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Origin: Molly and Tenbrooks

Richie 16 Dec 02 - 12:44 PM
masato sakurai 16 Dec 02 - 01:11 PM
Richie 16 Dec 02 - 01:22 PM
Gary T 16 Dec 02 - 02:24 PM
Stewie 16 Dec 02 - 08:43 PM
Richie 16 Dec 02 - 10:16 PM
Richie 16 Dec 02 - 10:28 PM
Stewie 17 Dec 02 - 12:51 AM
Richie 17 Dec 02 - 09:55 AM
Richie 17 Dec 02 - 10:09 AM
Richie 17 Dec 02 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 18 Dec 02 - 08:49 PM
Richie 18 Dec 02 - 10:02 PM
Richie 20 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM
Mark Clark 20 Dec 02 - 10:09 AM
Richie 20 Dec 02 - 10:49 AM
Mark Clark 20 Dec 02 - 07:37 PM
W y s i w y G ! 03 Jul 03 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Q 03 Jul 03 - 05:02 PM
W y s i w y G ! 03 Jul 03 - 05:38 PM
Fortunato 04 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM
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Amos 04 Jul 03 - 05:04 PM
masato sakurai 04 Jul 03 - 09:03 PM
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X 05 Jul 03 - 04:48 PM
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Subject: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 12:44 PM

I've always been fascinated by Molly and Tenbrooks and it's claim to have started the bluegrass genre (with Stanley's recording after Monroe's) in the late 1940's.

It is orginally a folk song, called "an old Kentucky folk song," about the horse race of Kentucky thoroughbred Ten Broeck and mare Miss Mollie McCarthy but I was wodering if we could find the origin of the folk song and early versions of the song. Here's a bit of info from the Ballad Index:

Molly and Tenbrooks [Laws H27]
DESCRIPTION: In the race between (Molly) and (Ten Broeck), Molly at first takes the lead. Ten Broeck tells his jockey to let him run free, and proceeds to overtake the mare.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: racing horse
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
July 4, 1878 - race between Ten Broeck and Miss Mollie McCarthy (won by Ten Broeck)
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Laws H27, "Ten Broeck and Mollie"
DT 652, MOLLTEN (MOLLTEN2)
RECORDINGS:
Warde Ford, "The Hole in the Wall / Timbrooks and Molly" (AFS 4210 A1, 1939; in AMMEM/Cowell)
Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys, "Molly and Tenbrooks" (Columbia 20612, 1949)
The Stanley Brothers, "Molly And Tenbrooks" (Rich-R-Tone 418)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Timbrook" (subject)
cf. "Liza Jane" (lyrics)
cf. "Run Mollie Run" (lyrics)
cf. "Skewball" [Laws Q22] (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Run, Molly, Run
Notes: The "short description" above mirrors the plot as given by Laws. In my experience, however, almost all versions of this song credit Molly, not Ten Broek, as the winner. Of course, many of these texts may have been influenced by the popularized Bill Monroe version, "Molly and Tenbrooks."
Every version of this piece that Laws was aware of came from two articles by Wilgus (both in Kentucky Folklore Record, Vol II, #3 and Vol. II, #4). Wilgus reports that "A match race in Kentucky was arranged at $5,000 a side for a three-heat race, all heats to be four miles each. If either horse was distanced in a heat, the other horse was to be declared automatically the winner."
"The July 4, 1878 match race in which the Kentucky thoroughbred Ten Broeck defeated the mare Miss Mollie McCarthy went into the record books as the last four-mile heat race in American turf history."
As it turned out, Mollie led for much of the first race, then staggered and was distanced, ending the contest. Both sides started trading charges: That Ten Broeck had been poisoned, that the state of the track affected the outcome, etc.
Wilgus sees a relationship with "Skewball" [Laws Q22], and the possibility of a relationship cannot be denied. Laws, however, does not note the connection. As Laws makes the observation that the ballad shows "extreme verbal variation," he may have thought that similarities to "Skewball" either coincidence or later grafts.

There is one version in the DT. If anyone has other versions that would be helpful, especially before Monroe.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:11 PM

"Tim Brook" was recorded by The Carver Boys in 1929, and released in 1930. It's now on Music of Kentucky, vol. 1 (Yazoo); sound clip is HERE.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:22 PM

Thanks Masato,

The Carver Brothers version is a version of "Ain't that skippin' and flyin'" similar to the Allen Brothers.

ALLEN BROTHERS:
Ain't that skippin' and flyin' my gal ,
Ain't that skippin' and flyin'

CARVER BROTHERS:
Tim Brooks skippin' and gone away,
Tim Brooks skippin' and flyin'


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Gary T
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 02:24 PM

I've only heard the song by Ian & Sylvia, whose lyrics are the same as in the DT. Once I sang it among some bluegrass fans, who were stunned by how different it was from Monroe's version. Not having heard Monroe's, I don't know whether the lyrics were the same, but apparently the arrangement was quite different.


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Subject: Lyr Add: RUN, MOLLIE, RUN (from Henry Thomas)
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 08:43 PM

The Ballad Index gives a cross-reference to Henry Thomas' 'Run, Mollie Run'. As Mack McCormick states in his excellent essay on Henry Thomas in the extensive booklet accompanying Herwin 209 ('The Complete Recorded Works of Henry Thomas, "Ragtime Texas"), the horse race between Ten Broeck and Miss Mollie McCarthy on 4 July 1878 'forms the unspoken background for this motley of gambling songs'. Thomas' song is a pastiche that embraces a breadth of tradition.

RUN, MOLLIE, RUN
^^
Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
Liza was a gambler, learned me how to steal
Learned me how to deal those cards, 'Hold that jack and trey'

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
Music in the kitchen, music in the hall
If you can't come Saturday night, you need not come at all

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
Whoa Liza, poor girl, whoa Liza Jane
Whoa Liza, poor girl, died on the train
Liza was a gambler, learned me how to steal
Learned me how to deal those cards, 'Hold that jack and trey'

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
I went down to Huntsville, I did not go to stay
Just got there in the good old time to wear the ball and chain

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun

Cherry, cherry
Cherry like a rose
I love that pretty yellow gal
God Almighty knows
Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
Whoa Liza, poor girl, whoa Liza Jane
Whoa Liza, poor girl, died on the train
I went down to Huntsville, I did not go to stay
Just got there in the good old time to wear the ball and chain
Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
Liza was a gambler, learned me how to steal
Learned me how to deal those cards, 'Hold that jack and trey'

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun
She went down to the bottom field, did not go to stay
She just got there in the good old time to wear that rollin' ball

Run, Mollie, run (x3)
Let us have some fun

Source: transcription by Mack McCormick in booklet accompanying Henry Thomas 'Ragtime Texas: Complete Recorded Works 1927 to 1929 in Chronological Order' Herwin LP 209.

'Run Mollie Run' was recorded on 7 October 1927 in Chicago and issued as Vocalion 1141. The complete recorded works of Henry Thomas have been reissued on CD: Henry Thomas 'Texas Worried Blues: Complete Recorded Works 1927-29' Yazoo 1080/1. The Yazoo has some fine notes by Stephen Calt, but the best and most comprehensive essay yet written about Henry Thomas is McCormick's.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLLY AND TENBROOKS (from Bill Monroe)
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:16 PM

MOLLY AND TENBROOKS: Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys- 1948
^^
Run oh Molly run, run oh Molly run
Ten-Brooks gonna beat you to the bright and shining sun
To the bright and shining sun oh Lord
To the bright and shining sun

Ten-Brooks was a big bay horse, he wore a shaggy mane
He run all 'round Memphis, and he beat the Memphis train
Beat the Memphis train oh Lord
Beat the Memphis train

Ten-Brooks said to Molly, what makes your head so red
Running in the hot sun with a fever in my head
Fever in my head oh Lord
Fever in my head

Molly said to Ten-Brooks you're looking mighty squirrel
Ten-Brooks said to Molly I'm leaving this old world
Leaving this old world oh Lord
Leaving this old world

Out in California where Molly done as she pleased
She come back to old Kentucky, got beat with all ease
Beat with all ease oh Lord
Beat with all ease

The women's all a-laughing, the children all a-crying
Men all a-hollering old Ten-Brooks a- flying
Old Ten-Brooks a- flying oh Lord
Old Ten-Brooks a- flying

Kiper, Kiper, you're not riding right
Molly's a beating old Ten-Brooks clear out of sight
Clear out of sigh oh Lord
Clear out of sight

Kiper, Kiper, Kiper my son
Give old Ten-Brooks the bridle and let old Ten-Brooks run
Let old Ten-Brooks run oh Lord
Let old Ten-Brooks run

Go and catch old Ten-Brooks and hitch him in the shade
We're gonna bury old Molly in a coffin ready made
In a coffin ready made oh Lord
In a coffin ready made

Notes: Bill Monroe's version on Knee Deep in Bluegrass, Decca DL-8731, LP (196?), cut# 11; 16 All-Time Greatest Hits, Columbia CS 1065, LP (197?), cut# 1; Essential Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. 1945-49. Vol 2, Columbia CT 52480, Cas (1992), cut# 14


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:28 PM

Stewie, Thanks for your post of the Henry Thomas version. Not much similarity between Monroe's version and Thomas' version. The Thomas lyrics are a mixture of Liza Jane and other gambling songs:

"Learned me how to deal those cards, hold that jack and trey" (Run Millie Run).

"My daddy taught me to gamble, to hold that ole jack and trey" (Black Dog Blues).

My favorite line from Monroe's great version is: "Molly said to Ten-Brooks you're looking mighty squirrel"

Any other old versions or different versions; the Ian & Sylvia version is a ballad done in a minor key.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:51 AM

Richie

For the 'cherry' stanza in Thomas' song, a reference is a Virginian song in Dorothy Scarborough's 'On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs':

Lips jes' like a cherry
Cheeks jes' like a rose
How I love dat yaller gal
Lord Almighty knows!

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 09:55 AM

Got this info on-line that connects Stewball and Molly and Tenbrooks:

Skewball: The Ballads

In America, the Stewball ballad was "...most popular in the Negro south, where the winning horse is known variously as 'Stewball' or 'Kimball," and was apparently one of the chain-gang songs. The song was recorded by Leadbelly in 1940 (cd available via the Smithsonian Museum), by Joan Baez (album title Joan Baez/5), and by Peter Paul and Mary.

There is a closely-related American song, called Molly and Tenbrooks (also Run, Molly, Run), which celebrates the famous and controversial four-mile Kentucky match between the mare Miss Mollie McCarthy and Ten Broeck in 1787. There are several versions of this song, as well, and Folklorist D.K. Wilgus believed there was a connection between the Skewball ballad and Molly and Tenbrooks. In the real race, which Ten Broeck won, Mollie staggered and was distanced in the first (and final) heat, an incident seen in the Baez version of Stewball.

Below are two of the five versions of Skewball from the Bodleian ballad broadsides; the one on the right is dated 1784, the one on the left undated, but it appears to be the older of the two. To show how lyrics change over time, the Steeleye Span version of Skewball (from Ten Man Mop or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again, available on cd from Shanachie Records Corp. (© 1989)) and the version (Stewball) sung by Joan Baez on the album Joan Baez/5 (Vanguard: VSD-79160), the latter set to a tune by the Greenbriar Boys.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:09 AM

Sorry, I forgot to put the link:
Click here

The African-American verisons "Kimball" is probably folk metamorphesis of "Tenbrooks."

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:25 PM

Her's more info about Molly and Tenbrooks:

Monroe's arrangement is based on a Kentucky folk song which is thought to date from 1884. It describes a 4 mile race held at Churchill Downs in 1878 between Molly McCarthy and Ten Broeck.

Monroe first published an arrangement of the song in 1947 with the title Ten Brooks and Molly (The Race Horse Song) but he did not record it at that time. It was however in his concert repertoire and played during radio broadcasts. It was originally arranged as a vehicle for Earl Scruggs banjo.

The Stanley Brothers version of the song was learned from Monroe concert versions by Pee Wee Lambert. It is seen by some as a pivotal record in bluegrass history. Said to be one of the first pieces of recorded evidence of the musical style moving from being that of one group (Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys) to be that of a musical genre.

Versions based on Monroe's arrangement occur as Molly and Tenbrooks or occasionally Tenbrooks and Molly. A more varied group of songs based on the earlier folk song occur with a variety of names such as; Old Tim Brooks, Tim Brooks, Run Molly Run and The Race Horse Song.

Any ideas about the folk song Monroe's version is based on?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 08:49 PM

There is a version of the tune called "Big Ball's in Nashville". There are variations on this but the tune is similar to "Molly and Tenbrooks."

Big ball's in Nashville, big Ball's in town
Big ball's in Nashville, All dance around

All dance around, Lord, all dance around.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 10:02 PM

Thanks Guest Frank Hamilton for your post,

"Big Ball In (Nashville)Town" was the result of The Skillet Licker's marrying the tune "Roll on the Ground" with new words.

Many versions include "Big Ball," "Big Ball in Memphis," "Big Ball's in Boston," "Hook Nose In Brooklyn," "Big Ball's in Cowtown" "Big Ball in Bristol."

None of my sources have indicated the relationship with the "Roll on the ground" songs, but your observation sems to have merit.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM

Stewie-

Here's another use of the-

"Cherry, cherry
Cherry like a rose
I love that pretty yellow gal
God Almighty knows" (Henry Thomas: "Run, Mollie Run")

-verse from "My Little Dony" Charles Long, 1939:

Eyes just like a cherry, cheeks just like a rose,
How I love my Dony, Got in Heaven knows.

Fair you well my Dony, Fair you well I say,
Fair you well my Dony, Come another day.

As you mentioned above a similar verse (which is from the Liza Jane songs) was also found in Scarborough.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 10:09 AM

What a great thread!

There are two more verses I sing to Molly and Tenbrooks that I've always remembered as coming from Monroe. My guess is that Monroe, like many performers, didn't always perform the same set of verses or necessarily in the same sequence. The additional verses I remember are:

See that engine coming, it's coming round the curve,
See old Tenbrooks runnin', he's straining every nerve,
Straining every nerve oh Lord,
Straining every nerve.

They ran the Kentucky Derby on the twelfth day of May,
Some bet on old Tenbrooks and some on Molly Day,
Some on Molly Day oh Lord,
Some on Molly Day.

If I didn't get these verses from Monroe, maybe one of you will know who used them.

      - Mark


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLLY AND TENBROOKS (from Bill Monroe)
From: Richie
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 10:49 AM

Mark, here's another version by Bill Monroe:

MOLLY AND TENBROOKS (Bill Monroe)
From "True Life Blues, The Songs Of Bill Monroe" (Sugar Hill, SHCD-22209) CAPO 3 (Chords in G)

Run old Molly run, run old Molly run.
Tenbrooks gonna beat you, to the bright shining sun.
To the bright shining sun, Lord, to the bright shining sun.

Tenbrooks was a big bay horse, wore a shaggy mane.
He ran all 'round the Midwest, and beat the Memphis train.
Beat the Memphis train, Lord beat the Memphis train.

Out in Californy, where Molly did as she pleased.
Come back to old Kentucky, got beat with all ease.
Beat with all ease, Lord, beat with all ease.

Tenbrooks said to Molly, what makes your head so red?
Running in the hot sun, with a fever in my head.
Fever in my head, Lord, fever in my head

Molly said to Tenbrooks, you're looking mighty squirrel.
Tenbrooks said to Molly, I'm leaving this old world.
Leaving this old world, Lord, leaving this old world.

See old Molly coming, she's coming around the curve.
See old Tenbrooks running, straining every nerve.
Straining every nerve, Lord, straining every nerve.

Kyper, Kyper, you're not riding right.
Molly's a-beating old Tenbrooks, clear 'round the side.
Clear 'round the side, Lord, clear 'round the side.

Kyper, Kyper, Kyper my son.
Give old Tenbrooks the bridle, and let old Tenbrooks run.
Let old Tenbrooks run, Lord, let old Tenbrooks run.

Women's all a-laughing, children's all a-crying,
Men folks all a-hollin', old Tenbrooks a-flying.
Old Tenbrooks a-flying, Lord, old Tenbrooks a-flying.

Go a-catch old Tenbrooks, said hitch him in the shade.
We're gonna bury old Molly, in a coffin ready made.
Coffin ready made, Lord, a coffin ready made.

Let old Tenbrooks run, Lord, let old Tenbrooks run.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 07:37 PM

Thanks Richie. I thought there were more versions by Monroe but didn't have time to go through all my records.

      - Mark


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Subject: ADD: AIN'T THAT SKIPPIN' AND FLYIN'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 11:02 AM

Masato, is this the ALLEN BROTHERS version you referenced above?

I've included, [bracketed], a racially offensive verse.

On the tape I have, instrumentation includes kazoo, spoons, clawhammer banjo, guitar, and maybe mouth trumpet or can you make a clarinet do that? Or maybe it's a second kazoo. Anyhow, here's what I have.

~Susan

=============================================================

AIN'T THAT SKIPPIN' AND FLYIN'

Instrumental Intro

Went out on the mountain, I didn't go there to stay,
I fell in love with a pretty little girl, you ought to a-heard me say,
Ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin'?

Instrumental break

Went out on the mountain, I gave my heart a blow,
You ought to have seen those pretty little girls come runnin' to the door.
Ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' ?

Instrumental break

Went out on the mountain, I didn't go there to stay,
I fell in love with a pretty little girl, you ought to a-heard me say,
Oh ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' ?

Instrumental break

Wouldn't marry a pore girl, I'll tell you the reason why,
She's so tall and skinny, she'd make the fishes fly.
Oh ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' ?

Instrumental break

Wouldn't marry a rich girl, I'll tell you the reason why,
Their hair so long and stringy, afraid she'd never die!
Oh ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' ?

Instrumental break


[Couldn't marry a black gal, I'll tell you the reason why,
She's so black and greazey, afraid she'd mortify.*
Oh ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin'?]

* mortify, i.e. rot


Instrumental break

Went to see my sweetheart, she called me Sugar Plum,
She throw her arms around my neck, well I thought my time had come.
Oh ain't that skippin' and a-flyin' my gal, ain't that skippin' and a-flyin'?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 05:02 PM

All the "I wouldn't marry verses are widespread from the mainland to the Caribbean, and found in books that include Negro secular song. They are floaters in a number of dance and party songs. The origin is believed to be minstrel (see Ethiopian Serenaders verse, below).
Here are some:

I wouldn't marry a yaller gal,
I'll tell yo' de reason why;
Her hair's so dad-blamed nappy
She'd break all de combs I buy.

I would n't marry a yaller gal,
I'll tell yo' de reason why;
Her neck so long and stringy
I'm 'fraid she'd never die.

Newman L. White, American Negro Folk Songs, 1928, Songs about women # 31. From Walter Jekyll, Jamaican Song and Story, 1907.

I don't like a black gal,
I tell you de reason why;
Her hair so long and kinky
She will break every comb I buy.
etc.
Coll. 1915, Auburn, AL, MS of A. M. Kearly, in White, American Negro Folk Songs.

The Ethiopian Serenaders of the 1850s:
Ole Massa owned a colored girl,
He bought her from the South.
Her hair is curled so very tight
She could not shut her mouth.

From Talley:
I wouldn't marry a black gal
I'll tell you de reason why;
When she goes to comb dat heat
De naps'll 'gin to fly.

I wouldn't marry a black gal,
I'll tell you why I won't:
When she oughter wash her face-
Well, I'll jes say she don't.
etc., etc. With sheet music, p. 49, No. 46, Thomas Talley, Negro Folk Rhymes.

The "Went Out on the Mountain verses also float, and derive from a combination of religious and perhaps minstrel origins.

I went to de ribber, but I didn't go to stay,
But I got so drunk I couldn't get away,
My marster axed me whar I'd been,
And the way he hit me was a sin.
(From White, p. 1332, Upstart Crows no. 1B, coll. 1915.
(Based on the spiritual "I went down to the Valley to Pray)

I went up on the mountain
To see the rising sun;
Ain't found nobody
To treat me like my woman done.
(White, p. 338, No. 81, coll. 1915, Auburn, AL.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 05:38 PM

Yes, in the oldtime fiddle tunes you hear a lot of floaters/zippers, and the style as well as many of the verses themselves seem to have traveled forward from camp mneeting times in the South-- black and white camp meetings would be held side by side, and material floated back and forth. IMO it grew from there into the minstrel shows, as well as into what evolved as the blues.

I've just been working through the Lomax and other American Memory sound files stored on this big old puder, and in addition to the traditionally-sung spirituals Lomax collected, there's another body of songs from a singing festival called "Now What a Time" over on the Am Mem site. On my CD I mixed them, alpha'ed by title, and did not separate the Lomax from the fesival material. So it's easy to hear, from one song to the next, that there's only a small difference in performance style and material, and further from there is only a small difference between that festival's sound and the sound of the early gospel quartets and country blues.

It's all mixed in together, each culture's heritage flowing in and through the others, for in the end it is all one culture-- ours, we humans'. The good, the bad, the glorious and the ugly, it's all OURS.

~Susan

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Fortunato
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:06 PM

Nice thread, Richie, kind of like the old days around here. chance


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 04:34 PM

Yeah, cuz it's a OLD thread. :~) One of the things I love about adding to the old ones, when the topic permits, is that you get a fresh appreciation for all the time and care people have put into building the thread resources.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:04 PM

I dearly love this song which I heard from an old Bill Monroe recording way back in the late Fifties, and I had forgotten 3/4 of the words. Glad to have them right!! Thanks, Mudcat!

A


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: masato sakurai
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 09:03 PM

Warde Ford's version (audio; rec. September 3, 1939, collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell in Boomtown [Central Valley], Shasta County, California) of "The Hole in the Wall -- Alternate title: Timbrooks & Molly" is at
California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: X
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 11:00 PM

So right Amos...You DO have to learn them ALL. LOL


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: X
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 04:48 PM

The last time I saw Mr. Monroe was in Powway Calf. in 1987 where said he wrote the song about a race between a horse and a mule that he had himself had witnessed. Maybe just on stage patter.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Amos
Date: 23 May 06 - 03:00 PM

Molly and Tenbrooks (also Run, Molly, Run), which celebrates the famous and controversial four-mile Kentucky match between the mare Miss Mollie McCarthy and Ten Broeck in 1787.

Monroe's arrangement is based on a Kentucky folk song which is thought to date from 1884. It describes a 4 mile race held at Churchill Downs in 1878 between Molly McCarthy and Ten Broeck.



These two dates of provenance are almost 100 years apart. There must be some clear way to determine which if either is correct, ya think?

Any ideas?


A


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 May 06 - 11:23 PM

Here's an article about Ten Broeck at the web site of at The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. It makes it pretty clear that the race must have happened in 1878.

And here's a page about African-American jockeys, trainers, etc., at the Kentucky Oaks web site. It has a paragraph about William Walker, an ex-slave who rode Ten Broeck at the famous race.

There's another article at the California Bluegrass Association.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Amos
Date: 25 May 06 - 02:09 AM

Apparently Ten Broeck was foaled in 1872, and died in 1887, according to that link...so that kinda settles it. Molly was his last race.

William Walker's reference says "One of his greatest victories was aboard Ten Broeck in a famed four-mile match race at Churchill Downs, July 4, 1878, with the California-based mare Molly McCarthy".

Thanks, Jim!


A


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Neighmond
Date: 25 May 06 - 02:14 AM

From some of My family:

I think it's older than the popular song. It's sung in minor key.



'way down in Kentucky, where Ten Broeck was born,
'twas declared by the nation that he come in the storm,

Chorus: At the hole in the wall, at the hole in the wall!
       Ten Broeck beat Mollie at the hole in the wall!

Ten Broeck was a big bay, an' little Mollie was black,
Ten Broeck run the mile 'fore he ever looked back!

The gates, they swung open, the horses rushed in,
You could not see Mollie for the dust in the wind!

John Kuiper, John Kuiper, John Kuiper, old son!
Turn loose of that left rein, an' let ole Ten Broeck run!

Ten Broeck was the winner, an' Mollie was beat,
They laid down the vessel(?) at old Ten Broeck's feet!


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLLY AND TENBROOK
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 03:41 PM

Cousin Emmy banjo tune

Tenbrook was a big, big horse.
He couldn't hold him anymore.
He ran around the land for diamonds and gold.

Tenbrook went skipping and gone away.
Tenbrook went skipping and gone.
Tenbrook's on a steamboat; Molly on the sea.
Tenbrook says to Molly, "Can't get ahead of me."

Tenbrook went skipping and gone away.
Tenbrook went skipping and gone.
Tenbrook was large and Molly was small.
Tenbrook beat Molly for a hole in the wall.

Old Tenbrook went skipping and gone away.
Ol' Tenbrook went skipping and gone.
Tenbrook's on a steamboat and Molly on the sea.
Tenbrook says to Molly, "Can't get ahead of me."

Ol' Tenbrook went skipping and gone away.
Ol' Tenbrook went skipping and gone.
Tenbrook was large and Molly was small.
Tenbrook beat Molly for a hole in the wall.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Jun 06 - 08:17 AM

What does "hole in the wall" refer to?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 12:11 PM

Wow, thanks for the deep and wide exploration of a song that caught my fancy, too. When I first heard the song, I thought it was about a red-headed woman and a big bay horse.... Don't know what 'hole in the wall' refers to, but it is an alternate title for the Ten Broeck song recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell in Central Valley, California on September 3, 1939 and performed by Warde Ford. The link is -can I do this? - The Library of Congress American Memory and includes audio files. It is sung without accompaniment – Ford sings "John Parker John Parker, let go of the reins – ." Parker - Kypur - Piper - and the real jockey was apparently William Walker. Close. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame site unfortunately does not mention Walker at all, but notes that the owner was Frank Harper, and the breeder was John Harper - that is closer to Kuiper - Piper, etc. Fascinating how the details are blurred as the spirit of a song builds and changes, depending on whose interpretation it is.

Regarding the original composer, according to Timothy at McSweeney's site: "Although Monroe takes songwriting creds, by most accounts, a banjo-playing Afro-American minstrel originally composed the ballad to commemorate a $10,000 horserace that took place on July 4, 1878 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. (Compare with the broadside ballads of 18th-century Great Britain, several of which relate similar tales of racehorses named "Skewball" or "Old Kimball")." And whose accounts would that be? I haven't found them yet. That would be the thread to trace. There is something about the imagery and rhythm of these lines that seems African to me:

"Women's all a-laughing, children's all a-crying,
Men folks all a-hollin', old Tenbrooks a-flying.
Old Tenbrooks a-flying, Lord, old Tenbrooks a-flying."
   

Thank you Mudcat - Mary


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Bob Coltman
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:58 AM

I don't have any documents to back me up on this, but my memory is that Mike Seeger did (perhaps during the 80s) in-depth research on the family of songs relating to the Molly and Tenbrooks song and backstory. Somewhere I feel sure there are record liner notes or perhaps an article detailing all this (in Sing Out, perhaps?), and it would add depth to this discussion.

As for the relation to Skew Bald / Stewball, IMHO that is fanciful. I'm open to any genuine evidence to the contrary, but... the one is an Irish original adopted by American blacks about a race in Ireland. The other has to do with a known race at Churchill Downs. Knowing both songs pretty well and their respective histories, I see no likelihood of a cross -- at most a few accidental lines. The stories are distinct and so are the songs, with no persuasive intermediate versions that I know of. It's not impossible that some songster somewhere mixed them up and created a melange of verses relating to both stories, but that doesn't make a relationship between the two.

Reminds me of the old folklorists' fantasy, born of insufficient information, that "John Henry" and "John Hardy" are somehow related -- a canard that keeps getting repeated in some circles though it has no basis in fact. I do think it's important to avoid seeing relationships where there are none. Horse race songs are a small enough group without confusing them.

On the other hand the "Old Kimball-Old Nellie" and "Stewball" songs and stories do seem linked, though there's not much of "Old Kimball" to judge by, in any version I've seen (for example, Texas Gladden's). That bears more investigation.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Bob Coltman
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 05:33 AM

re Hole in the Wall:

Uncle Dave Macon has a line in his riverboatman's ditty Rock About My Saro Jane:

Engine give a [my memory: "crack," may be incorrect], whistle give a squall,
Engineer gone to the hole in the wall, And a- Oh, Saro Jane.

I think I have seen the Hole in the Wall explained as a place where you get liquor, perhaps the name of a dive. But also at one point people got their liquor in takeout fashion, bringing a "can" -- a metal pitcher or tankard -- to the source of the stuff. They took their cans down the street to be filled by measure, just as we go to the liquor store and get a pint or a fifth. They may originally have paid through a shuttered hole in the wall just as we today get takeout through a takeout window, without having to go inside the building.

The liquor dispenser, often a barrel with a tap, was sometimes called a "growler" because it made a growling noise when the tap was running. (Experts in the matter please correct any wrong details -- that's my understanding from what I've heard and read.)

The only song reference to this I'm aware of comes in the old silly song "Fireman Save My Child" -- found in Sandburg's American Songbag:

There was a little man and he had a little can,
And he used to rush the growler...

Just how Ten Broeck beat Molly at the hole in the wall I'm not sure, but at a guess, race results may have been posted in bars (just as they later were by Western Union ticker in various commercial locations) and informally related by the bartender at a local growler along with the takeout booze.

Or perhaps it really was the name of a local dive, and race results were reported there, just as today we go and watch the race in a bar on TV? Other possibilities welcomed.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 11:23 PM

Hi,

I thought I'd share a painting I did of the this famous horse race several months ago. I used Bill Monroe's lyrics, and drew from actual painting of the real horses. The lyrics are painted on the canvas. It's hard to read them and see some of the detail. I've even draw the music out.

Molly dies as in the song, Tenbrooks rest in the shade. Let me know if you like it. I have several other folksong paintings.

Here's the link:
http://www.richardlofton.org/race.html

Richie


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLLY AND TIMBROOK / TENBROOKS
From: Richie
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 11:25 AM

This seems to clearly prove that Monroe's version was arranged from
exsisting songs in the area.

MOLLY AND TENBROOKS JOAFL 1915
From Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky - Page 10
by Charles K. Wolfe - 1996
Journal of American Folklore 1915
These stanzas were collected from a man in Louisville:

Timbrook on the mountain, Mollie on the sea,
Timbrook says to Mollie, 'You can't get away with me."

Timbrook says to Mollie, 'What makes your feet so round?"
"Before I let you beat me I'll never touch the ground."

Mollie in the stable a weary and a-cryin',
Timbrook on the racetrack gone a-skippin' and a-flyin'.


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Cruiser
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 12:13 PM

Richie,

Your painting is an excellent depiction of the ballad on canvas. Ten-Brooks is a favorite of mine.

However, I do not see a "growed-out shaggay mane" (the way I learned or misheard the lyric as a kid in 1950s) on ol' Ten-Brooks.

Of course, the canvas scene would be too "busy" with the train, coffin ready-made, kids a-cryin' etc.

Another misheard lyric of mine in Ten-Brooks that I prefer to sing is:

The women's all a-laughing, the children all a-crying
Men all a-hollering old Ten-Brooks "is blind"
Lord, or Ten-Brooks "is blind"

I assume the "ghost" stallion in the sky that is rearin' up is ol' Ten-Brooks after his "leavin' this old world, Lord…"

Thank you for the link to your painting, that was a neat idea. Now how about doin' a painting of 'Way Down Upon the Suwannee Ribber'

And yes, I like your painting and this thread about a song that epitomizes folk music at its best.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: Richie
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 02:37 PM

Cruiser,

Thanks for you kind words about the painting. I'm actually doing a series of paintings based on folk songs. Last year I did, "Molly and Tenbrooks" "All The Pretty Little Horses" and "Froggie Went A-Courtin'."

I'm planning on doing 4 or 5 more this year. I've already started "Bird in a Cage" based on Jean Rithie's lyrics.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST,Ridin' right
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 09:05 PM

Great Thread! I too am a big fan of this song, which first introduced me to bluegrass music. A friend of mine, a fellow DJ at my college radio station and big fan of Bill Monroe, brought the song to my attention when he thought I might have the key to unlocking the (still) mysterious identity of the jockey "Kuiper" who is mentioned in the song (see the above messages from Neighmond dated 25 May 06 and from Guest dated 29 July 06). He thought this because my last name is "Kuipers," a variant of a common Dutch surname that translates into English as "Cooper," the trade name for a barrelsmith. I haven't been able to make any connection between this Dutch surname and the name of the Jockey in the song. The explanation offered that it is an accidental derivation of "Walker", the historical DJ of the actual race, makes the most sense to me of the interpretations I've read so far.

I've read the McSweeney article, which confuses me, because it suggests that "Kyper" might be a Dutch ethnic "slur" directed at Molly's jockey (anybody out there know who that was?). To my knowledge, the surname "Kuiper" has never been part of any Dutch ethnic slur, but I could be wrong about that. Also, if "Kyper" is not ridin' right, then wouldn't that make him Tenbrooks' jockey (who is losing the race at that point in the song)? And how could this "Kyper" give ol' Tenbrooks the bridle, if he's Molly's jockey?

It's also interesting to note that the name "Ten Broek" is also of Dutch origin.

I suppose I'm still left wondering after all this if there is any real connection between the "Kuiper" mentioned in the song and any historical figure, real or fictional, or if the name "Kuiper" found its way into the song through an accidental series of mutations of the name "Walker". Anybody have any other ideas or speculations about this?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST,thnidu
Date: 21 Jul 07 - 09:19 AM

I just heard a version of this song sung by Flynn Cohen, on FolkAlley.com, an edition of (their afternoon program) dedicated to Bill Monroe and other great bluegrass artists. But what intrigued me was that though the lyrics were just about the same as the ones I know -- with a repetition chorus* -- the tune was entirely different.

* As in "Richie's" post of 16 Dec 02 - 10:16 PM, way way backthread, e.g.,

Ten-Brooks said to Molly, what makes your head so red
Running in the hot sun with a fever in my head
Fever in my head oh Lord
Fever in my head

-- and then, iirc, it would repeat "Running in the hot sun with a fever in my head"

In the version I learned, each verse has content corresponding to two verses of Richie's version:

Piper, oh Piper, you're not riding right.
Molly's a-beating Tenbrooks from sight.
Run, Tenbrooks, run, if you don't run,
Molly's gonna beat you in the bright shining sun,
The bright shining sun.

I'm pretty sure I learned it off an LP, but I don't know where, and I didn't see any discussion in this thread of alternate tunes. Any ideas?

The song's been coming back to me, and with some help from Google I've located it: sung by Ian and Sylvia in a minor key, recorded on their LP Play One More, under the title Molly and Tenbrooks.

Still: anyone know about the difference between this tune and Bill Monroe's?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 04:18 PM

What are Mike Seeger's lyrics to the song? It starts like this:

On the fourth of July the sun it was hot,
Tenbrooks and Molly went out for a little trot......

Dont know the rest, Does anybody?


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Subject: RE: Origin and Lyr: Molly and Tenbrooks
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 08:03 PM

I love this song, takes me back to my childhood in east Kentucky. My great grandmother sang an additional verse that went...

They took Molly and Ten Brooks and put 'em in the stall
Ten Brooks kicked Ole Molly clear through the wall
Clear through the wall, Oh Lord! Clear through the wall.


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