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Origins: Six Thousand Years Ago (Doc Watson)

DigiTrad:
I WAS BORN ABOUT 10,000 YEARS AGO (And That's No Lie)
I'M THE MAN THAT RODE THE MULE 'ROUND THE WORLD
JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM


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Will Fly 08 Jul 10 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Tinker in Chicago 08 Jul 10 - 03:23 PM
Will Fly 08 Jul 10 - 03:27 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jul 10 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Nick E 08 Jul 10 - 07:16 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jul 10 - 08:32 PM
Will Fly 09 Jul 10 - 03:58 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jul 10 - 04:11 AM
Will Fly 09 Jul 10 - 04:36 AM
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Subject: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 04:01 AM

I've recently brought back Doc Watson's "Six Thousand Years Ago" back into my rep. The origins of Doc's version of this are obscure - the sleeve notes to my 1964 Vanguard album merely state that Doc's father brought home a phonograph and a stack of records in the early 30s, and that this song was one of them.

The more common version of the song appears to be "I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago" - done by Elvis and others - and this was recorded by Kelly Harrell on the Okeh label about 1925. Is the song an anonymous, traditional song - or is Harrell the author? A question just out of curiosity...

The conceit of someone being (or pretending to be) very old pops up in American arts and music quite a bit. I believe Mel Brooks, as a young comedian, used to do a double act with Carl Reiner called "The Ten Thousand Year Old Man". I can't think of any similar theme over here. - but I'm open to being corrected!


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: GUEST,Tinker in Chicago
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 03:23 PM

Are you referring to this one:
   I was born about 10,000 years ago.
   There ain't nothin' in this world that I don't know...

If so, it's a Woody Guthrie song with lots of verses, and can be found at http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/Biggest_Thing_That_Man.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 03:27 PM

Hi Tinker - there are lots of references to it being composed by Woody Guthrie, but Kelly Harrell is known as having recorded it in 1925. My guess is that this was pre-Guthrie. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 04:51 PM

"10,000" is in Carl Sandburg's 1927 American Songbag.
I think it was Cisco Houston who combined "10,000" with Woody's "Great Historical Bum" - the Digital Tradition has that combination as Just the Facts, Ma'am.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: GUEST,Nick E
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 07:16 PM

I thought the Mel Brooks Schtick was the 2,000 Year Old Man, I know a compilation of those bits has just been re-released on CD...but I digress


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Subject: ADD Version: Six Thousand Years Ago (Doc Watson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 08:32 PM

Ah, I like the immediate satisfaction of MP3 downloads - the ultimate in impulse shopping.
So, here's my by-ear trtanscription of the Doc Watson recording. He's certainly quite different from all the other versions - and he does some interesting things with meter.
-Joe-

BORN ABOUT SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO
(as recorded by Doc Watson)

I was born about six thousand years ago,
They ain't nothin' in this world that I don't know;
I saw Old King Pharaoh's daughter find Little Moses on the water,
And I can whip the man that says it isn't so.

I saw Noah when he built that famous ark;
I slipped into it one night when it got dark.
I saw Jonah swallowed by the whale, and I pulled the lion's tail;
I can whip the man that says it isn't so.

I'm an educated man, to get more sense within my head I plan;
[guitar riff]
Well, I've been on earth so long, and I used to sing a little song,
While all of them old timers took their stand.
[harmonica break]

Queen Elizabeth fell dead in love with me, [hee, hee, she did]
We was married in Milwaukee secretly;
Then I took her out and shook her, and I went with General Hooker,
To fight mosquitoes down in Tennessee.

I taught Solomon his little A B C's [smart feller],
And through all his books, I tutored him with ease;
Then I sailed out on the bay with Methuselah one day,
And I played with his flowing whiskers in the breeze.

I'm an educated man, to get more sense within my head I plan;
[guitar riff]
Well, I've been on earth so long, and I used to sing a little song,
While all of them old timers took their stand.
[harmonica break]

I seen old Satan when he searched that Garden o'er, [old booger]
Saw Adam and Eve driven from the door;
When the applese they were eating, from the bushes I was a-peeping,
I can prove it from the man that ate the core.

I saw Cain when he killed Abel with a spade,
And I know the game was poker that they played;
I was hid behind the shrub when he slapped him with that club; Poor old Abel caught him a-cheatin', and now he's dead.

I'm an educated man, to get more sense within my head I plan;
[guitar riff]
Well, I've been on earth so long, and I used to sing a little song,
While all of them old timers took their stand.
[harmonica break]


from the Doc Watson self-titled album, Vanguard Records


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 10 - 03:58 AM

Excellent Joe - exactly as I transcribed it myself! I don't use harmonica on it, so I flatpick the harmonica break on the guitar. I love Doc's version, and the 1964 Vanguard album is superb (Deep River Blues... Doc's Guitar... etc.)

Guest, Nick E - 'twas indeed the Ten Thousand Year Old Man that Brooks and Reiner did. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jul 10 - 04:11 AM

2000 Year Old Man, Will....but we can't be expected to remember exact numbers at our age. It's as hard as finding the car in the parking lot.

Oh, that was good stuff. I remember hearing them on the radio. Were they originally intended for radio broadcast, records, or live performance? Oh, hey, there's a Wikipedia article that tells the whole story.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins - 'Six Thousand Years Ago'
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 10 - 04:36 AM

I stand corrected - just shows you not to rely on info from Google without checking it! :-)


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