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Scotti Adams
Mar-16-2011, 2:10pm
Just caught the last 15 minutes of a program on OVATV about Irvin Rouse and how he came about to write possibly the most famous fiddle tune of all time The Orange Blossom Special. Seems the man was mentally ill in his later life...sad. There is also a killer version of OBS by Vassar, Rice, Flux, Bush, Rowan, Fleck, Sutton etc at the end of the program. Hope to catch it again in its entirety soon.

allenhopkins
Mar-16-2011, 2:40pm
If you'd like to read about Ervin Rouse, Chubby Wise, and how Orange Blossom Special was written and performed, there's a good book, Orange Blossom Boys, by Randy Noles (Centerstream Publishing, PO Box 17878, Anaheim Hills CA 92807, published 2002). I have the Rouse Brothers original 1930's recording on a reissue LP; Ervin was an excellent and inventive fiddler -- and we all know how great Chubby Wise was.

Rouse, before his death in 1981 at age 64, had prolonged battles with alcoholism, kidney and liver failure, and mental illness; always "eccentric," his erratic behavior accelerated in his later years, and he was under public guardianship when he died. Royalties from Orange Blossom Special kept him from poverty, and Noles notes he had $150K in various bank accounts at the time of his death. Orange Blossom Boys also spends a good deal of time on Wise's career; he claimed co-authorship of the tune, but Noles doubts the claim.

Pete Counter
Mar-23-2011, 4:15pm
Our bass players father worked with Ervin Rouse for years, Gene Christian...he has the inside scoop on all that. Very interesting stories. BTW if you browse around on Genes videos, he talks about Authorship of the song.
http://www.genechristian.com/

GVD
Mar-25-2011, 11:53am
... Hope to catch it again in its entirety soon.

Yup you definitely want to watch the whole thing. I've seen it a couple of times and it's a great program.

Loudloar
Apr-02-2011, 9:07pm
Allen,

You commented that
Orange Blossom Boys also spends a good deal of time on Wise's career; he claimed co-authorship of the tune, but Noles doubts the claim.

I interviewed Chubby in 1993 and he told me that he and Ervin Rouse had written OBS in Jacksonville, Florida in 1939. As I recall he said they had gone down to see the famous Orange Blossom Special train arrive. Then they went back to their hotel room and decided to create a fiddle tune with train sounds, and wrote OBS in a couple hours. I'm not sure why Noles doubts Chubby's co-authorship, but I did hear Chubby tell me directly that he helped write it.

Steve

Willie Poole
Apr-02-2011, 9:53pm
I`ve heard Chubby say the same thing and always took it to be gospel, I don`t really know or care myself, its a great tune for sure....Willie

Willie Poole
Apr-02-2011, 9:55pm
I hit the wrong button before I was finished...

Does either of them take credit for the words that is sung by some people? Johnny Cash sings lyrics to it....

Willie

GVD
Apr-02-2011, 11:20pm
...I interviewed Chubby in 1993 and he told me that he and Ervin Rouse had written OBS in Jacksonville, Florida in 1939. As I recall he said they had gone down to see the famous Orange Blossom Special train arrive. Then they went back to their hotel room and decided to create a fiddle tune with train sounds, and wrote OBS in a couple hours. I'm not sure why Noles doubts Chubby's co-authorship, but I did hear Chubby tell me directly that he helped write it.

Steve

He probably doubts it because it's been documented that Chubby's Florida trip was in 1939 and Ervin had already copyrighted the song in Nov. of 1938.

allenhopkins
Apr-03-2011, 1:39am
...interviewed Chubby in 1993 and he told me that he and Ervin Rouse had written OBS in Jacksonville, Florida in 1939. As I recall he said they had gone down to see the famous Orange Blossom Special train arrive. Then they went back to their hotel room and decided to create a fiddle tune with train sounds, and wrote OBS in a couple hours. I'm not sure why Noles doubts Chubby's co-authorship, but I did hear Chubby tell me directly that he helped write it...

Noles publishes in Orange Blossom Boys a facsimile copy of the "original lead sheet for Orange Blossom Special, as submitted by Gordon Rouse [Ervin's brother, another member of the Rouse Brothers, which sometimes also included Earl Rouse] to the Library of Congress copyright office." The sheet is clearly receipt-stamped "Oct. 23, 1938," which predates the train's exhibition tour stop in Jacksonville FL, the event Wise describes. As Noles says, the stamped date "damag[es] Chubby's claims of co-authorship." The published sheet music also is labeled "Copyright 1938, Words & Music by Ervin T. Rouse." Rouse and Wise played together, and no doubt played OBS together around this time, but the lead sheet is definitely the melody as we play it now, and unless the date stamp's inaccurate, it seems that Wise's description of co-writing the song in 1939 can't be supported by currently available evidence.

As to the lyrics -- well, read Noles' book, because he goes into a lot of detail regarding the tune's origins, and how it got its lyrics. There may have been a prior tune called South Florida Blues, that both Rouse and Wise knew and played, that was rewritten and given lyrics by Gordon and Ervin Rouse, and their manager Lloyd Smith, on an automobile ride from Hialeah to Kissimmee, after the train stopped there in November 1938. The lead sheet that Gordon Rouse sent to the Library of Congress has no lyrics, and supposedly the tune wasn't published with lyrics until 1947, though the Rouse Brothers sang them on their June 1939 recording.

Willie Poole
Apr-03-2011, 10:23am
Not to change the subject but there is an old Stanley Bros song called, "God Gave You To Me", it only has one verse so I wrote a second verse and when I play it I tell everyone that I co wrote it with Ralph Stanley...I never did get my verse copyrighted though...

Could that be what Chubby might have done?

allenhopkins
Apr-03-2011, 1:32pm
...Could that be what Chubby might have done?

Could be, I guess, but Wise consistently told of co-writing the tune in a hotel room with Ervin Rouse, after visiting the Orange Blossom Special train in Jacksonville in 1939. That was his story, and he pretty much stuck to it. There's a lot of "oral history" around the writing of OBS, probably partially due to Ervin Rouse's somewhat weird and disorganized life. A Texas fiddler named Leon "Pappy" Selph also claimed to have written it, for no apparent reason. Wise usually said that he "refused to take royalties" from his alleged co-authorship, out of a desire to help out Ervin Rouse, who never achieved Wise's musical success (fiddler in the "first bluegrass band" incarnation of the Blue Grass Boys, a long tenure with Hank Snow, lots of recordings on Stoneway Records out of TX). Noles' contention is that Wise wasn't entitled to royalties, based on the evidence.