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Origins: Hemlocks and Primroses

Ferrara 08 Jun 15 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,# 09 Jun 15 - 08:32 AM
Ferrara 09 Jun 15 - 10:00 PM
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Subject: Origins: Hemlocks and Primroses
From: Ferrara
Date: 08 Jun 15 - 10:37 PM

I'm looking for info on the origins of this Appalachian song which is obviously derived from Erin's Green Shore. I first heard Kay Justice sing it, and she recorded it with Ginnie Hawker. They had collected it from a man in Southwest Virginia.

Ralph Stanley recorded it on his album Bound to Ride.

My question is: Does anyone have any idea where Ralph Stanley learned the song?   

Here are the lyrics from Ralph Stanley:


Thinkin' of you
While out for a ramble
Down by a cold frosty stream
Set down on a bed
of hemlocks & primroses
Gently I fell into a dream

I dreamed I saw
a pretty fair maiden
such beauty I never saw before
Her dress was bound round
With hemlocks and primroses
So green was the mantle she wore

Her hair was of
a dark brown color
Her teeth was as ivory so white
Her eyes were like
two sparkling diamonds
Or stars that shine on
a cold frosty night

I drew her near
Then I awakened
With two empty arms and you on my mind
Heaven seemed so near while I was a-dreamin'
It hurts to know you've left me behind.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Hemlocks and Primroses
From: GUEST,#
Date: 09 Jun 15 - 08:32 AM

If no one has an answer for you, Ferrara, try writing to

Maybe Nathan could help you out.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Hemlocks and Primroses
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Jun 15 - 10:00 PM

GUEST, thank you very much for the suggestion. I gave it a try. I'll post back here if I get any information.

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