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Lyr Add: The Death of Floyd Collins

DigiTrad:
FLOYD COLLINS


Related thread:
'Floyd Collins' recording, not Dalhart (20)


Gene 31 Dec 99 - 04:37 PM
wildlone 31 Dec 99 - 04:41 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jul 02 - 12:52 PM
masato sakurai 30 Jul 02 - 12:18 AM
M.Ted 30 Jul 02 - 01:18 AM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 30 Jul 02 - 11:53 AM
Stewie 31 Jul 02 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Julia 06 Aug 02 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,phamtom1@rochester.rr.com 23 May 03 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 21 Jul 18 - 10:49 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DEATH OF FLOYD COLLINS
From: Gene
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 04:37 PM

Found this longer version of the song in Digitrad Database:


THE DEATH OF FLOYD COLLINS
Written by: Rev. Andrew Jenkins and Irene Spain

Oh, come, all you young people, and listen while I tell
The fate of Floyd Collins, a lad we all know well.
His face was fair and handsome, his heart was true and brave.
His body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

How sad, how sad the story; it fills our eyes with tears.
Its memories, too, will linger for many, many years.
A broken-hearted father, who tried his boy to save,
Will now weep tears of sorrow at the door of Floyd's cave.

Oh! Mother, don't you worry; dear Father, don't be sad.
I'll tell you all my troubles in an awful dream I had.
I dreamed that I was prisoner; my life I could not save.
I cried, "Oh, must I perish within this silent cave?"

"Oh, Floyd," cried his mother, "Don't go, my son, don't go.
'Twould leave us broken-hearted if this should happen so."
Though Floyd did not listen, advice his mother gave,
So his body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

His father often warned him from follies to desist.
He told him of the danger and of the awful risk;
But Floyd would not listen to the oft advice he gave,
So his body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

Oh, how the news did travel! Oh, how the news did go!
It traveled through the papers and over the radio.
A rescue party gathered; his life they tried to save,
But his body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

The mining experts gathered; they sought to find a plan
To lift poor Floyd's body from far beneath the sand;
And oh, how they did struggle with hearts brave and stout,
But the cave that swallowed Collins would never let him out.

The rescue party labored; they worked both night and day
To move the mighty barrier that stood within the way.
To rescue Floyd Collins, this was their battle cry:
"We'll never, no, we'll never let Floyd Collins die."

But on that fatal morning, the sun rose in the sky.
The workers still were busy. "We'll save him by and by."
But, oh how sad the ending! His life could not be saved.
His body then was sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

Young people, oh, take warning from Floyd Collins' fate
And get right with your Maker before it is too late.
It may not be a sand cave in which we find our tomb,
But at the bar of judgment, we too must meet our doom.


Have a recording by Vernon Dalhart but does not include all above verses


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: wildlone
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 04:41 PM

Its a fair cop guv it was me what done it


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Subject: ZDTStudy: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jul 02 - 12:52 PM

I think we can make this into a DTStudy of this song. Messages posted after this one are subject to editing.
-Joe Offer

FLOYD COLLINS

O come all ye good people, and listen while I tell,
The fate of Floyd Collins, a lad we all know well.
His face was fair and handsome, his heart was true and brave;
His body now lies sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

"O mother, don't you worry; dear father, don't be sad;
I'll tell you all my troubles in an awful dream I had.
I dreamed I was a prisoner; my life I could not save.
I cried, "O must I perish within this sandstone cave? "

The rescue party labored; they worked both night and day
To move the mighty barriers that stood within the way.
"To rescue Floyd Collins," this was their battle cry,
"We'll never, no, we'll never let Floyd Collins die!"

But on that fatal morning, the sun rose in the skies;
The workers still were busy, "We'll save him by and by."
But O how sad the ending; his life could not be saved;
His body then was sleeping in a lonely sandstone cave.

Young peopie, O take warning from Floyd Collins' fate,
And get right with your Maker before it is too late.
It may not be a sandstone cave in which we find our tomb,
But at the bar of judgment we too will meet our doom.

From Ballads and Songs of Michigan, Gardner
Collected from Miss Mabel Tuggle by Mrs. W.A.Drinkard, VA
DT #769
Laws G22
@mining @death
filename[ FLOYDCOL
RG
oct96




PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.
I gather from other threads that the song was recorded by Jimmie Rodgers and by Vernon Dalhart.
Here's part of a pertinent post from another thread:

Thread #7829   Message #47715
Posted By: Dale Rose
02-Dec-98 - 09:41 PM
Thread Name: Ben Dewberry's Last Ride
Subject: RE: Ben Dewberry's Last Ride

Here is a little more information on compositions by Andrew Jenkins, courtesy of Dr. Bill McNeil at the Ozark Folk Center. In addition to those mentioned above, he also wrote The Death of Floyd Collins, The Scopes Trial, and The Wreck of the Royal Palm, all most notably done by Vernon Dalhart, and also the well known gospel song, God Put a Rainbow in the Clouds.

Do we have a tune for this song?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 12:18 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index: Floyd Collins:

Floyd Collins [Laws G22]
DESCRIPTION: Floyd Collins is trapped in a cave from which a rescue party cannot free him. He tells his parents that he had dreamt this would happen. At last, still trapped, he dies
AUTHOR: Andrew Jenkins
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (copyright)
KEYWORDS: disaster dream death family
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Jan 30, 1925 - Floyd Collins is trapped in a "sandhole" cave near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, where he is caught by a landslide. He was discovered by his brother the next day, but attempts to rescue him failed
Feb 16, 1925 - Collins is found to be dead
FOUND IN: US(Ap,Ro,SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Laws G22, "Floyd Collins"
Darling-NAS, pp. 223-224, "Floyd Collins" (1 text)
DT 769, FLOYDCOL
RECORDINGS:
Fiddlin' John Carson, "The Death of Floyd Collins" (Okeh 40363, 1925)
Charlie Oaks, "The Death of Floyd Collins" (Vocalion 5069, c. 1926)
Notes: As the dates of the recordings show, this is really a popular song. But the number of versions collected show that it did become a folk song. The authorship is somewhat uncertain. Laws, following Wilgus, accepts the attribution to Andrew Jenkins, who wrote other songs which became traditional. But Brown quotes Thomas to the effect that it was written by one Adam Crisp. - RBW
File: LG22
............................................
The Vernon Dalhart version lacks four stanzas in the middle of the longer one posted by Gene above. The 1925 recording of "The Death of Floyd Collins" can be heard at the Floyd Collins Web Page.

The Max Hunter Collection has two versions (wit lyrics, recordings, and music):

(1) Floyd Collins
Cat. #0246 (MFH #182) - As sung by Mrs. Gladys McChristain, Huntsville, Arkansas on October 1, 1958
(2) Floyd Collins
Cat. #0932 (MFH #182) - As sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on February 9, 1970

The Frank C. Brown Collection has three versions (Vol. II, pp. 498-501; title "Floyd Collins"). Jean Thomas collected one version, very similar to other ones but titled "The Doom of Floyd Collins", which is in Ballad Makin' in the Mountains of Kentucky (1939; Oak, 1964, pp. 118-119). Thomas's commentary (pp. 117-118), rather than the lyrics, would be more interesting and worth quoting:

"Tragic events always bring forth a number of ballads. Some ballad makers, alert to commercial value, hasten to the printer and have their composition struck off forthwith.
"A printer in an isolated county seat in the Kentucky mountains, who had only a poor assortment of battered type and a picture frame with which to work, once told me he did 'moughty well with the song-ballet of Floyd Collins,' selling them to wandering fiddlers who, in turn, sold their wares to eager listeners who gathered at the courthouse on Court day.
"Preceeding such a fiddler's sale one day, I heard him tell in a funeral-like voice how Floyd Collins, who worked in a sand cave, had warning of his fate in a dream just a few nights before his tragic end came. The wandering singer finds a most fruitful market for tragedy in his hand bill,--'the ballet of it' as mounatin people term the printed sheet. The title of such a printed song-sheet appears at the top and the name of the person selling it at the bottom. The small printed leaflets are convenient to carry in fiddle or guitar cases and are quickly disposed of at ten cents each. Not only do listeners stand spellbound with the minstrel's story of the gruesome death, but they will buy 'the ballet of it' till their last penny is gone. 'It is something to take home to the woman and youngins,' the menfolks say, and each and every one, though they may not be able to sing a note, will learn it word for word. The Doom of Floyd Collins, which I heard that day, is still popular among mountain minstrels and runs in this fashion:
[Lyrics quoted]"

~Masato


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 01:18 AM

Worth noting here that Floyd's brother, Homer, is reported as having performed this song on the vaudville stage for a number of years after the events--


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 11:53 AM

I worked in the caves around Mammoth and Crystal Cave in Kentucky for a couple of years. Floyd's whole death became a vaudeville-like spectacle. It turned out that he was pinned in place simply by a rock about the size of a Kleenex tissue box, that had his foot wedged so tightly he couldn't move. And he lived for days down there before he died. He was embalmed and put on display in his cave, and rival cave owners stole the body once and meant to throw it into the Green River and get rid of that major tourist attraction. He lodged in a tree, and others found him and returned him to his coffin.

I visited Crystal Cave with my then-Mammoth-Cave-employee husband, another park ranger, on a tour that was held for only NPS people. The public was never allowed in that cave once the National Park Service bought it. And a few years ago they took the coffin that was in chains and gave it a proper burial. People occasionally broke into the cave and into the coffin, just to see Floyd).

Maggie Dwyer, former Diamond Caverns (Park City, KY) cave interpreter. Now, to go find my cookie. . .


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: Stewie
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 02:57 AM

In his sleeve notes to 'Native American Ballads' RCA Victor LPV-548, which contained the 9 September 1925 Dalhart recording of the song, and also in his 'Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship Since 1898' Rutgers Uni Press p283, Professor Wilgus referred to the role of Polk C. Brockman - the famous Atlanta scout for Okeh records who was intrumental in Fiddlin' John Carson being recorded in the first place - in the creation of the ballad by his, in effect, commissioning it from Jenkins. He wrote in the sleeve note:

The folk composer was stimulated by a commercial entrepreneur, Polk C. Brockman, who wired the blind newsboy-evangelist Andrew Jenkins of Atlanta, Georgia, requesting a song on the tragedy. The resulting composition is part of the widest American tradition. The song was spread largely through the performances of Vernon Dalhart (Marion Try Slaughter), a 'citybilly' who for a time captured a wide folk audience.

This is supported by Fiddlin' John's biographer, Gene Wiggins, in his 'Fiddlin' Georgia Crazy: Fiddlin' John Carson, His Real World and the World of His Songs' Uni of Illinois Press 1987 pp94-96. Wiggins notes that some 50,000 people had collected near the cave and 'a sort of a carnival atmosphere prevailed as rescue crews worked in shifts to dig through to Collins'. There were long stories in the papers about rescue operations and radio bulletins. Wiggins wrote:

Unless there were alternate endings to the original song, it was after Collins died in his cave from pneumonia that Polk Brockman, then in Florida, telegraphed Blind Andy Jenkins in Atlanta, and asked for a song. As we have noted, Jenkins was a preacher and one of Horace Carson's fellow newspaper vendors. According to Andy's stepdaughter Irene, who will be remembered as the person who transcribed John's records: 'We had listened to every bit of it on the radio. We were living it with the crowd that was trying to get Floyd out. When Mr Brockman wired and said he believed it would make a good song, Daddy got his old faithful guitar and went and sat down on the top step of the porch. Pretty soon he called me, and I went out there with my tablet and pencil. In a little while, we had the song in the mail. [G.Wiggins 'Fiddlin' Georgia Crazy' p95. Quote from Wiggins' interview with Irene Spain Futrelle on 1 November 1977]

Within two months of Floyd's death, the Okeh people were in Atlanta and called Fiddlin' John to the studio where he was presented with the words to the song. John recorded it to a tune that he would later use for 'The Storm That Struck Miami', though Wiggins suspects it had been used for something long before. Dalhart recorded it a few months later with the tune that Andy Jenkins had intended for it. Nevertheless, Fiddlin' John was the first to record what was to become a big hit and enter the folk tradition.

Wiggin's also notes [p96] that when Andy himself recorded the song ['Floyd Collins in Sand Cave' Okeh 40394], he used an 8-stanza version, while John's had only been 6 stanzas. According to Irene, there were originally 12 stanzas. Concerning what happened after Collins died, Wiggins quotes Andy's recording:

The mighty experts gathered, they sought to find a plan
To move poor Floyd's body from beneath the sand
It seemed a mighty struggle, but with hearts brave and stout
They finally, overcoming, brought Floyd's body out

This was fantasy and contradicts Andy's first stanza which has Floyd 'sleeping' in the cave. Any expert schemes were tried while Floyd was alive When he was found to be dead, they filled in the excavation and left him. Later the family reconsidered and employed some coal miners to dig him out, some 9 weeks after his death. Wiggins writes: 'Some accounts suggest that the main thing for "overcoming" was not any technical problems but the grisly sight of the body, ears chewed off by rats, and the smell'. Wiggins goes on to recount the story told in the previous post by Maggie Dwyer. He suggests that, against the venality that some people displayed, 'Polk Brockman, Andy Jenkins and John Carson all look good'. According to Irene, Andy was paid only for his recording - the common $25 fee - and never received anything as composer.

In relation to the 3 versions in the Brown Collection, referenced above by Masato, Wiggins writes:

[RW] Gordon was almost alone among folklorists of his time in his interest in commercial recordings. Commercial recordings of hillbillies were too new a thing in 1925 for folklorists to have adopted any general stance on them. In the 1930s and 1940s, without having heard any commercial hillbilly recordings to speak of, most folklorists would declare that there was nothing worth while on them. In the 1950s, folklorists [eds of Brown Collection] could print - without mention of the recordings - A, B and C versions of 'Floyd Collins' that probably had been taken, respectively, from the recordings of Vernon Dalhart, John Carson and Andy Jenkins. [G.Wiggins 'Fiddlin' Georgia Crazy' p94].

It wasn't until Archie Green's 'Hillbilly Music: Source and Symbol' appeared in the July-September 1965 edition of 'The Journal of American Folklore' that folklorists began to show any serious interest in commercially recorded 'hillbilly music' as a reservoir of vernacular music.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 07:20 PM

Just thought you might like to know that a good friend just recorded an elderly local woman, Irene Brookings, here in midcoast Maine singing this song. She (my friend) has helped Irene put out a limited edtion Cd of songs she sang as a girl. Has a lot of others like Floyd Collins (The baggage coach ahead, young charlotte, etc)


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Death Of Floyd Collins
From: GUEST,phamtom1@rochester.rr.com
Date: 23 May 03 - 06:39 PM

It seems our family is not the only ones is search of the old songs our father use to sing all the time, but never telling us anything about them as in She said she wasn't hungry...,the baggage coach ahead, the deathof Floyd Collins.........


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Death of Floyd Collins
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 10:49 AM

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/floyd-collins-ghostly-presence-haunts-mammoth-cave/ar-AAA4RYR?ocid=AMZN

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

The recent rescue of the Thai boys soccer team prompted this article from thedailybeast.


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