Archive for the 'Love' Category

I Know Where I’m Going

h1 Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Song page from the Old Town School of Folk Music circa 1957

The picture above tells the whole story. I learned this song at the Old Town School of Folk Music in the late 50s. If you right click (ctrl click for Apple) and save the image you’ll have a full scan of the page from the book I got at the Old Town School complete with notes and chords. I’m doing it in the key of F# instead of C. It’s a pretty love song for June.

I know where I’m going
I know who’s going with me
I know who I love
But Dear Lord knows who I’ll marry

I have stockings of silk
Shoes of bright green leather
Combs to buckle my hair
And a ring on every finger

Feather beds are soft
And painted rooms are bonny
But I would leave them all
For my handsome winsome Johnny

Some say he’s bad
And I say he’s bonny
Fairest of them all
Is my handsome winsome Johnny

I know where I’m going
I know who’s going with me
I know who I love
But Dear Lord knows who I’ll marry

Old Joe Clark

h1 Friday, February 1st, 2008

This is another song that I learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. The song originated in Irish Creek, on the Blue Ridge Parkway near South River Virginia in the early 1800s. Joe Clark had a daughter who jilted her lover. The young man is said to have written the song out of spite and jealousy.
Old Joe Clark

[G] Old Joe Clark’s a fine old man
Tell you the reason why
He keeps good likker ’round his house
Good old [F] Rock and [G] Rye

[G] Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark
Fare ye well, I [F] say
[G] Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark
I’m a [F] going [G] away

Old Joe Clark, the preacher’s son
Preached all over the pain
The only text he ever knew
Was High, low, Jack and the game

Old Joe Clark had a mule
His name was Morgan Brown
And every tooth in that mule’s head
Was sixteen inches around

Old Joe Clark had ayellow cat
She would neither sing or pray
She stuck her head in the butermilk jar
And washed her sins away

Old Joe Clark had a house
Fifteen stories high
And every story in that house
Was filled with chicken pie

I went down to Old Joe’s house
He invited me to supper
I stumped my toe on the table leg
And stuck my nose in the butter

Now I wouldn’t marry a widder
Tell you the reason why
She’d have so many children
They’d make those biscuits fly

Sixteen horses in my team
The leaders they are blind
And every time the sun goes down
There’s a pretty girl on my mind

Eighteen miles of mountain road
And fifteen miles of sand
If ever travel this road again
I’ll be a married man

Fair and Tender Ladies

h1 Saturday, September 1st, 2007

This version of “Fair and Tender Ladies” was recorded at New York’s Bottom Line in 1977. Gene Clark and I were on an acoustic tour of the United States. Gene was playing his beautiful Martin D-45 and I was finger picking my Rickenbacker 370 12-string – dripping with compression. Our songs spanned the music of The Byrds, our solo careers and included some traditional material – including this arrangement, which could easily have been on a 1965 Byrds record.

Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies

Come all ye [D] fair and tender [G] ladies
Take warning [D] how you court your [Em} men
They're like a [C] star on a summer [Am] morning
They first [C] appear and then they’re [D] gone again

My daddy was a handsome gambler,
He had a chain five miles long,
And on every link a heart does dangle,
Of another maid he’s loved and wronged.

They’ll tell to you some loving story
And they’ll make you think they believe it’s true
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like morning dew.”

Sugar Baby

h1 Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

The New Lost City Ramblers were the first to introduce me to this song in the early 60s in New York City. Mike Seeger of the Ramblers had made friends with Dock Boggs who was famous for recording “Sugar Baby” for Brunswick Records in 1926. The song was eventually included on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.

Mike gave Boggs the opportunity to come to New York and record again after a long hiatus from the music business. Dock’s style of banjo playing is interesting because he didn’t use the claw hammer approach common to most banjo stylists of Appalachia. Dock used a three finger up-picking technique that was quite unique.

This song also appears on “Harry Smith Connection” sung by Jeff Tweedy, Jay Bennett and me – a compilation CD recorded live at the Wolf Trap Farm in October, 1997

The Harry Smith Connection

Sugar Baby

Oh I’ve got no sugar baby now
All I can do is to seek peace with you
And I can’t get along this a-way
Can’t get along this a-way

All I can do, I’ve said all I can say
I’ll send it to your mama next payday
Send you to your mama next payday.

I got no use for the red rockin’ chair,
I’ve got no honey baby now
Got no sugar baby now

Who’ll rock the cradle, who’ll sing the song
Who’ll rock the cradle when I’m gone
Who’ll rock the cradle when I’m gone?
I’ll rock the cradle, I’ll sing the song
I’ll rock the cradle when you gone.

It’s all I can do
It’s all I can say,
I will send you to your mama next payday

Laid her in the shade, give her every dime I made
What more could a poor boy do
What more could a poor boy do?

Oh I’ve got no honey baby now
Got no sugar baby now

Said all I can say, I’ve done all I can do
And I can’t make a living with you
Can’t make a living with you

The Coo Coo

h1 Sunday, July 1st, 2007

“The Coo Coo” is a “folk-lyric” style song, where verses are interchangeable with verses from other folk songs such as “The Wagoner’s Lad,” and “East Virginia,” which are otherwise unrelated. The first verse can also be heard in “Way Down The Old Plank Road” sung by Dave Macon. “The Coo Coo” was originally recorded by Clarence “Tom” Ashley in Johnson City TN November 23, 1929.
This song style possibly developed between 1850 – 1875 in Kentucky.

A British version can be found in Cecil Sharp’s collection: “Folk Songs From Somerset.”

No chords are given because it’s all in A modal tuning.

The Coo Coo

Gonna build me – log cabin on a mountain so high
So I can – see Julie as she goes on by

Aw the Coo Coo is a pretty bird she warbles as she flies
She never hollers coo coo till the fourth day July

I’ve played cards in England I’ve played cards in Spain
I’ll bet you ten dollars that I’ll beat you next game

Jack of diamonds jack of diamonds I’ve known you from old
Now you’ve robbed my poor pockets of silver and gold

I wish I had a good horse and corn to feed him on
I wish I had Julie to feed him when I’m gone

I’ve played cards in England I’ve played cards in Spain
I’ll bet you ten dollars I’ll beat you this game

Aw the Coo Coo is a pretty bird she warbles as she flies
She never hollers coo coo till the fourth day July

The Butcher’s Boy

h1 Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

The Butcher’s Boy
Buell Kazee recorded this on January 16, 1928 in New York City. The original recording was included on Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music” Originally released in 1952 on a six LP set and again in 1997 on a six CD set. The “Harry Smith Anthology” was the cornerstone of the folk revival of the 50s and 60s. I didn’t own a copy but learned many of these songs second hand at places like the Gaslight in Greenwich Village. “The Butcher’s Boy” is another of the sad ending songs popular in Appalachian love ballads. I love the G modal banjo tuning on this.

She went upstairs to make her bed
And not one word to her mother said

Her mother she went upstairs too
Saying, “Daughter, oh daughter, what troubles you?”

“Oh mother, oh mother, I cannot tell
That butcher’s boy I love so well

He courted me my life away
And now at home he will not stay”

“There is a place in London town
Where that butcher’s boy goes and sits down

He takes that strange girl on his knee
And tells to her what he won’t tell me”

Her father he came up from work
Saying, “Where is my daughter, she seems so hurt”

He went upstairs to give her hope
And found her hanging from a rope

He took his knife and cut her down
And in her bosom these words were found

“Go dig my grave both wide and deep
Place a marble slab at my head and feet

And over my coffin, place a snow white dove
To warn the world that I died of love

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry

h1 Thursday, March 1st, 2007

This is Child Ballad No.113
“The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry” is one of numerous tales of
the Silkies, or seafolk, known to the inhabitants of the Orkney
Islands and the Hebrides. These enchanted creatures dwell in the
depth of the sea, occasionally doffing their seal skins to pass
on land as mortal men. Legend has it that they then accept human
partners, and some families on the islands actually trace their
ancestry to such marriages. In more complete versions of the
ballad, the Silkie’s forecast of the death of himself and his son
eventually come to pass.
Thanks to Mudcat Cafe for that information
[G] An earthly [F] nurse sits and [G] sings,
And aye, she [C] sings by [D] lily [G] wean,
And [C] little ken [D] I my bairn’s [G] father,
Far [F] less the land where he [G] dwells in.

For he came on night to her bed feet,
And a grumbly guest, I’m sure was he,
Saying “Here am I, thy bairn’s father,
Although I be not comely.”

“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”

And he had ta’en a purse of gold
And he had placed it upon her knee,
Saying, “Give to me my little young son,
And take thee up thy nurse’s fee.”

“And it shall come to pass on a summer’s day,
When the sun shines bright on every stane,
I’ll come and fetch my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the faem.”

“And ye shall marry a gunner good,
And a right fine gunner I’m sure he’ll be,
And the very first shot that e’er he shoots
Will kill both my young son and me.”

The House Carpenter

h1 Thursday, February 1st, 2007

“The House Carpenter” is a popular name for Child Ballad No. 243. The official names are “James Harris,” or “The Daemon Lover.” This ballad may have been partially inspired by an ancient myth that was a catalyst for Richard Wagner’s operatic masterpiece, “The Flying Dutchman.”
[Em] “Well met, well met, my own true love,
well met, well met,” cried he.
“I’ve just returned from the salt, salt sea
[D] all for the love of [Em] thee.”

“I could have married the King’s daughter dear,
she would have married me.
But I have forsaken her crowns of gold
all for the love of thee.”

“Well, if you could have married the King’s daughter dear,
I’m sure you are to blame,
For I am married to a house carpenter,
and find him a nice young man.”

“Oh, will you forsake your house carpenter
and go along with me?
I’ll take you to where the grass grows green,
to the banks of the salt, salt sea.”

“Well, if I should forsake my house carpenter
and go along with thee,
What have you got to maintain me on
and keep me from poverty?”

“Six ships, six ships all out on the sea,
seven more upon dry land,
One hundred and ten all brave sailor men
will be at your command.”

She picked up her own wee babe,
kisses gave him three,
Said “Stay right here with my house carpenter
and keep him good company.

Then she putted on her rich attire,
so glorious to behold.
And as she trod along her way,
she shown like the glittering gold.

Well, they’d not been gone but about two weeks,
I know it was not three.
When this fair lady began to weep,
she wept most bitterly.

“I do not weep for my house carpenter
or for any golden store.
I do weep for my own wee babe,
who never I shall see anymore.”

Well, they’d not been gone but about three weeks,
I’m sure it was not four.
Our gallant ship sprang a leak and sank,
never to rise anymore.

One time around spun our gallant ship,
two times around spun she,
Three times around spun our gallant ship
and sank to the bottom of the sea.

Katie Morey

h1 Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Bob Gibson sang this on his “Folk Songs of Ohio” album in the early 1950s. It’s funny because it points out the age old adage that a man will chase a woman until she catches him. Men think they have it all under control and are always amazed to find that they have invariably been outwitted by clever, creative women. But hey, what a way to go!
A] Come all you young and [E] foolish lads who [A] listen to my [E] story
I’ll [A] tell you how I [E] fixed a plan to [B7] fool miss Katie [E] Morey
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-ry e-do-[C#m] dandy
[E] I’ll tell you how I [A] fixed a plan to [B7] fool miss Katie [E] Morey

I told her that my sister Sue was in yon lofty tower
And wanted her to come that way to spend a pleasant hour
But when I got her to the top, say nothing is the matter
But you must cry or else comply, there is no time to flatter
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

She squeezed my hand and seemed quite pleased
Saying “I have got no fear sir, but father he has come this way
He may see us here sir. If you’ll but go and climb that tree
Till he has passed this way sir, we may gather our grapes and plumbs
We will sport and play sir.”
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

I went straight way and climbed the tree not being the least offended
My true love came and stood beneath to see how I ascended
But when she got me to the top she looked up with a smile sir
Saying “you may gather your grapes and plumbs
I’ll run quickly home sir.”
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

I straight way did descend the tree coming with a bound sir
My true love got quite out of sight before I reached the ground sir
But when the fox hide did relent to see what I’d intended
I straight way made a wife of her, all my troubles ended
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

Time to stop this foolish song, time to stop this rhyming
Every time the baby cries, I wish that I was climbing
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey


h1 Saturday, April 1st, 2006

La ghirlandata (1873)
Londra, Guildhall Art Gallery

. . . Greensleeves . . . Text below from:

In the 15th through the early 17th centuries, music began to be printed and sold. Musical themes spread rapidly throughout Europe, particularly those developed by the troubadours of Provence in earlier centuries. With the coming of the Renaissance, the Church lost some of its power to control ideas. The notion of courtly love, so despised by the clergy, was celebrated once again. Of course it was hardly taken seriously, but its imagery was still powerful and it sounded good.

There is a long standing debate over whether England’s King Henry VIII (circa: ) did, in fact, write “Greensleeves,” one of the most celebrated, and certainly most frequently performed, love songs ever written. It’s doubtful whether we can ever know for sure. This much we do know: Henry VIII was well educated and thought of himself as quite the Renaissance man. He played several instruments including organ, harp, and virginals, so he certainly could have picked out the melody. We have a love letter written by him to Anne Boleyn which displays an eloquence (and impatience) that leads one to believe he could have written the song’s lyrics. Lines from this letter such as “struck by the dart of love” sound a bit trite, but it shows he probably knew a decent metaphor when he heard one. Most likely the tune already existed and Henry simply added his own lyrics since this was a perfectly acceptable practice in those days. Henry, no doubt thought of himself as a latter day troubadour wooing his lady love. But, as Anne was to find out, like some other troubadours of olde, Henry was a fickle lover and quickly moved on the next muse.

Punning sexual allusions and bawdy language were quite common in the love songs of this period. The Renaissance delighted in images of outdoor lovemaking and thinly disguised it by employing the metaphor of dancing as in Thomas Morley’s song, “Now Is the Month of Maying” (‘Barley-break’ is Renaissance-speak for ‘a roll in the hay’)

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness, fa la,
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground, fa la.
Fie then, why sit we musing,
Youth’s sweet delight refusing, fa la.
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play at barley-break? fa la.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, like other playwrights, sprinkled songs throughout his stage plays. We don’t have know the original melodies but, like Greensleeves, they were probably sung to well-known tunes of the day, whichever ones the actors happened to know. Although Shakespeare’s love sonnets are deeply moving, the love songs in his plays tend to be more for laughs. Slow ballads probably didn’t go over well with a rambunctious live audience just waiting for an excuse to throw rotten vegetables!
. . .

. . . [Em] Alas, my love, you [D] do me wrong,
To [C] cast me off [B7] discourteously.
[G] For I have loved you [D] well and long,
[C] Delighting [B7] in your [Em] company.

[G] Greensleeves was all my [D] joy
[C] Greensleeves was my [B7] delight,
[G] Greensleeves was my [D] heart of gold,
And [C] who but my [B7] lady [Em] greensleeves.

Your vows you’ve broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.


If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.


My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet you wouldst not love me.


You couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still you hadst it readily.
Your music still to play and sing;
And yet you wouldst not love me.


Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me. . . .