“The Girl I Left Behind Me (II) (lyric)”


The singer recalls the girl he left behind, and now plans to return to her, even if it involves losing his job. He reminisces: "Oh, that girl, that sweet little girl, The girl I left behind me, With rosy cheeks and curly hair, The girl I left behind me."


The tune "Brighton Camp," suitable for playparties, dances, and all sorts of fun occasions, seems to have sustained a variety of texts which then became intermixed. Some may even have cross-fertilized with the ballad "The Girl I Left Behind" [Laws P1]. The reader is advised to check all these sources to get a complete cross-section.

W. Bruce Olson contributed extensive notes to the Digital Tradition regarding the origin of the tune, arguing against Chappell's date.

The Folksinger's Wordbook credits this piece to Samuel Lover, who did indeed publish a set of lyrics in 1855. But it seems likely he just touched up an existing piece, as the tune and the title are older. - RBW

Cross references


  • Anonymous singer, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (on Unexp1)
  • Bull Mountain Moonshiners, "Johnny Goodwin" (Victor 21141, 1927; on TimesAint05)
  • Vernon Dalhart, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Columbia 437-D, 1925)
  • Uncle Dave Macon, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Vocalion 15034, 1925)
  • Pete Seeger, "Girl I Left Behind" (on PeteSeeger24) (on PeteSeeger40)
  • Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Columbia 15170-D, 1927)


  1. Randolph 546, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Hudson 98, pp. 229-230, "The Gal I Left Behind Me" (1 text)
  3. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 280-282, "The Gal I Left Behind Me," "That Pretty Little Gal" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  4. Fife-Cowboy/West 62, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (2 texts, 1 tune, with the "B" text belonging here and the "A" text being a Westernized form of Laws P1)
  5. Chappell/Wooldridge II, pp. 187-189, "Brighton Camp, or, The Girl I've Left Behind Me" (1 tune, partial text)
  6. Linscott, pp. 79-80, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1 tune plus dance instructions)
  7. Hill-CivWar, pp. 226-227, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1 text, a Civil War adaption)
  8. Silber-FSWB, p. 281, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1 text)
  9. Fuld-WFM, pp. 242-244, "The Girl I Left Behind Me"
  11. Roud #4497
  12. BI, R546


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1855 (tune "Brighton Camp" dated by Chappell to 1758)
Found in: US(NE,So)