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Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler

DigiTrad:
ARKANSAS TRAVELER
ARKANSAS TRAVELER (2)


Related threads:
Arkansas Traveler Skit (27)
Help: Arkansas Traveler?? (8)
New Age 'Arkansas Traveler' - any ideas (4)


Joe DeAngelo 14 Oct 98 - 12:31 PM
Barbara 14 Oct 98 - 01:13 PM
Bill in Alabama 14 Oct 98 - 01:33 PM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 98 - 02:04 PM
Dale Rose 14 Oct 98 - 02:45 PM
Dale Rose 14 Oct 98 - 02:53 PM
northfolk 14 Oct 98 - 09:45 PM
BSeed 15 Oct 98 - 12:43 AM
Les B 15 Oct 98 - 02:09 AM
BSeed 17 Oct 98 - 03:18 AM
gargoyle 17 Oct 98 - 10:54 PM
BSeed 18 Oct 98 - 02:47 AM
Kiwi 22 Oct 98 - 01:19 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Oct 98 - 10:29 AM
Ralph 22 Oct 98 - 05:50 PM
Joe DeAngelo 22 Oct 98 - 06:28 PM
Jerry Friedman 22 Oct 98 - 10:47 PM
northfolk 22 Oct 98 - 11:11 PM
dick greenhaus 23 Oct 98 - 03:24 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 14 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Jun 14 - 03:30 PM
Dave Hanson 01 Jun 14 - 03:41 PM
Shimbo Darktree 01 Jun 14 - 11:29 PM
PHJim 02 Jun 14 - 12:16 AM
Lighter 02 Jun 14 - 08:38 AM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 09:35 AM
Lighter 02 Jun 14 - 10:17 AM
Lighter 02 Jun 14 - 11:09 AM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 05:05 PM
Little Robyn 02 Jun 14 - 05:36 PM
Little Robyn 02 Jun 14 - 05:38 PM
Lighter 02 Jun 14 - 05:51 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 08:11 PM
Lighter 02 Jun 14 - 09:15 PM
GUEST 03 Jun 14 - 01:37 PM
MGM·Lion 03 Jun 14 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Kimburly 10 Aug 14 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Kimburly 10 Aug 14 - 08:15 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Aug 14 - 01:08 AM
Mark Ross 11 Aug 14 - 12:45 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Aug 14 - 02:18 PM
Neil D 11 Aug 14 - 11:14 PM
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Subject: Arkansas Traveler
From: Joe DeAngelo
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 12:31 PM

Hi, I'm new here. I used to be a regular folk music listener before a wife and 4 kids depleted all my spare time. Now I'm a lowly Cub Scout Den leader who is trying to come up with material for a skit.

I remember many performers some 20-25 years ago who would play "Arkansas Traveler" while reciting funny interplays between a "passer-by" and an "old country bumpkin". Unfortunately, my memory of those lines has faded and I recall that they were quite entertaining. One set was:

PB: Say old man, have you lived here all your life? OCB: Not yet.

I know I've heard John Hartford, Fred Holstein, Stephen Wade, and, I think, Art Thieme all do variations on those lyrics, so I assume they have some common origin. In any event, can anyone else recall any more of those question and answer sets? I suspect that the humor would work well on my Scouts.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Barbara
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 01:13 PM

Lot of the lines had to do with getting travel directions, as I recall.
"How do you get to *****ville, then?"
"You can't get there from here. You gotta go back the way you come."
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 01:33 PM

Joe-- I've seen it on the www, but I can't remember where. I do remember that the Stanley Brothers (bluegrass) recorded a brief skit on one of their albums back in the 'fifties. They called the piece "trying to get to Little Rock." Later, on another album they recorded more, "Still trying to get to Little Rock."


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 02:04 PM

Hi, Joe - we had an interesting discussion on Turkey in the Straw (click here) that you might want to look at, and one called Songs for Scouts. Not Arkansas Traveler (click here for lyrics), but I thought you might like them.
Michelle Shocked had an album called "Arkansas Traveler." No singing on the title cut, just jokes and music. Here's what I can make out from it:

Arkansas Traveler

Hey, farmer, you been livin’ here all your life?
Not yet.

Hey, farmer, where does this road go?
Been livin’ here all my life, and it ain’t gone nowhere yet.

Hey, farmer, how do you get to Little Rock?
Well, stranger, you can’t get there from here.

Hey, farmer, I thought you said that mud hole weren’t very deep.
Only comes up to here on my ducks.

Hey, farmer, when you gonna fix that leakin’ roof?
Well, stranger, when it’s a-rainin’, it’s too wet to fix it; and when it’s dry, it’s just as good as any man’s house.

Hey, farmer, you’re not too far from a fool, are you?
Just a barbed-wire fence between us.

Hey, farmer, you don’t know very much, do you?
No, but I ain’t lost.
(from the Michelle Shocked album, "Arkansas Traveler." One voice on the cut is identified as Jimmy Driftwood. The other male voice isn’t identified. Maybe Driftwood did both voices. Whatever the case, the album is a great piece of work.)
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Dale Rose
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 02:45 PM

This was taken from the Library of Congress American Variety Stage There is a sound file of the Porter/Hare version on the page. While you are there, sample some of the other songs, notably Recollections of 1861-65 (Trumpet Solo), performed by Edna White. Edison 80613-R, recorded 1921~~it is a remarkable piece.

The Arkansas Traveler (Descriptive Scene), performed by Steve Porter and Ernest Hare Edison 51010-R, recorded 1922

This is a classic "rube" sketch that has its origins in an 1852 lithograph by Currier & Ives depicting a wise-cracking, fiddle-playing hillbilly's encounter with a sophisticated city-slicker. Originally released on a wax cylinder in the 1890s, The Arkansas Traveler was probably the best-selling example of the popular genre "descriptive scene" (also called "descriptive specialty"), a humorous dramatic sketch that often included sound effects and music. Steve Porter was a versatile vaudeville comedian who wrote and performed many comedy routines on early sound recordings. Ernest Hare teamed with Billy Jones in 1920 to form Jones & Hare, "The Happiness Boys" of radio fame, and the most popular singing comedians of the 1920s.

As far as their recording is concerned, I find it somewhat inferior to that of Earl Johnson and His Clodhoppers from the late 20s, but that could be just a matter of taste, though. Randolph states that the earliest known version of the skit was from 1847 and that "Both words and music are usually credited to Colonel Sandford C. Faulkner [d. 1875]". The Levy site (broken link and undated) credits the sheet music to Mose Case.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Dale Rose
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 02:53 PM

Quibbling with myself here, the 1847 date is not from Vance Randolph, but the CSU Fresno Ballad Index.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: northfolk
Date: 14 Oct 98 - 09:45 PM

I was at the weekly event a number of years ago, to support the United Mineworkers Locals that were on Strike against the Pittston Company, a local entertainer and his grandson did the Arkansas Traveler with the following variations:

>Hey neighbor, why did the chicken cross the road?
> To get to the other side!
>Hey neighbor, why did the chicken cross the road?
> To see his friend Gregory, peck!
>Hey neighbor, why did the chicken cross the road?
> To show the possum it could be done!

I left out the appropriate inflection, and groans!


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: BSeed
Date: 15 Oct 98 - 12:43 AM

I remember seeing someone doing Arkansas Traveller in the late sixties (I can never remember his name; I just know it wasn't Ramblin' Jack Elliot--but for some reason I associate him with Jack), playing the guitar and a pocket pal harmonica which he stuck in his mouth. He tongued a very fast, very precise Traveller, took the harp out and did a joke, popped the harp back in his mouth for another runthrough. Does that ring any bells with anyone? Art, can you remember who that might have been? --seed


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Les B
Date: 15 Oct 98 - 02:09 AM

I have a Newport Folk Festival album from about 1959 with Sam Hinton doing the piece, and it is described in the liner notes just the way you have, Northfolk.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: BSeed
Date: 17 Oct 98 - 03:18 AM

It wasn't Sam Hinton I saw. I keep coming up with Rambling Jack, but I know it wasn't him. Cisco Houston is another name somehow linked (but Cisco was already dead). Anyone have any ideas? --seed


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: gargoyle
Date: 17 Oct 98 - 10:54 PM

Hell BS

Try "Gotta Kola" or "Pozac" or "Saint John's Wort" or any-other damn thing.

You keep posting, to every thread, and not having a blasted thing to contribute. Your can't even remember the correct names (of factual or fictional) people, and yet you STILL POST. (You post "witicism" to single members instead of using a 'private' line.)I was going to comment several days ago, about numerous other threads; but, I promised myself I would NEVER again post to one of your absurdities .....however.

This was too much !!!

Please, I gork you brother, but perhaps you should consider an AOL "chat-room." Newbies, are tolerable, (and VERY welcome here, you and I were once one) however, YOU have been here long enough to know better. You even started a thread on Correct Attitudes

PEACE BROTHER


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: BSeed
Date: 18 Oct 98 - 02:47 AM

Hey, Gargoyle, welcome back. I was just wondering--on another thread--where you were. It's so good to have your gentle spirit back among us. Sorry I left you out of the song. --seed


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Subject: Lyr Add: ARKANSAS TRAVELER
From: Kiwi
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 01:19 AM

There's a medley that Ward Swingle did of a bunch of Americana folk songs meshed into the framework of the Arkansas Traveler. The three Arkansas Traveler verses, as I remember them, were:

Once upon a time in Arkansas
An old man sat in his little cabin door
And fiddled at the tunes that he loved to hear
Jolly little ditties that he only knew by ear
It was raining cats and doggies
But the fiddler didn't care
As he sawed away contentedly at each and every air
And though the roof was leaking bad
It sounded like a waterfall
It didn't really seem to bother the old fiddler-man at all

A traveler was walking by that day
And stopped to hear him a-practicin' away
The cabin was afloat and his feet were wet
But the little fiddler didn't really seem to fret
Then the stranger-man he said
"Man it really seems to me
That you'd better mend your roof a bit
Before you wash to sea.”
And then the fiddler-man replied
As he was practicin' away
"Y'know I couldn't mend it now
Because it's such a rainy day.”

The traveler replied "That's all quite true
But this I think is the thing for you to do
Get busy on a day that's fair and bright
And go and patch your roof up 'till it's really good and tight.”
But the fiddler-man was busy
He was practicin' a reel
He was tappin' out the rhythm
With a heavy leather heel
"Well you can get along," he said
"Because you really are a pain,
You know my cabin never leaks a drop
The day it doesn't rain!"

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 29-Jan-02.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 10:29 AM

Back in the folky fifties, the Arkansas Traveler degenerated into a more-or-less eclectic set of questions and answers. Prominent among which were:

Q: Is that the church I see on fire?
A: Holy smoke!

and

Q: Think the rain'll hurt the rhubarb?
A: Not if it comes in cans!
Q: (or redirect, if you prefer) I didn't know rain came in cans.

Sort of a prehistoric Hee-Haw


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Ralph
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 05:50 PM

I heard about the Arkansas Traveler, however he was on a train, the train stopped. AT: "Why did the train stop?"
Conductor: "There are some cows on the track"
-2 hours later
AT: "Hey, why are we stopping now?"
Conductor: "Uh, we caught up with the cows"

Fast train, eh?


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Subject: Lyr Add: ARKANSAS TRAVELER
From: Joe DeAngelo
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 06:28 PM

I'd like to thank everyone who helped with their recollections and pointers. My son and his friend performed the sketch for their Cub Scout pack last night and it was definitely one of the best skits done in a long time. BTW, the Library of Congress recording mentioned above is a 10 Meg download which is well worth the time.
Here is the sketch as I reconstructed it from all the sources and my aging memory.

ARKANSAS TRAVELER

Variations on this sketch date back as far as 1847 and are played in this country to this day. This was derived from a 1921 Library of Congress recording. It concerns a city slicker who is lost on his way to Little Rock and comes upon a farmer playing a banjo on his porch.

CS: How'd you do, boss, what might your name be?
F: Well, it might be Abe Lincoln, but it ain't. What made you think I was boss here?
CS: Why, I guessed it.
F: Well then, guess what my name is.

CS: Hey, farmer, how do you get to Little Rock?
F: Well, stranger, I don't go to Little Rock.

CS: Well, where does this road go?
F: Don't go nowhere, stays right where ‘tis.

CS: How long have you lived here?
F: See that hill over there. Well, that was here when I come.

CS: Now you don't mean to tell me that you've lived here all your life?
F: No, not yet.

CS: I saw a horse down the road with a broken leg. Don't you usually kill a horse with a broken leg?
F: No, we usually kill him with a shotgun.

CS: Say, There's a hole in the roof of your house. Why don't you fix it?
F: 'Cause it's been rainin' lately
CS: Then why don't you fix it when it isn't raining?
F: Well, when it don't rain, it don't leak.

CS: Hey, farmer, you're not too far from a fool, are you?
F: Just a barbed-wire fence between us.

CS: Humph, you don't know very much, do you?
F: No, but I ain't lost.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 29-Jan-02.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 10:47 PM

Very similar jokes appear as "Maine two-liners" on the comedy album "Bert and I" (from the 1970s?), and I always think of "You cahn't get theah from heah" as a Maine joke. Robertson Davies tells it as an Irish joke in one of his speeches. Something like, "Sure, if I was goin' ta Ballyragget, it isn't here I'd be startin' from at all!"

I've also heard "I may be a fool, but I'm not lost" as the punchline of a Mexican joke about tourists. "Pendejo pendejo, pero no perdido!"


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: northfolk
Date: 22 Oct 98 - 11:11 PM

Heard the same, referred to as Newt and Emmett jokes, from the east coast from a friend in New Jersey many many many years ago.


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Subject: RE: Arkansas Traveler
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Oct 98 - 03:24 PM

Ralph- I think you're referring to Arkansas Slow Train recitations- not the same as Arkansas Traveler, though similar in format.

"Conductor, this is the slowest train I ever rode."
"If you don't like it, why don't you get out and walk?"
"I would, but my folks ain't expecting me until the train arrives."

etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 11:13 AM

The tune is at least slightly older than 1847. On June 10, 1846, the Washington, DC, Daily National Intelligencer advertised a "Farewell Concert" by "Master Howard," described as "The American Ole Bull." The third number of Howard's program was advertised as "Master Howard's Oddity, called Hurrah for Texas, in which he will introduce a celebrated Southern air called Arkansas Traveller's Breakdown, composed and arranged by Master Howard." He followed it with Moore's "Oft in the Stilly Night."

Of related interest: The (Montpelier) Vermont Patriot and State Gazette, Dec. 31, 1838, quotes the New Orleans Picayune as saying that "the baggage of an Arkansas traveller" consists of "Three pistols, a pack of cards, a bowie knife, and one shirt."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 03:30 PM

I remember the wonderful Michael Cooney performing this in my local UK folk club back in the late 1960s!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 03:41 PM

There is a pretty good version by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia on the CD ' Not For Kids Only '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 11:29 PM

I transcribed the following from a Weavers LP. Note that Lee Hays has changed the name to "The State of Arkansas", but a folk friend tells me it is a version of The Arkansas Traveler.

THE STATE OF ARKANSAS
(Arrangement by Lee Hays)

My name is Charlie Brennan, from Charleston I come,
I've travelled this wide world over, some ups and downs I've had,
I've travelled this wide world over, some ups and downs I've saw,
But I never knew what misery was till I saw old Arkansas.

I dodged behind the depot to avoid that blizzard wind,
Met a walking skeleton, who said his name was Thomas Quinn,
His hair hung down in rat tails past his lean and lantern jaw,
He invited me to his hotel, said it was the best in Arkansas.

I followed my conductor to his respected place,
Where pity and starvation could be seen on every face,
His bread it was corn dodger, and his meat I could not chaw,
But he charged me half a dollar, in the state of Arkansas.

SPOKEN:
Then I got me a job on a farm. But I didn't like the work, nor the food, nor the farmer, nor his wife, none of the children. So I went up to him one day, and I told him, "Mister, I'm quitting this job, and you can just pay me off right now."
He says to me, he says, "OK son, if that's the way you feel about it," and he handed me a mink skin. I told him, "Hell, brother, I don't want this thing. I want my money."
He says to me, he says, "That's what we use for currency down here in Arkansas." So I took it, and headed for a saloon to see if I could get me a pint of drinking whiskey. I put my mink skin on the bar, and darned if the bartender didn't throw me a pint. Then he picked up my mink skin, blew the hair back on it, and handed me three 'possum hides and fourteen rabbit skins for change!

I'm going to the Indian territory, and marry me a squaw,
Bid farewell to the cane-brakes in the state of Arkansas,
If you ever see me back again I'll extend to you my paw,
But it'll be through a telescope from hell to Arkansas.

- Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: PHJim
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 12:16 AM

Wil Maring made up her own words to this song. Her version made it a love song.

Wil Maring's Arkansas Traveller


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 08:38 AM

Except for being about Arkansas, "The State of Arkansas" and "The Arkansas Traveler" are entirely different.

Hays (from Arkansas) invented the spoken part of the song.

When I was child on the 1950s I heard a presumably "recent" song version that began,

Once upon a time in Arkansas,
An old man sat at his little cabin door,
He fiddled up a tune that he liked to hear,
A merry old tune and he played it by ear.
A traveler came riding by that way....

That(plus the line "The roof don't leak when it doesn't rain") is all I remember of it.

Does anyone have the complete words and credits?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:35 AM

On the theme of counter-melodies, has anyone ever tried segueing Duelling Banjos into the Traveller?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 10:17 AM

Just remembered a little more:

A traveler came riding by that day
And he saw the old man a-fiddling away;
Though his rooftree leaked like a waterfall,
It didn't seem to bother the old man at all.

Also,

Though the rain it fell the fiddler didn't care,
He sawed away at the popular air.


I remember thinking that air must be "popular" because people liked breathing it. I was also thoroughly mystified, at the age of seven, by the term "rooftree."

In other words, I was "stumped."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 11:09 AM

OK, the complete lyrics are in Wikipedia, though no credits.

Wikipedia also asserts that the tune was composed by Col. Sanford C. "Sandy" Faulkner (1805 - 1874), but no contemporaneous evidence is provided.

An article by H. C. Mercer in the Century Magazine of 1896 casts doubt on Faulkner as the composer (and gives his birth date as "1803.")

"The Sun" of Baltimore (Aug. 6, 1874, p. 1) is the earliest reference I can find that connects Faulkner with the tune. It includes the following in Faulkner's obituary:

"He was born in Kentucky in the year 1804 [sic]. In 1831 he went to Arkansas and in 1832 became acquainted with Waller Wright, the original squatter in the song and story known as the Arkansas Traveller. Wright sang a jumbled sort of song which attracted Faulkner's attention - a song and tune he had heard in various settlements. These words, together with the air, Faulkner made into the celebrated song, and for many years past he was universally known as 'The Arkansas Traveller.'"

This suggests that rather than create a new tune, Faulkner improved on a well-known melody and put words and a new title to it, though just what words remain a mystery. Or perhaps he wrote the comic dialogue. Or perhaps he did none of these things, since his name isn't linked to the tune until more than forty years after its supposed composition.

Another account asserts that Faulkner's meeting with an unnamed fiddler occurred near Russelville in 1829.

The tune as we know it today has also been credited to the Cincinnati violinist Jose' Tasso. All in all, its "origin" seems to be entirely uncertain. All that we know for sure is that a "Southern" breakdown called "The Arkansas Traveler" was advertised in Washington as part of a violin recital in November, 1846.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:05 PM

Don't know whether helps or hinders. It also points towards Thomas Jackson's On a Slow Train Through Arkansaw, the source of some of the lines. It also adds a bit more on putting it together.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Little Robyn
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:36 PM

Pete Seeger did Arkansas Traveler in his Carnegie Hall concert with Sonny Terry, way back in the early 60s and it's on Folkways record FA 2412. I can't locate an actual date on the record cover or leaflet but I bought it in NZ about 1963/64.
He did the dialogue and played the first part of the tune on his banjo, ending with the "I ain't lost" gag, then going on to say:
"Dramatically speaking, the skit should have ended there, but it kept on going for about ten hours. It usually ended up with the city man saying "for heaven's sakes, why don't you play the second half of that tune?" and the farmer says, "I wish I knew it, but I can't remember how it goes." And the city man says, "Well hand me the fiddle, I'll play it for you." All of a sudden, the farmer becomes all hospitality, he says, "Can you play the fiddle? Come right in stranger, set down. Sal, set the table!" He hands the fiddle over and the party begins."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Little Robyn
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:38 PM

Google says the concert was in 1958!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:51 PM

Very interesting link, GUEST.

It would be interesting to know the reliability of the claim that Faulkner composed the tune in 1840.

The obituary accounts make it certain that Faulkner at least helped popularize the tune (and some form or forms of dialogue) in his part of the state. Just when (before or after 1846?) remains a fairly inconsequential mystery.

Knowing the name of the tune's "composer" would be gratifying, but though the melody had to come from some place, it's still a folk tune that to my ear is a second or third cousin of "Soldier's Joy." Maybe it was developed from that. Knowing the name of the person who "composed" or arranged and titled it wouldn't tell us anything of more than passing interest. Not that that would be a bad thing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 08:11 PM

The musical structure suggests it's post-Napoleonic, and probably post-Mendelssohn, which pretty much comes back to the 1840 date. I keep haring Hammer Dulcimer harmonies in those fifths, too, although it probably rather more comes from Mountain Dulcimer roots.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:15 PM

> The musical structure suggests it's post-Napoleonic, and probably post-Mendelssohn.

Could you explain that for us? What makes you say so?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 01:37 PM

The declining run in the B Section cannot be earlier than Mozart, for starters. It might be argued that it's post-Corelli in the O'Carolan descent, but even that is a bit early for the US - go listen to Joel Cohen's work, for example The Liberty Tree, to get a sense of the relative seriousness of American music in the late 18th Century. Was it true of the Appalachians? Hard to tell.
Another distinctive decoration is the triplets in the A part, which are not found before Chopin c1838: before that, these were treated as rubato.
So putting the tale-telling together with the evidence and we come to a dat fairly close to 1840. QED.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 03:42 PM

I remember whe Peggy Seeger first came to the Princess Louise back in the she used to do a cante-fable version back in the 1950s. The traveller came upon the old man playing one phrase of the tune on his banjo. The question & answer followed, punctuated by this repeated riff eg "Why don't you sit inside?" "Roof leaks" "Why don't you fix it" "Don't want to get wet" "Fix it when the sun shines" "Don't leak then"... &c

Eventually the traveller asks why the old man is only playing half the tune. "|All I learnt of it from this pld guy who passed by"
"I can teach you the rest of that tune, farmer."
"What, son. You play the banjo! Sadie, blow up the fire, put on some oat cakes and a steak or two. We got Company! Now then, son; teach me the rest ot this tune!"

Whole of Arkansas Traveler tune then played as finale.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST,Kimburly
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 08:12 PM

Wow. It's been years since anyone has added to this. I wonder if anyone will see this. All my later years I've tried to find the words to the song my "Mee Maw" used to sing to me. My grandmother was born in 1898 in Kentucky. She spent her life mostly in the south, became a nurse, lived in a Los Angeles suburb in the 50's for a while and retired in Florida. I was born in 1955, and Mee Maw used to play the ukulele and sing these songs. One she called The Arkansas Traveler, and I've had no luck finding the words she sang to me. They are similar of course, and she would say the verses, and then sing "Do do do do do, do do do, doodle doodle doodle doodle, do do do...
Hey there little boy! Why doncha wash yer face?
Get the warsh pan dirty!
(The do do do's)
Hey there mister! How far from here to Little Rock?
Well, I don' know, but there's a hell of a big one down the road a piece!
(The do do do's)
Hey there mister! Whatcha doin?
Fixin my roof!
But it's raainin!
Don't leak a drop in dry weatha!
(The do do do's)
If there were more verses (and I'm sure there were!) I unfortunately can't remember them. That's why I've tried all my life to find the song, but to no avail. All the verses I see don't match hers. Maybe this will stir someone's memory. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: GUEST,Kimburly
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 08:15 PM

Sorry. I just realized it hasn't been years. I read the dates wrong. Oops.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 01:08 AM

Another of the exchanges I recall from Peggy's version:

"Ain't much between you and a fool, Farmer."

"Don't see nothing between us son -- 'cept a banjo."

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Mark Ross
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 12:45 PM

Farmer asks the Stranger, What do you do for a livin'?"
"I'm a taxidermist."
"What the hell is a taxidermist?"
"That's a fellow who mounts and stuffs animals."
"Hell, we've got another name for that around here."


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:18 PM

♫♫

Tum tiddy tum tiddy tumtumtum
Tum tum tiddy tiddy tiddy tum tum
                                    ♫♫


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Arkansas Traveler
From: Neil D
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 11:14 PM

My dad used to tell some of the jokes he said came from the Arkansas Traveler. The one I remember that hasn't been given here:
Hey farmer, your corn is turning yellow.

Well I planted yellow corn you fool.


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