Words Of Life

Pap and brothers
Ray, Henry, Pap 

Paul is still trying his best to get Pap's original music out there to the world. We're both disappointed that we haven't made much progress on our dvd idea of highlighting the most popular videos on our youtube channel and getting Pap's old friends to introduce them. Life keeps getting in the way, I'm sure you know how that is. The dvd is still a dream we want to complete, we just need to force ourselves to get started.  

Paul recently uploaded a video made to highlight one of Pap's older songs Words of Life. I'll let him tell you about it. 

"In 1973, Pap and his two brothers made their first album: Words of Life. The title cut was written by Pap. It features him on high harmony, his brother Ray on lead vocal, and youngest brother Henry on electric guitar (a beautiful Gretch that you can see in some of the photos in the video). The steel player and bass player did a fine job, but I do not know who they were. The steel player could be the one in the photo at 1:51, but I have no way of knowing that.

Pap told me once that the snare drum player on the album was just a hung man who "hung around the studio," someone he never met before or after.

Terry Pappas made this video. While the music plays, various photos and articles down through the years are shown. Not all of the lyrics appear during the song, only key words from the song.

Some of the photos are just notices about performances and some are articles covering awards they won or highlighting their musical career. Words of Life also became the title of several radio broadcasts they had down through the years on different stations. There are even a few photos of my uncle Henry in a bunker in Vietnam with some old guitar he had rounded up so he could keep his playing going during the war. Apparently one of the tuning knobs must have been missing. He served as a forward observer for the 1st Calvary.

Also appearing in some of the photos: Perry Stalcup on bass, Robert Hampton on dobro, Rev. Leander Chastain, Fred Williams, Aiden Martin, Johnny Mason, former NC Senator Robert Carpenter and his wife, David Brose from the John C Campbell Folk School, Douglass Day, Pap's sister Carrie and father Wade, other unidentified musicians, my first cousin Brian Wilson (infant), and me."

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as we do!

Tipper

 p.s. More than a few of the photos in the video were taken at the folk school. There's only two more days to enter the JCCFS Fall Festival Ticket giveaway. Go enter if you haven't!

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The Pressley Girls' First CD...It's Almost Here!

The Pressley Girls - When It Ends In A Walk

The Pressley Girls - CD photo shoot 2017

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was stirring around the house and heard the catchiest tune coming from Chatter's room. I knocked on her door and said "I like that where'd you learn it?" She sheepishly looked at me and said "I wrote it." I said "WHAT!!!??? You wrote that? I LOVE IT!" 

A good three years later, I'm still loving the song and the girls have chosen it for the title track of their very first cd!!!

When it Ends in a Walk written by C. Pressley

Our days were numbered and they were few
But it felt like the start of something new
You had to leave and go back home
But it left me here wondering to roam

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

Talking about life with you made me feel understood
And I would trade everything for another day if I could
Its funny how love can be even when its going to end
You still follow it through the dark and around the bend

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

As you walked me to the end of the road to say goodbye
All of our adventures flashed before my eyes
But it was worth it every time 
Because the memories we made will forever be mine

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

It's hard when it ends when it ends in a walk

----------------------

I can barely wait for everyone to hear the cd! I'm going to let you have a sneak listen today. Here's the title track When it Ends in a Walk.

When It Ends in A Walk

(Just click on the button to hear the song and then you may need to click on the back button to come back to this page)

I hope you enjoyed the sneak listen. We hope the cds will be available for purchase in the next few weeks-I'll keep you posted!

Tipper

p.s. Chitter is having a great sale over in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. 25% off everything in the shop, no minimums and it even counts on the existing sale section as well! Go check it out! Christmas is just around the corner 🌲  

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Some Pretty Guitar Picking

Pap and ben

Pap and Ben

I'm going way back in the history of the Blind Pig and The Acorn to share this week's Pickin' and Grinnin' in the Kitchen Spot. The video is of my oldest nephew Ben picking out a great tune written by David GrierEngagement Waltz. The video was filmed over 9 years ago. 

I've had Ben on my mind a lot this week. He and his sweet wife gave birth to a beautiful healthy girl, Margaret Evelyn. Month's ago she was given the name of 3 of her great-grandmothers so she was bound to enter this world a little bit ahead if you ask me. To say we're all crazy about her is an understatement.

Way back when Ben came along he was Granny and Pap's first grandchild. His birth made Paul an uncle and me an aunt for the first time. We were all wild about him!

You've probably heard the saying about how the first child gets a picture taken of every little thing they do while the children who follow mostly get school, birthday, and Christmas pictures taken of them. That was sure true for Ben. If his mother wasn't taking pictures of him Granny or I was. 

Ben was the center of all our lives. With Pap, Granny, Paul, The Deer Hunter, and me he had a whole tribe of adults to spoil him-not to mention his momma and daddy. Similar to the first baby picture overload phenomenon we remember all sorts of things Ben said that we thought was cute yet I can't hardly remember anything his sweet sister and brother said. 

Every time we eat a bologna sandwich The Deer Hunter or I am likely to say something about ba-bonie and kook-aid because that was one of Ben's favorite things to eat and drink. And even if I'm alone and notice it's coming a down pour of rain I think to myself 'it's a yaining it's a yaining' because Ben said that too! Somewhere along the way he started saying his name was Be-bo so we all took the cue and started calling him Be-bo. I taught him to feed his riding horse Ole Paint grass and I taught him all I knew about grasshoppers. 

I don't remember if it was when Pap died or later that summer when Ben's other grandfather Robert died, but we were all gathered up watching old home movies. We came to Ben's first birthday party. The house was full and he was opening one present after the other. Just a few minutes later the scene changed to another first birthday party...for Ben. His brother Mark said "Are you kidding me??? He got two parties???" As Mark fussed about the injustice of the way Ben was treated as a child compared to how he was treated we all got a good laugh. Truthfully Mark and April are just as precious as Ben. There is just something about our human nature that remembers and recalls that first baby that first grand-baby or for me that first feeling of becoming an aunt or in this case an Auntie Titter for the first time. 

 

Ben was still in high school when we filmed this video. Now he's the daddy of a sweet little girl who made me a great aunt and Granny a great grandmother for the first time. At the very end of the video you can hear Pap say "That's pretty good Be-bo." I think Pap would say the same thing about little Margaret. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Love and Laughter from The Pressley Girls

The Pressley Girls 2017

The Pressley Girls - Appalachian Night at the Hinton Center July 2017

As you might guess Chatter and Chitter are fans of other duet harmony singers. Since they grew up listening to The Wilson Brothers, The Louvin Brothers and The Delmore Brothers they have been heavily influenced by brother duets from the past.

Another brother duet they are fans of is the Everly Brothers. 

The girls learned one of the Everlys old songs last year and filmed themselves giving it a go. It took them several tries to ever get completely through the song. You'll notice Chitter's exuberant response to making it to the end of the song in the video below. 

Since it took them so many times to complete the song, there were more than a few mess-ups  for a blooper reel. See the silliness below.

Since the girls can be hard to understand I'll translate the conversation portion of the bloopers for you.

Already got the hard work done. Fixing my bun for you Paul because we know how I have those bun problems. I want it to look fresh. Oh Lord that looks bad that don't look good. Hold on. That was bad. Typical hair problems. A day in the life of Katie.

My fingers aren't big enough to fit here.

Okay.

Gosh I hope the battery don't die while we're doing it. This little thing really just looks like a piece of junk. 

Don't tell momma.

I mean really it could die mid song.

Kapie.

Yes. It's cold in this house so I have to squat to warm my feet. 

Bye Bye Love.....I didn't do that because I was crying I did it because I had a Ruby hair on my face. 

I hope you enjoyed the harmony and the silliness. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing today Sunday September 3 at 12:00 p.m. at the Heritage Festival in Blairsville GA.

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Rock Salt And Nails

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The first person I remember hearing sing Rock Salt And Nails was Tony Rice and I immediately fell in love with the song. The mournful tune and lonesome lyrics speak to some place deep inside me. Paul told me Pap used to sit around and play the song, but never did sing it. I wonder if Pap's playing seeped into my mind without me realizing it and that's another reason I love the song. 

The sad melancholy lyrics matched my feelings of teenage angst perfectly and I used to play the song over and over. I never gave any thought to who wrote the song or even why they might have wrote it. I just liked it.

A few weeks ago Paul did a cover of the song and uploaded it to our youtube channel. The video got me to wondering who wrote the song. A quick search on the Mud Cat Cafe turned up this fascinating information. 

"Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Salt and Nails (Utah Phillips)
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 07:15 PM

Bruce (who went by "U. Utah Phillips" as a parody of T. Texas Tyler) wrote the song in Korea after receiving a dear John letter from his wife. He didn't like to sing it, partially because the person it was written about was still alive (and remains so). It was one thing for other folks to sing it (he knew a good song when he wrote one) but it felt too personal to sing it himself. He also felt it was an angry, bitter song, and he didn't feel that way any more.

He told me that after he received that Dear John letter, he wrote two songs - one was Rock Salt and Nails, and the other "I Think of You" - one of the sweetest love songs I know. I had never thought of that song as being about a breakup before, and it added new depths to hear him say that.

Dan"

After I read the entry I thought a Dear John letter in Korea-no wonder the song is full of emotion!!

Tony Rice's version has always been my favorite, but Paul pushed Mr. Rice to the side and stepped ahead to number one in my book. 

I really like how the Gibson Dove sounds on this one and as usual Paul's singing is top notch.

 

 I hope you enjoyed hearing one of my favorite songs!

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing on Saturday September 2 at 1:00 p.m. at the Andrews Brewing Company's Bluegrass Festival in Andrews NC and Sunday September 3 at 12:00 p.m. at the Heritage Festival in Blairsville GA.

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Beyond The Starry Sky

Twilight Is Stealing

The old hymn, Twilight Is Stealing, was written by Aldine Kieffer in the latter part of the 19th Century. According to the Mudcat Cafe:

The earliest printed reference is 'The Singing School Tribune' (Dayton Va: Ruebush, Kieffer & Co 1880). It was recorded by Dykes Magic City Trio as 'Twilight is stealing' in 1927 and by the Stoneman Family as 'Twighlight is stealing o'er the sea' in 1928, but neither of these was issued. The earliest issued recording was by The Carolina Quartet (vcl qt unacc) in September 1927 as 'Twilight is stealing' in Winston-Salem, NC, and issued as OK 45189 in April 1928. Also recorded as 'Sweet Happy Home' by Christian Harmony Singers in NYC in October 1929 and issued as Paramount 3241. [Meade et alia 'Country Music Sources' p 653].

Ancestry.com has an entry about Aldine Kieffer. The page tells about his life and shares several letters written by Kieffer between the years of 1860 and 1901. The page also tells the story of Kieffer's first love, Sally Clay.

Sally and Kieffer fell in love and knew they should spend the rest of their lives together. The wedding date was set and they both anxiously awaited the day they could become man and wife.

At the last minute the road to holy matrimony was blocked by the Civil War. Kieffer signed up against his true love's wishes and was called to serve the very day before their wedding.

The two love birds kept up their romance through letters for a while, until one day Sally just quit writing Kieffer. He never heard from her again. As most people would be, Kieffer was heartbroken. Unfortunately he turned to drink to ease his troubled heart. Thankfully Kieffer met up with Josephine Hammon who would be his wife and friend for life.

You can read more about the newly married couple's life on the page, but you must skip ahead through the years till almost the end of Kieffer's life to find out what happened to his first love, Sally.

One day while traveling, Kieffer stopped at Sally's house by chance for a drink of water. The broken engagement from years before came up in the conversation. Seems Sally's parents were not very fond of Kieffer and hoped their daughter would marry better. Once Kieffer headed off to war, her parents took the opportunity to nip the relationship in the bud. They placed an obituary in the local paper telling of Kieffer's death in the war and trashed all the letters he mailed to Sally.

Just as Kieffer had, Sally went on to marry and have children. After the deceit of the broken engagement was brought to light, the two promised if one should die first they would let the other know they had left this world.

Sometime later Kieffer was awakened one night by the voice of Sally telling him goodbye. A few days later he found out she died on the very night he heard her voice.

Sally was gone and Kieffer had lived his life and was ready to go as well.

Twilight a-stealing, over the sea,
Shadows are falling, dark on the lea,
Borne on the night wind, voices of yore,
Come from the far-off shore.

Far away, beyond the starry sky,
Where the love-light never, never dies
Gleameth a mansion filled with delight,
Sweet happy home so bright.

Voices of loved ones, songs of the past,
Still linger round me, while life shall last,
Cheering my pathway while here I roam
Seeking my far-off home. 

Far away, beyond the starry sky,
Where the love-light never, never dies
Gleameth a mansion filled with delight,
Sweet happy home so bright.

Come in the twilight, come, come to me,
Bringing sweet message over the sea.
Lonely I wander, sadly I roam,
Seeking my far-off home.

Far away, beyond the starry sky,
Where the love-light never, never dies
Gleameth a mansion filled with delight,
Sweet happy home so bright.

-----------------------------

I hope you enjoyed the story and our version of the old song!

Tipper

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn in August of 2012

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Love Lifted Me

portrait

James Rowe

James Rowe was born in Ireland and worked for the Irish Government before emigrating to the USA at the age of 24. Rowe was the son of a copper miner. Once he arrived in the states he worked for the railroads in Albany, NY for 10 years.

In later years, Rowe worked with in the music publishing industry-with companies such as the A.J. Showalter Music Company in Chattanooga, TN; and the James D. Vaughan Music Company, Lawrenceburg, TN. Before Rowe's death he moved to Vermont where he and his daughter wrote greeting card verses. 

The Hymntime.com website offers the following quote from Rowe's daughter regarding the most famous song he penned-Love Lifted MeShe describes the composer, Howard E. Smith, who wrote the music for the song as Rowe described it to him. 

"Howard E. Smith was a little man whose hands were so knotted with arthritis that you would wonder how he could use them at all, much less play the piano…I can see them now, my father [James Rowe] striding up and down humming a bar or two and Howard E. playing it and jotting it down."

In recent weeks the Blind Pig Gang has been giving the song a try-see what you think of our version of Love Lifted Me

In this video-Pap, Paul, and Tipper. *For those of you who have trouble viewing the video-go straight to youtube to see it by clicking here

Hope you enjoyed the the history and the song!

Tipper

This post was originially published here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn in May of 2014.

*Source: Hymntime.com

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Lingering Beauty from the Past

My life in appalachia - Smoky mountain national park 

I took the photo of the metal fence in Cataloochee several years ago. It surrounds one of the remote graveyards in the area. Every time I come across the photo on my computer I'm amazed by the simple beauty of the fence.

My mind wonders about who made it?

Did one man make it while others put it up or was the construction of the fence a group effort? Or maybe it was store bought? I wonder if the people who lived in Cataloochee were pleased when the fence was put up? If they felt like their loved ones who laid below the rough mountain soil were now protected with a sign of respect?

Amazing something of such simple beauty has lasted so long in the rugged mountains of Western North Carolina. 

If you're a new comer to the Blind Pig and The Acorn you can go here to see the video we filmed of the girls singing in the historic Little Cataloochee Baptist Church.

Tipper

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Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior

Pass me not

The hymn Pass Me Not was written by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915). I've read two different stories detailing how Crosby was inspired to write the song. The first: Crosby was visiting a prison as part of a missionary group when she heard one of the prisoners cry out "Lord please don't pass me by." The second: Crosby dreamt that the Lord was walking through her church touching people as he went, she began to pray the Lord would touch her and not pass her by. 

I knew Crosby was a prolific hymn writer-all you have to do is thumb through a hymn book to see old favorites she wrote like: Blessed Assurance, I Am Thine O Lord, and Pass me Not

I found an interesting page here-which lists Crosby's songs as well as the many pseudonyms she wrote under. 

As you might have guessed-I'm partial to Pap and Paul's version of Pass Me Not. I especially like this video of them doing the song. I like how Paul reminds them he's going to do a turn around instead of a break; I like how Pap calls out the first line of the verse to Paul so he remembers; and I love that lovely harmony that sounds like a baby's lullaby. 

Hope you enjoyed the video too!

Tipper

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and the Acorn in June of 2013

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Until Then

Pap and Paul keeping the music alive 
Pap and Paul playing in Gainesville GA

Paul's still working through old music recordings and videos of Pap. He's been uploading some of them to our Youtube channel. Thanks to the great folks at Ridgeline TV we have several complete concerts preserved on dvd from performances at the Historic Union County Courthouse in Blairsville GA.

One of the first times we played at the courthouse without Pap a lady came up and told us she'd give anything to hear Pap harmonize with Paul on the old song Until Then one more time in the courtroom. I think nearly every time they did the song there they received a standing ovation for it. Their harmony certainly did shine on that one.

Until Then was written by Stuart Hamblin. He also wrote It is No Secret. Hamblin was a very interesting man you can read more about his life here

Here's a video of the song, courtesy of Ridgeline TV


I took Granny to get her hair done yesterday morning and on the way back she asked me to stop by Pap's grave for her to check on the flowers. As I helped her get out of the car and walk up to the grave she said "Lord I miss you so Jerry and wish I had you back." I said "I know I miss him too, but he was ready to go-you know he was a doer and he was tired of not being able to do; of having to get help for every little thing he needed to take care of." Granny said she knew that was true and she knew he was tired of being in pain all the time. I wish I had thought to remind her of the first line in the song:  

My heart can sing when I pause to remember a heartache here is but a stepping stone along the way that's climbing always upward this troubled world is not my final home.

Tipper

p.s. We'll be playing at the Historic Courthouse on September 22 this year. Go here for more details. 

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