Freight Train


h1 September 1st, 2019

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten composed “Freight Train” as a teenager (sometime between 1906 and 1912), inspired by the sound of the trains rolling in on the tracks near her home in North Carolina.

The song has been recorded by Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary and countless others.

Lyrics:
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don’t tell what train I’m on
They won’t know what route I’m going

When I’m dead and in my grave
No more good times here I crave
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I’ve gone to sleep

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
So I can hear old Number Nine
As she comes rolling by

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I’ve gone to sleep

Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don’t tell what train I’m on
They won’t know what route I’m going

Buffalo Boy


h1 August 1st, 2019

This is an Appalachian courting song I learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music in 1957
Lyrics:
[E] When are we going to get married
[B7] Get married, [E] get married
When are we going to get married
[B7] My dear old Buffalo [E] Boy

Guess we’ll marry in the Fall
In the Fall, in the Fall
Guess we’ll marry in the Fall
That is if the weather is good

What you going to bring to the wedding
To the wedding, to the wedding
What you going to bring to the wedding
My dear old Buffalo Boy

Guess I’ll bring my ox cart
My ox cart, my ox cart
Guess I’ll bring my ox cart
That is if the weather is good

Why don’t you bring your buggy
Your buggy, your buggy
Why don’t you bring your buggy
My dear old Buffalo Boy

Ox won’t fit in the buggy
In the buggy, in the buggy
Ox won’t fit in the buggy
Not even if the weather is good

Who you going to bring to the wedding
To the wedding, to the wedding
Who you going to bring to the wedding
My dear old Buffalo Boy

Guess I’ll bring my children
My children, my children
Guess I’ll bring my children
That is if the weather is good

Didn’t know you had no children
No children, no children
Didn’t know you had no children
My dear old Buffalo Boy

Yes I got two children
Two children, two children
Yes I got two children
Because the weather was good

There ain’t gonna be no wedding
No wedding, no wedding
There ain’t gonna be no wedding
My dear old Buffalo Boy

Not even if the weather is good?

Not even if the weather is good!

KumBaYa


h1 July 1st, 2019

KumBaYa is a spiritual that originated in Angola. It means Come By Hear Lord.
Lyrics:
[G] Kum Ba Ya my Lord [C] Kum Ba [G]Ya
[G] Kum Ba Ya my Lord [Am] Kum Ba [D]Ya
[G] Kum Ba Ya my Lord [C] Kum Ba [G]Ya
[C] Oh [G] Lord [D] Kum Ba [G] Ya

Someone’s singing Lord Kum Ba Ya X3
Oh Lord Kum Ba Ya

Someone’s dancing Lord Kum Ba Ya X3
Oh Lord Kum Ba Ya

Someone’s praying Lord Kum Ba Ya X3
Oh Lord Kum Ba Ya

OleAnna


h1 June 1st, 2019

Oleanna was a utopian experiment envisioned by violin virtuoso Ole Bull in the nineteenth century. He was very wealthy and purchased over 11,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania to form a perfect society. It didn’t work out so he returned to performing concerts.
Lyrics:
[D] Oh, to be in Oleanna!
[G] That’s where I’d like to [D] be,
[A] Than be bound in [D] Norway,
[A] And drag the chains of [D] slavery.

[Chorus:]
[D] Ole, Oleanna, [G] Ole, Ole [D] anna,
[A] Ole, Ole, [D] Ole, Ole, [A] Ole, Ole [D] anna.

In Oleanna land is free,
The wheat and corn just plant themselves,
Then grow a good four feet a day,
While on your bed you rest yourself.

Beer as sweet as Muchener
Springs from the ground and flows away,
The cows all like to milk themsleves
And hens lay eggs ten times a day.

Little roasted piggies
Just rush about the city streets,
Inquiring so politely if
A slice of ham you’d like to eat.

Aye, if you’d begin to live,
To Oleanna you must go,
The poorest wretch in Norway
Becomes a king in a year or so.

Talcahuano Gals


h1 May 1st, 2019

This is an alternative version of the English sea chantey “Spanish Ladies.” It refers to a ship off the coast of Chile. Camilla and i will be sailing on the Queen Mary 2 this month where I will be giving two lectures and a Q & A. Happy May!
Lyrics:
[G] Oh I’ve been a sea-cook, and [C]I’ve been a clipperman
[D] I can sing, I can dance, I can walk the jib-boom
[G]I can carve a good scrimshaw and [C]cut a fine figure
[G]Whenever I get in the ship’s [D]fo’c’sle [G]room

CHORUS:
And we’ll rant and we’ll roar like true-born young sailors
We’ll rant and we’ll roar on deck or below
Until we see bottom inside the two sinkers
And straight up the channel to Huasco we’ll go
CHORUS
I was in Talcahuano last year on a clipper
I bought some gold brooches for the gals in the Bay
I bought me a pipe and they called it a meerscum
And it melted like butter on a hot shiny day
CHORUS
I went to a dance one night in old Tumbes
There was plenty of gals there as fine as you’d wish
There was one pretty maiden a-chewing tobacco
Just like a young kitten a-chewing fresh fish
CHORUS
Here’s a health to the gals of old Talcahuano
A health to the maidens of far-off Maui
And let you be merry, don’t be melancholy
I can’t marry youse all, or in pokey I’d be
CHORUS X2

Miles High Maggie


h1 April 1st, 2019

This is based on a bluegrass standard “Little Maggie” recorded by Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt, Ricky Scaggs and almost every banjo player in the world.

I have fond memories of standing around the fountain in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village on Sunday afternoons in the 60s playing guitar along with Roger Sprung and Eric Weissberg.

Everybody did this song about the same way. I decided to add a little “Eight Miles High” Rickenbacker to it for spice and in so doing a new genre: “JazzGrass” Ha!

Lyrics:

[A] Oh yonder stands little [G] Maggie
[A] With a dram glass [E7] in her [A] hands
She’s drinking away her [G] troubles
[A] She’s a courting some [E7] other [A] man

Oh how can I ever stand it
Just to see them two blue eyes
A shining in the moonlight
Like two diamonds in the sky

Last time a saw little Maggie
She was down on the banks of the sea
With a forty-four around her Waste
And a banjo on her knee

Lay down your last gold dollar
Lay down your gold watch and chain
Little Maggie’s gonna dance for daddy
Listen to that old banjo ring

Pretty flowers were made for blooming
Pretty stars were made to shine
Pretty women were made for loving
Little Maggie was made for mine

Marching To Pretoria


h1 March 1st, 2019

This song was popular on both sides of the Boer War. It was originally in the Afrikaans language which is a sub language of Dutch. Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. The Boers were settlers who had moved north to pursue farming and lived in harmony with the English of South Africa until diamonds and gold were discovered in the Boer region. Then there were two wars to commandeer the riches of the north. Eventually the English prevailed.

Just thought this would be a good song for March. 🙂

Lyrics:
[D] I’ll drink with you, you drink with me and
So we will drink together
[A] So we will drink together
[D]So we will drink together
I’ll drink with you, you drink with me and so we will drink together
[A] As we march [D] along.

Chorus:
[G] We are marching to [D] Pretoria, [A] Pretoria, [D] Pretoria
We are [G] marching to [D] Pretoria, [A] Pretoria, [D] Hooorah!

I’ll walk with you you walk with me, , and
So we will walk together
so we will walk together
so we will walk together
I’ll walk with you you walk with me and so we will walk together
As we march along.

Chorus

I’ll sing with you, you sing with me and
So we will sing together
So we will sing together
So we will sing together
I’ll sing with you, you sing with me and So we will sing together
As we march along.

Chorus X 2

Day Dah Light


h1 February 1st, 2019


This is an old Jamaican folk song. It was first recorded on an British disc by Edric Connor “Songs From Jamaica” in 1952. Its origin is unknown but is believed to be a banana loaders song from the late nineteenth century. Harry Belafonte had the most recognizable hit with it in 1956 but the Tarriers had a top ten hit with it as well. Alan Arkin (now and actor) sang lead on their version which incorporated another Jamaican folk song “Hill and Gully Rider.”

Lyrics:
Key of E

Day O Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day O Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Come mister tally man tally me banana
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Come mister tally man tally me banana
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day N Day Day N Day Day N Day Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day N Day Day N Day Day N Day Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Six hand seven hand eight hand bunch
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Six hand seven hand eight hand bunch
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day N Day Day N Day Day N Day Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day N Day Day N Day Day N Day Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Work all night till the morning come
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day O Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Day O Day O
Day Dah Light and me want go home

Amazing Grace


h1 January 1st, 2019

John Newton, a former slave trader wrote “Amazing Grace” following Christian conversion after a near death experience
during a sea voyage.

Happy New Year 2019!!!

Lyrics:
Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home,
And grace will lead us home

Amazing grace, Howe Sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

What Child Is This?


h1 December 1st, 2018

Child.gif

This was originally posted here in the Folk Den on December 1st, 1996. I’m on the road right now with Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” album. I hope you enjoy this Christmas carol from twenty two years ago.

(Lyrics 18?? by William Chatterton Dix, to the melody of 'Greensleeves')

Lyrics:
Em D

What child is this, who, laid to rest,

C B7

On Mary's lap is sleeping?

Em D

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet

C B7 Em

While shepherds watch are keeping.

G D

cho: This, this is Christ the King,

C Bm

Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:

G D

Haste, haste, to bring him laud

C B7 Em

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh
Come, peasant, King to own Him;
The King of Kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him.

Special thanks to Bruce Kula for 12-string guitar accompaniment.
Merry Christmas 2018 All the best ….. Roger

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