I can hear mama singing at the hangin' tree
It sounds like someone's singin harmony
And me and my brother we don't make a peep
we go down slow to the hangin' tree
the hangin' tree's down by the river's edge
we come upstream and peak over the ledge
Mama's got a rope and a kitchen knife
No harmony singer is the preacher's wife
Mama put a bible in her right hand
and asked her if she'd been seeing her man.
Well me and my brother don't hear no more
Because right then the rain began to pour
It was an hour past dark when she came back home
And we never saw papa round here no more.
The preacher's wife she didn't leave his side
And we ain't got papa to tan no hide
Mama took to sitting by the hangin' tree
but there ain't nobody singing harmony
My older brother, he took his life
And I took to peepin' on the the preacher's wife.
I left my mama when I was sixteen
Strung up in the limbs of the hangin' tree.