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Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

[ Roud 4353 ; Ballad Index Wa157 ; VWML RoudFS/S406113 ; Bodleian Roud 4353 ; Mudcat 71244 ; J.E. Carpenter, W.T. Wrighton (ca 1864)]

Frank and Anne Warner collected Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still from sisters Eleazar Tillett and Martha Etheridge on the Outer Banks, North Carolina, in 1951. They printed it in their 1984 book Traditional American Folk Songs. The sisters' verses below are those as transcribed by Joe Offer from Her Bright Smile Hauts Me Still: The Warner Collection Volume 1 (Appleseed Recordings, 2000); compared to the printed version verses 2 and 3 are swapped and there are minor changes to the words.

Sara Grey and Ellie Ellis sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still in 1986 on their Greenwich Village album You Gave Me a Song….

Brian Peters sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still on his 2003 CD Different Tongues. He noted:

Sara Grey and Ellie Ellis used to do Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, and I've always loved it. It's another one from the Warners, collected by them on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and traceable back to a composition by W.T. Wrighton and J.E. Carpenter in [1864].

Elizabeth LaPrelle sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still on her 2011 CD Birds' Advice. She noted:

This one started life as a broadside in Scotland in 1864. Many folks get their version from The Warner Collection—and it can be found now on Her Bright Smile Hauts Me Still: The Warner Collection Volume 1 from Appleseed Recordings. I first heard it from Julia Friend at the Indian Neck Folk Festival in Connecticut, singing in magical harmony with Chloe Mayer.

Jeff Warner sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still in 2001 on his WildGoose CD Long Time Travelling. He noted:

The Warners [Jeff Warner's parents] got this song from Eleazar Tillett (1875-1968) in 1951. The Tilletts, a fishing family, lived in Wanchese, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. The song was composed in circa 1864, words by J.E. Carpenter, music by W.T. Wrighton, and went into oral tradition. It was published by Joanna Colcord in her 1924 book Roll and Go. She says that it is a “composed song of the last century.”

Alice Jones sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still on her 2016 CD Poor Strange Girl. She noted:

Thise song was collected by Frank and Anne Warner from sisters Eleazar Tillett and Martha Etheridge in 1951. The words were written by J.E. Carpenter with the tune composed by W.T. Wrighton.

The Teacups sang Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, with their lyrics from Anne Warner's book, in 2020 on their third and final album, In Which…. They noted:

This haunting lament was collected from Eleazar Tillett and Martha Etheridge in 1951 by Anne and Frank Warner. This song spoke to Will [Finn] at a challenging time in his life and he brought it to the band for the arrangement it deserved.

Lyrics

Eleazar Tillett and Martha Etheridge sing Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

It's been a year since last we met,
We may never meet again.
I have struggled to forget
But the struggle was in vain.
For her voice lives on the breeze,
And her spirit comes at will,
𝄆 In the midnight on the seas
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

I have sailed 'neath alien skies,
And I've trod the desert path,
I have seen the storm arise
Like a giant in his wrath.
Every danger I have known
That a reckless life can fill,
𝄆 No, her presence is not flown,
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

At the first sweet dawn of light,
When I gaze upon the deep,
Her form still greets my sight
While the stars their vigil keep.
When I close my aching eyes
Sweet dreams my memory fill,
𝄆 And from sleep when I arise
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

Jeff Warner sings Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

It's been a year since last we met,
We may never meet again.
I have struggled to forget
But the struggle was in vain.
For her voice lives on the breeze,
And her spirit comes at will,
𝄆 In the midnight on the seas
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

I have sailed 'neath alien skies,
I have chartered hazard's path,
I have seen the storm arise
Like a giant in his wrath.
Every danger I have known
That a reckless life can fill,
𝄆 Though her presence is now flown,
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

At the first sweet dawn of light,
When I gaze upon the deep,
Her form still fills my sight
While the stars their vigil keep.
When I close my aching eyes
Sweet dreams my memory fill,
𝄆 And from sleep when I arise
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

The Teacups sing Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

It's been a year since last we met,
We may never meet again.
I have struggled to forget
But the struggle was in vain.
For her voice lives on the breeze,
And her spirit comes at will,
𝄆 In the midnight on the seas
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

At the first sweet dawn of light,
When I gaze upon the deep,
Her form still greets my sight
While the stars their vigils keep.
When I close my aching eyes
Sweet dreams my senses fill,
𝄆 And from sleep when I arise
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇

I have sailed 'neath alien skies,
I have trod the desert path,
I have seen the storm arise
Like a giant in his wrath.
Every danger I have known
That a reckless life can fill,
𝄆 Yet her presence is not flown,
Her bright smile haunts me still. 𝄇