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Happy B-day, Libba


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Chris in Wheaton 05 Jan 04 - 01:20 PM
PoppaGator 05 Jan 04 - 03:35 PM
Amos 05 Jan 04 - 04:59 PM
katlaughing 06 Dec 07 - 10:14 PM
topical tom 07 Dec 07 - 12:12 AM
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Subject: Happy B-day, Libba
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 01:20 PM

It's Libba Cotton's birthday! See

My favorite Cotton song to pick is "Oh, Babe, Ain't No Lie," but it would be nice to have some new verses - does anyone have any?

Chris in Wheaton

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Subject: RE: Happy B-day, Libba
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 03:35 PM

I love "Oh, Babe, It Ain't No Lie," too, and have been playing it forever. For whatever reason, I much prefer it to the better-known "Freight Train." I

only know the two verses and one chorus, and while I would be glad to know of more lyrics, I don't believe there are any. Some people sing one verse first (and usually third, to close) while others use the other verse first, and there are of course minor variations, but I've never heard any other "third" verse.

For a transcribed interview with Libba herself, with an interesting story about the song's origin, see:

(Scroll down -- the story appears after the lyrics, under the heading "Background.")

People talk about "Cotton Picking" as though it were an established style, but has *anyone* every done it like she did, i.e., playing the treble melody with the thumb and the alternating bass with finger(s)? I doubt it.

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Subject: RE: Happy B-day, Libba
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 04:59 PM

She was a stand-out from the start of the 'great scare'. I am glad she was around. Like many folkies of the time "Oh, Babe" and "Freight Train" were my first studies in picking.


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Subject: RE: Happy B-day, Libba
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Dec 07 - 10:14 PM

I know it's a little early for her b-day, but I thought this'd be the best old thread to add this to:

Libba singing and picking "Freight Train" at 92 years old!. It's a beautiful and precious thing.

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Subject: RE: Happy B-day, Libba
From: topical tom
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 12:12 AM

My wife and I went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1979 and saw Elizabeth(Libba) Cotton there.She was elderly then and among other songs sang one of her most famous, "Freight Train".Because she was older and her voice was somewhat harsh, a group within the audience shouted and talked loudly all during her performance.I felt so sorry for her and could have cheerfully attacked those rude people.

    What a gracious, talented, lovely person she was!Happy Birthday, Libba!What a great person !

    Here's a song I used to love to hear her sing, "Georgie Buck":


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