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


Appalachian Snake Handler Music

GUEST,chinacatrider in Brighton, England 12 Jul 00 - 06:18 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 00 - 01:33 AM
GUEST,chinacatrider 13 Jul 00 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Baby Snake in K.Y 06 Jul 08 - 12:04 AM
katlaughing 06 Jul 08 - 12:32 AM
Sorcha 06 Jul 08 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,BanjoRay 06 Jul 08 - 07:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jul 08 - 07:31 PM
Janie 07 Jul 08 - 12:30 AM
GUEST,I Believe 25 Dec 12 - 10:19 AM
Acme 25 Dec 12 - 12:02 PM
Bobert 25 Dec 12 - 08:53 PM
Bobert 25 Dec 12 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Dec 12 - 10:20 PM
Phil Cooper 26 Dec 12 - 03:59 PM
Janie 26 Dec 12 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Gern 26 Dec 12 - 09:27 PM
RichM 27 Dec 12 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Stim 27 Dec 12 - 05:12 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,chinacatrider in Brighton, England
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 06:18 AM

I recently saw a TV program on Appalachian snake handlers and was completely blown away by the music, especially the electric guitar playing. I was hoping that one of you folks out there would know where I could find an album or more information about it. Thanks for the help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM

Hi - I didn't find anything about music, but I think you'll find this link (click) fascinating.
Also, take a listen to this broadcast - I think I'll wait until daytime before I do....
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 01:33 AM

Also this:
[DIGEST]MACEDONIA, Ala. (AP) - Punkin Brown stalks around the altar of the Old Rockhouse Holiness Church, his head bobbing, his voice a stream of guttural barks from the depths of his chest. He is "in the Word," and the congregation is clapping and shouting.
Thursday, December 10, 1998 The spirit to take up snakes
The Associated Press
MACEDONIA, Ala. (AP) - Punkin Brown stalks around the altar of the Old Rockhouse Holiness Church, his head bobbing, his voice a stream of guttural barks from the depths of his chest. He is "in the Word," and the congregation is clapping and shouting.

Then, nonchalantly, he bends over and plucks a 3-foot yellow timber rattlesnake from a wooden box on the altar.

The rattler stiffens in a "V" shape in Brown's right hand as he hops across the stage on one leg like rocker Chuck Berry. He sets the snake on the altar and strokes its upstretched head. Members of the congregation cool themselves with funeral home paper fans as a guitar player picks out a blues riff.

"They say it won't bite," the beefy 34-year-old evangelist shouts. "If it won't bite, there ain't no sense in being scared ... I seen that big copperhead in there bite, but I know one thing: That the Lord told me it was all right. The Lord said it would be all right."

Brown knows they can bite. The preacher from Parrottsville, Tenn., has been bitten 22 times since he began handling serpents 18 years ago.

And he knows how serious the bites can be. His 28-year-old wife, Melinda, mother of their five children, died of a bite three years ago at a revival in Kentucky.

That was a rattlesnake, like this one.

And on this October day on Sand Mountain in northeast Alabama, the family's sad history repeats itself.

Brown doesn't even flinch when the rattler sinks one fang into the base of his left middle finger. If he is scared, it doesn't show.

"God don't ever change," he said, his voice ever so slightly less forceful than before. "God don't ever fail, and he never will."

Brown hands the snake to another man and walks behind the altar. A man in a striped shirt follows behind, stroking Brown's head and neck, his own head jerking violently up and down.

"Na-na-na-na-na-na-na," the man said, his voice like a car engine trying to turn over. Brown is calm.

"God's still God, no matter what comes," Brown said, his voice relaxed and reassuring, the fire and brimstone completely gone from it. "No matter what else, God's still God."

These are his last words of preaching.

Brown starts to fail. He walks in front of the altar, then back up and paces a little. He braces himself, his left hand on the pulpit, his right on Pastor Billy Summerford's shoulder. His head is down and he swallows hard.

Brown raises both hands in the air. His friends hold him up for a few seconds, then lower him to the floor.

A video camera rolls, taking in the alarming scene and the incongruous, sweetly smiling face of an oblivious little girl. Someone asks Brown if he wants a doctor. He shakes his head and points to the sky.

"JEEEEEsus, have your way, JEEEEEsus," the congregation shouts in warbling voices.

A woman in black starts screaming hysterically and convulsing, wagging the blond ponytail that reaches her waist. Another woman runs back and forth with wet cloths for Brown's head.

"Right now, God! Right now, Jesus," the man in the striped shirt screams toward the ceiling. "Help my brother right now. I'll glorify you. I'll praise you for it."

After about 10 minutes, the simple green and white church goes silent, except for some muffled sobs. The little girl in the video still smiles, uncomprehending.

Brown is dead.

The New Testament's book of Mark calls serpent handling one of the "signs" that true believers must follow.

And John Wayne "Punkin" Brown Jr., a rising star in the Pentecostal faith, was a true believer.

Brown felt he was following God's law when he defied a judge's order following the death of his wife in August 1995. The order restored to him custody of his children from his in-laws, but with conditions: No poisonous snakes around the house and no more snake-handling services for the children.

Now, the orphaned children are the objects of a new custody fight, pitting Appalachian tradition against child welfare law, faith against science, grandparent against grandparent.

Punkin Brown's parents, Peggy and John Brown Sr., who have their own snake-handling church in Marshall, N.C., are seeking custody of Jonathan, 12; Jacob and Jeremiah, 7; Sarah, 5; and Daniel, 4.

But on Oct. 7, as their son's body was laid out for viewing at a funeral home, a juvenile court judge in Cocke County, Tenn., told the Browns that he needed to determine whether the children they had helped raise would be safe with them. They, too, have admitted violating the order.

In a preliminary decision, Judge John Bell gave temporary custody to the children's maternal grandmother, Mary Goswick of Plainville, Ga. She is a former serpent handler herself, though she said that's all in the past.

The custody case has forced believers to explain their faith once again to a world they wish would just leave them alone.

Cynthia Porter, a serpent handler from Kingston, Ga., and a friend of the Browns, said the practice is misunderstood.

"I have a college education. I work in the medical field. I'm not stupid. I'm not occult. I'm not uneducated," she said. "I know exactly what I'm doing."

But Melinda Brown's father, Lewis Duvall, said his grandchildren don't - and said they are much better off away from all that.

During the earlier custody dispute, Brown's in-laws testified that the children woke in cold sweats from nightmares about snakes. Now, nightmare and reality blend.

"All we want to do is get them comfortable in school and to where they won't be raised up in such an atmosphere of wondering whether their granddaddy or their grandmother or their uncle will come home ... in a box or they'll get snake-bitten," said Duvall, who is divorced from Mrs. Goswick.

"The father evidently did not have enough love in his heart to want to live and take care of his children."

But Punkin Brown's friends say it was all about love. He even said so himself in an interview a year after his wife's death.

"I never lost my faith in God. But I felt panic because she was my wife. I loved her," Brown told Scott Schwartz, a Smithsonian Institution archivist and author of a book, "Faith, Serpents and Fire," due out in February.

Sitting under a tent at the True Tabernacle of Jesus Christ in Middlesboro, Ky., the church where Melinda was bitten, he also reflected on his children.

Jonathan, the oldest, watched as the timber rattler "dog-bit" his mother, grabbing the soft flesh of her left arm in its fangs and shaking, refusing to let go as the blood flowed. She languished for two days before succumbing.

"Jonathan is terrified of snakes," Brown acknowledged. But he said he had done what he could to prepare the children.

"The kids knew what to expect if the Lord didn't move," he told Schwartz. "I told the kids Melinda had died, and they ain't said nothing to me that would indicate that they held me responsible for her death."

Brown found himself facing a decision between loving God and loving his family. In the end, he decided they were one and the same.

"I let people talk me out of my handling of serpents, and I felt that I had let Melinda down for this," he said. "I only hope the Lord doesn't hold it against me. That's maybe why I suffered more, because I didn't listen to the Lord. I can't change that, but I hope I do better next time."

Brown told a friend he dreamed that he would die if he went back to Alabama to preach. But could he have ever dreamed of the turmoil his family would face?

"My son gave his life for what he believed," John Brown Sr. shouted after Judge Bell made his ruling. "Is this the freedom that we are guaranteed by the Constitution?"

Yes, but it has limits, said Ron Flowers, professor of religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Courts have ordered Jehovah's Witness children to receive blood transfusions despite their parents' religious objections, he said. Sick children have been removed from the homes of parents who rely on faith healing.

"The free-exercise clause (of the Constitution) is not absolute," Flowers said. "The courts have ruled as early as over 100 years ago that if the government perceives that something is being done in the name of religion that, in fact, is harmful to an individual or even to society, that the government may step in and prohibit that behavior or curtail it in some way."

The Brown case would be different if a parent were involved, said Nathaniel Gozansky, a law professor at Emory University in Atlanta and expert on custody issues.

"The problem here is you can't get to the religious freedom issue," he said. "The parents don't have the right to control the religious education of their children from the grave."

Ralph Hood, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and friend of the Browns, said snake handlers forbid their children to touch serpents and often keep the kids at the back of the church. He said he has never heard of a child being killed or even injured at a snake-handling service.

Removing the Brown children from a loving home and from the church their parents died for is not in their best interests, he said.

"Within that tradition, the children can understand it that God has called (their parents) home, and that someday they will be reunited with them," said Hood, who testified on Punkin Brown's behalf following the wife's death. "It adds an additional burden to the children, who have already been burdened, ridiculed and denigrated."

Mrs. Porter said she has talked to the girl, Sarah. She said the children are adrift and miserable.

"He (Judge Bell) just pulled the rug out from underneath them," she said, her eyes flaring with indignation. "I mean, it's like somebody's on fire and you throw gasoline on them."

Mrs. Porter said it is an outrage that families can be punished for risking their lives for religion when others risk theirs for money or fame.

"They don't take race car drivers' kids away from them," she said. "They don't take boxers' kids away from them. They're standing there beating each other to death, literally. ... They're committing suicide.

"I know people say we're committing suicide. No. God giveth and God taketh away. Our lives are in his hands - period."

Mrs. Goswick thinks God has delivered her grandchildren to her.

Bell said he hopes to schedule a permanent custody hearing before Christmas. Meanwhile, the children are enrolled in their new schools in Georgia.

"They're getting attended to the way I think little children ought to be," she said. "By the helping grace of God they'll be here the rest of their life, I hope. Because the little children, they need an opportunity to grow up and make up their own minds. They don't need it made up for them."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,chinacatrider
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 08:35 AM

Thanks very much for the info. The radio broadcast is excellent. Here are a few more links for anyone else interested: http://www.les.appstate.edu/courses/appalachia/religion/snake.htm http://athena.english.vt.edu/~appalach/essaysS/snakes.htm

I still haven't found any music. Perhaps a good project awaits...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: My Hero
From: GUEST,Baby Snake in K.Y
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 12:04 AM

Punkin Brown was my hero. He was avery close friend of my family. He was the greatest snakehandling preacher that ever was in the Holliness church. I miss him very much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 12:32 AM

There is a person who posted THIS VIDEO on youtube who claims to have studied and documented it for over five years. Perhaps they could give you more info.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 06:56 PM

They're all mad. Mad, I say. Mad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 07:07 PM

It could be worse, though .... they could be tryinbg to tell you there is a God.
Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 07:31 PM

All looks rather unkind to the snakes. Try that kind of thing in this part of the world and the RSPCA would put a stop to it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jul 08 - 12:30 AM

Karen Kramer did an excellent documentary video on the Jolo Snake Handler congregation in 1977.

Also see the novel by Lee Smith, "Saving Grace."

The excellent music is common to many Holiness and Pentecostal churches in the southern Appalachians, and not just within snake handlers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,I Believe
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 10:19 AM

I have grown up in this belief. As an adult seeking my own salvation I started to study Gods Word for myself and after considering all options and doctrines thed taught my heart that Holiness is the path He wants me to walk. If you don't believe in God or His Son, Jesus Christ then thats your choice. But God is real and the Bible is His Holy Word. Serpent handling is taken directly from the Word of God. It can be found in Mark 16:18. There are many different doctrines even within the Holiness community. Everything Ive ever seen published on the religion is from one doctrine. True Holiness children you will not see on line, on documentaries or in books. Holiness folks know how the world perceives them and will not put there worship services out there to be ridiculed and put down. If you really want to know about the true Hopiness way, then you have to get out there and witness it first hand. All are welcome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Acme
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 12:02 PM

Ah - a guest who doesn't understand that the Bible is a series of allegorical stories, meant to teach by fictional example, much like American Indian trickster tales (which were, ironically, banned wherever possible by christian missionaries who didn't like the wealth of teaching in what they considered heathen religions). When you take trickster or biblical examples literally you get yourself into trouble. Either bit by a snake or someone eats your asshole. (Trickster stories are broadly bawdy, another strike against them!)

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 08:53 PM

If ya' grow up in Virgina - as I did - you know the difference between "old time music", "bluegrass music" and "mountain music"... The "old time" and "mountain music" are closer related than "bluegrass music"... All three use the same instrumentation so it's more about the lyrics and the rhythm... "Blue grass" has one rhythm: balls to the wall fast...

"Old time" and "mountain music" have a different rhythm... Slower sometimes... Pauses... "Old time" and "mountain" also are more apt to have Biblical or spirituality references...

Kinda hard to explain if ya' ain't been around it all...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 09:17 PM

Part B... Snakehandlers have no interest in "bluegrass"... It's gonna be either "mountain" or "old time" because they tend to be Biblical based...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 10:20 PM

It's not "Mountain" or "old time" music, Bobert. Given your musical tastes, I am surprised you don't know more about this. Snakes and theology aside, it's great music. Holiness Snake Handlers Webs.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 26 Dec 12 - 03:59 PM

I see that the original post was from 2000. Some might find this song by Dave Carter interesting. Here's a youtube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQod5waZH7Q

Never had any luck getting the blicky steps to work.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: Janie
Date: 26 Dec 12 - 05:56 PM

Thanks for the links, Stim. I'm not positive but I think most of them are taken from Karen's documentary, (1977.)

The music is not necessarily unique to Snake Handler congregations, but can also be heard in other pentacostal/holiness churches. As you say, regardless of theology, it is great and joyful music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 26 Dec 12 - 09:27 PM

Silly River Sage wasn't especially up to Christian charity by scoffing at Holiness beliefs politely presented by a guest. How quickly we leap to bigotry when we see the beliefs of others. Beware anyone who wishes to tell you exactly how the Bible should be read.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: RichM
Date: 27 Dec 12 - 03:55 PM

Delusional thinking must be confronted every time.

Believe what you want, but when it harms children, it becomes too much.

This silliness will die out but the harm it causes till it does...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Appalachian Snake Handler Music
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 27 Dec 12 - 05:12 PM

I think that's right, Janie. Somewhere, maybe in Google, that
was credited as being the official site for the documentary. As to
your comments,

The kids have lost enough, and they need the security of knowing that they aren't a risk of losing yet another caregiver to snake bite. That is situational, though.

I don't think you can dismiss this all as "silliness" or "delusional". It does raise questions, but they are not questions about "them"(because they quite literally are us), it raises questions about what we tell ourselves about what happens to us, and the ways that we contrive to explain it.


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: 25 May 11:56 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.