Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB


Previous Contents Next
Introduction
upon Sharp is doubly interesting since he was a complete stranger to them and their ways and since he had behind him the experience of similar collect­ing in England." He then quotes the following from English Folk -Songs from the Southern Appalachians.
" 'That the illiterate may nevertheless reach a high level of culture will surprise only those who imagine that education and cultivation are convert­ible terms. The reason, I take it, why these mountain people, albeit unlet­tered, have acquired so many of the essentials of culture is partly to be attributed to the large amount of leisure they enjoy, without which, of course, no cultural development is possible, but chiefly to the fact that they have one and all entered at birth into the full enjoyment of their racial heritage. Their language, wisdom, manners, and the many graces of life that are theirs are merely racial attributes which have been gradually acquired and accumulated in past centuries and handed down generation by generation, each generation adding its quotum to that which it received."'
Mr. Powell then goes on in his own words:
"In connection with this tribute, it is equally interesting to know with what feelings the stranger from London was received by his hosts. Maud Karpelcs, who accompanied Mr. Sharp on his tour, taking down the words of songs in shorthand, told me in London in 1928 that one of these moun­taineers paid Mr. Sharp a compliment which he valued above any praise he had ever received. He was preparing to take his leave after spending the night in a primitive farm-house. His host and hostess expressed the keenest regret that he could not linger with them. 'We all wish you could stay,' declared the old man wistfully at parting. 'You are so nice and common.' And this was merely the unlettered man's way of expressing what Mr. Sharp had felt of him and his fellows: that they shared a racial heritage which gave them, more than anything else could, a basis of understanding and mutual enjoyment."
If the people of the southern mountains still seem primitive in their mode of life, they prefer their way of life and its independence. They are a proud, brave, shrewd, reticent people. However, you will learn little of this purest of American stock by driving through the highways in a car. One must tarry with them and be one of them. One must, indeed, in their understanding of the word be truly "common" to enjoy the refreshing quality of much that is typically American. Among them the spirit of early America is less spoiled and their habits of life and speech less changed probably than in any other
12







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