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Lyr Req: Run Mountain (J.E. Mainer)

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GUEST,Gern 18 Mar 03 - 10:47 AM
nickp 18 Mar 03 - 11:45 AM
greg stephens 18 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM
nickp 18 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM
greg stephens 18 Mar 03 - 12:14 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Mar 03 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 18 Mar 03 - 05:29 PM
Stewie 19 Mar 03 - 01:19 AM
Fortunato 19 Mar 03 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,staceybanjos 09 Oct 11 - 07:01 AM
Jim Dixon 19 Oct 11 - 11:46 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 10:47 AM

A parallel thread about Wade Mainer reminds me how much I like Mainer's Mountaineers. One of the very best breakdown bands I've come across. JE had a bottomless reservoir of great songs. I've always wondered about "Run Mountain," a moonshine ode with lyrics I could never decipher. Mike Seeger's Old Time Songbook similarly struggles to figure out the chorus. Anybody know this one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: nickp
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 11:45 AM

Hmmm.. a fun song that I originally heard done by the Allied Grit Miners (Rayna Gellert, Frank Lee, John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh) 18 months ago. Listening to the original doesn't help and there was some lengthy discussion in the Old Time Herald about 14 years ago on the same subject without any obvious result.

My favourite option for the repeated lines of the chorus is 'Run mountain, chuck a little hell' - fairly meaningless - but it occurs to me that it could be 'run em out and...' and has been corrupted earlier than the original recording. There was a thought in the OTH that it could be 'Roan Mountain'. The Grit Miners said 'Chuckle little hill' but also commented that they knew what it really meant! I'll ask them when I see any of them again but that won't be until May.

Love the unusual tune structure starting as if you're in a different key.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM

I am very surprised there doesnt seem to be a thread anywhere pointing out the phrase is actually an Irish expression.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: nickp
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM

more info please, Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 12:14 PM

Sorry, I have no more information! I was just fantasing, as there are always threads saying that things like crack, kangaroo and didgeridoo were originally Irish/Gaelic. So I thought someone might be able to explain the chorus of this song in the same way. Personally, I've always thought there must be some connection to the biblical mountains skipping like rams and the little hills like young sheep, but it's difficult to come up with anything that makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 12:41 PM

I posted to this, and it didn't appear... I've always heard it pretty clearly as Chug a little hill, which made sense to my feeble mind. A friend of mine used to sing Chubby little Bill. Long before Clinton..:-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 05:29 PM

My friends in Hobo Pie claim it to be "CHECK a little hill" and got that information straight from Wade Mainer, who said something like "well, you want to check it out, see?" or something like that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 01:19 AM

To reinforce Pete's posting above, on the Arhoolie J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers 'Run Mountain' [CD 456], J.E. introduces the song by speaking the line in question and, without question, it is 'CHECK a little hill'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: J.E. Mainer's 'Run Mountain'
From: Fortunato
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 09:38 AM

Doc Scantlin sang "run mountain chuck a little hill", when we were The Red Hot Peppers 20 years ago. I felt it was rather like Uncle Dave Macon's occasional nonsense lyrics: not to be deciphered, just sung for fun. Now, that said, the phrase 'chucking up dirt clods' may be related, meaning to run accoss new plowed ground so fast you threw up dirt clods behind you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Run Mountain (J.E. Mainer)
From: GUEST,staceybanjos
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 07:01 AM

It sounds like "Run Mound" to me. He says "Mountain" in one of the verses and it is very clear. Either way it could be a place where you might go for a good time like "Sugar Hill".


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Subject: Lyr Req: RUN MOUNTAIN (J.E. Mainer)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 11:46 AM

How about "chunky little hill"? Maybe he is commenting on the size and shape of the hill, and saying it doesn't deserve to be called a mountain; it's just a little hill. This is pure speculation on my part. Anyway, I think it's safe to say the lyrics have been corrupted. Maybe they were corrupted before Mainer learned the song, and he's struggling to make sense of it just like the rest of us. Here's how I hear the whole song, which I heard on Spotify:


RUN MOUNTAIN
As sung by J. E. Mainer and His Mountaineers on "40 Classics" (2011)

Went up on the mountain, give my horn a blow.
I thought I heard my true love say, "That's comin' from my beau."

CHORUS: Run Mountain, chunky little hill, (3x)
There you'll meet your fill.

Me in the field hard at work, I set down to play
While thinkin' of my own true love; she's many miles away.

Me in the field hard at work, I set down to play.
Me run around with another man's wife, better be gettin' away.


I have done a bit of geographic searching, and I have not found a "Run Mountain" as such, but I have found Bull Run Mountain (Virginia), Ten Mile Run Mountain (New Jersey), and Cedar Run Mountain (a.k.a. Cedar Mountain, Virginia). There are also lesser-known Broad Run Mountain, Mud Run Mountain, Spruce Run Mountain, Sugar Run Mountain, and Thumb Run Mountain (all in Virginia); Dry Run Mountain (Tennessee), and Trout Run Mountain (Pennsylvania).

There are also places called Roan Mountain, Round Mountain, and Rupp Mountain—all of which could conceivably be corrupted to "Run Mountain."


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