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Origin: Sweet Sunny South/We Shall See Her No More

DigiTrad:
THE SUNNY SOUTH
TO THE SWEET SUNNY SOUTH


Related threads:
(origins) Bright Sunny South (24)
(origins) Origins: Sweet Sunny South: Is 'Massa' PI? (22)
Tune Req: sweet sunny south (banjo tab?) (22)
(origins) Origins: Sweet Sunny South (13)
Lyr Req: Sweet Sunny South - Carter Family? (8)


GUEST,Richie 18 Nov 02 - 01:36 PM
Richie 18 Nov 02 - 02:00 PM
sed 18 Nov 02 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Nov 02 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Nov 02 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Nov 02 - 07:38 PM
Richie 18 Nov 02 - 10:43 PM
Richie 18 Nov 02 - 11:15 PM
Joe Offer 18 Nov 02 - 11:51 PM
Richie 19 Nov 02 - 01:07 AM
Coyote Breath 19 Nov 02 - 01:51 AM
Stewie 19 Nov 02 - 03:06 AM
Richie 19 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM
Richie 19 Nov 02 - 09:30 AM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 02 - 03:49 AM
Richie 20 Nov 02 - 07:42 AM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 02 - 02:44 PM
Songster Bob 20 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 07 - 01:41 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: WE SHALL SEE HER NO MORE
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 01:36 PM

It seems like the verse of "We Shall See Her No More" (from American Memory Collection) is the origin of "Sweet/Bright Sunny South." No one really had any detailed older info about it in the DT. What do you think?

WE SHALL SEE HER NO MORE
Words By C. Hart; Music By F. Buckley
Publisher: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: George S. Harris
American Song Sheets, Series 1, Volume 10

Oh, the bright sunny South, where the sugar cane grows,
And the cotton flow'rs gracefully bend in the wind
Where life, like a dream, full of happiness flows,
And Massa, dear massa, was always so kind;
Oh, yes, it was there in the south that I met
With sweet Lilla, the pride of my heart,
And the joy that I felt I can never forget,
Till the last spark of life from my bosom shall part.

CHORUS--But now she has gone,
And her sweet life is o'er,
We shall see her no more,
We shall see her no more.

How often at eve, when our labours were o'er,
We roved where the river ran swiftly along,
And often we sat on the blossoming shore
To list to the Mocking bird's rapturous song.
Oh, yes, it was there in the bright Southern land,
By the river side under the old shady tree,
As we sat all alone in the sunset so grand,
That dear little Lilla was plighted to me.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 02:00 PM

Here's some of my info:

Printed versions, under a number of titles, were usually credited to either 'Raymond' or else 'W L Bloomfield (in the 1850's). The cover of an 1850's music sheet is reprinted with the notes to the version recorded by Kentucky fiddle-player Buddy Thomas on his album Kitty Puss (Rounder CD 0032).

I have several sources for this info.

So did this "come from" or "along with" the "We Shall See Her No More"
song from American Memory or are they different but related songs?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: sed
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 04:39 PM

Good question!

Take me home to the place where I first saw the light;
to the sweet sunny south take me home
where the wild birds sing me to sleep every night
Oh why was I tempted to roam?

Nothing like cold weather to get us singing that song.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM

American Memory has sheet music for "We Shall See Her No More," dated 1853, "Sung by Buckley's New Orleand Minstrels, composed by Frederick Buckley," printed by Firth and Pond, New York. The name C. Hart is not on the sheet music, but only on a broadside printed by Andrews, New York, no date.

Sheet music for "The Bright Sunny South, words by F. M. Prince and music by A. Scherzer," printed by Klemm and Bro., 1848, is also at American Memory. It is a different song.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM

Sharp collected Sweet Sunny South in (ca)1918.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 06:12 PM

Hit the submit button before I was ready.
A Ms of the tune of "Sweet Sunny South," fiddle tune, along with a 42 second performance, by Henry Reed, is in American Memory.
From the Cowell Collection, a performance of "Sweet Sunny South" by Judge Charles Rasmussen, also is in American Memory.
The tunes in the Reed Collection may be found at http://memory.loc.gov/ammen/hrhtml/afcreedtitlindex.html, Reed Coll.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 06:26 PM

"The Bright Sunny South," is in Cox, Folk Songs of the South, from Sam Turman, KY, 1918. The Dock Boggs version is a variety of this. In the second verse, Boggs misheard refinement, and put confinement. I will post the Cox version if there is any interest. Some verses are quite different. Boggs version in thread 6248: Bright Sunny South


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 07:38 PM

Here is direction to the Rasmussen "The Sweet Sunny South." Sweet Sunny South


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SUNNY SOUTH
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 10:43 PM

THE SUNNY SOUTH
Cecil Sharp No. 186 from EFSSA
Sung by Mrs. Lucy Cannady
At Endicott, VA. Aug 23 1918

Take me home to the place where I first saw the light
To the sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mockingbirds sang me to rest ev'ry night
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?

Take me home to the place where my little one sleeps,
For Massie lies buried close by
O'er the graves of my loved ones I long there to weep
And among them to rest when I die.

Take me back to the place where the orange trees grow
To my cot in the evergreen shade
Where the myrtle and the evergreen margin may blow,
On the sweet on the banks where we play.


*Take me back to the place, let me see what I knew
And the path to the cottage they say has gone green,
And the place is quite lonely around.
And I know that the smiles and the forms I have seen
Now lie in the dark mossy ground.

*By editing the top line, the last verse fits.

Notes: This is Sharp's best version of the three he collected in 1918.
The last verse usually begins without the top line. I'm not sure why there are five lines because the music has not been changed.

Sharp collected 27 songs and ballads that day (Aug.23) from the Cannady family. A photograph taken by Sharp shows Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cannady sitting on the steps of their log-cabin. There were still Cannadys living in the area sixty years later.

This is almost exactly the version sung by Charlie Poole in Oct. 1927. Since it is from the same region that is no surprise.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 11:15 PM

Sharps third version is different and might be related to the northern version of the same song which George Edwards called, "The Shades of the Palmetto," which is actually a form of "The Dying Ranger."

The fragmentary version resembles forms of "The Rebel Soldier:"

O mother, dear mother, for me do not weep,
For in some lonesome graveyard I expect to sleep.
You taught me to be brave from a boy to a man,
And I'm going to fight for my own native land.

(Mr. and Mrs. Dol Small May 23, 1918) Sharp EFSSA.

If you look at the thread link (by Guest-Q) the original question was about the northern version which has been found in Nova Scotia, thus the confusion about the song.

Both the Doc Watson and Doc Boggs versions are different yet similar versions to the "Northern" version.

The third Sharp version is a single verse of teh "Southern" version with a poorer melody.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 11:51 PM

Boy, I wonder if there's a way to split the discussion of these two songs, or not. I posted a version of "Bright Sunny South" in the other thread (see crosslinks) because it seems to deal mostly with that song. This thread seems to be more on "Sweet Sunny South" (take me back to the place...)
I'm confused.
-Joe Offer-
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on "Sweet":

Sweet Sunny South (II)

DESCRIPTION: "Take me back to the place where I first saw the light, To my sweet sunny south take me home." The singer (perhaps an ex-slave) describes home and how much he misses it. He hopes to return to the graves of "my little ones" "to rest and to die" among them
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: home death burial grief homesickness loneliness return family
FOUND IN: US(Ro,SE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Hubbard, #119, "Sweet Sunny South" (1 text, 1 tune)
SharpAp 186, "The Sunny South" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
BrownIII 400, "The Sweet Sunny South" (1 text)
Rorrer, p. 88, "Sweet Sunny South" (1 text)
DT, SUNSOUTH

Roud #772
RECORDINGS:
Arkansas Woodchopper [pseud. For Luther Ossenbrink] "Sweet Sunny South" (Conqueror 7880, 1931)
DaCosta Woltz's Southern Broadcasters, "Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South" (Gennett 6176/Champion 15318/Challenge 333, 1927)
Roy Harvey & the North Carolina Ramblers, "Sweet Sunny South" (Paramount 3136, 1928)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Take Me Home to the Sweet Sunny South" (Bluebird B-6479/Montgomery Ward M-5035, 1936)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South" (on NLCR04)
Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers, "The Sweet Sunny South" (Victor 21132, 1927)
Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "Sweet Sunny South" (Columbia 15425-D, 1929; on CPoole01, CPoole05)
Posey Rorrer and the North Carolina Ramblers, "Sweet Sunny South Take Me Home" (Edison, unissued, 1928)
Jackson Young [pseud. for Ben Jarrell], "Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South" (Champion 15318/Herwin 75555, 1927)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "On the Banks of the Old Tennessee" (floating lyrics)
SAME TUNE:
'31 Depression Blues (File: Rc31DB)
NOTES: Rorrer notes sheet versions of this dating back at least to the Civil War period, and possibly to several decades before that, but gives no details.
It seems fairly clear that the original versions were about a slave who had gained his freedom by some means but now wished to be back in his old place. Songwriters of the mid nineteenth century were fond of this (propagandistic) theme. One wonders how popular it would have been had the audience been Blacks rather than Whites. - RBW
Not to be confused with "The Sweet Sunny South (I)" [Laws A23], a Confederate soldier's farewell. - PJS, RBW
Last updated in version 3.8
File: DTsunsou

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Richie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 01:07 AM

Joe-

In the notes (Traditional Ballad Index) it gives a reference to Sweet Sunny South (I). My original post was refering to "Sweet Sunny South (II). Thank you for posting Traditional Ballad Index info. As you can see Laws divided the song into two versions.

Version 1 is the "Northern" version I refered to about the Civil War and relates to the "Rebel Soldier." Version 2 is posted above.

Traditional Ballad Index says, "Rorrer notes sheet versions of this dating back at least to the Civil War period, and possibly to several decades before that, but gives no details."

I think Rorrer was refering to the Sheet music for "The Bright Sunny South, words by F. M. Prince and music by A. Scherzer," printed by Klemm and Bro., 1848, that is at American Memory. This is not the same song. It is a completely different song in 3/4 time. Someone probably told Kinney (Rorrer) about it and since probably had no access to it (as we do) he thought it was the same song.

The lyrics of WE SHALL SEE HER NO MORE By C. Hart; Music By F. Buckley from American Song Sheets, Series 1, Volume 10 seem to echo the cadence and general content of the "Sweet Sunny South."

WE SHALL SEE HER NO MORE:
(Oh, the bright sunny South, where the sugar cane grows,
And the cotton flow'rs gracefully bend in the wind
Where life, like a dream, full of happiness flows,
And Massa, dear massa, was always so kind)

THE SUNNY SOUTH:
(Take me home to the place where I first saw the light
To the sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mockingbirds sang me to rest ev'ry night
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?

Take me home to the place where my little one sleeps,
For Massie lies buried close by
O'er the graves of my loved ones I long there to weep
And among them to rest when I die.)

It just seemed like they were related when I first saw the lyrics. Perhaps there is some relationship.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 01:51 AM

Wierd coincidence for me as I just recorded a version of Bright Sunny South as an intro to a CD of Civil War songs I'm cobbling together. The last song to be Sweet Sunny South.

John Hartford recorded Sweet Sunny South on an album with his son. I hadn't heard the verse about the children and "Massie" which DOES make it sound as though it were being sung by an ex slave.

I get the feeling from the song that it takes place after the war but I don't recall any specific reference to war or end of war in the song.

Bright Sunny South, though is obviously at the war's beginning I am glad to see the reference to "refinement" as opposed to confinement. I think there must be other "mondegreens" because of the illogic of some of the verse lines. Why would someone's family beg them to go to war? The young man seems to be justifying his going.

I'm confused too, Joe.

Both songs are nice to hear and a delight to play and sing.

CB


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 03:06 AM

There were several oldtime recordings of it before Poole's:

Da Costa Woltz's Southern Broadcasters 'Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South' [GE 12779] - ca May 1927.

Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers 'The Sweet Sunny South' [Vi 21132] - 12 Aug 1927, issued Feb 1928.

North Carolina Ramblers 'Sweet Sunny South' [Pmt 3136] - ca Sept 1927.

Posey Rorer & The North Carolina Ramblers 'Sweet Sunny South Take Me Home' [Ed uniss.] - 25 Sept 1928.

Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers 'Sweet Sunny South' [Co 15425-D] - 7 May 1929, issued Sept 1929.

There were also recordings by Tennessee Ramblers [1929], Arkansas Woodchopper [1931] and J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers [1936].

Info from Meade et alia 'Country Music Sources'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Richie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM

Here's info fron the Traditional Ballad Index on the other Sweet Sunny South:

Sweet Sunny South (I), The [Laws A23]
DESCRIPTION: A young Southerner, armed and ready, bids farewell to family and sweetheart. He sets off for the war, hoping to return when the Yankees are driven off
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cox)
KEYWORDS: war farewell
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW,NE) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws A23, "The Sweet Sunny South"
FSCatskills 18, "The Bright Sunny South" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 76, "The Rebel Soldier" (2 texts, but only the first belongs here; the second is The Rebel Soldier)
DY 698, SUNNYSTH
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Sunny South
Notes: Laws, obviously, considers this piece to be of American origin. Cazden et al, however, note that the versions hardly REQUIRE a setting in the American Civil War, and that one southern version refers to a FOREIGN war. In addition, the song has been found primarily in the North. On this basis Cazden argues for an Irish rather than southern American origin. - RBW
Not to be confused with the sentimental song of the same name [in the Index as "Sweet Sunny South II - RBW], wherein the singer returns to his childhood home to find everyone dead and gone. The characteristic first lines of that song are "Take me back to the place where I first saw the light/To the sweet sunny south take me home." - PJS

-Richie


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Subject: ADD: Sweet Sunny South (Poole version)
From: Richie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 09:30 AM

SWEET SUNNY SOUTH
(as recorded by Charlie Poole)

Take me back to a place where I first saw the light,
To the sweet sunny south take me home.
Where the mockingbirds sang me to rest ev'ry night,
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?

I think of regret of the dear home I left,
Of the warm hearts who cheered me then.
Of the wife and the dear ones of whom I'm bereft,
An s sight of the old place again.

Take me home to a place where my little ones sleep
And old Massa lies buried nearby
O'er the graves of my loved ones I long there to weep
And among them to rest and to die

Take me back to the place where the orange trees grow
To my cot in the evergreen shade
Where the flowers on the river's green margin they grow
They are sweet on the banks where we played

'Til the path to our cottage they say has grown green
The place is quite lonely around
And I know that the smiles and the forms I have seen
Now lies in the cold mossy ground

Take me home to a place where my little ones sleep
And old Massa lies buried nearby
O'er the graves of my loved ones I long there to weep
And among them to rest and to die

Notes: Charlie Poole's North Carolina Ramblers version from Kinney Rorrer's book 'Rambling Blues.' Poole recorded this in NY on May 7, 1929, CO-15425-D. It was first done by the North Carolina Ramblers in 1927, Chicago, Ill. with Roy Harvey- Vocal.


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 03:49 AM

Note in the crosslinks above that there is another thread on Bright Sunny South (which uses a number of titles). Let's keep information on that song over there, if we can.

Richie, as you requested, I deleted the verse from your posting of the Poole version, but I like it. I see that verse is in the Digital Tradition - do you know where did it came from?

This song has special meaning for me because I used to sing it with my friend Jim. Now I'm married to Jim's widow. She heard me play a recording of it yesterday, and it brought back some good old times for us.

There's a MIDI of "Sweet Sunny South" here (click), but it's too complex an arrangement for what we need here - I'm looking for a MIDI transcription of just the basic tune.
-Joe Offer (click to e-mail if you can send a tune)-


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Richie
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 07:42 AM

Joe-

The version in the DT says the source is Bob Pfeffer. Can you contact him to get info on the DT version: TO THE SWEET SUNNY SOUTH.

The version I learned is slightly different but similar again to the Poole version I posted. Maybe I can dig it out of the stacks of music sometime and post it.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:44 PM

Hmmm. I don't have a recent address for Bob, Richie. His Mudcat membership is inactive, which means he hasn't been around for quite some time.
Guess we'll have to leave that stone unturned.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Songster Bob
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM

Comparing the lyrics, as given earlier, shows us that there are strong similarities, but it looks to me like the second and fourth lines don't scan the same. It'd be hard to sing "We Shall See Her..." to the tune of "Sunny South," in particular the fourth line. It looks to me like someone knew We Shall See Her and, perhaps casting about for lyrics to put to a nice tune, grafted them onto the tune, made the necessary rhythmic changes and ended up with what we call Sweet Sunny South.

WE SHALL SEE HER NO MORE:
(Oh, the bright sunny South, where the sugar cane grows,
And the cotton flow'rs gracefully bend in the wind
Where life, like a dream, full of happiness flows,
And Massa, dear massa, was always so kind)

THE SUNNY SOUTH:
(Take me home to the place where I first saw the light
To the sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mockingbirds sang me to rest ev'ry night
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?

Was it likely 19th C. plagiarism? I'd bet on it. If they were both completely folk songs, and not produced for the popular-music "trade," then the plagiarism might be more "unconcious," although the folk do indeed steal words (and tunes). Though, to be honest, to the folk, it's less like stealing and more like borrowing, since the idea of ownership of a song is, well, "different," shall we say? I don't want to say that folk performers don't think of songs as "owned," because they do, but ownership is more an attribute of performing than of creation. Traditional performers can "own" Barbara Allen, or any other ancient song, but can create a song or tune and let it go "out there" without qualms. This is because, in smaller communities, performers get known for their renditions, their versions, and it's not meant that they created it when it's called "their song."

But I think the creator of Sweet Sunny South knew that he/she hadn't created the lyric from whole cloth, and probably relied on the weaker copyright laws and practices that were in use back then.

Songbob


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Subject: RE: Sweet Sunny South Origin
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 07 - 01:41 PM

In addition to the folk version collected by Sharp (Massie, not Massa, the name of the person who "lies buried close by"), the song is included in vol. 3 of Brown, North Carolina Folklore.
What name is used there?

Posting of the lyrics from Brown would be appreciated.


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