Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


Help: Meaning of Six White Horses

DigiTrad:
COMING 'ROUND THE MOUNTAIN
EVERY YEAR
SONG WE SANG AT THE SINGSONG IN SING SING
YE CANNA SHOVE YER GRANNIE


Related threads:
Req: Comin' Round the Mountain doin' 90 MPH (44)
(origins) Origins: She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain (42)
Lyr Req: ye cannae get yer granny off the drugs (15)
Lyr Req:Oh ye cannae shove yer grannie aff the bus (49)
Chords Req: she'll be coming around the mountain (11)
Origins: coming round the mountain? (6) (closed)
Coming Round Which Mountain? (50)
Req: She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain-Belize? (3)
Lyr Req: Dinnae throw yir grannie off a bus ... (7)
Lyr Req: She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain (7) (closed)


GUEST,Bev and Jerry 28 Jun 02 - 02:20 PM
MMario 28 Jun 02 - 02:21 PM
Les from Hull 28 Jun 02 - 02:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jun 02 - 05:19 PM
khandu 28 Jun 02 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,dulcimer 28 Jun 02 - 06:51 PM
Stewie 28 Jun 02 - 09:38 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 28 Jun 02 - 09:54 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 02 - 09:54 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jun 02 - 10:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jun 02 - 11:03 PM
Bev and Jerry 28 Jun 02 - 11:48 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 29 Jun 02 - 12:14 AM
Lanfranc 29 Jun 02 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,JTT 29 Jun 02 - 08:56 AM
Bev and Jerry 29 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM
dulcimer 30 Jun 02 - 07:08 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 02 - 11:04 AM
Liz the Squeak 30 Jun 02 - 01:51 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 30 Jun 02 - 02:59 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Jun 02 - 03:06 PM
Bev and Jerry 01 Jul 02 - 01:53 AM
dulcimer 01 Jul 02 - 07:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 Jul 02 - 08:50 PM
harpgirl 01 Jul 02 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Chris Cooke 16 Nov 02 - 11:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 02 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Nov 02 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Richie 16 Nov 02 - 06:34 PM
Little Hawk 16 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM
catspaw49 16 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM
Little Hawk 16 Nov 02 - 07:44 PM
pavane 17 Nov 02 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,mad axe murderer 17 Nov 02 - 01:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Nov 02 - 01:59 PM
catspaw49 17 Nov 02 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Nov 02 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Nov 02 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Chris Cooke 17 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Richie 18 Nov 02 - 12:28 PM
Richie 18 Nov 02 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,Cliff Dyer, Guest 22 Apr 03 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,Q 22 Apr 03 - 11:37 PM
Wilfried Schaum 23 Apr 03 - 02:35 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 04 - 05:48 PM
Ebbie 13 Jan 04 - 07:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jan 04 - 08:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Jan 04 - 10:20 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jan 04 - 04:04 AM
Vixen 14 Jan 04 - 08:54 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Bev and Jerry
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 02:20 PM

In the song "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" there's a verse which goes: "She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes". Last night we got into a discussion of the meaning of this verse and no one could come up with it.

Anybody out there know?

Bev and Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 02:21 PM

The only other thing I can think of with six white horses would be a hearse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Les from Hull
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 02:30 PM

You usually have black horses for a hearse, don't you?

Driving six white horses would seen to mean that she had become very rich. Only the fanciest carriages had six horses and a matched team of six white horses had to be the fanciest of them all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 05:19 PM

"Six white horses in a line
Six white horses in a line
Six white horses in a a line
Going to carry me to my burying ground"

Blind Lemon sang about being carried to his grave in a hearse pulled by six white horses, and I don't think he was wealthy.

"Six white horses and a rubber-tired hack
Gonna carry me to the graveyard and they won't bring me back"

Without thinking a whole lot about it, it seems like six white horses is a fairly commonly used image. And as an image, it sure is more visual than six black horses, or six variegated color horses.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: khandu
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 06:01 PM

And there is the country song by Tommy Cash;

"Goodbye John, six white horses gonna carry you home

Goodbye John, they took you away before you sang your song"

This is another song about the deaths of the Kennedy's and King.

khandu


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,dulcimer
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 06:51 PM

I certainly don't have anymore factual basis, but if 6 white horse are a symbol of prestige and importance, it would refer to Ma Jones's status or the status that is to be accorded her.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 09:38 PM

Jerry, I believe Blind Lemon had only two white horses ['See that my grave is kept clean']. The Two Poor Boys [Joe Evans and Arthur McClain], who got it from Jefferson, recorded a version in 1931 under the title 'Two White Horses in a Line'.

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 09:54 PM

You might want to see if your answer might be inone of these old threads:

The DT:
Coming 'Round the Mountain
Threads:
She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain
Comin' 'Round the Mountain


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 09:54 PM

White is not an uncommon color of mourning in traditional Indo-European folk societies. It was the color historically associated with mourning from Ireland (the banshee is associated with wearing white, always) to Eastern Europe, though not usually associated consistently with Christian Europe. It is also the traditional color of mourning in China and India. In the Catholic church, both black and white vestments have been used for funerary rituals--white being the color used for children's funerals.

Weddings were also considered to be a time of mourning for the bride and the bride's family, as this little vignette about Russian folk weddings tells:

".

Among the most fascinating are the items used in the ritual of "parting with virginal beauty". Here we see the bride's headpiece, a ribbon, a miniature pine-tree decorated with ribbons, and an artificial braid. These articles all symbolized childhood; hence, this ritual signified the fact that, on marrying a man, a girl has to part with her childhood and all that is associated with it. The ritual "parting with virginal beauty" was performed solemnly in front of the bride's parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.

Of all the wedding exhibits, the costumes attract the most attention. An exceptionally beautiful garment was worn for the showing of the bride, when the groom and his parents would come to view her. In complete contrast is the costume worn by the bride at the shower party, which involved a show of ritual mourning. The material for this costume was composed of traditionally mournful colors, such as blue and white, and the costume was completed by a long white towel or scarf that veiled the bride's face. The Russian peasantry believed that it was necessary for the bride to dress as though in mourning, as this symbolized the death of her present life, with which she must part in order to prepare for her rebirth into a new life after the consummation of the marriage. Also exhibited here are costumes worn for the wedding ceremony itself, as well as those worn for the wedding party. For the "morning after the wedding night" ritual, both bride and groom wore particularly bright and festive garments, with a predominance of red symbolizing the new life, youth, and beauty of the marriage."

You can view the beautiful dress and read all about it here:

http://www.ethnomuseum.ru/---English---/love.html

Does that mean that "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" is about mourning? I dunno. Considering the song is, as I understand it, based upon the African American spiritual/work song "When the Chariot Comes" I have no clue what significance the color white has. The cultural meaning of ritual colors is extemely complex, and I'm not at all familiar with the color associations on the continent of Africa, though I'm sure the associations are varied, as they are elsewhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 10:08 PM

I think Les has the most likely interpretation, given the rather upbeat nature of the song...

Just to further confuse the issue, here's a quote from Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie":

Now six white horses that you did promise
Were finally delivered down to the penitentiary
But to live outside the law you must be honest
I know you always say that you agree
But now where are you tonight, Sweet Marie?

Someone'll probably say it's about heroin. I doubt it. I think it's just one of those symbols Dylan instinctively dredged up out of his incredible backlog of trad material. The 4rth and 5th lines are the really interesting part of the verse anyway.

- LH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 11:03 PM

You're right, Stewie: Shoulda thought about that one a little longer before posting. It's been awhile since I've listened to Blind Lemon. I must say, I liked Dave Van Ronk's interpretation of See That My Grave Is Kept Clean better than Lemon's. I guess Lemon couldn't afford to have the extra four horses...

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 11:48 PM

George:

Thelast link you suggested did provide some insight but apparently, the meaning of this song is shrouded in mystery. Thanks.

Bev and Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 12:14 AM

Les is absolutely correct. The poor relations are waiting for her to show up with her matched team and conveyance, which will be loaded with chicken and dumplings and everything else that their covetous hearts desire.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Lanfranc
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 05:22 AM

Then there are the six white horses that Anna Feyer offers to the judge along with gold and silver to ransom her brother Laszlo.

"Anna Feyer, Anna Feyer
I don't want your six white horses
I don't want your gold and silver
All I want is your sweet favours"

Why six? That song goes on to use thirteen:

"Cursed be the judge so cruel
Thirteen years may he lie bleeding
Thirteen doctors shall not cure him
Thirteen shelves of drugs not heal him"

Scope for a thread on the numerology of folksong?

Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 08:56 AM

I hope she's not in her hearse, considering that their reaction is

"With an aye yi yippee yippee yayyy"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM

The words are: "She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes"

Now if we're talking about a hearse, she could hardly be driving it unless you believe in reincarnation. If the six white horses indicated wealth, she wouldn't be driving them either. Her driver would be doing that.

We're just as confused as ever.

Bev and Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: dulcimer
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 07:08 AM

Bev and Jerry and Others--There may of other origins of the song and the tune and there may be many parodies, but the song refers to Mother Jones, who help organize the coal miners in the eastern US. The railroads, who either owned or carried or were in league with the coal companies, refused to let her ride the trains. So white horses, chicken dinners, etc are signs of her importance and the respect people had for her. I don't she why the mystery or the confusion. OR have a missed the point of this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 11:04 AM

I agree the song lyrics that we are familiar with (and were taught as children in school) reflect the sentiments of having Mother Jones coming to visit--but I'm not certain the song is about her. If I am not mistaken, these lyrics predate Mother Jones' organizing days. But I could be wrong about that.

My understanding is the song is one version of the African American spiritual "When the Chariot Comes" (as I stated above. There are other references--like killing the red rooster in the lyrics which obviously have some sort of cultural meaning as well, and likely the six white horses should be looked at in that broader context to that stanza to understand the song's cultural meaning to the community that wrote the lyrics. White horses and red roosters, the number six--all those things would have cultural significance to the folk community the song came from.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 01:51 PM

The Queen had 6 white horses on her gold coach during the Jubilee celebrations earlier this month.... does this signify anything? And who is this 'she' who'll be coming round the mountain anyway? And what is the significance of silk pyjamas?

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 02:59 PM

In the Traditional Ballad Index, the tune (according to Fuld) was in print in 1899 in "Old Plantation Hymns" but the text was "When the Chariot Comes." Fuld assumed that the lyrics of "She'll be Comin' ..." were more recent. The first printing was in Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag, 1927, pp. 372-373. Sandburg says the old spiritual was "made into "She'll be Comin'...." by mountaineers, and the song spread to railroad work gangs in the midwest in the 1890's."

Here is a piece of the sppiritual for comparison. Note that it is the chariot that is called "she" :

O who will drive the chariot when she comes? (twice)
O who will drive the chariot, O who will drive the chariot,
O who will drive the chariot when she comes?

King Jesus, He'll be driver when she comes, etc.

She'll be loaded with bright angels, etc.

She will neither rock nor totter, etc.

She will run so level and steady, etc.

She will take us to the portals, etc.

Sandburg calls the spiritual "old-time." "When the Chariot Comes" with allusions to the ship as "she," is a remake of "Old Ship of Zion," a spiritual collected in the 1870's.
For comparison, here is a verse from "Old Ship of Zion." (T. F. Seward, Negro Spirituals or the Songs of the Jubilee Singers, p. 29)

She is loaded down with angels, Hallelujah,
She is loaded down with angels, Hallelu,
And King Jesus is the captain,
And he'll carry us all home. Oh glory hallelu.

The "she" of the ship has turned into a chariot into a woman in the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 03:06 PM

That is so logical, why didn't I think of it? Doh!

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 01:53 AM

Dicho:

We like the idea that the song is based on "When the Chariot Comes". We have seen that elsewhere on the Mudcat.

Also, we like the idea that it refers to Mother Jones which we have also seen elsewhere on the Mudcat.

So are we to believe that the six white horses are not to be taken literally but more figuratively to indicate what a great person she was? Most of the other verses can be interpreted literally like "We'll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes" or "We'll all go down to meet her when she comes".

This sounds reasonable but what about the verse which says "We'll wear our red pajamas when she comes"?

Bev and Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: dulcimer
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 07:43 PM

I would think that this song is one of those that verses might easily be added to the local situation. Or the red pajamas verse may have been added much later around some campfire and may have just have been an attempt to be cute OR may be.........?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 08:50 PM

I imagine that if we looked at some of the scout and other songbooks, we will find a lot more than red pyjamas in the song versions- and six pink elephants as I heard sung years ago. There should be a number of parodies.

I don't see any relationships to Mother Jones (1830-1930) in the older versions, although her lifespan covers the period in question. I would expect the verse to be more specific. If the song was being used as a reference to her, I would expect that Carl Sandburg or Lomax would have mentioned it. If someone wants to make up verses about her and her work for miners and others, however, why not? A good tune with simple meter always lends itself to changes and additions.

Vance Randolph collected these lines in MO:
She'll be comin' round the mountain, charmin' Betsy,
She'll be comin' round the mountain, Cora Lee, etc.
This in a song called "Charming Betsy," but it shows how song ideas move around. I have wondered if "She'll be comin'...." and "Charming Betsy" are related.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: harpgirl
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 10:29 PM

"Six white horses came today..." Candy Geer's poem about John Kennedy as if by John-John, makes me think it is an Irish funeral tradtion...

http://www.istop.com/~viola/sixwhitehorses.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Chris Cooke
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 11:57 AM

What I find shocking is that no one has perceived the sexual interpretation of this song, as to me it seems quite clear. I am not talking about an adapted version sung by rugby players but the unaltered song. When she comes, it will not be gently, she'll be coming round the montain. When she comes, it will be so powerful she will be riding six white horses, white being a refence to the fact it will be the first time she has an orgasm as she is a virgin. Perhaps the song was originally about how virgin womens' first sexual experiences are very powerful, and as it is very catchy and easy to improvise to, everyone can make up their own verses, meaning the verses that have been memorised, have only had this done because they seemed good by whoever they were passed on to. Over the years different people with different views have added different verses, and it cannot be assumed the version we hear now was put together as a complete song. I feel that the rythym and some of the ideas are taken from "When the Chariot Comes" but it doesn't have to have the same meaning, as its too similar and thus would seem a waste of making a new song of it, unless its tone was humourous. I am not so confident about this, but the pink pyjamas may be a reference to the fact that it will be very pleasurable for the man as well, pink as an erotic colour??? Perhaps it means as soon as a woman consumates sexual intercourse, she become powerfully and obviously sexual in her behaviour, it is a revolutionary change in a woman's life.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 12:38 PM

Maybe you'd be as well to have a cold shower, Chris lad. I somehow thing you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick on this one.

Incidentally, white is now the normal liturgical colour for funerals and requiem masses in the Catholic church.

Isn't it normal to refer to white horses as being "greys"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 01:49 PM

Cris Cooke is trying to unseat Catspaw as our resident teller of tall tales.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 06:34 PM

Sigmund Freud lives! Chris, I'm not going to tell you about these dreams I'm having,

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM

Gimme a break, Chris! You remind me of this friend I had years ago who ascribed everything in life to sex. He had a sexual explanation for every letter in the friggin' alphabet! He couldn't talk about anything without dragging sex into it.

And by the way...if you think that females are incapable of having orgasms prior to losing their virginity...think again, lad! LOL!

- LH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM

I dunno' if Chris is trying to "unseat" me, but I sure as hell want some of whatever it is he's smokin'!!!

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 07:44 PM

I think the best way of unseating you would be either with that James Bond car or with a sleeping Siamese cat that you didn't happen to notice as you plunked yerself heavily down in the easychair, Spaw. :-)

- LH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: pavane
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 01:28 PM

About white horses - yes, the colour of a horse is its SKIN colour, not its hair. White horses are always referred to in equine circles as Greys, EXCEPT for the white horses of the Camargue, in France.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,mad axe murderer
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 01:47 PM

white horses normally are waves beaking before they hit the shore


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 01:59 PM

There's the fella who reported his dog missing. And they asked him "What colour is the dog?" "I don't know that" he says, "He was all covered in hair."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 02:01 PM

So what we have is a semi-naked surfer chick in a pink teddy riding the breaking waves to go in and get laid on the beach huh? Somehow I don't think that's what the writer(s) had in mind...........

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 02:13 PM

In redneck country, a white hoss is white and a gray hoss is gray. Its skin don't make no never mind. Tanning the skin after it's daid takes care of a lot of the problem.

Color depends on the genotypic and phenotypic variations.
Gray (grey) is just a whitening of black, bay or chestnut horses.
A couple of sites: Horse color
A more technical one: Geno and phenotypes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 02:21 PM

Revisions! Have Patience? Don' mind if ah do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Chris Cooke
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM

I think my interpretation was a viable possibility at least, as for the fact that women can have orgasms before their first sexual experience, I'm just saying that this one hasn't. Is there anyone out there who thinks this isn't even a possibility. I don't think I'm obsessed with sex, I genuinly beleive it is a very important part of life.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 12:28 PM

We could always change the title to: "She'll be Cuming Around the Mountain"

And we all know what "mountains" refer to!

Sorry Chris I don't agree,

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 11:36 PM

Here's what I believe is the meaning of the "Six White Horses:"

The white horse/horses are symbolic of traveling from life to death in the African-American culture. We sing an old spiritual with "two white horses in a line, waiting to carry me to d'other side."

Since the term, "two white horses" or "six white horse" is a common line in blues/spirituals it was appropriated in the "She'll be Coming Around the Mountain" song.

In the context of the song I don't think "six white horses" means anything but was a line combined in typical folk metamorphosis from the African-American expression. It gives her a kind of supernatural power (over death?) to "ride six white horses."

-Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Cliff Dyer, Guest
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:37 PM

A few years back, I was in Russia with some friends of mine (1996). We were hanging out with some russians, and they were all singing songs, and She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain was one of the only ones we could think of that all of us Americans knew, so we sang it for them, and it was immediately obvious to all the Russians what the song was about, even though it wasn't to us. For reference, here are the verses we used (if memory serves)

She'll be coming round the mountain.
She'll be driving six white horses.
We'll all go out to meet her.
We'll be wearing (red/silk/wool/fur) pajamas. (I can't remember which variation we used here)
We'll all have chicken and dumplings.
We'll (not she'll) have to sleep with grandma.

All of this, to a Russian mind, points to "she" as being winter. Cold winds come down off the mountains. Six white horses refer here to snow (I admit, this is quite different from the six white horses in blues). Silk, wool, or fur pajamas would all be very warm, and you would bring them out for winter time. Red I'm not sure about, but it could be a corruption, since another verse has red in that position (we'll kill the old red rooster). Chicken and dumplings is a common cold-weather meal, and in a house with no electricity, it would make sense for the children to sleep with the grandmother for warmth.

It's the only explanation I've heard that makes the song cohesive in all its verses. Also, we didn't sing the rooster line. I think we just forgot it. But on a farm, it would make sense to slaughter the animals in the winter, to have food when there are no crops to harvest.

I'm sure no one will see this, since the thread is almost a year old now. But I thought I'd contribute.

Cheers,
Cliff


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 11:37 PM

Just shows to go you, a song can have as many meanings as listeners. One would think the song would have a similar meaning to Canadians (more snow country) but it doesn't. Like Americans, we would calculate the value of six white horses and would make sure that she pays us for those chickens and dumplings and bed space and fodder for those damn hosses.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 02:35 AM

That the number 6 is a symbol of prestige is the right observation made by dulcimer. A small story:
When my state of Hessen was reigned by a Grand Duke a parade was held on a jubilee, and the numbers of horses were:
- notables and lower officers: 2
- the Grand Duke's family and higher officers: 4
- The Grand Duke: 6
The oldest student corporation of our university sent their officials in a chariot with 8 (eight!) horses. The corporation was punished by a suspension for 3 terms.

Wilfried


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 05:48 PM

This song was written about the transcontinental railroad. When it was built, it was a big deal. According to historical train websites, she'll be driving six white horses is talking about the train (called she) and driving six white horses are the engines to the train. 6000 horsepower? 600 horsepower? Not sure, but makes sense.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 07:51 PM

Perhaps in "equine circles, the colour of a horse is its SKIN colour", but as was noted above, not as commonly used in the USA. How would one be able to identify the color from a distance? Unless you riffle the hair, you don't know what color the skin is. A 'white' horse, however, *could* be called a 'grey', simply because *most* white horses start out grey or even darker; many horses pale as they mature.

If I'm not mistaken, a horse, just like a dog, has different colors and shades in different parts of the body, depending on the color. For instance, white legs on a horse denote white skin beneath, as well as -often - a white hoof.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 08:14 PM

'struth! The guy who remade the song got drunk on White Horse scotch, changed the chariot to a hoss and his brain sextupled the image.

??sextupled ??sextuplicated


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 10:20 PM

In British circles in days gone by (I don't know when carriages started being driven, so I'll be vague about this) the size of the carriage sometimes dictated how many horses pulled it. Very large carriages, and things like mail coaches, needed six horses. In other circumstances, it was just for speed or ostentatious display. I did some searching (it's hard to search for "horse-drawn carriages" and "six horses" and have a meaningful result), but here is some of what I found:

Information about types of carriages.

A photo of a carriage pulled by six horses.



Some interesting archeological information from China about how many horses pulled the emperor's carriage.

    The six horse carriage, unearthed from one of the pits, confirms an ancient regulation stipulating that only emperors wereallowed to ride in carriages pulled by six horses, according to the experts.



Stuff about caissons and about field artillery (cannons) pulled by six horses.

(No link available) a page cached by Google that discusses these carriages:

    clarence:-from the Duke of Clarence. A coach with curved glass front, fully paneled body with elliptic springs at the front and both elliptic and C-springs at the rear.

    coach:-from French coche - Hungarian kocsi; A four-wheel closed vehicle of considerable size drawn by four or six horses. It is applied to a vehicle with fixed head, doors and windows.

    Mail coach:-The official mail coaches, which plied a certain route carrying mail and passengers with stops at specific coaching Inns on the way. They are very large coaches with a seat for the driver in front and additional seats for passengers on top and at the rear. Usually pulled by a team of six horses, which are changed at the regular post stops so they can run all the way.


The Russian interpretation is interesting. Reminds me of some commentary on a tape I have from an NPR program that was recorded at the Ten Pound Fiddle. Michael Cooney was on, and one song he sang (I can't remember the name) was about a young man who, after arguing with his fiance, swore he'd marry the next woman he saw. She had her servants delay him, dressed in rags and dirt, and met him on the road in front of the house. They suffer along for a while, he tells his family of his pledge, and after the wedding he is happily surprised by "the most beautiful maiden he'd courted for years." The discussion had to do with the fact that this was considered a fragment of a much longer and ancient piece called "The Marriage of Sir Gawain" that has all but been lost.

Interesting discussion.



SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 04:04 AM

A horse outputs less than 1 Horsepower.

So to pull any reasonable amount of weight, you need more horses. If you have ever looked up close at the hitchings of horse teams, 6 was the practible largest number for a single rig - remembering that wood was the primary construction material - and that 4 wheels was the normal runing gear.

So either this vehicular conveyance had lots of goodies in it, or the lady was seriously weight disadvantaged. :-)

Robin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
From: Vixen
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 08:54 AM

Just a thought, perhaps expressed in some other thread...

I always thought the song was a train song, and the "6 white horses" is a conflation of the images of 1)the 3 pairs of big wheels on a steam locomotive; and 2)the clouds of white steam billowing from the stack.

I don't have a clue about the pajamas, though I've always heard/sung it as "silk pajamas" which would go with the wealth idea.

And someone in my family (I suspect my dad though maybe my mother's father) added "We'll be eatin' buckwheat flapjacks when she comes" which can be a bit of a tongue-twister if the banjo-player has kicked off the tune a mite faster than you're used to...

just my $0.02, your mileage may vary...

V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 14 December 7:05 PM EST

[ 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.