Song of the Day: “Pretty Bird” by Becky Kimmons

May 31, 2012 by

Hazel Dickens

The setting: a going-away party for musicians Bob Webb and Heidi Muller, who are headed West to Oregon, exiting stage left from West Virginia. Dozens of  friends, many armed with instruments, had gathered at a Memorial Day going-away party at Ron Sowell’s house, to sing them off. A request was made to Becky Kimmons — one-third of the a cappela trio Bare Bones — to sing the old song, “Pretty Bird” by the great West Virginia singer-songwriter Hazel Dickens. Ever the trooper, Becky, who had not sung the song in awhile  launched in. Here was the result. I missed the very opening so one small chunk of the song is missing. Below are the lyrics she sings which are slightly different from a set of lyrics I found for the song on the web. But printed lyrics on the web are often untrustworthy. Plus, great folk songs get slightly revised versions all the time, if that is the case here. I recorded this on my iPhone and added a few filters in Final Cut Pro X.

“Pretty Bird” by Hazel Dickens

Fly away little pretty bird
Fly Fly away
Fly away little pretty bird
And pretty you’ll will always be.

Love’s own tender flame warms this meeting
And love’s tender song should sing
But fly away little pretty bird
Cold runs the stream.

I cannot make you no promise
For love is such a daily good thing
Fly away little pretty bird
For I’d only clip your wings

Fly away little pretty bird
Fly, fly away. Fly away little pretty bird
And pretty you’d always stay
Fly far beyond the dark mountain
To where you’ll be free ever more

Fly away little pretty bird
Where the cold winter winds don’t blow



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