Archive for the 'Love' Category



The Lazy Farmer Boy


h1 Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Another fine song from The Anthology of American Folk Music. I emulated the performance of Buster Carter and Preston Young, staying in the same key and tempo.

It’s a tale of a misunderstanding between a corn farmer who has lost his crop due to freezing weather, and his fiancée who thinks he’s just too lazy to grow the corn.

Lyrics:
I’ll sing a little song but it ain’t very long
About a lazy farmer who wouldn’t hoe his corn
And why it was I never could tell
For that young man was always well
That young man was always well

He planted his corn on June the last
In July it was up to his eye
In September there came a big frost
And all that young man’s corn was lost
All that young man’s corn was lost

He started to the field and got there at last
The grass and weeds was up to his chin
The grass and weeds had grown so high
It caused that poor man for to sigh
Caused that poor man for to sigh

Now his courtship had just begun
She said, “Young man have you hoed your corn?”
“I’ve tried I’ve tried I’ve tried in vain
But I don’t believe I’ll raise one grain
Don’t believe I’ll raise one grain”

“Why do you come to me to wed
If you can’t raise your own cornbread?
Single I am and will remain
For a lazy man I won’t maintain
A lazy man I won’t maintain”

He hung his head and walked away
Saying “Kind miss you’ll rue the day
You’ll rue the day that you were born
For giving me trouble ’cause I wouldn’t hoe my corn
Giving me trouble ’cause I wouldn’t hoe my corn”

Now his courtship was to an end
On his way he then began
Saying “Kind miss I’ll have another girl
If I have to ramble this big wide world
If I have to ramble this big wide world”

Winter’s Almost Gone


h1 Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Photo by Camilla McGuinn

Another “Winter Song” during one the coldest winters in North America, due to several successive “Polar Vortices.” A song brought to mind by the passing of the great folk legend and personal mentor, Pete Seeger. Click here to see our tribute to Pete.

I’ve added new words and new music as part of the “Folk Process” a term Pete’s father Charles Seeger came up with to describe how folk songs change by one means or another; sometimes because they were passed by the oral tradition and the person listening didn’t hear it properly. Or as in this case where the song was modified to fit a different circumstance. Pete Seeger found his time to “travel on.” Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will miss him!

Lyrics:

[A] Done laid around and stayed around
This old town too long
Winter’s almost gone
[D] Spring’s a-comin’ [A] on

[A] Done laid around and stayed around
This old town too long
[D] And I feel like it’s [E] time to travel [A] on

Yes I [D] feel like it’s [E] time
[A] Time to travel [F#m] on
[D] I feel like it’s [E] time to travel [A] on

I’ve waited here for ‘most a year
Waitin’ for the sun to shine
Waitin’ for the sun to shine
Hopin’ you’d be mine

Waited here for ‘most a year
Hoping you’d change your mind
Now I feel like it’s time to travel on

Yes I feel like it’s time
Time to travel on
I feel like it’s time to travel on

Well, the chili wind it soon will end
I’ll be on my way
Gone a lonesome day
Going home to stay

Chilly wind it soon will end
I’ll be on my way
Cause I feel like it’s time to travel on

Yes I feel like it’s time
Time to travel on
I feel like it’s time to travel on

2014 McGuinn Music

The Month of January


h1 Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

This traditional song [Roud Folksong Database #175] has been sung all over the world. It’s the tragic story of a young woman who became pregnant by her poor lover. Her rich parents bribe the young man to disappear. She is left to freeze in the cold with her infant.

I recorded this with the “Jetglow” Rickenbacker given to me by my friend Bill Lee, using my new Janglebox 3 for both Rickenbacker 12-string and bass.

Lyrics:
Capo 1st fret Key of D

[D] It was in the month of January, the [C] hills were clad in [D] snow
And over hills and valleys, to my true love I did [G] go
[D] It was there I met a pretty fair maid, with a salt tear in her [C] eye
[D] She had a wee baby in her arms, and [C] bitter she did [D] cry

“Oh, cruel was my father, he barred the door on me
And cruel was my mother, this fate she let me see
And cruel was my own true love, he changed his mind for gold
Cruel was that winter’s night, it pierced my heart with cold”

Oh, the higher that the palm tree grows, the sweeter is the bark
And the fairer that a young man speaks, the falser is his heart
He will kiss you and embrace you, ’til he thinks he has you won
Then he’ll go away and leave you all for another one

So come all you fair and tender maidens, a warning take by me
And never try to build your nest on top of a high tree
For the roots, they will all wither, and the branches all decay
And the beauties of a fair young man, will all soon fade away

Early One Morning


h1 Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

“Early One Morning”, also known as “The Lovesick Maiden” is an English folk song that dates back to 1787. It was cataloged by Roud #12682. I learned this song in glee club at the Latin School of Chicago in the late 1950s. It has such a lovely melody that I decided not to add harmony.
Lyrics:
[E] Early one morning,
[A] Just as the sun was [B] rising,
[E] I heard a young maid sing,
[A] In the [B] valley down [E] below.

CHORUS:
[B] Oh, don’t [E] deceive me,
[B] Oh, never [E] leave me,
How could you [A] use
A [B] poor maiden [E] so?

Remember the vows,
You made to your Mary,
Remember the bow’r,
Where you vowed to be true,

Chorus

Oh Gay is the garland,
And fresh are the roses,
I’ve culled from the garden,
To place upon thy brow.

Chorus

Thus sang the poor maiden,
Her sorrows bewailing,
Thus sang the poor maid,
In the valley down below.

Chorus

Early one morning,
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing,
In the valley down below.

Chorus

Darling Clementine


h1 Monday, October 1st, 2012

Camilla and I were on the road in September 2012 and I realized we were in a copper mining town on the upper peninsula of Michigan. The town of Calumet has a rich history of mining and was the site of the 1913 massacre that Woody Guthrie immortalized in his song 1913 Massacre.

Mining reminded me of Darling Clementine. I had to search through the archives of the Folk Den to make sure that song wasn’t already there because it was so familiar. It’s kind of a sad song but the last verse adds a bit of humor.

By the way if you ever go to Calumet Michigan be sure to try the Chili Rellenos at Carmelitas Southwest Grille “Food with an attitude.”

Lyrics:
[E] In a cavern, in a canyon,
 Excavating for a [B7] mine

Dwelt a miner [E] forty-niner, 
And his [B7] daughter [E] Clementine
▪ Chorus:
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
 And her shoes were number nine

Herring boxes, without topses,
 Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Drove she ducklings to the water
 Ev’ry morning just at nine,

Hit her foot against a splinter,
 Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Ruby lips above the water,
 Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,

But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

How I missed her! How I missed her,
 How I missed my Clementine,

But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Down In The Valley


h1 Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

This song had an influence on Kurt Weill
Down in the Valley: An Appreciation
by Mark N. Grant

Kurt Weill couldn’t convince any of his usual collaborators to write a libretto, so Stonzek and well-known conductor Lehman Engel suggested Arnold Sundgaard (1909-2006), who had already had two plays produced on Broadway and had co-written the book for the Fritz Kreisler operetta Rhapsody produced on Broadway the preceding season. He had studied playwriting with Eugene O’Neill’s teacher George Pierce Baker at Yale Drama School. His 70-character play about syphilis, Spirochete, created a sensation in 1938 as a Federal Theatre Living Newspaper production. Sundgaard’s long and varied career included teaching and writing children’s books, and he wrote librettos for Douglas Moore and Alec Wilder.

“When I had lived in the mountains of Virginia in 1939-40,” Sundgaard recalled late in life, “among the songs I heard was ‘Down in the Valley.’ I felt that song suggested the kind of story we could write.” The song–a traditional Ozark ballad about a condemned prisoner and the woman he loves, set to a deceptively serene tune–first appeared in print collections in the 1910s. It also appeared under the titles “Bird in a Cage,” “Birmingham Jail,” and “Down on the Levee.” The lyrics varied from version to version, but the following composite gives a good idea of the raw material from which Sundgaard constructed the plot.

Down in the Valley bears a superficial resemblance to an opera for students that Weill wrote in Germany, Der Jasager (1930), but the musical styles of the two works differ considerably. In this American folk opera, a short, eminently performable 35-minute work, the composer sought sheer lyricism in melody, harmony, choral writing, and orchestration more unabashedly than perhaps anywhere else in his oeuvre. It is, simply put, one of Weill’s most beautiful scores.

Lyrics:
[A] Down in the valley the valley so [D] low
Hang your head over, hear the wind [A] blow
Hear the wind blow love, hear the wind [D] blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind [A] blow

Roses love sunshine, violets love dew
Angels in heaven, know i love you

Write me a letter, send it by mail
Send it in care of, the Birmingham Jail
Birmingham Jail love, Birmingham Jail
Send it in care of, the Birmingham Jail

Build me a castle, forty feet high
So I can see you, as you ride by
As you ride by Love, as you ride by
So I can see you, as you ride by

Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow

Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair


h1 Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair – 3103 in the Roud Folk Song Index is a traditional song that is widely believed to have originated in Scotland. Some versions are addressed to females and others to males. Nina Simone made it popular in the mid 20th century and her version was used in the 1993 Bridget Fonda film “Point of No Return.”

Lyrics:
[Em] Black is the color of my [D] true love’s [Em] hair
Her lips are like some [Am] rosy [D] fair
[Em] The purest [D] eyes and the [Em] neatest hands
I love the ground whereon [D] she stands

I go to the Clyde for to mourn and weep
But satisfied I never can sleep
I’ll write to you in a few short lines
I’ll suffer death ten thousand times

I know my love and well she knows
I love the grass whereon she goes
If she on earth no more I see
My life will quickly fade away

A winter’s past and the leaves are green
The time has past that we have seen
But still I hope the time will come
When you and I will be as one

Black is the color of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some rosy fair
The purest eyes and the neatest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

Polly Vaughn


h1 Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Polly Vaughn is an old Irish folk song about a hunter who mistakenly shoots his true love thinking her to be a swan. Click HERE for more details.
Lyrics:
I will tell of a hunter whose life was undone,
By the cruel hand of evil at the setting of the sun,
His arrow was loosed and it flew through the dark,
And his true love was slain as the shaft found its mark;

She’d her apron wrapped about her,
And he took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;

He ran up beside her and found that it was she,
He turned away his face for he could not bear to see,
He lifted her up and he found she was dead,
A fountain of tears for his true love he shed;

She’d her apron wrapped about her,
And he took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;

He carried her off to his home by the sea,
Crying’ “Father, oh Father, I’ve murdered poor Polly!
I’ve killed my fair love in the flower of her life,
I’d always intended that she be my wife;”

“But she’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;”

He roamed near the place where his true love was slain,
And wept bitter tears, but his cries were all in vain,
As he looked on the lake, a swan glided by,
And the sun slowly set in the grey of the sky;

“But she’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;”

“She’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn.”

Barbara Allen


h1 Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I remember seeing Joan Baez sing this at Club 47 in Cambridge MA in 1960. She looked and sounded just like she does in this clip: CLICK HERE

Source of the following: Mudcat Cafe
Samuel Pepys in his “Diary” under the date of January 2nd 1665, speaks of the singing of “Barbara Allen.” The English and Scottish both claim the original ballad in different versions, and both versions were brought over to the US by the earliest settlers. Since then there have been countless variations (some 98 are found in Virginia alone). The version used here is the English one. The tune is traditional.

Child Ballad #84

Lyrics:
[D] In Scarlet town where I was born,
There was a [G] fair maid [A] dwellin’
[G] Made every youth cry [Bm] Well-a-day,
[A] Her name was Barb’ra [D] Allen.

All in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swellin’
Young Willie Grove on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barb’ra Allen.

He sent his man unto her then
To the town where she was dwellin’
You must come to my master, dear,
If your name be be Barb’ra Allen.

So slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when there she came:
“Young man, I think you’re dying!”

He turned his face unto the wall
And death was drawing nigh him.
Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,
Be kind to Bar’bra Allen

As she was walking o’er the fields,
She heard the death bell knellin’,
And ev’ry stroke did seem to say,
Unworthy Barb’ra Allen.

When he was dead and laid in grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow.
“Oh mother, mother, make my bed
For I shall die tomorrow.”

And on her deathbed she lay,
She begged to be buried by him,
And sore repented of the day
That she did e’er deny him.

“Farewell,” she said, “ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barb’ra Allen.”

She Never Will Marry


h1 Monday, March 1st, 2010

“She Never Will Marry” is an adaptation of some very old ballads. I first heard it sung by a red headed woman at Chicago’s Gate of Horn. Here’s a song that provides a glimpse into its origins:

THE LOVER’S LAMENT FOR HER SAILOR

As I was walking along the seashore,
Where the breeze it blew cool, and the billows did round,
Where the wind and the waves and the waters run
I heard a shrill voice make a sorrowful sound.

Chorus:
Crying, O my love’s gone, whom I do adore,
He’s gone and I will never see him more.

I tarried awhile still listening near,
And heard her complain for the loss of her dear;
Which grieved me sadly to hear her complain
Crying, he is gone and I will never see him again.

She appeared like some goddess, and dressed like a queen,
She’s the fairest of creatures that ever was seen.
I told her I’d marry her myself, if she pleas’d,
But the answer she made me, was my love is in the seas.

I never will marry nor be any man’s bride,
I choose to live single, all the days of my life,
For the loss of my sailor I deeply deplore,
As he’s lost in the seas I shall ne’er see him more.

I will go down to my dearest that lies in the deep
And with kind embraces I will him intreat,
I will kiss his cold lips like the coral so red,
I will close up his eyes that have been so long dead.

The shells of the oysters shall be my lover’s bed,
And the shrimps of the sea shall swim over his head,
Then she plunged her fair body right into the deep,
And closed her fair eyes in the water to sleep.

Lyrics:
[G] They say that [D] love’s a [G] gentle thing
But it’s [C] only [D] brought her [G] pain
For the [C] only [D] man she [G] ever [Em] loved
Has [Am] gone on the [D] midnight [G] train

She never will [D] marry
She’ll be no man’s [C] wife
She expect to live [G] single
All the [D] days of her [G] life

Well the train pulled out
The whistle blew
With a long and a lonesome moan
He’s gone he’s gone
Like the morning dew
And left her all alone

She never will marry
She’ll be no man’s wife
She expect to live single
All the days of her life

Well there’s many a change in the winter wind
And a change in the clouds and Byrds
There’s many a change in a young man’s heart
But never a change in hers

She never will marry
She’ll be no man’s wife
She expect to live single
All the days of her life