See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

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See That My Grave Is Kept Clean  (1927) 
by Blind Lemon Jefferson
The blues standard "See That My Grave Was Kept Clean" was written and first recorded by Texas bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927. Jefferson recorded two versions in the span of his recording career; both are presented here. It has been covered many times over, including by Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Lightnin' Hopkins, Grateful Dead, and many others. It is also known as "One Kind Favor".

Well there's one kind favor I ask of you.
Well there's one kind favor I ask of you.
Lord there's one kind favor, I'll ask of you.
See that my grave is kept clean.

It's a long lane that's got no end.
It's a long lane that's got no end.
It's a long lane, ain't got no end.
And it's a bad wind that there would chain.[1]

Lord there's two white horses in a line.
Well there's two white horses in a line.
Well there's two white horses, in a line.
One take me to my buryin' ground.

My heart stop beatin' and my hands got cold
My heart stop beatin' and my hands got cold
Well my heart stop beatin' Lord, my hands got cold
It wasn't long before everybody cilmbs aboard.[1]

Have you ever heard a coffin sound?
Have you ever heard a coffin sound?
Have you ever heard a coffin sound?
Then you know that the poor boy's in the ground.

O, dig my grave with a silver spade.
Well dig my grave with a silver spade.
Well dig my grave with a silver spade.
You may leave me down with a golden chain.

Have you ever heard the church bells toll?
Have you ever heard those church bells toll?
Have you ever heard those church bells toll?
Then you know that the poor boy's dead and gone.

Notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The text of the italicized line is uncertain.

Licensing[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.
For Class A renewals records (books only) published between 1923 and 1963, check the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database and the Rutgers copyright renewal records.
For other renewal records of publications between 1922 - 1950 see the Pennsylvania copyright records scans.
For all records since 1978, search the U.S. Copyright Office records.

The author died in 1929, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Works published in 1927 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1954 or 1955, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than 31 December(31 December) in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on 1 January 1956(1 January 1956).