Archive for the 'Mountain/southern us' Category



Blue Tail Fly


h1 Saturday, October 1st, 2016

This is an authentic version of a classic song once sung by minstrel groups in the 19th century.

Lyrics:

[G] Oh when you come in [C] summer time,
[G] To South Carlina’s [D] sultry clime,
[G] If in the shade you [C] chance to lie,
[D] You’ll soon find out the [G] blue tail fly,

CH: [G] And scratch him with a [D] brier too
And scratch him with a [G] brier too
And scratch him with a [C] brier too
[D] The old man’s gone [G] away

There’s many kind of these here things,
From diff’rent sort of insects springs;
Some hatch in June, and some July,
But August fetches the blue tail fly,

When I was young, I used to wait
On the old man’s table and hand the plate;
I’d pass the bottle when he got dry,
And brush away the blue tail fly.

Then after dinner when the old man’d sleep,
He bid me vigilance to keep;
And when he going to shut his eye,
He’d tell me watch the blue tail fly.

When he’d ride in the afternoon,
I follow with a hickory broom;
The poney being very shy,
When bitten by the blue tail fly.

One day he rode around the farm,
The flies so numerous did swarm;
One chanced to bite him on the thigh,
The devil take that blue tail fly.

The pony run, he jump, and pitch,
And tumble the old man in the ditch;
He died, and the Jury wondered why,
The verdict was, the “blue tail fly.”

They laid him under a simmon tree,
His epitaph is there to see;
Beneath this stone I’m forced to lie,
All by the means of the blue tail fly.

The old man’s gone, now let him rest,
They say all things are for the best;
I never shall forget till the day I die,
The old man and the blue tail fly.

The hornet gets in your eyes and nose,
The skeeter bites you through your clothes,
The gallinipper sweet and high,
But ‘worser’ yet the blue tail fly.

The Fatal Flower Garden


h1 Friday, January 1st, 2016

This is Child Ballad 155, a good warning not to let your children talk to strangers!

Wishing you a safe and Happy New Year 2016!!!

Lyrics:
[E] It rained, it poured, [B7] it rained so hard,
It rained so hard [E] all day,
That all the boys in [A] our school
[B7] Came out to toss and [E] play.

They tossed a ball again so high,
Then again, so low;
They tossed it into a flower garden
Where no-one was allowed to go.

Up stepped a gypsy lady,
All dressed in yellow and green;
“Come in, come in, my pretty little boy,
And get your ball again.”

“I can’t come in, I shan’t come in
Without my playmates all;
I’ll go to my father and tell him about it,
That’ll cause his tears to fall.”

She first showed him an apple seed,
Then again gold rings,
Then she showed him a diamond,
And that enticed him in.

She took him by his lily-white hand,
She led him through the hall;
She put him into

an upper room,
Where no-one could hear him call.

“Oh, take these finger rings off my finger,
Smoke them with your breath;
If any of my friends should call for me,
Tell them that I’m at rest.”

There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight


h1 Sunday, November 1st, 2015

In 1960 The Limeliters hired me as an accompanist on banjo and guitar. One of the songs in their setlist was “There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight.” Bob Gibson had rearranged and sanitized an old Methodist camp meeting song by taking the words “sinner” and “Satan” out. This is the original version as would have been sung in the nineteenth century in rural North America.

I thought this would be an appropriate way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Folk Den with one of the first songs I played professionally over 55 years ago.

Lyrics:
[E] There’s a meetin’ here tonight, [B7] There’s a meetin’ here tonight
[E] I know you by your [A] daily walk There’s a [E] meetin’ [B7] here [E] tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ out in the wilderness, a meetin’ here tonight
We ain’t gonna give that sinner no chance There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

That gamblin’ man just cannot stand There’s a meetin’ here tonight
We’re gonna drive Satan from this land There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ out in the wilderness a meetin’ here tonight
We ain’t gonna give that sinner no chance There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, There’s a meetin’ here tonight
I know you by your daily walk There’s a meetin’ here tonight

There’s a meetin’ here tonight

Nine Pound Hammer


h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2015

“Nine Pound Hammer” is a traditional work song used by railroad laborers in the post Civil War South of the United States. Much in the same way a sea chantey aided sailors, the rhythm of the song helped the workers keep a steady pace pounding spikes for railroad ties. Many of the verses can be found in other “Hammer” songs such as “John Henry.”

Lyrics:
[A] This nine pound hammer [D] is a little too heavy
[A] Honey for my size [E] buddy for my size.
[A] Honey for my size buddy for my size.

[A] So roll on buddy [D] don’t you roll so slow
[E] How can I roll [A] when the wheels won’t go

I’m going on the mountain for to see my baby
But I ain’t coming back no I ain’t coming back

So roll on buddy don’t you roll so slow
How can I roll when the wheels won’t go

There ain’t one hammer in this here tunnel
That’ll ring like mine that’ll ring like mine

So roll on buddy don’t you roll so slow
How can I roll when the wheels won’t go X 2

The Blackest Crow


h1 Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Possibly a 17th century English broadside that made its way to North America. Found in the Appalachian and Ozark mountains. A bittersweet ballad of love and loss.

Lyrics:
[D] As time draws [C] near my [G] dearest dear when you and I must [Em] part[D]
How little you [C] know of the [G] grief and woe in my poor aching [Em] heart[G]
Each night I suffer for your sake, you’re the [C] girl I [G] love so [Em] dear[D]
I wish that [C] I was [G] going with you or you were staying [Em] here

[D] The blackest [C] crow that [G] ever flew would surely turn to [Em] white[D]
If ever[C]I prove[G]false to you bright day will turn to [Em] night
[G] Bright day will turn to night my love, [C] the ele [G] ments will [Em] mourn[D]
If ever [C] I prove [G] false to you the seas will rage and [Em] burn[D]

And when you’re [C] on some [G] distant shore think of your absent [Em] friend[D]
And when the [C] wind blows [G] high and clear a light to me pray [Em] send[G]
And when the wind blows high and clear [C] pray send [G] your love to [Em] me[D]
That I might [C] know by [G] your hand wright how time has gone with [Em] thee

[D] As time draws [C] near my [G] dearest dear when you and I must [Em] part[D]
How little you [C] know of the [G] grief and woe in my poor aching [Em] heart[G]
Each night I suffer for your sake, you’re the [C] girl I [G] love so [Em] dear[D]
I wish that [C] I was [G] going with you or you were staying [Em] here

Cold Rain and Snow


h1 Saturday, August 1st, 2015

The Cold Rain and Snow is a traditional folk song which is included in Cecil Sharp’s book English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, as sung in 1916 by Mrs. Tom Rice. It was also performed live in the 60s by bluegrass groups such as Bill Monroe’s and Del McCoury’s.

Lyrics:
[Gm] Well I married me a wife
She give me trouble all my life
Ran me out in the [F] cold [Gm] rain and snow
Rain and snow, [F] rain and snow
[Gm] Ran me out in the [F] cold [Gm] rain and snow

She come a running on down the stairs
Combing back her long yellow hair
And her cheeks were as red as a rose
As a rose, as a rose
And her cheeks were as red as a rose

Well she went up to her room where she sang her faithful tune
I’m goin where them chilly winds don`t blow
Winds don`t blow, winds don`t blow
I’m goin where them chilly winds don`t blow

I see her sitting in the shade
Counting every dime I’ve made
I’m so broke and I am hungry too
Hungry too, hungry too
I’m so broke and I am hungry too
I’m so broke and I am hungry too

I done everything I could do
Just to get along with you
I ain’t a-gonna be treated this way
This way this way
I ain’t a-gonna be treated this way

Yellow Rose of Texas


h1 Monday, June 1st, 2015

“The Yellow Rose of Texas” was part of the repertoire of the Christie Minstrels in the 1850s. The song was also used as a marching tune in the American War between the States in the 1860s. This is a completely new version, based on the original lyrics that I wrote especially for the Folk Den.

Lyrics:
[A] There’s a lovely girl in Texas
That I am going to see;
[D] No other man has [A] kissed her
[F#m] No other man but [E] me;
[A] She cried so when I left her
That it really broke my heart,
[D] And I know that when I find her,
We [E] never more shall [A] part.

CH:
She’s the sweetest little rosebud
Anybody ever knew;
Her eyes are bright as diamonds,
They sparkle like the dew.
You may talk about your April Rose,
And sing of Rosa Lee,
But the yellow Rose of Texas
Is the only Rose for me.

Where the Rio Grande is flowing,
And the starry skies are bright,
She walks along the river
In the quiet summer night;
And she thinks if I remember
When we parted long ago,
I promised to come back again,
And never leave her so.

BREAK

Oh, I’m going down to find her,
For my heart is full of woe,
And we’ll sing the songs together
That we sang so long ago.
We’ll play the banjo every night,
And sing our sorrows o’er,
And the yellow Rose of Texas
shall be mine forever more.

The Crawdad Song


h1 Sunday, March 1st, 2015

My wife, Camilla was telling me how her grandma loved to fish. She didn’t use a fancy rod and reel like Opie up there, just a cane pole, a short fishing line and a hook bated with a worm (my wife had to affix the worm). Grandma caught small fish and returned them to the water. I started singing this song that I learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music over 55 years ago. Camilla asked if I’d ever recorded it for the Folk Den and I realized that I had not. So here it is!

Lyrics:
[G] You get a line and I’ll get a pole honey
You get a line and I’ll get a pole [D] babe
[G] You get a line and I’ll get a pole
[C] We’ll go down to the crawdad hole
[G] Honey [D] Baby [G] mine

Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Honey,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Babe,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back,
Got more crawdads than he could pack,
Honey, Baby mine.

What did the hen duck say to the drake, Honey,
What did the hen duck say to the drake, Babe,
What did the hen duck to the drake,
There ain’t no crawdads in this lake,
Honey, Baby mine.

Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold, Honey,
Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold, Babe,
Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold,
Watchin’ that crawdad dig his hole,
Honey, Baby mine.

What you gonna do when the lake runs dry, Honey,
What you gonna do when the lake runs dry, Babe,
What you gonna do when the lake runs dry,
Sit on the bank watch crawdads die,
Honey, Baby mine.

What you gonna do when the meal gives out, Honey
What you gonna do when the meal gives out, Babe
What you gonna do when the meal gives out
We’ll go visiting round about
Honey, Baby mine.

Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep, Honey
Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep, Babe
Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep
For I’m gonna ramble in my sleep
Honey, Baby mine

Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole, Honey
Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole, Babe
Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole
Couldn’t get it out to save my soul
Honey, Baby mine

Apple cider cinnamon beer, Honey
Apple cider cinnamon beer, Babe
Apple cider cinnamon beer
Cold hog’s head and a possum’s ear
Honey, Baby mine

What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone, Honey
What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone, Babe
What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone
Sit in the kitchen and gnaw on a bone
Honey, Baby mine

Repeat First Verse

Little Moses


h1 Saturday, November 1st, 2014

This spiritual was made popular by the Carter Family. A.P. Carter had learned it from his aunt Myrtle Bays who had learned it from her mother. It goes back a long way!

Lyrics:
Away by the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way
And Pharaoh’s daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there

And away by the waters so blue
The infant was lonely and sad
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty
And it made little Moses so glad
She called him her own, her beautiful son
And she sent for a nurse that was near
She called him her own, her beautiful son
And she sent for a nurse that was near

Away by the river so clear
They carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brothers
Little Moses looked happy and smiled
His mother so good done all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care
His mother so good done all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care

And away by the sea that was red
Little Moses the servant of God
While in him confided, the sea was divided
As upwards he lifted his rod
The He-brews safely crossed while all Pharaoh’s host was drownded in the waters and lost
The He-brews safely crossed while all Pharaoh’s host was drownded in the waters and lost

And away on a mountain so high
The last one he ever did see
While he was victorious, his hope was most glorious
Some day all of Jordan be free
When his labor did cease, he departed in peace
And rested in the Heavens above
When his labor did cease, he departed in peace
And rested in the Heavens above

Away by the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way
And Pharaoh’s daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day

Chords:
[G] And away by the [D] river so [G] clear
[G] They carried the [D] beautiful [G] child
[D] To his own tender mother, his sister and brother [G] Little Moses looked [D] happy and [G] smiled

[G] His mother [C] so [G] good, done all that [C] she [G] could
To rear him and [D] teach him with [G] care
[G] His mother [C] so [G] good, done all that she could
To rear him and [D] teach him with [G] care

Henry Lee


h1 Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Derived from Child Ballad #68 “Young Hunting,” this classic tale of murder by a jilted lover is a good example of a Fatal Error. If Henry Lee had held his tongue about his love in that “Merry Green Land” he may have been able to escape his jealous girlfriend’s dagger.

Lyrics:
[E] Get down, [A] get down, [E] little Henry Lee, and stay all [B7] night [E] with me. [E] The very best [A] lodging I [E] can afford will be fare [B7] better’n [E] thee.” [A] “I can’t get down, and I [E] won’t get down, and [A] stay all night with [B7] thee, [E] For the girl I [A] have in that [E] merry green land, I love far [B7] better’n [E] thee.”

She leaned herself against a fence, just for a kiss or two; With a little weapon-knife in her hand, she plugged him through and through.”Come all you ladies in the town, a secret for me to keep, With a diamond ring held on my hand I’ll never will be forsake.”

“Some take him by his lily-white hand, some take him by his feet. We’ll throw him in this deep, deep well, more than one hundred feet. Lie there, lie there, loving Henry Lee, till the flesh drops from your bones.
The girl you have in that merry green land still wants for your return.”

“Fly down, fly down, you little bird, and alight on my right knee. Your cage will be of purest gold, in deed of property.””I can’t fly down, or I won’t fly down, and alight on your right knee. A girl would murder her own true love would kill a little bird like me.”

“If I had my bend and bow, my arrow and my string,I’d pierce a dart so nigh your heart your wobble would be in vain.” “If you had had your bend and bow, your arrow and your string, I’d fly away to the merry green land and tell what I have seen.”