Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

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

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Ballads and Songs
(Child, No. 4)
This ballad has wide circulation both in Europe and America. It rivals "Barbara Allen" and "The House Carpenter" in the number of variants that have been found in America. See Barry, No. 4; Barry-Eckstorm-Smyth, p. 14; Belden, No. 1; Brown, p. 9; Campbell and Sharp, No. 2; Cox, No. 1; Davis, No. 3; R. W. Gordon, The New York Times Magazine, October 9, 1927, p. 22; Hudson, No. 1; Mackenzie, Ballads', No. 1; Mackenzie, The Quest, pp. 93, 174, 182; Sandburg, p. 60; Scarborough, p. 43; Shearin, p. 3; Shearin and Combs, p. 7; Reed Smith, No. 1; Reed Smith, Ballads, No. 1; Wyman and Brockway, p. 82; Journal, XVIII, 132 (Barry); XIX, 232 (Belden); XXII, 65 (Beatty), 76 (Barry), 374 (Barry); XXVII, 90 (Gardner); XXVIII, 148 (Perrow);XXXV, 338 (Tolman and Eddy) ;XLII, 254(Henry). Cf. Cox's headnote (No. 1) for further American references. Add Barry, Bulletin of The Folk-Song Society of the Northeast, No. 1, p. 3; Jones, p. 13; PTFLS, No. 10, pp. 138140.
"Pretty Polly." Sung by Mrs. Samuel Harmon, Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee, August 1, 1928. Recorded by Mrs. Henry. Learned by Mrs. Harmon from grandfather Harmon who came from Watauga County, N. C. He obtained it by oral transmission from his father. This, as well as many other traditional ballads in this book, came as the result of an incident while exploring in the Great Smoky Mountains. We were motoring over Rich Mountain on our first visit to Cade's Cove, which until a few years ago was unknown to the outside world. A lone mountaineer toiling along with his bag of meal was invited to ride. Through this act of assistance we came to know his relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Harmon, who, apparently won by this slight help, with unusual freedom from the reserve that characterizes the southern mountaineer, sang for us as soon as they learned of our interest in songs.
1. He followed me up
And he followed me down,
When I had no tongue
For to say, "Nay, nay."

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