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Darling Corey or Little Maggie

10 Feb 00 - 12:15 PM (#176199)
Subject: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Rex

So which came first, my bluegrass group was kicking this around last night. I had felt that Darling Corey was the first version. Now I'm not so sure.

Rex


10 Feb 00 - 12:32 PM (#176207)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Amos

They're different songs. I'm sure there's folk-bleed between them. Of the two Darling Corey is dated -- it had to come later than the Whiskey Rebellion of 1792, but probably is early 20th C. Maggie is dated by its description of leaving by train, from a station -- the vernacular makes it sound like a common occurence, which puts it probably post Civil War at the earliest. I am inclined by raw guess to think that Darlin' Corrie sounds earlier but I suspect Maggie actually came first (based, really, on the sound) and that Corrie was a later invention. But I don't have any research to back up this guess.

A


10 Feb 00 - 12:40 PM (#176214)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Allan C.

I agree that they are essentially different songs. The subject matter is different and the tunes are only similar in a generic sort of way. So I would not be inclined to discuss them in terms of which "version" was earlier. The thoughts Amos expresses above seem to be about as plausible as I could come up with regard to trying to peg down dates of origin.


10 Feb 00 - 07:16 PM (#176402)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Stewie

According to the Ballad Index, the earliest recording or publishing dates were 1930 for 'Little Maggie' (Grayson and Whitter) and 1932 for 'Darling Corey'. The Fiddler's Companion indicates that Tommy Jarrell learned 'Little Maggie' in Round Peak about 1914-1916, and Richard Nevins suggests it was known a generation before that in Grayson County - exemplifying the isolation of life in those regions. Nevins provides a sad tale that Jarrell told about the death of his young cousin that occurred about the time he first learned the song:

I was coming from the mill on horseback carrying a sack of cornmeal and all at once I saw the smoke and heard the younguns come running towards me crying, 'Jullie's burnt up and the house is a-fire.' I jumped off the horse and ran as fast as I could to the house--later I though about how much faster I could have gotten there by throwing the meal off and riding the horse, but you don't think clear at times like that. When I reached the door I saw Aunt Susan kneeling on the floor above Julie, weeping, her hands all blistered from beating out the fire with a quilt. Jullie was laying there crying, but there wasn't much we could do for her so we ran to the spring for water to put out the fire in the house. They put Jullie to bed right away--her whole body was burned up to her chin, and at first she cried in pain but after a while she didn't feel anything at all. That evening as she was laying there she asked me to get my banjo and sing "Little Maggie" for her. That was the only thing she wanted to hear--it had just recently come around and everyone seemed to take to it. I expect I played it the best I ever had in my life, with the most feeling, anyway. It seemed to comfort her and pick up her spirits a little, but by the following morning she was dead. (Richard Nevins)

It seems that 'Darling Corey' may also date from the late 19th century. It shares words with 'Country Blues' as well as 'Little Maggie'. Dock Boggs recorded 'Country Blues' in 1927 and had learned it from Homer Crawford of Tennessee probably about 1914 under the title 'Hustling Gamblers'. Boggs added verses of his own. In his notes to the Revenant reissue of Boggs' complete early recordings, Barry O'Connell suggests that this 'lyric and tune family' (Hustling Gamblers, Darling Corey, Country Blues etc)'has been around in the southern mountains for over a century'. He went on to say: 'The family of tunes probably originates late in the 19th century and belongs to the then developing tradition of white blues ballads'.

Hoping this is of assistance - but it may be simply muddying the waters further.

Cheers, Stewie.


10 Feb 00 - 10:59 PM (#176514)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Charlie Baum

B.F. Shelton recorded "Darling Cora" in 1927. {Available as B.F. Shelton, Darling Cora, 1927 ("Music of Kentucky Vol 1";"Old Time Mountain Ballads"))

--Charlie Baum


10 Feb 00 - 11:01 PM (#176517)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Amos

Stewie --

Fine work! Thank you! It doesn't solve the riddle but it sure makes it even mor interesting!

A


11 Feb 00 - 01:16 AM (#176551)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Stewie

Charlie, I too should have remembered that. I have both the excellent CDs you cited. The Ballad Index stuffed up there with its earliest recording date. Listening to the Shelton version again, it is interesting that, early in the song, 'highway robbers' are coming to 'tear the stillhouse down' - 'revenue officers' only make an appearance later in the narrative. 'Highway robbers' seems more of an English than an American idiom - another instance of an English survival in a mountain song? If so, that may be another reason for believing it is quite old.

Cheers, Stewie.


11 Feb 00 - 07:28 AM (#176585)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: GUEST,Bud Savoie

I have heard "East Virginia" played and sung to a tune nearly identical to that of "Little Maggie", sometimes borrowing an irrelevant verse or two.


11 Feb 00 - 11:36 AM (#176707)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Rex

Well I must say this is more info than I expected. I figured maybe just a date. Thanks for your help guys. There's nothing muddy here.

Rex


29 Jun 08 - 05:05 PM (#2376887)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: GUEST,ArkRed1

In B.F. Sheltons' Darlin Cora there's a line I cannot understand. He says, "The last time I saw darlin' cory she had a 45 in her hand. "??????revenue officers who try to take her man", or something like that. Does anyone out there know that line? Thanks-


29 Jun 08 - 06:58 PM (#2376941)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: Amos

The verses in that part, I believe, are:

Go away, go away, darlin' Corey
And bring to me my gun
I ain't no man for trouble
But trouble just now begun.

The last time I saw darling Corey
(She) had a forty-five in her hand
Kill them revenue officers
If they leave here with my man.

Go away, go away, darling Corey
Quit your hangin' around my bed
Whisky has ruined my body
Pretty women will kill me stone dead.


A


29 Jun 08 - 07:36 PM (#2376970)
Subject: RE: Darling Corey or Little Maggie
From: John on the Sunset Coast

Darling Cory, Little Maggie...pick one, leave the other for me and we'll double date. Is 'double date' still a term that's used?