Love Was The Cause Of My Sorrow: Traditional Folk Songs From The American River Valleys

by The Hare's Spectacle

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1.
Dan McGinnis, Minnesota, Nineteenth Century Read more at www.folkswitch.com/journal/jack-haggerty/ Jack Haggerty I’m a heartbroken raftsman, from Greenville I came All my virtue’s departed with a lass I did fain From the strong darts of Cupid I’ve suffered much grief And my heart’s broke asunder, I can get no relief. Of my trouble I’ll tell you without much delay Of a sweet little lassie my heart stole away She’s a blacksmith’s fair daughter from the flat river side And I always intended to make her my bride. I work on the river where the white waters roar And my name I’ve engraved on the high rocky shore I’m the boy that stands happy on the dark, burling stream But my thoughts were on Molly, she haunted my dream. I gave her fine jewels, the finest of lace And the costliest muslins, her form to embrace I gave her my wages all for to keep safe I deprived her of nothing I had on this earth. While I worked on the river, I earned quite a stake I was steadfast and steady, and ne’er played the rake For Camp Flat and river I’m very well known And they call me Jack Haggerty, the pride of the town. Till she wrote me a letter, which I did receive And she said from her promise herself she’d relieve For to wed to another she’d a long time delayed And the next time I’d see her she’d no more be a maid. To her mother, Jane Tucker, I lay all the blame For she caused her to leave and go back on my name For to cast off the riggings that God was to tie And to leave me a rambler ’til the day that I die So come all ye bold raftsmen with hearts stout and true Don’t trust to a woman ’cause you’re beat if you do And if you do meet one with a dark chestnut curl Remember Jack Haggerty and the Flat River girl!
2.
On Springfield Mountain On Springfield Mountain there did dwell A lovely youth I knowed him well. This lovely youth one day did go Down to the meadom for to mow. He scarce had mowed quite round the field When a cruel serpent bit his heel. They took him home to molly dear Which made him feel so very queer. Now Molly had two ruby lips With which the poison she did sip. Now Molly had a rotting tooth, And so the poison killed them both.
3.
Nineteen Years Old (The Virgin) As I was walking down by the Strand I met a young lady all dressed up so grand With features of finery and jewels set in gold Said she was a maiden, just nineteen years old Her fingers were tapered, her neck like a swan Her head tipped a little, her voice not too strong In six weeks we were married, the wedding bells tolled I’d married that maiden, just nineteen years old After the wedding we retired to rest I thought I would die when that female undressed A trunk full of cotton she first did unload I thought it darned funny for a nineteen year old She took off her left leg as high as her knee She took off her fingers, I countered but three While there on the carpet her glass eye did roll I thought it darned funny for a nineteen year old She took off her eyebrows, I thought I would faint Next from her mug came a carload of paint She took off her false wig, her old bald head told I thought it peculiar for a nineteen year old She took out her teeth, I jumped up in terror Her chin and her nose fell right in together Now I’m telling you folks she was a sight to behold That fair little maiden just nineteen years old Now all you young fella’s when courting you go Make sure she is perfect from head to her toe You’ll pay for your folly, like mine you you’ll be sold To a patched up old maid about ninety years old
4.
I Courted A Wee Girl (The Unfaithful Bride) I courted a wee girl for many’s the long day, And slighted all others who came in my way. But now she’s rewarded me to the last day; She’s gone to be wed to another. The bride and bride’s party to church they did go. The bride she rode foremost she put the best show And I rode behind, my heart filled with woe To see my love wed to another. The bride and bride’s party, in church they did stand, Gold rings on their fingers, a love hand in hand The man that she’s wed to has houses and land— He may have her since I could not gain her. The last time I saw her she was all dressed in white; The more I gazed on her she dazzled my sight, So I tipped her my hat and bade her goodnight. Here’s bad luck to all false-hearted lovers So dig me a grave and dig it down deep, And strew it all over with primrose so sweet. And lay me down in it for no more for to weep, For love was the cause of my ruin.
5.
Fair Fanny Moore Down in yonder cottage all forsaken and alone, Its paths all neglected, with grass overgrown; Look in and you will see some dark stains upon the floor, They say it is the blood of the fair Fanny Moore. To Fanny so blooming two lovers there came, One offered to Fanny his wealth and his fame; But neither his houses nor his lands could secure A place in the heart of the fair Fanny Moore. The first was young Randal so bold and so proud, He to the young Fanny his haughty head bowed; But neither his gold nor his silver could secure A place in the heart of the fair Fanny Moore. The next was young Henry of the lowest degree, He gained her fond heart and in rapture was he; That night at the altar he was bound for to secure A place in the heart of the fair Fanny Moore. As Fanny was sitting in her cottage one day, And business had called her fond husband away, Young Randal so haughty came in at the door, And clasped in his arms the fair Fanny Moore. Saying, Fanny, oh Fanny, reflect on your fate, And grant me one favour before it’s too late; For there is one thing I am bound for to secure, The love or the life of the fair Fanny Moore.” “Spare me, oh spare me,” the fair Fanny cried, While the tears swiftly flowed from her beautiful eyes. “Go,” said her traitor, “to the land of thy rest.” And he buried his knife in her snowy-white breast. Fanny so blooming in her bloody beauty died, Young Randal was taken, found guilty and tried. At length he was hung on a tree in front the door, For shedding the blood of the fair Fanny Moore. Young Henry the shepherd he ran ‘stracted and wild, And wandered away from his own native isle; At length struck by death he was brought to the shore, And laid by the side of the fair Fanny Moore. credits
6.
Whiskey You’re The Devil Now brave boys, we’re on the march Off to Portugal and Spain Drums are beating, banners flying The Devil at home will come tonight So it’s go, fare thee well With a too da loo ra loo ra doo de da A too ra loo ra loo ra doo de da Me rikes fall too ra laddie-o There’s whisky in the jar Oh, whisky you’re the devil You’re leading me astray Over hills and mountains And to Amerikay You’re sweetness from the Bleachner And spunkier than tea Oh whisky you’re my darling drunk or sober The French are fighting boldly Men are dying hot and coldly Give every man his flask of powder His firelock on his shoulder So its go, fare thee well With a too da loo ra loo ra doo de da A too ra loo ra loo ra doo de da Me rikes fall too ra laddie-o There’s whisky in the jar Oh, whisky you’re the devil You’re leading me astray Over hills and mountains And to Amerikay You’re sweetness from the Bleachner And spunkier than tea Oh whisky you’re my darling drunk or sober Says the old wan do not wrong me Don’t take me daughter from me For if you do I will torment you When I’m dead my ghost will haunt you So its go, fare thee well With a too da loo ra loo ra doo de da A too ra loo ra loo ra doo de da Me rikes fall too ra laddie-o There’s whisky in the jar Oh, whisky you’re the devil You’re leading me astray Over hills and mountains And to Amerikay You’re sweetness from the Bleachner And spunkier than tea Oh whisky you’re my darling drunk or sober
7.
Two Recruiting Sergeants For it’s over the mountain and over the main Through Gibralta to France and Spain It’s a feather to your bonnet, a kilt upon your knee So list bonny laddie and come awa’ wi’ me Now, twa recruting sergeants came frae the black watch Through markets and fairs some recruits for to catch But all that they listed was forty and twa So list bonny laddie and come awa’ wi’ me Now, laddie, you canna know the danger that you’re in If your horses was to fly and your house was to ruin This greedy, old farmer will na’ pay your fee So list bonny laddie and come awa’ wi’ me For its out by the barn and in by the fire This old farmer thinks he’ll never tire It’s a slavery job of lowly degree So list bonny laddie and come awa’ wi’ me Now, laddie, if you have a sweetheart in the barn You’ll easy be rid of her ill-spun yarn Twa rattles on the drum and that will pay it all So list bonny laddie and come awa’ wi’ me
8.
Lakes of Pontchartrain It was one fine March morning, I bid New Orleans Adieu And I took the road to Jackson Town, my fortune to renew I cursed all foreign money, no credit could I gain Which filled my heart with a longing for, the Lakes of Ponchartrain I stepped on board of a railroad car beneath the morning sun I rode the rods till evening and I laid me down again All strangers there no friends to me ’til a dark girl towards me came And I fell in love with the Creole Girl, by the Lakes of Ponchartrain I said “Me pretty Creole Girl, me money here’s no good, If it weren’t for the alligators, I’d sleep out there in the wood” “You’re welcome here kind stranger, Our house is very plain” “But we never turned a stranger out, by the Lakes of Ponchartrain” She took me into her mammy’s house and treated me right well The hair upon her shoulders in jet black ringlets fell To try and paint her beauty, I’m sure ‘twould be in vain So handsome was my Creole girl by the Lakes of Ponchartrain I asked her if she’d marry me, she said that ne’er could be For she had got a lover and he was far at sea She said that she would wait for him and true she would remain Till he’d return to his Creole girl, on the Lakes of Ponchartrain It’s fare thee well, me Creole girl, I’ll never see you more I’ll never forget your kindness in the cottage by the shore And at each social gathering, a flowing bowl I’ll drain And I’ll drink a health to my Creole girl, by the Lakes of Ponchartrain
9.
Barbara Allen's Cruelty All in the merry month of May When the green buds they were swellin' Young William Green on his death bed lay For the love of Barbara Allen He sent his servant to the town To the place where she was dwellin' Saying "Master's sick and he send for you, If your name be Barbara Allen." So slowly, slowly she got up And slowly she came a' nigh him And all she said when she got there Young man I believe you're dyin' Oh yes I'm low, I'm fucking low And death is on me dwellin' No better, no better I never will be If I can't get Barbara Allen Oh yes you're low, you’re fucking low And death is on you dwellin' No better, no better you'll never be For you can't get Barbara Allen For don't you remember in yonder stand In yonder stand a' drinkin' You passed your glass all around and around And you slighted Barbara Allen Oh yes I remember in yonder stand In yonder stand a drinkin' I gave my health to the ladies all around But not to Barbara Allen He turned his pale face to the wall For death was on him dwellin' Adieu, adieu, you good neighbors all Adieu sweet Barbara Allen As she was goin' across the fields She heard those death bells a' knellin' And ev'ry stroke the death bell give Hard-hearted Barbara Allen Oh Mother, oh Mother, go make my bed Go make it both long and narrow Young William's died for me today And I'll die for him tomorrow Oh she was buried 'neath the old church tower And he was buried all nigh her And out of his bosom grew a red, red rose Out of Barbara's grew a green briar They grew and they grew up the old church tower Until they could grow no higher They locked in tight in a true lover's not Red rose around the green briar
10.
Scarborough Fair Are you going to Scarborough Fair, Parley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Remember me to one who lives there, She once was a true love of mine Tell her to make me a cambric shirt, Parley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Without no seams nor needlework, She once was a true love of mine See for me if her hair hangs long, Curls and flows, down her breast, See for me if her hair hangs long, That’s the way I remember her best Sometimes I wonder if she remembers me at all, Many times I’ve often prayed, In the stillness of my night, In the darkness of my days. So if you’re going to Scarborough Fair, Parley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Remember me to one who lives there, She once was a true love of mine
11.
Shenandoah Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Look Away you rolling river, Oh Shenandoah I long to hear you, Away I’m bound away, ‘Cross the wide Missouri Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter, Look away you rolling river, Oh Shenandoah I love your daughter, Look away I’m bound away, ‘Cross the wide Missouri Oh Shenandoah, I’m bound to leave you, Look away you rolling river, Oh Shenandoah, I’m bound to leave you, Away I’m bound away, ‘Cross the wide Missouri
12.
Last night I dreamed of my Halley, Of my Halley, my sweet Halley, Last night I dreamed of my Halley, For the thought of her is one that never dies She's sleeping now in the valley, In the valley, my sweet Halley, She's sleeping now in the valley, And the Mockingbird is singing where she lies Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird, Oh the Mockingbird is singing oe'er her grave, Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird, Still singing where the yellow roses grow How well do I yet remember, I remember, I remember, How well do I yet remember, For the thought of her is one that never dies It was in that sweet September, In September, I remember, It was in that sweet September, That the Mockingbird was singing far and wide Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird, Oh the Mocking bird still singing oe'er her grave, Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird, Oh the Mockingbird still singing in the spring

about

Life is hard and people sing about it. It’s been that way for as long as we can remember. Some of those songs live on, and that’s the true roots of folk music. It music that started off at home, pubs, in the fields. It’s ragged and dirty, it’s got blood in its eyes. It’s not how well you sing, it’s how well you tell the story.

As such, what emerges is an album deeper into the folk tradition than most which carry that label, and yet miles removed from today’s Americana roots based genre. Where modern groups take their own material and make it sound folksy, Folkswitch takes the real thing and creates a gumbo of styles.

From the minimal acoustic opener, Oh Shenandoah, things swings wildly from traditional folk instruments to the ragged electric glory of The Cruelty of Barbara Allen, transformed into a plodding tale of betrayal and death, to the old country stomp of Scarborough Fair. It’s folk music reimagined.

The body count racks up, so the darkness is inescapable. But even in a song about war, such as the Scottish Twa Recruiting Sergeants, a drunken chorus lifts to the heavens. Two die in On Springfield Mountain, but you can’t help but feel the whole song is nothing but a lead-in to one of the worst puns ever written.

What stands out is what this collection of songs show. No matter how much time goes by, the same basic themes hold true to the human experience. We’re still fascinated by murder, war and what might be called sex. We’re still left broken hearted and confused by the actions of women. And through it all, we keep trying, keep laughing and keep singing.

credits

released May 8, 2019

Todd Atteberry, Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
Todd Lane, Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
Teelin Atteberry, Fiddle, Mandolin, Drums, Bass, Percussion

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Folkswitch

Folk songs, the words of the romantic poets, traditional music, acid rock, garage prog, front porch folk ...

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