Wildwood Flower

Song composer(s)

Traditional / Carter, A. P. / Irving, Maud / Webster, J. P.

Grateful Dead Recordings

Not recorded by the Dead

Dead Related Recordings

No Dead related recordings entered

Other Recordings

Carter Family (1928)
North Carolina Ballads : Artus Moser (1955)
Sonny Osborne (1956)
Mickey Miller Sings American Folk Songs : Mickey Miller (1959)
Pickin' & Blowin' : George Pegram & Red Parham (195?)
Joan Baez : Joan Baez (1960)
Most Exciting Guitar : Ray Latham (1961)
Single : Stanley Brothers (1961)
Original & Great Carter Family : The Carter Family (1962)
Stanleys in Person : Stanley Brothers (1962)
Mountain Music Played On The Autoharp : Various Artists (Kilby Snow, Mike Seeger) (1962)
Dick Farina & Erich Von Schmidt : Richard Farina & Erich Von Schmidt (1963)
The Ventures Play the Country Classics : Ventures (1963)
The 12-String Story, Volume 2 : Various Artists (Billy Strange) (1963)
Music From The Ozarks : Various Artists (1964)
Modern Country : Kai Winding (1964)
The Electric 12 String Guitar : Tom Tedesco (1964)
American Banjo : Gene Cox (1966) )
The Flat-Picker's Guitar Guide - An Advanced Instruction Record : Jerry Silverman (1966)
Play Country Guitar with Jimmy Bryant (Guitar Phonics, Volume 5) : Jimmy Bryant (1966)
Les Hall & the Bluegrass Mastertone Boys (1968)
Songs Of The Famous Carter Family : Flatt & Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys (196?)
George Pegram : George Pegram (1970)
Second Generation Bluegrass : Keith Whitley & Ricky Skaggs (1971)
Star Portrait : Johnny Cash (1972)
Country Boots : Boots Randolph (1972)
Will The Circle Be Unbroken : Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1972)
Wind That Shakes The Barley : John McCutcheon (1977)
Fare Well, Traveller : Mark Cohen (1977)
Sing The Carter Family : Wilma Lee Cooper & Stoney Cooper (1977)
Legendary Performer : Chet Atkins (1978)
Country Guitar Giants : Merle Travis & Joe Maphis (1979)
Blue Grass Banjos - Flaming Banjos : Homer & The Barnstormers (197?)
Songs Of This That & The Other : Tim Broadbent (1981)
Seeing The Country : Al Doherty (1982)
Appalachian Fiddle Tunes For Finger Style Guitar : Seth Austen (1982)
The Fabulous Duane Eddy : Duane Eddy (1983)
Across the Blueridge Mountains : Harry Allen (1983)
Bluegrass : David Johnson (1983)
Rockin' On The Radio : Sid King & The Five Strings (1984)
Norman & Nancy Blake Compact Disk : Norman & Nancy Blake (1986)
Ballad Of Sally Rose : Emmylou Harris (1986)
Guitar Man : Duane Eddy (1986)
Bluegrass Favorites : The Wood Brothers (1989)
Ring Of Fire : Anita Carter (1989)
American Banjo - Three Finger & Scruggs Style : Various Artists (Eugene Cox & Veronica Stoneman Cox) (1990)
Diamonds - Best of the Vanguard Years : Joan Baez (1991)
J Miller Sessions : Rusty & Doug (1991)
1959-1963 : Flatt & Scruggs (1992)
Lonnie On The Move : Lonnie Mack (1992)
Anchored In Love - Their Complete Victor, 1927 : The Carter Family (1993)
Galloping Guitar : Chet Atkins (1993)
Tone Poems : David Grisman (1994)
Old Time Music : New Lost City Ramblers & Friends (1994)
Early Starday-King Years 1958-61 : The Stanley Brothers (1994)
Bluegrass '95 : Various Artists (1995)
Folk Music From Newport, Vol. 1 : Various Artists (Maybelle Carter) (1995)
Vintage : Hank Thompson (1996)
Long Journey Home : The Stanley Brothers (19??)
Music of the Ozarks : Various Artists (Jean Simmons) (19??)
Grandfather's Greatest Hits : David Hold (19??)
Mountain Ballads & Old Hymns : Asher Sizemore & Little Jimmie (19??)
60 Years Of Country Music : Various Artists (Carter Family) (19??)
The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Country Music : Various Artists (Carter Family) (19??)
The Legendary Carter Family : Carter Family (19??)
Alex Campbell, Ola Belle & Deacon (19??)
Jimmy Henley (19??)

Performance History

Played by Jerry Garcia, Marshall Leicester and Robert Hunter at the Carlos Bookstall in San Carlos in July 1961.


This song is often credited to A. P. Carter on LP/CDs. However Maybelle Carter recalled hearing the song, sung by her grandmother, when she was a child. It's thought that a number of existing songs provided source material for Wildwood Flower.

One major source for some of the lyrics is an 1860 song written by Maud Irving and J.P. Webster called I'll Twine Mid The Ringlets. The strange opening line of Wildwood Flower is thought to be based on a mis-hearing of the first line of I'll Twine Mid The Ringlets

Another song that is sometimes suggested as a source for parts of the song is The Pale Amaryllis.

However it is the Carter Family version of the song, first recorded in 1928, that forms the basis of subsequent versions.

The lyrics used by Garcia on the San Carlos tape vary in small details from the Carter Family version. Here are Garcia's lyrics;

I will twine with my mingles and [waving] black hair
With the roses so red and the lilies so fair
And the meadow so bright with it's emerald hue
The pale and the leader and eyes look [so] blue

I will dance, I will sing and my laugh shall be gay
I will charm every heart, in his crown I will sway
I woke from all dreaming, all idols was clay
All portions of love then had all flown away

But he told me to love him and promised to love
And to cherish me over all others above
My poor heart is wondering no misery can tell
I'm left with no warning, no word of farewell

Well you told me you love me and called me your flower
That was blooming to cheer you through life's dreary hour
I long to see him [and regret] life's dark hour
He's gone and neglected this pale wildwood flower.

The lyrics of I'll Twine Mid The Ringlets are;

I'll twine 'mid the ringlets of my raven black hair
The lilies so pale and the roses so fair
The myrtle so bright with an emerald hue
And the pale aronatus with eyes of bright blue.

I'll sing and I'll dance, my laugh shall be gay
I'll cease this wild weeping, drive sorrow away.
Tho' my heart is now breaking, he never shall know
That his name made me tremble and my pale cheeks to glow.

I'll think of him never, I'll be wildly gay
I'll charm ev'ry heart, and the crowd I will sway.
I'll live yet to see him regret the dark hour
When he won, then neglected, the frail wildwood flower.

He told me he loved me, and promis'd to love
Trough ill and misfortune, all others above
Another has won him; ah, misery to tell
He left me in silence, no word of farewell.

He taught me to love him, he call'd me his flower
That blossom'd for him all the brighter each hour
But I woke from my dreaming, my idol was clay
My visions of love have all faded away.