The Ballad of High Noon

It was the last day of a bluegrass festival I was at one time. The very last day—that morning where all the fun is over and all that’s left is to break down camp and go home. Everyone is tired. Hungover. Sun is already beating down.

Do not forsake me oh my darling

One of the old men we were camping with was breaking down the big giant carport-style tent we all shared. Big job.

On this, our weddin’ day

We saved it for last, so everyone was starting to chip in. That old man, Billy Ray, was very slowly signing this song.

Do not forsake me, oh my darlin’

Pulling stakes, lowering the poles.

Wait, wait along

It’s this low, slow, somber tune from the movie High Noon with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Tex Ritter sings it. That day, a bunch of festival-worn fellas sang it as a way of saying goodbye.

I love the weird washy distant drums in the main recording.

I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave
And I must face a man who hates me
Or lie a coward, a craven coward
Or lie a coward in my grave

Oh, to be torn twixt love and duty
S’posin’, I lose my fair haired beauty
Look at that big hand move along
Nearin’, high noon

He made a vow while in state prison
Vowed it would be my life or his’n
I’m not afraid of death but, oh
What will I do if you leave me?

Do not forsake me, oh my darlin’
You made that promise as a bride
Do not forsake me, oh my darlin’
Although you’re grievin’, don’t think of leavin’
Now that I need you by my side

Wait along, wait along

Just one of those memories I’ll never forget.