Grateful Dead

Rosa Lee McFall

Lyrics By: Charlie Monroe
Music By: Charlie Monroe

Out on the lonely hillside
In a cabin low and small
Lived the sweetest rose of color
My Rosa Lee McFall

Her hair was brightsome color (note 1)
Her voice was sweet to me
I know that I will always love her
And I hope that she loved me

A asked her to be my darling
And this is what she said
You know that I will only be happy (note 2)
When you and I are wed

Then God way up in heaven
One day for her did call
I lost my bride, oh how I loved her
My Rosa Lee McFall

I've searched the wide world over (note 3)
Cities great and small
But I've never found another
Like my Rosa Lee McFall

Out on the lonely hillside
In a cabin low and small
Lived the sweetest rose of color
My Rosa Lee McFall

This was played a few times in acoustic sets in 1970 and then again in 1980. Garcia had also played it with the Black Mountain Boys on 7 March 1964.

The title on the LP "Reckoning" was given as 'Rosalie McFall'. But the original Monroe Brothers' LP has the title 'Rosa Lee McFall' and that is what is used on the CD version of "Reckoning".

(1) I had thought this was a mistake. But "brightsome" is a word ("Bright; clear; luminous; brilliant" according to Webster's), and many versions of the lyrics to "East Virginia" have a similar line beginning "Her hair was of some brightsome color" (eg Alan Lomax's collection). The Monroe Brothers' version, however, was:

"Her eyes were bright and shiny"

and that seems to be what Garcia sang back in 1964 with the Black Mountain Boys.
(2) the Monroe Brothers version is "You know that I'll always be happy"
(3) the Monroe Brothers sing a rather different verse:

I've roamed the wide world over
Through cities great and small
Till God prepares my home in heaven
With Rosa Lee McFall

Rosa Lee McFall