Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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Introduction
7
Naturally the songs which were popular in the camps reflected he background, the character, and the interests of the singers. Many vere importations from the Old World, gay, sentimental, romantic, •r tragic, as the case might be. Again, they were American adapta-ions of European ballads, or songs picked up by singers in their wanderings on sea or land. And not infrequently the themes con-erned some phase of life in the lumber camps of other states where he loggers had tarried for a time. Men with a musical ear often amented that many of their comrades who sang lustily could not arry a tune. But such inability never lessened the uproarious fun.
Although lumber camps oŁ the old type, which had their golden ge in the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, are no more, ery many of our informants who at present are active or retired armers were formerly associated in some way with those camps. Vhen the members assembled for an evening's entertainment, hey approached the singing, dancing throngs thought by the older sholars to be responsible for the communal composition of ballads.
Two of our informants, Mrs. Russell Wood and Mrs. Peter Miller, Lad so much enjoyed the singing in such camps that they had copied a notebooks more than twenty and forty songs respectively, many f which they sang for us. With her songs Mrs. Miller had recorded ecipes for cooking and cures for spavin in horses and rheumatism in nan. A number of male informants who either had been loggers r had neighbored with them sang songs of various types current a the camps with which they had been acquainted. One of these ingers, Mr. Otis Evilsizer, now engaged in growing cucumbers for uckhng factories, sang from memory six Child ballads, the aristo-rats of folk song, and many other traditional songs, some of which Le had learned from his father. Up to the time of his death in 1936, vhen he was eighty-six years of age, the father could still recall Dngs which as a boy living with his parents on a farm near Zanesville, >hio, he had learned from English neighbors. The son is a natural nusician who not only has a phenomenal memory for the words of ongs, but can play with great skill the tunes both of songs and of ►Id dances on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mouth organ, jew's-harp, cabinet •rgan, or what not. In former days he played a dulcimer which he had nade. Not many years ago he and other men in his neighborhood vould assemble at the house of a member of the group and try
Lumberjack Ballads," Michigan History Magazine, XX (Lansing, Spring-ummer, 1936), 231-245; Frank P. Bohn, "This Was the Forest Primeval," Michigan History Magazine, XXI (Lansing, Spring, 1937), 185-188; Phillips Jarry, "American Folk Music," Southern Folklore Quarterly, I, No. 2 (Gaines-ille, Florida, 1937)* 29-47.







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