"Death Letter" as written by and Eddie Son House....
I got a letter this mornin', how do you reckon it read?
It said, hurry, hurry, yeah, your love is dead
I got a letter this mornin, I say how do you reckon it read?
You know, it said, hurry, hurry, how come the gal you love is dead?

So, I grabbed up my suitcase, and took off down the road
When I got there she was layin' on a coolin' board
I grabbed up my suitcase, and I said and I took off down the road
I said, but when I got there she was already layin on a coolin' board

Well, I walked up right close, looked down in her face
Said, the good ol' gal got to lay here 'til the Judgment Day
I walked up right close, and I said I looked down in her face
I said the good ol' gal, she got to lay here 'til the Judgment Day

Looked like there was 10,000 people standin' round the buryin' ground
I didn't know I loved her 'til they laid her down
Looked like ten thousand were standin' round the buryin' ground
You know I didn't know I loved her 'til they damn laid her down

Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
I wouldn't mistreat you baby, for my weight in gold
I said, Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
You know I wouldn't mistreat nobody, baby, not for my weight in gold

Well, I folded up my arms and I slowly walked away
I said, farewell honey, I'll see you on Judgment Day
Ah, yeah, oh, yes, I slowly walked away
I said, farewell, farewell, I'll see you on the Judgment Day

You know I went in my room, I bowed down to pray
The blues came along and drove my spirit away
I went in my room, I said I bowed down to pray
I said the blues came along and drove my spirit away

You know I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
I didn't have a soul to throw my arms around
I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
You know, I didn't have nobody to throw my arms around

I loved you baby, like I love myself
You don't have me, you won't have nobody else
I loved you baby, better than I did myself
I said now if you don't have me, I didn't want you to have nobody else

You know, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
Ain't no satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do
Yeah, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
You know it don't look like satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do

Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where she used to lay
Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay

Got up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
You know, I must-a had them old walkin' blues
Got up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
Yeah, you know bout that, I must-a had them old walkin' blues

You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin', so I don't have to cry no more
You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin', you see, so I don't have to cry no more

Ah, hush, thought I heard her call my name
If it wasn't so loud and so nice and plain
Ah, yeah
Mmmmmm

Well, listen, whatever you do
This is one thing, honey, I tried to get along with you
Yes, no tellin' what you do
I done everything I could, just to try and get along with you

Well, the minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
It seemed like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways
Minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
Seems like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways

You know, love's a hard ol' fall, make you do things you don't wanna do
Love sometimes leaves you feeling sad and blue
You know, love's a hard ol' fall, make you do things you don't wanna do
Love sometimes make you feel sad and blue


Lyrics submitted by neverheardofhim, edited by StoogeKebab

"Death Letter" as written by Eddie Son House

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Death Letter song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentHe killed her, right?
    azkmon April 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno way the white stripes r the best version, other than this
    and this song rocks like woah
    neverheardofhimon April 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAha. I never read the song like that, azkm, but your interpretation works. Good close reading.

    "You don't have me, you won't have nobody else/
    I loved you baby, better than I did myself/
    I said now if you don't have me, I didn't want you to have nobody else..."

    "I done everything I could, just to try and get along with you..."
    "Seems like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways..."
    "You know, love's a hard ol' fall, make you do things you don't wanna do.."

    She cheated on him, perhaps, and he got his revenge?
    katkaon October 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe White Stripes cover is less morbid. Makes me like this version more.
    katkaon October 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI certainly think he killed her because she cheated on him.

    "Well, I walked up right close, looked down in her face
    Said, the good ol' gal got to lay here 'til the Judgment Day"

    To me that sounds almost like he's saying it with malice. She's dead and will now have to be judged for her sins (cheating on him). If she was not a sinner then she would be going to heaven.

    "Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
    I wouldn't mistreat you baby, for my weight in gold"

    Now we get a hint that maybe he had something to do with her death. Why is he asking for mercy? Why is he wicked? Unless he killed her...

    "Well, I folded up my arms and I slowly walked away
    I said, "Farewell honey, I'll see you on Judgment Day"

    He'll see her on Judgement day because he will be judged for her murder lol...

    "You know I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
    I didn't have a soul to throw my arms around
    I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
    You know, I didn't have nobody to throw my arms around"

    He starts feeling regret over his actions.

    "I loved you baby, better than I did myself
    I said now if you don't have me, I didn't want you to have nobody else"

    This one almost comes out and says it that he killed her. Either for adultery...or maybe she just broke up with him and he killed her for that.

    "Ah, hush, thought I heard her call my name
    If it wasn't so loud and so nice and plain
    Ah, yeah
    Mmmmmm

    Well, listen, whatever you do
    This is one thing, honey, I tried to get along with you
    Yes, no tellin' what you do
    I done everything I could, just to try and get along with you"

    This is my favorite part of the whole song and it comes out very well in some versions. He gets spooked and think he hears her voice from the dead come back to haunt him. He then goes to explain to the voice/ghost/his imagination that love makes you do strange things and that's why he killed her.
    tsb2rxnon April 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningHe has two versions o the 1965 Album.

    One is filled with a more spiteful bitter set of lyrics which depicts his disgust in her. It portrays him harming her some way, but never mentions violence.

    The other seems to discribes him loving her and morning for her loss. It also give the feel as she left him against his wishes.

    A lot of people seem to read into the "judgement day" lyrics as if he killed her,. Remember Son House most undoubtably believed everyone stands to be judged. Thats the good vs evil battle that makes us all interested in him.
    bluesnawayon October 28, 2011   Link
  • -2
    General CommentOMG I'm the first to comment??????? this song is so good! Johnny Farmers version is much better tho......lalalala
    cupidkilleron April 19, 2006   Link
  • -2
    General CommentThe White stripes version is practically Noise, This version is Great, There are two version 1960's recording and a 1940's Alan lomax recording.
    FackingHellon August 30, 2006   Link

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