MRS. CARRIE RODGERS: A pal of Jimmie's, Sammie Williams, told his sweetheart good-bye and went to France -- to be killed in action. So before the war was over, Jimmie found time to pick out words and air to his first composition, a sentimental song.... From the first his railroad buddies liked the song, and the young fellows in Meridian who were his boon companions liked it. With banjo, guitar, uke, they hung around the all-night places or strolled the streets playing and singing Jimmie's song along with 'Sweet Adeline' and other sentimental ballads. But it was not until some ten years later that the world heard -- and approved of it.
This song was recorded by Jimmie Rodgers at his first ever recording session for RCA Victor's talent scout Ralph Peer at 408 State Street, Bristol, TN, 4 Aug 1927 (released as Vi 20864).
Once I had a sweetheart,
He told me that he loved me,
And he often proved it so.
And he often came to see me,
When the ev'ning sun was low.
But fate took him away
To this awful German war,
And when he came to say goodbye,
My heart did overflow.
He says, "Goodbye, little darling,
To France I must go."
He takes the golden finger ring
and he placed it on my hand,
Said, "Remember me, little darling,
When I'm in no man's land.
He promised he would write to me,
That promise he's kept true.
And when I read this letter, friend,
I pray the war is through.
The second letter I got from him,
The war was just ahead.
The third one, wrote by his captain,
My darling dear was dead.
I'll keep all of his letters,
I'll keep his gold ring, too.
And I'll always live a single life
For the soldier who was so true.