Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Introduction
Guyot in the Great Smokies lack only a few feet of that height.5 There is a boundary ridge between Tennessee and North Carolina about sixty-five miles long with an average altitude of 5,000 feet. These mountains are the oldest in the world. On them were born all the hard wood trees in America probably in the world. There are one hundred and twenty different kinds of trees in the Great Smokies. Starting amid sycamores, elms, gums, willows, persimmons, chinquapins, one comes into a region of beech, birch, basswood, magnolia, cucumber, butternut, holly, sourwood, box elder, ash, maple, buckeye, poplar, hemlock and a great number of other growths along the creeks and branches. On the lower slopes are many species of oak with hickory, hemlock, pitch pine, locust, dogwood, and chestnut. Oaks reach a diameter of five or six feet. Chestnut trees grow from six to nine feet across. Tulip trees are ten to eleven feet in diameter and are often two hundred feet high. It is sometimes seventy or eighty feet to the nearest limb. Beech, birch, buckeye and chestnut persist to 5,000 feet. There are more plants in the Smokies than anywhere outside of the tropics. As has been said before, these mountains escaped the glacial periods; they are, therefore, rounded and wooded to the tops. Wild streams, waterfalls, cascades, and deep gorges abound. More varied scenery is found here than in the Rockies. Moreover, these highlands cover an area equivalent to that covered by the Alps, or, a territory as large as that of England and Scotland.
As weather conditions in that region are commonly misunderstood, it will not be out of place to point out that one sleeps there under blankets the year round. Let it be remembered also that there is an average altitude of 2,700 feet in these mountains. The nights are always cool though the sun may be hot at times during the day. During some summer seasons it rains about two days out of three, though usually only a short shower. No more equable climate is to be found short of California.6
0 The statistics arc from Horace Kephart's Our Southern Highlanders.
0 The New York Evening Post, August 17, 1923, has the following. "Mclhngcr
K. Henry          ...... writcs us from Montreat, N. C, to tell us how cool it has been
there this season. 'Why do you go south in the summer time*'' is a question so often asked by New York friends that 1 feel quite certain that it will be a long time before the charm of the Southern Highlands will send anything like a universal call noithward,' he writes. 'Popular prejudices are deep rooted. One of the most amusing instances has been a letter from a New York friend asking me to observe the thermometer daily and let him know the registration. This friend has heard me praise the delightful summer climate of the North Carolina mountains. All my eloquence ft 11 on barren soil. "Do you want to roast?'' exclaimed one friend. Another cried, "Lord, you must like hot weather."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III