Backwoodsman, The (The Green Mountain Boys) [Laws C19]
DESCRIPTION: Typical first line: "I first came to this country in (some year)." The singer, a wood-hauler, having gotten drunk, is convinced to go a ball. He spends a riotous night. He hopes that others will not exaggerate what happened.
EARLIEST DATE: 1920 (Cox)
KEYWORDS: drink hardtimes
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE) Canada(Ont,West)
REFERENCES (16 citations):
Laws C19, "The Backwoodsman (The Green Mountain Boys)"
Rickaby 35, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text)
RickabyDykstraLeary 35, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering 168, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text)
Grimes, p. 93, "Cottage Hill" (1 text)
JHCox 132, "When I Was One-and-Twenty" (1 text)
Lomax-Singing, "I Came to This Country in 1865" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 340, "The Wood Hauler" (2 texts)
BrownSchinhanV 240, "The Wood Hauler" (1 text excerpt)
FSCatskills 119, "The Cordwood Cutter" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
ThompsonNewYork, pp. 263-264, "(One Monday Morning in EIghteen-eighty-five") (1 text plus an excerpt of a version titles "The Dance at Clintonville")
Fowke-Lumbering #49, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/MacMillan 30, "The Backwoodsman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 43-45, "The Green Mountain Boys" (1 text)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 29-30, "The Green Mountain Boys" (1 text)
DT 604, BACKWOOD* CAMCNTRY*
Maynard Britton, "I Came to this Country" (AFS, c. 1937; on KMM; there is probably some mixture in this version)
James B. Cornett, "Spring of '65" (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
Robert C. Paul, "The Backwoodsman" (on Saskatch01)
Vern Smelser, "The Morning of 1845" (on FineTimes)
Emerson Woodcock, "The Backwoodsman" (on Lumber01)
cf. "In Eighteen-Forty-Nine" (floating lyrics)
cf. "In Seventeen Ninety-Five" (lyrics)
The Cordwood Cutter
NOTES [201 words]: Laws made rather a botch of this piece, omitting the Cox and Brown texts and causing me to split the song in two for a time. It doesn't help that it's an extremely diverse item; there is hardly a single feature common to all versions. Many versions start with the lines, "I woke up on morning in (1805/1845/1865), (Thought/Found) myself quite (happy/lucky) to find myself alive."
This is not, however, diagnosic. Cox's text, for instance, begins with the line, "When I was one-and-twenty," but is obviously not to be confused with the A. E. Housman poem of the same title.
Many texts say that the young man was able to go on a spree because of a gift from his father. But in Brown's "B" text, he's treated to an election spree (a common technique in nineteenth century elections: Give the voters enough free liquor and they would be expected to vote for you. Though it's rather odd to see an election held in *1845*).
The singer is often a hauler, and may ring in his mule -- but may not.
We often find a description of a wild dance, but this seems to vary also.
And so it goes.
Fowke's text has a curious reference to a fiddle tune "The Bluebells of Ireland." Wonder how the Scots felt about that title. - RBW
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