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And I walked the road again. Again if the weather be fair I'll call my hair and I'll walk again. Washington State University presents a wandering ballad singer Barry Tobin with songs that vividly describe the history and folklore of a pioneering country and get. Some of the best folk songs we have in America come from the various so-called undesirable groups in our society. When people feel themselves to be pushed down from above and when they think that any attempts at a remedy would be fruitless they channel their creative energies into other areas and often they make up songs that tell about their troubles like the various types of protest songs. Others just sing any old song but the way in which it is sung may tell of disappointment misery or privation such a one is the American blues. Some of our blues come from Chain Gang songs and others come from old spirituals and still others are made up on the spot to suit
the circumstance in all cases the emotion is almost hidden by a constant heavy rhythm and sometimes by a camouflage of humor. It's just like somebody wanted to cry and wanted people to know about it but he didn't want anybody to see him crying quite often in the south a 12 string guitars used for blues singing partly because it makes a lot of noise so you can shout the blues when you want. Partly because it gives a kind of Johnny accompaniment to help cover up the emotions of the singer and his singing. I don't play the 12 string very well but this will give you an idea. Here's an old blues from the chain gang. SONG I'M WEARING. Me down to sleep. Then when I woke up there were shackles on my feet
down around my leg around my leg and it is an issue of mine. But I'm standing with a big stick in my hand. I'm standing on the railroad with a big stick in my hand and I know I'm on a kill railroad. Cause there's a train going sixteen coaches long going by. Sixteen coaches long and the girl I love is on the train and. It's just a song I'm worried now but I won't be long. Here's a blues I learn from Ben Pritchett down in Canton Arizona has a thousand verses probably
And many of them are borrowings from other blues. On the surface it seems to be the lament of a man who is loved not to wisely and once too often. One. Out I wish I was a catfish swimming way down in the sea and all them good looking women always after me and I would move. Then I would. Mama told me you got too many women
are little boy like you. Better. Well have you ever seen a vet. Why the US never seen that bed bug. Man you never been in a room. Now there's a boy down in here with me. He's nine and I long to go. I say there's a boy down in there with me. He's got nine and I'm long years do. I and those doggone bed bugs they're gonna get bad on him.
I know. Well a lot so many women on almost every street. I said there's lots I mean women on almost they're very. Much of the meanest doggone one I ever do me. Like a monkey like a bear full of tobacco juice everywhere you better move to Kansas City. Hard to be like you know. Here's one of the best known of the blues as far as I can tell it comes from all the big towns in the country but it
probably started in the New Orleans area. The title has been considerably varied throughout the years from CC Rider is the name of the man and is the name of a rider for a legendary CC ranch to easy glider and at least one college has a version newly revamped with the title C the C writer the most valid one seems to be the most common though and an Easy Rider was a man who lived off the earnings of a professional lady back in the early days of westward movement. He's a riot. Jesse would have a whole lot easier. Yeah. Well you made me love you baby. Well it's a
well I wish I was a cat women weighed out in order to wish I was a cat. Women in the city. Would swim across the ocean bring back wearily. Me and almost. There's a mean man on almost
every street. The meanest man bet ever walked on two feet. Well if you're Well I won't be back. I won't be back to you and you by buying me a good I won't be back. Oh well it's oh well.
There's a blues song that comes from the old chain gang. When I first heard it the singer illustrated how the transition had been made from work song to blues and it worked out so well that this version is always stuck with the money. Gooden money was. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Do you need another you going to. Run. Well get on the road get a dollar
hobby. And on the run. Run away. Not on a Saturday night just you. Where. Waterborne bring me. Water bring me up. Like your job and money on your bucket. Good.
In other news. This last one is a blues that grew up on the railroads and has a dash of the train whistle in it along with the usual blues. This is one of the few blues songs I know of done in a minor key. Well I'm walking down this track. Guy got that from my Honda trainer right moment on Saturday. I hate to hear that.
Hon you. Are gone you go watch. This crazy woman on Saturday night. And I hate to hear that. Whistling.
That's about it for this time. See you again soon. And I'll walk the road again my boy as I walk the road again. If the weather be fair I'll call my hair and I'll listen again next week when very cold and they wandering ballad singer returns with more songs and ballads The preceding was transcribed and was produced by the Radio TV services of Washington State University. This is the NASB Radio Network A.
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The wandering ballad singer
Producing Organization
Washington State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In this program, Barre Toelken analyzes and performs several blues songs.
Series Description
Folk music series hosted by musician Barre Toelken, who collects folk songs and has worked as a dance band musician, a Forest Service employee, and prospector.
Broadcast Date
Blues musicians--United States.
Media type
Host: Toelken, Barre, 1935-
Producing Organization: Washington State University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-33-19 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30
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Chicago: “The wandering ballad singer; Blues,” 1960-10-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “The wandering ballad singer; Blues.” 1960-10-03. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: The wandering ballad singer; Blues. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from