Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground

DigiTrad:
I WISH I WAS A MOLE IN THE GROUND
MY LAST OL' DOLLAR


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Been In The Pen So Long (10)
(origins) Origins: Mole in the Ground/Tempie/Capie (5)
Lyr/Chords Req: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground (3) (closed)


emily rain 02 Oct 99 - 04:53 PM
raredance 02 Oct 99 - 10:37 PM
simon-pierre 10 Feb 00 - 12:13 PM
Rex 10 Feb 00 - 12:33 PM
bbc 10 Feb 00 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Praise (at work) 10 Feb 00 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Jonathan 10 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM
cholly 10 Feb 00 - 07:41 PM
Jeep man 10 Feb 00 - 08:44 PM
Stewie 11 Feb 00 - 01:34 AM
Rex 11 Feb 00 - 12:14 PM
Stewie 11 Feb 00 - 06:52 PM
fox4zero 11 Feb 00 - 07:38 PM
simon-pierre 11 Feb 00 - 11:55 PM
GUEST,RAY 12 Feb 00 - 05:57 AM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 04:29 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Nov 08 - 04:48 PM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 05:48 PM
LesB 03 Nov 08 - 06:41 PM
Mark Ross 03 Nov 08 - 06:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Nov 08 - 08:19 PM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 08:22 PM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 08:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Nov 08 - 09:15 PM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 09:19 PM
Richie 03 Nov 08 - 09:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Nov 08 - 10:19 PM
fretless 03 Nov 08 - 11:20 PM
Rog Peek 04 Nov 08 - 10:04 AM
LesB 04 Nov 08 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Michele Callaghan 04 Nov 08 - 10:38 AM
Rog Peek 04 Nov 08 - 11:36 AM
Barry Finn 04 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM
GUEST, Sminky 04 Nov 08 - 12:06 PM
Rog Peek 04 Nov 08 - 12:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Nov 08 - 12:58 PM
LesB 05 Nov 08 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Simon 07 Nov 08 - 08:34 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 08 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,also.. 08 Nov 08 - 07:49 AM
Fortunato 08 Nov 08 - 08:48 AM
Goose Gander 21 Nov 08 - 12:00 AM
Mark Ross 21 Nov 08 - 11:36 PM
GUEST 07 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Jan 09 - 03:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jan 09 - 05:20 PM
Janice in NJ 07 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM
Joe Offer 09 Aug 14 - 08:49 PM
Bat Goddess 10 Aug 14 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Nov 14 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Nov 14 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Dave Ruch 05 Nov 14 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Nov 14 - 06:49 PM
GUEST 06 Nov 14 - 02:15 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Add: Mole in the Ground (Kids' version)^^
From: emily rain
Date: 02 Oct 99 - 04:53 PM

these are the verses i learned to mole in the ground:

Wish I was a mole in the ground
Wish I was a mole in the ground
Mole in the ground, I'd root that mountain down
Wish I was a mole in the ground

Wish I was a lizard in the tree...
Lizard in the tree, I'd have you here by me

Bird in the sky
I'd spread my wings and fly

Otter in the tide
I'd set down at yer side

Turtle in the pond
I'd lie there all day long

[and by the way, the automatic dt search you get when starting a new thread doesn't seem to work.]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mole in the Ground
From: raredance
Date: 02 Oct 99 - 10:37 PM

It is interesting how Bascom Lunsford's lyrics in which the animals are not the primary topic has mutated to an animal song with all verses all animals all the time. I guess it makes a catchy tune more kid friendly. What is equally interesting is the phylogenetic shift that has occurred. And it has moved in a direction that parallels evolution itself. In the older versions the "lizard" is always "in the spring". It is not referring to a lizard at all but an amphibian. The term "spring lizard" is old vernacular for a salamander, i.e. amphibian, and you would find them in a spring, especially in the southern appalachians which are extremely speciose with respect to salmanders. The "lizard in a tree" is clearly out of habitat for an amphibian and must be considered a true lizard which is a reptile. This evolutionary event has been memorialized in song by Tom Paxton in his line "When the first amphibian crawled out of the slime." I suspect that somewhere in its course through the 20th Century (is almost over) the Mole In The Ground song bumped into a singer who didn't know about "spring lizards" and concluded quite correctly that a spring was a very odd place to find a real lizard. So they put the lizard in a habitat that made more sense to them, in the process unwittingly evolving the song. In line with the above verse additions about animals, Doug Elliot (Crawdads, Doodlebugs & Creasy Greens, 1995)has added a few more:

I wish I was a trout in the creek....clear water I would seek.

...hawk in the sky.....I'd never wonder why.

... frog in the pond...I'd sing the whole night long.

Ooo, did you notice the turtle (reptile) in the pond has become a frog (amphibian) in the pond. Could this be retrograde evolution? Will we all become primapes?

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: simon-pierre
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:13 PM

Hi!

Can someone tell me about the song «I wish I was a mole in the ground» that can be found in the Digitrad. Who has written it? Is there any recording of this song? Thanks

SP


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Rex
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:33 PM

One might think that this was written by none other than the dear, Bascom Lamar Lunsford (who did write Mountain Dew by the way) as it is one of his signature songs and often appears on collections of his recordings. But on the Folkways recording of his, Ballads, Banjo Tunes and Sacred Songs of Western North Carolina, (whew) are notes written by Lunsford of each of the songs. So this is from the horses mouth, sort of. "The title of this mountain banjo song is 'I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground.' I've known it since 1901 when I heard Fred Moody, then a high school boy, sing it down in Burke County." So while good ol' Bascom taught to the rest of us, the author may be unknown.

Rex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: bbc
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:36 PM

I have it sung by John McCutcheon on his "How Can I Keep From Singing" recording. He lists it as traditional.

bbc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,Praise (at work)
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:38 PM

Doc Watson also recorded it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,Jonathan
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM

Bill Staines recorded this song on his CD "One More River"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: cholly
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 07:41 PM

There is a great version on the Anthology of American Folk Music, Compiled by Harry Smith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Jeep man
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 08:44 PM

To Rex. With all due respect to you and Bascomb Lunsford, I think you will find that the author of "old mounain dew" was not Lunsford but rather Zeke Morris of Black Mountain, NC. I had Zeke as a visitor to my home and we sat on a bed and picked for hours. He and his brother Wiley made up the Morris Brothers. Their full time job was running a garage and body shop in Black Mountain.

Jeep man


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 01:34 AM

Jeep Man,

In the notes to the CD that Rex referred to above, Lunsford certainly claimed to have written 'Old Mountain Dew'. He wrote:

About 1920 I composed the words and tune to this song, and I put it on a Brunswick record about 1928. Of course, it was somewhat stilted, but it did very well as a record. But following that, the eminent singer 'Scotty' Scott Wiseman of Lulu Belle and Scotty fame added some more modernised stanzas, sang it, put it on record and it was re-popularised. Now we hear it on every hand by the folk singers and entertainers there with their own words, and the tune has stayed very much the same way. But it's well to know the growth of the thing. So I will give just as I composed it in 1920.

Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Rex
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 12:14 PM

Well I guess I would like to hear more about Zeke Morris. I suppose it's possible. I'm surprised no one has mentioned "the Real Old Mountain Dew" from across the pond. How did that influence the one in question? It may be time to start another thread.

Rex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 06:52 PM

Rex,

Charles Wolfe refers to 'Real Old Mountain Dew' in 'Kentucky Country' (Uni Press of Kentucky p121):

As Norm Cohen has shown, 'Mountain Dew' was first codified in its present form in 1920 by Ashville folk song collector and singer Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and it probably is related to an even earlier Irish song, 'The Real Old Mountain Dew'.

He gives no specific reference for Cohen's comments.

Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: fox4zero
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 07:38 PM

There are several other versions of this song: Dock Boggs' SAMMIE, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN SO LONG? Also there was KEMPY by Tommy Jarrel (I think)

The Lunsford version is wonderful and was rightfully selected by Harry Smith for his monumental Anthology of American Folk Songs. When I discovered the AAFS at Sam Goody's Record Store in NYC...what a revelation! I still have those six 1/8" thick LP's from about 1954-5, as well as the newer CD re-issues. (Larry) PARISH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: simon-pierre
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 11:55 PM

Thanks you folks!

I'll try to get Lunsford's record on Folkways, and hope i'll win the lotery to get me the Harry Smith Anthology...

SP


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,RAY
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 05:57 AM

How about the Holy Modal Rounders...a great version. I had heard it by Harry Smith, but was not impressed until I heard their rendition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:29 PM

Here's a recording of the song from 1928 by Amos Baker:

http://honkingduck.com/78s/listen.php?s=20207B

I also did a painting of the song you can see here:

http://richardmattesonsblog.blogspot.com/

Hope you like it,

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:48 PM

The old Irish song "Real Old Mountain Dew" was written in the US by Ned Harrigan, who also wrote such staples as "Get Up Jack, John Sit Down".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 05:48 PM

Hi Dick,

Although this is not a thread about "Real Old Mountain Dew" the Wiki says:

"The Real Old Mountain Dew" is a traditional folk song, first printed in "Irish street Ballads" 1916. It was later recorded under the title "The Rare Old Mountain Dew". It is about the intoxicating properties of Irish moonshine, or Poitín. The earliest recording is by John Griffin, 1927 on the Columbia label, New York, under its original title. The song is also known in Canada. A somewhat different song, Good Old Mountain Dew was written by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a noted folklorist and lawyer, who defended some moonshiner clients.

Here's a bit of the lyrics:

At the foot of the hill there's a neat little still,
Where the smoke curls up to the sky;
By the whiff of the smell you can plainly tell
There's poitin boys nearby.
For it fills the air, with a perfume rare,
That betwixt both me and you,
And as on we roll, we'll drink a bowl,
Or a bucketfull of mountain dew.

Are you saying that perhaps this is where Lunsford based his song? The song structure is the same. Where and when did Harrigan write it? Any copies on-line?

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: LesB
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 06:41 PM

I sing version called "Kimbi", which I got from a Doris Henderson LP
Cheers
Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 06:45 PM

There is a related version of I WISH I WAS A MOLE IN THE GROUND called WORKING ON THE NEW RAILROAD, a string band tune. I first learned it in California in the early '70's from Bay Area string band pickers. I recognized it as being related to HANG ME, OH HANG ME which Dave Van Ronk recorded on his DAVE VAN RONK, FOLKSINGER album on Prestige.


Mark Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:19 PM

For Richie-
"The Mountain Dew," 1882, Edward Harrigan and music by Dave Braham, from the Irish drama, "The Blackbird," pub. W. A. Pond, NY, sometimes is confused with other songs about the good old stuff.
First line:
Let grasses grow and water flow in a free and easy way.
Chorus first line:
Ye guagers all from Donegal, Galway and Wesford, too.

In Mudcat DT, the song is mis-titled "Real Old Mountain Dew," which is a different song.

Looking around the net, versions attributed to Harrigan show up in which some of the text is changed. Original sheet music is online in the Lester Levy Collection. The chorus 1st line has the incorrect spelling 'guagers'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:22 PM

Mark,

Wayne Erben traced WORKING ON THE NEW RAILROAD back to the 1870s in Arkansas. I called the songs, I've Been All Around this World. I play different chords and sing different melodies, There are some similarities.

I WISH I WAS A MOLE IN THE GROUND

   G            D          G
I wish I was a mole in the ground,
                                  D
Yes, I wish I was a mole in the ground.
          G                                          Em
If I's a mole in the ground I'd root that mountain down,
       G            D            G
And I wish I was a mole in the ground.

I sing Tempy which is a nickname for Temperance. Some people sing Bessy, Kempy.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:42 PM

Does anyone have the lyrics to the 1921 version in Frank C. Brown NC Collection by Fred Moody Jonathan's Creek, Haywood County?

I guess this is one of the earliest collected versions.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: MOLE IN THE GROUND
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 09:15 PM

MOLE IN THE GROUND

I wish I was a mole in the ground (2x)
If I's a mole in the ground I'd root that mountain down;
I wish I was a mole in the ground.
2
I don't like a railroad man; (2x)
A railroad man will kill you when he can
And drink up your blood like wine.
3
Oh, Tempy wants a nine-dollar shawl; (2x)
When I come over the hill with a forty-dollar bill
Oh, it's "Baby, where you bee so long?"
4
And it's "Where have you been so long?" (2x)
"I've been in the bend with rough and rowdy men."
"'Tis "Where have you been so long.?"
5
I wish I was a lizard in the spring; (2x)
If I's a lizard in the spring I'd hear my darlin' sing;
I wish I was a lizard in the spring.
6
Oh, Tempy, let your hair roll down; (2x)
Let your hair roll down and your bangs curl around;
Oh, Tempy, let your hair roll down.

Fred Moody, 1921, Jonathan's Creek. Tune provided. No. 173, Frank C. Brown Coll. North Carolina Folklore, vol. 3, "Folk Songs from North Carolina," ed. Henry M. Belden and Arthur Palmer Hudson.

Musical score- "The singer was a student at Rutherford College in 1902. It seems quite clear that the stresses extending several measures beyond their normal length are due more to the peculiar temperament of the singer rather than to structural characteristics." P. 124-125, No. 173, The Music of the Folksongs, ed. Jan P. Schinhan, The Frank C. Brown Coll. North Carolina Folklore.
A second score, from Miss Pearle Webb, Avery Co., also is provided, p. 126.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 09:19 PM

Great Q,

How about this early version: LAST GOLD DOLLAR. Tom Kelley, Hindman, Knott Co., Ky., 1913.

"Last Old Dollar" or "My Last Gold Dollar" is the other closely related song.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Richie
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 09:24 PM

By the way, Lunsford learned the song from Fred Moody so Moody really should get a lot of credit for it.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 10:19 PM

Last Gold Dollar, Darlin' You Can't Love But One, New River Train, I'm Goin' Where ..., etc. etc.
The simple verse form must have steam dozen songs and variants attached and lots of floaters.

Some versions of these at www.banjohistory.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: fretless
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 11:20 PM

I've always thought of Mole in the Ground as a play party song, and Lunsford's version -- the "standard" one I learned years ago -- as one rendition but not canonical. When I play the tune for elementary school groups, we do it as a game where I do the mole verse and then they take turns naming animals and I make up verses to go with their selections. I figure that's perhaps where the verses in Lunsford's version originated, and that's why the sequence doesn't seem to make much sense.

By the way, the kids always pick tyranosaurus rex as one of their animals.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: KIMBIE
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:04 AM

This is a version recorded by Jackson C Frank on his album 'Blues Run The Game':

KIMBIE

Kimbie wants a nine dollar shawl
Kimbie wants a nine dollar shawl
She wants a nine dollar shawl
And I need a mackinaw
Hey baby where you been so long

Baby where you been so long
I've been in that state pen
With them rough an' rowdy, rough an' rowdy, rough an' rowdy men
Hey baby where you been so long

Baby where you been so long
I've been in your state pen
And I've gotta go back again
Hey baby where you been so long

Kimbie let your hair hang down
Kimbie let your hair let it hang down
Let your hair hang down
And your bangs all curl around
Kimbie let your hair hang down

Kimbie let your hair let it hang down
Let your hair hang down
And come the morning, you know I'll be gone
Yea baby let your hair hang down

I wished I was a mole in the ground
I wished I were a mole in the ground
If I was a mole in the ground
(Oh that)? I'd tear, I'd tear this mountain down
I wished I was a mole in the ground


Rog


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: LesB
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:32 AM

Sorry folks, up above I said that the song Kimbie, which I sing, was on a Doris Henderson LP. Of course it was (as Rog said) Jackson C Frank.
Anyone know what's a "Mackinaw"?(4th line), I've always sung "a mac and roll"
Cheers
Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,Michele Callaghan
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:38 AM

Also, Michael Cooney has a good version on one of his 1970s recordings and Pete Seegar has a good two verse version on his record of animal songs for children.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 11:36 AM

Yes Les' I believe it's a type of coat.
mackinaw

Rog


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM

Les, from the "Frozen Logger"
My lover came to see me upon one freezing day;
He held me in his fond embrace which broke three vertebrae.

He kissed me when we parted, so hard that he broke my jaw;
I could not speak to tell him he'd forgot his mackinaw.

I saw my lover leaving, sauntering through the snow,
Going gaily homeward at forty-eight below.

It's a coat commonly used by lumbermen among others.


Elizabeth LaPrelle's new (2nd) CD "Lizard In The Spring" where she does a fabulous redition of "Mole In The Ground" she says comes from a recording of Green Bailey from 1929 which she "shifted a bit with her recollections of Doc Watson's version. Her's is very similar to Q's posted above.
I do something closer to what John MacKechoen (Sp?sorry) does, I'm fonder of Campy & "been locked up in the pen with those banjo picking men" version.

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 12:06 PM

Anyone know what's a "Mackinaw"?(4th line), I've always sung "a mac and roll"

It's mac 'n all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: ROLL ON BUDDY
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 12:32 PM

The nine dollar shawl, the rough and rowdy men, and the state pen seem to be a recurrent theme. Note verses 3,4 and 6 in this song recorded by Rambling Jack Elliot


ROLL ON BUDDY

Roll on buddy, roll on
Roll on buddy, roll on
You wouldn't roll so slow If you knew what I know
Well that's roll on buddy roll on

I've got a home in Tennessee
I've got a home in Tennessee
I've got a home Down in Sunny Tennessee
And it's roll on buddy, roll on

Tempie wants a nine dollar shawl
Tempie wants a nine dollar shawl
I come over the hill with a forty dollar bill
And it's baby where you been so long

Baby where you been so long
Baby where you been so long
Well I've been in the pen with the rough and rowdy men
And it's baby where you been so long

Well I never liked no railroad man
I never liked no railroad man
'Cause a railroad man will kill you if he can
Drink down your blood like wine.

Baby where'd yuh stay last night
Now baby where'd yuh stay last night
Well I slept in the pen with the rough and rowdy men
And that's baby where'd yuh stay last night

Roll on Buddy, roll on
Roll on Buddy, roll on
You wouldn't roll so slow if you knew what I know
Roll on Buddy, roll on.


Mackinaw gets a mention in 'The Frozen Logger' recorded by Cisco Houston.

Rog


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 12:58 PM

Living in Canada, already some have had to don their mackinaws- struck me as impossible that some folks wouldn't know what they are- and then I remembered fifty years ago, working in Houston, where even a figleaf can seem a tad too warm.

Right now I'd like to be 'going where the water tastes like wine' instead of coming out of the tap with ice cubes in it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: LesB
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 07:44 AM

Thanks, I now know what to wear if we ever have a cold winter over here in the U.K.
Cheers
Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,Simon
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 08:34 AM

Mackinaw ... cool new word of the day
You can see what they look like here !
http://www.riverjunction.com/catalog/ccoats/mackinaw.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 12:59 PM

Mackinaw is a cool 'old' word. A blanket coat, the blankets mentioned in 1822 (Oxford English Dictionary). Originally the word was spelled Mackinac (pronounced 'Mackinaw'). Made into a coat, several references c. 1900 but the first is 1872 (OED).
Blanket coats also sold by Hudson's Bay and Pendleton Mills, Oregon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,also..
Date: 08 Nov 08 - 07:49 AM

Richard Thompson's..'wanna be a mole in a hole'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Fortunato
Date: 08 Nov 08 - 08:48 AM

I'm sittin' on Hanlon Mt. on the east side, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford's people are just a stones' throw over on the other side. We've given a copy of the Smithsonian recording mentioned above to local folks hearabouts who danced at his home on Turkey Creek road.

The music is alive and well, down here in Leicester, NC (Asheville).

cheers,
chance


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: LAST GOLD DOLLAR
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 12:00 AM

LAST GOLD DOLLAR

Oh, my last gold dollar's gone,
Oh, my last gold dollar's gone,
Well my board bill's due, my whisky bill too,
And my last gold dollar's gone.

She's a darling little girl I know,
She's a darling little girl I know,
She's a coming down the stair,
Combing back her curly hair,
She's a darling little girl I know.

Oh darling when I had you
I laced up the shoes you wear
But now I'm bound in the walls of jail
Your little feet must go bare.

She's dodging from the frost and snow
She's dodging from the frost and snow
Her little feet are bare 'cause she has no shoes to wear
She's dodging from the frost and snow.

Oh darling six months ain't long
No darling six months ain't long
Six months ain't long for me to be gone
No darling six months ain't long.

Well I'm going to the west this fall
Oh I'm going to the west this fall
I may do well and I may catch hell
But I'm going to the west this fall.

As sung and played by George Gibson on 'Last Possum Up the Tree' (June Appal CD)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 11:36 PM

Haywire Mac AKA Harry K. McClintock also did a version of LAST GOLD DOLLAR.


Mark Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM

It was entitled "My Last OLD (not Gold) Dollar". Can the person "Jeep Man" who posted on 19.2.2000 (8.44 pm) the statement that "Old Mountain Dew" was written by Zeke Morris rather than Bascom Lamar Lunsford, back this up by providing (approximate) dates? Lunsford died at the age of 91 on 4.9.1973 (according to the Sleeve Notes on "Bascom Lamar Lunsford: Ballads, Banjo Tunes, and Sacred Songs of Western North Carolina) which means he was born about 1881 or 1882, which means that he would have been about 39 when he wrote the song (as he claimed) in 1920 (although the song was apparently released by Brunswick in 1928). This is all more than 80 years ago!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 03:59 PM

Off the top of my head I believe the "original" was by a husband and wife duo and that with their agreement Lunsford re-wrote some of the verses. This may have been discussed in the Lunsford biography "Minstrel of the Appalachians".
I just checked and I got it arse about face, Lunsford does claim to have written it in 1920 and it is credited to Scotty Wismen and Lunsford. Seems that Lunsford sold part of his rights to the song and Lulabelle and Scotty then recorded it.

Hoot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:20 PM

(Some of this has been posted, but a summary will help my old brain keep these songs straight).

"Last Gold Dollar," Bascom Lamar Lunsford, from the album "If You Ain't Got the Do-Re-Mi," Smithsonian Folkways, mp3 can be downloaded at Amazon.com for $0.99.

"My Last Gold Dollar," two versions, are in Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 4, pp. 114-115, with brief musical score. He notes that it also appeared as "My Last Ole Dollar" which are printed in Spaeth and Lomax (FSNA).
The Traditional Ballad Index lists the song under "My Last Gold Dollar, " with the "Ole" or "Old" listed as a variant. McClintock used "Old."
The 'gold' refers to gold-backed paper money, issued during the Civil War, and, I believe, in circulation for some time after. "Old" is more understandable nowadays.

"Mole in the Ground" is a floating verse which appears in some versions of "Last Gold Dollar."
As a song "Mole in the Ground," Lunsford recorded it in 1924, but it had appeared in collections before then, e. g. Brown, North Carolina Folklore, vol. 3, no. 173, prints a six-verse version of "Mole in the Ground" sung in 1921 by Fred Moody (has Tempy verses).

Lunsford is usually credited with "Old Mountian Dew." In earlier posts, I have referred to earlier 'Mountain Dew' songs, but Lunsford's seems to be unique.
The Harrigan song hasn't been posted, but I doubt that Lunsford knew of it or that there were folk versions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: I wish I was a mole in the ground
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM

Wrong about gold dollars! They were actual USA gold coins minted for circulation 1849-1889. The song "Last Gold Dollar" is about a coin, not a pretty piece of paper.

The USA did issue gold backed paper money known as Gold Certficates in denominations ranging fro $10 to $100,000. Unlike silver backed Silver Certificates and unsecured United States Notes, Gold Certificates were never issued in $1, $2, ad $5 denominations. (The $100,000 Gold Certficates were only used to settle accounts among central banks, and were never released for general circulation).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Aug 14 - 08:49 PM

Somebody sang this at our singaround last night. I forgot was a good song it was. My wife wanted to know what it means to "root that mountain down." I think I explained that adequately, but then I was stumped when she wanted to know why a mole would want to do such a thing to a mountain. Hell, I dunno. Maybe he wanted to make it into a molehill, to pay back those people who do it the other way around. Or maybe he had a deep-rooted mole-mountain animosity, and needs to see a moleshrink or something. Guess I'll have to ponder that for a while...


In the meantime, here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song. Note that the earliest version indexed by the Ballad Index was 1921, sung by Fred Moody and found in Volume III of the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, posted by Q above (click)

I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground

DESCRIPTION: "I wish I (was/were) a mole in the ground (x2), If I was a mole in the ground, I'd root that mountain down...." The singer complains of Kempy's expensive tastes and his troubles with drink and/or the law. He may wish to be other things.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1921 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: animal money hardtimes floatingverses dancetune
FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
BrownIII 173, "Mole In the Ground" (1 text)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 900-901, "I Wish I Wuz a Mole in the Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
Rosenbaum, p. 167, "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
Courlander-NFM, p. 144, "(I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground)" (1 text)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 152-153, "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 394, "Mole In The Ground" (1 text)
DT, WISHMOLE*

Roud #4957
RECORDINGS:
Green Bailey, "I Wish I Were A Mole In The Ground" (Conqueror 7255 [as Amos Baker], 1929; rec. 1928; on KMM)
Frank Bode, "Tempy" (on FBode1)
Chancey Bros., "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" (on FolkVisions2)
Eugene Jemison, "Girls, Quit Your Rowdy Ways" (on Jem01)
Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" (OKeh 40155, 1924); (Brunswick 219B, 1928; on AAFM3, BLLunsford01); (BLLunsford02, FMUSA)
Pete Seeger, "Mole in the Ground" (on PeteSeeger09, PeteSeegerCD02)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "I Don't Like No Railroad Man" (floating lyrics)
cf. "My Last Gold Dollar" (floating lyrics)
cf. "New River Train" (tune, floating lyrics)
cf. "Oh, Honey, Where You Been So Long?" (lyrics)
File: BAF900

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 09:48 AM

Just for the record, Justine Donovan, Barry Finn's widow, sings "I Wish I Was a Mole In the Ground". Often at our Press Room sessions.

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 04:11 PM

"If you kill a lizard in the spring the spring will go dry." -- "Local Superstitions," Lancaster County [Pennsylvania] Historical Society, 1905.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 04:29 PM

"If you kill a lizard in the spring the spring will go dry" was also in "Virginia Folk Lore" in the Raleigh, North Carolina _Morning Post_, 11/16/1899, and in similar or identical articles in the Hagerstown, Maryland _Daily Mail_, 11/18/1899, the Somerset, Pennsylvania _Herald_, 12/6/1899, the Freeport, Illinois _Journal Standard_, 2/2/1900, and the Ironwood, Michigan _News Record_, 2/17/1900.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: GUEST,Dave Ruch
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 05:51 PM

Doc Watson explained the song once as being in the voice of a guy who got tired of climbing a big mountain every day to get to work (and back again to come home), so he wished he could do like a mole would and "root" a tunnel straight through.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 06:49 PM

"'Oh! I really wish I was a mole! The wild-cat might come as soon as she pleased, then.... I could dig through the earth a great deal faster than she could.... [H]e never cares what sort of weather it is.... Oh! It must be very nice to be a mole!'" -- from the children's book _The Squirrels And Other Animals..._, 1842.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 02:15 PM

http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdVPE.asp?ppn=MN0094711&ref=google


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 October 9:35 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.