Country, Western & Gospel Music

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Folk songs are epigrams. The rhetoric has been strained out of them through the sieve of time. They may be, and often are, "as common as dirt" but they will always be salty with the sweat of experience. They are the never-ending echoes of life, love, birth and death, of work and play, hope and despair, success and failure. They are a testament that enough people did the same things enough times in the same place to grow a song which expresses kindred feel­ings and familiar understandings.
You surely come back at last in things best known to you. Finding the best, or as good as the best, in folks nearest to you.
So from fact comes fable, from man grows myth.
The Johnny Appleseed legend grew as naturally as the appleseeds which he carried down the Ohio in his drifting canoe. Jonathan Chapman was his name, a frontiersman with a persistent vision for people: that settlers should have apple trees for summer shade and autumn harvest—for cider and pies—for food and fun. The name of Jonathan Chap­man grew to the stature of "Johnny Appleseed" as inevi­tably as the seeds which he scattered grew into thousands of apple orchards.
"Old Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie,, reflects the ac­cumulation of long still nights, far from the crude comforts of cowboy bunkhouses, the lonesomeness of fence riding for days on end, beaten down upon by the pitiless sun, un­relieved by tree or stream—the days of waiting in a shanty surrounded by the quiet, snow-blanketed sleeping prairie. "Shenandoah" springs from the sweet peace of a fertile valley, rich with the memories of blossom and bird song, fruit and mellow harvest. "East Side, West Side" reveals the bold conviviality of urban pleasure seekers in the hustle and bustle of a great city. Folk songs have accumulated as a record of those events which our people wish to celebrate.
There is a tendency to think of folk songs as a people's expression of long ago and far away; yet this is not true. Contemporary folk songs are pushing up out of our life just as they did in the lives of our forefathers. These folk songs were and are being started by someone as they must
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III