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Origins: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain

DigiTrad:
SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN
SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN (2)
SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN (4)


Related threads:
anyone remember the Pesky Sarpent? (Massachusetts) (21)
Massachusetts Snake Sanctuary? (20)
Lyr Req: Toomeray Tomeray (Springfield Mtn.) (49)
Help: Springfield Mountain (25)
Lyr Req: Snake Bite Song (9)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Fod (from The Folk Songs of North America, Alan Lomax, 1960)


J-Stone 03 Apr 99 - 10:25 AM
catspaw49 03 Apr 99 - 10:56 AM
DonMeixner 03 Apr 99 - 10:15 PM
J-Stone 03 Apr 99 - 11:00 PM
Stefan Wirz 03 May 00 - 03:25 PM
DADGBE 03 May 00 - 04:10 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jun 03 - 04:29 AM
Joe Offer 18 Jun 03 - 04:50 AM
BanjoRay 18 Jun 03 - 09:08 AM
Bat Goddess 18 Jun 03 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Q 18 Jun 03 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Jun 03 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Jun 03 - 06:09 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 19 Jun 03 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Q 19 Jun 03 - 01:13 PM
Joe Offer 28 Apr 04 - 01:43 PM
Amos 28 Apr 04 - 02:01 PM
Joe Offer 28 Apr 04 - 02:26 PM
Joe Offer 28 Apr 04 - 02:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Apr 04 - 03:18 PM
Amos 28 Apr 04 - 03:43 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 28 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM
Joe Offer 01 Jun 05 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,George 24 Jun 05 - 07:44 PM
Dave Ruch 24 Jun 05 - 10:34 PM
Joe Offer 10 May 06 - 02:32 AM
Amos 10 May 06 - 03:37 AM
Goose Gander 10 May 06 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 10 May 06 - 10:57 AM
Desert Dancer 10 May 06 - 11:18 PM
Amos 10 May 06 - 11:43 PM
Peace 10 May 06 - 11:44 PM
GUEST,little g 29 Jun 06 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Adam Miller 07 Aug 08 - 09:09 AM
GUEST 15 Feb 09 - 03:47 PM
Bat Goddess 16 Feb 09 - 09:05 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Mar 10 - 08:29 PM
Joe Offer 20 Oct 10 - 05:50 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Oct 10 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,steve 24 Jun 15 - 03:17 PM
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Subject: Patrick Sky
From: J-Stone
Date: 03 Apr 99 - 10:25 AM

Thanks to everyone who answered my last request.

I was wondering if someone wouldn't mind giving me the lyrics to Rattlesnake Mountain, by Patrick Sky?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Patrick Sky
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Apr 99 - 10:56 AM

I never "did" this one myself and it's been too long, but I think Don Meixner may have a songbook.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Patrick Sky
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Apr 99 - 10:15 PM

Rattle Snake mountain isn't in any of the Pat Sky songbooks I've seen. It is in the public domain under a load of varients. Try Sourwood Mountain, The Pesky Sarpent, The Poisoned Tooth,

DonMeixner


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Subject: RE: Patrick Sky
From: J-Stone
Date: 03 Apr 99 - 11:00 PM

Thanks again. Happy Easter.


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Subject: RE: Patrick Sky
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 03 May 00 - 03:25 PM

no lyrics at all, but at least: A Pat Sky discography at www.wirz.de/music/skydsc.htm


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Subject: ADD Version: Rattlesnake Mountain
From: DADGBE
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:10 PM

Here's what I have. It's a Texas version of Springield Mountain:

RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN

On Rattlesnake me-y-mountain I did de-y-dwell,
And I've-a got a ste-y-story I'm a-gonna te-y-tell.
Come my root eye root eye roo.
A nice young me-y-man in the month of me-y-May,
Went down to the fe-y-fields to mow his he-y-hay.
Come my root eye root eye roo.

He had not mo-y-wode all around the fe-y-field,
'Till a rattle-copper sne-y-snake come and bit him on the he-y-heel.
Come my...
He jumped up he-y-high and danced all a re-y-round,
But the pizen ste-y-struck and he fell to the ge-y-ground,
Come my...

Now Johnny he-y-had a nice young ge-y-girl,
Her name was se-y-Sal and she was a pe-y-pearl.
Come my...
Now Sal she ce-y-came into that fe-y-field,
And sucked the pe-y-pizen out of his he-y-heel.
Come my...

But Sal she he-y-had a rotten te-y-tooth,
And the pizen ste-y-struck and killed them be-y-both.
Come my...
So all you ge-y-guys a warning te-y-take,
And don't get be-y-bit by a pizen sne-y-snake.
Come my...

You folks take we-y-warning and don't ge-y-go,
Like Johnny de-y-dear out for to me-y-mow.
Come my...
The me-y-moral: when in love don't pe-y-pass,
Too near to pe-y-patches of high ge-y-grass.
Come my...


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Subject: RE: Rattlesnake Mountain (Patrick Sky)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 04:29 AM

I came across this song today in Randolph, and then I had to mow the high grass this evening. I haven't seen a rattlesnake on the property yet, but somebody else found a four-footer here about 6 weeks ago. Makes me downright nervous. Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song. Looks like there are a number of versions to look through.
-Joe Offer-

Springfield Mountain [Laws G16]

DESCRIPTION: A young man is out mowing a field. He is bitten by a poisonous snake. In "serious" versions, he dies because no one comes to his aid. In others, his sweetheart tries to draw the poison but instead is killed herself when the venom enters a "rotten tooth"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1836
KEYWORDS: death animal lover injury
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Aug 7, 1761 - Death by snakebite of Timothy Myrick, often considered the inspiration for this song
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (47 citations):
Laws G16, "Springfield Mountain" (sample text in NAB, pp. 35-36)
Belden, pp. 299-300, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text plus a reference to 1 more)
Randolph 424, "Springfield Mountain" (4 texts, 2 tunes)
High, p. 12, "The Stuttering Song" (1 text)
Moore-Southwest 186, "The Rattlesnake Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-1ed, pp. 257-259, "Joh-Woh-Wonny" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-2ed, pp. 108-109, "Dear John" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bronner-Eskin1 32, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy 109, "Springfield Mountain" (4 texts, 3 tunes)
Gardner/Chickering 38, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Peters, p. 207, "Young Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
Musick-Larkin 40, "Poison Serpent" (1 text)
Morris, #55, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts)
BrownII 208, "Springfield Mountain" (3 text plus 3 fragments and mention of 1 more; the final fragment, "G," may perhaps be another song)
BrownSchinhanIV 208, "Springfield Mountain" (3 excerpts, 3 tunes)
Hudson 61, p. 184, "Springfield Mountain" (1 short text)
Brewster 76, "Springfield Mountain" (1 fragment)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 223-224, "Springfield Mountain (I), (II)" (2 texts)
Boswell/Wolfe 29, pp. 51-53, "Stuttering Johnny (Springfield Mountain)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 15-18, "On Springfield Mountain" (2 texts plus some scraps, 2 tunes)
Flanders-NewGreen, pp. 159-161, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott, pp. 285-286, "Springfield Mountain or The Black Sarpent" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck-Maine, pp. 106-108, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 719-723, "Springfield Mountain" (4 texts)
Leach-Heritage, pp. 174-176, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts)
McNeil-SFB2, pp. 53-54, "The Rattlesnake Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 302, "Springfield Mountain" (4 texts)
Warner 23, "Springfield Mountain"; 65, "On Springfield Mountain" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
SharpAp 132, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Scott-BoA, pp. 44-45, "Springfield Mountain"; pp. 156-158, "The Pesky Sarpent" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Lomax-FSUSA 9, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 3, "Springfield Mountain"; 212, "Springfield Mountain (Texas Version)" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 356-357, "Rattle Snake" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 81-82 "Springfield Mountain" (1 text)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 828-829, "On Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 554-555, "The Pesky Sarpent" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett, p. 16, "Smithfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 81, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text)
JHCoxIIB, #3A-3C, pp. 122-125, "Springfield Mountain," "The Venomous Black Snake" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 146-147, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
LPound-ABS, 42, pp. 97-98, "O Johnny Dear, Why Did You Go?"; pp. 98-99, "Woodville Mound]"; pp. 99, "In Springfield Mountain"; p. 100, "Springfield Mountain" (4 texts)
Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 167-170, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, probably rewritten, 1 tune)
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 18-19, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 218-220, "Springfield Mountain" (2 texts, one labeled a parody)
Silber-FSWB, p. 216, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text)
DT 314, SPRNMNTN* SPRNMTN2* SPRNMTN4*
ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, part III, p. 35, "Springfield Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #431
RECORDINGS:
Winifred Bundy, "Young Johnny (Springfield Mountain)" (AFS, 1941; on LC55)
Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, Cisco Houston & Bess Hawes, "Springfield Mountain" (on WoodyFolk)
Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "Springfield Mountain" (on BLLunsford02) (on AschRec2)
"Yankee" John Galusha, "Springfield Mountain" (on USWarnerColl01)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Fod" (words)
cf. "The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake" (plot)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
O Polly Dear
NOTES: Phillips Barry studied this ballad in depth, and concluded that it fell into four subfamilies: the "Curtis" type (serious), the "Molly" type (comic; see, e.g. DT SPRNMNTN), the"Myrick" type (serious; see DT SPRNMTN2), and the "Sally" type (comic; see SPRNMTN4).
Spaeth, for some reason, credits this to someone named Nathan Torrey (A History of Popular Music in America, p. 64), but offers no supporting evidence. He also believes that the comic type "The Pesky Sarpent" comes from the political season of 1840! (The notes in Brown support this to the extent that they credit it to the stage performers George G. Spear and George H. Hill. Boswell/Wolfe, p. 52, adds that those two portrayed "stereotyped Yankee farmers," which obviously makes this song an easy target for them.) - RBW
Last updated in version 3.8
File: LG16

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 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Rattlesnake Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 04:50 AM

RATTLESNAKE SONG

Oh, Johnny dear, don't you go
Down in the meadow for to mow,
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Ra tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

Oh, Molly dear, don't you know
Father's meadow and it must be mowed
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Ra tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

He hadn't mowed around the field,
Rattlesnake bit him on the heel,
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

They carried him home to Molly dear,
Don't you know she felt right queer.
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Ra tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

Come all my friends and warning take,
Never get bit by a rattler snake.
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Ra tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

If you do I'm telling you,
Lots of trouble you'll get into.
Ra tinga ling day, ra tinga ling day,
Ra tinga ling linga tinga ling day.

Collected by W.K. McNeil from Noble Cowden, Cushman, Arkansas, in December 1979.
Source: Southern Folk Ballads, Vol. 2 (McNeil).

McNeil's notes are fascinating:
    This song, originally known as "Springfield Mountain," is certainly among the oldest native American ballads still in folk tradition. It is thought to deal with the death of one Timothy Myrick of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, formerly Springfield Mountain, who expired from a snakebite in Farmington, Connecticut, August 7, 1761. At some point in time the serious ballad became converted into a comic ballad, so today both traditions exist simultaneously. Phillips Barry, who made an extensive study of this song, suggests that each of the two ballad types has several subtypes. He was able to trace the comic ballads back to 1836, with the serious song only dating back to 1849. G. Malcolm Laws feels that Barry is in error on this point and suggests that the original ballad was composed locally and soon after the tragedy it recounts.
    Considering its widespread distribution, this ballad has remarkably few titles. By far the most popular is "Springfield Mountain" but "The Shrattledum Snake" and "The Rattlesnake Song" are other traditional titles. Melodically the serious ballad maintains a somber mood while the comic versions have a quicker tempo and lighter mood. Like most of the comic ballads, the one given here contains a nonsense refrain and achieves much of its effect by exaggerating a basically tragic story. In some versions of the ballad the protagonist is referred to merely as "a likely youth" or some similar description. Most texts do supply him with a name, generally John or Johnny but never Timothy; Myrick, however, is found in several versions. Molly, Sally, or Sal are the names generally given the woman, but in some texts she is not named. Barry thought the woman's name came from the comic tradition and was the work of professional songwriters.
    The version given here was collected in December 1979 by W.K. McNeil from the singing of Noble Cowden of Cushman, Arkansas. For more information about Mrs. Cowden see the notes to "The House Carpenter's Wife."


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Subject: RE: Rattlesnake Mountain / Springfield Mountain
From: BanjoRay
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 09:08 AM

Woody Guthrie sang a version of which I only remember the first verse. I give the chords to render a rough idea of how it went.

On Springfield me-why me-why mountain
D7-------------G
There did dee-why dee-why dwell
----------C
a pretty little ge-why ge-why gal
G---------------D7
And I knowed her he-why he-why well
-----------------G

To my root-eye roo, my root-eye root-eye ray
D7-------------G----------------D7-------G

Anyone know any more of this?
Ray


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Subject: RE: Rattlesnake Mountain / Springfield Mountain
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 09:16 AM

Timothy Myrick is buried in the Deacon Adams cemetery in Wilbraham, MA -- Jeri and I found it a few years ago, thanks to the description in Anne Warner's book on the Warner collection and to Michael Cooney, who remembered the approximate location. Unfortunately, a prominant sign forbids both rubbings and PHOTOGRAPHS without permission. (And couldn't find the town hall on such short notice and limited time.)

Here's the epitaph:

Here lies ye Body of Mr. Timothy Mirick,
Son of Lieut. Thomas & Mrs. Mirick
who died August 7th 1761 in ye 23rd Year of his Age.

"He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down
He fleeeth also as a Shadow and continueth not." (Job XIV,2)

His father, by the way, spelled his name Merrick, at least on his marker.

Linn (still the thanatolithologist)


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PESKY SARPENT
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 02:56 PM

THE PESKY SARPENT

On Springfield Mountain there did dwell,
A comely youth I knew full well.

Chorus:
Ri tu di nu, ri tu di na,
Ri tu di nu, ri tu di na.

One Monday morning he did go,
Down to the meadow for to mow.

He scarce had mowed half the field,
When a PESKY SARPENT bit his heel.

He took his scythe and with a blow,
He laid the Pesky Sarpent low.

He took the Sarpent in his hand,
And straitway (sic) went to Molly Bland.

Oh Molly, Molly here you see,
The Pesky Sarpent what bit me.

Now Molly had a ruby lip,
With which the pizen she did sip.

But Molly had a rotten tooth,
Which the Pizen struck and kill'd 'em both.

The neighbours found that they were dead,
And laid them both on one bed.

And all their friends both far and near,
Did cry and howl they were so dear.

Now all you maids a warning take,
From Molly Band and Tommy Blake.

And mind when your (sic) in love don't pass,
Too near to patches of high grass.

Sheet music in American Memory, dated in MS. 1840, pub. by Oakes and Swan, Boston. "By the Author." Another copy (nd) in Levy Collection. Original capitalization and spelling kept in this copy.
The Traditional Ballad Index has a date of 1836. This may be the same text.

The story about Timothy Myrick apparently is a late addition. Is there any data as to the cause of death of this 18th century man?


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Subject: RE: Rattlesnake Mountain / Springfield Mountain
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 03:08 PM

Thanatolithologist- nice word. I spent some time photographing and noting the markers in a pioneer cemetary which was turned over to private owners by the church that formerly owned it. Now I have a proper name for the work.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 06:09 PM

Odd that Brown, "North Carolina Folklore," has no versions of "The Pesky Sarpent." One version was collected in Jackson Co., West Virginia by M. F. Morgan in 1915 and printed under the title, "Springfield Mountain," by J. H. Cox, "Folk-Songs of the South," p. 292.

SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN

A charming youth in Conway dwelled,
A charming youth that I knew quite well.

Too-da-nica-da-li, too-da-nica-dali,
too-da-nica, too-da-nica,
Too-da-nica-da-li, too-da-nica,
Too-da-nica, too-di-a.

That charming youth one day did go
Down in the meadow for to mow.

He mowed along but at length did feel
A great big serpent bite him on the heel.

They carried him to his Sally dear,
Now don't you bet it made her feel queer?

"O Johnnie dear, why did you go,
Down in the meadow for to mow?"

"Why, Sallie, dear, and I thought you knowed
'T was granddaddie's meadow, and it must be mowed."

At length he died, gave up the ghost;
In Abraham's bosom he was post.

Now all ye people this warning take,
To shun the bite of a great big snake.



ON SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAINS or the Pesky Sarpent.

On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A comely youth I knew full well.
One Monday morning he did go
Down to the meadow for to mow.

Ri tu di nu, ri tu di na,
Ri tu di nu, ri tu di na.

He scarce had mowed half the field
When a pesky serpent bit his heel.
He took his scythe and with a blow
He laid the pesky serpent low.

He took the serpent in his hand
And straight-way went to Molly Bland.
The serpent's poison made him weak
He scarcely had the strength to speak.

Extra chorus 1:
Oh Molly, Molly here you see
The pesky serpent what bit me.

Now Molly had a ruby lip
With which the pizen she did sip.
The pizen proved so awful strong
It killed them both ere very long.

The neighbors found that they were dead
So laid them both upon one bed.
And all their friends from far and near
Did cry and howl they were so dear.

Now all you maids a warning take
From Molly Bland and Tommy Blake
And mind when you're in love don't pass,
Too near to patches of high grass.

Extra chorus 2:
Oh Molly, Molly, this we take
As a moral of that snake.

Sheet music in the Levy Collection, O. Ditson, Boston, 1878, arranged by L. C. Elson.
The first verses are the same as those of "The Pesky Sarpent" of 1840, but the last parts are re-written.


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Subject: ADD Version: On Springfield Mountain (Burl Ives)
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 04:46 AM

"Springfield Maountain" is now known by the name, "Mount Tom" is located near Holyoke, Masachusets, USA.
I seem to remember some folk musicx authority stating that this song "On Springfield Mopuntain" is the oldest originally American folk ballad. I heard a Burl Ives recording of this a long long time ago

ON SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN

On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A love lie (lovely) youth, I knew him well
(refrain) Re too dee day, ray toody do ray toodum day rey toodum do.

This lovely youth one day did go.
Out to the mountain for to mow.
(repeat refrain)

He had not mowed half round the field
When an ug-lie serpent bit his heel

He went straight home to Molly dear
To draw th poison from his heel

But Molly had a rotten tooth
And so the poison killed them booth.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 01:13 PM

Any certain evidence of the song before 1836-1840?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 01:43 PM

I think it's time to refresh this thread again, now that it's mowing season for us who live in rural areas. I looked out at our high grass yesterday and thought about all the rattlesnakes that are out there, waiting to get me. I figured the mowing can wait a couple of weeks.

Besides, I had a plumbing emergency yesterday. The flexible pipe from the irrigation ditch split, so I had to dig it up in the neighbor's pasture, and try to patch it with special leak-patch tape. One roll of tape didn't make it, so I put a second roll on top - with the neighbors' three cows staring at my butt at close range...
Interesting afternoon.

I hope you city folks will think of us out here in the wilderness, as you enjoy your city water and garbage collection, and all those other luxuries. Lord, protect me from the snakes...

-Joe Offer-


Oh, and here's Dreadful Snake.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Amos
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:01 PM

This situation (the one Joe fears) is also depicted in a children's song called "Fod" (a nonsense word injected into every chorus, loudly, by the children in the audience).

"I went down to the mowing field
Too-rah too-rah, foladiddle dido!
I went down to the mowing field,
FOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
I went down to the mowing field
When an ugly sarpent bit mah heel
Too-rah-die-ay!

Just put them high boots on, Joe, and use a noisy riding mower or tractor, and you'll be okay!!

A


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Subject: FOD
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:26 PM

I forgot about that one, Amos. I thing it's on a CD called Two Little Boys: More Old Time Songs for Kids, but Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis. Now I'll have to see if I can actually find the CD.
Here's the entry on "Fod" from the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-

Fod

DESCRIPTION: "As I went down to the mowin' field Hu-ri tu-ri fod-a-link-a-di-do, As I went down... Fod! As I went down... A big black snake got me by the heel." The injured singer sits down and watches a woodchuck fight a skunk (and complains about the smell)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1941 (recording, Henry King & family)
KEYWORDS: animal nonsense humorous injury dancing fight
FOUND IN: US(SW,So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Lomax-FSNA 213, "Fod" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 222, "Fod" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson, p. 159, "A Mighty Maulin'" (twelfth of 12 single-stanza jigs) (1 text, perhaps from this though it's just a loose verse)

ST LoF213 (Full)
Roud #431
RECORDINGS:
Henry King, "Fod!" (AAFS 8)
Henry King & family, "Fod" (AFS 5141 B2, 1941; on LC02)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "(I Can't Be) Satisfied" (words)
cf. "Springfield Mountain" (words)
NOTES: Roud catalogs this as a version of Springfield Mountain. Oy.
I stuck Fuson's single stanza ("As I went down to my old field, I heard a mighty maulin'; The seed-ticks was a-splittin' rails, The chiggers was a-haulin'") here because it sounds like it might be a loose verse of something similar, and because there is nothing else much like it. Round gives it its own number, 16395, but it's probably a floating verse from something. - RBW
File: LoF213

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Subject: ADD: FOD
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:47 PM

FOD

1. As I went down to the mowin' field,
Hu-rye, tu-rye, fod-a-link-a-dye-do
As I went down to the mowin' field, Fod!
As I went down to the mowin' field,
A big black snake got me by the heel,
Tu-rolly-day.


2. Well, I fell down upon the ground, (3 times)
I shut both eyes and looked all around.

3. I set upon a stump to take my rest, (3)
I (It??) looked like a woodchuck on his nest.

4. The woodchuck grinned a banjo song (3)
And up stepped a skunk with the britches on.

5. The woodchuck and skunk got into a fight, (3)
The fumes was so strong they put out the light.

6. They danced and they played till the chimney begin to rust, (3)
It was hard to tell which smelt the wust.

Source: Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America

Collected by C. Todd and R. Sonkin as adapted and arranged by the King Family, Visalia, Calif., Okie emigrants to Calif. from Missouri. AAFS 8 BI. see: Botkin V, 792; Brown III, 221; White, 203. This is a white remake of Negro animal jingles popular in blackface minstrel era. Tune is one of the Middlewestern variants of the Rattlesnake Song, which has also contributed to Fod.

Click to play


There is an identical version of the song in Old-Time String Band Songbook (Cohen/Seeger/Wood), except that the third verse has
    It looked like a woodchuck on his nest.
Could it be that the King Family is the only source for this song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 03:18 PM

Please don't mow in the meadow, Joe.
Unrelated, but take a look at "Charming Emma Snow," done in by a cruel black snake: thread 32054: Sweet Lorena


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add FOD
From: Amos
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 03:43 PM

That verse should be "got into a fight", Joe. And, as I heard it long ago, it was "along come a woodchuck, wearing a verst". See, the woodchuck was wearing the vest, and the skunk had his britches on...enough to start a fight in any good song, and likely to smell pretty bad.

Makes sense to me, anyway!

A
    Darn illiterat scannner! It read the word as "light." I made the correction, Amos. I think I like the "vest" line, too - maybe Lomax did a Mondegreen.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM

Jimmy Driftwood recorded the "Texas" version alluded to early in this thread. Cathy Barton and Dave Para do a really fine version of the song(Not the Texas version)on one of their newest recordings.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Jun 05 - 04:21 AM

Well, it's that time of year again. No snakes when I was mowing the high grass today, though...


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Subject: Lyr Add: RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN (from Patrick Sky)
From: GUEST,George
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 07:44 PM

This is how I remember the words as sung by Patrick Sky on his album:

RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN

On rattlesnake me-y-mountain I did dee-y-dwell
And I've got a stee-y-story I'm a-gonna tee-y-tell.
Come a roodi roodi roo.
A nice young mee-y-man in the month of mee-y-May
Went down to the fee-y-fields for to mow his hee-y-hay.
Come a roodi roodi roo.

He had not mow-y-owed all around that fee-y-field
When a rattle copper snee-y-snake come and bit him on the hee-y-heel.
Come a roodi roodi roo.
He jumped up a hee-y-high and he looked all a ree-y-round
And he closed his ee-y-eyes and he fell to the ghee-y-ground.
Come a roodi roodi roo.

He told the bee-y-bird, "Go fetch my ghee-y-gal.
I'm rattlesnake bee-y-bit and I need my see-y-Sal."
Come a roodi roodi roo.
The bird did flee-y-fly and spread the new-y-ews
And along come a see-y-Sal without any shoe-y-oos.
Come a roodi roodi roo.

"Oh, Johnny dee-y-dear, why did you go-y-wo
Down into the fee-y-fields a hay for to mow-y-oh?"
Come a roodi roodi roo.
"Why, Sally d-y-dear, I thought you'd know-y-oh.
When the hay is ree-wi-ripe it's a-gotta be mow-y-owed."
Come a roodi roodi roo.

"Oh, Johnny dee-y-dear, I'll save your lee-y-life
If I may be-y-e your sweet little wee-y-wife."
Come a roodi roodi roo.
She grabbed his lee-y-leg and made him squee-y-squeal
And sucked that pizon blood right out of his hee-y-heel.
Come a roodi roodi roo.

Now Sal she hee-y-had a rotten tee-y-tooth
And the pizon stee-y-struck and killed them bee-y-both.
Come a roodi roodi roo.
The nee-y-neighbors found that they were dee-y-dead
And laid them bee-y-both upon one bee-y-bed.
Come a roodi roodi roo.

So all young lee-y-lovers a warnin' tee-y-take
From Johnny Bee-y-Bland and Sally Bee-y-Blake.
Come a roodi roodi roo.
And mind if you're in lee-y-love, don't pee-y-pass
Too close to pee-y-patches of high ghee-y-grass.
Come a roodi roodi roo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 10:34 PM

'Twas Frank Warner who popularized the "FOD" version for me, and as I remember the story, he got it from a displaced Okie in California in the 1930's or so.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 May 06 - 02:32 AM

Well, it's that time of year again, and it seems to be a good year for the snakes. I saw the tail of something slithering away from me as I was mowing this week, and my friend Annette came across a rattlesnake while she was mowing. She said she had never killed anything intentionally before, and she was very shaken up by her encounter.
It was getting dark, and I couldn't tell whether my reptile was a rattlesnake. It was fat and brownish, and I'm assuming the worst....
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 06 - 03:37 AM

Just heard a wonderful story. In the hills up above Cottonwood, Arizona is an old mining town named Jerome, now mostly a tourist town occupied by resident artists and shop keepers, once a copper-mining town clinging to the sleep sides of a mountain. Very windy two-lane blacktop road curls up the mountain to get to it.

Yesterday my MIL was driving up to Jerome and al the traffic was stopped in both directions just outside of town. Turned out, the reason was that a diamondback who was five feet long had decided to cross the road, and the citizenry just reckoned they could wait until he had finished get across in his leisurely fashion.

I have never seen one five feet long, but what amazes me is that no-one had to run it over.

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Goose Gander
Date: 10 May 06 - 10:36 AM

Springfield Mountain As sung by Mrs. Irene Carlisle, Fayetteville, Arkansas on June 23, 1960

Johnny, My Dear As sung by Mrs. Gladys McChristain, Huntsville, Arkansas on October 1, 1958

Stuttering Boy As sung by Clara Terrill, Altus, Arkansas on August 19, 1959 As sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on February 9, 1970

Come A Ri-Ru-Ri-Ray As sung by Terry Pieford, Fort Smith, Arkansas on July 14, 1967

All from the Max Hunter Folk Song Collection

And then theres also . . . .

Fod As sung by the King Family in Visalia FSA Camp on September 2, 1941, as heard on Voices From the Dust Bowl


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 10 May 06 - 10:57 AM

I was surprised not to see (did I miss it?) anyone mention Jimmy Driftwood in connection with the "Rattlesnake Mountain" branch of the Death of Lt. Myrick/"Springfield Mountain" family.

Driftwood recorded his "Rattlesnake Mountain" in or around 1958, on his first RCA Victor album. My impression is that Pat Sky may have learned it there, and that the Texas version cited above may also stem from the Driftwood record.

I'm not clear on just how traditional the "me-Y-mountain" treatment is; Driftwood may have learned it from his father, Neal Morris, or from someone else in his boyhood. But as he was also a deft songwriter who varied tradition a good deal, he may have had a hand in forming this version.

Does anyone know of a source for the "me-Y-mountain" type of text BEFORE Driftwood and before 1958?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:18 PM

According to the guy who does the presentation with live venomous reptiles at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, if you have been bitten by a rattlesnake the odds are extremely high that you
    - are male
    - have at least one tattoo
    - have recently consumed alcohol
    - approached the snake, rather than the reverse

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:43 PM

Becky:

LOL!


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: Peace
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:44 PM

Yeah. And if ya just watched "Enter the Dragon", the odds go WAYYYYYYYYY up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: GUEST,little g
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 08:12 PM

I know next to nothing about traditional music, but my family is from the mountains of North Carolina, and my dad sings a song he calls "rattlesnake mountain" which includes the "snee-y snake" bit. He told me that he had learned it from someone who had learned it from an old man near north wilkesboro, north carolina who told him that it had never been written down, and was only to be transmitted from person to person by mouth. In his version no one dies and the upshot is that he owes the girl his life and has to marry her, with a joke on whether it would have been better to have stuck with the snake. Has anyone heard this version anywhere? Do you know if it really has ever been written down? I'd love to know where if it has.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: GUEST,Adam Miller
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 09:09 AM

On August 7, 1761, in what is now present-day Wilbraham, MA, Timothy
Mirick, age 22, was killed by a rattlesnake bite while he mowed a field of hay. Timothy may have had other things on his mind that day, as his own wedding day was two weeks away.

He is buried next to marked #14 at the Adams Cemetery (founded 1741),
1000 Tinkham Road, Wilbraham, MA, (just south of Hwy. 90). His red
granite headstone appears on the right in this photo. It reads, "Here
lies ye body of Mr. Timothy Mirick Son of Lieut Thomas and Mrs. Mary
Mirick Who died August 7th 1761 in ye 23rd year of his age".

His sister Lucy is buried to his left under a smaller. She died in
November of her tenth year. Timothy's father, Lieut. Thomas Mirick is
buried close by.

18th century Wilbraham historian, Clark Warner wrote, "Timothy Mirrick, [sic] the son of Lt. Thomas and Mary Mirrick was bit by a ratel snake on August the 7th, 1761, and died within about two or three ours, he being 22 years, two months and three days old and vary near the point of marridg,"

Chauncy E. Peck wrote in his June 15, 1913 "History of Wilbraham:
" About 40 years ago, William V. Sessions, who was born in 1801, showed me the place [where Timothy Mirick died] and he said that the summer of 1761 was very dry and it was supposed that the serpent had come down from 'Rattlesnake Peak,' on the mountain, where there were known to be a few, to the meadow, in search of water. He also told me that a search for the snake was made the next day, and it was found curled up near the seythe of young Timothy, and was killed."

"...The house which was being built for the young man, so near the
'point of marridg' is still standing on the east side of the road and
is occupied by Walter Bliss..."   This house was (in 1913) the most
southerly place in Wilbraham, on Main St. The meadow Timothy was
mowing when he died, was off to the southwest of this house, some
"seventy to ninety rods".

In the 21st century, Wilbraham, MA is full of families named Merrick.
Their Welch ancestors settled in Western, MA, in the 1680s.


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Subject: ADD: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:47 PM

My dad use to sing one to me

Oh moe wo wo wo wo
went on a hill wil wil wil will
to moe the gra ra ra ra rass
sing a ti ri ruda mida roun

He said sa wa wa wa wall
oh dont you know wow wow wow wow
When the grass gets high wi wi wi wi
It's a gota be mow wow wow wow wowed

Well he got bite wi wi wi wit
by a rattle sna wa wa wa wake
and it bitem on the hil will will will will
and he fell do won won won won

Now he said sall lal lal lal lala
Go fetch pa wa wa wa wa
tell em I got bit wit wit wit wit
by a rattle sna wa wa wa wake

Now here come pa wa wa wa wa
he said lay dow won won won won
and he kick all a roun roun roun roun round
and he die on the hil will will will will
sing a ti ri ruda mida roun


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Moun
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:05 AM

Adam Miller -- what photo?

I wanted to photograph Myrick's marker when I located it several years ago but obeyed the sign.

Is a photo available in a book or online?

Linn (the thanatolithologist)


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Subject: ADD: Springfield Mountain (Flanders & Brown)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 08:29 PM

No evidence of the song before 1836; it may not be based on the 1761 death by snakebite of Timothy Myrick of Wilbraham, Mass., in Farmington, Conn.

Laws, in Native American Balladry, printed a version collected in Vermont which lacks the silliness of most sung versions.

SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN

1
On Springfield mountain there did dwell
A handsome youth, was known full well,
Lieutenant Merrill's only son,
A likely youth, near twenty-one.
2
On Friday morning he did go
Down to the meadows for to mow.
He mowed, he mowed all around the field
With a poisonous serpent at his heel.
3
When he received his deathly wound
He laid his scythe down on the ground.
For to return was his intent,
Calling aloud, long as he went.
4
His calls were heard both far and near
But no friends to him did appear.
They thought he did some workman call
Alas, poor man, alone did fall.
5
Day being past, night coming on,
The father went to seek his son,
And there he found his only son
Cold as a stone, dead on the ground.
6
He took *bairn up and he carried him home
And on the way did lament and mourn
Saying, "I heard but did not come,
And now I'm left alone to mourn."

*?error in typescript.
7
In the month of August, the twenty-first,
When this sad accident was done.
May this a warning be to all,
To be prepared when God shall call.

Sung by Joseph S. Kennison, Vermont.

G. Malcolm Laws, 1950, Native American Balladry, Chap. 3, Amer. Folklore Society.
Originally printed in Flanders and Brown, Vermont Folksongs and Ballads, with music.
Not included in The New Green Mountain Songster, 1939, Flanders et al., Folklore Assoc. Inc.

*Typescript of Laws online has spelling mistakes.


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Subject: ADD Version Springfield Mountain (Burl Ives)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:50 PM

I went on a hike last weekend, and saw TWO snakes on the trail. They were gopher snakes, but they still made me nervous. I mean, if it's good weather for gopher snakes, isn't it good weather for rattlesnakes?


ON SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN

On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A lovely (love-lie) youth, I knowed him well.

REFRAIN
Ray goo too day-noo-ay, Ray too di-noo-ay, Too di nay hoo-i too di noo.

This lovely youth one day did go.
Down to the meadow for to mow.
(repeat refrain)

He scarce had mowed half round the field
When an ug-lye serpent bit his heel.

They took him home to Mol-lye dear
Which made her feel so ve-rye queer.

Now Mol-lye had two ruby lips
With which the pizen she did sip.

But Mol-lye had a rotten tooth
And so the poison killed them booth.

Source: The Burl Ives Song Book (Ballantine Books, 1953), pages 72-73. The second verse is on a Burl Ives recording, but not in the book.

The tune is so close to the first version in the Digital Tradition that I seen no reason to transcribe it from the Burl Ives book.


Hey, take a listen to the tune for DT Version 4 of this song - it sounds almost like "Old Hundredth" (Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow). Has anybody actually heard this sung to "Old Hundredth"? [note that this version is from Gale Huntington's "Whalemen" book, and is not very closely connected to the other "Springfield Mountain" songs.]

-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 12:22 PM

From Carmina Yalensia: A Complete and Accurate Collection of Yale College Songs by Ferdinand Van Derveer Garretson (New York: Taintor Brothers, 1867), page 46 ? where it appears with musical notation for piano and one voice:


SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN

1. On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A nice young man; I knew him well-I-ell.

CHORUS: Sing turi-luri-turi-lay,
Sing turi-luri-turi-lay-i-a.

2. On Monday morning he did go
Down to the meadow for to mow.

8. He scarce had mowed half round the field,
When a pesky sarpent bit his heel.

4. He raised his scythe and struck a blow,
Which laid the pesky sarpent low.

5. He took the sarpent in his hand,
And posted off to Molly Brand.

6. "Oh, Johnny dear, why did you go
Down to the meadow for to mow?"

7. "Oh, Molly dear, I thought you knowed
'Twas father's field and must be mowed."

8. Now this young man gave up the ghost
And did to Abraham's bosom post.

9. And thus he cried as up he went,
"Oh, pesky, cruel, sar-pi-ent."

10. Now all young men, a warning take,
Beware of the bite of a great big snake.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rattlesnake Mountain/Springfield Mountain
From: GUEST,steve
Date: 24 Jun 15 - 03:17 PM

heard a similar version of this sung by my pa, I always thought he made it up as he went along, never knew there was ssso much history and interest in it


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