He deceives his best friend and pays with his life

 Long Black Veil
A man is in love with his best friend's wife. One night he sleeps with her. The man has deceived his friend, so now fate comes to test him. He's accused of an unrelated murder on that same night. He lied to his best friend, and now he only has to tell the truth to save himself. His alibi is that he was with his friend's wife. Will he betray his love by telling the truth, or will he lie and condemn himself to death?

This song was originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1959, and has been covered by The Band, Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris, the Chieftains with Mick Jagger, Burl Ives, and many others. There are lots of great versions of this song. This one's from 1969, on the first episode of The Johnny Cash Show, as a duet with 26-year old Joni Mitchell.


To me, this song is similar in tone and theme to the folk song Tom Dooley, made famous by The Kingston Trio. (And it may also concern one person lying to help another - see Wikipedia>>)




Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, 'neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed

That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me


The judge said son, what is your alibi?
If you were somewhere else, you won't have to die
I spoke not a word, though it meant my life
I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife 

Oh, the scaffold stood high and eternity was near
She stood in the crowd but she shed not a tear
But sometimes at night, when the cold wind calls
She comes to my grave and she mourns over my bones

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me


Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

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