Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

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

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The songs, consequently, came as the result of nearly a lifetime's interest in the southern mountains and of many visits in those parts of the Appa­lachian system. Love of Nature as manifested in the wild mountain fastness­es and a deep human sympathy with the mountain people were the first attractions. What golden opportunities for preserving ballads and songs were allowed to pass during my earlier experiences in the southern highlands! However, it was not until the summer of 1923 that my interest was turned in that direction. The spark flamed high at once, and the fascination has grown ever since. It came about in this manner: On July 23, 1923, Mrs. Henry and I were sojourning at Robert E. Lee Hall, Blue Ridge, North Carolina. On that date the late Professor C. Alphonso Smith gave a talk on The Ballad. He stressed the fact that the traditional ballad had survived better in the southern highlands than it had in England and Scotland. He pointed out how they had been perpetuated in oral transmission and emphasised the fact that ballads were still being commonly sung by the southern mountain people. Pie repeated much of what he had written in his "Ballads Surviving in the United States"17 where he says:
"What is now needed above all else is that the ballads surviving in the United States through oral tradition be taken down, both words and music, from the lips of those who still sing them."
Later he adds: "That ballad-collecting if done at all must be done quickl) is shown by the increasing unwillingness of illiterate people to admit a familiarity with these songs. Tact must be exercised, though only in the case of the unlettered, and the unlettered are not, of course, the only deposit­ories of the traditional ballad."
To Professor C. Alphonso Smith, therefore, we arc really indebted for first turning our interest to ballad collecting. Soon after listening to that talk on the ballad, we met at Montreat, North Carolina, my friend, Dr. Reed Smith, who has contributed so much to the scholarship of the ballad in America. He added flame to our fire, so to speak, by relating some of his own experiences as a ballad collector.
Almost immediately we were able to record some traditional ballads through our friends, the Burnetts, with whom we spent part of the summer on North Fork, near Black Mountain, North Carolina. They invited in for the evening Mr. C. W. Riddle and his daughter, Mary, who sang for us. Mr. Riddle had been a lumberman in Madison County, and according to his
17 'I he AIuveal Quarterly, January, 1916.

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