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Song's chords G, C, D
Album Rum Sodomy & the Lash
Info about song
Jesse James became a hero in folklore even before he died in 1882. A significant manifestation of this development was the emergence of a wide body of music that celebrates or simply alludes to Jesse James. The most of all of the famous song about Jesse James is the popular American folk song "Jesse James" recorded in 1924 by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and subsequently by many artists, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, The Pogues, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen on his 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The song contains the lyric "But that dirty little coward / That shot Mr. Howard / Has laid poor Jesse in his grave." The lyrics of the song include a claim of authorship by Billy Gashade. The song is pro-James, as many, especially Confederates, were at the time. The song portrays James much in the way he was portrayed in Kansas City Times by editor John Newman Edwards, as an American version of Robin Hood, though there is no evidence to indicate that he actually "stole from the rich and gave to the poor". The lyrics are however largely biographical and contain a great number of details from Jesse James' life. The killer of James mentioned in the lyrics, Robert Ford, was James' co-gang member, normally called Bob Ford, who lived with his brother, Charley Ford, in James' house towards his death, as James had grown severely paranoid and wanted them there for his protection. He was right to be paranoid, though, as the Fords had conspired with local law enforcement to bring in James. In the chorus, there is a reference to a Mr. Howard ("That dirty little coward (Ford, ed.) who shot Mr. Howard..."). This was the assumed name that James lived under in Saint Joseph, Missouri at the time of his killing. It is inaccurate, however, that it was Frank and Jesse James that robbed the Glendale train, as stated in the second verse. At the time of this robbery, Frank had settled down and James had assembled a new gang. On a much more minor note, James was shot dusting a picture, not hanging it up on the wall. He was on a ladder at the time, not wearing his guns and the Ford brothers went for it. Bob Ford got a shot off first, hitting James in the back of the head and killing him instantly Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
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