“Conversation with Death (Oh Death)”

Alternate titles: “Death Is Awful”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (recording, Vernon Dalhart)
Keywords: death bargaining dialog Hell
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)


Death approaches the young person who is "unprepared for eternity." (S)he tries to buy Death off. It doesn't work. Death describes how it takes everyone and snuffs out their lives. The soon-to-be-dead person bids farewell


It is possible that this is a Holy Roller version of "Death and the Lady," but there are enough differences that I decided I had to separate them. There may be a "missing link" out there somwhere, though. - RBW

I think Boggs' version may well be the missing link you seek. A very similar version was recorded by the blues singer Charley Patton. Or it could be Vernon Dalhart's recording, but certainly the Boggs and Patton versions are fairly close to "Death and the Lady." - PJS

Cross references



  1. Randolph 663, "Conversation with Death" (1 text)
  3. Roud #4933
  4. BI, R663