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Pilgrim, Lone

World Gone Wrong
On Mon, 17 Mar 1997 03:07:01 GMT, in 
Man of Peace ( wrote:

RK, a houseguest of  RJATKO  wrote:

>Of Dylan's last two albums the song I'm mystified by is "Lone Pilgrim"
>it says writer unknown on my tabelture.  I'm wondering if he wrote that
>one himself, that and "Hard Times" are two of my faves.

Dylan himself names the source of "Lone Pilgrim"[aka "The White
Pilgrim" or "Lonely Tombs"] in his liner notes: The recording by 
Doc Watson (with Gaither Carlton, fiddle) on "The Doc Watson Family"
(Folkways FA 2366, 1963; CD reissue -- with additional tracks --
Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40012, 1990). In the liner notes to this
album, D. K. Wilgus writes:
"Legends of its origin and claims to its authorship are many. The 'White Pilgrim' form has been attributed to B. F. White (The Sacred Harp, 1911); the 'Lone Pilgrim' to William Walker (Southern Harmony, 1847; Christian Harmony, 1866)... The White Pilgrim was Joseph Thomas, a 'New Light Christian' evangelist who dressed in white raiment and traveled through much of the area east of the Mississippi from July 6, 1815, to April 9, 1835, when he died of the smallpox in Johnsonburg, New Jersey. In the fall of 1838, a fellow preacher, Elder John Ellis of Dayton, Ohio, visited the grave of the Pilgrim and composed the poem which the author said was 'sung around the world.' At any rate, the song appeared in various shape-note hymnals and on at least one broadside, gained three stanzas in its various appearances, and has been collected by folklorists from Vermont to California... In some Northern hymn books, including those edited by Elder Ellis, the text is set to 'Lily Dale', but the more popular tune is the one Doc sings, a set of 'The Braes of Balquhidder'...."
This info (along with the original lyrics) has also been included on my site listed in the signature block. "Hard Times" is by Stephen Foster, the oldest recording in my collection is by The Sons of The Pioneers in the 1930s, but Dylan's source IMO is most likely Jennifer Warnes (who featured the song on one of her late 1970s albums which also contained a Dylan cover -- I do not have the album on hand right now). Emmylou Harris also covered "Hard Times" with The Nash Ramblers shortly before Dylan recorded his version, but her version has partially different lyrics from those sung by Dylan while the Jennifer Warnes version is almost identical to Dylan's version. And since Jennifer covered a Dylan song on the same album, it is IMO likely that Bob received a complimentary copy of that album. Following some clues from my detective bag -- hope this helps. -- Man of Peace "Roots, Routes and Ramblings" Dylan Home Page at

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