I Would Not Marry an Old Man

September 12, 2009

appalachiaHello, faithful readers and listeners.  The great Cocoringo is attending to spiritual and earthly matters of the utmost importance, and in his wisdom and absence he has tapped me, archivistkevin, to post some music for your enjoyment.  I love folk music, particularly the mountain music of Appalachia (which, incidentally, is the fourth-oldest European place-name in North America, dating to a 1528 Spanish literal transcription of the name of a north Florida Native American village – but, I digress).  I’m also interested in the digitization of ethnographic audio recordings, so today I present to you some music from the Burton-Manning collection of the Eastern Tennessee State University Archives and Special Collections.  In 1964, professors Thomas Burton and Ambrose Manning began making folklore recordings, primarily in western North Carolina (a hotbed of folk songs, ballads, string bands, and all kinds of great stuff).  A handful of the thousands of tunes they recorded have been digitized and placed on iTunes U, with musicians ranging from iconic (Clarence Ashley) to quite obscure.  There is not a lot of contextual or biographical information about most of this music on the web, which saddens my archives-soul (although I’m sure a visit to the physical archive would provide that information).  But it forces one (me, you, him, her) to approach the music per se.  So here a couple of tunes for your listening pleasure:


Maid Freed From The Gallows – Doug Foster (Burton-Manning/BM-04)

Fans of classic rock might recognize this traditional tune from noted hard-rock group Led Zeppelin’s third album.  The recording here is quite lo-fi, and has a nice drone.

Much of the collection is a cappella.  Here, Winnie Trivette declares her dislike for the prospect of marrying an old man.  The atmosphere is playful — the first part of the chorus is a nonsense lyric (roughly, “Hi jimma hi jimma hi, hi jimma hi jimma ho” – and if you happen to know what that means or where it comes from, please let us know!).  Also, toward the end, she speeds up the lyric concerning the young man hopping and skipping, contrasting it with the lugubrious delivery of the description of the old man creeping in.  She even cracks herself up; a chuckle in the last chorus is just barely suppressed.


Would Not Marry An Old Man – Winnie Trivette (Burton-Manning/BM-73B)

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One Response to “I Would Not Marry an Old Man”

  1. JimmyBean Says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean


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