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There isn’t much history for a deep dive on this one. It’s a 20th century original. Bluegrass founding father Bill Monroe wrote “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” using the name Albert Price, one of his many pseudonyms. It bears a 1953 copyright, but as you’ll see below it’s likely Monroe composed it in the late 1940’s. Interestingly, it was first recorded by the Stanley Brothers as the A-side of Rich-R-Tone 1055 in 1952.
“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” continues to be a standard bluegrass cover, and is even represented by acts outside the genre. Monroe recorded a significant body of material thematically united by the concepts of dying, suffering, or abandoned children, including “I Was Left on the Street,” “Little Joe,” “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy,” “Put My Little Shoes Away” (and the nearly identical “Put My Rubber Doll Away”), and “There Was Nothing We Could Do.”
Abandonment and childhood suffering were huge psychological issues for Bill Monroe. His attempts to relieve his own lingering childhood pain were reflected in his kindnesses to youngsters, his habit of adopting animals, and in his beautiful although disquieting songs about dying or neglected children.
****REVISED/REFORMATTED August 28, 2019 - SR****