February Song


h1 February 1st, 2016

This was a traditional children’s song from Trinidad with one verse called “All Who Born In January.” But I have already done a Folk Den song for January so I invoked the “Folk Process” and renamed it “February Song.” I have added new verses as well. Now it’s a joyous winter song. If you wish to sing it in its original version the verse is at the bottom of the page.

The image above is “A Brush for the Lead”, lithograph by Currier and Ives, 1867

Lyrics:
[G] All who Born In February [D] come [G] around
[G] All who Born In February [D] come around
[G] Singing dancing [C] in the frost
[G] Singing dancing [C] in the frost
[G] All who Born In February [D] come [G] around

All who like a sleigh ride come around
All who like a sleigh ride come around
New York Flyers on the snow
New York Flyers on the snow
All who like a sleigh ride come around

All who like a snowman come around
All who like a snowman come around
Coal for eyes and a carrot nose
Coal for eyes and a carrot nose
All who like a snowman come around

All who like those jingle bells come around
All who like those jingle bells come around
Jingle Jangle through the town
Jingle Jangle through the town
All who like those jingle bells come around

All who like a fireplace come around
All who like a fireplace come around
Warm and cozy on your toes
Warm and cozy on your toes
All who like a fireplace come around

All who Born In February come around
All who Born In February come around
Singing dancing in the frost
Singing dancing in the frost
All who Born In February come around

Original:

From: http://musicnotes.net/SONGS/00-ALLWH.html

All who born in January skip around.
All who born in January skip around.
Tra la la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la.
All who born in January skip around.

The Fatal Flower Garden


h1 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.”

Angels We Have Heard On High


h1 December 1st, 2015

The lyrics for “Angels We Have Heard On High” are a translation of a French song Les Anges dans nos campagnes (literally, “Angels in our countryside”) The melody is a traditional hymn “Gloria” Gloria in Excelsis Deo! (Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”

Merry Christmas 2015 and Vive la France!

Lyrics:
[G] Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strain
—Chorus—:

[G] Glo-o-o-o-o-o- [C] O-o-o-o-o-o-[G] O-o-o-o-o-o-[D] O-ri-a [G] in Ex-cel-sis De-o![D]
[G] Glo-o-o-o-o-o- [C] O-o-o-o-o-o-[G] O-o-o-o-o-o-[D] O-ri-a [G] in Ex-cel-sis [D] De-o![G]

Shepherds, why this jubilee,
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly songs?

Chorus

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

Chorus

See Him in a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior’s birth.

Chorus

There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight


h1 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 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 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 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

The Eclipse


h1 July 1st, 2015

Launched from Hall’s yard, Aberdeen, on 3rd January 1867 the ‘Eclipse’ cost almost $12,000, carried eight whale boats and a crew of 55 men.

“The Eclipse” was one of the first seafaring songs to grab my attention. It was on the album “Thar She Blows” By Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd. It tells the true story of three ships whaling in Queen Victoria’s year of Jubilee 1887. The trip was a miserable failure.

A.L. Lloyd commented in the album’s liner notes:

In the year of Queen Victoria’s jubilee, 1887, the steamer Eclipse of Stonehaven went fishing in the Arctic with her sister ships the Eric and the Hope. Her captain, David Gray, was on one of the greatest of nineteenth century whaling skippers. By now the northern waters were nearly fished clean of right whales, and the Scottish fleet was taking whatever it could – white whales, narwhales, bottlenooses (David Gray was the first hunter of bottlenoose whale). The 1887 season was disastrous. The Erik caught one small whale, the Hope none at all. On June 21st, David Gray took a good fat 57-foot cow whose jawbones are still on show in London’s Natural History Museum, but even the Eclipse, that luckiest of whalers, came home light, and with a bonus of only one-and-threepence a ton for oil. Her crew felt the trip had hardly been worth the hardship, and they marched through the streets of Peterhead to tell the owners so. The Eclipse made her first voyage in 1867. When she finished whaling, she was sold to the Russians and, renamed the Lomonosov, she was still being used as a survey ship along the Siberian coast as late as 1939.

Lyrics:
[G] It was the twenty-first of [D] June, me boys it [G] being a glorious [D] day,
[G] The Eclipse she saw a [D] whale-fish and she [Em] lowered all hands away,

Chorus (after each verse):
[G] So blow ye winds of morning, blow ye winds [C] hi-ho,
[G] Clear away your [C] running gear and [G] blow, [C] boys, [G] blow.

The boats they pulled to leeward, went skipping over the sea,
And we killed this noble whale-fish for another jubilee.

Our Captain Davie Gray was kind and he gave his crew a treat,
And that was why we caught this whale that measured fifty feet.

The Eclipse she lies to windward, her colours she does flee,
And the Erik and the Hope also, and this is the jubilee.

The Erik caught a sperm-whale that measured forty-three,
But the Hope has none and shall get none this year of jubilee.

But when this trip is over we’ll not ship for one and three,
Because we didn’t get fair play in the year of jubilee.

We’ll march up to the Custom House where we do all sign clear,
And when we face old Bless-My-Soul we’ll tell him without fear.

We’ll tell him that we’ll never sign again for one and three,
And we’ll march through Commercial Street and sing the jubilee.

Chorus:
And so blew ye winds of morning, blow ye winds hi-ho,
Clear away your running gear and blow, boys, blow.

Yellow Rose of Texas


h1 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.

Acres of Clams


h1 May 1st, 2015

Francis D. Henry wrote the “Old Settler’s Song,” or “Acres of Clams” around 1874. Set to the tune of “Rosin the Bow,” it was thought to be the state song of Washington according to the The People’s Song Bulletin until it was decided the lyrics were not dignified enough.

I learned “Acres of Clams” at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago around 1957 and found it recently in a book from the school.

Lyrics:
[E] I wandered all [B7] over this [E] country
Prospecting and mining for [C#m] gold
[E] I’ve tunneled, [B7] hydraulicked and [E] cradled
And I have been [B7] frequently [E] sold

CH: And I have been frequently [A] sold
And I have been frequently [C#m] sold
[E] I’ve tunneled, [B7] hydraulicked and [E] cradled
And I have been [B7] frequently [E] sold

For one who gets riches by mining
Perceiving that hundreds grow poor
I made up my mind to try farming
The only pursuit that is sure

So rolling my grub in a blanket
I left all my tools on the ground
And started one morning to shank it
For a country they call Puget Sound

Arriving flat broke in midwinter
I found it enveloped in fog
And covered all over with timber
Thick as hair on a dog

I took up a claim in the forest
And set myself down to hard toil
For two years I chopped and I loggered
But I never got down to the soil

I tried to get out of the country
But poverty forced my to stay
Until I became an old settler
Then you couldn’t drive me away

But now that I’m used to the climate
I think that if a man ever found
A spot to live easy and happy
That Eden is on Puget Sound

No longer a slave to ambition
I laugh at the world and its shams
As I think of my happy condition
Surrounded by acres of clams