Long Black Veil

This is an online fiddle lesson for the country ballad "Long Black Veil."

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Genre: Country
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of D, G

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Video #1: Here is a video of me playing the country song "Long Black Veil."

Long Black Veil - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Long Black Veil - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Long Black Veil - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

"Long Black Veil" is a 1959 country ballad, written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell. The writers stated that they drew on three sources for their inspiration: Red Foley's recording of "God Walks These Hills With Me", a contemporary newspaper report about the unsolved murder of a priest, and the legend of a mysterious veiled woman who regularly visited Rudolph Valentino's grave. Dill himself called it an "instant folksong."

Interestingly, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals referred to the song in the case United States v. Dayton, 604 F.2d 931, 935 n.3 (5th Cir. 1979). This case concerned the proper procedures trial court judges must take when accepting a guilty plea, and identified "the two most dangerous" pitfalls of a guilty plea as coerced pleas and ignorant pleas. In describing a modification made to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs acceptance of pleas, the court explained that the change required that "the defendant be made aware of what might happen as a result of his plea, and that the court be satisfied that a factual basis existed for it." It dropped a footnote at this point which stated, "This change was doubtless effected to avoid such circumstances as are recounted in 'The Long Black Veil.'"

Recorded in Nashville in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell and produced by Don Law, the single reached No. 6 on Billboard Hot C&W Sides chart. In the process, the song became Frizzell's best-performing single in five years.

source: Wikipedia

Long Black Veil
Ten years ago on a cold dark night
There was someone killed 'neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene and they all did agree
That the man who ran looked a lot like me

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

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave where the night winds wail
Nobody knows, no, and nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

The scaffold was high and eternity neared
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night when the cold wind moans
In a long black veil she cries over my bones

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Long Black Veil

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #28104
    John (BGD)

    A spooky old country ballad especially for the season.

    Long Black Veil

    Great Scott

    Loved it!!!!!!!    🙂



    Beautiful, love your voice John! Great tune , classic intro,
    Thank you,


    Thanks, John!  I like this old tune.  Love the breaks….I’ll have it in my toolbox now!!

    It is a scary tune though.

    Nobody knows….but me.

    John (BGD)

    [quote=28151]Nobody knows….but me.[/quote]

    A ghost with bad grammar. What could be more frightful?


    Stop, John, you’re killing me….so to speak.

    And, in the spirit (ha) of the song, afford some license.  “Nobody knows and nobody spies…”  just doesn’t have the same ring to it.


    John, I’m at a loss for words except for FANTASTIC. Beautiful breaks and what a sweet smooth voice you have! Many thanks for posting these songs.


    John (BGD)

    Hahaha Angela, you’re right. My mom was an English teacher for a while, and she still cringes when she listens to bluegrass music. When we first learned “Rocky Top,” she made us say “Wish that I were on old Rocky Top” (subjunctive mood) instead of “Wish that I was on old Rocky Top” (hillbilly mood). Eventually though, she just gave up.

    Thank you Ann! I appreciate that. It does feel good when a song is actually in my vocal range. I’m glad you enjoyed it!


    An unhappy song but the melody is fantastic.   Have often wished that the story had been happier but when I heard it again a few weeks back on an  old time radio station, I was thrilled.   Thank you for the help in learning it for the fiddle.  Will take a stab at it!

    John (BGD)

    Fantastic! Yep, it’s a classic. I’m looking forward to getting a lot more of the classic country fiddle breaks onto the site. Hope to hear you playing this in the Lion’s Den, Ralph!


    I love this tune.. my dad did this song but now also my son that is 21 is doing this song.. I seen more of a beginner version of this song on a fiddlehead video.. I wish I could get my hands on the tabs for that.. I’ve been trying very hard with double stops but I’m just not there yet..


    The tune seems a lot happier than it should…..


    MariaR….good point. Redwing is like that too!


    Hi Angela.

    Since RED WING is perhaps the first song that I recall ever hearing, as my Gramma sang it to me as a lullaby.  I’ve been working on it and have nearly gotten it to where I’d play it to someone else.

    The second song that I recall as a lullaby is River Of Memories  (also on my list) that my dad loved and sang to me and I could only recall the first line until finding it onYouTube.     Wonderful, wonderful memories!


    I can’t read it!    I can’t get the picture any larger.  The notes anymore since they’re so small and unreadable.   Is it only me?

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