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Jim Jones - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Jim Jones is a traditional ballad, of Australian or possibly English origin.  The tune is probably Irish.  It tells the story of an English poacher, who, like many convicted criminals in the nineteenth century, is transported to the penal colony at Botany Bay for his crimes, where he intends to join Jack Donahue's bushrangers, and gain revenge upon his captors.  The Bushrangers were gangs of escaped convicts, who survived in the wild and lived by robbery.  Bob Dylan recorded a version of Jim Jones on his CD, 'Good As I Been to You'.

Chords

Capo at 2nd Fret

G                                                                  C
Come and listen for a moment lads and let me tell my tale -

        
G                                D                C                                D
How across the sea from England I was comdemned to sail,

                G                                           C
How the jury found me guilty, then says the judge, says he,

              G
                              D                     C                            G
"Oh for life, Jim Jones, I'm sending you across the stormy sea.

 

Jim Jones' chords could hardly simpler - G, C and D. But these three simple chords will allow you to play this marvellous ballad.

Lyrics

Come and listen for a moment lads and let me tell my tale -
How across the sea from England I was comdemned to sail,
How the jury found me guilty,then says the judge, says he,
"Oh for life, Jim Jones, I'm sending you across the stormy sea.

But take a tip before you ship to join the iron gang:
Don't get too gay in Botany Bay, or else you'll surely hang,
Or else you'll surely hang," says he, "and after that, Jim Jones,
It's high upon the gallows tree the crows will pick your bones."

Our ship was high upon the sea and the pirates came along,
But the soldiers on our convict ship were full five hundred strong.
They opened fire and somehow drove that pirate ship away,
But I'd rather have joined that pirate ship than gone to Botany Bay.

With a storm raging round us, and the winds a blowing gale,
I'd rather have drowned in misery than gone to New South Wales.
"There's no time for mischief there", they say.  "Remember that," they say,
"For they'll flog the poaching out of you down there in Botany Bay."


For it's day night  the irons clang and like poor galley slaves,
We toil and moil and when we die must fill dishonoured graves;
But bye and bye I'll break my chains, into the bush I'll go
And I'll join the bold bushrangers there, Jack Donahue and Co.

And some dark night when everything is silent in this town,
I'll kill the tyrants one by one and shoot the floggers down,
I'll give the law a little shock - remember what I say:
They'll yet regret they sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay.

Other Australian Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs