Shady Grove / Matty Groves

from by Nell & Jim Band

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Matty Groves was brought to the band by Jim Kerwin, our bass player, a version by Fairport Convention. It was the precursor to the American folk tune Shady Grove. This is one of two tunes on the album that are a respectful nod to David Grisman, as both Jim Nunally and Jim Kerwin have played with David for 16 and 32 years respectively. We combined elements of the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman instrumental version of Shady Grove with our own take on Matty Groves as a duet.


"Shady Grove / Matty Groves" Lyrics

A holiday, a holiday, and the first one of the year.
Lord Donald's wife came into church, the gospel for to hear.
And when the meeting it was done, she cast her eyes about,
And there she saw little Matty Groves, walking in the crowd.

"Come home with me, little Matty Groves, come home with me tonight.
Come home with me, little Matty Groves, and sleep with me till light."
"Oh, I can't come home, I won't come home and sleep with you tonight,
By the rings on your fingers I can tell you are Lord Donald's wife."

"What if I am Lord Donald's wife? Lord Donald's not at home.
He is out in the far cornfields, bringing the yearlings home."
And a servant who was standing by and hearing what was said,
He swore Lord Donald he would know before the sun would set.
And in his hurry to carry the news, he bent his breast and ran,
And when he came to the broad mill stream, he took off his shoes and swam.

Little Matty Groves, he lay down and took a little sleep.
When he awoke, Lord Donald he was standing at his feet.

Saying "How do you like my feather bed? And how do you like my sheets?
How do you like my lady gay who lies in your arms asleep?"
"Oh, well I like your feather bed, and well I like your sheets.
But better I like your lady gay who lies in my arms asleep."
"Well, get up, get up," Lord Donald cried, "get up as quick as you can!
It'll never be said in fair England that I slew a naked man."
"Oh, I can't get up, I won't get up, I can't get up for my life.
For you have two long beaten swords and I not a pocket-knife."

"Well it's true I have two beaten swords, and they cost me deep in the purse.
But you will have the better of them and I will have the worse. And you will strike the very first blow, and strike it like a man. I will strike the very next blow, and I'll kill you if I can."

So Matty struck the very first blow, and he hurt Lord Donald sore.
Lord Donald struck the very next blow, and Matty struck no more.
And then Lord Donald he took his wife and he sat her on his knee,
Saying, "Who do you like the best of us, Matty Groves or me?"

And then up spoke his own dear wife, never heard to speak so free.
"I'd rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips than you and your finery."
Lord Donald he jumped up and loudly he did bawl,
He struck his wife right through the heart and pinned her against the wall.
"A grave, a grave!'' Lord Donald cried, "to put these lovers in.
But bury my lady at the top for she was of noble kin."


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


all rights reserved



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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