English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians

122 Songs and Ballads, and 323 Tunes With Lyrics & sheet Music - online book

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Introduction                                 v
noting, namely the pronunciation of the impersonal pronoun with an aspirate—"hit"—a practice that seems to be universal.
Economically they are independent. As there are practically no available markets, little or no surplus produce is grown, each family extracting from its holding just what is needed to support life, and no more. They have very little money, barter in kind being the customary form of exchange.
Many set the standard of bodily and material comfort perilously low, in order, presumably, that they may have the more leisure and so extract the maximum enjoyment out of life. The majority live in log-cabins, more or less water-tight, usually, but not always, lighted with windows; but some have built larger and more comfortable homesteads.
They are a leisurely, cheery people in their quiet way, in whom the social instinct is very highly developed. They dispense hospitality with an openhanded generosity and are extremely interested in and friendly toward strangers, communicative and unsuspicious. "But surely you will tarry with us for the night? " was said to us on more than one occasion when, after paying an afternoon's visit, we rose to say good-bye.
They know their Bible intimately and subscribe to an austere creed, charged with Calvinism and the unrelenting doctrines of determinism or fatalism. The majority we met were Baptists, but we met Methodists also, a few Presbyterians, and some who are attached to what is known as the "Holiness" sect, with whom, however, we had but little truck, as their creed forbids the singing of secular songs.
They have an easy unaffected bearing and the unselfconscious manners of the well-bred. I have received salutations upon introduction or on bidding farewell, dignified and restrained, such as a courtier might make to his Sovereign. Our work naturally led to the making of many acquaintances, and, in not a few cases, to the formation of friendships of a more intimate nature, but on no single occasion did we receive anything . but courteous and friendly treatment. Strangers that we met in the course of our long walks would usually bow, doff the hat, and extend the
hand, saying, "My name is------; what is yours?" an introduction which
often led to a pleasant talk and sometimes to singing and the noting of interesting ballads. In their general characteristics they reminded me of the English peasant, with whom my work in England for the past fifteen years or more has brought me into close contact. There are differences, however. The mountaineer is freer in his manner, more alert, and less inarticulate than his British prototype, and bears no trace