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Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)

DigiTrad:
COAL TATTOO
COMING OF THE ROADS
ODE TO THE LITTLE BROWN SHACK


Related threads:
Lyr Req/Add: I'm Gonna Be a Bachelor (Wheeler) (6)
Tune Req: Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back (4)
Billy Edd Wheeler compilation (5)
Neil Young-Billy Edd Wheeler's 'High Flyin' Bird' (3)
Lyr Add: High Flyin' Bird (Billy Edd Wheeler) (22)
Lyr/Chord Req: High Flying Bird (Billy Ed Wheeler) (18)
Chord Req: Redwing Blackbird (Billy Edd Wheeler) (7)
Chords Req: Coal Tattoo (Billy Edd Wheeler) (14)
Lyr Req: Red-Winged Blackbird (Billy Edd Wheeler) (25)
Lyr Req: They Can't Put It Back (Billy Edd Wheeler (4)
Where, oh where,... Billy Ed Wheeler? (12)
Lyr Req: Sassafrass (Billy Edd Wheeler) (3)
Lyr Req: Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back (35)
Billy Ed Wheeler (13)
(origins) Origin: Coal Tattoo (Billy Edd Wheeler) (5)
Lyr Req: Coal Tattoo (Billy Edd Wheeler) (2)


GUEST,MICK FELDER 03 Sep 06 - 04:45 PM
Effsee 03 Sep 06 - 04:50 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Sep 06 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 03 Sep 06 - 08:15 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Sep 06 - 08:33 PM
BB 04 Sep 06 - 04:33 PM
Big Mick 04 Sep 06 - 06:47 PM
Mr Happy 04 Sep 06 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Russ 05 Sep 06 - 12:38 PM
Midchuck 05 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM
Amos 05 Sep 06 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Bill Perry 17 Jun 11 - 08:40 AM
Chris in Portland 17 Jun 11 - 09:19 AM
Arkie 17 Jun 11 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Bill Perry 17 Jun 11 - 06:27 PM
Little Robyn 17 Jun 11 - 07:12 PM
2581 27 Jan 12 - 06:54 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 13 - 02:05 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Apr 13 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Gerry 08 Apr 13 - 10:08 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Apr 13 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,Gerry 09 Apr 13 - 12:51 AM
Tattie Bogle 09 Apr 13 - 02:43 AM
2581 09 Apr 13 - 10:27 AM
GUEST 09 Nov 17 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Lin 11 Nov 17 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Lin 13 Nov 17 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Crozet VA 12 Apr 18 - 04:37 PM
Joe Offer 12 Apr 18 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,henryp 12 Apr 18 - 07:44 PM
Joe Offer 13 Apr 18 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Jerry 13 Apr 18 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Felipa 14 Apr 18 - 03:26 AM
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Subject: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: GUEST,MICK FELDER
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 04:45 PM

"COMING OF THE ROADS" BY BILLY ED WHEELER HAS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND HAUNTING MELODIES HEARD IN FOLK MUSIC. I'VE EVEN PERFORMED IT ON THE PIANO AT WEDDINGS.

BUT I'VE ALWAYS FELT THAT THE LYRICS WERE IN NO WAY COMPARABLE TO THE MELODY. IT SOUNDS AS IF IT WAS A TRADITIONAL TUNE. DOES ANYONE KNOW FOR SURE IF MR. WHEELER WROTE THE MELODY AS WELL AS THE LYRICS.


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: Effsee
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 04:50 PM

no need to shout!


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 05:18 PM

Sounds composed to me (the range strikes me as too large to have survived processing by the folk), and I've heard it no where else.

(Mick, you may be new to internet communication -- all caps is interpreted as shouting; using upper & lower case (or even all lower case) makes text much easier to read, too. But, not everyone types easily...)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 08:15 PM

There was a version of this on the Country charts in the early 1960s---by Johnny Darrol, or Derol or Derrol or whatever!?\

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 08:33 PM

From the horse's mouth:

MOUNTAIN MAN: BILLY EDD WHEELER talks to Spencer Leigh
(This feature appeared in two parts in Country Music People, July and August 2005.)

"...The Coming Of The Roads, a song about the devastation caused by strip mining ... was recorded first by Judy Collins and then by Peter, Paul and Mary."

The Judy Collins recording was on her "Fifth Album" (Elektra, 1965), so that was the earliest. Not to say that there weren't more recordings; the quote above is part of a comment that it was Chet Atkins's favorite song of Wheeler's.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: BB
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 04:33 PM

Brenda Wootton recorded it, in the late 60s/early 70s. I agree about the tune: I'm certain that the range would not be found in the tradition. But it is a wonderful song - including the words.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 06:47 PM

Peter, Paul and Mary also recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: COMING OF THE ROADS
From: Mr Happy
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 06:58 PM

I sing this song quite frequently.

Its a hard one to do cos of the range of voice required.

So have to do in G sharp.

I'm especially comfortable doin' it when our Marilyn's around to sing the 'highs' for me - [cos I gotta admit I have to cheat!!]

A great song & wish I cud do it all meself in a key cumfterble for other musos to join in with.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 12:38 PM

If strip-mining and now mountain-topping don't push any of your buttons then count yourself lucky.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheele
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM

I always get Billy Ed Wheeler, Billy Joe Shaver, and Billy Clyde Puckett confused in my head.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 12:57 PM

That's all right, Peter -- I get you and Cleigh O'Possum mixed up in mine, sometimes. It's an age thng.

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Bill Perry
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 08:40 AM

Sorry to get into this discussion so late, but I was just getting this song ready for my son when I found this discussion.

Billy Edd Wheeler wrote this song for sweet, elven Judy Collins and her voice range. I used to do it as a set with "Dark As a Dungeon" using an powerful arrangement that finished my voice for the night.

The tune and words have haunted my mind off and on for over 40 years, being from NW Pennsylvania mining roots.

Wheeler was a poet first and a song writer second. He did well in Nashville, but his heart was always in the Highlands.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 09:19 AM

It's on Kathy Mattea's recent "Coal," produced by Marty Stuart.

Bill, what other coal songs might you have done? Any other good ones that have gotten lost over time?

Thanks, Chris


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Arkie
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 11:00 AM

Anita Carter and Maureen McGovern have also recorded this song. Johnny Darrell also recorded "With Pen in Hand" and the original version of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Bill Perry
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 06:27 PM

For Chris in Portland.

There was one other I got from Pogo (aka Tom Paxton)in The Village called "Sully's Pail." It is done "a cappella" and is set in the Idaho mines. It is the best mining "song" I know. I asked a mining song singer up in Scranton, PA about it years ago, but he had never heard of it. Pogo recorded it on one of his albums, but he could never find out who wrote it and has been saving the royalty money in escrow in hopes of find the author.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Little Robyn
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 07:12 PM

There's a thread on Sully's pail here.

Deckman named the writer as Dick Gibbons and apparently Tom has paid him royalties.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: 2581
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 06:54 PM

In addition to Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Maureen McGovern Kathy Mattea, and Johnny Darrell & Anita Carter - which have all been mentioned in this thread - I have versions by Paddy Reilly, Randy Burns, Priscilla Herdman, Michael Black and the Dubliners. I also have a beautiful YouTube version by Mary Hopkin, but the sound quality is very poor. Does anyone know where I can find another?
   I have not been able to find the version by Brenda Wooton mentioned herein by "BB"... Does anyone know of any other versions of this wonderful song?

Check out this excellent version by Johnny Darrell & Anita Carter:

The Coming of the Roads - Johnny Darrell & Anita Carter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 13 - 02:05 AM

Jimmy Ibbotson delivers a very powerful rendition of this great song, also.


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Subject: Lyr Add: COMING OF THE ROADS (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 12:44 PM

All this talk and no one has posted the lyrics. So here they are:


THE COMING OF THE ROADS
As sung by Billy Edd Wheeler on "Country Essentials"

Oh, now that our mountain is growing
With people hungry for wealth,
How come it's you that's a-goin'
And I'm left alone by myself?
Once I had you and the wildwood.
Now it's just dusty roads,
And I can't help from blamin' your goin'
On the comin', the comin' of the roads.

Oh, look how they've cut all to pieces
Our ancient poplar and oak,
And the hillsides are stained with the greases
That burned up the heavens with smoke.

You used to curse the bold crewmen
Who stripped our earth of its ore.
Now you've changed and you've gone over to them,
And you've learned to love what you hated before.
Oh, once I thanked God for my treasure.
Now, like rust, it corrodes,
And I can't help from blamin' your goin'
On the comin', the comin' of the roads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 10:08 PM

Jim, it's in the database, http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=1309 --- and you left out the four lines beginning "We used to hunt the cool caverns".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 11:17 PM

Actually, I transcribed those lyrics myself from the recording of Billy Edd Wheeler himself, and the lines you refer to are not in that recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:51 AM

Fair enough, Jim - they are in the Judy Collins recording. Funny, she also does a verse of Last Thing On My Mind that's not on Tom Paxton's recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 02:43 AM

It's a song I've always loved, especially the melody, since I got the Judy Collins album way back. I sing it in G, which makes highest note C over an octave above.
About the same range as many Burns songs, but then they use melodies that were borrowed from the fiddle repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: 2581
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 10:27 AM

Does anyone have a mp3 of Jimmy Ibbotson's version of "The Coming of the Roads" that you can e-mail to me? The album on which he sang it is no longer available...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 17 - 07:28 AM

I first heard this sung by Brenda Wootton, who had a wide range and now sing it myself. I know it refers originally to strip mining, but I always associate it with Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor and the despoliation caused by the China clay works in both these beautiful and atmospheric places.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 11 Nov 17 - 08:34 PM

My favorite covers of this song are the ones by Judy Collins and by Priscilla Herdman (a fine folk singer from upstate NY) for those of you not familiar with her. I have seen Priscilla Herdman many times over the years when she would tour in California and loved it when she sang this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 05:13 PM

I also really like Mary Hopkin's version which can be found on Youtube. Don't know if it ever got radio play back in the day. Of course Mary was famous for singing, "Those Were the Days."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Crozet VA
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 04:37 PM

Does anyone know whether the “roads” referred to in this song are car roads or railroads? Or a particular location / state it was written about? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 04:56 PM

Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Whitesville, West Virginia, in 1932. He attended Berea College (didn't Mudcat's Catspaw attend there?).
I haven't seen any definitive explanation of the song, but I'd suppose it is automobile/truck roads because they are described as "dusty." I think the roads are a symbol for the mining and industrialization that ruined much of the Appalachians.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 07:44 PM

Billy Edd Wheeler: Swannanoa songwriting legend pens memoir, joins tribute concert
Carol Rifkin, Special to Scene Published 6:33 a.m. ET March 29, 2018 Updated 6:52 a.m. ET March 29, 2018

His new autobiography, “Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout: A Hillbilly Poet's Journey From Appalachia to Yale to Writing Hits for Elvis, Johnny Cash, and More,” is a funny and poignant chronicle by this ridiculously talented 85-year-old Swannanoa resident who penned songs such as “Jackson” and “Coward of the County.”

Wheeler first came to this region from the coal mines of West Virginia to attend high school and junior college at what is now Warren Wilson College. The public is invited to attend a gala book celebration with special guest speakers and regional musicians to toast this Appalachian Renaissance man at 4 p.m. April 7 in Kittredge Theatre on the college campus.

“Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout” follows Wheeler’s life from Warren Wilson to Berea College in Kentucky and eventually to Yale, where he studied to become a playwright. His years in New York and Nashville are filled with famous names and lovely anecdotes, like visiting with Johnny Cash and June Carter, or Bob Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 12:10 AM

Thanks, Henry-
I'm hoping the book tells the stories of some of some of Wheeler's songs.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 03:45 AM

I’ve always assumed he meant tarmac metalled roads (all weather) rather than dirt tracks, thereby enabling long distance travel, buses and the like. Parts of the UK are like that now after the ravages of winter, and years of under funded road maintenance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coming of the Roads (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: GUEST,Felipa
Date: 14 Apr 18 - 03:26 AM

I learned this song from a 1960s album by an Irish folk group, either the Ludlows or the Johnstons. Probably the Ludlows singer Margaret O'Brien.


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