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Thread: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountain

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    Question What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountain

    I found this song a while ago on a CD from Ill-Mo Boys:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShgjfITJcpg

    and here are some different guys playing the same tune:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh4iCQJUnHo

    Does anyone know if this is a traditional song or if it was written by Ill-Mo Boys (or someone else)?
    Does anyone know the lyrics? I can't quite figure out all of it from the recording...

    Thanks!
    Vojtech
    Last edited by vojtechkral; Sep-08-2019 at 7:42am. Reason: typo

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    It sure sounds traditional, and the group's description from the Missouri Arts Council website says,"The Ill-Mo Boys are devoted fans of early country music from the 'Golden Age' of recording (ca. 1926-1942) and have developed a repertoire of songs and tunes learned from old 78-rpm records and vintage field recordings." On the other hand, I haven't been able to locate an online recording online older than the Ill-Mo boys version. There's a contact email for the band on the site, so you could ask them directly. I'm afraid that I don't have time to write the lyrics as I hear them.

    https://www.missouriartscouncil.org/...iii-mo-boys-3/

    It's a good tune, played well. Thanks for posting it. Here's a third version. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "All Around The Mountain/Tom Asktens & Neil Rossi".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55tsfACP9D4

    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Allright, to save folks the time to type the lyrics, here's what I got:

    1. All around the mountain and it was so cold [honey, hey, ...]
    you couldn't hear ??? ??? (cart wheel ??) ??? , hey

    2. Standin' on a corner with a dollar in my hand [honey, hey, ...]
    Lookin' for a woman that ain't got no man, hey

    3. One of these days and it won't be long [honey, hey, ...]
    You'll call my name and I'll be gone, hey

    4. When you're crying in your bed at night [honey, hey, ...]
    You'll wish to the Lord you'd treated me right, hey

    4. All around the mountain and it was so cold [honey, hey, ...]
    you couldn't hear ??? ??? ??? , hey
    As you can see basically the bit missing is the end of the 1st verse (and repeated at the end), otherwise I hope I more or less got it.

    If anyone can fill in the missing bit I'd be grateful.
    English isn't my native language, so this is somewhat challenging...

    Edit: filled in the extra verse that's in the Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi version, but not in the I'll-Mo Boys version... Seems like there might be a common source to the song, who knows...

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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Quote Originally Posted by vojtechkral View Post
    Seems like there might be a common source to the song, who knows...
    Yup, it's called "folk music", or more properly "folk tradition". It works like this: you sing a song to me and 5 friends; we each sing that same song, with our own mistakes and/or "improvements" to 5 other friends, who then repeat the process every few weeks for the next 10 or 15 decades. =It helps if there's no easy way to record those songs for the first 6 or 8 decades.= Eventually, you (we ALL!) end up with 3,000 songs of which many are vaguely similar to each other, and many more that you'd never think were related even though they are.

    Your third verse comes directly from a song known variously as "Fare Thee Well", "Norah's Dove", "Dink's Song", and several other's I'm aware of, and probably others that I'm not! More recently (6 to 10 years ago?), it was featured in the movie "Inside Llewyn Davis", vaguely based on the life of '50s folksinger Dave VanRonk, sung (I think) by Mumford & Sons. And here's LOTS of historical comment from Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dink%27s_Song

    I realize that none of this directly answers your question(s), but just want to express that the true answer is so much bigger than you were probably expecting! Might as well enjoy Mumford while we're at it:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQyPVBtLXk0

    Hope this helps!

    Edit - Oh yeah: "Couldn't hear nothing but the cart wheel roll." Last time might be different - one of those "improvements"!
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Sep-08-2019 at 6:44pm.
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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    I heard it on The String Band Project, Elektra Records, EKS-7292, in the mid 1960's. It a compilation of various old timey string band musicians, this one done by Stu Jamieson's Boys. See https://www.discogs.com/Various-Stri...elease/3414986
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Very cool!

    Thank you guys so much for the links and the missing lyrics.

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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    As I recall, the tag of that first verse is "Couldn't hear nothin' but the car wheels roll, uh huh"

    It seemed to be old when I learned it 45 years or so back. I must have learned it from the Stu Jamieson's Boy track on that String Band Project LP -- Just checked the liner notes, though, and there was no information about the source for that song.

    This obit article suggests that Jamieson himself may be the earliest source, but it's fuzzy.

    You can hear a snippet with the first verse here.

    I did find a variation that Dirk Powell at al played on the Songs From the Mountain recording:

    "BOW DOWN"
    As recorded by Dirk Powell on Songs from the Mountain (2002)

    All around the mountain and it was so cold, bow down
    All around the mountain and it was so cold, bow down
    All around the mountain and it was so cold,
    Couldn't hear nothin' but the big winds roll, bow down

    Wind blew north, the wind blew south, bow down
    Wind blew north, the wind blew south, bow down
    Wind blew north, the wind blew south,
    Wind blew sand in the black snake's mouth, bow down

    Wind blew up, the wind blew back, bow down
    Wind blew up, the wind blew back, bow down
    Wind blew up, the wind blew back,
    Wind blew snow in the fox's track, bow down

    Wind blew far, the wind blew wide, bow down
    Wind blew far, the wind blew wide, bow down
    Wind blew far, the wind blew wide,
    Little kid play on the groundhog hide, bow down

    Wind blew hard, the wind blew free, bow down
    Wind blew hard, the wind blew free, bow down
    Wind blew hard, the wind blew free,
    Dry leaves rattle on the dead oak tree, bow down

    I'll post a query on one of the old-time music websites and see if somebody knows any more. Now my curiosity is piqued.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Thanks Paul, I really like that version.....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TugBAgasHN0
    Charley

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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Hi, vojtechkral.

    Starting with your lyrics above, here's how my Canadian ear interprets the lyrics as the IllMo Boys sing them. Though I've never been to Missouri, I have watched "Winter's Bone" -- if that gives me linguistic credentials . Be warned though, I have done a great deal of transcribing, and I assure you, two people transcribing often come up with different words. All the singers above seem to say "car wheels" and not "cart wheels", perhaps referring to railway cars (hauling coal?). The three videos all have essentially the same words, which indicates that the singers are likely getting "All Around The Mountain" from the same source, or perhaps two of these groups are getting it from the third. The song follows a blues format, and, as with blues, this type of song often has "floating verses," which move from one song to another, thrown in where they fit or as time allows (e.g., is this a recording session where you're paying for time, or a kitchen session that will go on till everyone's sleepy?). Your fourth verse isn't in the Ill-Mo YouTube version but is in the Akstens and Rossi YouTube version. In the second verse, Akstens and Rossi sing, "ain't got a good man." However, I wouldn't worry too much about being exact in this style of song, as long as the meaning isn't lost. Thanks for bringing the song to our attention, and have fun with it.

    All Around The Mountain

    All around the mountain and it was so cold, honey,
    All around the mountain and it was so cold, hey, hey,
    All around the mountain and it was so cold,
    You couldn't hear nothing' but the car wheels roll, hey.

    Standin' on a corner with a dollar'n my hand, honey, ("a dollar'n" = a dollar in)
    Standin' on a corner with a dollar'n my hand, hey, hey,
    Standin' on a corner with a dollar'n my hand,
    Lookin' for a woman ain't got no man, hey.

    One of these days and it won't be long, honey,
    One of these days and it won't be long, hey, hey,
    One of these days and it won't be long,
    You'll call my name and I'll be gone, hey.

    When you're crying in your bed at night, honey,
    When you're crying in your bed at night, hey, hey,
    When you're crying in your bed at night,
    You'll wish to the Lord you'd treated me right, hey.

    All around the mountain and it was so cold, honey,
    All around the mountain and it was so cold, hey, hey,
    All around the mountain and it was so cold,
    You couldn't hear notion' but the car wheels roll , hey.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    Somebody loaned me a CD by a Midwestern singer with All Around the Mountain -- a tune I first heard at Fox Hollow Folk Festival (Troy NY) in the early '70's, sung by a band called Sweet Corn -- and the singer, whose name I can't remember, added a verse I've never heard elsewhere:

    Long cold nights in a tar paper shack, honey,
    Long cold nights in a tar paper shack, hey, hey,
    Long cold nights in a tar paper shack,
    Chilly wind blowin' through every crack, hey.


    I've added this verse to my renditions of the song -- which sounds good on the Octofone, key of D.
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    Default Re: What's the origin/lyrics of this song: All Around the Mountai

    <snip> Duplicate info.
    Eoin



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