November 07, 2011

Peter, Paul and Mary - Flora (1963)

Inspired by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and other folk legends, this trio became one of the top folk acts in the 1960s. They were composed of Peter Yarrow, Noel “Paul” Stookey, and Mary Travers. Much of their success came from singing songs written by others, notably much from Bob Dylan.

This song was released on their album, Moving, in 1963. Although it wasn’t released as a single, it’s my favorite song from the album. The first two singles released, “Big Boat” and “Settle Down (Goin’ Down That Highway)” didn’t do as well on the charts as they had hoped. The third single released, “Puff the Magic Dragon,” fared much better, achieving huge success and becoming their defining song.

Peter, Paul and Mary - Flora

Peter, Paul and Mary - Flora (1963)

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When first I came to Louisville
My fortune there to find
I met a fair young maiden there
Her beauty filled my mind
Her rosy cheek, her ruby lips
They gave my heart no rest
The name she bore was ‘Flora’
The lily of the west

I courted lovely Flora
She promised ne’er to go
But soon a tale was told to me
That filled my heart with woe
They said she meets another man
Who holds my love in jest
And yet I trusted Flora
The lily of the west

Way down in yonder shady grove
A man of low degree
He spoke unto my Flora there
And kissed her 'neath a tree
The answers that she gave to him
Like arrows pierced my breast
I was betrayed by Flora
The lily of the west

I stepped up to my rival
My dagger in my hand
I seized him by the collar
And I ordered him to stand
All in my desperation
I stabbed him in his breast
I killed a man for Flora
The lily of the west

And then I had to stand my trial
I had to make my plea
They placed me in a prisoner's dock
And then commenced on me
Although she swore my life away
Deprived me of my rest
Still I love my faithless Flora
The lily of the west

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