Friday, August 28, 2015

Music Review: Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana

Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana, Perpetual Classics (2007)
Various artists including: Etta Baker, Glenn Yarbrough, Woody Guthrie, Glen Campbell. 

Most of this music missed for the family and I.  (We listened to it in the van while traveling.)  However, their were a coule of songs that I felt had historical note.  The first is about coal mining, and I think the chorus would help describe Isdaac and his working in the coal mine as a child.  

Dark as a Dungeon by: Merle Travis

It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.

The other which I found interesting has to do with Mormon polygamy.  What is more interesting is the description of the song I found, saying it was not meant to be satirical, but to point out the love of a Mormon polygamist for his wives.  


Old Zack, he came to Utah, way back in seventy three,
A right good Mormon gentleman and a bishop too was he.
He drove a locomotive for the D. and R. G.,
With women he was popular, as popular as could be.

cho: And when he'd whistle ooh! ooh! Mamma'd understand
That Zack was headed homeward on the Denver and Rio Grande.

Old Zack, he claimed to love his wives and love them all the same,
But always little Mabel was the one that Zack would name.
And as he would pass her he'd blow his whistle loud,
And when she'd throw a kiss at him old Zack would look so proud.

Old Zack, he had a wifey in every railroad town.
No matter where he stopped he had a place to lay him down.
And when the his train was coming, well, he wanted her to know,
So as he passed each wifey's home his whistle he would blow.

Now listen everybody, because this story's true,
Old Zack, he had a wife in every town that he passed through.
They tried to make him transfer on to the old U. P.
But Zack said, "No" because his wives were on the D. and R. G.

Tune: Oh Susanna
"This song depicts in comic form life in one type of plural marriage.
It is not intended to be sarcastic. Zack Black was a Mormon bishop
who worked as an engineer for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and
the tale is told that he had a wife in every town he passed through.
Mormon audiences have always enjoyed the humor of the lyrics, especially
when Zack won't accept a transfer to another railroad line because it
is routed through the wrong towns."(Music of the Mormons, p. 28)
Note: "Plural Marriage" is the LDS term for their form of polygamy,
which was practiced from the late 1840's up to 1896,
when the US Supreme Court upheld a law forbidding it. Mormon clergy
were (and are) laymen, who are not paid for their church service and
therefore work "civilian" jobs to sustain their families.

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