Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ballads, and Jeremiah Beasley as Johnny Cash

Hey guys,
As you allknow I sang in class on Tuesday. I sang for something that Dustin was going to memorize but changed in the last minute. What a sang is considered a ballad. I kind of wanted to find out what, if anything this has to do with oral traditions.
Well, ballads have a lot to do with oral traditions. Ballads were originally songs that were passed down by word of mouth! Many of the songs were sung to a popular tune, but I guess the words were different than the original song. Whenever words were written down, they became known as broadsides. But even these just had some of the words of the original, and a description of the tune it was supposed to be in.
This is all very intersting me because I sing some ballads in my band. I have noticed that with a lot of ballads, the words are spoken and not sung. If there is some singing, it is minimal. Another thing I've noticed about ballads is that they tell a story...duh! But anyways, there are no chorus' to ballads in general, the story just goes on. However, there are some elements of oral characteristics within the ballad. For example, there are repititious phrases and epithets. For a specific example of a somewhat modern ballad entitiled, "The Ballad of Curtis Lowe," Curtis Lowe is known as the finest picker to ever play the blues. This ballad is done by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I suggest listenint to it if you haven't, it is Balladalicious. It Rocks.
So, when I sang in class on Tuesday and did Boy Named Sue, it was like a traditional ballad. I did have the words in front of me, but it was my first time doing it, and I made up a chord progression and messed up the words a bit. This is probably how a lot of ballads went back in the original days. Here's a site to a ballads page if you would like to know more about their history:http://www.contemplator.com/history/broadside.html
I wanted to give you guys some lyrics to some of my favorite ballads:

A Boy named sue:
My daddy left home when I was three,And he didn't leave much to Ma and me...Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid,But the meanest thing that he ever didWas before he left, he went and named me 'Sue'.
Well, he must o' thought that is was quite a joke,And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk.It seems I had to fight my whole life through.Some gal would giggle and I'd get red,And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head.I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue'.
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,My fist got hard and my wits got keen.I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.But I made me a vow to the moon and starsThat I'd search the honky-tonks and bars,And kill that man that give me that awful name.
Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-JulyAnd I just hit town, and my throat was dry.I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.At an old saloon on a street of mud,There at a table, dealing stud,Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me 'Sue'.
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dadFrom a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.He was big and bent and gray and old,And I looked at him and my blood ran cold,And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do! Now you gonna die!"
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,And he went down, but, to my surprise,He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.But I busted a chair right across his teethAnd we crashed through the wall and into the streetKicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I tell ya, I've fought tougher men,But I really can't remember when,He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.
And he said: "Son, this world is rough,And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough,And I know I wouldn't be there to help ya along.So I give ya that name and I said good-bye.I knew you'd have to get tough or die,And it's that name that helped to make you strong."
He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight,And I know you hate me, and you got the rightTo kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.But ya ought to thank me, before I die,For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eyeCause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you 'Sue'."
I got all choked up and I threw down my gunAnd I called him my pa, and he called me his son,And I come away with a different point of view.And I think about him, now and then,Every time I try and every time I win,And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name himBill or George! Anything but sue! I still hate that name!

Curtis Lowe:
well I used to wake the mornin befor the rooster crowed searchin for soda bottles to get my self some doughbrought em down to the cornerdown to the country store cash em in and give my money to a man named Curtis Lowe old Curt was a black man with white curly hair when he had a fifth of wine he didnot have a care he used to own and old dobro used to play across his kneeI'd give old Curt my money he play all day for me(chours) play me a song Curtis Lowe Curtis Lowe well I got your drinkin money tune up your dobro people said he was useless them people all were fools cuz Curtis Lowe was the finest picker to ever play the blueshe looked to be 60 maybe I was 10 momma used to whoop me but I'd go see him again I'd clap my hands, stomp my feet tryin to keep in time well he'd play me a song or 2 then take another drink of wine (chours)play me a song Curtis Lowe Curtis Lowewell I got your drinkin money tune up your dobropeople said he was useless but them people all were fools cuz Curtis Lowe was the finest picker to ever play the blues on the day old Curtis died nobody came to pray old preacher said some wordsthey chucked him in the clay well he lived a lifetime playin the black mans blues and on the day he lost his life thats all he had to lose (chours)play me a song Curtie Lowe Curtis LoweI wish that you was here so everyone would knowpeople said he was useless but them people all were fools cuz Curtis your finest picker to ever play the blues

Ira Hayes

Ira Hayes, Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to warGather round me people there's a story I would tellAbout a brave young Indian you should remember wellFrom the land of the Pima Indian A proud and noble bandWho farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona landDown the ditches for a thousand years The water grew Ira's peoples' crops'Till the white man stole the water rights And the sparklin' water stoppedNow Ira's folks were hungry And their land grew crops of weedsWhen war came, Ira volunteered And forgot the white man's greed
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill, Two hundred and fifty menBut only twenty-seven lived to walk back down againAnd when the fight was over And when Old Glory raisedAmong the men who held it high Was the Indian, Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Ira returned a hero Celebrated through the landHe was wined and speeched and honored; Everybody shook his handBut he was just a Pima IndianNo water, no crops, no chanceAt home nobody cared what Ira'd done And when did the Indians dance
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Then Ira started drinkin' hard;Jail was often his homeThey'd let him raise the flag and lower itlike you'd throw a dog a bone!He died drunk one mornin' Alone in the land he fought to saveTwo inches of water in a lonely ditch Was a grave for Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes But his land is just as dryAnd his ghost is lyin' thirsty In the ditch where Ira died

I hope you guys enjoyed this, and check out some of these tunes. Great stuff!

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