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Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days

GUEST,Mimsey 06 Feb 01 - 07:27 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 01 - 08:27 PM
GutBucketeer 06 Feb 01 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Mimsey 08 Feb 01 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,petr 08 Feb 01 - 03:23 PM
Stewie 08 Feb 01 - 05:17 PM
Dale Rose 08 Feb 01 - 09:38 PM
GutBucketeer 08 Feb 01 - 11:09 PM
Stewie 09 Feb 01 - 09:48 PM
GutBucketeer 09 Feb 01 - 11:31 PM
Stewie 10 Feb 01 - 01:26 AM
GutBucketeer 11 Feb 01 - 01:42 AM
GUEST,Mimsey 12 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Melissa Kirby 17 Jan 11 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,DWR 17 Jan 11 - 09:39 PM
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Subject: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,Mimsey
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:27 PM

Hi, folks! A friend of mine is looking for the lyrics to a song he calls "Cruel Slavery Days." Has anyone got a clue on this one?

Thanks, Mimsey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 08:27 PM

Well, this page (click) says that this old-timey song can be found on a CD from the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, called "The Galax Way."
Sounds like an interesting CD.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 10:36 PM

I have a CD by the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters which might be the one. I remember I have the song on one of my CDs. It's at work, so I will try to remember and bring it home and get the words down for you.

JAB.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,Mimsey
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:13 PM

That would be greatly appreciated! Does sound like an interesting CD... when were the Bogtrotters doing their thing? Maybe I'm a youngster, or just out of synch with that kind of stuff when it was around.... :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:23 PM

just a quick point, Greg Hooven the fiddle player and one of the singers from the New Ballard Bogtrotters was over at Fiddle Tunes festival in Port Townsend Wash. about 4 years ago and performed this song. Hes a fine fiddle player from Galax Virginia, and learned a lot from Tommy Jarrels style of fiddling. Interestingly, his band the New Ballards Bogtrotters is named after his grandfathers band the Ballard Bogtrotters (from the 30's) hope that helps. petr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:17 PM

'In Those Cruel Slavery Days' is an original composition by Fields Ward of Grayson County, Virginia. I have a 1929 recording of it on 'Fields Ward and His Buck Mountain Band' (Historical LP 8001). As a result of a disagreement with the record company (Gennet), none of the recordings from the 1929 session were issued on 78. If JAB is unable to supply the lyrics, I will transcribe it for you later. There is also some fascinating information by Fields about the various bands his family were involved in, including the Bog-Trotters. I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment, but I will get back to you with it.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: Dale Rose
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 09:38 PM

There ya go, Stewie. I knew you'd have that info right at hand!

Just to clear up a misconception that some may have, we are talking about TWO different Bog-Trotter bands, separated by a good many years.

On another note, the link provided by Joe is for The Old Time Herald, and the review was written by well known old time fiddler (and historian) Kerry Blech of Hart & Blech.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CRUEL SLAVERY DAYS^^
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:09 PM

Well here are the lyrics from the CD. No other credits are given. JAB

CRUEL SLAVERY DAYS
From The New Ballard's Branch Bogtrotters
The Galax Way,
Heritage Records 1995

On the day that ol' Marster died
All the slaves we stood and cried.
Those agonizing cruel slavery days
For they knew we would be sold
for the silver and the gold.
Those agonizing cruel slavery days

Oh, They sold my brother Sam
To a man from Alabam'
My sister went to Georgia far away.
Then they broke my heart for life
when they sold my darlin' wife.
Those agonizing cruel slavery days

[Instrumental Break]

In that ol' Virginia State
Where they made us separate.
Those agonizing cruel slavery days
Well they broke the old man's heart
when they said we had to part.
Those agonizing cruel slavery days

When I'm all alone at night
and the fire is burning bright.
And I think of happy days of long ago
When us darkies all would sing
and the banjers they would ring.
Those days could never come to me no more.

[Instrumental Break]

When our work on earth is done
and we gather one by one.
In that land where all tears are washed away
There we'll need to part no more
on that beautiful golden shore.
Where there will never be no cruel slavery days.

JAB ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:48 PM

The original recording by Fields Ward differs only in very minor respects from what has been posted by JAB - Fields second line is 'all the darkies stood and cried' and he sings 'in' before 'those agonising, cruel slavery days' in every instance. He also has 'loving' rather than 'darling' wife.

For those who may be interested, the following is some information on Fields Ward. There are also a couple of queries.

Davy Crockett Ward was born in Grayson County, Virginia, in the early 1880s. He learned the fiddle at an early age and played with relatives who lived near their home on Buck Mountain. His son, Fields, born on 23 January 1911, was one of several boys in the family who played music. Crockett moved his family to Ballard Creek in 1921 where they formed a stringband known as Crockett Ward and His Boys. This group went on to successfully audition for Okeh in 1927. Between 1921 and 1940s, Crockett and Fields played with the family band and also with many famous Galax-based musicians such as Emmett Lundy and Crockett's brother, Wade. Around 1934, the family band reorganised into the Bogtrotters which played at the White Top Folk Festivals and the Galax Fiddlers Convention that began in 1936. They were recorded by the Folksong Archive of the Library of Congress. After the Second World War, Fields moved to Maryland where he died on 29 October 1987. [Information from Kip Lornell 'Virginia's Blues, Country & Gospel Records 1902-43' Uni Press of Kentucky 1989 pp205-206].

On the sleeve of the Historical LP issue of the 1929 Genett recordings, Fields told his own story:

I was born in Buck Mountain, Grayson County, Virginia on January 23, 1911. My parents, Crockett and Perlina, were musicians and played all string instruments. I started playing guitar at the age of 12 and eventually learned all the string instruments. The first jobs I remember playing were for bean stringings, corn huskings and county fairs. Our pay was usually food staples or just a good time. My first recording session was for the Okeh Record Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1926 with my father's band which included my brothers, Sampson (banjo) and Curren (auto harp). We recorded 8 sides, including 'Sugar Hill' and 'Dead Heads and Suckers' which I wrote. I was 16 years old at the time. Later our group played in movie houses (Grayson County), as background music for silent films. Then I started working with the Buck Mountain String Band which was led by my uncle Wade Ward (who later recorded for the Okeh Record Company). The band consisted of 3 pieces which played at auction sales and square dances. We were paid by donations from the crowd, generally $20 for the evening. In 1934, I started a road show with our band the Bog-Trotters. Of the 7 pieces in this band, only Eck Dunford, the violin player, could read music. On January 9, 1940 we recorded approximately 150 sides for the Library of Congress. We also played on the Columbia Broadcasting Station which originated out of Roanoke, Virginia. The program was called The American School of the Air and was transmitted to 108 stations. I was then offered a job by John Lair (who later recorded Red Foley). Not wanting to travel around with my wife and family, I turned it down. I jobbed around, but due to illness, was forced to stop playing music. I got a job in public works until 1964 when I started reactivating my musical career.

The records in this album were recorded in Richmond, Indiana during March of 1929. The session lasted a week. We recorded 3 to 4 hours per day. After travelling to the studio in zero weather, we would let our instruments warm up for an hour and start to play. After one rehearsal, the master was cut. I was 20 years old and, as leader, gave the signals to start, stop and also set the tempo. This is the best material we ever recorded and I still hold dear the music from this wonderful session. Due to a disagreement with the Gennet company and the parties involved, the contract was voided and destroyed, and the masters were retained by me as my property. This is the first time they are available to the public.

Fields Ward

Just a couple of anomalies that 'Catters such as Dale or Arkie may be able to explain for me. First, the Historical LP (8001) of the Gennet recordings is titled 'Fields Ward and His Buck Mountain Band'. However, according to Lornell's discography, some of the sides were listed by Gennet as by the Grayson County Railsplitters, others as by Ward and Winfield with the Grayson County Railsplitters (Winfield = Ernest Stoneman), and one simply as by Ward and Winfield - and none as 'Buck Mountain Band'. The Buck Mountain Band (Wade Ward, Van Edwards and Earl Edwards) recorded 4 sides for Okeh in October 1929. What is the story here? Was it simply that, Arnold Caplin, the producer of the Historical LP, decided to call it Fields Ward and His Buck Mountain Band? Or were the othere names decided on by Gennet without reference to musicians involved? Perhaps it was the source of the disagreement referred to by Fields. A second curious anomaly is that Caplin gives the recording session as March 12-16, (which accords with Fields account of about a week's recording) but Lornell's discography gives 2 recording days – 5 March 1929 and 7 March 1929. This is not a different session because Lornell gives the Historical 8001 reference for each cut. A third anomaly is that on the Historical LP sleeve 'Bog-Trotters' is spelled thus, whereas Lornell has it as 'Bogtrotters' for the same 1934 band.

Can anyone explain these anomalies for me?

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 11:31 PM

stewie: Thanks a lot for the information. It is a great song, and I always hate not knowing anything about a song that I'm interested in.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 01:26 AM

My pleasure, JAB. I love reading the reminiscences of oldtime and other traditional musicians. The Historical LP would not have had a very wide circulation so I thought it worth while to post Fields' recollections here. Now if someone can answer those queries about the session itself ...

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 01:42 AM

Man, this is what Mudcat is all about. :-)

I love it. simply love it.

Thanks again Stewie.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,Mimsey
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM

You guys have seriously filled and overshot my expectations! Thank you JAB for the lyrics, Stewie for the history, and a kiss to everybody else, too!!

Mimsey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,Melissa Kirby
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 08:30 PM

I sure am glad someone still thinks of Greg, I miss him so much and I miss his music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Slavery Days
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 09:39 PM

Stewie, I am seeing your comment about help on the discrepancies nearing on ten years too late. Back then, I had two sources that likely would have known, Bill McNeil and Charles Wolfe. Now they're both gone and I have nowhere to turn in such matters. I had only a few conversations with Wolfe and many, many discussions with Dr. Bill in the few short years I knew him. At that, it turned out to be way too few there as well. Arkie, who knew him for a lot longer and even had an office right next to his for a time, would probably say the same thing. We are always thinking of loose ends that never got tied up.

Dale


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