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,


1 comment:

learn said...

Thanks for introducing such great songs.Learning to play blues guitar is not as difficult as many would have you believe, and in my opinion, it's one of the most enjoyable types of guitar style.