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

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)

DigiTrad:
BASHFUL COURTSHIP
BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR (1)
BLACK WATERS
BLUE DIAMOND MINES
COME FARE AWAY
COOL OF THE DAY
CUCKOO SHE'S A PRETTY BIRD
DEAR COMPANION
EARLY FIELDS
FAIR AND TENDER LADIES
FAIR NOTTAMUN TOWN
GOWER WASSAIL
GYPSIE LADDIE
HANDSOME MOLLY
I WONDER WHEN I SHALL BE MARRIED
KILLY KRANKY
LAST OLD TRAIN'S A-LEAVIN'
LOVING HANNAH
MAY DAY CAROL
MORNING COME, MARIA GONE
MY DEAR COMPANION
OLD CRUMLEY or MORE WORK IN A DAY
OLD GEORGE'S SQUARE
SOMEBODY'S TALL AND HANDSOME
THE L & N DON'T STOP HERE ANYMORE
THE NIGHTINGALES SING (4)
THE ORPHAN'S LAMENT
THOUSAND MILE BLUES
WEST VIRGINIA MINING DISASTER
WHAT'LL WE DO WITH THE BABY-O?
WIDDECOMBE FAIR
WITH KITTY I'LL GO


Related threads:
Jean Ritchie's 'Locks & Keys' (12)
Chords Req: Come Fare Away / Marnie (Jean Ritchie) (9)
Lyr Req: Foreign Lander (12)
DTStudy: Songs of Jean Ritchie (26)
Lyr Req: Deep Shady Grove - Jean/Edna Ritchie (12)
Jean Ritchie Books & Recordings (81)
Lyr/Chords Req: None But One (Jean Ritchie) (6)
One Clear Voice Singing/Early Fields-Jean Ritchie (46)
Chord ADD: Now Is the Cool of the day (Ritchie) (8)
Lyr Req: Wintergrace (Jean Ritchie) (21)
Lyr Req: For Ireland I'd Not Tell Her Name (16)
Morning Come, Maria's Gone - recordings (14)
Jean Ritchie's website back up-New URL (2)
Lyr Req: None But One / Nonesuch (Jean Ritchie) (14)
(origins) Lyr Req/Add: One I Love (21)
Lyr Req: The Gambling Suitor (Jean Ritchie) (11)
Lyr Add: That Long Canal (Jean Ritchie) (7)
Lyr Add: Sugar On The Floor by Jean Ritchie (1)
Chords Req - One I Love (3) (closed)
One I Love (4) (closed)


BUTTERFLY 11 May 03 - 05:55 AM
masato sakurai 11 May 03 - 06:26 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 May 03 - 07:17 AM
kendall 11 May 03 - 09:18 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 12 May 03 - 05:04 PM
masato sakurai 12 May 03 - 08:07 PM
catspaw49 12 May 03 - 09:40 PM
Bill D 12 May 03 - 10:26 PM
Bill D 12 May 03 - 10:27 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 13 May 03 - 12:17 PM
Joe Offer 13 May 03 - 03:22 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 13 May 03 - 09:00 PM
Charley Noble 13 May 03 - 09:24 PM
Peace 24 Jan 08 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,romanai 21 Feb 10 - 09:06 AM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM
maeve 22 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM
Genie 15 Oct 14 - 02:22 PM
Dan Schatz 15 Oct 14 - 09:18 PM
Joe Offer 16 Oct 14 - 08:16 PM
Genie 18 Oct 14 - 02:58 AM
Genie 18 Oct 14 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,threelegsoman 18 Oct 14 - 03:23 AM
Bill D 18 Oct 14 - 01:51 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: LYRICS REQUIRED FOR 'BLACK WATERS'
From: BUTTERFLY
Date: 11 May 03 - 05:55 AM

Does anyone have the lyrics for "Black Waters" by Jean Ritchie? Some of it goes (somthing) like this:

(?Oh) I come from the mountains, Kentucky's my home
Where the wild deer and the black bear so lately did roam
By cool rushing waterfall the wild flowers green
And through every green valley there runs a clear stream
(Can't remember this line, and not sure if the next is right)
Clear waters, clear waters, run down through my land

Basically the theme is about a ?coal mine causing the clear waters to blacken. In a later verse, she talks about:

If I had ten million, somewhere thereabouts
I would buy Perry County and I'd run 'em all out
(Can't remember this line)
Black Waters, Black Waters, no more in my land

Is there a Perry county in Kentucky, and if so, does anyone know if there is or was a mine there (Kentucky is I suppose famous for coal mining). I suppose one would be lucky to buy a county for ten billio dollars rather than ten million!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: LYRICS REQUIRED FOR 'BLACK WATERS'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 May 03 - 06:26 AM

It's in the DT (click here).

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: LYRICS REQUIRED FOR 'BLACK WATERS'
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 May 03 - 07:17 AM

If you wait long enough, perhaps our own kytrad can tell you more about the song! In the meantime, click here for Jean Ritchie's web page.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: LYRICS REQUIRED FOR 'BLACK WATERS'
From: kendall
Date: 11 May 03 - 09:18 AM

Boy, did you come to the right place!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 12 May 03 - 05:04 PM

Yes, there IS a Perry County. The county seat is Hazard. Both names come from one Oliver Hazard Perry. There is, however, no Hazard County, and Tom Paxton's "High Sherriff of Hazard" does not exist- he is the High Sherriff of Perry County. All clear?

There are coal mines all around this region- the Hazard coal fields, and the Harlan seam are the main ones, and many more smaller ones, Hardburly, Glowmar, Big Leatherwood, Blue Diamond, etc. "Black Waters talks about the Hazard mines, and Blue Diamond has another song all unto itself, although "Blue Diamond Mines" also mentions Big Leatherwood, and Algoma Block (Glomawr, as I recall).

Masato- the lyrics here are almost correct, but seem to have come from someone's memory rather than the original source. Just little things, but they make for a sort of clumsiness in the poetry- at least I tell myself that mine own words are better! e.g. Here are my lyrics to the second part of the third verse (to which the beginning line of that verse is, "In the rising of the springtime-" not, "the coming of the springtime.")

Then they threw down my mountains and covered my corn,
And the grave on the hillside's a mile deeper down-
And the man stands and talks with his hat in his hand
As the poisonous waters rise over my land.

Go on, say, 'Picky, picky'! But it just seems smoother, as it was writ.    Joy and greetings to all,   Jean


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 12 May 03 - 08:07 PM

Jean, you first wrote "As the poisonous water spreads over my land" rather than "As the poisonous waters rise over my land", didn't you? That's the line in your songbook Celebration of Life.
I think the second comma in the line in the chorus "Black waters, black waters, run down through my land" (DT transcription) should be deleted.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 May 03 - 09:40 PM

Tell ya' what they have around Hazard is some practical people.

Jean, I was a rep for an automotive equipment company for many years and in 1979, Hazard was in my territory. I went into Cardinal Chevrolet and as I was going in, I met this guy in Carhart overalls coming out. Seeing the insignia on my coat he immediatel starts telling me what a fine piece of equipment we had sold them and how much thye liked it. I said, that's great, but who are you? Turns out he's the dealer!!!   

Anyway, he walked me back into their shop and introduced me to his service manager. As we talked we walked toward where our computer diagnostic analyzer hung from a rail so it could traverse multiple bays. This wasn't unusual, a common installation.....but what was very odd is that as we approached it I realized that I could almost walk underneath it! Hanging so high made it inconvenient to read the scope and screen and even to get the leads from the machine, but they had solved this by having a little step ladder at hand. I looked at this and finally asked why it was so high...had to be inconvenient and all. The dealer looked at me and said, "Well we lost the first one we had in the flood and so we hung this one above the high water mark of that flood!" Kinda' made sense........

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 03 - 10:26 PM

*smile*...I've been singing this for years...I learned it from John McCutcheon, and I seem to have gotten all those words right. It happens I was in W. Virgina recently for a music weekend, and several mining songs/land use songs were sung...."Black Waters" fit in just fine...there were several who knew it, and it was accompanied by, among other things, a full sized harp.

Thanks for a gem, Jean


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 03 - 10:27 PM

(I play mostly autoharp, and I think the 'harp knows the song by heart now,*grin*)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters' (Jean Ritchie)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 13 May 03 - 12:17 PM

Masato- Thanks; yes, it's "spreading" in one verse and "rising" in another- I was just mixed up as to which verses were which. By all means take the comma out; as a writer, I disapprove of too much punctuation.

Son Peter plays the autoharp on the recording of the song for the "None But One" album. I often use the autoharp when there's not a guitar handy.

Spaw- Hazard is on an ancient flood-plain, it seems. Better now since the Carr Fork Dam was built.   My thanks to all of you for your good words about, "Black Waters."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: DTCORR: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 03 - 03:22 PM

Here is the complete text, just so we have all the corrections all together. Just yesterday, I was listening to Jim Ringer's recording of this song on his Folk-Legacy CD, "Waitin for the Hard Times to Go." He did a great job on this powerful song.

BLACK WATERS
(Jean Ritchie)

I come from the mountains, Kentucky's my home,
Where the wild deer and black bear so lately did roam;
By cool rushing waterfalls the wildflowers dream,
And through every green valley there runs a clear stream.
Now there's scenes of destruction on every hand
And only black waters run down through my land.

CHORUS
Sad scenes of destruction on every hand,
Black waters, black waters, run down through my land.

O the quail, she's a pretty bird, she sings a sweet tongue;
In the roots of tall timbers she nests with her young.
But the hillside explodes with the dynamite's roar,
And the voices of the small birds will sound there no more;
And the hillsides come a?sliding so awful and grand,
And the flooding black waters rise over my land.

CHORUS
Sad scenes of destruction on every hand;
Black waters, black waters run down through the land.

In the rising of the springtime we planted our corn,
In the ending of the springtime we buried a son,
In summer come a nice man, said, "Everything's fine?
My employer just requires a way to his mine"?
Then they threw down my mountain and covered my corn,
And the grave on the hillside's a mile deeper down,
And the man stands and talks with his hat in his hand
As the poisonous water spreads over my land.

CHORUS
Sad scenes of destruction on every hand;
Black waters, black waters run down through the land.

Well, I ain't got no money and not much of a home;
I own my own land, but my land' s not my own.
But if I had ten million - somewheres thereabouts?
I would buy Perry County and I'd run 'em all out!
Set down on the bank with my bait in my can,
And just watch the clear waters run down through my land!

CHORUS
Well, wouldn't that be like the old Promised Land?
Black waters, black waters no more in my land!


Source: Celebration of Life - Jean Ritchie, Geordie Music Publishing © 1971




I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, outside Colfax, California. The canyon of the North Fork of the American River is half a mile south of me. It's 1,200 feet deep, with steep walls covered with wildflowers. If you hike the canyon in the spring, you'll find a waterfall half mile or so. It's an absolutely lovely place.

I've seen pictures of this same canyon and how it looked 150 years ago, when gold-greedy miners dredged the river and blasted away the mountainsides with water cannons. It was a horrible, ugly place - but nature won out in the end, and the waters run clear again.

I visited Kentucky a couple of years ago, and it appears that nature is winning the battle there, too.

-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 13 May 03 - 09:00 PM

I hope so too, Joe, and many thanks for printing out the right words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 May 03 - 09:24 PM

Best wishes, Jean!

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar, aka Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blackwaters
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 02:33 PM

YouTube - jean ritchie sings blackwaters
jean ritchie sings about mountaintop removal to photographs ...
3 min 22 sec -

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFVdp1KJiqM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: GUEST,romanai
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 09:06 AM

i have a record of Jean Ritchies - on the argo label ARL 1012 - does anyone know anhything about it??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM

What tracks are on it?

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: maeve
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM

romanai- Is this the album you have? http://folkcatalogue.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/songs-from-kentucky-vols-1-2-jean-ritchie-1953/


Charlie- Track listing for #1012 is noted at the above link.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK WATERS (J Ritchie) from "Dear Jean"
From: Genie
Date: 15 Oct 14 - 02:22 PM

In the lyrics you posted, Joe, the word "somewhere" in the line
If I had ten million, somewhere thereabouts ...


Also (minor), in the recording I have of Jean singing this (also on YouTube), the line in the 3rd verse is
"Then they threw down the mountains and covered my corn,"

The ensemble recording on the new Jean Ritchie tribute CD "Dear Jean" has slight lyric variations. (Ensemble: John McCutcheon, Tim O'Brien, Susie Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Stuart Duncan & Bryn Davies)

Here are the lyrics they sing:


BLACK WATERS
(Jean Ritchie)

I come from the mountains, Kentucky's my home,
Where the wild deer and the black bear so lately did roam.
By the cool rushing waterfall wildflowers dream
And through every green valley there runs a clear stream.
Now there's scenes of destruction on every hand,
And there's only black waters run down through my land

CHORUS: Sad scenes of destruction on every hand
Black waters, black waters run down through my land.

Oh the quail, she's a pretty bird, she sings a sweet tongue.
In the roots of tall timber she nests with her young.
But the mountain explodes with the dynamite's roar
And the voices of the small birds are heard there no more,
And the hillside comes sliding so awful and grand
As the flooding black waters rise over my land.

CHORUS: Sad scenes of destruction on every hand
Black waters, black waters run down through my land.

In the coming of the springtime we planted the corn.
At the ending of the springtime we buried a son.
In the summer comes a nice man, says "Everything's fine,
My employer just requires a way to his mine."
They blew down my mountain and buried my corn,
Now the graves on the hillside's a mile deeper down,
And the man stands and talks with his hat in his hand
As the poison black waters rise over my land.

CHORUS: Sad scenes of destruction on every hand
Black waters, black waters run down through my land.

We ain't got much money, not much of a home.
We own our own land, but our land's not our own.
But, if we had ten billion, somewhere thereabout,
We would buy up our mountain and run 'em all out
And just sit on the banks, our bait in our can
And just watch them clear waters run down through our land

(FINAL CHORUS) Now, wouldn't that be like the old promised land?
Black waters, black waters no more in our land.
(REPEAT FINAL CHORUS)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 15 Oct 14 - 09:18 PM

Yes, John McCutcheon and the other musicians on that track adapted Jean's lyric somewhat. Partially I think this was just folk process, and partially it was to draw attention to the work we're trying to do through the Dear Jean CD (and that track in particular)to support Appalachian Voices and the End Mountaintop Removal Campaign. I won't speak for John, but it seems pretty clear to me that by making the last verse a little more current and universal, he was making an important point - mountaintop removal is not something from the distant past; it's still going on, only today it's far more widespread and destructive.

Here's a video of Black Waters from the Dear Jean CD that, I hope, brings that out.

Dan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Oct 14 - 08:16 PM

Hi, Dan - thanks for pointing out the missing "somewhere" in my transcription. The Celebration of Life songbook has "somewheres thereabouts" and "threw down my mountain," so that's what I put when I made corrections just now.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Genie
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 02:58 AM

Dan, I had the same sense about the adaptation of the lyrics on the Dear Jean CD.

You beat me to the punch on posting that YouTube link.

The combination of Jean Ritchie's lyrics and tune, the wonderful ensemble of voices, and the video images of "sad scenes of destruction on every hand" in that video is extremely powerful! It needs to be seen and heard by more and more people every day.

Genie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Genie
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 03:04 AM

And my apologies for the incomplete sentence and thought in my post about the missing "somewhere." Not sure what SNADUed the beginning of that post. Ennyhoo, Joe caught the message.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: GUEST,threelegsoman
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 03:23 AM

I was sent a copy of the lyrics for this song by a YouTube friend, Tony Oppegard who has a comprehensive collection of song relating to mining.
I did my own version of it accompanying myself of my autoharp and as with all my song videos, I include the lyrics and chords on-screen:

Black Waters (Autoharp)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Black Waters (Jean Ritchie)
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 01:51 PM

"I did my own version of it..."

Indeed... but changing the tune that much is a bit surprising when Jean's original tune is so easily found. The 'folk process' can be just gratuitous 'change for the sake of change'.

Do think about using the original tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

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


Mudcat time: 17 October 9:48 AM EDT

[ 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.