Red Clay Creek

from by Nell & Jim Band

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about

This song is based on a story passed down in my family (Nell). We are from Lower Alabama, and have been there for hundreds of years. The family farm where my mother was born and grew up is still there, and the roads all red clay dirt and sand, with lots of creeks. When I was a kid I’d walk the creeks and we would swim in the swimming holes, pretty much free to do as we pleased with very little supervision. But there was a spot on the creek where my mother told me and my sisters to stay away from. “You girls stay away from there, there was a woman drowned three children there!” When we were kids we were too frightened to ask anything about the story, and now Mom’s memory is missing big pieces. So I imagined a back-story and that’s Red Clay Creek. Only recently I’ve pieced together what I think happened. We thought it was a recent event, but turns out it happened in the early 1800s, and that it was true. There was a woman enslaved by my great-great-great-great(?) grandparents and she was responsible for watching their twins and another child. The woman drowned the children on the red clay banks of the creek. My great-great-great-grandfather Julius was the only surviving child in the family. - Nell Robinson

lyrics

"Red Clay Creek" Lyrics

Where oh where have you gone darlin’ boy
The creeks rising fast above you
That red clay won’t hold all the secrets that I know
Why did he let you go?
Young bride your son looks a lot like the man
Who’s been biding his time with me
When I watch you bathe that child on the banks
It’s not your boy I see
Mine was blue-eyed just like him
But forsaken and unseen
That man took our secret and spirit him away
And he should have taken me
Where oh where have you gone darlin’ boy
The creeks rising fast above you
That red clay won’t hold all the secrets that I know
I saw him let you go?
If your boys with mine, they won’t be lonesome
Two brothers together, you’ll see.
On judgment day, they’ll be by my side
And I shall be set free
Where oh where have you gone darlin’ boy
The creeks rising fast above you
That red clay won’t hold all the secrets that I know
I had to let you go?
Your son and mine are quietly sleepin’
In the waters of Red Clay Creek
Don’t worry now, they’re cryin no more
Mine and yours, they’re a family

credits

from Steel, released February 15, 2019
Nell Robinson, BMI

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Nell & Jim Band Berkeley, California

The Nell & Jim Band joins five genre-busting artists together, bringing their audiences joyful music infused with folk, bluegrass, Americana, roots, swing, and jazz. Featuring Nell Robinson on flute & vocals, Jim Nunally on guitar & vocals, Jim Kerwin on bass fiddle, Jon Arkin on percussion, and Rob Reich on accordion & keyboards, this is truly an all-star band. ... more

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