The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21879   Message #234931
Posted By: Stewie
27-May-00 - 09:52 PM
Thread Name: Songs of Anxiety about technology
Subject: RE: Songs of Anxiety about technology
Hi Art,

It's interesting that you mention Uncle Dave. There is also the line where he sang 'I'd rather ride a wagon and go to heaven/Than to ride in an automobile', but I can't recall which song it comes from. He never forgot that trucks once put him out of business. I love the photo that County has used on LP and CD covers of Uncle Dave with his mule and wagon. The sign reads: 'Uncle Dave Macon: Slowing Down But Still Moving - Old Time Religion. Old Reliable Way. My Gasoline Consists of Corn, Oats, Whip and Hay'. However, Uncle Dave was a little ambivalent about the automobile. He never learned to drive, but that was because he had seven sons and therefore 'there was no need to'. In 'On the Dixie Bee Line' (reissued Vetco 101), he glorifies Mr Ford's Model T which he ties into bootlegging. Humour was Uncle Dave's method of handling change.

Many of the songs mentioned above seem to be related to the dire consequences of, rather than 'anxieties about', the encroachment of technology - and such songs abound.

Another Billy Edd Wheeler song, 'The Coming of the Roads', could complement the 'Coal Tattoo' that has been mentioned.

There's an interesting broadside printed in Roy Palmer's 'A Touch of the Times'. It is titled 'The State of Great Britain or a Touch at the Times'. It includes these verses:

The railroads all through England have great depression made
Machines of every kind has put a stop to trade;
The innkeepers are weeping in agony and grief,
And the ostlers swear they'll buy a rope and go to felo-de-se [suicide]

The steamboats to old Beelzebub the watermen do wish;
They say theyve nearly ruined them and drowned all the fish
Of all their new inventions that we have lately seen
There was none begun or thought upon when Betty [Queen Elizabeth I]was the Queen

Cheers, Stewie.