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Origins: Bootlegger's Song

Charley Noble 18 Aug 06 - 10:52 PM
Peace 18 Aug 06 - 11:03 PM
georgeward 19 Aug 06 - 01:44 AM
georgeward 19 Aug 06 - 01:54 AM
Charley Noble 19 Aug 06 - 10:00 AM
Peace 19 Aug 06 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,www.ecotopia.com/bluegrass/ 06 Mar 12 - 12:20 AM
georgeward 06 Mar 12 - 02:00 AM
Charley Noble 06 Mar 12 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,999 06 Mar 12 - 06:42 PM
Charley Noble 06 Mar 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,999 06 Mar 12 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,GUEST www.ecotopia.com/bluegrass/ 29 Oct 12 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Oct 12 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Oct 12 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Oct 12 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,DoraJMose 22 Mar 16 - 07:20 AM
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Subject: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 10:52 PM

I'm surprised there is no sign of this song in the Mucat files. I first heard it recorded by Oscar Brand on AMERICAN DRINKING SONGS in the early 1960's. That was the Riverside album with the picture of McSorley's Ale House on the cover which still exists off Coopers Plaza in Lower Manhattan. I no longer have the album but this is what I remember of the words and some notes I've harvested from Oscar Brand's website:

BOOTLEGGER'S SONG
(Recorded on AMERICAN DRINKING SONGS, RLP 12-630, Riverside, © 1956
After the singing of Oscar Brand
Tune: after "The Wabash Cannonball")

It was on a Monday morning I headed for the North,
'Long a road I often traveled while running back and forth;
I crossed the old St. Lawrence, down into Montreal,
And I loaded down my Packard with beer and alcohol.

I loaded 'er down with alcohol; I topped 'er off with ale,
I headed for the border; I knew I must not fail;
They singled at me with searchlights and a rifle call,
But I rolled right through the Customs with a load of alcohol.

The troopers and the revenuers soon took up the chase,
But I was doing 95 and steady held my pace;
I brushed along Maroarah, down into to Mandelone,
And the only way they caught me was by the telephone.

I wheeled in Turner's Crossing; there was a train across the road;
That's how they caught the Packard; that's how they caught the load;
And now I'm in the jail, boys; I guess I lost it all,
Waiting for my trial a-scheduled in the fall.

I really can't find a sign of it anywhere else. I suppose it may be composed by Brand but it's set in the Prohibition Days of the 1920's.

I would appreciate any corrections to the lyrics and any other sources of the song.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Peace
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 11:03 PM

5385 ARTHUR,Emry THE BOOTLEGGER'S SONG C3633 - - 6/?/29 -

from here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: georgeward
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:44 AM

The song is "Bert LaFountain's Packard" in upstate NY, and concerns a well-known bootlegger of that name who - if memory serves - operated out of Gabriels in the Adirondacks. The names in Charlie's verse 3, line 3 (or Oscar Brand's) are a bit garbled.
"I drove right through Moirah, through Brushton and Malone" is what is usually sung.
That confused me for years, as it has Bert driving essentially parallel to the US-Canada border, on the US side. Bootleggers from his part of the world often made runs southward to Saranac Lake, the clients of whose tuberculosis sanitariums are said to have been an eager market! It was finally explained to me that Bert had a brother who had a "speak" in (I think) Chazy, to the east of the three towns mentioned.

Much of this comes from a woman who remembered hearing Bert himself sing the song when she was young. She also said he played it on a button box or concertina. When I protested that she was too young to have lived through Prohibition, she observed that, having been busted for rumrunning, Bert could never get a liquor license (there were those wealthier and better-connected, of course, who did). So he continued doing business the old way for some years.

Marjorie Lansing Porter collected the song in the Adirondacks. It is on an album (not Pete Seeger's 'Champlain Valley Songs') by someone whose name will come back to me shortly after I post this. Milt Okun, maybe ?

I recall Lee Knight once saying the song used to get some radio airplay in Saranac Lake, but that the family objected.I doubt that, that would have been the Okun recording...probably someone much more local. Lee isn't on line. But if anyone is in touch with him (as I should be), he can probably add to this. He knew and worked with Mrs. Porter.

- George


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: georgeward
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:54 AM

So with all of that, and with Peace's post about the Emry Arthur recording that precedes mine....who got and adapted what and from whom ?

I learned the song originally, BTW, from the late Gerry Parsons - known to many as Joe Hickerson's colleague at the LOC - who picked it up while knocking around in upstate NY with Dan Adams as "Daniel and the Deacon" in the early 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:00 AM

Well, now there's more of a story and corrections for geographical names thanks to George and Peace. I'm delighted to have confirmed that this song has deeper roots than 1956.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Peace
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:00 PM

I may have got that wrong (about Emry Arthur). Another site is saying he recorded something called "Bootlegger's Lullaby".

I will look further.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,www.ecotopia.com/bluegrass/
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 12:20 AM

When I was in high school (~1960) I learned this from a guy who taught me to play the banjo. This here and now is the first time I've tracked down anyone else with the lyrics or who wrote it. Thanks for the tip. Here's how I've been singing it all these years:

Tune: after "The Wabash Cannonball", key of A)

It was on a Monday morning I was headin' for the North,
On a road I often traveled while goin' back and forth;
Across the old St. Lawrence, and into Montreal,
I loaded down my Packard with beer and alcohol.

(slide run: A... up and up the neck to D to E & back to A, between verses)

I loaded 'er down with alcohol and I topped 'er off with ale,
Had to cross the customs, boy, I knew I must not fail;
They signaled me with searchlights and a rifle call,
But I rolled right through the Customs with my load of alcohol.

The troopers and the revenuers soon took up the chase,
But I was doing 95 and steady held my pace;
I brushed 'em at Maloarah, wizzed past them at Malone,
The only way they got to me was by the telyphone.

I came to Turner's Crossing; there was a train across the road;
That's how they caught the Packard; that's how they got the load;
And now I'm in the jail, boys; I guess I lost it all,
Waiting for my trial a-scheduled in the fall.

[Long since I've plum' forgot the first half of the last verse, so I fake it and then finish off with...]

Come all you young citizens, don't ever take no chance,
Don't carry the precious water that makes 'em sing and dance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: georgeward
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 02:00 AM

They bound me down for trial. They'll send me off to jail.
Where none can go security and none can go my bail,
So let this be a warnin' boys, don't ever take no chance,
Don't carry the precious waters that makes 'em sing and dance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 08:02 AM

Nice to have this thread revived.

I'd also dropped the last verse. It provides a moral but little else.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 06:42 PM

Charley: just found the following, sheet music too.

Google

[PDF] Bert LaFountain's Packard

and open the quick view.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 07:03 PM

Excellent!

Another song done nailed down.

I only know one song now that no one has ever found, and I'm not telling.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 07:42 PM

That will make it hard to find, Charley.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,GUEST www.ecotopia.com/bluegrass/
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 01:58 AM

Thanks to you folks, a few months ago I tracked down the vinyl online and placed the order. It came a few days later and sure enough, there it was, just like I remembered, including the breaks and all.

Oscar Brand sings the last verse like this:

*They took me to the courthouse and put me into jail.*
*I had a lot of friends boys but none to go my bail.*
Come all you young citizens, don't never take no chance,
Don't carry the precious water that makes 'em sing and dance.

I love songs with such pithy moral statements at the end. I've sung and played it hundreds of times without *those 2 lines* and never remembering who had recorded it. For some reason I find it really catchy, maybe because my uncle used to sing and play the Wabash Cannonball.

I just sent it off to some friends who live in Montreal!

Thanks again for helping me revive the memories.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 08:10 AM

Strange - forgot to dump the cache.



"Bootleg King " Lake Placid News1925.

news2.nnyln.net/lake-placid-news/1925/lake-placid-news-1925-april-june%2520-%25200057.pdf


Burt LaFountain is noted at the end of the lower page .....however the amazing articles on the page show that there was no lack of US production shipped overseas. Germany was a client. England was awash in booze. A rail train full of gin was more heavily guarded than a Wells's Fargo gold shipment.

New York Herald Wednesday December 24, 1919, page 3, "$20,000 Worth of Whiskey Seized at Canadian - NY Line "

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 09:05 AM

Sorry perhaps a mud elf could clean this mess up.

The URL for the Herald page is...


GoogleDocs


http://bit.ly/TjMAIa

It is unapproachable through other resources.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 01:26 PM

OK the original "hit" that launched the archive adventure.

A very nice little writeup about "Burt LaFountain" and even a road in his honor.

hsl.wikispot.org/Bert_LaFountain

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

thank you mud elf...that was quite a mess I left.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bootlegger's Song
From: GUEST,DoraJMose
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 07:20 AM

I know I've got the right song, but in the book authored by Geraldine Collins, the lyrics start: "It was on a Sunday morning..." Is it either or, Monday/Sunday?


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