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


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