“Shady Grove”


The singer talks about courting (in) Shady Grove. There is no particular plot. A typical chorus runs, "Shady Grove my little love, Shady Grove I say, Shady Grove my little love, I'm bound to go away." Shady Grove may be a place or a girl's name

Cross references


  • Clarence Ashley & New River Jack Burchett, "Shady Grove" (on Ashley03, WatsonAshley01)
  • Rufus Crisp, "Shady Grove" (on Crisp01)
  • Goldie Hamilton, "Shady Grove" (AAFS 2787 A2)
  • Kentucky Thorobreds, "Shady Grove" (Paramount 3080, 1928; Broadway 8184 [as Old Smokey Twins], n.d.; rec. 1927)
  • J. M. Mullins, "Shady Grove" (AAFS 1566 A)
  • J. W. Russell, "Shady Grove" (AAFS 3162 B1)
  • Kilby Snow, "Shady Grove" (on KSnow1)
  • Pete Steele, "Shady Grove" (on PSteele01)
  • The Virginia Dandies [alternate name for Walter "Kid" Smith & The Carolina Buddies], "Shady Grove" (Crown, unissued, 1931)
  • Vernie Westfall, "Shady Grove" (AAFS 4118 B1)


  1. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 57, "Betty Anne" (1 text, 1 tune -- an odd version which seems to have some foreign elements mixed in, and with the tune moved from minor to Mixolydian)
  2. Lomax-FSNA 120, "Shady Grove" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BrownIII 485, "Shady Grove" (2 texts, neither much like the standard version of this song, but even less like anything else); also 97, "Uncle Joe Cut Off His Toe" (3 texts plus mention of 2 more, but "B" is probably "Shady Grove"; "A" is an incredible mix with verses typical of "Raccoon," "If I Had a Scolding Wife," a "Liza Jane" song, a mule song, and "Shady Grove"); also 111, "Wish I Had a Needle and Thread" (7 text, of which only "E" is really substantial; it is certainly the "Italy" version of "Going Across the Sea." The other fragments contain verses typical of "Shady Grove," "Old Joe Clark," and others); also 286, "Fly Around, My Blue-Eyed Girl" (4 texts; "A"-"C" are "Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss," but the "D" text is mostly "Shady Grove")
  4. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 46-47, "Shady Grove" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Ritchie-Southern, p. 37, "Shady Grove" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Randolph 358, "Now I Am a Big Boy" (2 texts, both fragments; the "A" text is associated with this ballad, though -- as only a single verse -- it could go anywhere)
  7. SharpAp 88, "Betty Anne" (1 text, 1 tune, with lyrics from "Shady Grove," "Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss" and "Going Across the Sea")
  8. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 195, "Shady Grove" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Silber-FSWB, p. 152, "Shady Grove" (1 text)
  11. Roud #4456
  12. BI, SKE57


Alternate titles: “Little Betty Ann”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916 (Cecil Sharp collection); +1893 (JAFL6)
Keywords: courting love nonballad
Found in: US(Ap,SE,SW)