional American murder ballad "Omie Wise" from his wonderful folk album, "The Essential Doc Watson."
Oh, listen to my story, I'll tell you no lies,
How John Lewis did murder poor little Omie Wise.
He told her to meet him at Adams's Springs.
Said he'd bring her money and other fine things.
So, fool-like she met him at Adams's Springs.
No money he brought her nor other fine things.
"Go with me, little Omie, and away we will go.
Off to get married and no one will know."
She climbed up behind him and away they did go,
But off to the river where deep waters flow.
"John Lewis, John Lewis, will you tell me your mind?
Do you intend to marry me or leave me behind?"
"Little Omie, little Omie, I'll tell you my mind.
My mind is to drown you and leave you behind."
"Have mercy on my baby and spare me my life,
I'll go home as a beggar and never be your wife."
He kissed her and he hugged her then he turned her around,
And pushed her in deep waters where he knew that she would drown.
He jumped on his pony and away he did ride,
As the screams of little Omie went down by his side.
T'was on one Thursday morning, the rain came pouring down,
When the people searched for Omie but she could not be found.
Two boys went to-fishin' one fine summer day,
And they saw little Omie's body go floating away.
Then they threw their net around her and drew her to the bank.
Her clothes all wet and muddy, they laid her on a plank.
They sent for John Lewis to come to that place --
And they brought her out before him so that he might see her face.
Though he made no confession, they carried him to jail,
No friends nor relations would go on his bail.
More about Naomi "Omie" Wise:
(c) 1964 Vanguard Records.