The Good Old Rebel
Composer: Major Innes Randolph / Traditional

Played by an unnamed bluegrass band with Jerry Garcia on banjo at an unknown venue in Burlingame in January 1962. The song is introduced apologetically at this show with the assurance that it does not express their own opinions. On circulating tapes of the Burlingame show the song is often listed as I'm A Rebel but this is not the correct title.

The song is The Good Old Rebel. The words were a poem written by Major Innes Randolph possibly in the late 1860's. The poem was collected in Poems by Innes Randolpph which was published by Williams & Wilkins in Baltimore in 1898. The source of the tune is unknown. The song was published with a connected article in Collier's Weekly on the 4th April 1914. The song also occurs on recordings as I Don't Want A Pardon and The Unreconstructed Rebel.


The Good Old Rebel
info Songs of the Civil War, Various Artists (Hermes Nye), 1960
no info Life Treasury of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Hermes Nye), 1961
no info Winners and Losers: Campaign Songs from the Critical Elections in American History, Vol. 1, Peter Janovsky, 1978
no info The Long Riders Soundtrack, Ry Cooder/Various Artists (Mitch Greenhill/Bill Bryson), 1980
no info Songs of the Civil War, Various Artists (Hoyt Axton), 1991
no info Southern Soldier Boy: 15 Authentic Tunes Of The Civil War, Wayne Erbsen, 1992
no info The Blue & Gray in Black & White, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, 1992
no info Songs of the Civil War, Various Artists (Alan Baker), 1992
no info The Wild West: Music From the Epic Television Mini-Series, Various Artists (John McEuen), 1993
no info Southern Soldier, 2nd South Carolina String Band, 1997
no info We Dare Sing Dixie, Un-Reconstructed, 2000
no info Thrillbillys Soundtrack, Various Artists (Kirk Rundstrom / Shiners / Drive-By Truckers ), 2001
no info The Rebel Soldier, Jimmy Phillips, 2004
no info Live:Songs of the Civil War Era, Shoregrass, 2005
no info Songs of the Civil War, Vol 4, 97th Regimental String Band, 2007
no info The Music Of The Wild West, Various Artists (John McEuen), 2007
no info Homespun Songs of the C.S.A., Vol. 1, Bobby Horton, 2008
no info Old Times There..., South Memphis String Band, 2012

I Don't Want A Pardon
no info Civil War Almanac, Volume 2: The Rebels, Cumberland Three with John Stewart, 1960
no info Songs of the Civil War, The Cumberland Three, 1991

Unreconstructed Rebel Soldier
no info Haywire Mac, 1950
no info Hard Times: Songs of the Civil War, Bittersweet and Briers, 2002


The lyrics of the version performed at the Burlingame show are as follows;

I am a good old rebel, that is just what I am,
For this fair land of freedom I do not care a damn,
I'm glad I fought against it but I only wished I'd won,
And I don't want a pardon for anything I've done.

I hate the constitution, this great republic too,
I hate the Freedman's Bureau in uniforms so blue,
I hate the nasty eagle with all the brag and fuss,
And the lying, thieving Yankees, I hate 'em wuss and wuss.

I hate the Yankee nation and everything they do,
I hate the Declaration of Independence too,
I hate the glorious Union, 'tis dripping with our blood,
And I (?) Yankee (?) (spare?) 'em all I could.

I followed old Marse Robert for four year near about,
Got wounded in three place and starved at Point Lookout,
I caught the rheumatism a-campin' in the snow,
But I caught a chance of Yankees and I wish I'd caught some more.

Three hundred thousand Yankees lie stiff in Southern dust.
We got three hundred thousand before they conquered us,
They died of Southern fever, Southern steel and shot,
And I wish it was three million instead of what we got.

I can't take up my musket and fight 'em now no more,
But I ain't goin' to love 'em now that's certain sure,
And I don't want no pardon for what I was and am,
And I won't be reconstructed and I don't give a damn.

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