06 January 2013

Front Porch Pickin' # 29 - Carry Me Back To Virginia

For our repertoire this evening, and for your listening enjoyment, I've invited the legendary Old Crow Medicine Show boys to perform for us. They're a Shenandoah Valley original. When I first heard this little ditty, I thought for sure I'd died and gone to glory. In a recent interview, the fiddle player and lead singer, Ketch (Don't ya love that name?) Secor said the following about his view of music:

Yeah I'm still as fascinated in the early days of the forces that make up the American culture we know today. I'm interested in the primitive roots of it all. I like to trace the music back to a bygone area. It just fascinates me for a personal pleasure, I just really like knowing. I'm into regionalism in music. I like to know the origins of music, where a song comes from. I love to trace a song back. I love topical songs. I like a song about a murder that happened three counties over and I'd like to sing it right in the town where it happened. I feel that music has a powerful force, that by singing these old songs you can connect with an older way of living that, though it isn't really lived on the surface, the trees know it and the soil knows it and the rivers know it, and it's possibly more American than what is on the surface.
Wiser words I never heard spoken anywhere. Listen carefully to the words of the song and, as always, get your culture here.

Here are the lyrics: 

"Carry Me Back"
[Verse 1:]
Well I come from the valley, I'm a rebel boy.
Born on the banks of the Shenandoah.
In '61, I went to the war,
To win one for Virginia!
Ya my brother went first and they called me to.
I was green as clover in the morning dew.
So I marched to the drum and I sang to the tune.
Carry me back to Virginia!

[Bridge 1:]
Fire in the cannon, water in the well,
Raced through the valley with a rebel yell.
I learned right quick how to march like hell and affix that bayonet.

Wont ya carry me back?
Wont ya carry me back?
Carry me back to Virginia.

[Verse 2:]
With a sword and a saddle,
Powder in the gun.
We thought for a minute our fight was done.
So they lined us up to the metals arm,
And hammered us into the quicksand.
Then they burned that valley in a blaze of fire,
Cut through the lands like a red hot iron.
Til the men took cover where the horses piled,
Then we shivered and then hold against them.

[Bridge 2:]
But the war raged on like flames of hell,
We dug through the pockets of the ones who fell,
Dressed in rags and we ate that grass
When they cut off our legs we cried!

Wont ya carry me back?
Wont ya carry me back?
Carry me back to Virginia.
Wont ya carry me back?
Wont ya carry me back?
Carry me back to Virginia.

[Verse 3:]
And they died in the valley,
Died in the swamp,
On the banks of the river where the whitetail jumped.
Died in the ditches,
Died in the fields,
In the belly of a wagon for a womans to heal
Died in the war,
Starved in the camps.
Locked in the prisons of a meaner man.
Spilled our blood in the fight to defend
And to bury the tome of a-dixieland!

[Bridge 3:]
Down in Alabama,
Down in Caroline,
Way down in Gerogie, on the Tennesee line.
We fought for the rebels, and Robert E. Lee,
Now we want to go home to Virginia.
Say we want to go home to Virginia!

Wont ya carry me back?
Wont ya carry me back?
Carry me back to Virginia.
Wont ya carry me back?
Wont ya carry me back?
I wanna be buried in Virginia! 


Lindsay said...

This is fantastic! I really look forward to your Front Porch Pickin' posts, they are so much fun to listen to.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Lindsay - lots of good stuff out there!