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Lyr Add: Damned Old Piney Mountains (C Johnson)

25 May 02 - 12:57 PM (#717246)
Subject: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: GUEST,Duffy Keith, guest

Hello out there...I heard a song which used the phrase in it's chorus "Ya damned old Piny Mountains"...does anyone know who did the song, might you have the lyrics....Duffy Keith

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25 May 02 - 01:09 PM (#717251)
Subject: Lyr Add: DAMNED OLD PINEY MOUNTAINS (Craig Johnson
From: Francy

None other than Sandy Paton........Written by Craig Johnson  
Well sit down buddy we'll dring and smoke
Woman don't you weep for me
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke
You damned old piney mountains
My heart got broke in the yew-pine hills
Lord and my time ain't long
(similarly)
I started into logging when I was in my prime
Hitchin' up spruce to the big drag-line
And the skidders started buckin' when the gears come down
Makin' God's own thunder on the new-cut ground

We was fightin' over nothin' and drinkin' too hard
Ridin up to camp on a flat-wheel car
I was thirty years a-hangin' on the old chain break
I got laid off and paid off in 58

Now the skidders got sold to the scrap-iron yard
I moved down Virginia when the times got hard
And I lost my fingers to the steel band saw
My fiddle just hangs, untuned on the wall

Now the trees have growed up in the loggin' yard
And wildflowers bloom where the Big Shays blowed
And there's nothin' left for me but to drink and smoke
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.....
Great song and well done by Sandy....

Frank of Toledo


25 May 02 - 04:20 PM (#717315)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D

...and it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck to hear Craig sing this (have had the privilege several times..once in my own basement at a house concert Craig did a number of years ago)....this IS what it means to write songs "in the tradition".


25 May 02 - 06:42 PM (#717354)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D

Yeah it's a fine song. Anybody know what's "the Big Shays"? I transcribed this off a tape of Craig a while ago, couldn't figure out "yew-pine" (still don't know what it means...) or Big Shays.

Rita


25 May 02 - 06:54 PM (#717358)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: catspaw49

A "shay" was a narrow gauge railroad steam locomotive used in logging and ming to bring the logs/coal/etc to the main rail line. They were small engines with a combination tender and cab adjoining the boiler.

Spaw....Railroader's kid


25 May 02 - 06:56 PM (#717361)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Bill D

This is Ferrara again.... Francy skipped a line and refrain in the first verse. Should go like this:

Well sit down buddy we'll drink and smoke
Woman don't you weep for me
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke
You damned old piney mountains
Lost my fingers in a Galax mill
Oh, Buddy sing a sad old song
An' My heart got broke in them yew-pine hills
Lord and my time ain't long

.... also in the third verse I think it's "Lost my fingers to a steel band saw," not "the steel band saw," but that's just trivia. :)

Craig described the origins of this song. It's mostly made up of direct quotes from a man he had talked to -- around Galax, I guess, I didn't pay enough attention at the time. He said that as they talked, the man kept saying, "Buddy, sing a sad old song," and Craig would sing another song and then they'd go on talking. And while he and Craig were talking, the man also told his wife, "Woman dont you weep for me," and "well, my time ain't long now," or words to that effect.

Bill, or anyone else who has heard the story, have I got this right or am I having another senior moment?

Rita


25 May 02 - 07:17 PM (#717372)
Subject: Lyr Add: DAMNED OLD PINEY MOUNTAINS (Craig Johnson
From: catspaw49

Okay, now we have it on two threads.
I wonder if anyone ever clicks the clickies? The song is linked directly from the Folk-Legacy website on the other thread. But so we have it all properly as Rita noted the above post was missing, here it is direct from Folk-Legacy:
**********************************************************************
Some years ago in the mountains of West Virginia, Craig Johnson met an old logger, once a fiddler, who explained why he could no longer make music. He had lost all four of the fingers on his left hand. Craig listened to his story, sang him the requested "sad old song," and then wrote this outstanding one. As long as we have people like Craig making songs like this (and the next one), we can be assured that what I like to call our Continuing tradition" will do exactly that—continue. Folk-Legacy is proud to act as Craig's publisher.
(Sandy Paton)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, sit down, buddy, we'll drink and smoke.
   Woman, don't you weep for me.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.
   You damned old piney mountains.
I lost my fingers in the Galax mill.
   Buddy, sing a sad, old song.
My heart got broke in the yew-pine hills.
   Lord, and my time ain't long.

(Similarly:)


I started in to logging when I was in my prime,
Hitchin' up spruce to the big drag-line.
And the skidders started buckin' when the gears come down,
Makin' God's own thunder on the new-cul ground.


We was fightin' over nothin' and drinkin' too hard,
Ridin' up to camp on a flat-wheel car.
I was thirty years a-hangin' on the old chain brake.
I got laid off and paid off in '58.


Now the skidders got sold to the scrap-iron yard.
I moved down Virginia when the times got hard.
And I lost my fingers to the steel bandsaw.
My fiddle just hangs, untuned, on the wall.


Now the trees have growed up in the loggin' road
And wildflowers bloom where the big Shays blowed.
And there's nothin' left for me but to drink and smoke.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.


©1992 Folk-Legacy Records, Inc. Sharon, Connecticut 06069
Used by permission.

Spaw


25 May 02 - 08:38 PM (#717424)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: Art Thieme

If I remember right, a shay is a geared locomotive-----doesn't have driving wheels like the higher speed locomotves had for propulsion. We had one from the Soviet Union pulling the rides at the Union, Illinois Railway Museum a few years back.

Craig first showed me this song in the dining room of a Washington D.C. house where he and Cathy Fink and a whole slew of extremely talented musicians were living. I was doing a concert for the Folk Soc. of Greater Washington that week and they put me up for those days and nights. It was a treat to get to know him then. I also learned Craig's songs "THE KEWEENAW LIGHT" and "THE SOO LINE" from him then. Both wound up on the first LP I did for Sandy Paton at Folk Legacy. And I'm pretty sure I was the one who recorded those first and showed a bunch of people what a great poet and songwriter Mr. Johnson truly is.

Two other songs by Craig are on my more recent 1998 CD.

Listen to the DOUBLE DECKER STRINGBAND CDs. Craig's is the high voice -- and probably the banjo too---but he can do it all.

Art Thieme


25 May 02 - 08:44 PM (#717427)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: catspaw49

It was a gearing mechanism to increase the tractive power out of a very small steam plant and made only to operate at low speeds.

Shay Locomotives

Spaw


25 May 02 - 10:18 PM (#717449)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piny mountains....
From: katlaughing

Wasn't it Craig who also wrote the hilarious North Country Tragedy, Art..the winnebago, etc? I love singing that one...really camp it up. The others are some of my favs as well, esp. Soo Line.


26 May 02 - 10:53 AM (#717547)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: BanjoRay

I have a superb acapella version of Ya Damned Old Piney Mountain by the string band Gandydancer, with Gerry Milnes singing lead, and Dave Bing, Mark Payne, Ron Mullenex and Jim Martin joining the choruses. Makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck. Cheers Ray


27 May 02 - 10:07 AM (#718046)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: GUEST,Duffy Keith

Thanks a million for your responses, you made my day, everyone....! DK


31 Jul 09 - 11:54 PM (#2691410)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: GUEST,schlimmerkerl

"Gandy dancer" comes from a brand of shovel made in Chicago. Railroad workers would chuck in the shovel and "dance" on the handle to pry up the crossties-- or do other track-laying work.


01 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM (#2691956)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Charley Noble

Thanks for reminding me of this fine song that I last heard out in Michigan years and years ago.

Charley Noble


02 Aug 09 - 06:30 AM (#2692069)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: kendall

Sandy recorded this gem on the Golden Ring reunion. It's in the Folk Legacy catalog.


02 Aug 09 - 06:48 AM (#2692072)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: maeve

Bill D.- Regarding a "yew-pine"- I found this reference Yew Pine

In it, yew-pine is defined as a red spruce (picea rubens).

maeve


02 Aug 09 - 02:59 PM (#2692313)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Bill D

maeve- names get weird in the wood realm. Since I posted that in 2002, I found another one.

I had been working with the roots of Japanese Yew, a shrub, and liked it a lot, so I mentioned to a local friend that I wanted "Yew roots"...the shrub kind.

A few months later, he said he had some he had dug up from near his front door as he was remodeling....so I went and got them. They turned out NOT to be Japanese Yew, but something else...but looked good anyway, (he said, "well, they CALL it yew"...so I started using Google and found a number of references to Yew-Pine as Podocarpus macrophyllus, which fit the descripition.
   This may even be what was referenced in the song, as the shrub grows in those mountains where a lot of stuff won't.


02 Aug 09 - 03:07 PM (#2692319)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Charley Noble

Bill-

Very pretty work!

But I'm not sure that "Podocarpus macrophyllus" will scan as well as "yew-pine" in the song, but I'm willing to give it a try!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


02 Aug 09 - 08:00 PM (#2692498)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ya damned old piney mountains....
From: Bill D

Charley...those Latin names are really hard to work in to the meter. I never could get Microberlinia brazzavillensis to work, either... *grin* Just sing "Yew Pine"...

(thanks)


30 Jul 13 - 06:55 PM (#3543714)
Subject: RE: ADD: Damned Old Piney Mountains (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST

Well it's been a long time since this thread was started, should have posted this little factoid years ago. Anyway, I asked Dwight Diller (from WV) and he said "Yew-pine" was/is a local name for red spruce.