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Songs tell some stories some people as I rode out with Jean Ritchie in one of the nation's outstanding folk artist is produced by Riverside radios of a new RV are in New York City. Hundreds ran from the National Association of educational broadcast programs about a topic close to a song earning a living. One trustworthy thing about music is that because it's spontaneous expression of people's feelings about things it does always accurately reflect the kind of lives that singers lead their habits of worship. Crime and Punishment their way of dealing with children they're going on about the serious business of courtship and marriage and of course the geography of their locality and their patterns of work. For instance one expects that in Wales I'd be a good many mining songs and there are but let's get back to where it all began. The land and the worker on the land the farmer. I suggest that a good place to hear the farmer singing is in a pub in rural England and use the cheerful cosy half and we'll share the town of West Lavington. A sturdy man just ready to burst into song as Fred Perry or there's an accordion warming
up and the other villagers want to join in. They're more than likely begin with the one they always do. The term of hoeing song because all the farmers around race tournaments are turnips you'd say. The turn appears singled out for special attention because it needs special attention needs more hoeing than most vegetables because there's a pesky black flag in the song that people call it the fly in their local dialect. But now they're beginning. So listen or join in if you like. All right. They are all water. Well you're right. Right. Fire or die if you were. Well you all want it all. Well you know a lot for our right 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.
Well you know you like my work and well you all are. Well in wheelchair nice hauteur nips in Kentucky we hope corn for that's our important
crop just time part and it was not many years ago you can hear for yourself in this whole mountain song of ours. We used to use it at home to tease the boys when we wanted to accuse them of being no can. It's the young man that wouldn't go coon. President in the song a man about a man and then it is. Without you know has gone down into the wind and the guy is out of this and going and going. Yes.
Honest one man that won't raise Carnes and dad I was praying. Well in other parts of our country there were in those times more important things than hoeing corn. Hard for me to believe because that have all corn so many hot days and we respect that corn field too partly because of my dad and partly because it was so important to respect work and to be a good worker. Mostly though it was because in that new ground lay our bread for the winter and tender sweet roasting years for the summer and good sound years for the mule in wintertime and nubbins for the cattle and scratch that scorched ground corn for the chickens. My father taught all his 13 grown children early that whatever a man's work is that's about the most important thing in the world next to religion that is
out on the Great Plains while the Kentucky mountaineer was raising his corn and his beings in Tater's garden truck. There was another business going on that of hunting and driving off the great menacing buffalo herds. The meat was gamey but it was good and the hads could be so traded. Sometimes a man would go into the buffalo hunting business. Hire hands to go hunting for him and pay them wages. He sometimes worked out and sometimes it didn't. But when he was a tale about it sung by Pete Seeger on a record entitled industrial songs it's a Folkways record. Number three to five one. And it's a canned of a lament I guess. Called the Buffalo Skinners. Well in the town of Jacksboro in the spring of 73 a man by the name of Craig. Said How do you do and how do you like to go
and spend on summer clothes and arranging the buffalo. It's me being out of it that's going out all the battle range depending upon the transportation. Do I think sir I will go to the range of the buffalo. Well that's now we've crossed river borders our troubles have begun. First of all stinker that I cut Christ how I cut my thumb. I'm just going to dump all our lives that I have no show for the Indians watch to pick us off while skinning the buffalo
the season being near over. Oh he did say that crowd had been extravagant to him that day. We coaxed him and we are. That was a. Real leftist damned old bones to bleach on the range of the buffalo. It's now we've crossed the river homeward we are. No more not all fire country. That was the sad tale of the buffalo Skinner.
There are two universal truths about a person's work a man's way of earning a living one. It's very important almost sacred. And two it's almost always hard. Now the song doesn't have to be sad or tragic but I've noticed that even when it's a light hearted ditty It's about a man's work wise dedication to his job is evident in a song that is one can tell that he realizes the importance of his work even as he makes fun of it in song. He may dislike his work be very bitter about it but he rarely belittles it if he happens to like his way of earning a living. You hear him expressing himself in song just the opposite way. And this Irish fisherman does as he sings of his beloved Bill. Well in Ireland they seem to be less tense about their jobs anyway. Now here's a song a man song sung by a girl list time. But that's allowed especially if the girl is smart and she's playing her beautiful arias sharpen. Well there's a love song after all or old man little boat. But all my little boat tradition number 1 0 2 4 was Mary
O'Hara singing a man's love song to his boat. That's a real Irish voice. So delicate in truth I'm convinced that the actual geographical location has a lot to do with how voice is handled in house song. Now for instance you know many thousands hundreds of thousands well really untold numbers of Irish people have left around and come to America and many many of them went out west to become cowboys and ranchers. And they brought their Irish songs. The bard of Armada is the same tune as the Streets of Laredo and green girl the Latics is in Ireland green girl the laurel. But what a difference in delivery and voice timbre between the two countries. The wild west the wide open spaces in the Big Sky where you had to talk pretty loud to make any noise at all especially if you were trying to round up a herd of stubborn cattle delicacy and restraint had to be abandoned I guess. Here comes Harry Jackson to prove my point he's riding a bucking horse and has some choice words to say to him. Then he lights into a round up holler.
So get out of the way he comes back. But go on boy. If you go to look for me bunker cowboy walks my boy she's a bareback in a lot of what I wrote to her back and I almost never heard it. On the wall. Then one morning a year. Now to go put your hat back in getting the boy. You know you miss my.
Old while woman to be your new role. Well marking their way through now. Yeah that's a smashing record called The cowboy Folkways FH 5 7 2 3. Just thought you'd like to know. In our old home in Kentucky up stairs is a room called the even ROOM. There my mother keeps her loom and I used to be put to sleep and waking up by the sound of the treadles in the thread gauge in the carriage
a sort of fumble fumble fumble fumble for a plan. Life sound. Things are happening kind of sound. Well a secure home is sound. Mom used to help her grandmother weave all the cloth for the family's clothes when she was growing up homespun for trousers and shirts for the men of the boys and skirts for the women. Linsey woolsey for the lot of garments. Nowadays she only weaves rugs for us and neighbors but she loves weed and so we keep the loom in Scotland on the Allens of the Outer Hebrides Harris and Lewis. The old time we've instilled in her the flex is planted and cultivated harvested so. And then Walt I worked the tin until a stick got fibers are out and the pulp is smooth on my field trip I heard for the first time the old walking songs used to set the rhythm for beating the Tweed. Musta been like the work ins at home in Kentucky where neighbors gather at each other's houses to help with harvest corn Chalons and beans string ins and so on. Well around the table are the flex is be and work stand the women men help too sometimes
one woman will sing the lead and the rest will answer and all will sing the refrain. Yonder is the walk in shed now and you can begin to hear the walking song. Kitty Macleod leans. Here's an echo of the old bardic poetry. The text is a candid eulogy of one of the princely houses of the ass. The words mean son of the Earl of the bike. I saw your ship on the ocean. The rudder was of go the mast and the sails were of Spanish Still I am. God I am.
Times have changed since the sound of this music meant that a large and thriving trade was being carried on the machine age descended like a monster all over the world in our country the Wild West was not so wild anymore. I suppose that even where they're still raising cattle they're using Jeeps now instead of horses for the most part. The little fishing boats in Ireland have been left to rot by the thousands as big commercial fisheries and canning factories have taken over and made the price of fish so low that it doesn't pay to fish for the local markets anymore. The buffalo long gone from the plains. And as for the Tweed makers the spinners and the Weavers people whose trades of had been all important suddenly while they became almost of no importance. Quaint old fashioned curios to be gazed at the tourist stripped of the dignity and the sense of well-being that had been theirs for long generations. Well what could I do. Well I could protest I could lament. I could get mad and holler. Stop with us here in this Irish Weaver's cottage and hear their bitter song.
Waver. Make a game a top and get back to. Me. And. You Today. Many of.
Us. Close to be.
Close. Ewan MacColl Vanguard v r s 9 0 9 0 B the 4 and Weaver singing the lament of the hand weavers. Well that was one reaction to the machines. Of course eventually folks had to be practical and look for work in other fields. Many in desperation took to tramping the roads looking for any kind of work and a tinker girls named Unique
white walking along the Hieland roads of Scotland sayings of the one trade that many hundreds could take up to keep them from starving the trade of begging for. It was. Not everybody had to big Thank goodness. Even the cursed machines had to have people to run them. Some lucky folks found work for the whole family and made
more money than they had ever made before. Little as it was Jim copper a farmer in Rottingdean Sussex England sings such a lucky family in a song about the threshing machine. It's there's old father Howard machine used to put my old Mother Howard she does make up and Mary she sits and feeds all day while Johnny carries the strong way singing rumbled on dairy flareup Marion maker old table all table is the feed table of the machine. It's all very well known throughout the machinery of death ratio we don't have data after a ship and windowed operate Prospero. Thank God I don't bargain so Bruce been saying it wrong. They don't dare a flare up Mary and I can rotate writers and only about every cog where you get a lot of Bakewell rugs done didn't want all of them the three of them during she get it wrong or dumb Gary Player up Mary don't break their own table.
There's all private I would just don't book what I thought I would make very she said second phase all very well Johnny carries no straw she Iraq the day or a prayer at Marianne Maiko table. Big game and we generally start her back to a lab that would be your right. Then all three go girl wanted to Iraq I don't care if they are at very low tables. Jim copper on Columbia disc 2 0 6 the ruled library of folk and primitive music collected and edited by Alan Lomax. Jim brings our subject of earning a living back to land real began. There are many trades and jobs we didn't even mention who could in just half an hour. I'd like to sing for a closing song the oldest farm song I know to an ancient English tune played on my ancient
dulcimer. I learned the song years ago in Brest town North Carolina. The Campbell folks coo It's called Come all you jolly playboys and I think the second verse about the 211 brothers is a reference to Cain and Abel. Anyway our whole philosophy and one which would be a good one for the whole world for any kind of work is expressed in the two lines for if we don't labor how shall there be bread. We will sing and be merry with all. I hope you'll join us again next week when we take another trip through the folklore and music.
I'm here to end the show. Many of the portions of this program were compiled from recordings made by Ms Ritchie and her husband while he was on a pool ride scholarship in the British Isles. Next week's program will present many of the songs collected by Gene Ritchie while he was in Ireland. His program was produced by a steward's builder and directed by Isidore halo as I rode out with Jean Ritchie is a recorded production of Riverside radio w RTR in New York City under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcast. And this is the ABC radio network.
As I roved out
Episode Number
Earnin' a Livin'
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Hosted by folksinger Jean Ritchie, As I Roved Out explores folk music of America and the British Isles and the people who make it.
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Host: Ritchie, Jean
Producer: Gouds, Moyra
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-4-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “As I roved out; 7; Earnin' a Livin',” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 1, 2024,
MLA: “As I roved out; 7; Earnin' a Livin'.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 1, 2024. <>.
APA: As I roved out; 7; Earnin' a Livin'. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from