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Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning

DigiTrad:
BACKWOODSMAN
I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY IN 1865


Dave Ruch 08 Apr 05 - 09:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 05 - 02:28 PM
Dave Ruch 09 Apr 05 - 02:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 05 - 02:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 05 - 02:42 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 05 - 09:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 05 - 09:39 PM
Dave Ruch 10 Apr 05 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,WYS 10 Apr 05 - 11:15 PM
Dave Ruch 12 Apr 05 - 12:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Apr 05 - 12:52 PM
regiberry 17 Nov 07 - 10:15 PM
Joe Offer 25 Sep 08 - 04:03 PM
Joe Offer 25 Sep 08 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Pamela from Ithaca 25 Sep 08 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 26 Sep 08 - 11:43 AM
Dave Ruch 26 Sep 08 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Will Fitzgerald 16 Apr 09 - 08:16 AM
Bob the Postman 16 Apr 09 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Tim Jaques 22 Jan 11 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Guest, James Cummings 08 Nov 11 - 08:25 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Oct 12 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Jason Rurak, 26 Nov 13 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,Lucky lcd 08 Sep 17 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Stevebury 09 Sep 17 - 07:38 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 09:38 PM

I'm wondering about the origins of this song, which appears here as both "The Backwoodsman" and "I First Came To This Country in 1865".   I have a great NY/PA lumbercamp version from Ezra "Fuzzy" Barhight. I see that Lomax collected a version also. Anyone know where it first appeared?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:28 PM

Edith Fowke had this to say in "The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs," p. 201:
"...one of the most widespread North American songs, having been sung in at least eight states and three provinces. It seems to have started in Vermont early in the 19th c. and spread out from there. The titles vary: "The Green Mountain Boys," "The Cordwood Cutter," "I Came to This Country," "The Wood Hauler," "One 'Lection Morning," and the place names are always localized, but the incidents and phrasing have remained remarkably constant in widely separated regions over more than a century. Mr. Woodcock's version [the one in her book, coll. 1957] is a little shorter than most: for a longer Ontario version and references see Fowke LSNW 173" ["Lumbering Songs From the Northern Woods," Austin, Texas, 1970].

A version was posted in thread 2839: Lumberman
For the song "When I First Came to this Country," see thread 40795: When I First came


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:32 PM

Wow, thanks Q! I too am amazed at how similar this version I have (southern tier NY/northern PA) is to others I've heard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:40 PM

The version in thread 2839 is a cut-off piece of "The Backwoodsman," No. 30 in Edith Fowke, "The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs," p. 78-79, with music. This song is in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:42 PM

Dave, I forgot to ask- would you please post your version?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Mornin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 09:01 PM

Hmmm. Interesting song, and we haven't had much discussion of it. I couldn't find any threads on this song at all. There's quite an entry on this song at the Traditional Ballad Index:

Backwoodsman, The (The Green Mountain Boys) [Laws C19]

DESCRIPTION: The singer, a wood-hauler, having gotten drunk, is convinced to go a ball. He spends a riotous night. He hopes that others will not exaggerate what happened.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1920 (Cox)
KEYWORDS: drink hardtimes
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE) Canada(Ont,West)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Laws C19, "The Backwoodsman (The Green Mountain Boys)"
Rickaby 35, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering 168, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text)
JHCox 132, "When I Was One-and-Twenty" (1 text)
BrownIII 340, "The Wood Hauler" (2 texts)
FSCatskills 119, "The Cordwood Cutter" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fowke-Lumbering #49, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/MacMillan 30, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 43-45, "The Green Mountain Boys" (1 text)
DT 604, BACKWOOD* CAMCNTRY*

Roud #641
RECORDINGS:
Maynard Britton, "I Came to this Country" (AFS, c. 1937; on KMM; there is probably some mixture in this version)
James B. Cornett, "Spring of '65" (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
Robert C. Paul, "The Backwoodsman" (on Saskatch01)
Vern Smelser, "The Morning of 1845" (on FineTimes)
Emerson Woodcock, "The Backwoodsman" (on Lumber01)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "In Eighteen-Forty-Nine" (floating lyrics)
cf. "In Seventeen Ninety-Five" (lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Cordwood Cutter
Notes: Laws made rather a botch of this piece, omitting the Cox and Brown texts and causing me to split the song in two for a time. It doesn't help that it's an extremely diverse item; there is hardly a single feature common to all versions. Many versions start with the lines, "I woke up on morning in (1805/1845/1865), (Thought/Found) myself quite (happy/lucky) to find myself alive."
This is not, however, diagnosic. Cox's text, for instance, begins with the line, "When I was one-and-twenty," but is obviously not to be confused with the A. E. Housman poem of the same title.
Many texts say that the young man was able to go on a spree because of a gift from his father. But in Brown's "B" text, he's treated to an election spree (a common technique in nineteenth century elections: Give the voters enough free liquor and they would be expected to vote for you. Though it's rather odd to see an election held in *1845*).
The singer is often a hauler, and may ring in his mule -- but may not.
We often find a description of a wild dance, but this seems to vary also.
And so it goes.
Fowke's text has a curious reference to a fiddle tune "The Bluebells of Ireland." Wonder how the Scots felt about that title. - RBW
File: LC19

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD: Version: When I Was One-and-Twenty
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 09:39 PM

The earliest mentioned in the Traditional Ballad Index is the one collected by Cox.

WHEN I WAS ONE-AND-TWENTY

When I was one-and-twenty my daddy set me free,
He gave me money plenty to go out upon a spree;
O money being plenty, and whiskey being free,
When one glass was empty another was filled for me.

I gathered up the saddles and started for the barn,
I saddled up old Grayie, thinking of no harm;
I mounted on her back, and rode away so still,
Then I never drew a sober breath until I came to Sistersville.

There was some acquaintances I did recall;
They told me of a place where there was going to be a ball;
I was hard to persuade, but I did give way,
And they took me to the place where the fiddler was to play.

Now for some fun, boys, I will tell you in advance!
Four of us got on the floor, to take a civil dance;
The fiddler being ready, his arms being strong,
Then we played "The Drowned Irish Boy" for four hours long.

"Daylight now, boys! you have danced long enough!
Let us spend a single moment getting cash for snuff."
You will run around and talk, you will make a dreadful flourish,
When you are guilty of the same crime, perhaps a great deal worse.

Now come on, good honest people, who carry news about,
And tell no lies on me, for I am mad without;
For I am down and out ....
All caused by the use of whiskey and snuff.

From "Mr. C. L. Underwood, Moundsville, Marshall Co., West Virginia, obtained from his father, who learned it when a boy in Tyler Co."
No. 132, p. 404, J. H. Cox, 1925, "Folk-Songs of the South" (Dover reprint 1967).

(Sistersville, W. Va., on the Ohio River)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 01:45 PM

I will post it as soon as I have a chance to transcribe it, Q. I've been listening to it my car for the past week.

Thanks to you and Joe for the additional info!

The singer I have it from learned his songs in the lumbercamps along the NY/PA border in the 1880's - 1910's, and the melody is indeed striking. The story sounds a bit mystical in his version, which is only maybe 5-6 verses long. He omits just enough of the story (through attrition as opposed to intentially, I would think) to be very intriguing.

Text coming soon.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,WYS
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 11:15 PM

lumbercamps along the NY/PA border

I live in that area, but I dunno if I know any old lumbermen to ask if they ever heard it. Have to check around

~S~


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 12:01 PM

OK, here is the version I've been listening to, as sung by ex-lumberman Ezra "Fuzzy" Barhight to folklorist Ellen Stekert in 1956:

I got up last Monday morning just half past five
I thought it was quite lucky for I found myself alive
I harnessed up my horses my labor to pursue
So I went to hauling wood as I used for to do

The alehouse being open and the liquor it being free
As fast I emptied one glass another was filled for me
I didnt haul but one load when I used for to haul four
For I stayed so long in Stonedam* I couldnt haul no more

Well I met with my companion his name I will not tell
He told me that night where there was to be a ball
I was hard to persuade but at length I did agree
That I'd meet him that night where the fiddler was to be

Well my father followed after me the neighbors so they say
He must have had a pirate (pilot?) r he never'd have found his way
He peeked in every crack and corner where he could spy a light
Till his locks were all wet with the dews of the night

We had got on the floor, four of us to take a dance
......................... (no second line)
And the fiddler being willing and his arm it being strong
Played the Ground of Old Ireland(?) for four hours long

Now daylight is a dawning and we have danced enough
We'll spend one half an hour just a getting cash for Cuff
We'll go home to our plough boy we'll whistle and we'll sing
And we never will be catched in such a scrape again

One more thing I'll have to say before I go away
I hope you all will hear me and listen to what I say
Just when you'll hear of another ball I'll pray you'll let me know
For I'm just as good a fiddler as ever drawed the bow
----

Barhight concludes by saying "sung by Etta Jones and Billy Murray!" (perhaps two folks in the lumbercamps? popular singers of the day?).

* Ellen Stekert asks him about the location - Stonedam - after the song, and he claims that it lies near Wellsville NY in Allegany County, NY near where he used to lumber


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 12:52 PM

I found records of a birth in Stonedam, Allegheny Co. The town (hamlet) may no longer exist or perhaps was absorbed into Willing or other nearby town.

Thanks for posting. Different ending from other versions I have found.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: regiberry
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 10:15 PM

This might be the song I'm looking for:

I woke one morning in 1845
Thought myself quite lucky just to be alive
harnessed us my old team
my business to pursue
and I went to hauling hay like I used for to do!


Got any more lyrics? I been seaching


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Subject: ADD Version: The Backwoodsman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 04:03 PM

Tim Jaques posted a version of this, way back in the early days of Mudcat:

Thread #2839   Message #12890
Posted By: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
22-Sep-97 - 07:21 PM
Thread Name: straight & sober song circle
Subject: Lyr Add: THE BACKWOODSMAN

THE BACKWOODSMAN

Oh, well do I remember the year of forty-five.
I thought myself quite lucky to find myself alive.
I harnessed up my horses, my business to pursue,
And went hauling cordwood as I often used to do.

I only hauled out one load. I should have hauled out more.
I went down to O'Reeny's. I would not haul no more.
The tavern there was open, the liquor running free.
I hadn't emptied one glass when another was filled for me.

(Chorus) And my father followed after me. I heard the people say,
"He must have had a pilot, or he'd never have found the way."
He looked in every howling corner he could see the light.
His grey locks were wet with the dew of the night.

I met an old acquaintance. I dare not say his name.
He was going to a dance. Well, I thought I'd do the same.
I harnessed up my horses and rode off with a will,
And I didn't draw a long breath 'til I got to Downyville (sic?).

By the time I got to Downyville, the night was far advanced.
I got up on the floor, boys, and had a little dance.
The fiddler there was rested. His arms were big and strong.
He played the reels of old Ireland before the night was gone.

(Chorus again, repeat first verse)

Another song I learned by ear, apparently Canadian from Ontario. The place names are phonetic.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Green Mountain Boys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 05:38 PM

GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS

It was on one Monday morning
In eighteen hundred and seventy-five,
I thought myself quite happy
To find myself alive.
I harnessed up my horses,
My business to pursue,
And I went to hauling cordwood
As I always used to do.

The taverns being opened
And the whisky running free,
As soon as one glass was empty
Another was filled for me.
Instead of hauling eight loads
I didn't haul but four,
For I got so very drunk
That I couldn't haul no more.

It was there I met my old companion—
Her name I will not tell.
She told me that night
Where the dance was to be held.
'Twas hard to be persuaded,
But with her I did agree
For to meet her there that night
Where the fiddler was to be.

I took my saddle on my arm
And I traveled to the barn.
I saddled up old Gray,
Not thinking of any harm.
I saddled up old Gray
And I rode away so quick
That I hadn't scarcely thought
Before I reached Greenland ville.

My father followed after me
As I heard the people say.
He must have had a pile of tail,
He never found the way.
He peeked through every keyhole
Where he could spy a light
'Til his old grey locks were wet
By the dew of the night.

Fourteen of the Green Mountain boys
Were up on the floor to dance,
As many of the prettiest girls
That ever sailed from France.
The fiddler, being Irish
And his elbow being strong,
He played the grounds of Ireland
For five hours long.

"It's past five o'clock, boys,
We've all danced enough.
Our pockets are empty
Making change those old cuffs.
We'll go home to our plows, boys,
We'll whistle, dance and sing
And we never shall be caught
In such a drunken scrape again.

"Come all ye good old women
Who tattle-tale about,
Don't add anything to this
For it's bad enough without.
Don't add anything to this
Or try to raise a fuss,
For you're guilty of the same
And perhaps a great deal worse."

Source: Vermont Folk-Songs & Ballads, edited by Helen Hartness Flanders & George Brown (1931), pages 43-45


Notes:
    MR. PAUL LORETTE of Manchester Center, Vermont, when questioned as to the authorship of this apparently Vermont production, said that three or four of the men in the camp (Chaffee Lumber Camp, Rutland-Chittenden) got together and made up the story. What one wouldn't think of, another would fill in. He had never since heard the song sung by anyone else. Mr. Franz Rickaby has discovered portions of this ballad in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has included it as THE BACKWOODSMAN in his highly entertaining collection BALLADS AND SONGS OF THE SHANTY-BOY. It is also in the Barry collection. Both latter versions have the date of the events "1805" instead of "1875."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Mornin
From: GUEST,Pamela from Ithaca
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 11:31 PM

Hi Dave,

You'll hear a version I got from the Flanders collection on my
"As Time Draws Near" CD. It's from Asa Davis in VT.
He called it The Backwoodsman, and it's damn close to Fuzzy's version...
with large dollops of the Green Mt Boys version.
Given Paul Lorette's story, I wonder if Asa Davis was one of those guys
making up the story.

A couple of differences -
Asa sang "Twas early Monday morning, about the hour of five..."
no mention of any particular year.
He gets drunk in a "drug store" rather than a tavern
(which I've always thought was rather peculiar"

I'm interested in see the line (about the father)
"He must of had a pile of tail, he never found the way."
Asa sang "He must of had a pile of grit, he never found the way"
which I'm guessing got morphed into "He must of had a pilot, or he'd never find the way."
I've had people question me about the "pile of grit" but I'm
sure that's what Asa sang... and I've heard it as a folk idiom in
those parts for a certain level of frustration.

Now, can I remember the date of the recording with Asa Davis?
I'll have to go back to my records and see.

Thanks for posting the text, Dave.
I do like that last verse. Quite different, indeed.

best, Pamela


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 11:43 AM

Dave Ruch --

Ada (not Etta) Jones and Billy Murray were two extremely popular singers in the 1910-20 era. They featured heavily on cylinder and disk recordings and sang many vaudeville classics.

I wonder if the singer who sang this to Ellen Stekert was kidding! (That's the kind of salutation that commonly appeared at the beginning, and sometimes the end, of the earliest recordings, particularly cylinders, which had room only for very small print for labeling.)

As far as I know the Backwoodsman/Cordwood Cutter song is older. But I checked in Norman Cazden's Folk Songs of the Catskills to see. He has versions form George Edwards and Marvin Yale. Interestingly he gives no real traditional background for the song, just notes it's found all over the lumbercamp repertory.

So, could the origin of this song be a recording by Jones and Murray? I know of none, but it may be. That would make it originally a Tin Pan Alley song and not a folksong.

Not an unheard-of source. Some of the songs recorded 1900-1920 by vaudevillians like Billy Golden, Len Spencer, Murray, Jones and other early vaudevillians did get picked up by traditional singers in both New England and the South.

Can anyone trace a Jones-Murray recording of this?   Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 12:12 PM

Bob,

Once I discovered who Ada Jones and Billy Murray were a few years ago, I assumed Barhight (the singer) was kidding, but now you've got me wondering....


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Mornin
From: GUEST,Will Fitzgerald
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 08:16 AM

This is my transcription of J.D. Cornett's version on Smithsonial Folkways, "Mountain Music of Kentucky," where it is labeled "Spring of '65."

SPRING OF '65

I woke up one morning the spring of '65;
I thought I was quite lucky to be found alive.
I gird up my mules my business to pursue;
Instead of hauling four loads I only hauled two.

I got so drunk at Harper I couldn't haul no more--
The men a-telling jokes, I laughed till I was sore.
The grocery being open, the money spending free,
Soon as one glass was empty, boys, another filled for me.

I picked up my saddle and I stroll out to the barn
And catching out old Gray, not meaning any harm
I crawled up on her back and rode so very still.
I scarcely drew a breath, boys, till I reached the Laurel Hill.

There I met an old acquaintance, his name I won't tell at all.
He told that night where there's going to be a ball.
We tittled and we tattled at last we did agree
To meet that night, boys, where the fiddle was to be.

I'll tell you now, boys, how our party did commence.
There's four of us jolly boys got on the floor to dance.
The fiddler being willing, his arm a being strong,
He played "The Crippled Kingfisher" about four hours long.

I see the morning stars, boys, I guess we've danced enough.
We'll spend another hour in paying cash for cuff.
We'll go back to our plows, we'll whistle and we'll sing;
We never will be guilty of another such a thing.

Come all you newsy women, who scatter news about--
Don't tell no tales upon us, we're bad enough without.
Don't tell no tales upon us to keep up any fuss,
You've been guilty of the same things, perhaps a whole lot worse.

(spoken): They've been playing around there, and owed so much drink so see
They had to pay what they'd tore up.

J.D. Cornett, "Spring of '65"
Smithsonial Folkways, "Mountain Music of Kentucky."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 09:10 AM

Further to Billy Murray, he's the guy who made "Casey Jones" universally known and he made more records than anyone else before Bing Crosby so he could have recorded Backwoodsman. I had a boo in this Billy Murray discography but it's too huge for me to get to grips with.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Tim Jaques
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 09:12 AM

A version of this was sung by the Canadian band Stringband years ago.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Guest, James Cummings
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 08:25 PM

Back in the 80's on the Jersey Shore a Jug Band called the Method Trainer sang this version.


I woke up one morning in the spring of 65
Considering myself lucky to be found alive
I hitched up my horses my business to pursue
Instead of hauling four loads I only hauled two

I had my fill of plowing before the sun was high
the sunshine made my head feel strange it was an orange stripe
so I unhitched my mule and saddled up my mare
and I rode down to the grocery to see whats doing there

Now farming folk from miles around were gathered in the store
each saying that they never left their plow so soon before
while talking of the mystery of Gods unfolding will
old man Hawkins brought a load of whiskey from his still

Now most of us had never drunk so early in the day
we sensed today was special we got drunk anyway
got so drunk and crazy that we all did agree
to meet that very night where the fiddle was to be

The night was clear as crystal the moon was full and bright
and nothing looked familiar in that pale unearthly light
there was no wind no calling birds in fact is was so still
I scarcely drew a breath before I reached the Laurel Hill

I'll tell you of our party and how it did commence
when four of us the Johnny Boys got on the floor to dance
the fiddler being willing his arm a being strong
he played the crippled king fisher about four hours long

I see the morning stars boys I guess we danced enough
We'll spend another hour in paying cash for cup
We'll go back to our plows We'll whistle and We'll sing
We never will be guilty of another such a thing

So all you newsy women who gather news about
don't tell no tales upon us or kick up any fuss
You've been guilty of the same thing thing
perhaps a whole lot worse


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 06:12 PM

The Cordwood Cutter (2 versions) in Folk Songs of the Catskills, edited by Cazden, Haufrecht & Studer (at Google Books)

One Monday Morning in Lore of an Adirondack County by Edith E. Cutting (at Google Books)

The Spring of '65, sung by Eddie Rollins in Moscow, Maine, in 1991, in the collections of the Main Folklife Center at the University of Maine (audio and text at the link)

In the following two (very similar) versions, the narrator hauls coal, rather than wood:

1845, lyrics from Jeff Warner's cd, Jolly Tinker. No notes on the source here. It's not in the Anne & Frank Warner Collection, and I don't have the cd handy at the moment.

I was set googling this after hearing it (and vaguely recognizing it from Jeff Warner's rendition) on Rayna Gellert's new cd, Old Light, which is available here. Her text and tune is very similar to Jeff Warner's. The place names are Shippensport (same) and Louisville (similar to Jeff's Laurel Hill), with the addition of a "friends and neighbors"-"don't go telling stories" verse. There are no notes online as to where she got it. I don't have the cd, but heard it via Folk Alley (available free as a "First Listen" until October 25).

"Shippensport" or "Shippingport" is a former settlement near Louisville, Kentucky, near the falls of the Ohio, a place where it makes sense to be hauling coal rather than wood. The name comes up in relation to fiddle tunes, too. (There were other places by the "Shippensport" name in the 19th cent., such as on the Morris Canal in New Jersey, and there is a "Shippingport" northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it seems to come up as an archaic form for "Shippingport".)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Jason Rurak,
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 01:50 AM

Hey guys I ran across this tonight cause i did a google search for something that has plagued me for years.

As far back as I can remember any time my father and I did work on the farm he always told me that i needed to learn this story.. He said it had been taught to him by his father and by his father and so on back though our family..

I sure wish i had paid more attention to it than I did, for my father passed away and about then is when I realized i should have listened to him more, I never really cared to learn it, or paid much attention until he passed and it just hit me one day and I could not remember it. Over the years More and more of it has came back to me but SO SO different than anything I have seen here yet so so identical.

Everything in my version is the same, just with different twits.. Here is the Version i was tuaght... what i can remember..

I woke up one morning in 1805
i felt so very happy to find my self alive
i harnested up my team as business to persue
and went on hauling wood as i use for to do..

I only hauled two loads
instead of hauling four
as i stayed in jolly town so long
i coudlnt haual any more
the saloons being open
and the whiskey being free
as soon as once glass was emptied
another one was filled for me.

i meet an old aquaintance
whos name was johny hall
who told me that night where there was to be a ball
i drove me team on home
and put them in the barn
I saddled up my horse not thinking any harm.


( i remember somthing about moonlight here but Cant remember i have found no verses mathing what my father taught me)

I rode away so still
that i scarcley drew a breath
until i entered bunkers hill

my father followed after me
as he often said he might
and with his proxy so white
he peared into every crack
he could spy light
with his beard so white
from the frost of the night

now four of us good jolly men
out on the dance floor
with 4 of the prettiest girls
that ever sialed from fance
the fiddler being willing
and his arm beng stong
will play the grounds of ireland
only 4 hours long.

now come on all ye ladies
quit riasing such a fuss
for its bad enough with out
theres no need to cuss

now come on all you gentleman
who raises such a purse,
you have been guilty of the same
perhaps a little worse

Thats the best i can recall from what my daddy taught me, And i will probably go to my grave guilty of not listening to him. If anyone has heard a version closer to mine please contact me so i can have some peace of mind..

My Name is Jason Ruark my email is robedmage @ hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Lucky lcd
Date: 08 Sep 17 - 08:05 AM

via Edith Fowke : Lumbering Songs from the Northern Woods

It's as well as I remember 'twas the year of 'forty-five
I thought myself so thankful for to find myself alive
I harnessed up my horses, and I joined the Super crew,
And I went a-hauling cordwood as I often used to do.

I might have hauled one load, I might have hauled four
I went down to Omemee, and I could not haul no more
The baroom it was open, the liquor flying free,
And I drank one glass, another filled for me.

Oh, I met an old acquaintance, I dare not tell his name
He was going to a ball at night; I thought I'd do the same.
He was going to a ball at night, the music sweetly played
And the boys and girls all danced till the breaking of the day.

Oh, I put the saddle on my arm, I struck out to the barn
I saddled up the old grey nag, not thinking any harm.
I saddled up the old grey nag and I rode away quite still,
And I never halted till I came to Downeyville.

Oh, when I got to Downeyville the night was far advanced
I got up on the floor thought I'd have a little dance
The fiddler he was rested, and his arms were stout and strong
Played "The Bluebells of Ireland" for four hours long.

Oh, my father followed after me, I heard the people say
He must have had a spyglass, or he'd never have found the way
He looked in every keyhole that he could see a light
Till his old grey locks were wet with the dew of the night.

Oh, cme all you old married men, I think you've danced enough.
Let us spend a half an hour, and we'll get a cash account.
We'll go home to our plows and whistle and we'll sing,
And you'll never catch us out on a spree like this again.

Oh, come all you old women who tell your tales about,
I pray you tell no tales on me, I'm bad enough without.
I pray you tell no tales on me – I'm sure it's not the first.
If the truth was only known, I'm sure I'm not the worst.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Backwoodsman/I Woke up One Morning
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 09 Sep 17 - 07:38 PM

Eloise Hubbard Linscott published her book 'Folk Songs of Old New England' in 1939. She also prepared a second manuscript, 'Songs and Tunes from a Yankee Peddler's Pack', which was never published. Her manuscript is in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. I was doing some research on Linscott, and found a version of 'The Backwoodsman' from Nathan French. (When I get back to her manuscript, I will track down where he was from – presumably in New England.) Instead of hauling wood, lumber, logs, cordwood, coal, etc, this version is unique (among the versions I have seen) in that the singer was hauling bark. Harvesting and shipping bark was a major industry in Pennsylvania (to supply the leather tanning industry) and was apparently also a trade in New England. Linscott's version from Nathanial French (from her typescript) is as follows. She also transcribed the tune. This version is unusual in that it doesn't assume that it's the women who gossip and spread stories!

Hauling Bark

I waked up one morning
The year of '65.
I thought myself lucky
To find myself alive
So I harnessed my hosses
My labor to pursue
And I went to hauling bark
As my daddy used to do.

And when I got to Milford
The liquor flowing free
When one glass was emptied
Another filled for me
Instead of hauling eight loads
I didn't haul but four
I got so drunk at John Jack's
I couldn't haul no more

I'll tell you all about it
And how the row commenced
Oh four of us stout fellows
Went on the floor to dance.
The fiddler being willing,
His arms being strong,
He played the rounds of Ireland
Oh full four hours long.

My daddy rode after
He rode both night and day
Without a fine helper [ penciled: '(pilot?)' ]
He must have lost his way;
He came to ever window
He'd look then for a light
He found me in my bed
And the clock said twelve that night.

Come now all ye fellows
Who peddle news about
Don't tell all my secret
And carry it about;
Oh pray don't tell of that evening
T will just make a great fuss
Perhaps you do the same
Very likely a great deal wuss!

--Stevebury

PS-- Cross-reference: There's also a version of the 'Green Mountain Boys' strain of the 'The Backwoodsman' (from J. S. Kennison in Vermont) posted on Mudcat thread http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=22174&messages=22


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