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Gone but Not Forgotten

Lui Collins

Written in and for the Oberlin Village Cemetery, a freed slave graveyard in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Thanks to Bill Padgett for taking me there.
See the full story here.

Lui: vocal, banjo;
Anand: bass, guitar, mandolin;
Keith: harmony vocal:
Rani: fiddle

John Dunston rose before the dawn
Gone to a brighter home
He burned the kiln till past sundown
Where grief cannot come

Gone but not forgotten

He slaved for his master half his span
Gone to a brighter home
The other half a freed man
Where grief cannot come

Gone but not forgotten

Oberlin Village in brambled row
Gone to a brighter home
Is tended by four black crows
Where grief cannot come

Gone but not forgotten

In a sunken grave John Dunston lies
Gone to a brighter home
As city traffic rumbles by
Where grief cannot come
Gone but not forgotten

Soft shade of oak and maple tall
Gone to a brighter home
O’er shadowed by a towering wall
Where grief cannot come

Gone but not forgotten

Where loyal hearts and true
Stand ever in the light
All rapture through and through
In God’s most holy sight

Gone but not forgotten

December 6, 2000
Raleigh, North Carolina

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Banjo tuning mountain modal: gDGCD
capoed 3rd fret (4 strings) w/ 5th string tuned to Bb

Based on my visit to the Oberlin Village Cemetery, a freed slave graveyard in Raleigh, North Carolina. The following epitaphs are quoted in my song:

"Gone to a brighter home
where grief cannot come"
from the gravestone of Jerry Hinton
who died May 20, 1920, age 110 years

"Where loyal hearts and true stand ever in the light all rapture through and through in God’s most holy sight"
from the gravestone of Edward T. Hester
who died February 26, 1929

"Gone but not forgotten"
from the gravestones of Alonza Haywood, 1870-1958
and Ophelia Sheppard, October 6, 1905 - September 4, 1906

John Dunston, buried in the Oberlin Village Cemetery, died on November 20, 1894 at the age of 66. Not knowing his occupation, I placed Dunston in the song as a brickmaker, in honor of the many African-American brickmakers whose contributions to the architecture of the period can be seen throughout the Raleigh area. Please see my December 2000 Musings for more information about the cemetery and the writing of this song.