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..well I know some of the oldest songs that is - Furry Lewis, referring to John Henry and Casey Jones

Author Topic: East Virginia/East Virginia Blues  (Read 253 times)

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Offline Johnm

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East Virginia/East Virginia Blues
« on: April 26, 2020, 09:05:43 AM »
Hi all,
I've been enjoying recently the great number of versions of "East Virginia" or "East Virginia Blues" recorded by musicians down through the years, and thought to share some of the versions I particularly enjoy.  From Buell Kazee:



SOLO

Oh, when I left old East Virginia
North Carolina I did roam
There I courted a fair young lady
What was her name?  I did not know

Her hair it was of a dark brown, curly
Her cheeks, they were a rosy red
Upon her breast, she wore a ribbon
Oh, don't I wish that I was dead

Her papa said that we might marry
Her mama said it would not do
Oh, come here, dear, and I will tell you
I will tell you what I'll do

Some dark night we'll take a ramble
I will run away with you

Oh I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun refused to shine
As for you to be some other man's woman
Never on Earth to call you mine

SOLO

From Roscoe Holcomb:



INTRO VAMP

Say, I were borned and raised in old East Virginia
It's North Caroliner I did roam
I courted of a nice young lady
Lord, her name and age I did not know

Her hair it was of a dark brown curly
Her cheeks, they were a rosy red
It's all on her breast she wore white lilies
And the tears for her, Lord, I've often shed

Her papa said that we might marry
Her mama said it will never do
But if you see some other little darlin'
I'll run away and marry you

When I was lost and in the mountains
The pretty birds a-flying through the air
And that girl that I love so dearly
Her pretty white teeth and curly hair

"If you don't think I'm a fool about you
It's, honey, just look what a fool I been.
If you don't think that I am sinkin'
It's, please just look what a hole I'm in."

It's when I'm dead and in my coffin
It's my pale face turned towards the sun
Then you can come and look at me, darlin'
And then just think of the way you've done

SOLO

From the Carter Family



SOLO

I was born in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go
There I spied a fair young lady
And her age I do not know

SOLO

Her hair was dark in color
Her cheeks were rosy red
Upon her breast, she wore white liles
Where I longed to lay my head

SOLO

Oh, at my heart, you are my darling
At my door, you're welcome in
At my gate, I'll always meet you
For you're the girl I've tried to win

SOLO

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun refused to shine
Than for you to be another man's darling
And to know you'll never be mine

From Red Cravens and the Bray Brothers



From Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster



HARMONICA INTRO SOLO

I was borned in East Virginny
South Caroliner I did go
There I courted a pretty little woman
But her age I did not know

HARMONICA INTERLUDE

Well, her hair was brown and curly
And her cheeks was rosy red
On her breast she wore white lilies
Oh, the tears that I have shed

HARMONICA INTERLUDE

When I'm asleep, I'm dreaming about you,
When I wake, I have no rest
Every moment seem like an hour,
Oh them pains soaks through my breast

HARMONICA INTERLUDE

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun don't never shine
For you to  be some other man's darling
When you h'ain't no longer mine

HARMONICA INTERLUDE

Papa says we can not marry
Mama says it'll never do
But, a-little girl, if you are willing
I will ran away with you

HARMONICA INTERLUDE

From Elizabeth Laprelle



From Lily May Ledford



INTRO SOLO

I was born in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go
Fell in love with a fair young maiden
Her name I did not know

Her hair was dark brown curly
Her cheeks were rosy red
On her breast she wore a snow white lily
Thousand tears I know I shed

SOLO

I'll go up in some dark holler
I'll set up my moonshine still
I will sell you one old gallon
For one ten dollar bill

SOLO

When I'm dead and in my coffin
My pale face turned toward the sun
Won't you come and stand beside me
And think of what you've done?

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun don't never shine
Than to think that you love some other
When you promised to be mine

From Clarence Ashley, solo



All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 09:46:27 AM by Johnm »

Offline harriet

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Re: East Virginia/East Virginia Blues
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2020, 03:39:27 PM »
I'm not familiar with that type of music, enjoyed those.  All the singers seem to have a nasal quality which lends. at least to my ear, a distinctive haunting sound.

I'm wondering if that is a regional style, if you don't mind my asking?
Harriet

Offline Johnm

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Re: East Virginia/East Virginia Blues
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2020, 04:12:20 PM »
Hi Harriet,
I'm glad you enjoyed those versions.  I believe that with the exception of the Bray Brothers, who were from Illinois or Indiana, and possibly Red Cravens, all of the rest of the musicians in those versions were from Appalachia, either Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, or North Carolina.  It's impossible to say exactly how the singing style evolved or the sense of what constituted the "proper" placement of the voice for singing in this style, but it does favor a head tone, which makes for a bright, intense sound that really projects, with Roscoe Holcomb's singing being perhaps the most extreme example of that among the singers sampled here. 

Incidentally, you can find an analogous use of head tone in the singing of several Blues singers from around Itta Bena, Mississippi, in particular Rube Lacy, Ishmon Bracey and Mattie Delaney.

All best,
Johnm 

Offline banjochris

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Re: East Virginia/East Virginia Blues
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2020, 07:09:51 PM »
That Bray Brothers version is great, John, with the mandolin banjo-style a la Ralph Stanley. Mike Seeger and Ralph also did a nice recreation of the Stanley Brothers version on the Third Annual Farewell Reunion album it's one of my favorites, mostly to hear Ralph singing in such a relaxed way.

Great collection of a great song!


 


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