Pig in a Poke Song List

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Tunes and Tales; Ballads and Balderdash; Poetry and Potpourri; Hymns and Hogwash

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Track Number, Title, Length, Instrumentation, and Information

1) Cumberland Gap - 2:36 - mouthbow, vocal & MIDI bass drum - This version has four pre-Civil War verses plus three verses that describe events during "The War of Yankee Aggression."

2) Ard Holler - 4:35 - When I am asked, "How did you get started in old-time music?" this is my standard reply (with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek).
3) Cluck Old Hen - 1:57 - fretless mountain banjo & vocal - Most folks play this in a "modal" tuning. I learned to play it from Johnny Osborne, Uncle Charlie's son, who played it tuned standard and didn't know why anyone would go to the trouble to retune to play it.
4) Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye - 3:40 - mountain dulcimer, vocal, tin whistle & MIDI drums - These original Irish verses go back to the 1700's. It has been lightened up and watered down a good bit over time and evolved into today's much lighter "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
5) The Arkansas Traveler - 2:48 - fiddle, fretted Model "A" banjo & vocals - Most people have never heard this tune in its original context as a minstrel show comedy sketch about a lost traveler (Todd Meade) and a not so helpful farmer (yours truly). The concept was rediscovered and used in the weekly cornfield sketch on the TV show "Hee Haw" in the 1970's. Literally dozens of jokes have appeared in this routine over the years. These are my favorites.
6) Shoot That Turkey Buzzard - 1:45 - gourd dulcimer & vocal - Uncle Charlie Osborne (1890 - 1991) played this song on his fiddle and sang it at the same time.
7) The Preacher and the Bear - 3:53 - guitar & vocal - This story song was popular around the turn of the 20th century and was preserved for posterity when it was recorded in the 1920's on super CDs (78 rpm records).
8) The Pig Poem - 0:37 - I came by this old "lesson in life" through a seriously Southern friend and old-time banjo master, Leroy Troy. It goes back to times when folks didn't keep their critters penned up all the time.
9) Mama Maude's Waltz - 3:47 - mountain dulcimer & MIDI accompaniment - A tune I wrote that went a long time without a title until the passing of a very special lady, Maude Mize.
10) Wagon Yard - 2:19 - fretted Model "A" banjo & vocal - The only place I've ever heard this song is on a recording by West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (but I don't get out much). The late nineteenth century language takes us back to a much simpler time.
11) Farther On - 3:24 - fiddle, mountain dulcimer & vocal - A mostly obscure old hymn I took a liking to after hearing Uncle Charlie Osborne sing it while he played it on his fiddle. I always wanted to know if there were more verses, and after years of looking, finally found it in print in a very well-used shape-note hymnal. The words were just as Charlie sang them with one additional verse. The message was good then and it is still good now.
12) The Rose of Alabama - 3:44 - gourd banjar & vocal - A minstrel song from the mid-nineteenth century, this song tells the story of the trials and tribulations of a slave romance. There are some other period "Rose" tunes as well, e.g., "The Yellow Rose of Texas," which have absolutely nothing to do with flowers!
13) Pretty Polly - 3:32 - fretless mountain banjo & vocal - The first Anglo music to be heard in the southern mountains was imported from the British Isles. This murder ballad is no exception. These songs were sung as cautions to young ladies. Unfortunately, they still apply.
14) The Shindig Story - 6:59 - fiddle, mountain dulcimer & vocal - A tale I concocted combining some old-time situations and an assortment of the never-ending cornucopia of Appalachian dance tunes - Old Joe Clark, Old Dan Tucker, Sugar Hill, Little Brown Jug, Down The Road, Cripple Creek, Golden Slippers, Sally Ann, Cindy, Soldier's Joy, and Home Sweet Home.
15) The Groundhog Song - 2:59 - gourd banjar & vocal - A wealth of information on the acquisition, applications, preparation, and consumption of my favorite rodent. Call it a woodchuck, whistle pig, or groundhog-after supper the wrapper still makes the world's best banjar head.
16) When the Saints Go Marching In - 2:49 - fretted Model "A" banjo & vocal - From days gone by, a rip snortin' hymn sung with joy and anticipation of "that great day." The verses vary greatly from one old hymnal to another. These are from Uncle Charlie Osborne. Sadly, "Saints" has just about become extinct in modern-day hymnals.
17) Deck The Halls - A Christmas Poem - 3:41 - spoken, with MIDI accompaniment - My adaptation of an old Christmas carol whose original lyrics totally failed to mention the reason folks were celebrating this holy day (holiday) in the first place. The words may not be old, but the message God sent to earth on that first Christmas is timeless.

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