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Lyr Add: French Broad River, The

Charley Noble 24 Feb 02 - 07:51 PM
Bill D 24 Feb 02 - 08:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 02 - 10:29 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 02 - 08:41 AM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 02 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,DonB 24 Feb 11 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Feb 11 - 12:40 PM
Charley Noble 24 Feb 11 - 08:32 PM
Janie 24 Feb 11 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Feb 11 - 08:46 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 11 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Feb 11 - 11:25 AM
Charley Noble 26 Feb 11 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 11 - 08:12 PM
Charley Noble 27 Feb 11 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Franz S. 27 Feb 11 - 12:57 PM
Charley Noble 28 Feb 11 - 07:38 AM
Franz S. 01 Mar 11 - 09:17 AM
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Subject: ADD Chords: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 07:51 PM

I have fond memories of meeting with Obray Ramsey in the mountains of western North Carolina in 1963. One of the traditional songs he sang was this one, backed up with his rippling 5-string banjo (to get chords relocated correctly copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12):

SONG OF THE FRENCH BROAD RIVER
(Traditional Collected & sung by Obray Ramsey)
  C-F—C------------------------F----C------F—C-------------------F---C 
In the mountains and the val-leys where the French Broad Riv-er flows,
-------------G---------C--G--C---G--C----G-C------F-C
If it could write the his-tor-y of the migh-ty things it knows,
--F------C----------------------------F-----C----F---C--------------F-C
It would write of Boone and Croc-kett, Jack-son and the Cher-o-kee,
-----------G---------------------C-------------------G—C—F--C
Flowing down through Car-o-lina from the hills of Ten-nes-see.

Chorus:
C-----F----C--------------------F---C---F-C----------F---C
Come and sit down by the riv-er, ling-er with it all day long,
--------G------------------C---G-C---G-C—G---C-F---C
You'll hear a thousand voic-es join to-ge-ther in this song;
--------------------------F----C----F----C--------F---C
The far off cries of bygone days still linger in the air,
--------G--------------C----------------------G----C---F---C
On the banks of the riv-er, you can hear them sing-ing there.

From the Pink Pits to the Painted Rocks the Indian made his stand,
Up and down the river, with his bow in his right hand;
Coming from the lowlands, dressed in buckskin, with a gun,
The white man pushing westward, the setting of the sun. (CHO)

From the Big Bald Mountain, down the Edge of Tennessee,
That's the Laurel Valley with its trace of Cherokee;
To the Mountain Island, Laurel River rolls along,
Flows into the French Broad, as she sings her mighty song. (CHO)

Up the French Broad Valley you can hear a lonesome sound,
That's the deer hound baying as he runs the black buck down;
Heading up some mountain glen, he makes a running fight,
He's heading for the balsalms, he's fighting for his life. (CHO)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 08:16 PM

as commonly happens, it WAS posted before, in this thread ....I was trying to get in in, and somone beat me to it, due to my own messed up schedule. It always bears bringing it to the attention of others, though.

(BTW...as I understand it, this was actually written BY Obray. Whether that makes it UN-traditional is one of those discussions...it sure sounds like it should be!@)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 10:29 PM

There is some confusion in the first post; the meetings may have been in western North Carolina, but the French Broad river is completely in Tennessee. I used to cross it near Sevierville, on my way to work at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs through Knoxville.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM

Bill D. -

I did the original posting of the lyrics as "Guest: Roll & Go-C." I thought some folks might be interested in the chords to the song. You are right that Obray actually wrote the song, which is mentioned in the notes on his recording Blue Ridge Banjo, Washington WLP 707. The notes also state that "the French Broad River...winds its way through Tennessee and Western North Carolina."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 08:41 AM

Charley...no wonder!...it is not a common record, and I wondered where another fan had come from....

SRS...the river really does run 'briefly' thru N. Carolina!...I crossed it once on my way to a meeting near the border...sadly, I never got to sing the song for the nice guy who lived near it and loved that kind of music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 05:37 PM

I have this vivid memory of driving with my friend Franz up from Greenville, TN, up into Western North Carolina. We picked up two hitchikers who noted the banjo in the back seat, broke open the case and proceeded to serenade us with Cripple Creek, Soldier's Joy, and several other mountain tunes. They also explained what all those white crosses were for on the switchbacks.

Once we got near Marshall, we looked up Franz's buddy who'd been living there for a year or so in a small valley with just enough room for a shack, a stream and the state road. He'd been writing songs, playing banjo, and was the one who introduced us to Obray.

I also went ground hog hunting with Obray which involved driving up and down hill roads in his blue Corvair, with his trusty rifle and scope. We brought back a nice fat one for supper, made a pleasant change from canned baked beans.

I have more memories coming back now about a truck ride up to the hills with a load of locust poles. We helped load them in exchange for guiding us to a supplier of White Lightning. We must have bumped around for hours as our guide stopped at several dozen houses and explained in detail our mission to his friends. We finally brought back a case of Mason jars brimming full, celebrated that night, and I even remember meditating for what seemed like hours with a security bucket on the floor in front of me. What joy!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST,DonB
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 12:25 PM

Do just a bit of research folks. The French Broad is MOSTLY in N.C. It begins near Rosman, NC and travels roughly 200 miles before it gets to where it joins the Holston River and forms the Tennessee River.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 12:40 PM

Never mind the geography. Is the tune any good? Can I hear it (or better yet find a MIDI or abc) on the net?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 08:32 PM

Leeneia-

At some point I'll have to record this one but it's not going to happen soon. Maybe someone else has a recording already transformed into MP3 format.

It's a lovely flowing tune!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Janie
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:33 PM

leenia, it is not necessary to "nevermind the geography" in order to inquire about the tune.

Unless, of course, one is only interested in the music, and not the history that informs the lyrics.

Nothing wrong in being only interested in the music, but pretty rude to dismiss some one who is providing information about the history and lore that informs the song.

The French Broad is, to me, a rather startling river. I've done a little paddling on it. One doesn't generally expect to encounter such a broad river, at least in substantial sections, flowing through the the Appalachian mountains. Had a huge impact on migratory patterns of European immigrants.   Combined with the Great Valley of Virginia, the two routes funneled to different migratory waves of Europeans into, and then over and on west and south, of the Appalachian mountains. The first wave, pre-Revolution, was a mix of Welsh, English, and Scots, Scots-Irish and German. The second wave, about 20 years prior to the Civil War, included many Irish, as well as Welsh and Germans.

The impact on the Cherokee, as well as the Muscogee (aka Creek) Indians, in addition to some lesser known tribes of both waves was profound, but the second immigration of Europeans had the most detrimental impact - it was that wave that built the final critical mass and will to attempt to completely drive out Native American cultures from the southeast mountains.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 08:46 PM

"They also explained what all those white crosses were for on the switchbacks."

Charley, where I live, crosses are put on the roadside where someone had a fatal accident. Is that what the crosses were for when you saw them?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 08:56 PM

Leeneia-

Gosh, yes! What else would they be for?

We were very lucky that the local folks decided that we were amusing, didn't slit our throats, and the only lethal attempts at our health were made via Mason jars filled with white lightning.

I'm wondering if I took any photos of that trip? I don't think so but my buddy Franz may have.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Feb 11 - 11:25 AM

"What else would they be for?"

I dunno. Hundreds of miles from me and 40 years ago, they might have been something else. Marking the turn-off to a remote chapel or cemetery, maybe.

Heck, now I'm thinking about four crosses on Ward Parkway, at the big curve heading into the Plaza, where innocent kids only 14 and 15...
=============
I have to agree with you about the lethal white lightning. I once saw a photograph of an illegal still, and there were a couple of dead possums in the mash. Standards are way down since the days of Darling Cory, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Feb 11 - 01:16 PM

We cut the white lightning 50/50 with cider and it was still quite lethal. The morning after was the only time I let Franz drive. I was still almost comatose.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 11 - 08:12 PM

Charley, it was 1962, not 1963, and yes, I did take some pictures. Not very good, but the Thirsty Dragon is clearly visible in one of them.   I took my wife to Madison County a few years ago and drove some of the back roads. The tobacco allotments were still in vogue, but the cabins were gone from Hayes Run.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 09:45 AM

The "Guest" above was Franz, obviously in a hurry, who has posted some vintage photographs on his Facebook page of where we stayed in our brief visit to Madison County. We need to sort out the formalities of linking to that page.

The "Thirsty Dragon" referred to was my old 1953 Mercury, painted a bright orange.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: GUEST,Franz S.
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 12:57 PM

But Charlie, we're looking at a black 1950 Ford coupe, on which we had to replace the taillight cover when we got rear-ended outside of Roanoke VA. And I guess I have to reset my cookies.

On that trip we were in vited to a house party (or was it my solo trip earlier?) which turned out to be at the home of Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Excellent music.

Wilma Dykeman has written a fine "history" of the French Broad, which I am about to reread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 07:38 AM

The Ford was dark blue and a 1951 but we're getting closer! And, yes, when we got rear-ended I thought that would be the end of our trip. But our rear bumper took out the front end of whatever hit us and the broken taillight cover was easily replaced. And the State Trooper firmly supported us two Yankee college boys from the blustering Southern senior citizens in the other car with the bad brakes. My faith in the Union was restored!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: French Broad River, The
From: Franz S.
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 09:17 AM

There is a free dowload of Obray Ramsey's "Blue Ridge Banjo" album, including "Soung of the French Broad" (though not all the verses Charlie posted), at:

Mediafire


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