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Origins: Music of Appalachia

GUEST,tenn Jim 02 Nov 14 - 12:25 PM
Joe Offer 02 Nov 14 - 01:01 PM
Janie 02 Nov 14 - 02:05 PM
Jack Campin 02 Nov 14 - 02:36 PM
Deckman 02 Nov 14 - 03:02 PM
Janie 02 Nov 14 - 04:05 PM
Airymouse 02 Nov 14 - 04:37 PM
Airymouse 02 Nov 14 - 04:52 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 02 Nov 14 - 06:02 PM
Janie 02 Nov 14 - 09:02 PM
Janie 02 Nov 14 - 10:35 PM
Janie 02 Nov 14 - 10:56 PM
Airymouse 03 Nov 14 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Nov 14 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 03 Nov 14 - 07:48 AM
Airymouse 03 Nov 14 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 03 Nov 14 - 11:14 AM
Airymouse 03 Nov 14 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Stim 03 Nov 14 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Mikie Yates 03 Nov 14 - 03:03 PM
Janie 03 Nov 14 - 07:30 PM
Janie 03 Nov 14 - 07:32 PM
Richie 04 Nov 14 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Nov 14 - 04:59 AM
Brian Peters 04 Nov 14 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Nov 14 - 10:40 AM
Brian Peters 04 Nov 14 - 11:08 AM
Richie 04 Nov 14 - 02:52 PM
Brian Peters 05 Nov 14 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 05 Nov 14 - 10:32 AM
Brian Peters 05 Nov 14 - 10:35 AM
Tradsinger 05 Nov 14 - 11:47 AM
tenn_jim 05 Nov 14 - 02:04 PM
Richie 05 Nov 14 - 09:42 PM
Richie 05 Nov 14 - 10:15 PM
Bill D 05 Nov 14 - 10:19 PM
tenn_jim 05 Nov 14 - 10:33 PM
Richie 05 Nov 14 - 10:57 PM
Richie 05 Nov 14 - 11:13 PM
Janie 06 Nov 14 - 12:34 AM
Brian Peters 06 Nov 14 - 06:09 AM
Richie 06 Nov 14 - 10:19 AM
Brian Peters 06 Nov 14 - 12:00 PM
Richie 06 Nov 14 - 02:37 PM
Brian Peters 06 Nov 14 - 03:23 PM
Janie 06 Nov 14 - 09:49 PM
tenn_jim 07 Nov 14 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 07 Nov 14 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 07 Nov 14 - 01:53 PM
Brian Peters 07 Nov 14 - 02:59 PM
Janie 07 Nov 14 - 05:33 PM
Janie 07 Nov 14 - 06:30 PM
tenn_jim 07 Nov 14 - 10:39 PM
tenn_jim 08 Nov 14 - 06:57 AM
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Subject: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,tenn Jim
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 12:25 PM

We need to document the music of Appalachia.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CrookedRoad/726080024146751/?comment_id=726081837479903¬if_t=like


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 01:01 PM

Looks like you've been doing a lot of good work, Jim. Keep it up!
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 02:05 PM

Thanks Jim!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 02:36 PM

No Facebook account, can't access anything.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 03:02 PM

My personal standards are HIGHER than facebook's, so I do not participate. I can only hope that MC doesn't descend to the level where having a facebook account is required to access a posting. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 04:05 PM

It's not a posting, Bob. It is a link to a Facebook group for people who are interested in sharing videos of music and other items of interest related to the area of Virginia included along "the Crooked Road."   Having skimmed through the page, it is actually a bit broader than just the Crooked Road.

You could not know this, not having participated in Facebook, but groups focusing on particular areas of interest are not uncommon, and there are many groups on Facebook that center on different kinds of music or culture or folklore. They are not scholarly groups, though among the music groups to which I belong on Facebook, there are often very knowledgeable or well-known people who participate. Also a lot of dumb hicks like me who enjoy the opportunity to both listen and contribute links to related music and artists. Facebook is not designed to be an organized archive of anything.

Some Facebook music groups are administered by musicologists, but they are not, and are not intended to be anything other than a place for people with common interests to network and share music videos or links to related articles or histories. Also, rarely are they intended only for "experts and scholars" to contribute. I think of them as "fan clubs" built around particular kinds of music rather than fan clubs built around particular musicians.

I will say that when I clicked the link I did not notice it was a Facebook link, and based on the opening sentence by the op, expected to land on a scholarly archival site rather than a Facebook group.

Mudcafe.org is a different phenomena, functions differently and serves a somewhat different purpose than do Music groups on Facebook.

I can understand that such groups might hold no interest to you. that is fine and your choice. From what I know of you here on Mudcat I doubt you would have much interest in them. That is not because you have any claim to higher personal standards than those of us who do use Facebook, however.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Airymouse
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 04:37 PM

I too have no Facebook account and can't access anything from the highlighted link. I don't know anything about Appalachian instrumental music, but my impression is that it is well served by the people of the crooked road. I could be wrong. I'm more confident in my opinion that when it comes to the Appalachian love songs, nursery songs, play-party songs and ballads these same people are doing more harm than good. I have had someone from the crooked road tell me that these songs are no longer being sung here. That's wrong.Take Mary Lomax, for example. If you exempt Charlottesville VA, on the grounds that it really isn't in the Appalachian mountains, Cecil Sharp collected all his songs from the southern Appalachians from singers who sang unaccompanied. Here is a simple test. I'll bet you a nickel, maybe more, that tenn. Jim can't name three venues on the crooked road where last month some singer sang old songs without accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Airymouse
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 04:52 PM

If tenn. Jim would join Mudcat, or would provide an e-mail address, those of us who haven't joined Facebook could perhaps provide some assistance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 06:02 PM

I have travelled the "Crooked Road" and I have been honoured to have participated in some jam sessions!
My native island of Cape Breton lies where the northern Appalachians reach out into the Atlantic Ocean and the inhabitants share a similar ethnic heritage. The similarity of the music has survived the passing years and the Blue Ridge feels very much like home!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 09:02 PM

Thank you Sandy!

This is the 21st century, Airymouse. Even in the southern and central Appalachians. Those of us from the central and southern Appalachians have no obligation to remain static musically so that outsiders can be charmed and amazed by our quaint and isolated ways, untouched by the modern world.   Understand that tourist promoting ideas such as "The Crooked Road" and "The Blue Ridge Music Trail" in NC commemorate but do not function to preserve those poverty-filled, isolated hollers of the 19th and pre-WWII era, where the likes of Sharpe and the Lomaxes were so thrilled to find "indigenous" music tribes untouched by 'civilization. No question that taking advantage of the reputation of the Appalachians for having isolated enclaves of old British Isles ballads promotes tourism and income, and an opportunity for Musicians to get exposure, trad. or not. The conditions in Appalachia that existed at the time CS was collecting are gone.

Get over it and consider simply respecting and enjoying the lively music made by amateurs and professionals alike, much, though not all, still with clear roots in "olden times." Set aside expectations, and just enjoy what is offered.

I suppose we could ask the Disney Corporation to come in and create a 300 mile long trad. music park modeled after the life in the mountains at the time Cecil Sharp came through.

Culture is living, breathing, changing. "The Crooked Road" is a concept and a bit of an historical trail, not a managed tourist attraction for Disney, nor a preserved tourist attraction like Williamsburg.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 10:35 PM

Like it or not, this is also Appalachian Music

Nat was born in the coalfields of Virginia, in the heart of the area encompassed by "the Crooked Road" and moved to West Virginia, also spent time working in the rustbelt factories in Michigan before moving back to WV. Very typical among we hillbillies, regardless of race.

Have you ever heard of him, Airymouse?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 10:56 PM

More Appalachian Music

Louie Bluie Armstrong, raised outside of Knoxville, and Nat Reese. I don't think they were 'collected' by Cecil Sharp, the Lomaxes, or the kids from Berea College.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Airymouse
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 12:24 AM

I had not heard Nat Reese and I agree that his singing is Appalachian music, beautiful Appalachian music. I also believe that people who want to preserve our singing heritage should be trying to save all sorts of heritage music: blues, bluegrass, cowboy songs,jazz, spirituals, barbershop quartets and many more forms of traditional singing. I admit that I am especially fond of the sort of songs that Sharp collected, because that is the sort of songs my friends and family sang, and which I sing. The crooked road does support this type of song, but it seems to me more by bringing in outsiders rather than presenting or preserving what's here. I know that last remark is liable to attack as insular. I'm delighted to here the Sharp songs from outsiders; I just wish the crooked road would do more to preserve the insiders' songs. It seems only fair, given that, as you say, everyone talks up old-time songs in order to get the tourists and their money.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 04:47 AM

Like some of the above, I too am not on Facebook (nor do I wish to be on it!), so do not know if mention has been made of Joe Wilson's excellent 2006 book "A Guide to the Crooked Road - Virginia's Heritage Music Trail". It is a fascinating guide and lists all manner of interesting things that can be seen and heard along the trail.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 07:48 AM

I have travelled much of what is now called the Crooked Road a number of times since 1974 finding and meeting various musicians and singers and befriending a number of them.
Joe Wilson's book mentioned above by Mike Yates does a great job of pointing you to a number of various music venues and musicians in the area. It does not support only one type of music but all the styles within the tradition.
I would suggest that you get hold of the double CD issued by "The Crooked Road" and get fifty tracks of music by local musicians mainly amateur.
Joe Wilson and Jack Hinshelwood are doing a good job of helping people to hear this music "in the flesh".

Somebody above mentions two dirty words Facebook and Fanclub, both to be avoided in my opinion.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Airymouse
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 08:47 AM

It sounds to me that I have misjudged the Crooked Road, because of my ignorance of it. I apologize and withdraw my complaint. A 50 track double CD of mostly amateur local musicians is just the sort of thing I had thought was missing. Where can I buy these CDs? At least give me a name, and I can try the Floyd Country Store.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 11:14 AM

County Record Sales right by the stop light in Floyd, Va. is sure to stock it or directly from www.thecrookedroad.org

Before I am accused of misleading folks there are professional musicians on here but there are many who make their living doing other things such as instrument building, delivering the mail, barbering, running an art gellery and producing much of the product on sale, running a record label and supplying radio jingles, printing, song writing and teaching the traditional techniques of the music to would be musicians etc. and these are only the ones that I know. Mainly these folks make a living by means other than their music.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Airymouse
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 11:24 AM

Thanks. I'll try Floyd on Wednesday first, and you needn't fret: I'm through accusing people for a while.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 12:18 PM

Whatever criticisms one may have of the "Crooked Road", it's developing venues and audiences for live, local music, and that's a very good thing.

Given that, I've always been troubled by what are often very rigid
lines between say, bluegrass, old timey, traditional folk, and contemporary folk, which, when you get down to it, are really cut from the same cloth.

I can think of more than one instance where different groups of people met in different places on the same street, sang and played the same songs and would have nothing to do with each other. And that's just silly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mikie Yates
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 03:03 PM

I don't know if Hoot or myself made it clear enough, but the two CDs come with Joe Wilson's book. I have the first CD playing now...and it is great!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 07:30 PM

Wondering if anyone has had a chance to take a look and a listen to the new book and cd by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr, Wayfaring Strangers

Because Orr is here in NC and Fiona Ritchie launched Thistle & Shamrock from NC, (not to mention it is published by UNC Press), it has gotten a lot of press and a number of book signings locally, but I am not always the best judge of what is worth jumping on and what is not. Had thought some one among the really knowledgeable here at Mudcat would have begun a thread if it was worthy. But you never know. Above the line is pretty much a UK show these days. (Not a complaint, just an observation.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 07:32 PM

Hit submit too soon.

Here is the blurp from the link above.

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the United States. Many of these Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, a carrying stream that merged with sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African American, French, and Cherokee origin. Their enduring legacy of music flows today from Appalachia back to Ireland and Scotland and around the globe. In Wayfaring Strangers, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change.

From ancient ballads at the heart of the tradition to instruments that express this dynamic music, Ritchie and Orr chronicle the details of an epic journey. Enriched by the insights of key contributors to the living tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, this abundantly illustrated volume includes a CD featuring 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, including Dolly Parton, Dougie MacLean, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, Pete Seeger, Sheila Kay Adams, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, David Holt, Anais Mitchell, Al Petteway, and Amy White.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 12:34 AM

I've been looking at some ballad families in Virginia. Not only did the early settlers speak old English but for example Roby Monroe Hicks spoke some Cherokee dialect.

The House of Burgess was established in Jamestown in 1619. Tuckahoe Creek in Henrico County (now Goochland) was the home of Thomas Jefferson and also the home of Samuel Hicks whose son David forged to Valle Crusis (Beech Mountain) NC with his son "Big Sammy" and they passed the ballads down to the next generations. Council Harmon was the grandson of "Big Sammy" and Jane Hicks Gentry was his granddaughter, and I'll swanee pret soon hyre comes Ray Hicks with his pet groundhog!!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 04:59 AM

Re Mike Yates's posting above. He is absolutely right in saying that the music on the two CD's which come with Joe Wilson's book "The Crooked Road" are great. They include some older recordings along with contemporary recordings. I just want clarify that they are not the same two CD's to which I was referring above.
The double album to which I refer is of musicians almost all of whom can be found currently performing in the area.

With regard to the posting by Stim above. In my experience this attitude seems to be less common in this area. Most players that I know down there just refer to having a pick. The line between bluegrass and old time is very blurred and sometimes non-existent.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 09:27 AM

"Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the United States. Many of these Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region."

I've a lot of respect for Doug Orr, but my information is that a substantial number of the 'Scots-Irish' were settled in Ulster from England, especially but not exclusively the North. Although Cecil Sharp had no business calling his collection 'English Songs from the Southern Appalachians' - since a lot of the common Appalachian ballads ('Earl Brand', 'Young Hunting', etc) have an almost exclusively Scots history - others like 'Cruel Ship's Carpenter' ('Pretty Polly') might well have arrived from England. Some of the family names seem English too - and I believe that the Hicks and Sands family actually claimed English ancestry.

One of these days I'd like to go through Sharp and other Appalachian collections and find out where the musical and textual affinities of those songs really lie!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 10:40 AM

Brian Peters;

Regarding going through Sharp's Appalachian collections.
Have you checked out the books on Cecil Sharp by Mike Yates, who just happens to have posted above on this thread? They could possibly answer your queries.
Apart from having access to Sharp's papers and diaries Mike followed in Sharp's footsteps and has issued some excellent recordings that he made himself of singers and musicians (including the Hicks on Beech Mountain)there in the eighties.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 11:08 AM

Hoot: Yes, I am indeed familiar with Mike's work, and the fact that he has addressed this question in the 'Dear Companion' book. Sharp knew quite well that a lot of the ballads had been collected mostly in Scotland, but chose to lump the Lowland Scots together with the English for his own purposes. The Hicks' claim of English ancestry was in Jane Gentry's biography, as I remember.

What I was suggesting is some kind of rigorous analysis of the songs themselves, which might give us some idea of where their UK affinities lie - although of course we must bear in mind cross-fertilization with other communities in North America, and also that the UK record of collecting is itself incomplete and patchy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 02:52 PM

Hi Brian,

There's no reason to assume the Hicks of Beech Mountain are necessarily English. I've studied their early entry into Virginia and there is no conclusive ancestor from the British Isles.

The 1633 reference to Samuel Hickes is merely a guess- which has been perpetuated in print and online.

The oldest authenticated Hicks in the Jane Gentry Hicks line is Samuel Hicks b. 1695 of Tuckhoe Creek in Henrico County one of the original 8 shires.

After studying the ancient Hicks/Harmon version of Lord Bateman, called Young Beehan, it appears to be Scottish- and mentions Glasgow (as only in Child H).

The Harmon line (Hermann)is German and apparently the "Jack Tales" have been developed from this German tradition which culminated in Council Harmon.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:04 AM

"the ancient Hicks/Harmon version of Lord Bateman... appears to be Scottish- and mentions Glasgow"

Ah yes, 'the Queen of Glasgow Green'. That is exactly the kind of detailed analysis I mean, Richie, whether it supports my propostion or not!

Interesting too that Jane Gentry's 'Young Hunting' called him the 'little Scotchee', which isn't his name in the Scots versions of the ballad. He's 'the Scotland Man' in another US version, isn't he? Sounds to me like the community of singers was commemorating the provenance of the ballad by inserting a reference to its place of origin.

On the other hand, Jeff Stockton's 'Pretty Polly' looks like an English version and mentions London. And what to make of the US versions of 'Two Sisters', most of which follow the English 'Bow Down' type, and none the Scots 'Binnorie'?

I realise this discussion is rather off-topic, so I should add that I've been really enjoying the music posted on the Crooked Road Facebook page. Keep it coming, Tenn Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:32 AM

And don't forget Dellie Norton's verse from "Black is the Colour":

Off to Clyde for a weep and mourn.
Dissatisfied, I never can sleep.
I'll write to you in a few short lines.
I'd suffer death, ten thousand times.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:35 AM

"There's no reason to assume the Hicks of Beech Mountain are necessarily English."

I've just been looking at your work on the Hicks family, Richie, and it's very impressive. Is the claim in Betty Smith's book that David Hicks, father of Samuel Hicks III "arrived from England in 1760" wrong, then?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Tradsinger
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 11:47 AM

In the 1881 census covering England. Scotland and Wales, the surname Hicks is heavily weighted towards the south and central south of England. Lots in Cornwall, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Dorset. Hardly any mentioned in the north and none in Scotland. This site is useful for surname searches
http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/Surnames.aspx. Circumstantial. I know. but something to consider.

Tradsinger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 02:04 PM

I have neen a member of mudcat for many years, long before posting this thread or creating the facebook group dedicated to the music of appaalachia and the crooked road. The reason for referencing the Crooked Road is that this is one place where the music is being preserved. Since I am blessed to live in Salem, VA, I can take the drive anytime I desire.

I would love to have comments as to the origins of some of those songs. Currently, I hope to get more input on The Fiddlin' Powers Family who recorded for Ralph Peer at the Bristol Sessions. One song in particular is "Sourwood Mountain" which is an old folk song. Anyone want to comment? Btw,


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 09:42 PM

David Hicks did not arrived from England in 1760. He was born to Samuel Hicks and Diana Willis Hicks in Henrico County (soon to become Goochland County) and there are court records of him there:

In Goochland Court Records David was exempted from paying county levies when he turned 21 in 1737. He was appointed to road crew in 1745 and later that year fails to appear in court to contest "Case of trespass" and was fined - which was held against his properties.

After this he disappears, moving away from the family. Rumored to be a loyalist, he was nicknamed "David, the Tory" and this may be the reference which was interpreted by Smith or someone who Smith knew which became his English heritage. Samuel Hicks (David's son) and David Hicks were confused by an early author who wrote about the settler in Watuaga County. Samuel (David's son) was "Big Sammy" and his son was "Little Sammy" and Council Hicks lived with them for a short while and Council remained in the area, living with relatives, after his mother remarried and moved away.

We know his nephew Harris Hicks served in the Revolutionary War for him and he moved about that time to Valle Crucis (Beech Mountain, Watagua County) North Carolina. We know his eldest son "Big Sammy" Hicks (b. 1753) also moved to the same area about that time.

For whatever reason he remained separate from his family after the 1740s and no record of him is found until he receives a land grant in 1779 along with Benjamin Ward in the Beech Mountain area. Council Harmon's mother remarried Ward's son.

And BTW Brian I believe it's 'the Queen of Glasgow Jane' which Henry originally wrote as Geen which is just the Scot pronunciation for Jane.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:15 PM

James Cowan Powers was born 1877 in Castleswood, Russell, Virginia, to Sarah E. Powers and Johnstan H. Powers, who was a fiddler. James married banjo picker Mathilda (also Matilda) Lambert in 1898 and in the after 1910 with their children they started a family band. Mathilda died in 1916. James died in 1945.

My grandfather collected Sourwood Mountain in Beech Mountain in the early 1930s. The Powers version was recorded in 1924, curiously with a vocal by Carson Robinson, Vernon Dalhardt partner around that time. Was the fiddle tune learned from Cowan's pappy? We may never know.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:19 PM

Before even opening this thread, I arrived, thru a circuitous route, at an amazing link.

Here (I hope it works as it did for me) are a set of 14 tracks-video and audio of Nimrod Workman and Phyllis Boyens
(scroll down for the music.) I have an old LP of Nimrod, and his intensity has always moved me. It was wonderful to see him. (There a few links on YouTube of him also)
This is quite an unusual site, and I'm still working out navigating it- so I'll just leave the Nimrod Workman direct link for now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:33 PM

Richie. That was the reason for starting the crooked road site. There are so many of the old standards we sing and just take for granted their origin...ordon't really care. I would love to dochment ACCURATELY if possible the origin or at least the earliest source. Perhaps I'm dreaming, but since I am in my last few days on this earth, I would at least like to create an interest.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 10:57 PM

Correction: and after 1910 with their children they started a family band

Correction 2: Although in the 1880 census Fiddling Powers father is spelled "Johnstan" it is really Jonathan. This happens with census records frequently- they just couldn't spell.

Fiddler Jonathan H. Powers was born in 1843 in Virginia and his father was Wesley Powers (b. 1797, Russell Virginia), who had, I assume, a second marriage to Mary Salyer, Jonathan's mother. Wesley's father Jonas was born before the Revolutionary War in New Hampshire. [Ancestry.com]

This is a quick study,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 11:13 PM

I spent 20 minutes one time trying to figure out where Sourwood Mountain was- if it was real- or a made up place. It's scary because: I'm not the only one that has done the same thing! You can bet someone here has a thread on it!!!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 12:34 AM

Whether tracing the genealogy of a family or of an old song,never trust web resources if not footnoted and the footnotes themselves check out regarding documentation.then check out the footnotes to see if those sources themselves have documentation - scanned and uploaded. Otherwise, plan on visiting county courthouses yourself to see the evidence. Beyond that, accept brick walls and enjoy and even engage in speculation and theorizing. Just make clear it is speculation


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 06:09 AM

"BTW Brian I believe it's 'the Queen of Glasgow Jane' which Henry originally wrote as Geen"

'Green' is in Bronson - presumably his amendment. Thorough as ever, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 10:19 AM

Janie is right about family documentation, most of the family trees on Ancestry.com are not documented by birth records, census, family bibles, death records, gravestones, church records, affidavits, property records, diaries or written (recorded) personal recollections.

I know that Fiddlin' Powers father was a fiddler named Jonathan H. Powers, born in 1843 in Virginia. The rest of the information was based on undocumented family trees.

For me the story behind the ballad is the family and history of the people who sang the ballads. This was not given by Cecil Sharp is most cases-- when collecting in Appalachia he gave the name. When and where did they learn the ballad?

Mike Yates, who commented here, has done some excellent articles documenting the family members who sang the ballads that Sharp collected. Fortunately the names (usually accurate), date and place collected were given.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 12:00 PM

Cecil Sharp did much more than specify name and place, Richie. His diaries, and notes in his fair copy note books, give some interesting background on singers like the Hensleys of Carmen, NC. Mrs. Townsley of Pineville, KY, he tells us, was of mixed Irish, French and Cherokee descent. Julie Boone of Micaville, NC, used to walk the countryside barefoot and sleep rough, was considered crazy by her neighbours (though Sharp liked her), and had learned many songs from African-Americans. Sharp also took those wonderful photographs of the singers, which you'll surely have seen.

It might not be the comprehensive family and social history we'd prefer to know nowadays, but I'd say he did more than most collectors of his era.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Richie
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 02:37 PM

Too bad these notes weren't included in EFFSA. Are his diaries available in MS form on-line?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 03:23 PM

Indeed they are:

Sharps Appalachian Diaries

The way I get to find Sharp's comments on a particular singer is to look up the date he collected songs from him/her, in the Roud Index, then go to those dates in the diary. Be aware that there is a full transcription on the site, as well the a facsimile of the (illegible) original.

The note books are online at The Full English.

You can search by collector, singer, song, place, date, etc., and there will be an image of the appropriate page in Sharp's notebook.   However, finding those additional notes on singers is complicated, since they are scrawled below random song transcriptions, like this:

Notes on Julie Boone

You need to go through a lot of images to find them - it's easier to use the paper copies at the Vaughan Williams Library and flick through until you find a song with some notes attached. I did make a few transcriptions when I was researching 'Sharp's Appalachian Harvest', which I could post when I have a bit more time, if anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 09:49 PM

Thanks, Bill D. for the link to Nimrod and Phyllis.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 09:01 AM

http://sites.duke.edu/banjology/transcriptions/coo-coo-a-study/coo-coo-bird-by-rufus-kasey/


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 12:19 PM

"I don't think they were 'collected' by Cecil Sharp, the Lomaxes, or the kids from Berea College." Well. If Alan Lomax had bothered to record someone doing yet another version of "Just A Dream (On My Mind)" about 55 years after Bill Broonzy had a hit with it, personally I would have thought his time could be better spent on something else. Also, regarding Howard Armstrong, the fact that Alan Lomax originally planned to be the recordist at the festival where Sidney Stripling was recorded, but asked John Work to do it instead because that would save money (enthusiastically writing to Harold Spivacke that he expected Mr. Work to record some great stuff there), suggests that Alan's main concern about Howard Armstrong would have been that _some_ folklorist was recording him, which some folklorist was.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 01:53 PM

Hmm, as it happens Howard Armstrong was recorded at a folk festival that was founded and run by a Berea College alumnus. And Joan Fenton, who recorded Hazel Dickens and others at that particular festival, soon after that co-organized another festival, and recorded Nat Reese.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 02:59 PM

Thanks Bill D for those great Nimrod Workman video clips. I have a copy (in fact I reviewed it) of the CD of his singing put out by Musical Traditions in the UK.

I also enjoyed the Nat Reese videos linked by Janie. I can understand why someone from the Southern Appalachians would feel that things have moved on a lot in the 100 years since Cecil Sharp's visits, and find his 'noble savage' theories patronizing. Having met and sung with both Sheila Kay Adams and Elizabeth LaPrelle, I understand that ballad singing is still in good shape in those parts, as well as lots of great instrumental music. So, apologies for banging on about Sharp and his work - as a singer of English ballads, I can't help but be fascinated by it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 05:33 PM

No apology needed, Brian, at least not to this hillbilly. I love the old ballads and am glad they were collected. I am descended on both sides of my family from German, Welsh, and Scots-Irish who headed west quickly and were in the Appalachian mountains and plateau areas of what are now Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia pre-revolution, and in most cases, by about the time of the French-and-Indian War. My grandfather, by the time I was born, sang only unaccompanied and only hymns, due to his religious beliefs, but he sang those hymns very much in the same style as those old, unaccompanied ballads.

The musical tradition, and the ethnic heritage of the Appalachians, however, is much richer than ballads that can be traced back to Child, or were collected by Sharp and his ilk. Not much interest or appreciation of the fullness of the heritage music of the central and southern Appalachians on Mudcat beyond those old and early collected ballads.

I understand that and no website can be all things to all people. I also understand that Sharp was focused on the English/UK folk revival and his interest, and therefore what he focused his collection on, were the songs and musical styles he came across in the isolated hills and hollers (or coves, for the NC folks:>) of the region that clearly traced back to the UK.

But that ain't the whole story and there are times when I wish there was an appreciation (or at least interest) in the diversity of Appalachian folk music, older and newer, than there is here on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: Janie
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 06:30 PM

Vandalia Gathering offers a very eclectic appreciation of the diversity and the change over time of trad. music, in all it's permeations, in the Central Appalachians. Nothing static about folk music.

Mountain Music of WV


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 10:39 PM

I, for one, have played (or attempted to perform) many of the old ballads and gospel songs of the Appalachian people for nigh on to 70+ years with little thought to the stories behind those songs. I did notice fairly early in my life that lyrics changed but melodies seem to remain somewhat similar. But I just dismissed it as insignificant. Now as I look back on the past years, I can see how each set of lyrics told a unique story and the melody was just a convenience to allow the story to be told musically.   Take for example, the song "In The Pines"-and Where Did You Sleep... As sung be different ethnic people, different lyrics. As janie said, the music of the region is diverse and rich in historical and ethnic character.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Music of Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 06:57 AM

Bela Lam recorded for Okeh in the 20s. One song he recorded with his Greene County Singers was a tune - May, Dearest May.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bVsN-vP01w

Does anyone know the origin of this song?

Thanks


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