“My Wife Went Away and Left Me”


Abandoned by his wife, the singer appeals to her to come back. She replies that she will come back "When the grocery man puts sand in the sugar, The milkman makes milk out of chalk, Boys stay home with their mothers...."


Rorrer reports that this song bears similarities to a song by Charles D. Vann called "Then My Darling I'll Come Back to Thee." It is not clear whether they are the same song, though, or whether that song merely influenced this.

There are several sourthern versions of this song, and there is an English song with common lyrics, "Things Impossible." These two are surely derived from the same original, but the setting is different; the English song is an appeal to marry, the American a plea to a woman to reunite with her ex-love. Possibly Vann rewrote the English text and created the popular American version. I separate them; Roud lumps them. - RBW

Cross references


  • Kelly Harrell, "My Wife Went Away and Left Me" (Victor 21520, 1927; on KHarrell02)
  • Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "My Wife Went Away and Left Me" (Columbia 15584-D, 1930; rec. 1928; on CPoole03)


  1. Rorrer, p. 78, "My Wife Went Away and Left Me" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3686


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Kelly Harrell)
Found in: US