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Who/what is the Great Speckled Bird?

DigiTrad:
BLUE EYES
GREAT SPECKLED BIRD


Giac@Brian's 18 Mar 01 - 09:06 AM
Mark Clark 18 Mar 01 - 12:58 AM
catspaw49 18 Mar 01 - 12:50 AM
Mark Clark 18 Mar 01 - 12:34 AM
dick greenhaus 18 Mar 01 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,Roll&Go-C 17 Mar 01 - 04:51 PM
wysiwyg 17 Mar 01 - 02:34 PM
Matt_R 17 Mar 01 - 02:20 PM
Amos 17 Mar 01 - 02:09 PM
wysiwyg 17 Mar 01 - 02:09 PM
Ebbie 17 Mar 01 - 01:57 PM
wysiwyg 17 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Gene 17 Mar 01 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Gene 17 Mar 01 - 11:20 AM
wysiwyg 16 Mar 01 - 11:30 PM
canoer 25 Apr 00 - 02:47 PM
Crowhugger 25 Apr 00 - 11:54 AM
Amos 25 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM
catspaw49 25 Apr 00 - 11:38 AM
Art Thieme 24 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM
Joe Offer 23 Apr 00 - 06:31 AM
Eluned 23 Apr 00 - 02:20 AM
catspaw49 23 Apr 00 - 12:49 AM
DADGBE 23 Apr 00 - 12:30 AM
catspaw49 22 Apr 00 - 08:06 PM
Peter T. 22 Apr 00 - 03:27 PM
Mark Clark 22 Apr 00 - 03:18 PM
Banjer 22 Apr 00 - 11:46 AM
harpgirl 22 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM
Rick Fielding 22 Apr 00 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Allan S. 22 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM
jofield 21 Apr 00 - 08:44 PM
Stewie 21 Apr 00 - 08:19 PM
Amos 21 Apr 00 - 07:57 PM
Banjer 21 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Giac@Brian's
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 09:06 AM

GUEST, Gene:

Although noted with There's A Grand Ole Opry Show Playing Somewhere that the tune is I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes, the lyrics read more like There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere.

Although somewhat similar, the tunes, as I know them anyhow ~;o), are different.

Mark:

I, too, always heard the word as "standard," meaning flag, and lowering her standard, would mean bringing down her flag in defeat.

It seems that churches are often referred to in the feminine, as are ships, thus "her" standard?

- Mary


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 12:58 AM

I love it! Oh man... I think I'm about to have an epiphany... no, wait... it's a... oh crap. I can't even remember what it's called any more.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 12:50 AM

Yeah Mark, it would also kinda' make you come up with a different definition of "bird."..........a bit more like the English slang perhaps? Of course then you'd need to maybe change the line to "sweet, freckled bird."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 12:34 AM

Are you sure it's her standards they are desiring to lower? I've always heard and sung it as standard meaning flag or banner placed by and representing the "forces" of the Church. Big difference in meaning.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 12:21 AM

The tune also pops up in "Can I Sleep in your Barn Tonight, Mister".


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: GUEST,Roll&Go-C
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 04:51 PM

Traditional hens, those back in biblical times, were more likely to be speckled than solid. Our solid white, black and brown chickens would have been pecked to death in a minute if they had materalized in that time period. At least, so says one more familiar with fowl than the bible. So there, you chicken pluckers!


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 02:34 PM

This 486 and my headache slowed me down too much to find the site with Strong's numbers inserted in the King James text. But the Almanac I have does have Hebrew bird names, so if anyone has the Hebrew word to offer from the Jeremiah cite or the Revelation one-- pony up and I'll see what I have.

The Bird in the song stands in for a variety of images, not just one... it's a teaching on several things at once. It's a lot, all folded up into the metaphor. Shall I say more? If so-- later.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Matt_R
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 02:20 PM

And he will raise you up on eagle's wing
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of his hand...


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 02:09 PM

Ebbie -- I think you got it -- the speckled one, being of unexpected hue, is rejected by the white or black or brown hens (or whatever they are) for being different.


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 02:09 PM

Maybe the other birds are not GREAT, but smaller. I dunno. DUH, what if I pull out the BIBLE ALMANC right here at my left hand.... native birds... hmmm.....

"Birds were common in Palestine and the people of biblical times used them for many different purposes..... Bible writers often used birds to descibe man's spiritual condition.... Again, the writers of Scripture were fascinated by the magnificence of the eagle and its ability to soar in the sky. For this reason, they used the symbol of the eagle to challenge man to rise above his circumstances and follow God (cf Prov. 23:5)."

I think I'll go over to Beliefnet and use the online Bible tools there to see which Hebrew word is used in the citations given above-- my ALmanac lists the birds by our word and Hebrew word. BRB.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 01:57 PM

I don't understand the significance of 'speckled'. In the context, does it mean that the 'other' birds are solid colored and the speckled one is different? Maybe kind of like the ugly duckling which turns out to be a swan?

Point of interest: An immature bald eagle is speckled- it doesn't gain its distinctive white head and tail until it's around 4 or 5 years old.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM

That's wonderful. My mind sort of sang me to sleep last night on that tune, done medium slow, so genteel, so sweet. Now I have a song with lyrics that I can use to illustrate the folk process with kids I will be working with. Thanks!

~S~


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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE'S A GRAND OLE OPRY SHOW PLAYING...
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 11:31 AM

Another tribute to country music song-

THERE'S A GRAND OLE OPRY SHOW PLAYING SOMEWHERE
Recorded by Red Johnson
Words and music by Bud Auge and Red Johnson

Sung to the tune of:
"I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes."

There's a Grand Ole Opry Show playing somewhere
In a distant land so many miles away
Only country music's greatest get to go there
Where I wish that I could also go someday.

I'd see Williams, Horton, Patsy Cline and Copas
Hawkshaw Hawkins and Jack Anglin, too
There's a Grand Ole Opry Show playing somewhere
In a distant land so far beyond the blue.

As the Velvet curtains open in the twilight
Choirs of Angels sings the sweetest harmony
As the show goes on in Hillbilly Heaven
What a beautiful sight it must be.

Jimmie Rodgers is the M.C. of the evening
One by one he calls each artist from the wings
To perform and do the songs they've made so famous
As the melodies are played on golden strings.

There's a Grand Ole Opry Show playing somewhere
On a starlit stage so many miles away
Only country music's greatest get to go there
Where I wish that I could also go someday.

SOURCE:
The World of Country Music
Capitol NPB-5


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONG OF SONGS
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 11:20 AM

The late BOXCAR WILLIE bundled them up
in a duet with WILLIE NELSON

SONG OF SONGS
Recorded by Boxcar Willie w/Willie Nelson
Written by Vern Stovall, Bill Palmer & Lloene Martin

Sung to the tune of:
I'M THINKING TONIGHT OF MY BLUE EYES

How I love that old melody they're playing
I heard it in so many different songs
It made stars out of country music singers
And somehow it just keeps playin' on.

Oh I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
Seems to me it's been around since time began
It was there with our soldiers during wartime
And right today, we still hear it, now and then.

Roy Acuff was young country singer
His records were just starting to be heard
That old tune took him right up to stardom
On The Wings Of The Great Speckled Bird.

Hank Thompson is a country music legend
He sang western swing and songs of peace and strife
That same tune gave old Hank the break he needed
On a record called The Wild Side Of Life.

A young girl made the world stop and listen
Kitty Wells was that young singer's name
It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
That melody rang clear as country rain.

Oh those notes must come straight out of heaven
In so many different songs they were the same
I know someday they'll be etched in gold forever
And placed in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

TAG:
And placed in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

SOURCE:
BOXCAR WILLIE/BOXCAR WILLIE
1986 MCA Records MCA 39052


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 11:30 PM

Well, it took a recording of Bluegrass Gospel Hits for me to finally find this tune all the rest of yo u knew all along, whcih I have had words to for YEARS.... and we sang it tonight with our jam group for what seemed like hours of delightful pickin' and authoharpin'.

I'm sure it was delightful but I am not sure it was hours, though after a bit I had to quit strummin' an' rock a babygirl off to sleep on my shoulder as I sang it over her sleepy little warm fuzzy head. That pertickler babygirl has been part of our jam group since afore she was borned, when she was still inside her mama. Mama was here too... daddie plays geetar in our group, and with me sometimes for our Saturday night service, but tonight was mama's birthday and they came over after dinner to jam anyway. I was proud they came, and glad they brought Katarina... mama feel out all sleep in Hardi's recliner. The rest played so pretty, and I got the baby and the melody.

I know I'll never forget all that, when I sing it the rest of my life, and I know Katarina won't either.

I'm gonna put all the verses I can find all together in one big long ole hymn an' do 'er up in church soon's I can. An' I'll tell them all about the Mudcat and how the story was right here when I came looking for it.

Them Ecopalian's dunno much about them birds but I tole Hardi the story would be here, an' he like this right fine.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: canoer
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 02:47 PM

Art, didn't know you did drywall in your day job.


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 11:54 AM

The truth about the "mottled avian": it was the 60's backup band to Ian & Sylvia ... y'know, Ian Tyson and Sylvia (then Fricker) Tyson. Honest! Canadians do not kid about things like this, not about folkies from the days when an hour was longer than 22 minutes.

S&D,
CH


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM

Oooohhhhh Art. You must have been stone plastered when you came up with that one. Ya laid it on kinda thick there. :>)

A


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 11:38 AM

Art, there is NOTHING FRESH about that pun and to REFRESH it is an abomination of taste. It was really bad in the best sense of the word.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:26 PM

There was a fine four star film done in 1941 about this I'm pretty sure.It was directed by John Huston and featured Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Ward Bond, Lee Patrick and Jerome Cowan (among others). Bogey plays Dashiel Hammett's detective Sam Spade. This great film was previously issued in 1931 and also in 1936 (as SATAN MET A LADY). This film, called The Great Spackled Bird, was probably better known as The Maltese Falcon.

Art Thieme (sheepishly)


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 06:31 AM

It's Jeremiah, Chapter 12, Verse 9 (Jer 12:9):
Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.
Click here for the entire chapter, so you can read it in context.
The Revised Standard Version translation is:
Is my heritage to me like a speckled bird of prey? Are the birds of prey against her round about? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.
I think the RSV is a little easier to understand.
But in the song, the church is like the great speckled bird.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Eluned
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 02:20 AM

The Christian Church is an Emu?! I'll buy that!!


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 12:49 AM

Oh......Well OK....I guess it could have been a free range Emu.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: DADGBE
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 12:30 AM

When will we folkies stop looking for obscure meanings when the obvious truth lies before us? The Great Speckled Bird is a large avian with mottled plumage.


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 08:06 PM

Love the story Banj............And Peter, isn't that the great thing about folk music to begin with? Learn one tune and you know half a dozen songs....if you like Woodt, you know 2 dozen!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 03:27 PM

Banjer, great story! Like all those Irish songs -- Wearing of the Green, etc. Learn one, get one free.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 03:18 PM

If you visit any on-line Bible site and search for "great speckled bird" you'll find the reference. I think it's in Revelation (The Apocalypse of John). The great speckled bird (as the song says) represents "the great Church of God."

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Banjer
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 11:46 AM

Thanks to all, I don't remember such a good response the first time around! I had a good laugh with my banjo instructor at the time by telling him that during his absence I had learned at least four songs! He asked to hear them and I played The Great Speckled Bird for him. This was followed by silence....broken only by his asking "Well, what are the other three?" My reply to him was that the tune also covered "Wild Side Of Life", "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", and "I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes"!


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM

...for my money, Lucinda Williams' version of this song "talks to me"...harp


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 11:22 AM

And of course the tune also is used for "I'm Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes". Popular tune.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: GUEST,Allan S.
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM

Somewhere in the distant past somone told me that the Great speckled Bird is the Bible. I'm not sure if this helps.


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: jofield
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 08:44 PM

And the tune is such an anthem it got reused for "Wild Side of Life" and Kitty Wells' answer song.

James in Bristol, RI


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Subject: RE: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 08:19 PM

Banjer

In case you are unaware of the following, I draw this passage to your attention:

[Roy] Acuff began his recording career in 1936, when William R. Calaway of the American Radio Corporation heard him singing 'The Great Speckled Bird' (the original record labels, however, spelled it 'Speckle' and to many people it will always bear that title). Set to a melody reminiscent of 'I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes', the song came to Acuff through the performances of another Knoxville radio group, Charlie Swain and the Black Shirts. The authorship of this famous song will probably always remain unknown, although it has been attributed to a Rev Gant and to Rev Guy Smith (Acuff also wrote four additional verses which became known as 'The Great Speckled Bird No 2'). The song, which pictures the church as a group of persecuted individuals who ultimately will gain eternal salvation as a reward for their earthly travail, is based upon the ninth verse of the twelfth chapter of Jeremia: 'Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her'. The song was popular not only as a recording hit but as a favorite in some of the Pentecostal Holiness churches as well. Vance Randolph, for example, heard it sung in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, as an official Assembly of God hymn, and W.J. Cash claimed that it was 'the official hymn of the Church of God'.
[Bill C. Malone 'Country Music USA' University of Texas Press Revised Edition 1985 pp 189-190]

Shelton and Golblatt ('The Country Music Story) also refer to the Jeremiah passage, but suggest the title of the song is a symbol for the Bible.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD (Rev. Guy Smith)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:57 PM

For reasons I can't find, the term "great speckled bird" was historically used in Christian metaphor to represent the Christian church on earth, conceived as the "bride" of Christ.

The complete song goes:

The Great Speckled Bird
                Written by Reverend Guy Smith

                What a beautiful thought I am thinking
                Concerning a great speckled bird
                Remember her name is recorded
                On the pages of God's Holy Word

                Desiring to lower her standards
                They watch every move that she makes
                They long to find fault with her teachings
                But really they find no mistake

                I am glad I have learned of her meekness
                I am proud that my name is in the book
                For I want to be one never fearing
                On the face of my Savior to look

                When He cometh descending from heaven
                On the clouds, as He writes in His Word
                I'll be joyfully carried to meet Him
                On the wings of the great speckled bird

                © Universal Dutchess Music Corp. (BMI)


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Subject: Who/what is THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD?
From: Banjer
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM

I may have asked this a couple of years ago, but still have no good answer. Given all the new 'faces' in the forum let's throw the question out again and see what comes of it.

What a beautiful thought I am thinking
Concerning the Great Speckled Bird

Further into the song reference is made to "Desiring to lower Her Standards", giving the entity a female reference.
How do YOU interpret this wonderful old standard? Or is it meant to be one of the mysteries of life? What is the Great Speckled Bird??


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