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Lyr Req: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville

bluerabbit10 25 May 08 - 01:39 PM
bluerabbit10 26 May 08 - 01:34 PM
Janie 26 May 08 - 04:18 PM
12-stringer 27 May 08 - 12:49 AM
bluerabbit10 27 May 08 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Russ 27 May 08 - 05:13 PM
Janie 28 May 08 - 12:41 AM
Janie 28 May 08 - 12:51 AM
bluerabbit10 31 May 08 - 03:29 PM
12-stringer 31 May 08 - 08:48 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Jun 08 - 08:22 AM
bluerabbit10 02 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Martha H 06 Aug 10 - 05:32 PM
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Subject: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: bluerabbit10
Date: 25 May 08 - 01:39 PM

Don Stover banjo player had this song I thing on album "Things of Life," and I sure would like to see the lyrics. Anyone familiar with this?
Stover a favorite of mine.
Verne


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: LONG CHAIN CHARLIE AND MOUNDSVILLE
From: bluerabbit10
Date: 26 May 08 - 01:34 PM

Last nite, I found this song on the net, played it and come up with the following lyrics and some suggested chords. Let me know if there are any Stover fans out there. Verne

Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
As sung by Don Stover
Things in Life Album
tab by bluerabbit10 05-24-2008
Banjo tuned to E. Played in Key of D

LONG CHAIN CHARLIE AND MOUNDSVILLE

The (D) folks sing songs about (G) prison, coal mines and (D) war,
I got a story in a song Id like to (A) tell
For (D) a long time (G) now I been (D) sowing
And that long bad trip (A) I will be (D) going

And Long Chain (G) Charlie gonna take me back to (D) Moundsville


A lot of new (G) faces, I (D) see
But very few recognize (A) me
So (D) many dreams in life (G) I cant (D) fulfill,
What Id give now just to be (A) free
But death row calls (G) me in thirty-(D) three

And Long Chain Charlie (G) put me off last night in (D) Moundsville

Instrumental

Now my mind (G) does wander (D) back,
To my mama in a tumble-down (A) shack
Those (D) dreadful days, mama (G) taught us to (D) pray
But each time in my cell I (A) cry
Salvation (D) has (G) passed me (D) by
And I will never more (G) ride that Long Chain Charlie to (D)Moundsville

The priest just (G) left my (D) cell
He told me about heaven and (A) hell
Told (D) me about a way of (G) life I could be (D) free
But I will never be free no-(A) more
Death (D) row calls (G) me in thirty-(D) four
I just want to forget about
That (D) Long Chain (G) Charlie, and (D) Moundsville

I (D) just want to forget (G) about Long Chain Charlie, and (D) Moundsville


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: Janie
Date: 26 May 08 - 04:18 PM

Did Don Stover write the song? I'd be curious about it's history. I assume it refers to the maximum security federal prison in Moundsville, WV.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: 12-stringer
Date: 27 May 08 - 12:49 AM

Moundsville wasn't a maximum security federal prison; it was the West Virginia State Penitentiary. Legend persists that Moundsville was, abt 1865 and when West Virginia was opening up for business, given the choice between hosting the state prison or the state university. They moved over to a new prison some years ago.

In my younger days I knew a few people who had seen Moundsville Prison a little more up-close than I ever have, but I don't remember hearing the term "Long Chain Charlie" from any of them. However, nb that hillbilly singer Billy Cox, who was from Charleston, recorded a "Long Chain Charlie Blues" in 1934 on the ARC label. It's also about a man on his way to prison, and "Charlie" is the agent who's going to take him there. So maybe this term had some usage in WV -- perhaps more so in the southern part of the state than in the north, where I live.

Otherwise, Cox's song seems to be completely different from Stover's, though the themes are related. Cox's melody takes off from "Black Bottom Strut/Deep Elem Blues" and his narrator isn't on Death Row.


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
From: bluerabbit10
Date: 27 May 08 - 08:50 AM

"Deep Elum Blues,?" I will try that with it; but that's not what I hear on the particular track on Things in Life album. Thanks for all the info about Moundsville, every little bit helps along the way.
Verne


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 27 May 08 - 05:13 PM

A gold mine of information about things West Virginian:

Goldenseal Magazine
Russ (Permanent GUEST and WV expat)


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: Janie
Date: 28 May 08 - 12:41 AM

Thanks for catching and correcting my error, 12 Stringer. Once upon at time, I knew it was state and not federal.   

From the lyrics it sounds like long chain charlie could also have been a convict name for the train ride that delivered convicts from their county of conviction all the up to Moundsville.   A quick look through the execution records for Moundsville, especially through the 1920's and into the 30's, reveals an inordinate number of men were hanged from the southern coalfields - Mingo and McDowell counties in particular. That would indeed have been one long train ride.

1933 may have been chosen sinply because it it rhymed, but there were three hangings at Moundsville in 1933. These were also the only three people sentenced to death in WV in 1933, as best as I can tell.

From http://www.wvculture.org/hiStory/crime/executions.html

Last Name: Brill
First Name: Omer
Number: 23526
County: Hardy
Age: 21
Race: White
Crime: Murder
Sentencing Date: June 30, 1933
Execution Date: August 10, 1933
Time Awaiting Execution: 1 month, 11 days
Method of Execution: Hanging

Last Name: Fraser
First Name: Leo
Number: 23660
County: Jackson
Age: 30
Race: White
Crime: Murder
Sentencing Date: August 19, 1933
Execution Date: November 24, 1933
Time Awaiting Execution: 3 months, 5 days
Method of Execution: Hanging

Last Name: Corey
First Name: Joe
Number: 23444
County: Kanawha
Age: 43
Race: White
Crime: Murder
Sentencing Date: March 11, 1933
Execution Date: December 8, 1933
Time Awaiting Execution: 8 months, 27 days
Method of Execution: Hanging

I'm not familiar with either song or with the term "Long Chain Charlie." I'd be interested to hear or learn more if anyone digs up anything.


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Subject: RE: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville lyric
From: Janie
Date: 28 May 08 - 12:51 AM

From the liners notes of Johnny Ray Hicks "Crossville Criminal" http://www.jubileearts.org/JRH/HicksBooklet5.pdfl.

7. Long Chain Charlie is a fragment of
a prison blues. West Virginian Bill Cox
made a popular recording in 1934.
June 11, 1984, at home.


Wonder if Barry Finn might be familiar with the term.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
From: bluerabbit10
Date: 31 May 08 - 03:29 PM

A verse from "Logan County Jail," refers to Moundsville, tol wit:

The jury set the sentence,
the judge said you must go
Away down to Moundsville
for seven long years or more;
But pray God to be with you
wherever you may go,
And the Devil snatch the jury
for sending you below.

No mention of "Long Chain Charlie," tho.

Verne


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Subject: Lyr Add: LONG CHAIN CHARLIE BLUES (Bill Cox)
From: 12-stringer
Date: 31 May 08 - 08:48 PM

Long Chain Charlie Blues
as sung by Bill Cox, with harmonica and guitar, on ARC mx 15856-1, recorded at NYC, 4 September 1934 and released on several of the ARC labels (Banner, Melotone, Perfect, Oriole, Romeo, and Conqueror). A reissue is available on the JSP box set, "Mountain Blues," along with several other Cox sides. The song is probably a Cox composition.


harmonica intro

Oh, the jury found me guilty
Long Chain Charlie's on his way
He'll take me to my lonely prison cell.
They are taking me to prison
For a long long time to stay
Where I'll never see them sunny days no mo'.

chorus:
I've got the blues
I've got them lonely prison blues.
They will lock me in my cell
For a crime that I won't tell
Where I'll never see them sunny days no mo'.

harmonica break

They will take me to the pen
Where my troubles will begin
And I'll never get no custard cake or pie.
They will teach me how to sew
Some of the prettiest clothes you know
Lord, I'll never see them sunny days no mo'.

Now if ever you go free
Take your time and think of me
Just call around and see me now and then.
They sent me up for life
And I'll lose my pretty wife,
And I'll never see them sunny days no mo'.

chorus

harmonica break


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 08:22 AM

"Legend persists that Moundsville was, abt 1865 and when West Virginia was opening up for business, given the choice between hosting the state prison or the state university."

I have heard exactly the same story told about Stillwater, Minnesota!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
From: bluerabbit10
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM

Those lyrics put up by 12 stringer, are the ones on an album "White Country Blues-1926-38 A Lighter Side, Legacy Label 1993 track 21.

Different from Don Stover version posted earlier.

Verne


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Long Chain Charlie and Moundsville
From: GUEST,Martha H
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:32 PM

Love Don Reno and love Long Chain Charley. My partner Bill and I sing it as a duet in F


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