In the Pines

DESCRIPTION: Usually about a man whose girl has left him (on a train) (to meet another) ("in the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines, And I shivered the whole night through"). The girl, who rides the "longest train I ever saw," may die in a wreck
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: train separation loneliness love death
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Cohen-LongSteelRail, pp. 491-502, "The Longest Train/In the Pines" (3 texts containing many floating verses, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 283, "In the Pines" (2 text plus a fragment; the "A" text, though very full, is damaged and probably mixed; the "B" text is mostly floating verses; "C" is only three lines, and may not belong here); also 297, "You Caused Me to Lose My Mind" (1 fragment, mostly of floating lyrics but with hints it goes here); also 301, "High-Topped Shoes" (2 texts, both mixed; "A" is mostly "Pretty Little Foot" with verses from "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" while "B" is a hash of "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," "More Pretty Girls Than One," "In the Pines," and others)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 301, "High-Topped Shoes" (2 tunes plus text excerpts, of which "B" has verses of this song)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 283, "In the Pines, Where the Sun Never Shines" (3 tunes plus text excerpts)
Wolfe/Boswell-FolkSongsOfMiddleTennessee 96, pp. 149-150, "The Longest Day I Ever Saw" (1 text, with two verses that appear to be from a hobo or perhaps a chain gang or prison song)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 203, "Black Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol1, pp. 32-33, "In the Pines" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roberts-SangBranchSettlers, #61, "In the Pines" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 290, "The Longest Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, p. 231, (fifth of several "Fragments from Tennessee") (1 fragment, which might be this although it's too short to know)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 28, "Little Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 103 "In The Pines" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 26, #6 (1978), p, 5, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" (1 text, 1 tune, the Lead Belly version)
Moses Asch and Alan Lomax, Editors, _The Leadbelly Songbook_, Oak, 1962, p. 37, "Black Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #3421
Gerald Duncan et al, "In the Pines" (on MusOzarks01)
Roscoe Holcomb, "In the Pines" (on Holcomb1, HolcombCD1)
Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "To the Pines, to the Pines" (on BLLunsford01)
Marlow & Young [pseud. for Burnett & Rutherford] "Let Her Go, I'll Meet Her" (Champion 15691, 1929; on KMM)
Clayton McMichen's Wildcats, "In the Pines" (Decca 5448, 1937)
Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys, "In The Pines" (Bluebird B-8861, 1941); (Decca 28416, 1952)
Riley Puckett, "The Longest Train I Ever Saw" (Decca 5523, 1938) (Bluebird B-8104, 1939)
Lou Ella Robertson, "In the Pines" (Capitol 1706, 1951)
Texas Jim Robertson & the Panhandle Pushers, "In the Pines" (RCA Victor 20-2907, 1948)
Arthur Smith & his Dixieliners [or Arthur Smith Trio], "In the Pines" (Bluebird B-7943/Montomery Ward M-7686, 1938)
Pete Seeger, "Black Girl" (on PeteSeeger18) (on PeteSeeger43)
Tenneva Ramblers, "The Longest Train I Ever Saw" (Victor 20861, 1927)
Dock Walsh, "In the Pines" (Columbia 15094-D, 1926)
Ephraim Woodie & the Henpecked Husbands, "Last Gold Dollar" (Columbia 15564-D, 1930) [Filed here by Paul Stamler despite the title - RBW]

cf. "Lonesome Road" (lyrics)
cf. "Old Alec Brown" (lyrics)
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
NOTES [202 words]: This song became the basis of "Blue Diamond Mines" in the 1970s. -PJS
The elements in this song may vary widely, and it is best recognized by its form and the references to the pines. The plot described above is common but by no means universal.
Cohen briefly summarizes Judith McCulloh's Ph.D. dissertation ("In the Pines": The Melodic-Textual Identity of an American Lyric Folksong Cluster), which analyses over 150 texts she identified with this song. She seems to have identified three common textual motifs: "In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines" (118 texts), "The longest train I ever saw" (96 versions), and "(His/her) head was (found) on the driver's wheel, (His/her) body never was found." There is also a fairly characteristic tune. Still, the boundaries of this type are very vague; long versions almost always include very many floating verses and have no overall plot except perhaps a feeling of loneliness. - RBW
The Marlow & Young [Burnett & Rutherford] recording is a conglomerate of floating verses; I put it here because the one that floated from this song came first, but it could as easily go under, "Goodnight, Irene" -- it has the "Sometimes I live in the country" verse. - PJS
Last updated in version 4.3
File: LoF290

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