The Knoxville Girl
"The Knoxville Girl" is an Appalachian murder ballad. It is derived from the 19th-century Irish ballad The Wexford Girl, itself derived from the earlier English ballad "The Oxford Girl". Other versions are known as the "Waxweed Girl", "The Wexford Murder". These are in turn derived from Elizabethan era poem or broadside ballad, "The Cruel Miller".
Although the lyrics are less explicit than those for "The Wexford Girl", the song is generally considered to be creepier or spookier in its rendition.
- I met a little girl in Knoxville,
- A town we all know well,
- And every Sunday evening,
- Out in her home I’d dwell.
Possibly modelled on the 17th century broadside William Grismond's Downfall, or A Lamentable Murther by him Committed at Lainterdine in the county of Hereford on March 12 1650: Together with his lamentation., sometimes known as The Bloody Miller.
Related or derived broadsides include:
- "Hanged I Shall Be" (Philip Henry's Diaries and Letters, 20 February 1684, ed. M. H. Lee, 1882, p.323)
- "Rose Connelley," (various spellings, also known as "Down in the Willow Garden").
- "Knoxville Girl," (a related version by the Outlaws in their 1975 debut album, with different lyrics but the same basic melody).
- Earliest recording in 1924
- The Blue Sky Boys (1937)
- The Louvin Brothers, Tragic Songs of Life (1956) (US Country #19)
- John Duffey and the Country Gentlemen, (Hootenanny - A Bluegrass Special) (1963)
- The Wilburn Brothers (US Country #18)
- Jim and Jesse
- Nick Cave, Henry Lee single (B-Side), B-Sides & Rarities (1996)
- Elvis Costello
- Kevin Shegog (1961)
- DQE, Move into the villa villakula (1996)
- The Lemonheads, Car Button Cloth, (1996)
- BR5-49, Live From Robert's, (1996)
- Pine Valley Cosmonauts w/Brett Sparks The Executioner's Last Songs (2002)
- The Handsome Family, Smothered and Covered (2003)
- Sweetwater, The Ballads (2003)
- Roger Alan Wade, All Likkered Up (2005)
- The Boxmasters (2008)
- Rachel Brooke (2008)
- Vandaveer, Oh, Willie, Please... (2013)
- The Knoxville Girl is sung by three uncredited women in the film 'Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus'.
- Plan B in the bootleg mash-up "Paint It Blacker" (2007) as a reference to violent music existing before modern rap.
- Patrick Sky on his album Songs That Made America Famous, as "Yonkers Girl".
- GG Allin on his album "Carnival of Excess," as "Watch Me Kill"
- Collin Escott. Roadkill on the Three-chord Highway: Art and Trash in American Popular Music. New York: Routledge, 2002.
- The Mudcat Café, Lyrics to the Knoxville Girl
- The Mudcat Cafe, Lyrics to the Wexford Girl
- The New Lost City Ramblers Song Book, Oak, p. 167. (Contains lyrics of the Blue Sky Boys version).
- The Mudcat Cafe, Lyrics to William Grismond
- The Mudcat Cafe, Lyrics to Hanged I Shall Be
- The Mudcat Cafe, Lyrics to Rose Conley