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Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Collection

DigiTrad:
AVINGTON POND
BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE
THE SULTANA


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Dave Ruch 02 Sep 03 - 05:06 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 02 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Me 02 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,dave ruch 02 Sep 03 - 08:02 PM
Art Thieme 03 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM
Amos 03 Sep 03 - 01:09 AM
Joe Offer 25 May 04 - 10:01 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 04 - 10:20 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 May 04 - 10:29 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 04 - 11:55 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 04 - 11:58 PM
georgeward 26 May 04 - 06:47 PM
Dave Ruch 27 May 04 - 02:11 PM
georgeward 27 May 04 - 09:33 PM
GUEST 11 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM
Dave Ruch 12 Apr 12 - 08:13 AM
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Subject: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 05:06 PM

I wonder if anyone has heard the version sung by Lily de Lorme of Northeastern NY State near Plattsburgh, as collected by Helen Harkness Flanders? I've just discovered a great version of this ballad on Sara Grey's recent CD; she credits fellow mudcatter George Ward with her version, which goes back to the de Lorme version. Sara Grey's melody & lyrics differ in a most striking way from those I've typically heard with the song.


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM

How different is it from the versions we have in the DT? Here are two links.

Blue Mountain Lake | DT
Blue Mountain Lake | Forum

There are others in the Forum


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: GUEST,Me
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 05:58 PM

Flanders collected it from Lean Bourne Fish. It is Laws C20, and 'C20' in DT's search will turn up Lawrence Older's version here in DT. Roud #2226, turns up also a version from Yankee John Galusha.


"The Rackets around Blue Mountain Lake" is a different song.


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: GUEST,dave ruch
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 08:02 PM

I just did a quick search - Flanders seems to have gotten the song from several different singers according to the index of her collection at Middlebury College. The Lily deLorme version was recorded in Cadyville NY in August 1944. This is the version I am wondering about.

It is quite a bit different in that the first two verses talk of the beauty of the region, then on to the New Year's Eve doings in the bunkhouse with cranky "Mitchell Camfield" and the rest of the boys. It is melodically very interesting with a few more twists & turns than in other versions I've heard.

First two verses go more or less like this:

When the god of creation he fashioned our land
The beauties of nature he did understand
The choicest of these, in hand he did take
When he fashioned the region 'round Blue Mountain Lake
Derry down etc

Mountains in their grandeur 'round this Eden rise
The pines with their branches that point to the skies
Disease is not cured with potions or pills
And the strength of our god is the strength of our hills


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM

Me,

I believe that should read "Lena" Bourne Fish instead of "Lean".

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: Amos
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 01:09 AM

The Lomax version in the DT corresponds nearly exactly with the Frank Warner version, which is where I learned it.


A


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:01 PM

Is there a book where I could find the versions Flanders collected? The Traditional Ballad Index brings up sources that have already been mentioned, nothing new. Here's the entry:

Blue Mountain Lake (The Belle of Long Lake) [Laws C20]

DESCRIPTION: The singer recalls the "racket" on Blue Mountain Lake when Jim Lou and "lazy Jimmie Mitchell" fought. The song concludes with a joke about Nellie the camp cook, "the belle of Long Lake"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (Warner)
KEYWORDS: cook fight moniker
FOUND IN: US(MA,NE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws C20, "Blue Mountain Lake (The Belle of Long Lake)"
Warner 59, "The Ballad of Blue Mountain Lake" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 49, "Blue Mountain Lake" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 44, "The Rackets Around Blue Mountain Lake" (1 text)
DT 605, BLUEMTN*

Roud #2226
RECORDINGS:
Pete Seeger, "Blue Mountain Lake" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07b)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Moosehead Lake" (floating verses)
Notes: This song shares at least three verses with "Moosehead Lake," as well as the "Derry Down" tune, but the remaining text (and the feeling) are just enough different that I -- very tentatively -- keep the songs separate. - RBW
File: LC20

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Blue Mountain Lake
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:20 PM

Blue Mountain Lake
(as recorded by Sara Grey)

When the God of creation he fashioned our land,
The beauties of nature he did understand;
The choicest of them in hand He did take,
And He fashioned the region 'round Blue Mountain Lake,
Derry down, down, down derr'y down.

Mountains in their grandeur 'round this eden rise,
The pines with their branches that point to the skies;
Disease is not cured by potion or pills,
And the strength of our God is the strength of the Hills.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

At last the bright happy New Year did come,
The boys has some whiskey and meant to have fun,
Some played the fiddle, some danced and some sang,
While the walls of the shanty to their music rang.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

Now Mitchell Camfield, he kept our shanty,
As mean an old grouch as you ever did see;
He'd lay 'round the shanty all day, and at night
If man said a word he was ready to fight.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

At the stroke of eleven, bold Mitchell did say,
"We've had enough racket, I'm sure for one day,
Besides I have got quite a pain in my head,
So, boys, put up your fiddles and go straight to bed!"
Derry down, down, down derry down.

Up spoke Patsy McDonough, the boss of the gang
- He could fell the tall pine as he whistled and sang -
"To command me to silence any man I defy!"
In his voice there was courage, and red in his eye.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

Then Mitchell then attempted to put Patsy out,
But big Pat, with his fist, he soon put him to rout;
Mitchell's wife she stood there, if the truth I would tell,
She was tickled to death to see Mitchell catch hell.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

So they kept up the racket, the noise end the din,
'Til the bright happy New Year they did other in;
Mitchell's a much different man, so 'tis said,
And he's troubled no more with a pain in his head.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

A lumberman's life is the best life of all,
With the boys ever ready to come at my call;
There seems to be health in each breath that I take,
I'll live, die and be buried in Blue Mountain Lake.
Derry down, down, down derry down.

Grey's notes: This song comes from the singing of Lily de Lorme from near Plattsburg. New York. It was collected by Helen Harkness Flanders from Vermont. The reference to the "potions or pills" is that in the early part of the 1900's Saranec Lake wes a haven for TB sufferers. I learned the song from a great singer from upstate New York George Ward. George said, that as a young boy in the Adirondack mountains, that pulling at one end of a two man saw would probably have been quite a macho performance.


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:29 PM

Flanders et al., New Green Mountain Songster, 174-178: two sets with music (Herbert Haley, Shrewsbury Mountain and Mr & Mrs Powell Smith, Glens Falls), plus one fragmentary text (Orville Ingalls, Windsor, Vermont). The Fish set appears in New York Folklore Quarterly 11:1 (1946) 52-55.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Belle of Long Lake
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 04 - 11:55 PM

The Belle of Long Lake

Come all you good fellows until I relate
Of a racket we had up around Long Lake.
There was big Jimmie Lou, Dandy Pat, too,
All jolly good fellows as ever you saw,
And we lumbered for Griffith on Township Nineteen.
Down, down, down derry down.

Oh, the man that run the Shantee
He was the laziest damn man that ever you saw
He'd lay round the Shanty from morning till night,
If a man said a word he was ready to fight
Down, down, down derry down.

One morning you know, Pat he got mad
Knocked Hell out of Griffith. The boys was all glad
And his wife stood by and if the truth she would tell
She was tickled to death to see Griffith catch Hell
Down, down, down derry down.

O Christmas is coming, I'm going to Glens Falls
And when I get there I'll go on a spree
Oh, when I have money, the Devil's in me
Down, down, down derry down. ^^^

Source: The New Green Mountain Songster

from the singing of Herbert Haley, Shrewsbury Mountain


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Subject: ADD Version: Blue Mountain Lake
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 04 - 11:58 PM

Here's the second entry in The New Green Mountain Songster - neither is the same as the one Sara Grey recorded. I e-mailed George Ward and asked him for help.
-Joe Offer-


Blue Mountain Lake

Come all you good fellows, wherever you be,
Come sit down awhile and listen to me.
The truth I will tell you without no mistake
Of the racket we had around Blue Mountain Lake.
Down, down, down derry down.

The Sullivan brothers and big Jimmie Lou,
Myself and Mose Gilbert and Dandy Pat, too,
They were all as fine fellows as ever was seen,
And we lumbered for Griffin on Township Nineteen.
Down, down, down derry down.

Jimmie Mitchell he kep' de shantee,
The Laziest damn man you ever did see;
He'd loaf 'round the shantee from morning till night,
If a man said a word he was ready to fight.
Down, down, down derry down.

One morning 'fore daylight, Jim Lou he got mad,
He punched hell out of Mitchell, the boys were all glad;
His wife she stood there and the truth I will tell,
She was tickled to death to see Mitchell catch hell.
Down, down, down derry down.

Old Griffin stood there, the grizzly old drake,
A hand in the racket we feared he would take.
Some of the boys, they pulled him away;
He says, "Fight and be damned, I have nawthin' to say."
Down, down, down derry down.

You may talk of your fashions 'way out in Benzine,
There's none will compare with the cook of Nineteen;
She is short, thick and stout without any mistake,
The boys called her Nellie, the belle of Long Lake,
Down, down, down derry down.

Come all you good fellows, adieu to you all,
Christmas a-coming, I'm going to Glens Falls,
And when I get there, I'm going on a spree,
For when I have whiskey, the devil's in me!
Down, down, down derry down. ^^^

as sung by Mr & Mrs Powell Smith, Glens Falls

Source: The New Green Mountain Songster, Flanders, Ballard, Brown, and Barry - 1939


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Coll
From: georgeward
Date: 26 May 04 - 06:47 PM

Hi all,

Joe e-mailed me about this thread last night, but we were in the path of a procession of thunderstorm cells. I unplugged everything and went to bed.

The text Sara sings, which Joe has transcribed above, is one I copied from from a file cabinet of Mrs. Flanders's material that passed to Margaret MacArthur after HHF's death. These were materials that had not gone to Middlebury College. Whether Margaret still has them, or whether she has passed them on to Middlebury or another archive, I don't know. I don't recall a date/place of collection, but I'll see if I can find my original copy.

There was no tune transcription, just text. Although the tune I sing is a bit "MacArthurish," I think it is just my own tweaking of good old "Derry Down."

On the ballad generally, two things:

First, it seems to have been pretty common in the Adirondacks, and perhaps in Vermont, and to have picked up a local cast of characters wherever it went.

How do I know that ? The first v. I learned was essentially the Yankee John Galusha text. I'd heard Frank Warner sing it. But I believe I actually learned it from Lawrence Older. I suspect that Lawrence, himself, got it from John. But what intrigued me was the he (Larry) was able to tell me who everyone in the ballad was. Alas, we were somewhere, where I couldn't write it all down (patching the muffler on my first SAAB at about zero degrees F, as I recall). All I remember is that "Dandy Pat" was a Moynihan...presumably not our late senator.

Shortly after, Vaughn and I were visiting the Patons and Lee Haggerty in Huntington, Vt. A young trucker/logger-type, who'd heard there was "a record company" in Huntington and who aspired to a country-music career, dropped by (it was a Saturday afternoon). We explained what Folk-Legacy did, and he responded by recalling a fragment with different characters, and with the line "...of the rackets we had around Lake Bomoseen, Derry Down, etc."

Lake Bomoseen, FYI, is on the western border of VT, near Fair Haven.

Some years later, while we were driving to a gig somewhere, Adirondack fiddler Vic Kibler ( whom I'd known and recorded for twenty years at that point) came out with the fact that there'd been a version of the song made about a relative of his. The relative had been a lumber camp cook for a time. "Pretty good old fella, really," Vic said, "I think they did it just to tease him, you know."

And before you ask, no, Vic has never remembered any of the words.

And there was the time that Jim Hutt (co-founder with Sheila, his wife, of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mtn. Lake) asked me to sing the Yankee John text at a concert Vaughn and I gave there. What Jim knew - and carefully avoided telling me - was that the late Franklin Mitchell, a direct descendant of the Bill Mitchell of the song, was in the audience. He saved that tidbit for when he introduced us to Franklin afterward.

"I didn't know him much," Franklin said, "but from what I heard, I guess he was sorta like the song says he was."

So are about half the old guys in the Adirondacks.

And here's the second piece to consider:

Not many years ago, the late Clarence "Daddy Dick" Richards (whom I've memorialized somewhere in the Valley-of-Forgotten-Threads [click]) turned to me and said:
"You remember radio station WGLC out of Glens Falls, dontcha ?"

"Nope," says I (an old coot of very little seniority, compared to Dick).

"Well, the 'GLC' stood for Griffin Lumber Company. They used to have a copy of that ballad you sing about Blue Mountain Lake up on the wall in there."

[ "Old Griffin, he stood there, the crabby old drake;
   A hand in the doings we thought he might take..."]

It was just not that unusual for this stuff to circulate in print.
Bob Bethke comments in Adirondack Voices (pp. 66-7) that the "Tebo" ballad was printed up and circulated by the A. Sherman Lumber Co., for whom Joe Thibeault was working when he was killed on a drive on the Jordan River (the one in the Adirondacks, not the better-known one).

Real songs, real people. Never speak disrespectfully on anyone in a small community (however great its acreage). You have no idea what all the connections are! And that's what I love about it.

Well, this is long. But Joe did ask.... ;)    - George

P.S. Dave Ruch, I can't haul out to Clarence tomorrow. But we'll connect sometime. Now, Vermont...there's a state of a manageable, sensible size. - G


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Collection
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 27 May 04 - 02:11 PM

Thanks for the background, George. Fascinating. I guess your "folk-izing" of the melody for Blue Mountain Lake, as filtered through Sara Grey, as filtered and sung by me, will have to be considered just more of the process.

Interestingly, I recently had an experience singing the HHF/Ward/Grey version of that same song at the Adirodack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake (presumably some years after your experience detailed above). Having never played there before, and being very fond of both the song and the community, I introduced it by asking if it was a familiar or perhaps even tired song to the folks in attendance (largely a family crowd for a Halloween event). Having no idea how much or little the local community identified with the song, I was surprised to learn that nobody in attendance (probably 50-75 folks) had ever heard, or heard of the song.

I'll be at Old Songs this summer, George, and I'll track you down there to say hello. It would be great to hear more of your collecting adventures, whether there or at some less hectic point in the near future.


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Collection
From: georgeward
Date: 27 May 04 - 09:33 PM

Dave, that is the generational change happening in the Adirondacks. The concert at ALCA that I wrote of would have been ca. 1972. Most of the oldtimers: Frank Mitchell, Harvey Carr, Bobby Gates, et al and the oldtime "flatlanders" who were an essential part of the scene, like the Hochschilds, have gone on. its not that there are no genuine Adirondackers left. Far from it. But - musically speaking - folks like us are now part of the community memory... a real sea-change. Doesn't quite make us revivalists "folk", I don't think. But maybe we're not exactly "revivalists", in the coffehouse sense, either. A strange thing to aspire to. But I did, and I guess you do, too.

- George


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Collection
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM

Neil Lewis
ahfrance@aol.com

I used "Blue Mountain Lake" with the "derry down" melody as the theme song for my radio program, "The Ballad Corner" on WWSC in Glens Falls in 1947.


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Subject: RE: Blue Mountain Lake from Flanders Collection
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 08:13 AM

Neil Lewis - I have sent you an email.


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