Showing posts with label charlie poole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charlie poole. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

*The Roots of Bluesgrass Back In The Day- The Bluegrass Music Of Charlie Poole, The North Carolina Ramblers, and The Highlanders

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Charlie Poole and his band performing "White House Blues"

CD Review

Charlie Poole: The North Carolina Ramblers and The Highlanders, 4 CD set, JSP Records, 2004

The roots of American folk music are not depleted by Child ballads, the blues, city or country, mountain music, cowboy songs or topical Tin Pan Alley tunes as the artist under review, Charlie Poole and his various bands, proved conclusively. Old Charlie took a little from each tradition and created some very nice sounds and arrangements that have been called the direct precursors to what we today call bluegrass music. I agree.

Some of the melodies are very familiar and repeated in various renditions on this four disc CD compilation of Charlie's "greatest hits". It is interesting to compare some different versions of the same song, like "Bill Mason", that are compiled here. While this CD is hardly strictly for the aficionado both that type of listener and novices to bluegrass music will be tapping their feet on many of the tracks on this one. Googling a list of Charlie Poole's lyrics indicated that almost all of them are contained in the songs here, in one form or another. Thus, this may be the definitive collection, although as noted by others more familiar than I with the intricacies of record production the technical quality of this compilation is uneven.

Here are the stick outs on each disc: Disc One -“Wild Horse”, “Budded Rose”, “Goodbye Booze”; Disc Two “Bill Mason”, “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down”,“Blue Eyes”; Disc Three- "George Collins”, “ I Once Loved A Sailor”, “Baltimore Fire”, “Sweet Sunny South”; and, Disc Four- “Under The Double Eagle”, “San Antonio”, “If The River Was Whiskey”

Baltimore Fire

It was always through a falls by a narrow.
That I heard a cry I ever shall remember,
The fire sent and cast its burning embers
On another fated city of our land.

Fire, fire, I heard the cry
From every breeze that passes by,
All the world was one sad cry of pity
Strong men in angry praise,
Calling loud to Heaven for aid,
While the fire in ruin was laying
Fair Baltimore, the beautiful city

Amid an awful struggle of commotion,
The wind blew a gale from the ocean,
Brave firemen struggled with devotion,
But they after all proved in vain.

Bill Mason

Bill Mason was an engineer
He'd been on the road all of his life
I'll never forget the morning
He married himself a wife
Bill hadn't been married more than an hour
'Till up came a message from Kress
And ordered Bill to come down
And bring out the night express

While Maggie sat by the window
A waiting for the night express
And if she hadn't a done so
She'd have been a widow, I guess
There was some drunken rascals
That come down by the ridge
They come down by the railroad
And tore off the rail from the bridge

Well, Maggie heard them working
"I guess there's something wrong
In less than fifteen minutes
Bill's train would be along"
She couldn't come near to tell it
A mile it wouldn't've done
She just grabbed up the lantern
And made for the bridge alone

By Jove, Bill saw the signal
And stopped the night express
And found his Maggie crying
On the track in her wedding dress
Her crying and laughing for joy
Still holding on to the light
He came around the curve a-flying
Bill Mason's on time tonight

Budded Rose

Little sweetheart, we have parted
From each other we must go
Many miles may separate us
From this world and care and woe

But I treasure of the promise
That you made me in the lane
When you said we'd be together
When the roses bloom again

Now this parting gives us sorrow
Oh, it almost breaks my heart
But say, darling, will you love me
When we meet no more to part?

Down among the budded roses
I am nothing but a stem
I have parted from my darling
Never more to meet again

Will this parting be forever?
Will there be no coming day
When our hearts will be united
And all troubles pass away?

Darling, meet me up in heaven
That's my true and earnest prayer
If you loved me here on earth, dear
I am sure you'll love me there

If The River Was Whiskey

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck
I'd dive to the bottom and I'd never come up

Oh, tell me how long have I got to wait
Oh, can I get you now, must I hesitate?

If the river was whiskey and the branch was wine
You would see me in bathing just any old time

I was born in England, raised in France
I ordered a suit of clothes and they wouldn't
send the pants

I was born in Alabama, I was raised in Tennessee
If you don't like my peaches, don't shake on my tree

I looked down the road just as far as I could see
A man had my woman and the blues had me

I ain't no doctor but the doctor's son
I can do the doct'rin' till the doctor comes

Got the hesitation stockings, the hesitation shoes
Believe to my Lord I've got the hesitation blues

White House Blues

McKinley hollered, McKinley squalled
Doc said to McKinley, "I can't find that ball",
From Buffalo to Washington

Roosevelt in the White House, he's doing his best
McKinley in the graveyard, he's taking his rest
He's gone a long, long time

Hush up, little children, now don't you fret
You'll draw a pension at your papa's death
From Buffalo to Washington

Roosevelt in the White House drinking out of a silver cup
McKinley in the graveyard, he'll never wake up
He's gone a long, long time

Ain't but one thing that grieves my mind
That is to die and leave my poor wife behind
I'm gone a long, long time

Look here, little children, (don't) waste your breath
You'll draw a pension at your papa's death
From Buffalo to Washington

Standing at the station just looking at the time
See if I could run it by half past nine
From Buffalo to Washington

Came the train, she's just on time
She run a thousand miles from eight o'clock 'till nine,
From Buffalo to Washington

Yonder comes the train, she's coming down the line
Blowing in every station Mr. McKinley's a-dying
It's hard times, hard times

Look-it here you rascal, you see what you've done
You've shot my husband with that Iver-Johnson gun
Carry me back to Washington

Doc's on the horse, he tore down his rein
Said to that horse, "You've got to outrun this train"
From Buffalo to Washington

Doc come a-running, takes off his specs
Said "Mr McKinley, better pass in your checks
You're bound to die, bound to die"