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Rubber-tire buggies and funerals

mousethief 08 Mar 18 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 08 Mar 18 - 04:52 PM
JennieG 08 Mar 18 - 10:54 PM
Senoufou 09 Mar 18 - 02:26 AM
Mr Red 09 Mar 18 - 03:17 AM
Manitas_at_home 09 Mar 18 - 03:45 AM
mayomick 09 Mar 18 - 07:10 AM
cetmst 09 Mar 18 - 07:26 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 18 - 07:27 AM
mayomick 09 Mar 18 - 09:35 AM
mousethief 09 Mar 18 - 03:17 PM
mousethief 09 Mar 18 - 03:21 PM
meself 09 Mar 18 - 09:59 PM
Roger the Skiffler 10 Mar 18 - 05:17 AM
meself 10 Mar 18 - 11:46 AM
Senoufou 10 Mar 18 - 02:56 PM
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Subject: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: mousethief
Date: 08 Mar 18 - 03:48 PM

In Elizabeth Cotten's "Willie" and in many versions of "Frankie and Johnny," the conveyance taken to the graveyard is a "Rubber tire buggy" and "rubber-tire hack." (I have never heard them referred to separately, interstingly.) Mississippi John Hurt refers to the two (in "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight"), but not in reference to burial. On the other hand he is going with a razor to square accounts with "that man" so perhaps he's referring to death indirectly, along the lines of "he's going to need a rubber-tired buggy and a rubber-tired hack when I'm done with him." But that's conjecture.

At any rate, there's the background. My question: Why are rubber-tire conveyances especially appropriate for going to bury people? Is a iron-bound wheel just not respectful enough for the reposed?


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 08 Mar 18 - 04:52 PM

They are softer on the road and don't "rattle the bones" as Mr Hood puts it. More respectful to the dead and the feelings of the mourners.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: JennieG
Date: 08 Mar 18 - 10:54 PM

In Victorian times straw was laid on the road outside a house of mourning, apparently to muffle the sound of passing traffic. Apparently no outside noises were allowed to disturb the house until after the funeral when the dear departed had been laid to rest, the clamour of everyday life was not allowed to intrude.

Perhaps the quieter sound of rubber tyres is a follow-on from that custom?


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: Senoufou
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 02:26 AM

Round here I've never seen a 'buggy' in use. The coffin is always borne on the shoulders of four or six men, from the hearse into the church or crematorium, and from thence to the burial spot if interred.
The men are provided by the funeral director, but sometimes male members of the deceased's family help to bear the coffin too.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 03:17 AM

the hearde is not that a rubber tyred buggy - metaphorically.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 03:45 AM

Or possibly buggies with rubber tyres were more expensive than ones with metal on the rims and therefore posher. In the UK most funerals use Bentleys and Rolls-Royces - its the only time most people get to ride in one - although other limousines are being increasingly used.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: mayomick
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 07:10 AM

Interesting association of the silent rubber tire hack with the trip to Marbletown .I thought it was an axe he had in hand looking for that man rather than a razor .
The Hop Joint song was Missisippi John Hurt's telling of the Frankie and Johnny story , surely? Told from the woman's point of view "looking for that man". I seem to recall reading that Hurt was there at the time , wherever it was the incident that the Frankie and Johnny song was based on had occurred.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: cetmst
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 07:26 AM

I remember not being allowed to rollerskate on the sidewalk in front of Mr. D.'s house because he was laid out in his parlor. Respect for the dead or do not disturb the dead?


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 07:27 AM

When my Grandfather died in 1978, they didn't use a hearse at all. They carried the coffin out of the house and placed it onto the bier, which had a flat platform mounted on a four wheeled, solid-rubber-tyred chassis.

The Funeral Director walked in front, with his men hauling the bier, and the family walking behind. We proceeded in this fashion down the main street of the village, through the churchyard and all the way up the aisle.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: mayomick
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 09:35 AM

they have roller skates with rubber wheels these day .Not as though Mr D would be able to tell the difference , of course.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: mousethief
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 03:17 PM

IIRC a buggy is not something you would load a coffin onto -- it's for at most 2 people.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: mousethief
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 03:21 PM

The MJH song refers to "bring[ing] my baby back" -- it seems he's going downtown to kill that man, and bring his baby back? That's how I read it.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: meself
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 09:59 PM

I always just assumed that when rubber tires were a new thing, they were noteworthy. A funeral procession would be notable as a parade of fancy vehicles, would it not?

Can't explain them in that MJH song, though - unless it is a reference to the familiar image in other songs like Frankie and Johnnie.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 05:17 AM

I always assumed the silence thing.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: meself
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 11:46 AM

I had never thought of that, before reading this thread - but it makes a certain amount of sense.


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Subject: RE: Rubber-tire buggies and funerals
From: Senoufou
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 02:56 PM

Inside our ancient village church there is an old Victorian bier which hasn't been in use for about 150 years. It's made of wood. During the Harvest Festival fruit, vegetables and a sheaf of corn are placed on it, so really it serves as a table or counter. I suppose it conveyed the coffin from the deceased's house to the church, although for the better-off, black-plumed horses drawing an ornate wheeled hearse would have been more usual.
Nearly every old church in this area has its bier parked somewhere inside and nowadays used for flowers or displays.


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