Friday, November 28, 2008

Stevie Ray's


We'll take a short break from the Carter Family and the Bluegrass Painting Series today. I'm still try to get more music students so if you live in the Louisville area and want to study guitar or a music instrument shoot me an email:

Jason, the electric guitarist in my praise band at Highland UMC, wants to start another band so it looks like we will be forming an old-time, blues, jazz, rock type band and playing also as a duo. We played as a band at Stevie Ray's on Tuesday and having not played together before it wasn't bad. Here's a clip he put on utube:

The Thrill Is Gone:

I'll be continuing the series on the Carter family and hopefully doing a new painting soon. I have a couple I want to do.

Take Care,


Monday, November 24, 2008

Carter Family Songs: Titled with E-F


There are Carters songs titled with E-F: East Virginia Blues; East Virginia Blues No. 2; Engine 143; Evening Bells Are Ringing; Faded Coat of Blue; Faded Flowers; Farewell Nellie; Fate of Dewey Lee; Fifty Miles of Elbow Room; Foggy Mountain Top; Fond Affection; Forsaken Love; and Funny When You Feel That Way.

The Carters recorded East Virginia Blues in 1934 and East Virginia Blues No. 2 in 1935. I've included the lyrics below for comparison. This is an old, widely known and recorded song. It was collected by Sharp in 1917 and is listed as "In Old Virginny." There are four versions Version A and B are closely related. Version C is Man of Constant Sorrow. This song has been titled "Dark Hollar Blues" by Ashley. It's also called "East Viginia" and "Old Virginny." Some branches of the song can be traced back to England.

EAST VIRGINIA BLUES- Carter Family; 1934 version (Victor 27494)

(Guitar Inst.)

I was born in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go.
There I spied a fair young lady
And her age I did not know. (Inst.)

Her hair was dark in color,
Her cheeks were rosy red.
Upon her breast she wore white lilies,
Where I longed to lay my head. (Inst.)

Oh, at my heart you are my darlin'
At my door you're welcome in,
At my gate I'll always meet you
For you're the girl I tried to win.(Inst.)

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun refuse to shine
Than for you to be another man's darlin'
And to know you'll never be mine.

EAST VIRGINIA BLUES NO.2- Carter Family 1935

My sweetheart has gone and left me,
And my little sisters, too.
And I'm left alone in sadness,
Lord, I don't know what to do.

All this world has turned against me,
Nothing but trouble do I see
There will be no more pleasure,
In this whole wide world for me. [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh, I am just from East Virginia,
With a heart so brave and true.
And I learned to love a maiden,
With eyes of heavenly blue.

That same day I packed my suitcase,
And I started to go away.
But she met me at the station,
Saying, darling, won't you stay. [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh, I am dying, Captain, dying,
Won't you take these words for me.
Take them over to the jailhouse,
Let this whole wide world go free.

Engine 143 also called the "Wreck on the C & O" is the Carter Family version of the Oct 23, 1890 death of engineer George Alley when the FFV train on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was wrecked by a landslide near Hinton, West Virginia.

Cox collected versions from 1915-1918. The Carters is based on existing lyrics. His engine number was Number 4 (not 143 as in the song). The express F.F.V., in the first stanza, refers to the name of the train, the Fast Flying Vestibule. The ballad is believed to have been composed by an African-American engine-wiper at the station in Hinton, West Virginia. Cohen says the official name of the FFV was Fast Flying Virginian, but it has several nicknames, including First Families of Virginia, Fuller's First Venture, and Fast Flying Vestibule.

ENGINE 143- Carter Family

Along came the FFV, the swiftest on the line,
Running o'er the C&O road just twenty minutes behind;
Running into Souville, headquarters on the line,
Receiving her strict orders from a station just behind.

Georgie's mother came to him with a bucket on her arm,
Saying, "My darling son, be careful how you run;
For many a man has lost his life in trying to make lost time,
And if you run your engine right, you'll get there just on time.

"Up the road she darted, against the rock she crushed,
Upside down the engine turned and Georgie's breast did smash;
His head was against the firebox door, the flames were rolling high,
"I'm glad I was born for an engineer to die on the C&O Road.

"The doctor said to Georgie, "My darling boy, be still,
Your life may yet be saved, if it is God's blessed will."
"Oh, no," said George, "that will not do, I want to die so free,
I want to die for the engine I love, One Hundred and Forty Three.

"The doctor said to Georgie, "Your life cannot be saved.
"Murdered upon a railroad, and laid in a lonesome grave,
His face was covered up with blood, his eyes you could not see,
And the very last words poor Georgie said was, "Nearer My God To Thee."

"Evening Bells Are Ringing" is a song arranged by A.P. Carter. Although the title is a phrase that has been used in poems and the lyrics seem based on a parlor song from the 1800s, I can't find an earlier source. Anyone?



Moonlight shining over Dixie
To my heart will ever bring
Dreams of snowy fields of cotton
Everywhere the darkies sing

In the evening by the moonlight
In dear old Tennessee
And the evening bells were ringing
Across the hills so tenderly [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Moonlight makes me sigh for you, dear
Makes me long to hold your hand
I know I'm missing hugs and kisses
Far away from Dixieland

In the evening by the moonlight
In dear old Tennessee
And the evening bells were ringing
Across the hills so tenderly [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

My darling, come, for I am waiting
Come, let me hold you very near
We'll build a bower among the flowers
Down in Dixieland

In the evening by the moonlight
In dear old Tennessee
And the evening bells were ringing
Across the hills so tenderly

"Faded Coat of Blue" is a Civil War song by J.H. McNaughton written in 1865. The Carters recorded the song in 1934 after Buell Kazee's classic version was done in 1928. Another title of the song is "Nameless Grave." The original sheet music may be found in the Levy Collection.


My brave boy sleeps in his faded coat of blue
In a lonely grave unknown lies the heart that beat so true.
He sank faint and hungry among the Spanish brave
And they laid him sad and lonely in a nameless grave.

CHORUS: No more the bugle calls the weary one.
Rest, noble spirit in their graves unknown
For we'll find you and know you among the good and true
Where a robe of white is given for a faded coat of blue.

He cried "Give me water and just a little crumb
And my mother she will bless you through all the years to come
And tell my sweet sister, so gentle, good and true.
That I'll meet her up in heaven in my faded coat of blue".

No dear one was nigh him to close his mild blue eyes
No gentle voice was by him to give him sweet replies
No stone marks the lonely sod of my lad so brave and true
In a lowly grave he's sleeping in his faded coat of blue.

Faded Flowers is based on a parlor song by James Powers and JH Brown published in 1851. It was recorded first in 1928 and is also known as "Lost Love."

FADED FLOWERS- Carter family 1933


The flowers I saw in the wildwood
Have since dropped their beautiful leaves
And the many dear friends of my childhood
Have slumbered for years in their graves

But the bloom of the flowers I remember
Though their smiles I may nevermore see
For the cold, chilly winds of December
Stole my flowers' companions from me

'Tis no wonder that I'm brokenhearted
And stricken with sorrows should be
For we have met, we have loved, we have parted
My flowers' companions and me [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

How dark looks this world and how dreary
When we part from the ones that we love
There is rest for the faint and the weary
And friends meet with loved ones above

For in heaven I can but remember
When from earth my soul shall be freed
That no cold, chilly winds of December
Shall steal my companions from me [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

'Tis no wonder that I'm brokenhearted
And stricken with sorrows should be
For we have met, we have loved, we have parted
My flowers' companions and me

"Farewell Nellie" is part of the large group of True Lover's Farewell songs. According to the Carter's biography this is a reworking of traditional material by Sara. The inital verse is very close to a soldier's Civil War song found throught the region.

From Belden, I don't have access to the whole song:

Fly across the ocean, birdie,
Fly across the deep blue sea,
There you'll find an untrue lover,
Untrue, yes, untrue to me.

The song is related to A Litle Bunch of Roses: In my opinion Farewell Nellie is a traditional song arranged by Sara that shows her own feelings towards her future husband Coy Bays.

FAREWELL NELLIE- Attributed to Sara Bays Carter 1937

Farewell, Nellie, farewell
Soon with strangers I must roam
Don't forget the one that loves you
Far away from friends and home

Fly across the ocean, birdie
Fly across the deep, blue sea
Take this message to my darling
She'll be glad to hear from me

You have told me that you love me
But you have unproved true
So I'll go and court some other
That will love more than you

When the whippoorwills are singing
Across the dark and lonely sea
When you're thinking of ten thousand
Will you sometimes think of me

How my heart is filled with sorrow
And my eyes are filled with tears
So I'll not forget you, darling
If I live ten thousand years

Fate of Dewey Lee, is an event song "written" by AP Carter about the 1931 murder of Dewey Lee. Again we see AP using other sources for inspiration. "Someone gave him a poem and he wrote it," said Janette. [from the Carter's biography]

The man who killed Dewey Lee was convicted and sent to prison in Richmond. AP later regretted writing the song. "He used to say," said Janettte, "They've still got people living, I shouldn't have done that." At the time (1935) AP and Sara had separated and AP had trouble coming up with songs.


'Twas on one Saturday evening
About the hour of ten
In a little mining town
Where trouble did begin

Everybody there were drinking
There were whiskey everywhere
Dewey Lee got to thinking
He had no business there

He was so tall and handsome
His heart so true and brave
Joe Jenkins pulled his pistol
And sent him to his grave

He took the life of Dewey
When life had just began
And Dewey went to Heaven
While Joe went to the pen

He took the life of Dewey
Because he would not tell
We know he murdered Dewey
For Dewey's pistol fell

His mother sits now weepin'
She weeps and mourns all day
She prays to meet her boy
In a better world some day

So hearken to my story
And what I have to say
Get right with your Maker
We'll meet Him again some day

The clerk said, "Stand up, boy
And listen to your crime!"
They sent him down to Richmond
To serve out his time

Young men all take warning
For this you must outlive
Don't take the life of anyone
For life you cannot give

You may possess great riches
Put many beneath the sod
But money won't hire a lawyer
When you stand before your God

Fifty Miles of Elbow Room was written by Herbert Buffum 1879-1939. Af­ter mov­ing with his fam­i­ly to Cal­i­for­nia and be­ing con­vert­ed to Christ at age 18, Buf­fum felt a call to the min­is­try. He held min­is­ter­i­al cre­den­tials with the Church of the Nazarene, and was a ho­li­ness/Pen­te­cost­al evan­gel­ist. He was al­so a prolific song writ­er, with ma­ny songs in­spired by per­son­al ex­per­i­ence; he had 10,000 songs to his cred­it, 1,000 ac­tu­al­ly pub­lished. Ripley's "Believe It or Not" claimed he once wrote 12 songs in an hour.

Though a tal­ent­ed mu­si­cian, Buf­fum re­ceived no mu­sic­al train­ing. He sold most of his songs for five dollars or less. When he died, the Los Angeles Times called him "The King of Gos­pel Song Writ­ers."A classic version is the 1930 recording by Reverend F. W. McGee, Anthology of American Folk Music, Smithsonian/Folkways SFW 40090, CD( (1997), trk# 55 [1930/06/16]


Twelve thousand miles its length and breadth
The foursquare city stands
Its gemset walls of jasper shine
Not made by human hands
100 miles its gates are wide
Abundant entrance there
With fifty miles of elbow room
On either side to spare

When the gates swing wide on the other side
Just beyond the sunset sea
There'll be room to spare as we enter there
Room for you and room for me
For the gates are wide on the other side
Where the flowers ever bloom
On the right hand, on the left hand
Fifty miles of elbow room

Sometimes I'm cramped and crowded here
And long for elbow room
I want to reach for altitude
Where the fairest flowers bloom
It won't be long before I pass
Into that city fair
With fifty miles of elbow room
On either side to spare

Foggy Mountain Top is one of the Carters well known songs. Earl Skruggs formed his own group, the Foggy Mountain Boys, which was named this song. The song Rocky Mountain Top is the basis for the Carters: I have another version of Rocky Mountain Top in my edition.

Randolph collected a version as did Brown. It's hard to tell if the Carters song was the basis for songs collected after 1940. The JOAFL 1945 has the text. The song is related to the false Young Man songs: White Oak Mountain and Rocky Mountain Side. The Carters are a collection of floating lyrics.

FOGGY MOUNTAIN TOP- Carter Family 1929

If I was on some foggy mountain top
I'd sail away to the west
I'd sail around this whole wide world
To the girl I love the best

If I had listened what mama said
I would not have been here today
A-lying around this old jail house
A-weeping my sweet life away

Yeah, oh-lay-ee-oh, lee-oh-la-ee-ay
Lee-oh-lay-ee, lay-ee, oh-lay-ee [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh, if you see that girl of mine
There's something you must tell her
She need not be foolin' no time away
To court some other feller

Oh, she's caused me to weep, she's caused me to mourn
She caused me to leave my home
For the lonesome pine and the good old times
I'm on my way back home

Yeah, oh-lay-ee-oh, lee-oh-la-ee-ay
Lee-oh-lay-ee, lay-ee, oh-lay-ee [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh, when you go a-courtin'
I'll tell you how to do
Pull off that long-tailed roustabout
Put on your navy blue

Yeah, oh-lay-ee-oh, lee-oh-la-ee-ay
Lee-oh-lay-ee, lay-ee, oh-lay-ee [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Fond Affection is another song with different names and related to many other songs. "Dear Companion," "The Broken Heart;" and "Go and Leave Me If You Wish To" are some of different names. The Carter Family's "Fond Affection" was recorded on Victor 23585, 1931 and Montgomery Ward M-4744, 1935.

The lyrics are often associated to "Columbus Stockade Blues" but the melody is different. It's been collected in 1909 by Belden. If someone has lyrics it would be welcome here. Randolph calls the song "The Broken Heart" with 7 texts. I have Sharp 111 "The Dear Companion" (1 text, 1 tune)and Ritchie-Southern, p. 10, "Dear Companion" (1 text, 1 tune)BrownII 153, has 13 texts listed as "Fond Affection." Here are some related recordings:

Dock Boggs, "I Hope I Live a Few More Days"
Crowder Brothers, "Leave Me Darling, I Don't Mind" (Melotone 7-04-70, 1937)
Clarence Green, "Fond Affection" (Columbia 15311-D, 1928)
Sid Harkreader, "Many Days With You I Wandered" (Vocalion 15100, 1925)
Kelly Harrell, "Bye and Bye You Will Forget Me" (Victor 20535, 1926; on KHarrell02
Mainer's Mountaineers "Let Her Go God Bless Her" (Bluebird [Canada] B-6104, 1935)
Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner, "Go and Leave Me If You Wish" (Brunswick 293, 1929; rec. 1928)
David Miller, "Many Times With You I've Wandered" (Champion 15429, 1928)



Once I loved your fond affection
All my hopes on you was spent
Till a dark eyed girl persuaded
And you cared no more for me

CHORUS: Go on and leave me if you wish to
Never let me cross your mind
In your heart you love another
Never on earth will call you mine
Yodel-ay-ee-oh, lay-ee-ay, oh-lay-ee [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

When I'm dead and in my coffin
And my pale face toward the sun
Will you come and sit beside me
And think of what you have done CHORUS:

When I'm dead and in my coffin
And the shroud around me bound
Will you come and scatter roses
Upon your lover's mound CHORUS:

Forsaken Love is known as "I Will Love You/Thee Always," "Out in the (Pale)Moonlight" and "I Love You Nellie/Nelly." This might be based on an older parlor song. Anyone?

Compare to this standard country version:


Standing in the moonlight by the old garden gate
Nellie, my darlin', I know you will wait
Wait for me, dearest, he said in tears
Then I'll be your sweetheart through all the long years.

CHORUS: I love you Nellie, yes I'll be true
All these long years have been just for you
And believe me, Nellie, when I'm far away
I'll not forget you, I'll be with you someday.

Standing in the moonlight by the old garden gate
Nellie, my darlin', I know you will wait
Wait for me, dearest, he said in tears
Then I'll be your sweetheart through all the long years.

Early next morning at the break of day
He was to journey so far away
Drawing her nearer, his promised bride
By the pale moonlight these words he replied. CHORUS:

FORSAKEN LOVE- Carter family 1928

They stood in the moonlight nearby the gate
Goodbye, my darling, I know you'll wait
She ceased weeping and smiled through tears
Saying, I've been true, love, through these long years

For on tomorrow at the break of day
He was to journey far far away
He held her closer, his promised bride
And to her questions these words replied

I've loved you always, yes, I've been true
My heart shall never be, love, but for you
Oh, darling, believe me, far over the sea
Through life or death, still faithful I'll be

One year passed by, he's coming home
His pilgrimage over, no longer to roam
And smiling, he thinks of her shining eye
Shining with welcome, a glad surprise

A dainty letter he takes from his breast
To which his extended lips were pressed
And reading once more by the warming light
The words he had spoken to her that night

I've loved you always, yes, I've been true
My heart shall never be, love, but for you
Oh, darling, believe me, far over the sea
Through life or death, still faithful I'll be

Once more he seeks the old garden gate
But he arrives, alas, alas, it's too late
The wedding is over, the knot is tied
He finds his darling another's bride

And later they found him there on the grass
A pistol nearby, still holding fast
A crop of letters that explained the deed
And in the pale moonlight these words did read

I've loved you always, yes, I've been true
My heart shall never be, love, but for you
Oh, darling, believe me, far over the sea
Through life or death, still faithful I'll be

Funny When You Feel That Way is "It's Funny when you Feel that Way" by George Harris 1873. Here's a link:

This was firrst recorded by one of Gene Autry's musical partners Frankie Marvin in 1929. The Carter's did their version in 1937.


I can't forget how queer I felt
Since first I fell in love
I had a most sincere attack
From squeezing a lady's glove

Her lovely hand was in it
As we waltzed around so gay
I thought myself in paradise
It's funny when you feel that way

CHORUS: It's funny when you feel that way
It's funny when you feel that way
I thought myself in paradise
It's funny when you feel that way [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Again we met one afternoon
As we were all alone
I plucked up nerve to ask
If she would someday be my own

She blushed and said, we'll ask papa
And ask him if I may
I danced a canter 'round the room
It's funny when you feel that way CHORUS:

The old boy said that we might wed
And so he crowned my bliss
And I shall be a double man
In about a month from this

It seemed to me somehow the time
Would never pass away
I long to hear those wedding bells
It's funny when you feel that way CHORUS:

Whew! That's a bunch for one post,

See ya later,


Carter Family: Recap of Songs A-F

Hi ,

We've now gone through the original Carter Family songs from A-F. See the details in the following posts. I'll put an asterisk by the songs that they wrote or have a unique arrangement. We can see the Carters songs are based on other existing songs or fragments of existing songs.

Amber Tresses: 1874 "Amber Tresses Tied in Blue," Words Samuel M. Mitchell, music H. P. Danks.

Anchored in Love; 1911 "Anchored in Love Divine" James Rowe & James Vaughan

*Answer to Weeping Willow: a rewrite of "Bury Me Beneath The Willow"

Are You Lonesome Tonight?: 1926 Lyrics Roy Turk, music Lou Hindman.

Are You Tired of Me, My Darling?: 1877 by Cook and Roland

*Away Out on Saint Sabbath: a rewrite of Bury Me on the Lone Prairie

*Bear Creek Blues; from Leslie Riddle, traditional blues verses from Blind Lemon others

Beautiful Home: 1898 by J. Howard Entwisle and Johnson Oatman

Beautiful Isle O'er the Sea: based on an earlier song, maybe Stoneman's.

Behind Those Stone Walls: based on an earlier song.

*Birds Were Singing of You: A.P. Carter as far as we know.

Black Jack David: traditional; taken from Cliff Carlisle; David Myrick

*Blackie's Gunman: rewrite of an unknown song

Bonnie Blue Eyes: arrangement of a traditional song

Bring Back My Blue Eyed Boy: arrangement of a traditional song

Bring Back My Boy: same song as above- arrangement of a traditional song

Broken Down Tramp: rewrite of an earlier song

Broken Hearted Lover; arrangement of a traditional song

*Buddies in the Saddle: 1940 attributed to Maybelle Carter

Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow: 1909 traditional folk song

*By the Touch of Her Hand: attributed to A.P. Carter

Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye): 1907 Ada Habershon, Music: Charles Gabriel.

Can't Feel at Home: 1919 as far as we know, traditional folk hymn and spiritual

Cannonball (Blues): from Leslie Riddle based on earlier song

Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in Texas; skit

*Carter's Blues; 1929 based on another song; title would need to be changed to avoid copyright issues.

Charlie and Nellie: traditional- based on earlier recordings

Chewing Gum: 1925 traditional song

Church in the Wildwood; 1857 James Rowe- words, William P. Pitts- music

Coal Miner's Blues: arranged collected by Leslie Riddle; traditional lyrics from coal camp.

Cowboy Jack: 1928 traditional based on an earlier song

Cowboy's Wild Song to His Herd: based on an earlier song

*Cuban Soldier: based on an unknown song

*Cyclone of Rye Cove: based on a poem sent to AP.

Dark and Stormy Weather: based on traditional lyrics

Dark Haired True Lover; 1918 text is in Robert Gordon Collection #1536

Darling Daisies: 1882 "Down by the Garden Wall" by Max Vernor.

Darling Little Joe: 1866 by V. E. Marsten.

*Darling Nellie Across the Sea: based on an unknown song

Diamonds in the Rough; 1897 CW Byron words and LL Pickett

Distant Land to Roam; LM Bandy's 1902 song "Leaving Home"

Don't Forget Me Little Darling; 1874. C.W. Vance- Words and RS Crandall

Don't Forget This Song: 1910 based on "Bad Companions" or "Young Companions"

Dying Mother: 1881 Nona Lawson- words and C. M. Tate

*Dying Soldier: based on an unknown song; the title may be used

East Virginia Blues: Traditional

East Virginia Blues No. 2; Traditional

Engine 143; 1915 traditional ballad

*Evening Bells Are Ringing: 1934 based on an unknown song by A.P Carter

Faded Coat of Blue; 1865 Civil War song by J.H. McNaughton

Faded Flowers: 1851 song by James Powers and JH Brown

*Fate of Dewey Lee: based on a poem by A.P. Carter

*Farewell Nellie: reworking of traditional material by Sara Carter

Fifty Miles of Elbow Room: written by Herbert Buffum 1879-1939

Foggy Mountain Top: traditional, based on earlier song

Fond Affection: traditional arranged by Carters

Forsaken Love: traditional arranged by Carters

Funny When You Feel That Way: 1873 "It's Funny when you Feel that Way" by George Harris

By looking at the list of 59 songs above we can see there are 15 songs that would be difficult to use freely without getting permission. Several of questionable songs you could use but would need to change the title: Bear Creek Blues (could be Cripple Creek Blues or whatever) since the Carters (Leslie Riddle) used traditional lyrics.

It looks like there are 6 songs that they wrote (four by AP). Even the ones they wrote were based on other material. Some of the other 15 questionable songs are based on songs but we don't know yet what the songs are. The Carter also received songs from their followers. I don't know the extent of songs they got except the "Fate of Dewey Lee."

The amount of time and effort AP took to find their songs should not be underestimated. You need to remember that many of their arrangements are copyrighted (except the ones they based on other earlier arrangements like "Black Jack David" and "Charlie and Nellie.")


Sally Goodin: Song History


Here's my painting of Sally Goodin (click to enlarge).

Today we'll look at the history of the song which is one of the most popular fiddle tunes.
Here's a great version with lyrics:
SALLY GOODWIN- McMichen and Puckett


Rasberry pie, huckleberry puddin',
Give it all away for to see Sally Goodin.

Looked to the hillside to see my Sally comin’
I thought to my soul I'll kill myself a-runnin'.

*Long ways to travel, the roads mighty muddy
I’m so drunk I can’t stand steady.

Rasberry pie, huckleberry puddin',
Give it all away for to see Sally Goodin.

Rasberry pie, huckleberry puddin',
Give it all away for to see Sally Goodin.

Well I love pie And I love puddin'
Crazy ‘bout the gal what they call Sally Goodin.

Long ways to travel, the road's mighty muddy
I’m so drunk I can’t stand steady.

Looked to the hillside to see my Sally comin’
I thought to my soul I'll kill myself a-runnin'.

Long ways to travel, the road's mighty muddy
I’m so drunk I can’t stand steady.

Looked to the hillside to see my Sally coming
I thought to my soul I'll kill myself a-runnin'.

*Forgets part of this verse, mumbled words
McMichen and Puckett's version is one that has lyrics. There are many solo fiddle versions and band versions.

DATE: Circa 1860’s by two sources; First recording 1922 Eck Robertson;

RECORDING INFO: Fiddlin' John Carson, "Sallie Goodman" (OKeh 40095-A, 1924); James Crase, "Sally Goodin" (on MMOKCD); Pickard Family, "Sally Goodin" (Regal 8810, 1929); Eck Robertson, "Sally Goodin" (Victor 18956, 1922); New Lost City Ramblers, "Sally Goodin" (on NLCR02) (NLCR16); Neil Morris & Charlie Everidge, "Sally Goodin" [instrumental w. dance calls] (on LomaxCD1707) Lee Ennis (Oklahoma County, Oklahoma) [Thede]; Kenner C Kartchner (Arizona) [Shumway]; Marion Yoders (fiddler and fifer from Greene County, Pa., 1961) [Bayard]; fiddler L.D. Snipes via Ray Knight (Lumpkin County, Georgia) [Rosenbaum]; Marcus Martin (western N.C.) [Phillips]; Major Franklin (Texas) [Phillips]; Clyde Davenport (Ky.) [Phillips]. Adam, 1928; No. 50. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 273, pg. 229. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pgs. 246 & 247. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 64 and 128 (discord version) [Ford also prints additional verses on page 419, and a dance of the same title on page 209]. Frets Magazine, "Byron Berline: The Fiddle," May 1980; pg. 60. Kaufman (Beginning Old Time Fiddle), 1977; pgs. 30 & 60. Lowinger (Bluegrass Fiddle), 1974; pgs. 13 & 33. Phillips, 1989{A}, pg. 37. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), 1994; pg. 210 (three versions). Rosenbaum (Folk Visions and Voices: Traditional Music and Song in North Georgia), 1989; pg. 210. Shumway (Frontier Fiddler), 1990; pg. 270 (mislabled as "Sally Johnson"). Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; pg. 76. Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; pg. 32-33. Arhoolie C-220, Eck Robertson (et al) – “Southern String Bands, Vol. 1 & 2.” Briar 4201, Scotty Stoneman, "Live in L.A." Caney Mountain Records CEP 210 (privately issued extended play LP), Lonnie Robertson (Mo.), c. 1965-66. County 744, Kenny Baker, "Dry and Dusty." County 733, Clark Kessinger (W.Va.) , "The Legend of Clark Kessinger." County 703, Bartow Riley, "Texas Hoedown." County 705, Sonny Miller, "Virginia Breakdown." County CD5515, Eck Robertson – “ (1998). Document DOCD-8011, The Kessinger Brothers (reissue). Document DOCD-8042, Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts (reissue). Flying Fish 102, New Lost City Ramblers, "20 Years/Concert Performances" (1978). Folkways FA 2397, New Lost City Ramblers, "Vol. 2" (also on "Twenty Years Concert Performances"). Folkways FA 2337, “Clark Kessinger Live at Union Grove.” Gennett 6733 (78 RPM), 1928, G.B. Grayson (east Tenn.). Gennett 7221 (78 RPM), Doc Roberts (Ky.). Heritage 048, Lowe Stokes , "Georgia Fiddle Bands" (Brandywine 1972). Musical Traditions MTCD321-2, Ted Boyd (et al) – “Far on the Mountains, Vols. 1 & 2” (2002). Old-Timey Records OT-101, Eck Robertson , "Old Time Southern Dance Music: The String Bands, Vol. 2" (appears as "Sallie Gooden"). Omac 1, Thomasson, Shorty, Morris, O'Conner, "A Texas Jam Session." Omac 2, Berline, Bush and O'Conner, "In Concert." Rounder 0044, "J.D. Crowe and the New South." Rounder 0073, The White Brothers, "Live in Sweden." Rounder 1027, Johnnie Lee Wills, "Tulsa Swing." Rounder 0099, Dan Crary, "Lady's Fancy." Rounder 0101, John Hickman, "Don't Mean Maybe.” Rounder CD-0388, Gene Goforth – “Emminence Breakdown” (1997). Rounder CD 0359, Skip Gorman - "Lonesome Prairie Love" (1996). Rounder Cd0278, Mike Seegar – “Solo—Old Time Country Music” (1991). Rounder C11565, Ricky Skaggs , "Rounder Fiddle." Sonyatone 201, Eck Robertson (West Texas) , "Master Fiddler." Tradition TLP 1007, Mrs. Edd Presnell , "Instumental Music of the Southern Appalachians" (1956). Victor 18956 (78 RPM), Eck Robertson (West Texas) {1922}.
Recordings/print of Sally Goodin from Folk Index:
Ford, Ira W. / Traditional Music in America, Folklore Associates, Bk (1965/1940), p 64b
Ford, Ira W. / Traditional Music in America, Folklore Associates, Bk (1965/1940), p128b
Ford, Ira W. / Traditional Music in America, Folklore Associates, Bk (1965/1940), p419
Cazden, Norman (ed.) / Book of Nonsense Songs, Crown, Sof (1961), p 97
Emrich, Duncan / Folklore on the American Land, Little, Brown, sof (1972), p557 [1930s]
Isaac, Burton / Folk Fiddle by Burton Isaac, Mel Bay, fol (1964), p15
Lomax, Alan / Folksongs of North America, Doubleday Dolphin, Sof (1975/1960), p236/#121
Brody, David (ed.) / Guitar Pickers Fakebook, Oak, Sof (1984), p127
Baber, Carrie. Randolph, Vance / Ozark Folksongs. Volume III, Humorous & Play-Party ...,
University of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p350/#544A [1922/09/04]
Baker, Kenny. Dry and Dusty, County 744, LP (1973), trk# A.06
Barbour, Freeland. Fire in the Hearth, REL REL 462, LP (1977), trk# B.05a (Sally Was a
Good 'un)
Berline, Byron. Phillips, Stacy; & Kenny Kosak / Bluegrass Fiddle Styles, Oak, fol (1978), p 55 [1967]
Blevins, Frank. Devil's Box, Devil's Box, Ser, 32/2, p18b(1998) [1931]
Blue River Boys. 2nd Florida Bluegrass and Old Time Music Championships, Sunny
Mountain EB 1003, LP (1975?), trk# B.07
Boyd, Ted. Appalachia, The Old Traditions, Home Made Music LP-001, LP (1983), trk#
B.05 [1979/08/05]
Brody, David. Brody, David (ed.) / Fiddler's Fakebook, Oak, Sof (1983), p247
Brower, Cecil (Cousin Cecil). Old Fashion Country Hoedown, Cumberland MGC 29500,
LP (196?), trk# A.03
Brower, Cecil; and his Square Dance Fiddlers. America's Favorite Square Dances, Smash
MGS 27015, LP (196?), trk# A.05
Bush, Sam. Union Grove, The Hub of the Universe, Union Grove SS-4, LP (1970), trk# 2
Carlin, Bob. Brody, David (ed.) / Banjo Picker's Fakebook, Oak, Fol (1985), p142b
Cedar Point String Band. Cedar Point String Band, Roane, Cas (1993), trk# 8
Clarke, Greg. Home Recordings - October 2001, Clarke, CD (2001), trk# 12b (Old Sally Goodin)
Claunch, W. E.. Anglo-American Shanties, Lyric Songs, Dance Tunes & Spirituals,
Library of Congress AFS L 2, LP (195?), trk# B.06 [1939]
Conroy, Mike. Montana Mountain Fiddle, Alpha 08361, LP (198?), trk# A.04
Crase, James. Mountain Music of Kentucky, Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40077, CD
(1996), trk# 2.52 [1959]
Cravens, Red; and the Bray Brothers. 419 W. Main, Rounder 0015, LP (1972), trk# 19
Crooked Road. Generations, Spencer, CD (2004), trk# 8a
Crowe, J.D.; and the New South. J. D. Crowe and the New South, Rounder 0044,
LP (1975), trk# 4
Cunningham, Bill. Cunningham, Bill / Hoedown Fiddle in America (How to Play It),
Cunningham, fol (1971), p19 (Sally/Salley Goodwin)
Cutler, Marty. Brody, David (ed.) / Banjo Picker's Fakebook, Oak, Fol (1985), p143a
Daugherty, Junior. Texas Music, Heritage (Galax) 066, LP (1986), trk# A.05
Daugherty, Junior. Cowboy Tour, NCTA --, Cas (1983), trk# B.04
Davenport, Clyde. Puncheon Camps, Appalachian Center Ser. AC 002, Cas (1992), trk# 9
Davenport, Clyde. Titon, Jeff Todd / Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes, Kentucky,
Bk/ (2001), p170/#144B [1990/03/31]
Dillon, John W.. Folk Songs of America. The Robert Winslow Gordon Collection....,
Library of Congress AFS L68, LP (1978), trk# 5c [1925/10/22]
Elman, Tony. Swinging on a Gate, Acorn Tree 003, Cas (1986), trk# A.08
Ennis, Lee. Thede, Marion (ed.) / The Fiddle Book, Oak, Bk (1967), p 33 [1930s]
Everidge, Charlie. Southern Journey. Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier, Rounder 1707, CD
(1997), trk# 4 [1959/10]
Flatt & Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys. Foggy Mountain Banjo, Columbia LE
10043, LP (196?), trk# 10
Forrester, Howdy. Fancy Fiddlin' Country Style, MGM E-4035, LP (197?), trk# B.02
Gentle, J. C.. Fiddle Jam Sessions, Voyager VLRP 301, LP (1966), trk# 11 [1966]
Goforth, Gene. Emminence Breakdown, Rounder 0388, CD (1997), trk# 22
Golden Harmony String Band. Room at the Top, JHU, LP (197?), trk# A.05a
Gorman, Skip. Lonesome Prairie Love, Rounder 0359, CD (1996), trk# 11
Gosset, Ted;'s String Band. Fiddle Band Music from Kentucky, Vol.2 Wish I Had
My Time Again, MorningStar 45004, LP (1980), trk# A.01 [1930/09/16] (Fire on the Mountain)
Grayson and Whitter. Going Down Lee Highway, Davis Unlimited DU 33033,
LP (1977), trk# 12 [1929/02/29]
Guthrie, Woody. Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs, Vol. 2, Folkways FA 2484,
LP (1964), trk# B.01 [1934/04/24]
Haley, Ed. Grey Eagle (Vol. 2), Rounder 1133/1134, CD (1997), trk# 2.14
Hanks, Larry. 1977 Northwest Folklife Festival, Voyager VTLP-101, LP (1977), trk# 3b
Hanks, Larry. 15th Aniversary Cassette. The Northwest Folklife Festival, NW
Folklife --, Cas (1986), trk# A.05b
Hanks, Larry; and Ron Tinkler. Berkeley Farms, Folkways FA 2436, LP (1972), trk# A.01
Harold and Abe. Sweet Sunny South, Heritage (Galax) 043, LP (1984), trk# 11
Hash, Albert; and the Whitetop Mountain Band. Albert Hash and the Whitetop
Mountain Band, Heritage (Galax) 025, LP (1979), trk# 3
Hawks, Charles. Old Time Fiddling at Union Grove. The 38th Annual Old-Time
Fi..., Prestige 14039, LP (1964), trk# A.06
Herren, Ruth Burton. Solomon, Jack & Olivia (eds.) / Sweet Bunch of Daisies,
Colonial Press, Bk (1991), p 98 [1975ca]
High Strung. High Strung, Loose Noose ASM-489, LP (1981), trk# A.04b
Holt, Bob. Got a Little Home to Go To, Rounder 0432, CD (1999), trk# 2
Hornbostel, Lois. Vive le Dulcimer!, Kicking Mule KM 215, LP (1983), trk# B.06a
Hot Club of Cowtown. Tall Tales, Hightone HCD 8104, CD (1999), trk# 15
Johnson, Herman. Herman Johnson - National Champion, Gillian, LP (1978), trk# A.01
Jones, Vester. Traditional Music From Grayson and Carroll Counties, Folkways
FS 3811, LP (1962), trk# 25 [1960ca]
Kaufman, Alan. Kaufman, Alan / Beginning Old-time Fiddle, Oak, sof (1977), p30
Kaufman, Alan. Kaufman, Alan / Beginning Old-time Fiddle, Oak, sof (1977), p60
Kennison, Warren. Weissman, Dick / Five String Banjo. Vol. 3, Advanced Techniques,
United Artists, Sof (1977), p 66
Kentucky Colonels. Kentucky Colonels, United Artists UAS 29514, LP (1973/1964), trk# B.03
Kessinger, Clark. Clark Kessinger, Fiddler, Folkways FA 2336, LP (1966), trk# 17
Kessinger, Clark. Live at Union Grove, Folkways FA 2337, Cas (1976), trk# 6
Knight, Ray. Rosenbaum, Art (ed.) / Folk Visions & Voices. Traditional Music & So....,
University of Georgia, Bk (1983), p210 [1982/02/21]
Lambert, L. W.; and the Blue River Boys. Union Grove 50. Old Time Fiddlers Convention,
Union Grove SS-9, LP (1974), trk# A.01
Lieberson, Richard. Lieberson, Richard / Old Time Fiddle Tunes for Guitar, Amsco, Sof
(1974), p 30
Long, Bill; and Bill Mitchell. More Fiddle Jam Sessions, Voyager VRLP 304, LP (1971),
trk# 26
Lowinger, Gene. Lowinger, Gene / Bluegrass Fiddle, Oak, fol (1974), p13
Mainer's Mountaineers (J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers). J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, Arhoolie 5002, LP (1973), trk# 8
Mainer, Wade; and Mainers Mountaineers. Wade Mainer and the Mainers Mountaineers, Old
Homestead 90002, Cas (1971), trk# A.06
Maxson, Charles; and Karen Skidmore. From the Heartland of West Virginia. The Hammered & Plucked Dul, Peaceable 4, LP (1975), trk# 12
McKinney, Freeman. West Virginia Hills, Augusta Heritage AHR 011, Cas (1992), trk# 2.04 [1991/12/05]
McMahan, Pete. Now That's a Good Tune. Masters of Missouri Traditional Fiddling, Grey Eagle 101, LP (1989), trk# 38 [1988/12/26]
Miller, Sonny; & the Southern Mtn Boys. Virginia Breakdown, County 705, LP (1966), trk# B.03
Mitchum, Johnny. Johnny Mitchum, Sircy 7304, LP (1972), trk# A.03
Monday, Isham. Titon, Jeff Todd / Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes, Kentucky, Bk/ (2001), p170/#144A [1959/11/27]
Moonlight Seranaders. 1941 Old Fiddlers Convention, Galax, Virginia, Voyage Beyond, CD (200?), trk# 27 [1941]
New Lost City Ramblers. New Lost City Ramblers, Vol. 2, Folkways FA 2397, LP (1960),
trk# B.03
Osborne, Uncle Charlie (Charlie N.). 100 Years Farther On, June Appal JA 0064C,
Cas (199?), trk# 1
Perkins, J. T.. Fiddle Favorites Perkins Style, Davis Unlimited DU-33017, LP (1975),
trk# B.01
Pollard, Randy. I'm Just a Country Boy, JRS LSP 2240, LP (1982), trk# B.03
Poor Richard's Almanac. Poor Richard's Almanac, Ridge Runner RRR 0002, LP (1976), trk# 18
Presnell, Mrs. Edd (Nellie). Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians, Tradition TR 1007, LP (196?), trk# 10 [1956/07ca]
Putnam String County Band. Home Grown, Rounder 3003, LP (1973), trk# 2
Reeltime Travelers. Livin' Reeltime, Thinkin' Old-Time, Yodel-Ay-Hee 042, CD (2002), trk# 9
Riley, Barstow. Texas Hoedown, County 703, LP (1965), trk# A.05
Robertson, Eck. Master Fiddler, Sonyatone STR 201, LP (1976), trk# 3 [1922/07/01]
Robertson, Eck. Southern Dance Music, Vol. 2, Old-Timey LP 101, LP (1965), trk# 1
Robertson, Eck. Brody, David (ed.) / Fiddler's Fakebook, Oak, Sof (1983), p246
Roberts, Fiddlin' Doc. Fiddlin' Doc Roberts / Complete Recorded Works..., Vol 2. 1928-1, Document DOCD 8043, CD (1999), 19 [1930/01/13]
Robertson, Lonnie. Missouri Fiddling by Lonnie Robertson, Caney Mountain CEP 210, SP
(195?), trk# 1
Robertson, Lonnie. Fiddle Tunes - Ozark Style, Vol. 2, Caney Mountain CLP-233, LP (1980), trk# 4
Robins, Butch. Forty Years Late, Rounder 0086, LP (1977), trk# B.02
Rosenbaum, Art (Arthur). Five String Banjo, Kicking Mule KM 108, LP (1974), trk# 1
Rosenbaum, Art (Arthur). Rosenbaum, Art / Art of the Mountain Banjo, Centerstream, Fol (1981), p31
Rose, Buddy. Down Home Pickin', Dominion NR 3319, LP (197?), trk# A.05
Rutland, Georgia Slim (Robert Hughes). Raw Fiddle, Kanawha 325, LP (1976), trk# 9
Salyer, John Morgan. Home Recordings 1941-42. Vol. 2, Appalachian Center Ser. AC 003-v2, cas (1993), trk# B.07 (Sallie Goodin)
Scruggs, Earl. Scruggs, Earl / Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo, Peer International, Bk (1968), p110 (Sally/Salley Goodwin)
Scruggs, Junie. American Banjo - Tunes and Songs in Scruggs Style, Folkways FA 2314, LP (1966), trk# A.11a
Seeger, Mike. Texas Music, Heritage (Galax) 066, LP (1986), trk# B.06
Sewell, Ace. Southwest Fiddlin', Voyager VRLP 319-S, LP (1977), trk# B.05
Sholle, Jon. Traum, Happy / BLuegrass Guitar, Oak, Sof (1974), p109
Short, Lillian. Randolph, Vance / Ozark Folksongs. Volume III, Humorous & Play-Party, University of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p350/#544B [1950/04/01]
Skillet Lickers. Skillet Lickers, Vol. 2, County 526, LP (1973), trk# 10a [1929/11/02]
Solomon, Vernon. Texas Breakdown, Davis Unlimited DU 33038, LP (1976), trk# 4
Southern Mountain Boys. 31st Annual Old Fiddlers Convention, Justice, LP (1966), trk# A.01
Stinnett, Cyril. Salty River Reel, MSOTFA 104, Cas (1992), trk# 24
Stinnett, Cyril. Plain Old Time Fiddling, Stinnett SLP 1013, LP (197?), trk# B.03
Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers. Ernest V. Stoneman & his Dixie Mountaineers. 1927-28,
Historical HLP-8004, LP (197?), trk# 10 [1928/04/24]
Stoneman, Scotty; with the Kentucky Colonels. Live in LA, Sierra/Briar SBR 4206, LP
(1978), trk# B.01 [1965/01-03]
Sumner, Marion. Road To Home, June Appal JA 0030, LP (1979), trk# 19
Thackerson, Roy. Fingerless Fiddler. Vol. 2, Ovella 2, LP (197?), trk# B.01
Thomasson, Benny. National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest & Festival. 1974, Century, LP (1974), trk# B.14
Thomas, Tony. Old Style Texas and Oklahoma Fiddling, Takoma A-1013, LP (195?), trk# 15
Trammell, Dean. High on the Fiddle, Kanawha 320, LP (197?), trk# B.03
Trischka, Tony. Trischka, Tony / Melodic Banjo, Oak, Sof (1976), p113
Twyman, Goebel. Old Time Fiddler, Atwell Lps 1677, LP (197?), trk# B.03
Unknown Fiddler. Thede, Marion (ed.) / The Fiddle Book, Oak, Bk (1967), p 32 [1930s]
Walters, Bob. Drunken Wagoner, MSOTFA 106, Cas (1993), trk# B.07
Ward, Wade; and Jimmie Edmonds. More Goodies from the Hills, Union Grove SS-3, LP (1969), trk# 2
Ward, Wade. Uncle Wade. A Memorial to Wade Ward, Old Time Virginia Banjo ..., Folkways FA 2380, LP (1973), trk# 20
Warren, Paul. America's Greatest Breakdown Fiddle Player, CMH 6237, LP (1979), trk# 17
Watson, Doc. Out in the Country, Intermedia/Quicksilver QS 5031, LP (1982), trk# 4
Wheeler, Carol Ann. Joy of Fiddling, American Heritage 401-532, LP (198?), trk# 5
Wills, Bob; and the Texas Playboys. Tiffany Transcriptions, Vol. 6. Sally Goodin,
Kalidescope F-27, LP (1987), trk# 2
Wills, Bob; and the Texas Playboys. Tiffany Transcriptions, Vol. 6. Sally Goodin,
Kalidescope F-27, LP (1987), trk# 14
Williams, Hank; and the Drifting Cowboys. Country-Western Radio. Rare Radio Recordings
of Famous Count..., Radiola MR-1069, LP (1977), trk# A1.7
Winston, Winnie. Steel Wool, Philo 1058, LP (1978), trk# A.01
Wood, Jim. Devil's Box, Devil's Box, Ser, 31/2, p32(1997)
Yohey, Bill. 20 Country Strings, American Heritage ST 106, LP (196?), trk# 8
Yohey, Bill. National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest & Folk Music Festival. 1966, Century, LP (1966), trk# 16
Youngblood, Dwayne (Duane). Hootenanny Hoedown, Dye, LP (1963), trk# B.02a

RELATED TO: Bear Creek Sally Goodin; Sweet Milk and Peaches; Call Your Dogs and Let's Go Hunting; Pretty Little Miss; Brilliancy Medley; Tennessee Breakdown; Thank God I'm a Country Boy; Black Sally Goodin; Big Joe; Bear Creek's Up; Kanawha County Rag

OTHER NAMES: Sally Goodwin, Sally Gooden; Old Sally Goodin;

PRINT AND ONLINE SOURCES: Online: Kuntz, A Fiddler’s Companion; Mudcat; Traditional Ballad Index, Folk Index; Lomax-FSNA 121, "Sally Goodin" (1 text, 1 tune); Randolph 544, "Sally Goodin" (1 text, 2 tunes); Darling-NAS, p. 255, "Sally Goodin" (1 text); Silber-FSWB, p. 33, "Sally Goodin" (1 text)

NOTES: Lyrics include: "Had a piece of pie an' I had a piece of puddin', An' I gave it all away just to see my Sally Goodin" and “Looked up the road, seen Sally comin', Thought to my soul I'd break my neck a-runnin'.”

Mike Yeats: Sally Gooden turns up all over the upland south of America, but I have included Ted Boyd's gentle version because of his unusual 'high' part of the tune. His banjo is tuned to a relative double-C tuning (gCGCD) and he gets this third part by fretting the first string on the 10th fret with his little finger, bringing an unexpectedly delightful effect to the tune.

According to North Carolina fiddler Bruce Green, the tune was originally called Boatin' Up Sandy (referring to the Big Sandy River in eastern Kentucky) and was renamed by Civil War Confederate soldiers in Morgan's Raiders while they were camped on the Big Sandy in Pike County, Kentucky. Sally Goodin ran a boarding house there and allowed the soldiers to camp and play music. To show their appreciation of her kindness, Morgan's men renamed the tune in her honor.

[Fiddler Hiram Stamper for the Morehead State University Vintage Fiddlers Oral History Project was interviewed and corroborates Green’s theory. The interview was conducted by Marynell Young at the Stamper residence, Knott County, KY 418822. Marynell Young plays guitar. Martha Stamper and Bob Butler were also present during the interview session. Stamper talks about how soldiers made tune called Sally Goodin from tune called Boatin' Up Sandy. Location was on the Big Sandy River.] From Morehead State University Vintage Fiddlers Oral History Project on-line.

It should, perhaps, be pointed out that there are several other tunes which are today also titled Boatin' Up Sandy. There is also another Kentucky tune, played with the fiddle tuned ADAD, called Red Top Boots, Pocket Full of Money which is similar to Sally Gooden.

There are a couple of good early recordings available on Document DOCD-8011 (The Kessinger Brothers) and Document DOCD-8043 (Fiddlin' Doc Roberts), although it was Eck Robertson's 1922 recording (reissued on County CO CD 5515) that really popularized the tune across America. For some reason Earl Johnson & His Clodhoppers recorded it in 1928 as Nigger in the Cotton Patch (Document DOCD-8006).

From Kuntz, A Fiddler’s Companion: “A widely known breakdown and play party tune in the upland South (but not universally known throughout the country—Paul Gifford reports that it was completely unknown to traditional fiddlers in Michigan, for example). Bayard (1981) suggests that the tunes "Sally Goodin," "Old Dan Tucker" and his Pennsylvania collected "Rye Whiskey [2]" (a breakdown, not the 3/4 time version) are related "in an affinity that goes back a long while;" and, in fact, some versions of these tunes do seem to blend with one another. Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner said: "Old Texas tune. Only a few play it well. All try it" (Shumway).

Charles Wolfe (1982) states it was popular with Kentucky fiddlers. It was asserted to be one of the standard tunes in a square dance fiddler's repertoire, according to A.B. Moore in his History of Alabama (1934). Rosenbaum (1989) remarks that it is an almost universally known fiddle tune in the South, but that the verses (an example is given below) are not sung as frequently today as they were in the past. Texas fiddler Eck Robertson was the first person to record the tune in 1922 when he was aged thirty-four (Robertson is remembered playing the tune at various times in both AEae and standard tuning, though on his early and famous recording he played in AEae).

“Sally Goodin” was in the repertoires of Fiddlin John Carson (North Ga.) {1922}, Fiddlin' Cowan Powers 1877-1952? (Russell County, S.W. Va.) {and who recorded the tune for Victor in August, 1924, though it was unissued}, Uncle Am Stuart (b. 1856, Morristown, Tenn.) {and who re-recorded it for Vocalion in 1924}, Uncle Jimmy Thompson 1848-1931 (Tenn.) {as "Sally Goodwin"}, and Alabama fiddler Monkey Brown (1897-1972). North Georgia fiddler Earl Johnson, with his band the Clodhoppers, recorded a version of the tune in 1928. Also in repertoire of legendary fiddler J. Dedrick Harris, born in Tennessee, and who played regularly with Bob Taylor while he was running for Governor of the state in the late 1800's. Harris moved to Western N.C. in the 1920's and influenced a generation of fiddlers there: Osey Helton, Manco Sneed, Bill Hensley, Marcus Martin.

The title was mentioned in reports of the De Kalb County Annual (Fiddlers') Convention, 1926-31 (Cauthen, 1990). At the turn of the century it was played by George Cole of Etowah County, Alabama, as recorded by Mattie Cole Stanfield in her book Sourwood Tonic and Sassafras Tea (1965). The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozark Mountain fiddlers in the early 1940's; he said it was popular at play-parties in the Ozarks in the 1890's (see his Ozark Folksongs, Vol. 3). Similarly, it was recorded in 1939 for the Library of Congress by Herbert Halpert from the playing of Itawamba/Tishomingo County, Mississippi, fiddler John Brown and, in the same year from Franklin County, Virginia, fiddler J.W. 'Peg' Hatcher (2741-B-2).

Texas fiddler Eck Robertson's 1923 release of "Sally Goodin'" (backed with "Ragtime Annie") was the number one country music bestseller for the year 1923. Georgia fiddler Bill Shores, a native Alabamian who spent most of his life in the Rome, Georgia, area (according to Wayne Daniels), recorded the tune (under the title “Sally Goodwin”) with guitarist Riley Puckett in Atlanta in 1926. Fellow Georgia fiddler A.A Gray played the tune on “A Fiddler’s Tryout in Georgia,” a sham fiddling-contest skit with supposed judges and two fiddlers vying for a prize (Joe Brown was his nemesis)—Gray plays “Bucking Mule” and “Sally Goodin’” on the 78 RPM record.

Well there you have it,


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Carter Family: First Records Released


In today's blog we're back looking at the history of great Country Music pioneers: the Carter Family. On the left is an early PR photo done in the late 1920s.
The last installment looked at the 1927 Bristol sessions, the Carters first recordings.

First Records Released

That November 1927, Victor finally released the Carter Family’s first 78rpm record with "Poor Orphan Child" on one side and "Wandering Boy" on the other, followed a few months later by "The Storms Are on the Ocean" and "Single Girl, Married Girl." Despite Peer's uncertainty about the Carters' music the records sold so well that Peer wrote to the Carters asking them to come to Camden, New Jersey, for a second recording session in 1928.

Ralph Peer's enthusiasm, brisk record sales, and some cash in hand were like gas on the flames for A.P.'s burning desire to take his family and their music as far as they could go. Always a song collector, A.P. now became a man obsessed. According to Charles Hirshberg: "He began carrying pieces of yellow paper with him wherever he went and he went everywhere. All through the mountains he roamed, selling fruit trees, but always with another end in mind: songs. And he seemed to have an uncanny ability to find them.
Says (daughter) Gladys: "When I was a little girl, he'd take me with him sometimes. We'd walk along till he seen a house up on a hill or on some riverbank, and he'd say, 'Well, I'm going up to that house. They'll know some songs. 'There'd be some old song they knew the tune to, or the chorus. Daddy'd write down the words, take it home and work it up. Write some more verses, change it around. He usually had to have something to get him started."

Maybelle’s Guitar 1928

With royalty money from the Carter Family's successful first recordings, Eck bought young Maybelle Carter the finest guitar he could find in a music store in Kingsport, a 1928 Gibson L-5 arch top, for $275 (approx. $4,000 today). Until her death in 1978, "Mother Maybelle" used it on hundreds of recordings, radio and television programs, and live appearances. As the first f-hole, arch-top guitar, the L-5 was designed to be twice as loud as any flattop guitar of the period. Carter used it to revolutionize the role of the guitar, transforming the rhythm instrument into a distinctive lead voice.

Maybelle’s guitar was played by Elvis Presley one night when he broke a string. It was used in all the original Carter family recordings after the Bristol Session and played duets with Chet Atkins. It was the guitar that was featured in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s homage to Maybelle, the "Circle Be Unbroken" album in the early 70s that became Maybelle’s first certified gold album in 1973.

It was the guitar that Maybelle one time loaned to Cowboy Slim Rinehart in the late 1930s when the Carters were playing on radio XERA in Texas. Slim got drunk and lost the guitar to a local army airman in a poker game. "Maybelle had to get the base commander to help find it," said her grandson, "but she got it back."

The story goes that a slightly inebriated Tom Pall Glazer, and Hank Thompson were in a battle of wits in Las Vegas over the greatest guitar player in the business. Tom Pall yelling Chet Atkins, and Hank Thompson the champion for Merle Travis. After much debate, a phone call was placed to Travis to settle the argument. When asked "Who's the greatest guitar player?" Travis replied, "Mother Maybelle Carter." There were no more questions.

In 2004 the Maybelle’s guitar was up for sale by Gruhn Guitars in Nashville with a $575,000 price tag. It was on loan to the Country Hall of Fame when the owner, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to sell it. Murfreesboro businessman Bob McLean provided the donation for the Hall of Fame to acquire the guitar, and he was among the celebrities on hand as the guitar was transferred from Gruhn Guitars to the Hall of Fame on August 22, 2004.

Second Recording Session 1928

The following spring, Ralph Peer gave the Carter Family expense money to travel to the company studios in Camden, New Jersey and cut twelve more songs on May 9 and 10, 1928 including their theme song, "Keep on the Sunny Side" and perhaps their most widely known song, "Wildwood Flower."

At $50 per song, the total take amounted to $600 for the twelve songs they recorded, as much as they could make in a whole year on the farm. They split the money three ways, and with their winnings A.P. bought 70 acres of land and moved Sara and their three children into a larger farmhouse.

The songs recorded included some of their best: "Meet me by the Moonlight Alone," "Keep on the Sunny Side," "Little Darling, Pal of Mine," "Forsaken Love," "Anchored in Love," "I Ain't Goin' to Work Tomorrow," "Will You Miss Me when I'm Gone," "Wildwood Flower," "River of Jordan," "Chewing Gum," and "John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man."

That's all for now. Next post we'll look at some more Carter Family songs.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Close-Ups Sally Goodin


Here are the four close-up of my new painting Sally Goodin. The original is 30" by 40" and is for sale. I'm also selling 12" by 16" reproductions. If interested please email me:

Close-up #1: Cherry pie and raisin puddin' (click to enlarge)

Close-up #2: Legendary fiddler Eck Roberston playing Sally Goodin

Close -up #3: Sally Goodin, her dog and her cabin

Close-up #4: The Lyrics

(below in last post is the complete painting)

Sally Goodin


Just got my digital images of my painting of Sally Goodin on left (Click to Enlarge).

Sally Goodin may be the all time favorite bluegrass /country fiddle tune. Lily May Ledford played a great version of it on her CD: Gems.
The classic version was done by one of the great country fiddlers, Eck Roberston.

Sally Goodin is important because it is generally accepted as being "the" first Country Music recording which was done by Eck Roberston in 1922. It was the best selling country song in 1922 and Eck's version became the classic version of the tune.

Here's a story Eck Robertson would tell about the song: "There was a girl named Sallie who had two boyfriends. The two boys were both fiddle players, and one of the boys had the last name of 'Goodin.' Sallie couldn't decide which one to marry, so she thought a fiddle contest between the two would be a good way to make her selection. Of course, the fellow Goodin won the contest, and Sally became Sally Goodin. They were very happy and had a productive life with 14 children, so I'm going to play 'Sally Goodin' 14 different ways."

My painting (above) shows Eck as a young man towering over the mountain tops playing Sally Goodin. This was based of an early black and white photo.

The lyrics (on the bottom left corner) are typical silly fiddle lyrics that are sometimes interspersed between fiddle parts. Normally there is one verse about "had a little pie, had a little puddin' '' so naturally I painted a piece of pie (cherry) and puddin'.

Here are my lyrics:

Sally Goodin

I love pie, I love puddin',
Crazy 'bout the gal they call Sally Goodin.

I dropped the tater pie and I left the apple puddin',
I went across the mountain to see my Sally Goodin.

Well, I looked down the road and I see my Sally comin',
And I thought to my soul that I'd kill myself a-runnin'.

Sally is my doxy and Sally is my daisy,
When Sally says she hates me I think I'm goin’ crazy.

I'm goin’ up the mountain and marry little Sally,
Raise corn on the hillside and the devil in the valley.

Well... Sally sure is a doxy. Hope you like the painting. I'll be doing a detailed history of the song Sally Goodin in my next blog.

See you later,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carter Family: Songs titled with Letter D


On the left is a photo of the Carters on the road in the 1930s. Both Maybelle and Sara had children to raise, AP continued to do some booking and organized the recording sessions. Because of their families the Carters were not a touring group, usually settling for short local venues.

This photo subtly shows the the upcoming problems between AP and Sara, the 1930s would not be a happy time for them.

Carter Family songs titled with letter D are: Dark and Stormy Weather; Dark Haired True Lover; Darling Daisies; Darling Little Joe; Darling Nellie Across the Sea; Diamonds in the Rough; Distant Land to Roam; Don't Forget Me Little Darling; Don't Forget This Song; Dying Mother; Dying Soldier.

"Dark and Stormy Weather" has been recorded as "I Don't Know Why I Love Her/Him" It was recorded at the Carter Family's last session for Bluebird in October 1941. New Lost City Ramblers did a cover of it.The song "Dark and Dreary Weather" has been collected by Randolph (volume IV #750, pp 234-36)and Brown's North Carolina Folksong II, #168. It was used in Mildred Haun's Master's thesis at Vanderbilt.

Charles Wolfe says about it: "Dark and Stormy Weather shows up in several folksong collections as 'I Don't Know Why I Love Him' and had been recorded in 1937 by the Delmore Brothers." "It's dark and dreary weather, Almost inclined to rain, My heart is almost broken, My lover has gone on the train!" The singer wonders why she loves him so much, and he loves her not at all. "Some say that love is a pleasure; What pleasure do I see?"It's related to the song "Farewell He," "Adieu to Dark Weather" songs and the "Let him go God Bless Him" songs.


CHORUS: Dark and stormy weather
It still inclines to rain
The clouds hang over center*
My love's gone away on a train

We met, loved, and parted
I thought the world of you
You left me brokenhearted
To me you proved untrue CHORUS: [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

I'm leaving old Virginia
There's nothing here for me
I know you love another
In my grave I'd rather be CHORUS: [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

You told me that you loved me
I believed just what you said
But now you love another
I wish that I were dead CHORUS:

*sinners (unclear what this is)

"Dark-Haired True Lover" is hard to find much info on. The 1918 text is in Robert Gordon Collection #1536 but I don't have access to that collection. This is a rewrite of an existing folk song but we need more info.

The Prisoner's Song/I Wish I Had Someone has the following:

I wish I had someone to love me,
Someone to call me his own,
Someone to sleep with me nightly,
I weary of sleeping alone.


I once had a dark-haired true lover
She was all the world to me
She promised herself to another
Now don't you think it was me

I was young when I wrote my first letter
I blotted the lines with tears
But now I am old, I know better
We've parted for many long years

Take back every word you have spoken
Let it be as though we've never met
For tonight I'm a poor boy heartbroken
I'll forgive but I'll never forget

Oh, Ruth, Oh, Ruth, how I love you
You just seemed to me like a bird
Although you went back on your promise
Although you went back on your word

Take back every word you have spoken
Let it be as though we've never met
For tonight I'm a poor boy heartbroken
I'll forgive but I'll never forget

We parted in the month of September
Some say we parted for life
But I hope some day or another
I'll call you my sweet darling wife

Take back every word you have spoken
Let it be as though we've never met
For tonight I'm a poor boy heartbroken
I'll forgive but I'll never forget

I wish I had someone to love me
Someone to call me their own
I'm out in this wide world a-wandering
I'm tired of living alone

Darling Daisies: It's rare when you find out something about a song that perhaps no one has figured out. This may be the case. This song is based on "Down by the Garden Wall" by Max Vernor. Published in 1882. As far as I know no one has attributed this to the Carter's song. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometime!


When first I met my darling Daisy,
Down by the garden wall
I was walking along the street so shady
I was going for a twilight call

CHORUS: I'd love to sing and dance among the roses
Down by the garden wall
It's there I'd like to meet my Daisy
When I make a twilight call

She was sleeping in a bed of roses
Dreaming of the bye and bye
While the little birds around were a-singing
Up above the branches so high CHORUS: [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

If you want to see a bright-eyed beauty
Bright as the stars that shine
Just come and go with me some evening
To see that pretty girl of mine

Darling Little Joe: there are two sheet music printings, one (dated 1876) crediting it to Charles E. Addison, the other (1866) by V. E. Marsten. See Marsten's at Levy site:

Randolph collected several versions and the song entered tradition so the likely source of the Carter's 1939 version is Bradley Kincaid, who did the song in 1934.

BROADSIDES: Levy 105.044, "The Death of Little Joe," G. Andre & Co., Philadelphia, 1866LOCSheet, sm1876 10660, "Little Joe," Blackmar & Finney (New Orleans), 1876 (tune)"The Death of little Joey" H. De Marsan, Publisher, 60 Chatham Street, N. Y.,gottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbpix,cowellbib,calb

Broadside LOCSheet sm1876 10660: "Composed and sung by Maj. Chas. E. Addison the noted Confederate Spy and Scout of Gen. John H. Morgan's Command."

Darling Little Joe-Carter Family

What will the birds do mother in the spring
The little brown birds around the door
Will they fly from the trees and tap at my window
Wondering why Joe wanders out no more

What will the kitten do mother all alone
Will it stop from its frolic for a day
Will it lie on its rug by the side of my bed
As it did before I went away

Keep Tyke dearest mother my poor little dog
For I know that he'll miss me too
Keep him when old and useless he grows
Sleeping all the long summer through

Show him my coat mother so he'll not forget
Little master who will then be dead
Speak often and kindly of little Joe
And pat him on his curly head

What will Thomas the old gardener say
When you ask him for a flower for me
Will he give you a rose he has tended with care
The first fairest bloom of the tree

And you dearest mother will miss me for a while
Though in heaven I'll no larger grow
Any kind angel will tell you at the gate
When you ask for your darling little Joe

"Darling Nellie Across the Sea" was recorded by the Carter Family in 1930 in Memphis TN. This song is based on a ballad or parlor song. Maybe someone can find it. Anyone?



Oh, the night was dark and stormy
When this message came to me
It was from my darling Nellie
Who is far across the sea

Oh, dear Jack, I know I'm dying
I've no friends, no parents nigh
But remember, dearest Jackie
There's a home for us on high [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh, dear mother, I must leave you
I must go across the sea
I must find my darling Nellie
Who so dearly cared for me

I was wandering through the graveyard
When I found where Nellie laid
It was there my heart was broken
It was there I knelt and prayed [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Now I'm left alone in sadness
On the field of flowery Spain
And the girl I love is sleeping
In the cold and silent grave

Lay me where Nellie's sleeping
Close beside her let me lie
Where the blooming flowers are creeping
There, oh, lay me when I die

Diamonds in the Rough: is a gospel song by CW Byron words and LL Pickett Music from 1897. AP Carter sometimes sang this solo on Border Radio programs in the late 1930s.


While walking out one evening
Not knowing where to go
Just to pass the time away
Before we held our show

I heard the Bethel Nation stand
Singing with all their might
I give my heart to Jesus
And left the show that night

CHORUS: The day will soon be over and digging will be done
And no more gems be gathered, so let us all press on
When Jesus comes to claim us and says it is enough
The diamonds will be shining, no longer in the rough

One day, my precious comrade
You, too, were lost in sin
And others sought your rescue
And Jesus took you in

And when you're tired and tempted
And scoffers can rebuff
Don't turn away in anger
This diamond in the rough CHORUS:

While reading through the Bible
Some wondrous sights I see
I read of Peter, James, and John
On the Sea of Galilee

And Jesus when he found them
He bound them very tough
And they were precious diamonds
He gathered in the rough CHORUS:

Distant Land to Roam; is based on LM Bandy's 1902 song "Leaving Home"
On-line I found the text: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II, p. 201 (1931), "(The Wanderer)"

Other versions:Hazel And Alice. Won't You Come and Sing for Me, Folkways FTS 31034, LP (1973), trk# 9
Patterson, Ray and Ina. Songs of Home and Childhood, Vol. 3, County 737, LP (1973), trk# 5 Stanley, Ralph. Distant Land to Roam. Songs of the Carter Family, Columbia DM2, CD (2005), trk# 13

A DISTANT LAND TO ROAM (Carter Family)(Victor 40255/Bluebird5433/Montgomery Ward 7020, 1929)

I remember very well
On one dark and dreary day
Just as I was leaving home
For a distant land to roam

Mother said (mother said)
My dear boy (my dear boy)
I hope to see you next year again
Fare you well (fare you well)
Fare you well (fare you well)
So I left my dear old home
For a distant land to roam [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Now I've wandered far away
From my home I've gone astray
Now I'm coming, coming home
Never more from thee to roam CHORUS [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

And these words she said to me
As she took me by the hand
If on earth we meet no more
May we meet at God's right hand CHORUS

Don't Forget Me Little Darling: CW Vance- Words and RS Cradall-music 1874. Several years later Thomas Westendorf (Thompson's Mule and others) published a version. The Carter's version was recorded in 1935 for ARC in NYC.

Don't Forget Me Little Darling- Carter Family

Don't forget me little darling
When from me you're far away
But remember little darling
We'll meet again someday.

Darling, I have come to tell you
Though this message breaks my heart
At the dawning of the morning
We'll be many miles apart

Take this little bunch of roses
That you gave me long ago
Many a time I've kissed them, darling
These I'll never kiss no more

Who is going to love you, darling,
Who will hold you to their breast?
Who will talk the future over,
While I roam the desert west?

You may meet with many changes
Driving down life's river stream
But remember, little darling
You are always in my dreams

You may meet with brighter faces
Some may say that I'm not true
But remember, little darling
None can love you as I do

At my window sad and lonely
Oft times do I think of you
And I wonder, oh I wonder
If you ever think of me

"Don't Forget This Song," is an example of a traditional song the Carters changed the name and considrably rewrote the lyrics probably to avoid copyright issues. The song was known and recorded multiple times as "Bad Companions" or Young Companions (Laws E15). Other names are "Bad Company" and "Taney County."

The song was included in Lomax 1910 edition of cowboy songs with no author or information. It's simply known as an old song about a singer, born in Philadelphia, who abandons his family to go to Chicago where he "sinned both might and day." At last he murders a girl and is condemned to die.

The first recording was cowboy Carl Sprague's "Bad Companions" followed by Kelly Harrell's "I was Born in Pennsylvania" in 1925. Spragues debut sides were "When the Work's All Done This Fall" and "Bad Companions"; the former would go on to sell over 900,000 copies.


My home's in old Virginia
Among the lovely hills
The memory of my birthplace
Lies in my bosom still

I did not like my fireside
I did not like my home
I have a mind for rambling
So far away from home

It was on one moonlight evening
The stars were shining bright
And with an ugly dagger
I made the spirits fly

To friends I bid adieu
To parents I bid farewell
I landed in Chicago
In the very midst of hell [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

While I was in the sober it struck me
As plain as you can seeI'm doomed,
I'm ruined forever
Throughout eternity

I courted a fair young lady
Her name I will not tell
Oh, why should I disgrace her
When I am doomed for hell

But now I'm upon my scaffold
My time's not very long
You may forget the singer
But don't forget this song [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

The Dying Mother is a song by Nona Lawson- words and C. M. Tate- music written in 1881.

THE DYING MOTHER Carter Family 1940

On a cold winters eve as the snow flakes were falling
In a low humble cottage an poor mother lay
And although wrecked with pain she lay there contented
With her Savior her friend and peace with Him made

We will all meet again on that great judgment morning
The book will be opened the roll will be called
Oh how sad it will be if forever were parted
While some rise to glory and others stand to fall [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Oh that mother of yours has gone oe'r the river
And you promised you'd meet her while knelt by her bed
As the death sweat rolled off and fell down on her pillow
Over memories she'll live although she is dead

You remember the kiss and the last words she uttered
Oh the arms that embraced you are with you no more
As we stand by the grave tears drops fall on her passage
And we vow there to meet her on that happy shore

Dying Soldier: As you can imagaine there are many different songs titled and about Dying Soldiers. The Carter's setting is surely World War I.

This should not be confused with Dock Boggs, "Dying Ranger" or Buell Kazee, "The Dying Soldier" (Brunswick 214, 1928).

There are many old "Dying Soldier" songs at American Memory. The text of the Carters song was collected by Crabtree and appears in the 1945-46 Journal of American Folklore. Anyone have access to that?


France's sun was slowly sinking o'er the hilltops far away
The land was in its beauty where the dying soldier lay
Tears were streaming down his face as he slowly raised his head
And these were the dying words he said

Oh, carry me back to old Tennessee
Let this be my last repose
Lay my feet beneath the lilacs
Lay my head beneath the rose [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

Take this message to my mother for I know she's old and gray
At home I know she's waiting, looking for her boy some day
Oh, dear mother, I pulled through for my country and for you
And I'm dying for the red, white, and blue

Oh, carry me back to old Tennessee
Let this be my last repose
Lay my feet beneath the lilacs
Lay my head beneath the rose [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

O'er the hills of Tennessee where the wild winds wander free
The little girl waiting there for me
Tell her that the rose she gave me will be placed upon my grave
In memory of her soldier brave

Oh, carry me back to old Tennessee
Let this be my last repose
Lay my feet beneath the lilacs
Lay my head beneath the rose

That's 'bout it,

See you


Song Research


It's always a challenge trying to find out the origin of a song; especially a song from the 1920s or 1930s. What's intriguing is that there is more information available than ever because of the internet and old sheet music and song books becoming digitized.

There are authorities on folk music, old-time music, fiddle tunes and early blues and jazz. There are slueths that ferret out the secrets of the past and shine some light upon them. Certainly the late great Charles Wolfe was one of the greatest pools of knowledge in Country Music history. The same can be said for Gus Meade and his amazing book, Country Music Sources.

There are some authors that certainly reach the authority status including Tony Russell, who I know, and Nolan Porterfield, who wrote "the" Jimmie Rodgers biography. I remember arguing by email with Nolan over certain Jimmie Rodgers' details at the Bristol Sessions.

There are others who contribute their time and talents to folk related discussion forums like Mudcat:

and old-time

What's really amazing is when you find out the origin of a song that perhaps no one else has found. This has only happened to me several times. I think my best contribution was the origin of "Whoa Mule" certainly a well known song- after all, it was on Andy of Mayberry! [It was "Hold Onto the Sleigh" by W.S. Hays. I found the actual sheet music on-line]

So yesterday I found another one when checking out Carter Family songs. It was "Darling Daisies" This song is based on "Down by the Garden Wall" by Max Vernor. Published in 1882. Here's the link:

As far as I know no one has attributed this to the Carter's song. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes!


When first I met my darling Daisy,
Down by the garden wall
I was walking along the street so shady
I was going for a twilight call

CHORUS: I'd love to sing and dance among the roses
Down by the garden wall
It's there I'd like to meet my Daisy
When I make a twilight call

I've been lucky to have other people to help me. Thanks especially to the folks at Mudcat and my friend and fellow researcher John Garst, who does some excellent research.

Next post we'll look at the Carter's songs titled with the letter D.


Carter Family: Bristol Sessions


On the left you see the original Carter Family in an early publicity photo. This would have been similar attire they would have worn to their first recording session in Bristol, maybe not the same but their Sunday best.
This is just a small point but illustrates the spin recording innovator Ralph Peer would put on the Carters and the Bristol Sessions.

First Recording at Bristol Sessions: Contrary to many accounts, A.P. Carter contacted Victor recording scout Ralph Peer through Cecil McLister, Bristol’s local Victor outlet representative, in March 1927 about making a record.

Peer was already in the planning stages to do recordings in late July- earlyAugust in Bristol with Ernest Stoneman and invited the Carters to come. [Charles Wolfe wrote: "Then, in March 1927, the local Victor Talking Machine Company's dealer in nearby Bristol, Tennessee, had put A.P. in touch with a curious visitor. His name was Ralph Peer, and he was planning to bring a portable recording studio into Bristol that summer; after talking to A.P., and later writing to him, it was agreed that A.P. and his "Carter string band" would come to the session and try some records."]

In the notes from the Country Music Hall of Fame Carter Family compilation [MCA MCAD 10088]: "Bristol was the first of three stops Peer and his unit would make on this swing through the South, the others being Charlotte, NC, and Savannah, Georgia. As organizer of the expedition, Peer had lined up some of the talent before embarking on the trip. He invited the Carter Family for an August 1 audition on the recommendation of the manager of a downtown Bristol store that sold phonograph records. This local merchant (Cecil McLister) knew the Carters from their visits to his store and it was he who told Peer how to contact them."

Ralph Peer had recorded Fiddlin’ John Carson in Atlanta for Okeh in 1923. He was the most experienced talent scout in the fledgling Country Music (then called hillbilly music) business. His only rival was Columbia's Frank Walker. After the Victor Talking Machine Company’s success with Vernon Dalhart's million selling "Wreck of the Old 97/Prisoner’s Song" they were very interested in recording Country songs.

Peer, who left Okeh in 1925, offered his services to Victor. "I had what they wanted." Peer recalled later. "They couldn't get into the hillbilly business and I knew how to do it."
Victor executive Nat Shilkret bought Peer the latest portable electrical recording system, produced by Western Electric, for his recording trips.

In early 1927 Peer did sessions in Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans. Peer then wrote Ernest Stoneman and told him that he was coming to Galax to visit and he should find some acts worth recording. He would hold auditions and the Stonemans and the other approved acts would meet him in Bristol for the recording session.

Bristol, part of an early urban area known as Tri-Cities, was located on the border of Virginia and Tennessee. It was the largest urban area convenient for the Stoneman’s to enlist other area musicians to attend. There was also Victor distributor in Bristol named Cecil McLister and a railway.

Peer told a local newspaper when he arrived there on July 21 with his recording crew: "In no section of the South have the pre-war melodies and old mountaineer songs been better preserved than in the mountains of all Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, experts declare, and it was primarily for this reason that the Victor Company chose Bristol as its operating base."

Peer rented a studio space at an empty furniture store at 408 State Street [other accounts give 410 State street] formerly occupied by the Taylor-Christian Hat Company and then placed advertisements in local newspapers saying, "The Victor Company will have a recording machine in Bristol for ten days beginning Monday to record records," and inviting all comers to present themselves. These notices were also inserted in the advertisements for the local dealer of the Victrola company, the Clark-Jones-Sheeley Co. at 621 State Street.

According to Charles Wolfe, "Accompanied by his wife, Anita, and two engineers named Echbars and Lynch, Peer returned to Bristol July 21 with a carload of portable recording equipment. They began preparing the second and third floors for recording; they hung blankets on the wall, built a tower for the pulley that would drive the recording turntable and a platform for singers to stand on."

As the Bristol Sessions started on July 26, 1927 the first week was pretty much already booked up with established local stars such as the Stonemans, the Johnson Brothers, and the singer Blind Alfred Reed. A small ad appeared in the Sunday paper announcing that the Victor Company would have a recording machine in Bristol for ten days, but this hadn't generated much response.

Peer needed more talent to fill out the rest of the sessions so he astutely invited the newspaper editor of the Bristol News Bulletin to come and watch a session. The editor was more than happy to oblige and he photographed Ernest Stoneman and fiddler Eck Dunford recording "Skip to Ma Lou."

The result was a major front-page story in that evening's Bristol News Bulletin. "The synchronizing is perfect," wrote the editor. "Ernest Stoneman playing the guitar, the young matron (Mrs. Stoneman) the violin, and a young mountaineer the banjo and mouth harp. Bodies swaying, feet beating a perfect rhythm, it is calculated to go over big when offered to the public."

The article also revealed that Stoneman got $100 a day for his services and that Stoneman, a carpenter form nearby Galax, had received $3600 in royalties the previous year [Today that would approximate $50,000 in royalties]. The average income per year in that area in 1927 was around $1,000.

"This worked like dynamite," said Peer. "The very next day I was deluged with long-distance calls from surrounding mountain region. Groups of singers who had not visited Bristol during their entire lifetime arrived by bus, horse and buggy, trains or on foot." In a matter of hours, Peer was swamped with potential recording stars, and soon he found himself having to add night sessions to accommodate the new talent. During his stay in Bristol, Peer would eventually record 76 performances by 19 different groups.

Whether A.P and Ezra Carter (Maybelle's husband) read the accounts of the ongoing Sessions in the paper, A.P. already had an appointment to audition on Aug. 1. Many members of the Carter clan didn’t understand A.P.’s desire to make records. "Send him to Marion (mental institution)," said Uncle Lish. "He’s completely gone this time. His family with starve no doubt."

A.P. borrowed his brother Eck’s car (in exchange for weeding Eck’s corn patch) and on Sunday July 31 they left Poor Valley to make their appointment to audition the next morning. After a harrowing trip over 26 miles of dirt roads with wife Sara, 8-year-old daughter Gladys, 7-month-old son Joe, and 8-month pregnant cousin Maybelle, A.P. pulled the Essex in Bristol.

One account goes: With a hearty country breakfast under their belts, they loaded into Ezra’a old Essex and headed for Bristol. Rains had swollen the Holsten River at a place where they were to ford it, and the Essex stopped right in the middle of the river and refused to go any further. Long dresses were hiked up over the ladies knees, and guitars and autoharps carried on their shoulders to the dry bank and they pushed, and tugged until they finally got the old car moving. Up the bank they discovered another problem- there was a flat on the right rear tire. A.P. being the flat tire fixer, got out the hand patch kit and quickly repaired the flat, pumped the tire up, and, with the instruments climbed aboard again. [Wolfe reports they had three flat tires and the weather was so hot that the patches had melted off as fast as they were put on.]

The Carters spent the night at their Aunt Fergie’s who lived in Bristol. When the Carters came to the audition the next morning on Monday August 1 Peer identified them as "Mr. and Mrs. Carter from Maces Springs." Peer recalled, "He was dressed in overalls, and the women are country woman from way back there- calico clothes on- the children are very poorly dressed. They look like hillbillies." [Peer manufactured this famous account to establish a "hillbilly image" for the Carter Family, a group he soon managed exclusively. The Carters dressed up for the occasion in their Sunday best and all existing photos show A.P. in a suit and tie.]

Although they had scheduled the audition in March Peer was surprised to see them. After they started played he was relieved, saying, "But as soon as I heard Sara's voice, that was it. I knew it was going to be wonderful."

The Carters were asked to come back and record after supper, from 6:30 to 9:30. On the recordings Maybelle played guitar and sang harmony, Sara played autoharp and sang alto lead and A.P. sang bass. "Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow," "Little Log Cabin by the Sea," "Poor Orphan Child," "The Storms Are on the Ocean," were recorded that evening and "Wandering Boy," and "Single Girl, Married Girl" the next morning. A.P didn’t sing on the Aug. 2 session because Peer told him "you’re not doing much" and mentioned that he kept moving away from the microphone.

A.P. never did much except sing bass and occasionally trade a lead part. He rarely fiddled and many times would sing only when he felt the spirit move him. In many ways the Carter Family was really the first female Country group. Because it was unusual for a Country group to have a female lead singer, this gave Peer pause, but he liked their music. At $50 a song the six sides the Carter Family made totaled $300, a large sum of money in those days (roughly equivalent to $4,200 today).

More on the Carters to come,