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Thread: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

  1. #1
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    I'm listening to NGR's version of "he was a friend of mine" from a live recording of them circa 1972. #I think it's great. #i can't make out all the words.

    I am not familiar with this song at all. #Apparently Dylan, the Byrds, and others have performed version as I discovered whilst googling. #They seem sort of similar, but one (Dylans') seemed to be about JFK.

    ANYWAY, whatever version this is. #Maybe it's an original tune. #Does anyone know the lyrics? #(Key, and chords, and fully tabbed mando break will be gladly accepted as well!)

    It starts off like this:

    He was...he was a friend of mine.
    He was a friend of mine.
    He died without a penny
    He didn't have a dime
    He was a friend of mine.

    He died....he died on the ?? (hit em and run)[?]
    He died on the ??(hit em and run)[?]
    His xxxxxxx days were over, xxx he didn't xxxxxxxx.
    He died on the "hit em an run".

    Obviously I need some help.

    Alan



    Alan

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    Although it's been 30+ years since I've sung it, I'll give it a try. This is how I remember that verse:

    He died.......on the Gila Bend run
    He died.......on the Gila Bend run
    His wanderin' days were over, his loneliness was done
    When he died......on the Gila Bend run

    Although generally thought to be a very old folk song, the more modern version(s) can be attributed to Hoyt Axton.

    Hope this is of some help

  3. #3

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    the Country Gentlemen were probably the first to cut this with John Duffy on mandolin....probably back in the early 60's...

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    cbogle, thanks - I'd never have figured that out!

    (I know a Clyde Bogle out here in NC, but I see you are in CA.)

    Thanks also Scotti.
    Alan

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    Alan--

    Glad to help, and Clyde Bogle is no relation. In fact "Charles Bogle" is just a nickname I've had for years; my real name is Steve.

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    Sorry folks but I seem to remember this tune from an old Dave Van Ronk album I have from the 60's. I thought I was an old blues tune. I don't have the lyrics at hand but they are a bit different. Like many tunes, this one apparently has been truned around alot.
    Best,
    Eric

  7. #7
    Registered User KimRoulias's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Yes, thanks! I'm just learning that song, listening to the Rebel Recordings, and I was having a heck of a time with the "Gila Bend Run" part!!

    ~Kim from Texas
    Kim Roulias

  8. #8

    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Dave Van Ronk is the first place I heard it. It is an old blues standard.

    He was a friend of mine
    He was a friend of mine
    Never had no money paid for his wine
    He was a friend of mine

    He never done no wrong
    He never done no wrong
    He was just a poorboy
    Along way from home
    He was a friend of mine

    He died along the road
    he died along the road
    he was just a poor boy but he carried a heavy load
    he was a friend of mine

    I hung my head and cried
    I hung my head and cried
    When I hear his name ya know I just can't keep from crying
    He was a friend of mine

    That's how I remember it. I used to do this song and thinking about it the was no reason to stop it's really a great song. There might be another verse I can probably find it someplace.

  9. #9
    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Quote Originally Posted by ericwall View Post
    Sorry folks but I seem to remember this tune from an old Dave Van Ronk album I have from the 60's. I thought I was an old blues tune. I don't have the lyrics at hand but they are a bit different. Like many tunes, this one apparently has been truned around alot.
    Best,
    Eric
    I've got a really old Dave Van Ronk album with it too. I use too play the heck out of that thing.
    I Pick, Therefore I Grin! ... "Good Music Any OLD-TIME"

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    The Byrd's version wasn't the original lyrics. They were modernized.

    He was a friend of mine
    He was a friend of mine
    His killing has no purpose, no reason or rhyme
    He was a friend of mine

    He was in Dallas town
    He was in Dallas town
    From a sixth floor window a gunner shot him down
    He died in Dallas town

    He never knew my name
    He never knew my name
    Though I never met him, I knew him just the same
    Oh he was a friend of mine

    The leader of a nation for such a precious time
    Oh he was a friend of mine
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  12. #11
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    One of the bands I was in years ago did this number. Where we got it I don't remember...Country Gents?... and as best as I can recall, it went something like this;

    He was a friend of mine, he was a friend of mine
    He died without a penny, he didn't have a dime
    He was a friend of mine

    He died on the Gila Bend Run, died on the Gila Bend Run
    His lonely race is over, his lonely days are done
    He died on the Gila Bend Run

    He died 'neath the midnight sun, died 'neath the midnight sun
    His wandering days are over, his rambling days are done
    He died 'neath the midnight sun

    I stole away and cried, I stole away and cried
    The tears fell like rain drops, the night my old friend died
    I stole away and cried

    There's enough lyrics to this number on this thread you could make this one last 15 minutes I bet.


  13. #12
    Registered User bassthumper's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    i have both the van ronk and the bobdylan versions of this song...as well as possibly a half dozen others if i ventured to dig deep enough into my mountain of compact discs in the corner....to the best of my knowledge no two artists used the same lyrics....but that's what folk music is about....i may even write a few of my own lyrics over mornin' coffee....i don't recall hearing this song done on mando...but look forward to havin' some of ya'll do so and post some links a little further down this thread...possibly someone will do so as tribute to butch...a true freind to all of us mando addicted cafe members

  14. #13
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    It's all tremolo man, all tremolo...well almost all.


  15. #14
    Registered User Tom Mullen's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    I know this song from and old "Dian and the Greenbriar Boys" album in the early 60's. I was in a band (Coal Country) with Mandozilla's brother (Tom Evans) and we did this song on a regular basis.
    Tom Mullen
    Tulsa, OK

  16. #15
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    That's where we got it!...Coal Country...good band BTW.

    How you doin' Tom?


  17. #16
    Registered User ira's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    a neo folk group in the 80s- the washington squares (who also did their own tunes as well as other blues/folk covers-including a great "samson and delilah") also covered this tune.

  18. #17
    Registered User ira's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    to give a listen to this trio do it- kind of an amped up version:
    http://amiestreet.com/music/the-washington-squares/

  19. #18
    Registered User northfolk's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Quote Originally Posted by cbogle View Post
    Alan--

    Glad to help, and Clyde Bogle is no relation. In fact "Charles Bogle" is just a nickname I've had for years; my real name is Steve.
    That is interesting. Charles Bogle was the pen name W. C. Fields used as the writer/director of many of his films?
    Thanks for your support?

  20. #19
    Expert on my own opinion Bogle's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Indeed it was a W.C. Fields pseudonym, northfolk. I've always been a fan of the Fields wit.....so much that my friends started calling me by that name. I occasionally used it as a stage name through the years as well, mainly to confuse folks.

    Another favorite is "Snead Hearn"....however, Ed Neff beat me to it!

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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Quote Originally Posted by KimRoulias View Post
    Yes, thanks! I'm just learning that song, listening to the Rebel Recordings, and I was having a heck of a time with the "Gila Bend Run" part!!

    ~Kim from Texas
    Kim
    Ronald from N Texas heard this song this week from Country Gentleman. Great song and was wondering how I can meet bluegrass musicians in our area. Just see your from Dallas and I live North of there.
    Thank you.

  22. #21
    Registered User KimRoulias's Avatar
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Hey, Ronald. Southwest Bluegrass Club has a meeting in Grapevine, and they put out a newsletter of local/regional events.
    Kim Roulias

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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Kim
    Thank you so much for information from Grapevine. I was aware they used to have the Grapevine opry. Do you know how I can get this information? I will try googliing Southwest Bluegrass Club. I really do appreciate this info.
    Thank you Kim,
    Ronald West

  24. #23
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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Kim
    I did find the site of SWBC. Surprised that there not many here in Texas. Found music groups next month in Skiatook Ok, Grove Ok, Davis Ok, and Wylie Tx. Those will be the closest and thank you again for this information.
    Ronald West

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    Default Re: He Was A Friend of Mine - lyrics

    Hello Kim
    Just found out that Grapevine has meetings every second Saturday of the month. Hope to make it next month.
    Thank you again for your help.
    Ronald

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