Archive for the 'Mountain/southern us' Category



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

Take This Hammer


h1 Friday, January 1st, 2010

I recorded this on the Crystal Serenity ocean liner on the way to Lisbon Portugal last June. Kompoz.com contacted me asking for a song to use in their contest. I provided 7 tracks for contestants to download. This was the winner, a gospel version with wonderful piano and vocal backing!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Take This Hammer” (Roud 4299) is a prison work song. It was collected by John and Alan Lomax. The song “Nine Pound Hammer” has a few phrases in common with this song, and the same Roud number. “Swannanoa Tunnel” is similar, and this group of songs are referred to as ‘hammer songs’ or ‘roll songs’. According to the Columbia State University, the earliest collected version was made by Newman Ivey White in 1915.
Lyrics:

[G] Take this hammer, carry it to the [D] captain
Take this hammer, carry it to the [G] captain
Take this hammer, carry it to the [C] captain
Tell him I’m [G] gone, great [D] God tell him I’m [G] gone

If he ask you was I laughing?
If he ask you was I laughing?
If he ask you was I laughing?
Tell him I’m crying, great God tell him I’m crying

If he ask you was I walking
If he ask you was I walking
IIf he ask you was I walking
Tell him I’m running, great God tell him I’m running

Don’t want no more your cornbread and molasses
Don’t want no more your cornbread and molasses
Don’t want no more your cornbread and molasses
Hurts my pride, great God It hurts my pride.

Take this hammer, carry it to the captain
Take this hammer, carry it to the captain
Take this hammer, carry it to the captain
Tell him I’m gone, great God tell him I’m gone

I’ll Fly Away


h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2009

This grand old gospel song has been sung for generations in the southern United States. I married a southern woman in 1978 and soon learned to pronounce words that I had always thought should have one syllable with the proper two syllables.

Lyrics:

I’ll Fly Away

[A] Some bright morning when this life is over
[D] I’ll fly [A] away
To that home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll [E] fly [A] away

I’ll fly away oh Lordy
[D] I’ll fly [A] away (in the morning)
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll [E] fly [A] away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and th-en
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never e-nd
I’ll fly away

When I First Came To This Land


h1 Saturday, August 1st, 2009

People often ask where I get the folk songs for this site and I explain that I learned many of them at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago in my teen years. This is one of them. I can still see Frank Hamilton with his 5-string banjo and Win Stracky with his cigar and big Martin Dreadnought guitar standing in front of the whole group of students playing When I first came to this land.

The cabin of the Crystal Cruise Serenity ocean liner was so quiet that I was able to record this and another song on our voyage from Miami to Lisbon. With a laptop and great recording software it’s possible to record almost anywhere these days! What a wonderful world!

Lyrics:
[D] When I first came [G] to this [D] land, [G] I was [D] not a ]A] wealthy [D] man
[D] So I bought [G] myself a [D] shack and [G] I did [A] what I [D] could
And I [G] called my [D] shack [A] “Break A My [D] Back”
But the land was [G] sweet and [D] good and [G] I did [A] what I [D] could

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man
So I bought myself a farm and I did what I could
And I called my farm “Muscle In My Arm”
And I called my shack “Break A My Back”
But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man
So I bought myself a cow and I did what I could
And I called my cow “More Milk Now”
And I called my farm “Muscle In My Arm”
And I called my shack “Break A My Back”
But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man
So I got myself a wife and I did what I could
And I called my wife “Friend For Life”
And I called my cow “More Milk Now”
And I called my farm “Muscle In My Arm”
And I called my shack “Break A My Back”
But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could
But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could

Dry Bones


h1 Friday, May 1st, 2009

Originally recorded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford – February 1928 in Ashland, Kentucky. I learned this song from the Harry Smith Anthology. What I love most about it is its melodic chorus. Although Lunsford simply accompanied himself on banjo, I’ve added guitar and mandolin to my recording.

Lyrics:

Roughly in the key of G#

Oh Enoch he lived to be, three hundred and sixty-five
When the Lord came and took him, back to heaven alive

I saw
I saw the light from heaven, a-shining all around
I saw the light come shining, I saw that light come down

When Paul sleeping in prison them prison walls fell down
The prison keeper shouted “Praise King and love I’ve found!”

I saw
I saw the light from heaven, a-shining all around
I saw the light come shining, I saw the light come down

When Moses saw that-a burning bush, he walk-ed round and round
Then the Lord said to Moses “You’s treadin’ holy ground.”

I saw
I saw the light from heaven, a-shining all around
I saw the light come shining, I saw the light come down

Dry bones in that valley, got up and took a little walk
The deaf could hear and the dumb could talk

I saw
I saw the light from heaven, a-shining all around
I saw the light come shining, I saw the light come down
Adam and Eve in the garden, under that sycamore tree
Eve said “Adam, a Satan is a-temptin’ me.

I saw
I saw the light from heaven, a-shining all around
I saw the light come shining, I saw the light come down

Old Plank Road


h1 Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Uncle Dave Macon “The Dixie Dew Drop,” recorded this song on 5-string banjo, with guitar by Sam McGee in New York City on April 14, 1926. Macon was born in 1870, the son of proprietors of the Macon Hotel, a theatrical boarding house, where he learned many songs from hotel guests. By 1888 he had become a professional entertainer and would record over a hundred songs between 1932 – 1938. This is one of the chain gang songs he performed. It’s a wild interpretation with lots of shouting. The chorus “Won’t get drunk no more” echoes his regret for being busted and having a ball and chain, but doesn’t smack of true remorse.
Lyrics:

Roughly in the key of D playing the melody

Rather be in Richmond with all the hail and rain
Than to be in Georgia boys wearin’ that ball and chain

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

I went down to Mobile, but I got on the gravel train
Very next thing they heard of me, had on that ball and chain

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Doney, oh dear Doney, what makes you treat me so
Caused me to wear that ball and chain, now my ankle’s sore

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Knoxville is a pretty place, Memphis is a beauty
Wanta see them pretty girls, hop to Chattanoogie

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

I’m going to build me a scaffold on some mountain high
So I can see my Doney girl as she goes riding by

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

My wife died on Friday night, Saturday she was buried
Sunday was my courtin’ day, Monday I got married

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Eighteen pounds of meat a week, whiskey here to sell
How can a young man stay at home, pretty girls look so well

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

My Home’s Across The Smokey Mountains


h1 Sunday, March 1st, 2009

This is a joyful sounding song that belies its lyrics. It really doesn’t sound like he’s never going to see his lover anymore, or if that’s the case he’s pretty darn happy about it. I played it on 5-string banjo, 12-string and 6-string guitars. I remember when I was going to the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, that my guitar and banjo teacher Frank Hamilton traveled to New York to record this and other songs on an album with Pete Seeger called: Nonsuch We were all so proud of Frank!
Lyrics:

[G] My home’s across the Smokey Mountains
My home’s across the Smokey [D7] Mountains
[G] My home’s across the Smokey Mountains
And I’l [D7] never get to see you any [G] more more more
I’l [D7] never get to see you any [G] more

Goodbye honey sugar darlin’ X3
And I’l never get to see you any more more more
I’l never get to see you any more

Rock by baby feed her candy X3
And I’l never get to see you any more more more
I’l never get to see you any more

Oh Where’s that finger ring I gave you X3
And I’l never get to see you any more more more
I’l never get to see you any more

My home’s across the Smokey Mountains X3
And I’l never get to see you any more more more
I’l never get to see you any more

My home’s across the Smokey Mountains X3
And I’l never get to see you any more more more
I’l never get to see you any more

No Payday In Detroit


h1 Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The Packard factory (pictured above) closed in 1956. My grandfather bought one of their last models, being a life long Packard enthusiast. They had been overrun by the big three. Now we are at the point where the big three’s future is in question. This is a traditional song about a mine disaster but it’s fitting for the US auto industry at this time. I changed the lyrics a bit to bring it up to speed and played it on banjo and mandolin.

Lyrics:

1. [A] Payday, it’s payday, oh, payday,
[D] Payday in Detroit no [A] more,
[D] Payday in Detroit no [A] more.

2. Bye bye, bye bye, oh, bye bye,
Bye bye, my woman, I’m gone,
Bye bye, my woman, I’m gone.

3. You’ll miss me, you’ll miss me, you’ll miss me,
Baby gonna miss me when I’m gone,
Baby gonna miss me when I’m gone.

4. Easy rider, easy rider, oh easy rider,
Won’t be ridin’ easy any more,
Won’t be ridin’ easy any more.

1. Payday, it’s payday, oh, payday,
Payday at Detroit no more,
Payday at Detroit no more.

500 Miles


h1 Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Hedy West (April 6, 1938 – July 3, 2005) was an American folksinger and songwriter. Her song “500 miles,” has been covered by Bobby Bare (a Billboard Top 10 hit in 1963), The Highwaymen, The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter & Gordon, The Brothers Four and many others. A great number of Hedy’s songs, including the raw materials for “500 Miles” came from her paternal grandmother Lily West who passed on the songs she had learned as a child.

This has a sweet melody and a sad story of poverty and desolation.

Lyrics:

[A] If you miss this train I’m on [F#m] then you’ll know [Bm] that I have [D] gone
You can [Bm] hear the whistle [E] blow a hundred miles
[A] A hundred miles [F#m] A hundred miles [Bm] A hundred miles [D] A hundred miles
You can [Bm] hear the whistle [E] blow a hundred [A] miles

Lord I’m one Lord I’m two Lord I’m three Lord I’m four
Lord I’m five hundred miles from my home
Five hundred miles five hundred miles five hundred miles five hundred miles
Lord I’m five hundred miles from my home

Not a shirt on my back not a penny to my name
Lord I can’t go on home this a-way
This a-way this a-way this a-way this a-way
Lord I can’t go on home this a-way

[A] If you miss this train I’m on [F#m] then you’ll know [Bm] that I have [D] gone
You can [Bm] hear the whistle [E] blow a hundred miles
[A] A hundred miles [F#m] A hundred miles [Bm] A hundred miles [D] A hundred miles
You can [Bm] hear the whistle [E] blow a hundred [A] miles

Darlin’ Corey


h1 Monday, September 1st, 2008

Darlin’ Cory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Darlin’ Cory” (Roud 5723) is a well-known folk song about a banjo-picking, moonshine-making mountain woman. The first known recording of it was by Clarence Gill as “Little Corey” on 6 January 1927, but it was rejected by the record company and never released.[1] A few months later, folk singer Buell Kazee recorded it as “Darling Cora” on 20 April 1927 (Brunswick 154).[2] Later the same year, it was recorded by B. F. Shelton as “Darlin’ Cora” on 29 July 1927 (Victor 35838) [3] . Other early recordings are “Little Lulie” by Dick Justice (1929) and “Darling Corey” (released as a single) by the Monroe Brothers in 1936.[4] Burl Ives recorded it on 28 May 1941[5] for his debut album Okeh Presents the Wayfaring Stranger. Since then, many artists have recorded it: Roscoe Holcomb, Doc Watson, Bruce Hornsby, The Weavers, Crooked Still, Bill Monroe,[6] Harry Belafonte (as “Darlin’ Cora,” attributed to Fred Brooks),[7], Pete Seeger, and Kingston Trio (on their album At Large, 1959).

Lyrics:

Wake [D] up, wake up darling Corey
What makes you [A] sleep so sound
The [D] revenue officers are coming
They’re gonna tear you [A] still-house [D] down

Well the first time I seen darling Corey
She was sitting by the banks of the sea
Had a forty-four around her body
And a five-string on her knee.

Go away go away darling Corey
Quit hanging around my bed
Your liquor has ruined my body
Pretty women gone to my head.

Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Dig a hole in the cold damp ground
Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
We’re gonna lay darling Corey down.

Can’t you hear them bluebirds a-singing
Don’t you hear that mournful sound
They’re preaching darling Corey’s funeral
In some lonesome graveyard ground.