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