The Good Old Rebel

Song composer(s)

Randolph, I

Grateful Dead Recordings

Not recorded by the Dead

Dead Related Recordings

No Dead related recordings entered

Other Recordings

Songs of the Civil War : Various Artists (Hermes Nye) (1960)

I Don't Want A Pardon Civil War Almanac, Volume 2: The Rebels : Cumberland Three with John Stewart (1960)
Winners and Losers: Campaign Songs from the Critical Elections in American History, Vol. 1 : Peter Janovsky (1978)

Unreconstructed Rebel SoldierHaywire Mac (1950)

Performance History

Played by an unnamed bluegrass band with Garcia on banjo at an unknown venue in Burlingame in January 1962.

Not performed by the Grateful Dead. Occurs only on pre-Dead tapes featuring future members of the dead.


Words by Major Innes Randolph. The source of the tune is unknown. Possibly written at the end of the 19th century. It was published with a connected article in Collier's Weekly on the 4th April 1914.

It possibly also occurs as The Unreconstructed Rebel and The Song of the Rebel Soldier. Maybe also the same song as I Don't Want A Pardon. Occurs on circulating tapes of the Burlingame show as I'm A Rebel.

It's introduced apologetically at the Burlingame show with the assurance that it does not express their own opinions - the lyrics explain why;

I am a good old rebel, that is just what I am,
For this fair land of freedom I do not care a damn,
I'm glad I fought against it but I only wished I'd won,
And I don't want a pardon for anything I've done.

I hate the constitution, this great republic too,
I hate the Freedman's Bureau in uniforms so blue,
I hate the nasty eagle with all the brag and fuss,
And the lying, thieving Yankees, I hate 'em wuss and wuss.

I hate the Yankee nation and everything they do,
I hate the Declaration of Independence too,
I hate the glorious Union, 'tis dripping with our blood,
And I (?) Yankee (?) (spare?) 'em all I could.

I followed old Marse Robert for four year near about,
Got wounded in three place and starved at Point Lookout,
I caught the rheumatism a-campin' in the snow,
But I caught a chance of Yankees and I wish I'd caught some more.

Three hundred thousand Yankees lie stiff in Southern dust.
We got three hundred thousand before they conquered us,
They died of Southern fever, Southern steel and shot,
And I wish it was three million instead of what we got.

I can't take up my musket and fight 'em now no more,
But I ain't goin' to love 'em now that's certain sure,
And I don't want no pardon for what I was and am,
And I won't be reconstructed and I don't give a damn.