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Lyr Add: Damned Old Piney Mountains (C Johnson)

DigiTrad:
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING?
KEEWANAW LIGHT
NEW HARMONY
NORTH COUNTRY TRAGEDY


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Way Down the Road (Craig Johnson) (39)
Lyr Req: Soo Line / Fire in the Jackpine (Johnson) (19)
Craig Johnson songs (42)
Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson) (25)
Lyr Req: Roll, Big Sandy, Roll (Craig Johnson) (14)
Obit: Craig Johnson, December 5, 2009. (37)
Craig Johnson - CD available (34)
Lyr Req: Damned Old Piney Mountains (9)
Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy (Craig Johnson) (16)
The telling takes me home (2)


GUEST,Duffy Keith, guest 25 May 02 - 12:57 PM
Francy 25 May 02 - 01:09 PM
Bill D 25 May 02 - 04:20 PM
Bill D 25 May 02 - 06:42 PM
catspaw49 25 May 02 - 06:54 PM
Bill D 25 May 02 - 06:56 PM
catspaw49 25 May 02 - 07:17 PM
Art Thieme 25 May 02 - 08:38 PM
catspaw49 25 May 02 - 08:44 PM
katlaughing 25 May 02 - 10:18 PM
BanjoRay 26 May 02 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Duffy Keith 27 May 02 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,schlimmerkerl 31 Jul 09 - 11:54 PM
Charley Noble 01 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM
kendall 02 Aug 09 - 06:30 AM
maeve 02 Aug 09 - 06:48 AM
Bill D 02 Aug 09 - 02:59 PM
Charley Noble 02 Aug 09 - 03:07 PM
Bill D 02 Aug 09 - 08:00 PM
GUEST 30 Jul 13 - 06:55 PM
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Subject: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: GUEST,Duffy Keith, guest
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:57 PM

Hello out there...I heard a song which used the phrase in it's chorus "Ya damned old Piny Mountains"...does anyone know who did the song, might you have the lyrics....Duffy Keith

Click for related thread


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Subject: Lyr Add: DAMNED OLD PINEY MOUNTAINS (Craig Johnson
From: Francy
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:09 PM

None other than Sandy Paton........Written by Craig Johnson  
Well sit down buddy we'll dring and smoke
Woman don't you weep for me
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke
You damned old piney mountains
My heart got broke in the yew-pine hills
Lord and my time ain't long
(similarly)
I started into logging when I was in my prime
Hitchin' up spruce to the big drag-line
And the skidders started buckin' when the gears come down
Makin' God's own thunder on the new-cut ground

We was fightin' over nothin' and drinkin' too hard
Ridin up to camp on a flat-wheel car
I was thirty years a-hangin' on the old chain break
I got laid off and paid off in 58

Now the skidders got sold to the scrap-iron yard
I moved down Virginia when the times got hard
And I lost my fingers to the steel band saw
My fiddle just hangs, untuned on the wall

Now the trees have growed up in the loggin' yard
And wildflowers bloom where the Big Shays blowed
And there's nothin' left for me but to drink and smoke
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.....
Great song and well done by Sandy....

Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D
Date: 25 May 02 - 04:20 PM

...and it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck to hear Craig sing this (have had the privilege several times..once in my own basement at a house concert Craig did a number of years ago)....this IS what it means to write songs "in the tradition".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D
Date: 25 May 02 - 06:42 PM

Yeah it's a fine song. Anybody know what's "the Big Shays"? I transcribed this off a tape of Craig a while ago, couldn't figure out "yew-pine" (still don't know what it means...) or Big Shays.

Rita


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 02 - 06:54 PM

A "shay" was a narrow gauge railroad steam locomotive used in logging and ming to bring the logs/coal/etc to the main rail line. They were small engines with a combination tender and cab adjoining the boiler.

Spaw....Railroader's kid


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D
Date: 25 May 02 - 06:56 PM

This is Ferrara again.... Francy skipped a line and refrain in the first verse. Should go like this:

Well sit down buddy we'll drink and smoke
Woman don't you weep for me
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke
You damned old piney mountains
Lost my fingers in a Galax mill
Oh, Buddy sing a sad old song
An' My heart got broke in them yew-pine hills
Lord and my time ain't long

.... also in the third verse I think it's "Lost my fingers to a steel band saw," not "the steel band saw," but that's just trivia. :)

Craig described the origins of this song. It's mostly made up of direct quotes from a man he had talked to -- around Galax, I guess, I didn't pay enough attention at the time. He said that as they talked, the man kept saying, "Buddy, sing a sad old song," and Craig would sing another song and then they'd go on talking. And while he and Craig were talking, the man also told his wife, "Woman dont you weep for me," and "well, my time ain't long now," or words to that effect.

Bill, or anyone else who has heard the story, have I got this right or am I having another senior moment?

Rita


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Subject: Lyr Add: DAMNED OLD PINEY MOUNTAINS (Craig Johnson
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 02 - 07:17 PM

Okay, now we have it on two threads.
I wonder if anyone ever clicks the clickies? The song is linked directly from the Folk-Legacy website on the other thread. But so we have it all properly as Rita noted the above post was missing, here it is direct from Folk-Legacy:
**********************************************************************
Some years ago in the mountains of West Virginia, Craig Johnson met an old logger, once a fiddler, who explained why he could no longer make music. He had lost all four of the fingers on his left hand. Craig listened to his story, sang him the requested "sad old song," and then wrote this outstanding one. As long as we have people like Craig making songs like this (and the next one), we can be assured that what I like to call our Continuing tradition" will do exactly that—continue. Folk-Legacy is proud to act as Craig's publisher.
(Sandy Paton)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, sit down, buddy, we'll drink and smoke.
   Woman, don't you weep for me.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.
   You damned old piney mountains.
I lost my fingers in the Galax mill.
   Buddy, sing a sad, old song.
My heart got broke in the yew-pine hills.
   Lord, and my time ain't long.

(Similarly:)


I started in to logging when I was in my prime,
Hitchin' up spruce to the big drag-line.
And the skidders started buckin' when the gears come down,
Makin' God's own thunder on the new-cul ground.


We was fightin' over nothin' and drinkin' too hard,
Ridin' up to camp on a flat-wheel car.
I was thirty years a-hangin' on the old chain brake.
I got laid off and paid off in '58.


Now the skidders got sold to the scrap-iron yard.
I moved down Virginia when the times got hard.
And I lost my fingers to the steel bandsaw.
My fiddle just hangs, untuned, on the wall.


Now the trees have growed up in the loggin' road
And wildflowers bloom where the big Shays blowed.
And there's nothin' left for me but to drink and smoke.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.


©1992 Folk-Legacy Records, Inc. Sharon, Connecticut 06069
Used by permission.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 May 02 - 08:38 PM

If I remember right, a shay is a geared locomotive-----doesn't have driving wheels like the higher speed locomotves had for propulsion. We had one from the Soviet Union pulling the rides at the Union, Illinois Railway Museum a few years back.

Craig first showed me this song in the dining room of a Washington D.C. house where he and Cathy Fink and a whole slew of extremely talented musicians were living. I was doing a concert for the Folk Soc. of Greater Washington that week and they put me up for those days and nights. It was a treat to get to know him then. I also learned Craig's songs "THE KEWEENAW LIGHT" and "THE SOO LINE" from him then. Both wound up on the first LP I did for Sandy Paton at Folk Legacy. And I'm pretty sure I was the one who recorded those first and showed a bunch of people what a great poet and songwriter Mr. Johnson truly is.

Two other songs by Craig are on my more recent 1998 CD.

Listen to the DOUBLE DECKER STRINGBAND CDs. Craig's is the high voice -- and probably the banjo too---but he can do it all.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 02 - 08:44 PM

It was a gearing mechanism to increase the tractive power out of a very small steam plant and made only to operate at low speeds.

Shay Locomotives

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 May 02 - 10:18 PM

Wasn't it Craig who also wrote the hilarious North Country Tragedy, Art..the winnebago, etc? I love singing that one...really camp it up. The others are some of my favs as well, esp. Soo Line.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: BanjoRay
Date: 26 May 02 - 10:53 AM

I have a superb acapella version of Ya Damned Old Piney Mountain by the string band Gandydancer, with Gerry Milnes singing lead, and Dave Bing, Mark Payne, Ron Mullenex and Jim Martin joining the choruses. Makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck. Cheers Ray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: GUEST,Duffy Keith
Date: 27 May 02 - 10:07 AM

Thanks a million for your responses, you made my day, everyone....! DK


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: GUEST,schlimmerkerl
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 11:54 PM

"Gandy dancer" comes from a brand of shovel made in Chicago. Railroad workers would chuck in the shovel and "dance" on the handle to pry up the crossties-- or do other track-laying work.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM

Thanks for reminding me of this fine song that I last heard out in Michigan years and years ago.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: kendall
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 06:30 AM

Sandy recorded this gem on the Golden Ring reunion. It's in the Folk Legacy catalog.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: maeve
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 06:48 AM

Bill D.- Regarding a "yew-pine"- I found this reference Yew Pine

In it, yew-pine is defined as a red spruce (picea rubens).

maeve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 02:59 PM

maeve- names get weird in the wood realm. Since I posted that in 2002, I found another one.

I had been working with the roots of Japanese Yew, a shrub, and liked it a lot, so I mentioned to a local friend that I wanted "Yew roots"...the shrub kind.

A few months later, he said he had some he had dug up from near his front door as he was remodeling....so I went and got them. They turned out NOT to be Japanese Yew, but something else...but looked good anyway, (he said, "well, they CALL it yew"...so I started using Google and found a number of references to Yew-Pine as Podocarpus macrophyllus, which fit the descripition.
   This may even be what was referenced in the song, as the shrub grows in those mountains where a lot of stuff won't.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 03:07 PM

Bill-

Very pretty work!

But I'm not sure that "Podocarpus macrophyllus" will scan as well as "yew-pine" in the song, but I'm willing to give it a try!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 08:00 PM

Charley...those Latin names are really hard to work in to the meter. I never could get Microberlinia brazzavillensis to work, either... *grin* Just sing "Yew Pine"...

(thanks)


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Subject: RE: ADD: Damned Old Piney Mountains (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 06:55 PM

Well it's been a long time since this thread was started, should have posted this little factoid years ago. Anyway, I asked Dwight Diller (from WV) and he said "Yew-pine" was/is a local name for red spruce.


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