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Banks of the Old Pontchartrain (Williams/Vincent)

DigiTrad:
ADALIDA
CHARLIE RUTLEDGE
LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN
LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN 2
LAKES OF THE PONCHARTRAIN (4)
THE LAKES OF PONTCHARTRAIN 3


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Lakes of Pontchartrain (132)
Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song (55)
Chords Req: The Lakes of Ponchartrain (68)
Lakes of Ponchartrain on banjo (11)
Lyr Req: The Man That Shot the Dog (Mick Quinn) (22)
Spelling of 'Pontchartrain' ? (16)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Ponchetrain? / Ponchartrain (47)
Lyr/Chords Req: Lakes Of Ponchartrain (Deanta) (13)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Pontchartrain - Irish Words (77)
Lyr Req: On the Banks of Lake Pontchartrain (13)
Lakes of Ponchartrain through Irish lang (7)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Ponchartrain (from Sam Henry) (16)
Origins: Lakes of Ponchartrain (2) (closed)
Lakes of Ponchartrain (20)
Recording Req: Lakes of Ponchartrain (17)
Inf. Lakes of Ponchatrain? / Ponchartrain (4) (closed)


Robin2 20 Jun 01 - 09:46 PM
RangerSteve 20 Jun 01 - 10:00 PM
Robin2 20 Jun 01 - 10:19 PM
toadfrog 20 Jun 01 - 10:33 PM
Noreen 20 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM
Robin2 20 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM
Skipjack K8 21 Jun 01 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Sylvie 21 Jun 01 - 07:22 AM
Noreen 21 Jun 01 - 08:23 AM
Skipjack K8 21 Jun 01 - 09:32 AM
Noreen 21 Jun 01 - 09:44 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 03 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Les B. 29 Jan 03 - 10:48 PM
masato sakurai 29 Jan 03 - 11:46 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 03 - 02:58 AM
GUEST,Ryan 03 Feb 03 - 09:50 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 03 - 09:58 PM
Stewart 05 Feb 21 - 05:41 PM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 21 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 21 - 07:31 PM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 21 - 07:49 PM
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Subject: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Robin2
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 09:46 PM

Does anyone know how old "The Banks of Ponchatran" is? Does it date from the Civil War, or earlier?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 10:00 PM

I'm almost positive Hank Williams Sr. wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Robin2
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 10:19 PM

You're kidding? How can I find out?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: toadfrog
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 10:33 PM

It is all over the net, for example, HERE, described as "Traditional." I very much doubt they'd have the nerve to do that to Hank Williams.


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Noreen
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM

If you mean the Lakes of Pontchartrain, the history of the song has been discussed at length on this very forum- I can't do better than link to Malcolm Douglas's post in this thread.

But I now see (from the thread I just linked to) that there is a Hank Williams song called ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PONCHARTRAIN.

So, Robin, which one do you want? :0)

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Robin2
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM

Well, the Hank William song isn't quite what I had in mind :)
Thanks to everyone who posted previous threads... that helps me out a lot!

Robin


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 04:52 AM

Well sorted, missus. I've been having a do with Eric over those tunes, as I'd got the old Christy version in me head, and he'd got the Hothouse Flowers on Shazza's Diamond Mountain Sessions CD. He won, so we did that. Super song.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: GUEST,Sylvie
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 07:22 AM

There's a simply beautiful version of this song done by Jane Siberry on her latest cd "Hush". She gives little info in the sleeve notes, only to say that it's a song she learned in Ireland and that she tried to stay as true to the "original" as possible. (this is a pretty good cd, by the way, for some sweetly sung, peaceful folksongs.)


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Noreen
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 08:23 AM

Skip, I've only got the Paul Brady one in my head, not heard Hothouse Flowers- would that be the lovely Sharon Shannon? Must look/listen out for it. Yes, lovely song, when I don't get the worms mixed up... :0)

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 09:32 AM

It's those bloody alligators' worry me.


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Noreen
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 09:44 AM

Maybe it's the alligators that eat the worms?


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Subject: ADD: On the Banks of the Old Ponchartrain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 08:49 PM

I think it's worthwhile to post these lyrics, which were posted by our old friend "Oldtimer" at Cowpie (link above). I can't imagine the tune is the same as "Lakes of Ponchartrain." Is it? there certainly are similarities in the story.
-Joe Offer-


ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PONCHARTRAIN
Recorded by: Hank Williams, Sr.
Written by: Hank Williams Sr. & Ramona Vincent

I [A] travelled from [A7] Texas to [D] old Louis-[A] anne
Thru valleys, o'er mountains and [E7] plains
Both [A] footsore and [A7] weary I [D] rested a-[A] while
On The [E7] Banks Of The Old Ponchar-[A] train.

The fairest young maiden that I ever saw
Passed by as it started to rain
We both found a shelter beneath the same tree
On The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain.

We hid from the shower an hour or so
She asked me how long I'd remain
I told her that I'd spend the rest of my days
On The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain.

I just couldn't tell her that I ran away
From jail on a West Texas plain
I prayed in my heart I would never be found
On The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain.

Then one day a man put his hand on my arm
And said I must go west again
I left her alone without saying goodbye
On The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain.

Tonight as I sit here alone in my cell
I know that she's waiting in vain
I'm hoping and praying someday to return
To The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain.

HANK WILLIAMS/LOVESICK BLUES (Aug 1947-Dec 1948)
1985 POLYDOR 825-551-1 Y-2


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 10:48 PM

The tune I heard (and sing) to Hank William's "Banks of the Ponchartrain" is the same as the original one used for "When the Curtains of Night are Pinned Back by the Stars," from the late 1800's.

Brief fragments of that song also show up in a so called traditional cowboy version, but it was a written song, from sheet music. (I think it's at Levy's site) I've always assumed Hank and his co-writer lifted the tune for their song some 60 years later. They, however, don't include the chorus from the original.

To complicate matters further, there is a bluegrass version of "Curtains of Night" - same words, but totally different tune. It's very modal, and I think may have been done by the Stanley Brothers.

And, the tune for "Curtains of Night," and Hank's "Banks of the Ponchartrain" is certainly not the same as "Lakes of Ponchartrain".


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 11:46 PM

'On The Banks Of The Old Pontchartrain' - Hank Williams [Real Audio] (Real Country Archives Page 8) from The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favorites.

I'll Remember You in My Prayers [midi] (from Public Domain Music: The Music of William Shakespeare Hays.

The sheet music (from the Levy collection) is:

Title: I'll Remember You in My Prayers. A Beautiful Song and Chorus.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Composed by Will. S. Hays.
Publication: New York: John L. Peters, 1869.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice (solo and satb chorus)
First Line: When the curtains of night are pinned back by the stars
First Line of Chorus: Go where you will on land or at sea

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 02:58 AM

Thanks for the link, Masato - it's a good song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: GUEST,Ryan
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 09:50 PM

As there is only one lake Pontchartrain, wouldn't you think the name of the song would be 'Banks...' rather than 'lakes...'?


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 09:58 PM

With Lakes Maurepas and Borgne (and some others when the water is a little high) there is a nice cluster of lakes there.


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Subject: RE: Banks of Ponchatran...how old?
From: Stewart
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 05:41 PM

Origins: On The Banks Of The Old Pontchartrain

I participate in at least two Zoom song jams and try not to sing the same song more than once. So, going deep into my song collection I ran across this song, which I haven’t sung in quite a while. I first found “On The Banks Of The Old Pontchartrain” on the Wolf Folksong Collection here. It was sung by a Mrs. W.B. Apple and recorded on 7/30/62. Her recording singing this song is here.

Wikipedia gives some background on the song here. “According to biographer Colin Escott, Ramona Vincent, a crippled woman, wrote the words of the song as a poem and sent it to Hank Williams, who put a melody to it”. Hank Williams recorded the song in 1947
here. It was his worst-selling record.

The melody Hank used was not original; it was from the song "When the Curtains of Night are Pinned Back by the Stars," It’s a simple melody, which gets a bit monotonous and boring long before the eight verses are over. Because of that I wrote a variation of the melody, which I use with the third and sixth verses – that makes it less monotonous and adds some interest to the story I think. Here is my score

That’s about all one can say about this song. Joe Offer posted this song on MudCat here but not much more was said about it then. I like the song, it’s an interesting story.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Banks of the Old Pontchartrain...how old?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 07:21 PM

Hi, Stewart - I think we should keep the discussion in this thread, since most of this existing thread is about "Banks" and not "Lakes."

There is no listing for "Banks" in the Traditional Ballad Index or the Digital Tradition. When I was there in 2016, I drove around about half of Lake Pontchartrain on the north, east, and south; and I didn't see any banks. All I saw were concrete seawalls. I think it could be more natural on the north and west sides of the lake - I couldn't find a way to drive there. I have to says that the part I saw wasn't very scenic - too much concrete. This Google Image Search will show you what I saw.
Note the lighthouse - that's the home of the Pontchartrain Conservancy, and there are wonderful exhibits there about the efforts being made to bring the lake back to its natural state. Those people just love this lake.

Here's the version from Wolf that Stewart linked to.

ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PONTCHARTRAIN
Sung by: Mrs. W.B. Apple
Recorded on 7/20/62

Click here to listen to the original recording

(Comment by Mrs. Apple: "Now, this is called, 'On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain,' and I remember very well when I learned it and who I learned this one from. Lolly Linebarger, she married a Paulsgrove, and she sang a lot. But in later years, she has forgotten the song, but anyway, this is the song that she sang to me.")

I traveled from Texas to low Louisian',
Through valleys, o'er mountains and plain.
Both footsore and weary, I rested a while
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

The fairest young maiden that I ever saw
Passed by as it started to rain.
We both found a shelter beneath the same tree
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

I ventured a smile, but she thought I was bold.
I hastened to try and explain,
But somehow I knew I would linger a while
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

We hid from the shower an hour or so.
She asked me how long I'd remain.
I told her I'd spend the rest of my life
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

As time drifted by, we fell deeper in love,
A love that could just bring her pain.
I knew that one day I would leave her alone
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

I just couldn't tell her that I ran away
From jail on an old Texas plain.
I prayed in my heart I would never be found
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

Then one day a man put his hand on my arm
And said I must go west again.
I left her alone without saying goodbye,
On the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.

Tonight as I sit here alone in my cell,
I know that she's waiting in vain.
I'm hoping and praying someday to return
To the banks of the Old Pontchartrain.


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Subject: ADD:Banks of the Old Pontchartrain (Williams,etc)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 07:31 PM

Here's my transcription of the Hank Williams recording. It was on a record that was produced in 1947 and 1948, so I couldn't find an exact date for it.


THE BANKS OF THE OLD PONTCHARTRAIN
(Hank Williams, Ramona Vincent)

I traveled from Texas to old Louisanne
Through valleys, o'er mountains and plains
Both footsore and weary I rested awhile
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain

The fairest young maiden that I ever saw
Passed by as it started to rain
We both found a shelter beneath the same tree
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain

We hid from the shower an hour or so
She asked me how long I'd remain
I told her that I'd spend the rest of my days
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain

I just couldn't tell her that I ran away
From jail on a West Texas plain
I prayed in my heart I would never be found
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain

Then one day a man put his hand on my arm
And said I must go west again
I left her alone without saying goodbye
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain

Tonight as I sit here alone in my cell
I know that she's waiting in vain
I'm hoping and praying someday to return
To the banks of the old Pontchartrain


Writer(s): Hank Williams, Ramona Vincent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FtSmOZrXoo

And here's a recording by D.L. Menard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni-LNlGFcZs


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Subject: ADD: Banks of the Pontchartrain (Griffith?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 07:49 PM

But wait! There's another song titled "Banks of the Pontchartrain," apparently written by Nanci Griffith.
Here's a performance she did in 1987: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqjO-GUMOCA

BANKS OF THE PONTCHARTRAIN
(Nanci Griffith)

I'm goin' back where my garden blooms all year
Where the wintertime speaks softly in the fallin' rain (??)
I'm goin' back to my green eyed lover there
And we will dance along the banks of old Lake Pontchartrain

Oh, I've grown pale beneath the streets of Montreal
Where the voices ring like bells in French-Canadian
And the rivers stand imprisoned till the thaws
I am alone at night and dream of my own Pontchartrain

CHORUS:
Take me to the station... I am late to catch my southbound train
Oh, I'm gonna call my cousin Libby
She will be waiting by the tracks when I roll in
I'm gonna roll across America
Just to stand beside my Pontchartrain again

These old rails shake like thunder through the night
Soon I'll have my green eyed lover's arms to comfort me
Oh, I can see my cousin Libby by his side
Her hair will flow in waves like on Lake Pontchartrain

(Repeat chorus)

I'm goin' back where my garden blooms all year
Where the wintertime speaks softly in the fallin' rain
I'm goin' back to my green eyed lover there
And we will dance along the banks of old Lake Pontchartrain
Yes, we will dance along the banks of old Lake Pontchartrain
We will dance along the banks of old Lake Pontchartrain
And here comes the train


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