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Fondly Recalled Lessons in Debauchery

Chris C 29 Sep 16 - 08:33 AM
Chris C 29 Sep 16 - 08:39 AM
Chris C 29 Sep 16 - 08:43 AM
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Subject: Fondly Recalled Lessons in Debauchery
From: Chris C
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 08:33 AM

I've been considering the similarity in storytelling and subject matter in a few songs: Lynyrd Skynyrd's "The Ballad of Curtis Loew" (1974) and Dolly Parton's "Apple Jack" are nearly identical in that the singers/narrators fondly recall a time in their youth spent with an older "mentor" who--in a good natured, not creepy way--teaches them about (or exposes them to) things like drinking and unbefitting styles of music. Other songs that follow this format (more loosely) are "Desperados Waiting for a Train" (Guy Clark, 1973) and the spoken word "Remembrance of Charlie Patton" by Bukka White (1963).
(I think of these as the opposite of "Silver Dagger" and related songs wherein the singer kind of celebrates the avoidance of a potentially bad influence, albeit in a romantic context, and accepts parental advice or protection.)
So I'm wondering: how old is this template? Are there songs like these in the folk tradition? The concept seems fairly timeless, so I'd think this might be a little genre, but I'm not coming up with examples.


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Subject: ADD: Applejack (recorded by Dolly Parton)
From: Chris C
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 08:39 AM

Applejack (one word) is from 1977, already in lyric base, here it is for convenience:

APPLEJACK
(recorded by Dolly Parton)

He lived by the apple orchard in this little orchard shack
His real name was Jackson Taylor but I called him AppleJack
Now old AppleJack was loved by everyone he ever knew
AppleJack picked apples but he picked the banjo too

Play a song for me AppleJack, AppleJack
Play a song for me and I'll sing
Play a song for me AppleJack, AppleJack
Play a song, let your banjo ring

Now I'd go down to AppleJack's almost everyday
We'd sit and we'd drink applejack, that old AppleJack had made
Then he'd take his banjo down then he'd ask me if I'd sing
And he would play the banjo and I'd play my tambourine

Play a song for me AppleJack, AppleJack
Play a song for me and I'll sing
Play a song for me AppleJack, AppleJack
Play a song, let your banjo ring

That's when I was just a kid and now that I am grown
All I have are memories, old AppleJack is gone
Oh but he left me his banjo and it always takes me back


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Subject: ADD: The Ballad of Curtis Loew
From: Chris C
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 08:43 AM

THE BALLAD OF CURTIS LOEW
(Written by Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant)

Well, I used to wake the mornin'
Before the rooster crowed
Searchin' for soda bottles
To get myself some dough
Brought 'em down to the corner
Down to the country store
Cash 'em in, and give my money
To a man named Curtis Loew

Old Curt was a black man
With white curly hair
When he had a fifth of wine
He did not have a care
He used to own an old Dobro
Used to play it 'cross his knee
I'd give old Curt my money
He'd play all day for me

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin' money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

He looked to be sixty
And maybe I was ten
Mama used to whoop me
But I'd go see him again
I'd clap my hands, stomp my feet
Try to stay in time
He'd play me a song or two
Then take another drink of wine

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin' money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

Yes, sir

On the day old Curtis died
Nobody came to pray
Ol' preacher said some words
And they chunked him in the clay
Well, he lived a lifetime
Playin' the black man's blues
And on the day he lost his life
That's all he had to lose

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, hey Curtis Loew
I wish that you was here so
Everyone would know
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis you're the finest picker
To ever play the blues


Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group


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