Furry Lewis Gravesite At Hollywood Cemetery In Memphis

Furry Lewis did not write See That My Grave Is Kept Clean but it is the song with which he is most closely associated.

It’s October 1969, and Mr Lewis, along with his best friend and sideman, Lee Baker Jr., has taken to a recording studio in Memphis to laydown his Take Your Time LP for Adelphi. Gene Rosenthal sat in the engineer’s chair.

This album would not see the light of day for over three decades, and is the first non-compilation LP that See That My Grave Is Kept Clean is featured on.

In late September 2021, I traveled to Hollywood Cemetery in south Memphis to visit the gravesite of Furry Lewis, pay some respects and continue on down the road to Clarksdale, Mississippi.

An old man in a battered Cutlass is parked in front of Lewis’ grave. When I ask if he’s there to see Furry’s resting place he gives me a look that says he has no idea what I’m talking about. A yellow ashtray is sitting on his console and it is overflowing with Kool cigarette butts.

He is wild-eyed but taciturn in demeanor.

Mr Lewis gravesite is decidedly not being kept clean and the cemetery itself is in a state of blight that would make a pimp blush.

It is woeful.

Well, there’s one kind-a favor I’ll ask of you
Well, there’s one kind-a favor I’ll ask of you
There’s just one kind favor I’ll ask of you
You can see that my grave is kept clean
And there’s two white horses following me
And there’s two white horses following me
I got two white horses following me
Waiting on my burying ground
Did you ever hear that coughin’ sound?
Did you ever hear that coughin’ sound?
Did you ever hear that coughin’ sound?
Means another poor boy is underground
Did you ever hear them church bells tone?
Have you ever hear that church bells tone?
Did you ever hear them church bells tone?
Means another poor boy is dead and gone
And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
Now I believe what the Bible told
There’s just one last favor I’ll ask of you
And there’s one last favor I’ll ask of you
There’s just one last favor I’ll ask of you
See that my grave is kept clean

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