Jesse James

Words & Music:

Traditional American (1800s)


This is published in a "Strum It!" arrangement in the September 2009 issue of Acoustic Guitar.


      C                   F             C                            G   G7

Jesse James was a lad, he killed many a man.  He robbed the Glendale train.

C                          F                         C        G7        C

He stole from the rich & he gave to the poor; he'd a hand & a heart & a brain.



     F                   C                                              G    G7

Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life.  Three children, they were brave.

         C            C7          F           C                    G7           C

But that dirty little coward that shot Mister Howard has laid poor Jesse in his grave.


It was on a Wednesday night, the moon was shining bright, when they robbed the Glendale train.

With the agent on his knees, he delivered up the keys to the outlaws Frank and Jesse James.

[alt last two lines: "The people, they did say for many miles away

It was robbed by Frank & Jesse James.]




It was on a Saturday night when Jesse was at home, talking to his family brave.

Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night & laid poor Jesse in his grave.




It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward.  I wonder how he feels?

For he ate of Jesse's bread & he slept in Jesse's bed, then he laid poor Jesse in his grave.




The people held their breath when they heard of Jesse's death,

They wondered how he ever came to fall.

Robert Ford, it was a fact, shot Jesse in the back while Jesse hung a picture on the wall.




Oh, Jesse was a man, a friend of the poor, he'd never rob a mother or a child.

He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor; so, they shot Jesse James on the sly.




Well, this song was made by Billy Gashade as soon as the news did arrive.

He said there was no man with the law in his hand who could take Jesse James when alive.





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