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Origins: On Top of Old Smoky

DigiTrad:
OLD SMOKY (Korea version)
ON TOP OF OLD SMOKY
ON TOP OF OLD SMOKY (4)
ON TOP OF OLD SOPHIE
ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI


Related threads:
On Top of Old Smokey - parody problem (58)
On Top of Old Smokey (33)
Lyr Req: On Top of Old Smoky (7) (closed)


GUEST,elijah wald 07 Dec 04 - 04:34 PM
Q 07 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM
masato sakurai 07 Dec 04 - 06:19 PM
Stewie 07 Dec 04 - 09:33 PM
Joe Offer 08 Dec 04 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 08 Dec 04 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Dec 06 - 05:01 AM
Lighter 22 Dec 06 - 10:13 AM
Q 22 Dec 06 - 01:52 PM
Q 28 Dec 08 - 09:42 PM
Q 28 Dec 08 - 10:03 PM
Q 28 Dec 08 - 10:05 PM
Q 28 Dec 08 - 10:27 PM
Q 29 Dec 08 - 02:01 PM
Q 29 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM
Q 29 Dec 08 - 09:57 PM
Q 29 Dec 08 - 10:16 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Dec 08 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Lighter 30 Dec 08 - 10:46 AM
Q 30 Dec 08 - 09:29 PM
Q 31 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM
Q 31 Dec 08 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Dec 08 - 11:05 PM
Q 01 Jan 09 - 12:20 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jan 09 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Jan 09 - 11:09 AM
Q 01 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM
Q 01 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM
Q 01 Jan 09 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,slag310 02 Oct 10 - 07:07 PM
Q 02 Oct 10 - 07:57 PM
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Subject: origins of 'On Top of Old Smoky'
From: GUEST,elijah wald
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 04:34 PM

For an upcoming Dave Van Ronk release for which I'm doing the liner notes, I am looking for information about the origins of "On Top of Old Smoky."

The earliest recording I know is by Libby Holman, with Josh White on guitar, in 1942. I gather that Libby got much of her folk repertoire from Alan Lomax, but do not have my reference books handy, and don't know if he had published the song before that.

From there, it was recorded by Hally Wood with Pete Seeger for Lomax's radio ballad opera "The Martins and the Coys," and later by the Weavers and Burl Ives.

But where and when was it collected, and who produced the version we all know? Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: origins of 'On Top of Old Smoky'
From: Q
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM

Search the Traditional Ballad Index, "Old Smokey." Belden reported the song in 1911 but as the Unconstant Lover (Old Smokey not mentioned). The tune may have come from England (The Cuckoo, etc,): Trad Ballad Index

There are several recordings of "On Top of Old Smoky" from the late 1920s listed there, so the Holman recording is late. Burl Ives was one of those who brought it into the public eye, in the form generally sung, but many old timers remember Roger Holcomb. Fuson and Henry printed versions under the name or with the phrase Old Smok(e)y (I don't know the collection dates). Lomax compared the song with The Wag(g)oner's Lad (doubtful, different tune and ideas).

Lomax says he arranged the version in FSNA from M. Henry, "Folksongs from the Southern Highlands," 1937. Whether he was also influenced by the earlier recordings from the 1920s, I don't know.

Others here may know of more recent conclusions.

Also see thread 10505: Roscoe Holcomb (differs from Burl Ives version)


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD SMOKY
From: masato sakurai
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 06:19 PM

According to James J. Fuld (The Book of World-Famous Music, 5th ed., p. 416), this (E.C. Perrow, "Songs and Rhymes from the South (3)," Journal of American Folklore (1915) 28:159) is the earliest appearance.
15. OLD SMOKY.
^^
(From North Carolina; mountain whites; MS. written for E. N. Caldwell; 1913.)

On the top of old Smoky all covered in snow
I lost my true lover by sparking too slow.

Sparking is a pleasure, parting is a grief,
And a false hearted is worse than a thief.

A thief will only rob you, will take what you have,
And a false-hearted lover will take you to the grave.

The grave will only decay you, turn you to dust;
There's not one boy in a hundred a poor girl can trust.

They will tell you they love you to give your heart ease,

And as soon as your back's upon them they'll court who they please.

"It's a raining, it's a hailing; that moon gives no light;
Your horses can't travel this dark lonesome night.

"Go put up your horses, feed them some hay;

Come and set down here by me, love, as long as you stay."

"My horses are not hungry, they won't eat your hay:
So farewell, my little darling! I'll feed on my way.

"I will drive on to Georgia, write you my mind;
My mind is to marry, love, and leave you behind.

"Your parents is against me; mine is the same;
If I'm down on your book, love, please rub off my name."

"I go upon old Smoky on the mountain so high,
Where the wild birds and the turtle-dove can hear my sad cry."

"As sure as the dew drops grows on the green corn,
Last night I were with her, but to-night she is gone."


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Subject: RE: origins of 'On Top of Old Smoky'
From: Stewie
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 09:33 PM

Meade also gives Masato's JAF reference as his earliest written citation and George Reneau's recording on 15 Oct 1925 [issued July 1926 as Vo 15366] as the first commercial recording.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: origins of 'On Top of Old Smoky'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 04:17 AM

I think it's worthwhile to post the Traditional Ballad Index entry here:

On Top of Old Smokey

DESCRIPTION: "On top of old Smokey, All covered with snow, I lost my true lover, From courting too slow." The singer laments (her) lover's infidelity, saying that a "false-hearted lover is worse than a thief." (She) claims one cannot trust one in a thousand
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (Belden)
KEYWORDS: courting love rejection lyric warning floatingverses
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So)
REFERENCES (19 citations):
Belden, pp. 473-476, "The Unconstant Lover" (3 texts, 1 tune, none of which mention Old Smokey; the second mixed with "The Cuckoo" and the third short enough that it might be any of the "never place your affection on a green willow tree" songs)
BrownIII 253, "Old Smoky" (2 texts plus 3 excerpts and mention of 3 more); also 248, "The Inconstant Lover" (5 texts plus a fragment, admitted by the editors to be distinct songs but with many floating items; "A," "B," and "C" are more "On Top of Old Smokey" than anything else, though without that phrase; "D" is primarily "The Broken Engagement (II -- We Have Met and We Have Parted)," "E" is a mix of "Old Smokey" and "The Cuckoo," and the "F" fragment may also be "Old Smokey")
Hudson 50, p. 166, "Jimmy" (1 text, more this than anything else but starting with "A-walking, a-talking, a-walking foes I, To meet pretty Jimmy, he'll be here by and by" and continuing with many floating verses, e.g. "The cuckoo is a pretty bird," "If I am forsaken, I am not foresworn, And he is mistaken who thinks I will mourn")
Randolph 49, "The Cuckoo" (4 texts, of which "A" is about half "Inconstant Lover/Old Smokey" verses and "B" never mentions the cuckoo and appears to be mostly floating verses; 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 117-118, "The Cuckoo" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 49A)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 272-282, "The Waggoner's Lad" (9 texts, 6 tunes on pp. 428-431, but the entry combines many songs; A (no title), B ("My Fortune's Been Bad"), and E ("My Horses Ain't Hungry") are extended versions of "The Wagoner's Lad"; C ("The Last Farewell") is a short text probably of "The Wagoner's Lad"; D ("Old Smokie") combined one "Smokey" verse with three "Wagoner's Lad" verses; "F" ("Old Smoky") is a very long "Old Smokey" text which seems to have gained parts of other songs; G ("A False Lying True Love") is "Old Smokey" minus the first verse; H ("I'll Build My Cabin on a Mountain So High" is "Old Smokey" with a first verse from a drunkard song and a final floating verse supplying the title; I (no title) is a fragment probably of "Old Smokey")
Brewster 89, "The Unconstant Lover" (1 text, with no mention of Old Smokey and many floating verses)
Leach, pp.738-740, "The Wagoner's Lad" (2 texts, with the "B" text being a composite of "Wagoner's Lad" and "Old Smokey" verses)
Wyman-Brockway II, p. 1, "An Inconstant Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson, pp. 119-120, "Old Smoky" (1 text)
Lomax-FSUSA 18, "Old Smoky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 112, "Old Smokey" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 60, "On Top Of Old Smoky" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Silber-FSWB, p. 165, "On Top Of Old Smoky" (1 text)
JHCox 143, "A Forsaken Lover" (1 text, which appears to be a compound: Three verses of a forseken lover song, followed by an Old Smokey text less the first verse)
JHCoxIIB, #13, pp. 151-152, "Old Smoky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Oxford2 121, "The cuckoo is a merry bird" (text 2 is "The Forsaken Lover" which omits the "Old Smokey" lines; dated c.1780 (The Merry Gentleman's Companion, according to Opie-Oxford2))
Fuld-WFM, p. 416, "On Top of Old Smokey"
DT, OLDSMOKY

Roud #414
RECORDINGS:
Gerald Duncan et al, "On Top of Old Smokey" (on MusOzarks01)
I. G. Greer, "Old Smoky" (AFS; on LC14)
Roscoe Holcomb, "Old Smoky" (on Holcomb-Ward1, HolcombCD1)
Buell Kazee, "On Top of Old Smoky" [fragment] (on Kazee01)
Bradley Kincaid, "On Top of Old Smokey" (Supertone 9566, 1929)
George Reneau, "On Top of Old Smokey" (Vocalion 15366, 1926)
Pete Seeger, "On Top of Old Smoky" (on PeteSeeger17) (on PeteSeeger23)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Wagoner's Lad"
cf. "The Little Mohee" [Laws H8] (tune)
cf. "Lee's Hoochie" (tune)
cf. "I'm Sad and I'm Lonely" (floating lyrics)
cf. "The Blackbird and Thrush" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I Shot My Poor Teacher (With a Big Rubber Band)" (tune)
cf. "Sailing Out on the Ocean" (floating lyrics)
cf. "A Warning to Girls" (floating lyrics)
SAME TUNE:
Up in Old Loray (Greenway-AFP, pp. 135-136)
I Shot My Poor Teacher (With a Big Rubber Band) (File: PHCFS093)
The Little Mohee (File: LH08)
Lee's Hoochie (File: EM407)
On Top of Old Smoky (Davy Crockett) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 111)
On Top of Old Smokey (All Covered with Blood) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 126)
On Top of My Headache (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 111)
On Top of Old Baldy (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 144)
On Top of Spaghetti (by Tom Glazer) (DT, OLDSMOK2 -- but if this is the Tom Glazer version, I've actually heard a folk-processed form -- RBW)
Notes: The relationship between this song and "The Wagoner's Lad" is problematic. The two are occasionally listed as one song (e.g. by Leach, Scarborough; also, at least in part, by Roud); indeed, this was done in early versions of this Index. This was done under the influence of the Lomaxes, who classify the songs together.
Further study, however, seems to show that almost all versions which have common material are derived from the Lomaxes, and the minor exceptions are usually fragments of floating verses. The plots of the two songs are different, their tunes are distinct, and there does not seem to have been any overlap in ordinary versions. It would appear that the identification of the two is purely the result of the sort of editorial work the Lomaxes so often committed.
Due to this inconsistency, it is suggested that the reader check all versions of both songs, as well as both sets of cross-references, to find all related materials.
It also appears that certain key lines, beginning "A meeting's a pleasure, a parting's a grief, And an (unconstant young man) is worse than a thief," predate this song, as they appear in several British texts which otherwise bear little resemblance to "Old Smokey." For the moment, these British Isles variations are filed under "The Blackbird and Thrush," at least until I find a more authoritative source. - RBW
File: BSoF740

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The other thread (click) on this song has only one pertinent message:
    Thread #37953   Message #531569
    Posted By: GUEST
    20-Aug-01 - 12:14 AM
    Thread Name: Lyr Req: On Top of Old Smoky
    Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On Top of Old

    For "Old Smokey" origins see 'Meeting's a pleasure' on the Bodleian Ballads website.

I'd guess the author is W. Bruce Olson. I sure can't make out anything on the page at the Bodley site.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: origins of 'On Top of Old Smoky'
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 10:07 AM

Joe, I can read this much at the beginning of the song (love that black-letter print!):

Meeting is a pleasure,
   but parting is grief,
An Unconstant Lover
   is worse than a Thief
A Thief he can but Rob me,
   and take what I have,
But an Unconstant Lover
   will bring me to the Grave.

When first I courted....

After that it becomes almost entirely illegible, except for

She's not constant to any,
   but can love more than one.

At the end is


But for ever will deny her...
let her go...
    Note to the person requesting "Blue Virginia Blues" - I moved your request here (click).
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 05:01 AM

Happened to spot this. Seems to be an alternate copy of that ballad. Hooray to Dungheap No. 17 for puzzling it out. Tune is "Over Hills and High Mountains," as stated.
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung17.htm   Bob
^^
The Young-man's Lamentation

His Passionate Complaint of his Unconstant Lover;
Together with his Resolution to leave her who scornfully slighted him.

To an Excellent New Tune, or, Over Hills and High Mountains
Licensed according to Order.

                1
Meeting's a pleasure,
But parting's a grief,
An Unconstant Lover
Is worse than a Thief;
A Thief he can Rob me,
And take what I have,
But an Unconstant Lover
Will bring me to the Grave.

                2
When fancy is grounded
And rooted beside,
The lover is wounded
As soon as deny'd.
Many torments are bleeding
To encrease his pain,
And the lover lies bleeding
By the darts of disdain.

                3
This is my condition,
I needs must confess,
With humble submission
I have made my address;
In her charms I delighted
More than gold I declare,
Yet am scornfully slighted
For the love which I bear.

                4
I value not treasure
The rich Golden Ore,
There's joy, love and pleasure
Which I dearly adore;
But alas! That sweet blesing
I may not enjoy,
I all sorrows possessing
Which my life will destroy.

                5
Like a ship on the Ocean,
I am tost too and fro,
From the heighth of promotion,
To the depth of sad woe,
While the Billows are roaring
In a tempest of grief,
I the Fates am imploring
But can find no relief.

                6
Of a false-hearted lover
I must needs complain
To my grief I discovered
That my sighs are in vain;
Having mov'd her to pity,
With tears in my eyes,
While that sorrowful dity
She would scorn and despise.


                  7
To think that my Jewel
  should torture me so,
In loves flaming fuel
  with a Feavour I glow,
She's more than ungrateful,
  unconstant, unkind,
To her dear loyal lover
Like the wavering wind.

                8
In her Cheeks blushing Roses
  with lillies appear,
Where Cupid reposes
  as her Charms I draw near;
I account it my duty
  her perfection to prize,
She's a Phoenix for beauty,
Was she constant likewise.

                9
If her heart was not ranging,
  she should soon be my Bride,
But alas she is Changing
  and turns with the Tide,
Having ruined many
  by her false-heart alone,
She's not constant to any
But can love more than one.

                10
Since I find out her folly,
  I'll no longer repine,
But will strive to be jolly
  with a Glass of Rich Wine,
No longer about her
  will I troubled be,
I can now live without her
Let her go, farewell she.

                11
Tho' I am forsaken,
  yet she is forsworn,
Yet she is mistaken
  if she think that I'll mourn,
I'll set as slightly by her,
  as e'er she did me,
And for ever will deny her,
Let her go, farewell she.


Printed for P. Busby, J. Deacon, J. Blare and J. Back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 10:13 AM

Hi, Bob ! The correct address is

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dungheap.htm

An important discovery by Steve Gardham.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 01:52 PM

The Bodleian Library dates the black letter sheet to 1683-1696, narrowed to 1690-1696 in the mustrad article.
Indeed, a great find.

See The Fiddlers Companion for a tune with the same name, "The Young Man's Lamentation," Irish slow air (Joyce, Old Irish Music and Songs, 1909).
www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/YN_YZ.htm
Young Man


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Old Smoky (Scarborough F)
From: Q
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 09:42 PM

Lyr. Add: OLD SMOKY
(Scarborough F, North Carolina)

1
On top of Old Smoky
all covered in snow,
Where I lost my true lover
by courting too slow.
2
While courting is a pastime,
flirting is grief,
A false-hearted lover
is worse than a thief.
3
A thief he will rob you
and take what you have,
But a false-hearted lover
will lead you to the grave.
4
Thy body'll decay
and go unto dust.
Not a boy in a thousand
a poor girl can trust.
5
It's raining, it's hailing,
the moon gives no light.
Your horses can't travel
such a dark, lonesome night.
6
Go put up your horses
and feed them some hay.
Come sit down beside me
just as long as you stay.
7
My horses ain't hungry,
they won't eat your hay,
So goodbye, my darling,
I'll feed on the way.
8
I'll try to Georgia
and write you my mind.
My mind is to marry
and leave you behind.
9
As sure as the dew drops
falls on the green corn;
Last night he was with me,
but tonight he is gone.
10
My poor heart is breaking,
I am dying today.
My only true lover,
has left me this way.
11
Take me back to Old Smoky
there dig my grave,
Where the wild birds and turtle doves
can't hear my sad cry.
12
I'll lie there and slumber
till the great Judgement morn.
At the sound of the last trumpet
from the dead I'll arise.
13
I'll arise from Old Smoky
on the mountain so high,
And I'll meet my true lover
In the land in the sky.

One of eight versions of the complex of "Old Smoky," "The Waggoner's Lad," "False-Hearted Lover," and related songs from North Carolina. They share the same or closely variant tune, although with slight differences; Scarborough provides brief scores of each.
This is one (F), from Selma Chubb, South Turkey Creek; collected 1930. Brief musical score provided, p. 430.

Dorothy Scarborough, 1937, A Song Catcher in the Southern Mountains, pp. 278-279. Columbia Univ. Press.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: I'll Build My Log Cabin on a Mountain--
From: Q
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 10:03 PM

Lyr. Add: I'LL BUILD MY LOG CABIN ON A MOUNTAIN SO HIGH
Tune a var. of Old Smoky-Waggoner's Lad

1
I once loved a drunkard
as well as my life,
And oft times he promised
to make me his wife.
2
He fulfilled his promise,
he made me his wife,
It's trouble and sorrow
the rest of my life.
3
Young ladies, young ladies,
take warning by me,
Never put your dependence
in a green growing tree.
4
Its leaves they will wither
the tree it will die.
Some young man may fool you
just like one fooled I.
5
They'll hug you, they'll kiss you,
they'll tell you more lies
Than cross ties on the rail-road
or stars in the sky.
6
They'll tell you they love you,
to give your heart ease,
But when your back's turned on them,
they'll court who they please.
7
I left my poor mother
a-ringing her hands,
I left my poor father,
I broke his commands.
8
I married a drunkard,
and I'm sick in bed,
My children are crying
for the want of some bread.
9
I'll build my log cabin
on a mountain so high
Where no one but the wild birds
can hear my sad cry.

From Myrtle Jump, near Asheville, NC. Version H, pp. 281-282, brief musical score p. 431. Collected 1930.
Dorothy Scarborough, 1935, A Song Catcher in the Southern Mountains, Columbia Univ. Press.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 10:05 PM

Miss Myrtle Jump (not a place).


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY HORSES AIN'T HUNGRY (Scarborough E)
From: Q
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 10:27 PM

Lyr. Add: MY HORSES AIN'T HUNGRY
Tune var. of Old Smoky-Waggoner's Lad

1
My horses ain't hungry,
they won't eat your hay,
So fare you well, Polly,
I'm going away.
2
Your parents don't like me,
they say I'm too poor,
They say I'm not worthy
to enter your door.
3
I know they don't like you,
but why do you care?
You know I'm your Polly,
you know I'm your dear.
4
I know you're my Polly
I have not long to stay,
So go with me, darling,
We'll feed on the way.
5
Yes, I will go with you,
You're poor, I am told,
It's your love I'm after,
not silver and gold.
6
We'load our belongings,
we'll drive till we come
To some lonely cabin,
we'll call it our own.
7
I hate to leave Mama,
she treats me so kind,
But I'll do as I promised
that Johnie of mine.
8
So good bye dear Mama,
I'm leaving today.
We'll drive on a little farther
and feed on our way.

From Miss Flonnie Hargrove, near Asheville, NC. Coll. 1930.
Version E, pp. 277-278, brief musical score p. 429.
One of eight interesting versions of Old Smoky-Waggoner's Lad.
Dorothy Scarborough, 1935, A Song Catcher in Southern Mountains, Columbia Univ. Press.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Cuckoo Is a Pretty Bird (Kincaid)
From: Q
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:01 PM

Lyr. Add: CUCKOO IS A PRETTY BIRD
(A Forsaken Lover), Bradley Kincaid

1
O Johnny is on the water,
Let him sink or let him swim,
For if he can live without me,
I can live without him.
2
Johnny is a young boy,
But still younger am I;
But how often has he told me
He'd wed me or die.
3
O meeting is a pleasure
And parting is grief,
But an unconstant true love
Is worse than a thief.
4
A thief can but rob you
And take all you have,
But an unconstant lover
Will take you to your grave.
5
I'll take off this black dress
And I'll flourish in green,
For I don't care if I'm forsaken
I am only nineteen.

Hiccough, O Lordy, how bad I do feel,
Hiccough, O Lordy, how bad I do feel.

6
The grave it will rot you
And turn you to dust;
There ain't one out of twenty
That a young girl can trust.
7
They will court and kiss you
And get your heart warm,
But as soon as your back's turned
They'll laugh you to scorn.
8
The cuckoo is a pretty bird,
She sings as she flies;
She brings us good tidings
And tells us no lies.
9
Forsaken, forsaken,
Forsaken am I.
He is certainly mistaken
If he thinks I'll cry.
10
I'll tune up my fiddle
And rosin my bow,
I'll make myself welcome
Wherever I go.

Bradley Kincaid, 1928, Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old Time Songs, no publisher cited; "as sung over WLS, the Prairie Farmer Station." Page 20 with brief musical score.
Kincaid was from Kentucky. He recorded "On Top of Old Smoky" in 1929 (see Traditional Ballad Index, above; not heard).

This complex of songs is inextricably mixed by Appalachian Mountain singers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM

"Forsaken Lover," no. 143, pp. 425-426, J. H. Cox, 1925 (1967 Dover reprint), "Folk-Songs of the South," has essentially the same verses as Kincaid's "Cookoo Is a Pretty Bird." Obtained indirectly from Mr. John Reece, who wrote it down in 1880. See Traditional Ballad Index, above.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Wagoner's Lad (Kittridge)
From: Q
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:57 PM

Lyr. Add: WAGONER'S LAD
(Coll. Kentucky, Katherine Pettit)
1
"I am a poor girl, and my fortune is bad;
I have long time been courted by the wagoner's lad.
He courted me duly by night and by day,
And now for to leave me he is going away.
2
"Your wagon's to grease your bill is to pay;
Come seat yourself beside me so long as you stay."
"My wagon's done greased, my whip's in my hand;
So fare you well, Nancy, I have no time to stand.
3
"I am a loving lad, and I can love long,
I can love an old sweetheart till a new one comes on;
I can hug them and kiss them and keep them at ease,
Or I can turn my back upon them and court who I please."
4
"So hard is the fortune of poor womankind,-
They are always *objected, always confined;
They are controlled by their parents until they are made wives,
And slaves for their husbands the rest of their lives.
5
"I'll build me a castle on the mountains so high,
Where the wild geese can see me as they pass by,
Where the wild geese can hear me my cries and my groans,-
Be kind to the wagoner so far from his home."
6
"At the top of yon mountain, where my love's castle stands,
It is dressed in green ivy from the top to the end;
At the foot of yon mountain, where the wide ocean runs,
We will commence our music, and the firing of guns."
*subjected?

Kittridge comments that the song is "mixed up in some way, especially in the last stanza, with a well-known song, commonly called in stall-copies "Streams of Lovely Nancy" (mixed with other songs like many of this complex).

G. L. Kittridge, 1907, "Ballads and Rhymes from Kentucky," JAFL vol. 30, no. 79, pp. 268-269.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FORSAKEN GIRL (Kittridge)
From: Q
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:16 PM

Lyr. Add: THE FORSAKEN GIRL
(Coll. Kentucky, Katherine Pettit)
1
O William, O William, it's for your sake alone
That I have left my father and mother to mourn;
I left my old father, my mother to mourn,
I am a poor strange girl far from my home.
2
O don't you remember last Saturday night,
The words that you said to me as you sat by my side?
You told me you loved me, your heart lay in my breast,
Unless we got married you never could rest.
3
Here's a bottle of good brandy, here's a bottle of good wine,
To drink to your own love as I shall mourn for mine,
To drink to your own love as you have often done,
For I am a poor strange girl far from my home.
4
I'll build me a castle on the mountain so high,
Where the wild geese can see me as they pass me by,
Where the turtle dove can hear me and help me to mourn,
For I am a poor strange girl and far from my home.

Cf. "Wagoner's Lad," above and "The Poor Stranger, Christie, "Traditional Ballad Airs, ii, 220 (not seen).

G. L. Kittridge, 1907, "Ballads and Rhymes from Kentucky," JAFL vol. 30, no. 79, p. 268.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:18 AM

IMHO the American oikotype 'On Top of Old Smokey' should be considered a new song separate from any of the British ancestors. Even as early as the 17th century the cuckoo verses and similar from related songs were obviously commonplaces. 'The Cuckoo' itself an oikotype is really just a collection of commonplaces. I have just discovered an 18thc garland ballad which has Cuckoo verses and verses from 'O no my Love not I'


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:46 AM

Great stuff, Q and Steve!


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Subject: Lyr Add: OVER HILLS AND HIGH MOUNTAINS
From: Q
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:29 PM

Lyr. Add: OVER HILLS AND HIGH MOUNTAINS
17th c. song.

1
Over Hills and High Mountains,
Long time have I been ...
Through many crystal fountains,
by my self all alone,
Through Bushes and Bryers
being void of all Care
Through Perils and Dangers
for the loss of my Dear.
2
Tis not my long journey
I value of a straw,
Nor the leaving of London
for which I do now,
But the most that do grieve me
and trouble my Mind,
Is to leave my dearest Jewel behind.
3
.... is a fine place,
O it shines were it stands,
And the more I look upon it
the more my heart warms,
If I was in ....
I should think myself at home,
For it there I have a true love
in St. Gile's I have none.
4
I'll build my love a castle
on younders pritty Ground,
Where no Lords nor no Nobles
shall near pull it down.
If anyone should Ask you
my dear what's your Name,
You may tell them your my true Love
and I am your true Swain.
5
If great Lords opr great Nobles
a Courting should come,
The Beauty deserving of a Lord or a King,
King George can but love you,
my dear I'll do the same,
I'll crown you my Mistress,
and I am your true Swain.
6
          Lads
And when they come in Company
with their pritty Maids,
O they hugg them and kiss them,
and spend their money free
And of all parts of London
............for me,
O they are pritty Blades,

Bodleian Collection, "A New Song," Harding B22(381), no date, no printer listed. Omissions and possible errors in the copy. I haven't checked NLS or other possible on line collections that may have a better copy or variant verse.
"Over the Hills and High Mountains" is listed as the tune for some of the UK ancestral songs that contributed to the complex around "Old Smokey."
The Bodleian has several songs for which this is listed as the tune, some dated in the period 1680-1706.
The first lines of "The Riddle" are similar, but not the bulk of the song (Harding B25(1620); this seems to be a later song.

.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM

I have added an English version of "The Streams of Lovely Nancy," c. 1820-1824, to the thread on that song, 22877: Streams of Lovely Nancy

It contributes to the "Old Smoky" complex, and uses a similar tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 07:30 PM

"The Strong Walls of Derry" is covered in thread 25493: High walls
The first verse has the line about 'courting too slow.'

The first day I landed, it was on Irish ground,
The tidings came to me from fair Derry town,
That my love was married, and to my sad woe;
And I lost my first love by courting too slow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for the many, interlacing versions, Q. The verse

I married a drunkard,
and I'm sick in bed,
My children are crying
for the want of some bread...

reminded me of 'Angela's Ashes,' a book I could not stand to finish.

============
I have looked where I can for a tune for 'Over Hills and High Mountains.'   Does anybody know where to find it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 12:20 AM

See "Over Hills and High Mountains" in the Fiddler's Companion"
On Yonder
I am not sure of the tune they post.

I like the music in Chappell, "Popular Music of the Olden Time," given for "The Wandering Virgin," in which Chappell quotes the publisher as printing "to a pleasant new tune, "Over Hills and High Mountains.""
Vol. 2, p. 682, musical score. It seems to fit nicely to lyrics I have posted, and is a melody I have heard used for "Old Smoky."

To make certain, an opinion from Malcolm would be welcome.

If you don't have this book (Dover has reprinted it), I will scan the music and send to Joe; he might be kind enough to make a midi.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 08:46 AM

Questions of broadside tune identification are often complex, and in this case 'Over Hills and High Mountains' is really only peripheral to the matter in hand; so I won't quote full detail from Claude Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1966) where it is discussed in the sections devoted to Ah! Chloris Awake and Love Will Find Out the Way (pp 2-4, 472-474). Suffice it to say that the tune is lost, and the following brief extracts should cover as much as is needed here for now.

Having discussed the two alternative tunes named for 'Ah! Chloris Awake' ('a pleasant new Play-house Tune' and 'Love will find out the way') and printed what is probably the former, Simpson moves on to '"The West Countrey Maids Lamentation For the loss of her Maidenhead," a ballad licensed before 1685 beginning "Long time I lamented,/in sorrow and grief," bears the tune direction "Over Hills and high Mountains: Or, Chloris Awake" ( Douce II, 246 )' and concludes '"Over hills and high mountains" and "Ah! Chloris Awake" are interchangeable but probably not identical. No music for the former has survived, unless it is to be associated with "Over the mountains and under the waves," the first line of a ballad whose tune is commonly known as "Love will find out the way."' He adds a footnote:

'Chappell (PMOT II, 681-682), finding no music for "Over hills and high mountains," used instead the air "On yonder high mountains," which appears in several ballad operas, and which is strikingly reminiscent of the much older "Love will find out the way."

The entry for Love Will Find Out the Way includes music of 1651, and concludes

'The relationship between the tune of "Love will find out the way" and "Over hills and high mountains" is puzzling. The latter tune name is derived from the opening line of "The Wandring Maiden ... To an excellent new Tune" (B[agford] B[allads] II, 572); and this ballad is so evidently a paraphrase of the earlier "Truths Integrity" that one is inclined to wonder whether the tune for it was indeed "new," or whether its description was merely part of the advertiser's dernier cri psychology. We do not, at any rate, possess a tune called "Over hills and high mountains," although several late seventeenth-century ballads cite it for singing. Four ballad operas use a tune called "On yonder(s) high mountain," * for which no original words have been found; it bears a family likeness to the tune of "Love will find out the way," despite a good deal of difference in harmonic and melodic detail.'

* 'They are Ryan's The Cobler's Opera, 1729, Momus turn'd Fabulist, 1729, Lillo's Silvia, 1731, all with music; and Drury's The Fancy'd Queen, 1733, without music. Chappell (PMOT, II, 682) used this music with one of the ballads calling for "Over hills and high mountains," but he recognised the lack of positive documentary evidence to link the two tunes.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 11:09 AM

Malcolm, fascinating as always. So good to see you back!


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM

Malcolm, thanks for the information. Much appreciated, and helpful 'as always'.
It may not be the true tune for "Over Hills and High Mountains," but it works with a number of the variants of the complex as found in North America. The tune in Chappell is easily tailored to the singer's voice or desire for emphasis.

The whole subject of the UK songs that had or might have had something to do with the complex as it developed in North America is interesting.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: The Wagoner's Lad (Henry)
From: Q
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WAGONER'S LAD (Henry)
From: Q
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 04:02 PM

Lyr. Add: THE WAGONER'S LAD Henry

1
I'm a poor little girl;
My fortune's been bad;
I've a long time been courting
A wagoner's lad.
2
He courted me daily
By night and by day;
But now he is loaded
And going away.
3
So hard is the fortune
Of poor womankind;
They are always controlled
And always confined.
4
Controlled by their parents
Till they are made wives;
Then slaves for their hushands
The rest of their lives.
5
"Your wagon ain't greasy;
Your bill ain't paid;
Come, sit you down by me,
For I know you can stay."
6
"My wagon is greased,
My bill it is paid;
So fare you well, Polly,
No longer to stay."
7
He mounted his horses
With his whip in his hand:
"So fare you well, Polly,
No longer to stand."
8
So early that morning
As he did arrive
He crossed over the mountain
With tears in his eyes,
9
To think he must leave her
And see her no more;
He left his girl weeping
On the New River Shore.
10
"I can love a light love;
I can love long;
I can love an old sweetheart
Till a new one comes on.
11
"I love them and kiss them
And think it proves kind;
Then turn my back upon them
And alter my mind.
12
"I build my love a castle
On you mountain high,
Where the wild geese will hear her
As they pass by.
13
"Where the wild geese will hear
Her cries and her moans,
Sweet instruments of music
And the firing of guns."

Collected by Mellinger E. Henry in NC, 1929; p. 279, "Folksongs from the Southern Highlands," NY. Printed also on pp. 116-117, Duncan Emrich, 1974, "American Folk Poetry, an Anthology," Little, Brown and Co. Both without music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: GUEST,slag310
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 07:07 PM

This is more like the end of Old Smokey, but I thought you all might enjoy it. We always sang it this way:

On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese,
I lost my last meatball
When somebody sneezed.

It fell off the table
and rolled 'cross the floor,
and the last time I saw it,
It rolled out the door.

There might have been more verses in which it descended from the mountains like a souped up car full of moonshine, but by then we were laughing too hard to continue.

Okay, that was not scholarly, but when we were little kids, we sang that every time we had spaghetti for dinner and never failed to find it hysterical.

What has society come to?

Slag310


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Subject: RE: Origins: On Top of Old Smoky
From: Q
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 07:57 PM

slag 310, that Tom Glazer parody is in the DT. Old moldy spaghetti by now.


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