I've Been All Around This World

Song composer(s)

Traditional

Grateful Dead Recordings

History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) (1973)
Reckoning (1981)

Dead Related Recordings

Almost Acoustic : Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band (1989)

Other Recordings

I've Been All Around This World (or similar)
Sara Grey : Sara Grey (1970)
Singer of Old Songs : Michael Cooney (1976)
Eagle and the Sparrow : Jon Sundall (1976)
Pacific Rim Dulcimer Project : Neal Hellman (1977)
Dance All Night : Highwoods String Band (197?)
Live : Red Knuckles & High Rize (1982)
Body, Boots and Britches: Folk Songs of New York State : The Golden Eagle String Band (1982)
Rounder Old-Time Music : Various Artists (Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys) (1988)
Diamond Joe : Joe Val (1995)

Hang Me, Oh Hang Me
Sam Hinton Sings the Song of Men : Sam Hinton (1961)
Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger : Dave Van Ronk (196?)

Cape Girardeau
Songs of the Heartland : Art Thieme (198?)

Notes

Lead vocals - Garcia.

Also known as Hang Me, Oh Hang Me. May also be the same song as Cape Girardeau.

The origins of I've Been All Around This World are not easy to trace. The Library of Congress have a field recording from 1937 but no earlier versions have yet been identified. It possibly derives from a number of different songs.

The `Hang Me, Oh Hang Me' verse is thought to derive from the traditional song "My Father Was A Gambler", a US ballad, which is thought to be about a murderer who was hanged in 1870. The chorus given in Vince Randolph's Ozark Folksongs from a 1929 field recording is;

Hang me, oh hang me, an' I'll be dead an' gone
Hang me, oh hang me, an' I'll be dead an' gone
I wouldn't mind the hangin', but to lay in my grave so long
To lay in my grave so long

One possible source for other parts of the song is "Dixon and Johnson" or "The Three Butchers" which seems to have been a later introduction into the States from UK - collected in 1890s in UK but only later in the US. Randolph's Ozark Folksongs contains a field recording from 1941 of Dixon and Johnson. The tune given is fairly similar to that we know for I've Been All Around This World. The first two verses are;

Dixon and Johnson went riding out one day
Dixon and Johnson went riding out one day
They rode up on a mountain ten thousand miles away
Oh Lord, I've been all around this world

They rode up on a woman, as cold as cold or more
They rode up on a woman, as cold as cold or more
He wrapped her in his coat and set up behind him
Oh Lord, I've been all around this world