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Bright Sunny South

DigiTrad:
THE SUNNY SOUTH
TO THE SWEET SUNNY SOUTH


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Sweet Sunny South: Is 'Massa' PI? (22)
Tune Req: sweet sunny south (banjo tab?) (22)
(origins) Origins: Sweet Sunny South (13)
(origins) Origin: Sweet Sunny South/We Shall See Her No More (21)
Lyr Req: Sweet Sunny South - Carter Family? (8)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Bright Sunny South


tah@cts.com 28 Aug 98 - 12:13 AM
Chet W. 28 Aug 98 - 05:53 PM
Dave T 28 Aug 98 - 08:40 PM
Terry in San Diego 29 Aug 98 - 01:04 AM
Art Thieme 29 Aug 98 - 12:12 PM
Dale Rose 29 Aug 98 - 12:42 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Aug 98 - 03:48 PM
Charlie Baum 29 Aug 98 - 11:55 PM
Nathan Sarvis (nsarvis@iglobal.net) 30 Aug 98 - 07:56 PM
Charlie Baum 31 Aug 98 - 12:44 AM
Terry in San Diego 31 Aug 98 - 02:36 AM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Dec 00 - 04:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM
Joe Offer 18 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 02 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Rachel Ferer 20 Jul 09 - 02:15 AM
Will Fly 21 Jul 09 - 11:48 AM
Artful Codger 21 Jul 09 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,harley121 11 May 10 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Mar 12 - 06:22 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 04 Mar 12 - 07:46 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 04 Mar 12 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Mar 12 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,MizLiz 14 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM
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Subject: Bright Sunny South
From: tah@cts.com
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 12:13 AM

Does anyone have information on the history of the traditional song "Bright Sunny South"? The version in the DTD seems to be from Nova Scotia in origin, but I've also heard an Irish version, played by Kevin Burke's Open House.

Thanks,

Terry


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Chet W.
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 05:53 PM

Do you mean "Sweet Sunny South"?

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Dave T
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 08:40 PM

I was wondering the same thing. If it's Sweet Sunny South, I have a recording by Rory Block from "When A Woman Gets The Blues" (Rounder). I assumed it was a southern traditional. However, I guess I'll have to look into this. I'll keep an eye on this thread and post anything I find.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Terry in San Diego
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 01:04 AM

"Bright Sunny South" is a variant, but very similar lyrics to "Sweet Sunny South". "Bright.." is the name used on the Kevin Burke version.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 12:12 PM

I thought it was from Dock Boggs


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Dale Rose
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 12:42 PM

I don't know about Doc Boggs, Art, but I have it by DaCosta Woltz's Southern Broadcasters and by Charlie Poole and The North Carolina Ramblers. Poole's version was from 1929, and I think the other is from about that time, maybe a bit earlier. (I'd look it up if I knew were the record was)


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 03:48 PM

Sweet Sunny South was collected in 1918 by Cecil Sharp


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 11:55 PM

The song called "To the Sweet Sunny South" is the Digital Tradition's transcription of the DaCosta Woltz/Charlie Poole song. The song called "The Sunny South" in the DT is a different song entirely. The DT notes that it has Nova Scotian roots, and Dock Bogg's song "Bright Sunny South" is a variant of this second song. On the 1963 Folkways album Dock Boggs, the liner notes say "Bright Sunny South - learned from Lee Hunsucker [Bogg's brother-in-law] / Although Dock Boggs has known this song for a long time he did not begin playing htis way, on banjo, until sometime during the last six months. [in 1963]"
--Charlie Baum


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH (Doc Watson)
From: Nathan Sarvis (nsarvis@iglobal.net)
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 07:56 PM

Here's Doc Watson's version of "Bright Sunny South" from
Doc & Merle's "Down South" album. Unfortunately, the liner
notes are minimal, listing it only as "Traditional, arranged by
Doc Watson." It's similar, but quite distinct from "The
Sunny South" in the DT.

From the bright, sunny South to the war I was sent
Ere the days of my boyhood I scarcely had spent
From its cool shady forests and deep flowing streams
Ever fond in my mem¹ry and sweet in my dreams

Oh my dear little sister, I still see her tears
When I had to leave home in our tender years
And my sweet, gentle mother, so dear to my heart
It grieved me sincerely when we had to part

Said my kind-hearted father, as he took my hand
"As you go in defense of our dear native land,
Son, be brave, but show mercy whenever you can.
Our hearts will be with you till you return again."

In my pack there¹s a Bible to show me the way
Through my trials on earth and to heaven some day.
I will shoulder my musket and brandish my sword
In defense of this land and the word of the Lord.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH (Dock Boggs)
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 12:44 AM

And, for comparison, the Dock Boggs version of "Bright Sunny South" (as transcribed in the liner notes to Dock Boggs, Folkways FA2351):

Tuning: G DGCD
Recorded Dec. 14, 1963

In the bright sunny south in peace and content,
The days of my boyhood I scarcely have spent,
From the deep flowing springs to the broad flowing stream
Ever dear to my memory, and sweet is my dream.

I leave my confinement and comfort of life
The dangers of bloodshed provision and strife
I come to conclose [sic] and reply with my word
As I shoulder my musket and billet my sword.

My father looked sad as he begged me to part,
And my mother embraced me with anguish of heart;
And my beautiful sister looked pale in her woe
As she grabbed me and blessed me and told me to go.

Dear father, dear father, for me do not weep,
For on some high mountain I mean for to sleep,
And the danger of war I intend for to share
And for sickness and death I intend to prepare.

Dear mother, dear mother, for me do not weep,
For a mother's kind voice I ever will keep,
You have taught me to be brave from a boy to a man,
And I'm going in defense of our own native land.

Dear sister, dear sister, I cannot tell the woe,
Your tears and your sorrow they trouble me so;
I must be agoing for here I can not stand,
I'm going in defense to our own native land.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Terry in San Diego
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 02:36 AM

Thanks, everyone, for the input. The Dock Boggs version is essentially identical to the version Mark Graham sings on the Kevin Burke's Open House's "Hoof and Mouth" CD. Very haunting and moving melody and lyric.

T


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 04:53 PM

And the Doc Boggs version is what Mike Seeger sings in Southern Banjo Styles.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM

Therre's an interesting line in the DT version of The Sunny South:"When from Yankees and Fenians our country will be free."

Which, given it was collected in Novia Scotia might seem to indicate it's not the North and the South fighting, but Canada and the USA.

Is this a Confederate song that moved North, or a Canadian song that went South?


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Subject: ADD Version: Bright Sunny South
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM

This version is quite different from what we have in the Digital Tradition. Have we come up with a tune?
-Joe Offer-


THE BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH

1. In the bright sunny South, where in peace and content,
Where the days of my boyhood was carelessly spent,
From the bright spreading plains to the deep flowing streams,
Ever dear to my memory, has been since in my dreams.

2. I have the refinements and comforts of life,
To endure privations, starvation, and strife.
I have counted the cost, I have pledged my word,
I have shouldered my musket, I have belted my sword.

3. O father, dear father, for me do not weep,
For in some foreign country, I expect for to sleep:
To the dangers of war, I expect for to bear;
As to sickness and death, I expect for to share.

4. O mother, dear mother, for me do not weep,
For your good advice I shall forever keep:
You have taught me for to be brave, from a boy to a man;
Now I've started in defence of my own native land.

5. My friends and relations, I once had to part;
My wife and my children were dear to my heart.
I never shall forget when I tuck them by the hand,
And I started in defence of my own native land.

6. Here adieu to old Kentucky, I can no longer stay,
Hard times and the Yankees have forced me away,
Hard times and the Yankees have caused me to roam;
I am a poor soldier, I am a long way from home.

7. I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry;
If the Yankees don't kill me, I'll live till I die.
If Miss Mollie forsakes me and causes me to roam,
I am a poor soldier, a long way from home.

Contributed by Mr. Sam Turman, Buchanan,
Boyd County, Kentucky, July, 1918.


Source: Folk-songs of the South, John Harrington Cox, 1924
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song:

Sweet Sunny South (I), The [Laws A23]

DESCRIPTION: A young Southerner, armed and ready, bids farewell to family and sweetheart. He sets off for the war, hoping to return when the Yankees are driven off
AUTHOR: William Leach Bloomfield
EARLIEST DATE: 1853 (see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: war farewell
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW,NE) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Laws A23, "The Sweet Sunny South"
FSCatskills 18, "The Bright Sunny South" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 97, "The Sweet Sunny Souoth" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 76, "The Rebel Soldier" (2 texts, but only the first belongs here; the second is The Rebel Soldier)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 272-273, "Sweet Sunny South" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Mackenzie 49, "The Sunny South" (1 text)
DY 698, SUNNYSTH

Roud #800
RECORDINGS:
Dock Boggs, "Bright Sunny South" (on Boggs1, BoggsCD1, ClassBanj)
NOTES: Laws, obviously, considers this piece to be of American origin. Cazden et al, however, note that the versions hardly REQUIRE a setting in the American Civil War, and that one southern version refers to a FOREIGN war. In addition, the song has been found primarily in the North. On this basis Cazden argues for an Irish rather than southern American origin.
Gardner and Chickering's text has an interesting last few stanzas which wish that "from Union and Yankee our land shall be free." This sounds rather like a particularization from perhaps Kentucky or Missouri.
Gary Stanton tells me, "The song is first published in this version in 1853 by Firth, Pond & Co of New York, composed by Wm Leach Bloomfield, under the title 'Take Me Home' and is available for review on the American Memory site of the Library of Congress. The title page of the ballad reports that it was sung by Edwin P. Christy at Christy's American Opera House, N. Y. Laws considered this a Civil War Ballad, and it gained new popularity among confederate music publishers during the Civil War, including Blackmar & Bro, Augusta, Georgia who credited Eugene Raymond with rearranging the song. Later publishers would credit Raymond, and Gus Meade gives an impossibly early date for Raymond's edition." - RBW
Not to be confused with the sentimental song of the same name [in the Index as "Sweet Sunny South (II) - RBW], wherein the singer returns to his childhood home to find everyone dead and gone. The characteristic first lines of that song are "Take me back to the place where I first saw the light/To the sweet sunny south take me home." - PJS
Last updated in version 3.6
File: LA23

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:37 PM

Here's the version from Norman Cazden's Abelard Folk Song Book (1958)

THE BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH

1. The bright sunny South was in peace and content
And the days of my boyhood were carelessly spent
From her wide spreading lakes and her clear, purling streams
Ever fresh in my mem'ry and pleasant in my dreams.

2. I have left the enjoyments and comforts of life,
I have left her behind me who would have been my wife,
I have counted up my losses, I've plighted my word,
I've shouldered my rifle and buckled my sword.

3. I've left a fair maiden whose heart is full of stars,
She's more precious than air, and more beautiful by far,
She wept when we parted, and I took her by the hand,
And started in defense of my own native land.

4. Oh mother, dear mother, for me don't you weep,
For 'tis on this lonesome mountain this night I'll have to sleep,
With my knapsack for a pillow and my rifle in my hand:
I'm going in defense of my own native land.

5. Father, dear father, for me do not weep,
For 'tis your kind advice that I shall forever keep;
You have taught me to be brave from a boy up to a man,
And I'm going in defense of my own native land.

6. Sister, dear sister, I cannot stand your woe,
Your worrying and crying, you bother me so;
Let go of my hand, here I can no longer stand:
I'm going in defense of my own native land.

7. All friends and relations, all then did part;
My sweetheart was nearest and dearest to my heart;
My dear loving sister looked pale in her woe,
I gave her a kiss and I hastened to go.

8. Time points the hour, when will it be
That the North and the South will forever agree?
Wars will be over, fighting will be done:
We'll haste onto our loved ones now waiting at home.


Cazden says: This is supposed to be a Confederate song from the Civil War period, but this is doubtful. The tune is stirring, and some of the sentiment is remarkably up-to-date.

Apparently, this version was transcribed by Cazden from the singing of George Edwards, from the Catskills.

Click to play


More notes from Cazden:
Despite the perfectly natural attribution of this song of George Edwards to the Civil War era in the United States, there are many indications that it could not have originated in the Confederacy. George Edwards also sang what he termed the “Northern version of the same song,” which he called The Shades of the Palmetto, actually a form of The Dying Ranger but with a melody very similar to this. Though collections of regional song traditions have been more extensive in Southern states than elsewhere in this country, few and very fragmentary versions of THE BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH have been noted, mostly confused with forms of The Rebel Soldier. Of these, only one (Sharp) has a tune of remotely similar outline and a single stanza of the text, and the one extended but garbled text given by Cox refers to a foreign war.
Thus it would appear that our song was never particularly current in the South of the United States, and certainly received none of the high regard there which one might expect would have clung to a song so eloquently expressive of regional patriotism. Yet outside the South, four fairly complete texts have been previously noted, one of them from Kalkaska, Michigan, with a clearly related tune, and three from Nova Scotia. These texts show a common tendency in war songs to transfer from one locale and period to a later and more current reference. For example, George Edwards’ song The Yankee Man-of-War appeared as a broadside called The British Man-of-War relating to Napoleonic times, and was also used in reference to the Mexican War; several versions of As I Went Down to Port Jervis are known in the Catskills, all of which have lost the original reference to the Crimean War from an Irish scene. Both of these songs were taken by our informants to be Civil War pieces. Further, there is negative evidence against a Confederate origin for THE BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH, not only in its absence from the very extensive records of topical songs and verses of the Confederacy available in print, but in the total incompatibility of language, sentiment, literary calibre, and idealism of the song with the jumbles of doggerel that appeared.
If the standards of Confederate songs (by which Dixie is an exceptional masterpiece and the Union side’s THE CUMBERLAND CREW a work of inspired literary genius) are to be taken as a criterion of the attitudes of people engaged in an unprecedented conflict, we can only conclude that not many of the secessionists had the courage of their convictions.
But if THE BRIGHT SUNNY SOUTH simply does not fit as an expression of the Confederate side in the Civil War, it certainly does pertain to a patriotic ardor, to an unlooked-for but necessary defense against invasion, and to a deep longing for permanent peace, all of which are fitting if we assume an Irish north-south conflict, and this is indeed implied in one Nova Scotia text (Mackenzie). To this suggestion we may add that the stylized language and conventional sentiment are distinctly of a type common to ballads of Irish origin, and that the tune is definitely recognizable as belonging to Irish traditional melody. Our suggestion in 1948 of an Irish scene for this song (NYFQ - New York Folklore Quarterly IV/38) has not thus far elicited any contrary opinion.

Other sources:
  • Cox: Folk-Songs of the South
  • Creighton: Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia
  • Gardner: Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan
  • Mackenzie: Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia
  • Sharp: English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: GUEST,Rachel Ferer
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 02:15 AM

Does anyone know how I could get a tab of Doc Watson's arrangement of this song? It's one of my favorites and I'd love to be able to play it on guitar.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:48 AM

Rachel - I've got a version of this by Doc and his son Merle, with Doc singing and playing banjo. Also a version by Alison Krauss.

Is there a solo guitar version played by Doc that you can point me at, or an mp3 you can send me? If not, I can write some tab for you based on the melody, and in a reasonable key.

If you'd like mt to do this, email me. You can get my email address from my email address web page.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 04:44 PM

You can find many clips on YouTube. Most are of Alison Krauss and Union Station; I don't see one of Doc and Merle.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: GUEST,harley121
Date: 11 May 10 - 08:34 AM

Hello,
Does anyone have the banjo tab to Sweet Sunny South? If so, could you please e-mail it to me?
Thanks,
banjo.bob121@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 06:22 PM

I've just done an extensive data search of sheet music, books, periodicals, and newspapers.

The only new information I can report is that the "Civil War" version is *not* (as some believe) the same song or tune as "The Bright Sunny South," by F. M. Prince and A. Scherzer, published by Klemm & Bro, of Philadelphia in 1848:

http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/sheetmusic&CISOPTR=23969&REC=1

It looked like a good lead, though.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 07:46 PM

In addition to the versions listed above, there is also a version in Folk Songs of Virginia a descriptive index and classification of material collected under the auspices of the Virginia Folklore Society. The entry (I can't see it on that page, but on the general search result page for was in peace and content) has: 21.The Bright Sunny South ("The bright sunny South was in peace and content") Collected by Miss Alfreda M. Peel, of Salem, Va. Contributed by Mr. Moses Wright, of Little Piny River, Va. Amherst or Nelson County. 1932. Six stanzas. With music, noted by Miss Daisy Wingfield, of Roanoke, Va (p262).


Mick


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 07:58 PM

Re the version from Cox that Joe posted (18 Nov 02), Cox prints that as version B under the heading of song 76 The Rebel Soldier, but says in his notes: "The first five stanzas of B belong to quite a different piece.". I presume this means that he thought 1-5 belonged to the Bright Sunny South, but that 6-7 belonged to The Rebel Soldier.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 09:01 PM

Mick, that's correct.

"The Rebel Soldier" usually begins something like,

Polly, O Polly, it's for your sake alone,
I left my old father, my country, and my home.
I left my old mother to weep and to mourn;
I am a rebel soldier and far from my home.


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Subject: RE: Bright Sunny South
From: GUEST,MizLiz
Date: 14 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM

The version Jim Taylor sang, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f_sKV5g2us, sounds like "Pretty Polly"/"Pastures of Plenty."


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