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. 164)
This ballad had not hitherto been found in America before the summer of 1930 at which time it was recorded by Mrs. Henry. It is something of a coincidence that a letter received by the editor just before the discovery and recording of "King Henry Fifth's Conquest of France" expressed the in­sistent opinion of an experienced expert in ballad collecting that no more ballads would ever be discovered in the South. Added interest comes from the fact that another version of the ballad was taken down by Mrs. Helen H. Flanders from the singing of Mr. E. C. Green at Springfield, Vermont, on August 20, 1931, and printed in the Springfield (Mass.) Sunday Union on August 30. Mr. Barry has printed in Bulletin, No. 4, p. 10, the text and melody transcribed from two phonograph records made by him of the singing of Mr. Green on October 20 and 21, 1931.
The following texts, A and B, of this ballad together with the head-notes are reprinted by courtesy of the New Jersey Journal of Education, Vol. XX, Nos. 3—4, pp. 6—7 and the Bulletin of the Folk-Song Society of the North­east, Number 2, pp. 5—6. The air included with A was not given in either of these. In regard to the texts A and B from the same source Mr. Phillips Barry remarks (Bulletin, p. 6): "One feature of the tradition, the preservation of two texts in the same family, is easily accounted for. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon are step-brother and step-sister; they learned their songs from the same source, namely Grandfather Hicks, from whom, apparently, the Harmon songs have come. That 'ballads run in the families' is a truism. Certain aspects, however, of family tradition require closer study. It would be worth while to know why some ballads and not others have accumulated in the tradition of a given family."
In the summer of 1928, some traditional ballads had been recorded from the singing of members of the Harmon family of Cade's Cove, Tennessee. Others were taken down by some individuals of the family and forwarded by mail. One of the most interesting of the latter is a fine text of the rare "Lamkin." Meantime this entire family of Tennessee mountaineers, num­bering more than a dozen persons, was compelled to sell their property hold­ings to the Great Smoky National Park Commission and to remove to the mountains of northern Georgia. Though rather inaccessible and quite is-

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