Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

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

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Anglo-Saxon stock, cling to pioneer ways because of the conditions under which they live. They are dependent upon their own industry tor the neces­sities of life. They are their own carpenters, plumbers, wheelwrights, masons, and shoemakers as a matter of course and of economy. Their versatility is amazing. Many mountain men build their own houses and make their own furniture. The women weave towels, rugs, draperies, coverlets and piece quilts.
"For the most part their wants are few and Nature is kind. The forests furnish necessary fire-wood and in some cases lumber for the home. A space is cleared, the inevitable patch of corn planted and frequently a garden. Many own a cow, pig and chickens and the more prosperous a horse or a mule. The men farm, hunt and fish. Between seasons they work on the public roads or for one of the lumber companies that own most of the two hundred thousand acres of virgin timber that exists at this writing. The fireside industries help to support many a family. In and around Gatlinburg there is scarcely a home without its loom.
"Stopping at the home of a weaver you find her singing to a flaxen-haired, blue-eyed child of two or three, playing at her knees. You pause to catch the words of the song. It is an old English ballad.
'Is this your bride? 1 think she's miserable brown;
And you could have married as fair a skinned girl
As ever the sun shined on,
As ever the sun shined on.' "The weaver pauses in her song but not in her work. You are about to knock when she begins a new song with a more rollicking tunc.
'Kill that rooster, shoot him dead.
Don't want him eatin' that shortenin' bread.'" Speaking of their language, Miss Torn borough quotes the following passage from John Fox, Jr. :
" 'In his speech the mountaineer touches a very remote past; he keeps in use old words and meanings that the valley people have ceased to use, but no where is this usage so sustained and consistent as to form a dialect.'" Then she goes on: "And Cecil Sharp, the Englishman, declared that though the southern mountaineer may be uneducated he is not uncultured." John Powell in "Virginia Finds her Folk-Music"11 also refers to the effect made on Cecil Sharp. He says, "The impression made by the folk-musicians MUSTCAL. COURIER, April 23, 1932.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III