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Thread: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

  1. #1
    Registered User masa618's Avatar
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    Default About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Hello, Please tell me about the lyrics of East Virginia Blues.                                                  
      
    Stanley Brothers lyrics: I'll go back to East Virginia,North Carolina ain't my home,I'll go back to East Virginia,Leave old North Carolina alone.

    Different lyrics: ~Leave them North Carolinians alone.
     
    What is the difference between "Carolina alone" or "Carolinians alone"           Thank you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Masa, they both mean about the same thing. "Leave old North Carolina alone" refers to the whole state. "Leave them North Carolinians alone" refers to the people of North Carolina. With either lyrics, the person in the song decides to back to East Virginia and avoid North Carolina and the people of North Carolina.

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    Registered User masa618's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Thank you Don.
    Both lyrics have the same meaning. I understand that there is nothing wrong with either.

    Thank you for watching the performance of Inaba Brothers and Miles Quale from California.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    One of the ways that we know a song is "traditional" or "folk", in the older sense, meaning that it has been passed down from person to person, is that it usually exists in different versions, even with different tunes. People learned these songs by ear, sometimes attempting to re-create a song after only one hearing, making changes due to such factors as forgetfulness, misunderstanding, moral or religious attitudes, localization of settings or dialect (e.g., Virginia, Virginnie), and artistic creativity. The difference in wording that you're talking about is minor. If you look at other recordings of "East Virginia Blues" or "East Virginia," you'll find much greater variations in lyrics, some meaningful, others not. Joan Baez's recording doesn't even contain the words you're asking about. I hope this is helpful.

    Added: Oh, I see that you may have English as a second language. Don explained the meanings well in Post #2.
    Last edited by Ranald; Mar-26-2023 at 11:53am.
    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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    Registered User masa618's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Sometimes when I sing English lyrics I wonder if they are correct.... I will learn from your opinion. Thank you.

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    Ranald 

  9. #6

    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    The expression "leave them North Carolinians alone" is the correct lyrics to the song however it is not proper grammatically correct English. Proper English would say "leave those North Carolinians alone" but the expression in the lyrics is intended to be colloquial, not grammatically correct English. It is the English used by a poor uneducated hillbilly like the narrator of the song. Much like the word "ain't" in the Stanley Brothers version.

    The Carter Family did it first but did not even have that verse. My favorite version is by Beppe Gambetta. He fixes the grammar and sings "leave those North Carolinians alone"





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  11. #7
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    It's a traditional song, first recorded by the Carter family. This is quite different from saying that they wrote it. They often claimed traditional songs, as did many other commercial musicians, as there were royalties involved (though I can't say for sure they copyrighted "East Virginia"). If you're going to present "original lyrics," please provide some evidence that these really are original lyrics. Believe me, folklorists spent ages searching for original ("Ur") versions of folk songs, folk tales, tunes, etc, but pretty much gave up the search by the twentieth century because the task was nearly impossible in most cases. There are notable exceptions such as Tin Pan Alley, Vaudeville, Music Hall, and minstrel songs that went into oral tradition. Still, the early folklorists made great collections in the course of searching for origins. (See Post #4 above.)
    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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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    I meant to add this to the above Post #7 last night, but apparently something went wrong. Here's Clarence Ashley's version of the same song but with another title, "Dark Holler," recorded in 1929, five years before the Carter Family recorded "East Virginia Blues."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUBY...el=thomasd5414

    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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    Registered User masa618's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Hello CarlM. Thank you for sharing your insight. It was a reference for my singing style.

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    Registered User masa618's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I meant to add this to the above Post #7 last night, but apparently something went wrong. Here's Clarence Ashley's version of the same song but with another title, "Dark Holler," recorded in 1929, five years before the Carter Family recorded "East Virginia Blues."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUBY...el=thomasd5414

    Also interesting are the traditional lyrics and melodies sung by Clarence Ashley. It felt more like a Little Maggie melody.Thanks.

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    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: About the lyrics of "East Virginia Blues"

    Something I always thought notable is the use of "East Virginia", which of course is simply the state of Virginia, also referred to as The Old Dominion. But this is used to contrast with West Virginia.

    I split time between North Carolina and Virginia and there are indeed many differences between the two.

    Z
    Member since 2003!

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