donderdag 16 mei 2013
On Top Of Old Smok(e)y (1925) / Little Mohee (1926) / Great Shining Light (1938) / Pizza Song (1961) / On Top Of Spaghetti (1963)
"On Top of Old Smoky" is a traditional folk song and a well-known ballad of the United States. As recorded by The Weavers, the song reached the pop music charts in 1951.
Their rendition (Decca 27515) became one of their biggest hits in 1951, when it became the number-two song for many weeks on the Billboard charts.
Old Smoky may be a high mountain somewhere in the Ozarks or the central Appalachians, as the tune bears the stylistic hallmarks of the Scottish and Irish people who settled the region. Possibilities include Clingmans Dome, named "Smoky Dome" by local Scots-Irish inhabitants, but exactly which mountain it is may be lost to antiquity.
It is unclear when, where and by whom the song was first recorded. Pete Seeger modified a version that he learned in the Appalachians, writing new words and banjo music. He said that he thought that "certain verses go back to Elizabethan times." The sheet music for the song credited Seeger for "new words and music arrangement". The liner notes identify an early recording as the first, saying, "It was first recorded by George Reneau, "The Blind Musician of the Smoky Mountains," for Vocalion (Vo 15366) in 1925."
Cecil J. Sharp (1917) filed "Old Smoky" together with "Wagoner's Lad" (sung by Miss Memory Shelton at Alleghany, N.C., July 29, 1916), but that is in fact a different song with still another distinctive tune. They only share some floating verses.
"Old Smoky" seems to be first collected in 1913 in North Carolina by Edward Perrow and then also published in his "Songs And Rhymes From The South" in the Journal of American Folklore 1915
The 2nd and 3rd verse in "On top Of Old Smoky" show a striking resemblance to the 1st and 2nd verse of Ballad # 261B "The Young Man's Lamentation" from Douce Ballads 2 (between 1690 and 1696)
CLICK ON THE BLUE LOUPE ON THE TOP LEFT IN THE LINK ABOVE TO ZOOM IN
The Young-man's Lamentation
His Passionate Complaint of his Unconstant Lover;
Together with his Resolution to leave her who scornfully slighted him.
To an Excellent New Tune, or, Over Hills and High Mountains
Licensed according to Order.
Meeting's a pleasure,
But parting's a grief,
An Unconstant Lover
Is worse than a Thief;
A Thief he can Rob me,
And take what I have,
But an Unconstant Lover
Will bring me to the Grave.
"On Top Of Old Smoky" was first recorded in New York on October 15, 1925 by George Reneau, "The Blind Musician of the Smoky Mountains", for Vocalion (B 15366).
Reneau recorded the number again two years later (June 15, 1927), as a duo with Lester McFarland, under the name the Collins Brothers.
Released on the B-side of Paramount 3040 as by the Collins Brothers
And Broadway 8071 as by the Cramer Brothers.
As you can hear this ORIGINAL version has not the common melody as we know it from the hit-version of The Weavers.
The Weavers used a melody clearly derived from the traditional "Little Mohee",
Which in his turn has a connection with another traditional "Indian Lass".
On August 25, 1925 Kelly Harrell recorded a version of "Little Mohee" for Okeh.
Accompanied by Henry Whitter on harmonica and guitar.
This version wasn't issued.
(c) Flora Noles recorded "Little Mohee" on March 12, 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Released on Okeh 45037.
(c) Roe Brothers and Morrell, "My Little Mohi"
Label: Columbia 15199-D)
Recorded March 28, 1927
(c) Buell Kazee recorded "Little Mohee" in New York on April 21, 1927.
Buell Kazee: vocals en banjo; Carson Robison: guitar and whistling
Released on the B-side of Brunswick 156
Buell Kazee - The Roving Cowboy / My Little Mohee (Shellac) at Discogs
Listen to a sample here (on disc 2):
(c) Riley Puckett, "Little Maumee" (Columbia 15277-D, 1928)
(c) Ernest Stoneman and His Dixie Mountaineers, "The Pretty Mohea" (Edison, unissued, 1928)
Listen to a sample here:
(c) Bradley Kincaid ("Little Mohee")
Recorded on January 28, 1929 on Gennett 6856, on Supertone 9402 and on Champion 15731 (as by Dan Hughey)
Or to a sample here (Disc 2, song #3)
A Man and His Guitar: Selected Sides 1927 - Bradley Kincaid | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
In the same year when Kincaid recorded "Little Mohee" he also recorded "On Top Of Old Smokey"
(c) Dan Hughey (=Bradley Kincaid) ("On Top Of Old Smokey")
Recorded on October 4, 1929 on Gennett 7053 (also on Supertone 9566 and Superior 2770 and Champion 16029 and Montgomery Ward 4984)
Or to a sample here (Disc 2, song #13)
A Man and His Guitar: Selected Sides 1927 - Bradley Kincaid | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
(c) Pie Plant Pete (= Claude Moye) recorded "Little Mo-Hee" in 1934, it was released on Perfect 5-10-14 and Melotone 5-10-14 in 1935.
(c) Hall Brothers 1937 on Bluebird 6843
On November 3, 1938 Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys recorded "The Great Shining Light"which cleverly used the "Little Mohee / On Top Of Old Smoky" tune.
If the tune isn't original, even the words aren't.
On September 26, 1938 Herald Goodman and his Tennessee Valley Boys already recorded "The Great Shining Light" as the B-side of "New Lamp Lighting Time In The Valley".
More cover-versions of "(On Top Of) Old Smoky":
Okeh Presents Burl Ives: the Wayfaring Stranger (Okeh K-3) issued in August, 1941 marked Ives’ recording debut. It comprised twelve songs, oddly, not including the eponymous “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” on four 10-inch 78s:
"On Top Of Old Smoky" was on the B-side of Record #3, which had labelnumber Okeh 6317.
In 1944 the same recordings were rereleased on Columbia albumset C-103. On this set "On Top Of Old Smoky" was on the B-side of Record #3, which had labelnumber Columbia 36735.
(c) Libby Holman, with Josh White on guitar, in 1942 ("Old Smoky")
(c) Hally Wood with Pete Seeger recorded "On Top Of Old Smoky" in 1944 by for Lomax's radio ballad opera "The Martins and the Coys,"
Listen to a sample here (Song #13)
The Ballad Operas: The Martins & The Coys - Alan Lomax | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
(c) In 1946 Burl Ives again sang "(On Top Of Old) Smoky" in the movie "Smoky" along with several other traditional songs:
(c) Minnie Pearl with Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys recorded a version of "On Top Of Old Smoky" in Aug/Sept 1946 and released on the B-side of King 590
(c) Bob Atcher 1948 (as "Old Smokey") on Columbia 20484
(c) The Weavers and Terry Gilkyson 1951 had a Millionseller with their version arranged by Pete Seeger. It became Number 2 Hitsong in the USA for 8 Weeks. Only "How High The Moon" and "Too Young" prevented it from getting to the #1 spot.
(c) In 1951 Burl Ives (with the Percy Faith Orchestra) again sang "(On Top Of Old) Smoky", after The Weavers hit the big time with this song.
Listen here to Burl Ives's cover-version:
(c) Vaughn Monroe could not stay behind and recorded his cover for the RCA-label
Listen here to Vaughn Monroe's cover-version.
(c) (Hank Williams performed this one in 1951 on Mother's Best Flour transcriptions)
(c) Cisco Houston (1951) ("On Top Of Old Smoky") recorded around 1945/1946
(c) Eddy Christiani (1951) (as "Daar Ginds Bij Die Molen") on Decca M 33182
Met koor en orkest o.l.v. Pi Scheffer
(c) Pete Seeger 1957 on LP: "American Favorite Ballads".
(c) Elvis sang an excerpt of "On Top Of Old Smoky" in the movie Follow That Dream (1961)
(c) Johnny and The Hurricanes 1961 (as "Old Smokie")
Released on Big Top 3076 (USA)
and London 45-HLX 9378 (UK) (# 12 Hit UK)
(c) Connie Francis recorded "On Top Of Old Smokey" in 1961 for the album "Connie Francis Sings Folk Song Favorites".
(c) Dick Biondi 1961 (The Pizza Song)
This tune, which was made in 1961 by Chicago radio's living legend, Dick Biondi, was a parody of the traditional folk classic, "On Top Of Old Smokey." (Two years later, the parody song "On Top Of Spaghetti" came out, which was basically a rip-off of Biondi's song.)
(c) "On Top of Spaghetti" is a ballad and children's song written and originally performed by folk singer Tom Glazer with the Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus in 1963. The song is sung to the tune of "On Top of Old Smoky". It is essentially the tale of a meatball that was lost when "somebody sneezed". The song discusses what happened to the meatball after it fell off of a pile of spaghetti and rolled away.
It was released on the Kapp-label (Kapp 526) and got to #14 in the US Charts.
(c) Rijk de Gooyer did a cover of this cover with Dutch lyrics by Pi Veriss as "Een Bord Met Spaghetti"
(c) In 1963 Little Eva, singer of "The Loco-Motion", recorded a version called "Old Smokey Locomotion", with lyrics describing how the residents of Old Smokey caught on to The Locomotion.
(c) In Germany, the tune of the song was used as the chorus to singer Manuela's hit single "Ich geh' noch zur Schule" in 1963. (Nr 4 Hit Germany)
(c) Ronny 1964 (as "Kein Gold Im Blue River") (# 5 Hit Germany)
(c) John Lennon sang a version of "On Top Of Old Smoky" on his 31st Birthday on 10/09/71 in Syracuse, NY, with Yoko, Phil Spector, Klaus Voorman, Allan Ginsberg, Jim Keltner, and ? (2:00)- LHAP JL31
Listen to John's cover (after 6 minutes in the Youtube below )
(c) ABBA sang a medley of "Pick A Bale Of Cotton/On Top Of Ols Smokey/Midnight Special"
Recording began on 6 May 1975 at Glen Studio. It remains ABBA's only release of material not written by themselves, and was originally released on the 1975 German charity album "Stars Im Zeichen Eines Guten Sterns". In 1978, it featured (with a slight audio tweak, for many years mistakenly referred to as a 'remix') as the B-side of the "Summer Night City" single.
(c) Bruce Springsteen performed this traditional song only once, during The River tour, on 25 Oct 1980 at the Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, in honor of Mount St. Helens eruption.
(c) Mickey Newbury recorded "On Top Of Old Smoky" around 1969/1970 and in 2011 finally released it on the album "Better Days"
(c) In 2005 Roger McGuinn recorded "On Top Of Old Smokey" in the context of his Folk Den project
Listen here to Roger's cover.