> Folk Music > Songs > There’s a Long, Long Trail

There’s a Long, Long Trail

[ Roud 23525 ; Ballad Index DTlngtra ; DT LNGTRAIL ; Mudcat 102106 ; Stoddard King, Alonzo ‘Zo’ Elliott (December 1913)]

New Victory Band sang a Long, Long Trail n 1978 on their Topic album One More Dance & Then. They noted:

Pete and Chris [Coe] heard Long, Long Trail from Chris’s Mum. The song was popular during the First World War.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang their Great War Trilogy (comprising The Valley of the Shadow, The Old Barbed Wire and Long, Long Trail) in 1992 on their Golden Hind “Pandora’s box of English folk songs” album, A Present From the Gentlemen. They noted:

Our World War I Trilogy includes The Old Barbed Wire, a soldier’s view of life at the front; There’s a Long, Long Trail, a marching song composed in 1913 by Zo Elliott and Stoddard King; and Valley of the Shadow, written by Paul Clark for a play called Days of Pride, produced at Stantonbury Theatre in 1981. This last is based on Hawtin Mundy’s recollections of the Battle of Arras.

June Tabor sang Lyn McDonald’s The Nurse, Dorothy Nicol, Stoddard King’s The Long, Long Trail and Bill Caddick’s The Reaper on the 1993 album We Died in Hell—They Called it Passchendaele. This track was also included in 2005 on her Topic anthology Always.

Coope Boyes Simpson sang There’s a Long, Long Trail in 2014 on their No Masters album In Flanders Fields. They noted:

Written for a student concert at Yale University in 1913, it achieved wider popularity during the war.

Harp and a Monkey sang The Long, Long Trail on their 2016 album War Stories. They noted:

We have used the chorus from this popular contemporary song of the day as the setting for an unusual story that we picked up on our travels. Connie Noble recalls how her father, after being wounded on the battlefield and left stranded in no-man’s land, was astonished when the first person to come across him was none other than the brother he had not seen since they had joined up. On recovering from his wounds in Scotland, he heard that this same brother was home on leave and immediately asked for a pass to return to Rochdale to see him. The matron refused as she said there were procedures that needed to be followed. The result of the delay caused by this ‘red tape’ would come to haunt Connie’s father.

Alice Jones sang Long, Long Trail A-Winding on her 2016 album Poor Strange Girl. She noted:

This was a very popular song during the First World War. The lyrics are by Stoddard King and the tune was composed by Alonzo Elliott. I learnt this song from Pete and Chris Coe. It was taught to them by Chris’ Mum, Kath Richards, who was my next-door neighbour and beloved “terrace Gran”. This song is dedicated to her memory. I will forever miss her and I will always be thinking of her whenever I sing it.


John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing Long, Long Trail

Nights are getting very lonely, days are very long,
And I am growing weary only, listening for your song.
And old remembrances are thronging through my memory,
Thronging till it seems the world is full of dreams, just to bring you back to me.

Chorus (after each verse):
There’s a long, long trail a-winding into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing and the white moon gleams,
There’s a long, long night of waiting until my dreams all come true,
And that’s the day when I’ll be going down that long, long trail with you.

Sometimes I think I hear you calling, calling sweet and low,
And I seem to hear your footsteps falling everywhere I go,
But though the road between us stretches many’s the weary mile,
Somehow I forget that you’re not with me yet, when I think I see you smile.