> Sandy Denny > Songs > Paul McNeill: Tell Old Bill

Tell Old Bill

[ Roud 7876 ; Ballad Index San018 ; trad. arr. A. Johnson]

Paul McNeill sang Tell Old Bill, with Sandy Denny singing background vocals, on the 1967 album Alex Campbell and His Friends.

Jon Wilks sang Tell Old Bill on a 2020 download single. He noted:

My arrangement of a song I first heard Bob Dylan sing, who probably first heard it himself from Dave Van Ronk, who probably heard it himself from Carl Sandburg. And so it continues down the line. In a hurry-up wagon. This morning, this evening, so soon.

Lyrics

Paul McNeill sings Tell Old Bill

I tell old Bill when he gets home this morning,
I tell old Bill when he gets home this evening,
I tell old Bill when he gets home,
To leave them downtown women alone
This morning, this evening, so soon.

Now old Bill's wife she was baking bread this morning,
Now old Bill's wife she was baking bread this evening,
Now old Bill's wife she was baking bread
They came and told her Bill was dead
This morning, this evening, so soon.

Oh no, that can't be so, this morning,
Oh no, that can't be so, this evening,
Oh no, that can't be so
Bill only left for town half an hour ago
This morning, this evening, so soon.

They brought Bill home on a hurry-up wagon this morning,
They brought Bill home on a hurry-up wagon this evening,
They brought Bill home on a hurry-up wagon
His head was down and his feet were dragging
This morning, this evening, so soon.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origin: Tell Old Bill.