Just Awearyin' for You

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Front cover of "Just Awearyin' for You" (1901),with Jacobs-Bond's artwork
1911 recording of Elizabeth Spencer (soprano) singing "Just Awearyin' for You" without the "morning" stanza which has the birds' "notes / That come trilling from their throats"

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1911 recording of Evan Williams (tenor) singing "Just Awearyin' for You" with all three stanzas

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"Just Awearyin' for You" is a parlor song, one of that genre's all-time hits.

The lyrics were written by Frank Lebby Stanton and published in his Songs of the Soil (1894). The tune was composed by Carrie Jacobs-Bond and published as part of Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose in 1901. Harry T. Burleigh also composed a tune (copyrighted in 1906),[1] but it never approached the popularity of the Jacobs-Bond tune. Although Stanton originally wrote the lyrics in dialect ("Jes' a-wearyin' fer you") for a column in the Atlanta Constitution, the song has generally circulated with the more mainstreamed diction of the Jacobs-Bond version.[2]

Sentimental yet artful,[3] "Just Awearyin' for You" has been recorded by numerous performers, including Elizabeth Spencer (see inset), Evan Williams (see inset), Anna Case,[4] Sophie Braslau,[5] Eleanor Steber,[6] Gladys Swarthout,[7] Thomas Allen (baritone) & Malcolm Martineau (piano),[8] Johnny Hartman,[9] John Arwyn Davies,[10] Jane Morgan,[11] Peggy Balensuela (mezzo soprano) & William Hughes (piano),[12] and, perhaps most famously, Paul Robeson.[13] In 1934 Jay Wilbur and his band did a foxtrot rendition.[14] The QRS Records company produced a "Just Awearyin' for You" piano roll for Heintzman player piano.[15]

Set to the key of C, "Just Awearyin' for You" appears in Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method Grade 6.[16]

Along with "I Love You Truly" and "A Perfect Day" (song), "Just Awearyin' for You" forms the triumvirate of works for which Jacobs-Bond is remembered. A dedicatory phrase "To F. B." atop the musical score (on p. 3 of the sheet music) refers to her second husband, Frederic Bond.[17]

Prior to publication with her tune, Jacobs-Bond was unaware that the lyrics were written by Stanton; she thought them anonymous as indicated in the Chicago newspaper from which she took them. Once the oversight became apparent, Jacobs-Bond resolved the situation amicably with D. Appleton & Company, which had published Stanton's Songs of the Soil, thus providing Stanton with a royalty stream that by his own admission brought him more revenue than everything else in Songs of the Soil combined.[18] "Linger Not" and "Until God's Day" are two other songs on which Stanton and Jacobs-Bond collaborated.[19]


  1. ^ See Professor De Lerma's essay Henry "Harry" T. Burleigh (1866-1949): African American Composer, Arranger & Baritone" which notes the tune for "Just Awearyin' for You" by African-American composer Harry T. Burleigh:
    Just a-wearying for you, for medium voice & piano. New York: William Maxwell, 1906. 6p. Text: Frank L. Stanton. Library: Library of Congress.
  2. ^ For sources see the article on Frank Lebby Stanton.
  3. ^ The sentimentality of the lyrics has occasionally become an interest of analogists and parodists, as in Mark Steyn's 2007 May 9 commentary on Barack Obama titled "Just a-wearyin' for you" in National Review and Bobskins imitation of Robeson on YouTube. In a more serious direction Arthur Eedle & Rosalind Eedle have undertaken to revise the lyrics to cause "Just Awearyin' for You" to become a hymn welcoming Jesus Christ ("Just a Wearyin' for You" in Prophetic Telegraph, No. 99 [June 1997]).
  4. ^ Anna Case rendition on YouTube (accessed 2010 February 11), distinguished by Case's special attention to trilling the "r"s.
  5. ^ Sophie Braslau rendition on YouTube (recorded by Columbia Records in 1928 June).
  6. ^ Steber rendition on YouTube (accessed 2010 February 11).
  7. ^ Swarthout rendition removed from YouTube.
  8. ^ Allen & Martineau rendition (accessed 2010 February 11). See also Hyperion version with commentary by Andrew Lamb (writer) (accessed 2010 February 17).
  9. ^ Hartman rendition on YouTube (accessed 2010 February 11).
  10. ^ Davies rendition on YouTube (accessed 2010 February 11).
  11. ^ Jane Morgan rendition.
  12. ^ Songs my grandmother taught me: Songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (Albany, NY: Albany Records, 2001), ASIN B000QWU5PW.
  13. ^ Robeson rendition on YouTube (accessed 2010 February 11).
  14. ^ Jay Wilbur foxtrot rendition on YouTube (accessed 2011-04-04).
  15. ^ QRS Blue Bird Ballad 128 on YouTube (accessed 2011-04-04). Cf. the live [organ rendition and interpretation] (accessed 2011-04-04).
  16. ^ Bay, Mel (2005). "Modern Guitar Method Grade 6" (Expanded ed.). Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay Publications. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7866-7760-3. 
  17. ^ For further information see the article on Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
  18. ^ Max Morath, I Love You Truly: A Biographical Novel Based on the Life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (New York: iUniverse, 2008), ISBN 978-0-595-53017-5, pp. 14-17. Stanton's name is absent from the frontispiece of the first edition (inset), but was later added above the score on page 3 of the sheet music.
  19. ^ Tubb, Benjamin Robert (1999-12-13). "The music of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1861-1946)". PDMusic. Retrieved 2012-07-17.