I Walk in Silence When it Comes

Jerry Marshall Wilson - I find Jesus by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

After Pap died I was worried about dreaming about him. Sounds silly I know. I was afraid if I dreamed of him it would make me even sadder and I didn't think I could stand that. Then as the days, weeks, and months went by I began to worry about not dreaming about Pap and wondered if I ever would. 

Chitter and Chatter are big dreamers-usually as soon as they awake they start telling the craziness that occurred while they slept. Granny doesn't approve, she will never tell her dreams before breakfast for fear they'll come true. Both girls say they dream about Pap at least once a week if not more. They say sometimes it makes them sad and sometimes it doesn't.

I finally dreamed about Pap Friday before last.

I was at some sort of meal-you know like dinner on the grounds or a family reunion. As I walked beside a long table looking for someone to eat my plate of food with I suddenly saw Pap sitting on the other side of the table with his own plate of food. I stopped and literally screamed "DADDY!" He gave me a smile and a small chuckle like he'd been waiting on me to find him and in the way of dreams the rest is pretty hazy. 

I once heard Jimmy Ibbotson, of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame, tell how he dreamed a song.

A few months after his father passed away he dreamed he was in a southern church where he didn't recognize anyone. The congregation started asking him to sing his new song-he told them he didn't know what song they were talking about. Someone tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around it was his father. His father told him to go on and sing the song for them. As he walked up front and began to sing the words just flowed out and that's how the amazing song was written or dreamed.

For this week's Pickin' & Grinnin' In The Kitchen Spot Jimmy Ibbotson's song I Find Jesus.

I hope you enjoyed the song, it has great words and the story behind how it was written makes it even more special to me. 

Tipper

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What Makes you Feel Young?

Original music by Paul Wilson in Appalachia I'll be Young

Paul, Tipper, Granny Gazzie, and Steve 

I'm sure you've heard someone say "Getting old isn't for sissies" meaning the older you get the more aches and pains a body seems to have. Thankfully no matter what our age there are things we see, feel, hear, or think upon that instantly makes us feel young again. 

As the girls were growing up I was often reminded of things I hadn't thought about in years and as I witnessed the events I felt like I was a young girl again. You know things like the pure joy of playing in the creek, making mud pies, and those hand clapping rhymes like Ms. Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black.

Since my entire life has been surrounded by music it's often a song that makes me feel young again. When I hear a song from childhood it makes me feel like I'm a little girl hiding behind Pap or Granny's legs instead of a momma with two grown girls of her own.

When I'm outside on a warm summer night seeing the lightning bugs and hearing the katydids and frogs I feel young again. I'm taken back to the days of playing hide-n-seek, telling ghost stories, and walking home in the dark to a house lit up with love.

Today's Pickin & Grinnin Spot features a song written, by Paul, I'll Be Young.

I'll Be Young written by Paul Wilson

When time like a freight train has passed me by and spring has long since sprung
Somewhere in a rocking chair with my mind made up I'll think of you and I'll be young

I'll be young I'll be young
Deep within my heart
I'll be young I'll be young I'll be young

When the days of my youth like grains through the glass have fallen swiftly past
And the spryness of my body is completely gone I'll think of you and I'll be young

I'll be young I'll be young
Deep within my heart
I'll be young I'll be young I'll be young

When I'm lying in the ground no one remembers me and the weeds grow tall o're my head
And the end of the world has just begun I'll think of you and I'll be young

Oh I'll be young I'll be young
Deep within my heart
Yes I'll be young I'll be young I'll be young

I hope you enjoyed Paul's song-it's a real toe-tapper with great words. Please leave me a comment and let me know what makes you feel young.

Tipper

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Way Back in the Mountains

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn back in 2012. And in case you're wondering, we still like to go to bed early and we're still a bunch of tired car sick babies on occasion.

My life in appalachia - Way Back In The Hills

I'm sure I've told you at some point, but if you missed it, the Blind Pig Family is not made up of night owls. We go to bed early. 

Yesterday evening after a full day of work for The Deer Hunter and me along with a full day of Little Middle Folk School for Chitter and Chatter we headed out for a place way back in the mountains above Cashiers, NC. Its called Caney Fork and is just below a place called Little Canada.

Another thing about the Blind Pig family, two of us get car sick all the time and the other two get car sick about half the time. Being tired, hungry, slightly nervous, and sitting in the backseat of car you've never been in going around winding curves you've never driven pretty much guarantees all four of us will be car sick. 

So why would we put ourselves through such an evening knowing 5:00 a.m. would come early the next morning? To travel back in the mountains, sit on a porch like my Granny Gazzie's, and make music.

The green siding on the house, the flower pots sitting on the railings, and the various outbuildings made me feel like we had traveled back in time.

We visited Henry Queen-maybe you've heard of him or his mother Mary Jane Queen? The Queen family is well known in Western NC for their love of music. Mary Jane passed away a few years ago, but her love for the ballads and songs she learned as a child have been passed down through her family and beyond. I can't help but think she'd be pleased to see her porch full of young musicians learning from her son in preparation to go out and share music with others.

The music was amazing, the company was good, but I felt a bitter sweetness sitting on that porch. Maybe it was because the house reminded me so much of Granny Gazzie's house that now sits empty or maybe its because I know those old houses are far and few between these days and so are the people who inhabit them.

Ever since we left the Queen home I've been thinking of the Front Range song- Way Back In The Hills written by Bob Amos. I taped the video below back when I first started the Blind Pig-its just as good today as it was back then. 

As we headed home after the music making, the girls and I were all car sick. Luckily The Deer Hunter wasn't.

After the 2nd stop at a closed gas station to get a drink out of a machine I said "You know what? We're a bunch of babies, why we can't even stay up past 8 o'clock without getting sick." Everybody in the car agreed with me. "But" I said, "even though I feel so miserable-I'm so very glad we went." Everyone in the car agreed with me on that statement too.

Tipper

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Angels of Mercy

In Memory of Pap
Photos and graphics by Ron Priest

 

I've had Pap strong on my mind ever since Uncle Henry had his stroke. I guess we all have. Granny told me "If your Daddy was still here I know where we'd be going today. We'd be going right down there to see Henry." The girls have went on and on about how Henry looks like Pap, how he has his hands, his eyes, and some of his mannerisms. 

One of Pap's cousins called Granny this week to tell her she was sorry she didn't know he'd passed away. In one of those its a small world moments, someone from this area was visiting her church in Gastonia NC and told her Pap had died in the Spring of the year.

After Granny told me about her calling I said "I remember Pap telling me she had been having a hard time and was helping out family." Granny said "Yes your Daddy called her a good while back, it might have even been before Christmas and talked for hours with her. You know when he was growing up he went out there and lived with her family and worked and he always liked her. She told me when your Daddy called her that day she somehow knew he had called to tell her goodbye and in his encouraging way to tell her everything would be alright one way or another."

Pap continues to speak to us through our memories and through his songs. I listen to all the songs he wrote with a new ear, a new perspective. It's been many years since he wrote Angels of Mercy but as I listen to the song now, the change of words between the two choruses shouts out to me.  

Angels of Mercy written by Jerry Wilson

Lazarus was hungry, suffering, waiting alone
Outside a gate of plenty, a beggar with no earthly home. 
The crumbs were all he asked for, oh such a small thing indeed. 
The dogs his only comfort for no man came to his need.

Angels of comfort came from his Father in love. 
Angels of Mercy carried Lazarus above.

Sometimes life is a burden. 
The body grows weak and tired. 
Afflictions weary the traveler, his pathway uncertain and hard. 
But as it was with Lazarus, oh so let it be with my soul. 
Let Angels of comfort carry me into God's fold.

Angels of comfort come from my Father in Love. 
Angels of Mercy carried me above.

I hope you enjoyed the video, the song is one of the tracks on Pap and Paul's recent cd Shepherd of My Soul. The cd is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you're interested. You can also find the cd on Itunes and you can listen to it on Spotify. The cd can also be purchased directly from me-go here for those details. 

A big THANK YOU to everyone who said a prayer or sent a good thought for Uncle Henry. He has improved beyond what they originally expected and each day seems to bring a little piece of him back to his family. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *TODAY-September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Festival Blairsville, GA

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Jesus Won't You Come By Here

Jesus won't you come by here - now is a needy time

Uncle Henry and Tipper tasting an apple from one of his trees

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just keeping getting bad news? That's the kind of week it's been around the Blind Pig house. As I worried about people who lost loved ones and people who are praying they don't lose a loved one I was reminded of a song Pap and Paul used to sing Jesus Won't You Come By Here. They learned the song from the movie Sounder. I believe it's an old negro spiritual although I've never heard anyone sing it other than the folks in the movie and Pap and Paul. 

The video below was filmed back when Paul was in college. I love seeing Granny's old furniture with the handmade slipcovers and the matching curtains she made. I went with Pap when he bought the furniture from a man who looked like Orson Wells. The man was drinking wine-which totally shocked a 7 year old Southern Baptist girl. I remember Pap laughing when he told Granny I was afraid of the man because he was holding a wine glass that had apparently been filled many times that day.

 
The song conveys such a plaintive sound of need that it looks like more folks would sing it. Even with the compelling need of the words the beauty of the human spirit comes forth in the harmony and Pap's high tenor.

My Uncle Henry suffered a significant stroke on Thursday and things aren't looking so good for him. If you've got an extra prayer or good thought please send it his way.

Tipper

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The Way I Am

2016 The Pressley Girls Festival on the Square 3

Just before Pap died, I videoed the girls doing a song made famous by Merle Haggard- The Way I Am written by Sonny Throckmorton. I never got to show Pap the video but I know he would have liked it.

The Deer Hunter and I listened to lots of Merle Haggard during our courting days. While I have many favorite Haggard songs, The Way I Am is right up there near the top. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you feel like a fish out of water? The song makes me think of those times where I find myself somewhere that I wished I wasn't. I'm not good at pretending to like something that I don't like.

When I was a teenager Pap would tell me "Be your ownself. Don't worry about what everybody else is doing or not doing."

Teaching me to be my ownself is one of the best things Pap and Granny did for me. I'm thankful the girls have learned to be happy with their ownselves too. 

Knowing the way you are makes it easier to live in this world and do the things you need to do even when you don't want to do them.

Tipper

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Working on a Building - Take 3

Working on a Building by The Pressley Girls

Over the years many people have covered the song I'm Working on a Building. The list includes: The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Marty Stuart, Jimmie Davis, Old & in the Way, and too many local performers to name. 

The song is generally said to be a traditional song-meaning no one knows who actually penned it. It is often listed as a Negro Spiritual. And as with many traditional songs, the actual lyrics vary depending on who's singing it...or in our case what day we're singing it.

To add to the confusion there is another song with a similar title and a similar tune: Working on the Building written by Lillian M Bowles. You can hear a version of the Bowles song performed by none other than Elvis here.  

Its easy to see why the song we do-Working on a Building has continued to be popular in southern gospel and bluegrass gospel circles after so many years. The words are repetitive and catchy with the tune being a real toe tapper. 

I've actually posted videos of us doing the song 2 other times here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn. 

Our first arrangement of the song was with Pap, Chatter, and Paul doing the singing. The song is always a crowd pleaser and with shows already booked right after Pap broke his hip in May of 2015 Chitter took over his part so that was our 2nd video

We're still doing the same arrangement as we were in the 2nd video and the audience and I are still loving the song. And Chatter and Chitter are still entertaining themselves by making up their own verses to the song. Things like if I was a crystal meth cooker I'd tell you what I'd do I'd quit my cooking and I'd work on a building too. Life is never dull with them two.

Hope you enjoyed hearing the song again!

Tipper

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Precious Memories

Precious Memories Song

Grief is a funny thing. Some days I feel so distant from Pap that I wonder if he was really real. Other days I find myself thinking he's just gone a big trip-you know like a world tour vacation...even though as far as I know Pap never went on any vacation. The only trips we ever took when I was a kid was to go see family who didn't live here. 

Then there are the days when I cry all the way to work, trying to hurriedly dry my tears in the parking lot and pretend I wasn't crying when I walk inside the building. Then I spend my day smiling when I'm supposed to and pretending to listen to people talk when I'm actually miles away remembering Pap or thinking on all the things I wish I could tell him. 

Yesterday Chatter needed a recent picture of herself and was looking through the photos on my computer. She wasn't having much luck finding one so I went to show her the photo folder on my desktop. As she scrolled down I saw all the photos of Pap in the collage above, sat down in the floor, and erupted into tears. In only a few seconds I got ahold of myself and looked back up to the screen to see if she found something. By then she was crying too. I smiled through my tears and said "We're a pretty pitiful bunch ain't we?" Chatter laughed through her tears and agreed. 

For well over a year before Pap died we'd been fooling around with the song Precious Memories. We tried all sorts of arrangements and I liked every one of them. What a song!

From the first time we did it I think we all knew it needed to be Pap's song-it needed to be about him. I honestly don't know if we felt that way because we knew his days were passing swiftly by or if we heard the full meaning of the words every time he sung them because he clearly believed them. Maybe it was a combination of both. 

Pap especially liked the song. I'm positive he liked it for the same reason most people do: the words literally bring precious memories to mind and evoke a longing for those who have long since gone on. 

 

 

I am beyond grateful that I can sing the words of Precious Memories and mean every last one of them, I'm thankful Pap could do the same exact thing. 

A few tangible precious memories I'm thankful for:

  • The pictures of Pap and the memories that go with them. Like: Pap picking his guitar in the living-room and showing the girls how to play something, Pap being patriotic at a 9-11 Ceremony, Pap laughing at Chitter and her new hipster shoes, Pap in the garden-working and teaching the rest of us the way.  
  • We were so picky about what videos we put on youtube. We never used the video above because we thought we could do it better, but now I think it's pretty good if I do say so myself. No telling what songs we've rejected over the years since I started the Blind Pig and The Acorn in 2008. And no telling what little back and forth the camera caught-like it did in the video above. We have a whole boot box full of dvds of music we've taped-that box =s lots of precious memories.
  • There are old tapes and reel to reels of Pap's music too. The other day Paul found one of Pap and Granny trying to sing in the back bedroom away from all the racket of us kids. A little bitty Tipper kept running in to tell them the wind was blowing and she was worried. 
  • There's a set of videos of Pap teaching a series at church back in the 90s. 
  • There's recordings of Pap telling stories over the last year. One I recorded a few days before he died. 

Pap and Paul's recent cd Shepherd of My Soul is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you're interested. You can also find the cd on Itunes and you can listen to it on Spotify. 

Tipper

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Watching You

Watching you all seeing eyes is watching you

I grew up singing about the all seeing eye in church and after I discovered how old it is, I'm betting Pap grew up singing about it as well.

The name of the old song I'm talking about is Watching You. It was written by John Melvin Henson and was copyrighted in 1915. Henson, who was born in 1887 in Curryville, GA, also penned Anywhere Is Home, I'll Live In Glory, and Happy Am I all of which are familiar hymns from my growing up years.

When I was researching the song, I was surprised to see more than a few folks thought it was intimidating. I was reminded of the time, Vicki Lane, one of my favorite writers, pointed out the fear in a different old gospel song-He Will Set Your Fields On Fire. When I first read her description I thought "Now that's one of the peppiest songs I know-it's not scary."

I popped in one of Pap's old cds and gave the song another listen, and decided that it could indeed cause fear, after all the song does have a strong warning of what will happen if one doesn't from sin retire-he will set your fields on fire.

I've struggled on more than one occasion to try to describe or explain the strange correlation between fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia. 

In the same way the people of Appalachia were drawn to the old murder ballads that came along with them over the big pond I believe many of them were (and are) drawn to the gospel songs of dire warnings and consequences.

We filmed the video of Watching You way back in 2010. You'll notice both nephews are in the video. In those days they were picking and grinning with us every Sunday afternoon. (Mark is centered between Pap and Paul and Ben is the arm you see at the very beginning of the video)

 

Watching You is track 15 on Pap and Paul's recent cd Shepherd of My Soul. The cd contains 13 original songs written by Pap, 1 written by Paul, 3 gospel standards (one is Watching You), and one Instrumental Reprise of the first song on the cd. The cd is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you're interested. 

Tipper

p.s. The winner of the Songs of Christmas cd is Sheila Bergeron who said: This will be one of my favorite posts. I especially like when you talk about Granny and Pap. They're some good folks.

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Oh When I See That Southern Moon

Paulpapblackwhitelarge_2

Paul and Pap's repertoire included many songs written by the The Delmore Brothers. The talented brothers were among Pap's all time favorite groups. He enjoyed their playing and thier harmony singing, but as a songwriter himself he was totally blown away by their song writing skills.

The Delmore Brothers were farm boys from Alabama. Their heyday was in the 1930s and 40s but their songs are still popular today, especially in bluegrass/old time circles.

The brothers played radio shows, were members of the Grand Ole Opry, and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Even though I've been familiar with The Delmore Brothers my entire life as I began to research their songs I was amazed at how many famous standards they wrote.

A few I have on the radio player; Blow Your Whistle, When It's Time For The Whipporwill, Southern Moon Shine Down Again, Weary Lonesome Blues, Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar.

Others that come to mind include: Browns Ferry Blues, Midnight Special,  I Won't Be Worried Long, Sandmountain Blues, She Left Me Standing On The Mountain, Happy On The Mississippi Shore, Put Me On The Trail To Carolina, I've Got The Big River Blues, and tons more!

Paul and Pap's harmony on The Delmore Brothers song Southern Moon Shine Down Again is outstanding. 

Southern Moon written by Alton Delmore

Blue and lonesome 
Lonesome and sad
Longing for that south land
And the best times I have had

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

There I was happy
Nothing worried me
Southern moon was shining
Shining down on me 

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

Steamboat move me down the river 
Stop and wait for me
I will help you load your cargo
If you'll ride me free

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

 

I hope you enjoyed the video! Jump over to The Delmore Brother's website to read more about the song.

Tipper

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