Note: Alan Lomax's sings some of "Springfield Mountain" in a New England accent with some spoken explanation before introducing the Texas version he learned from his family. Lomax: The original Massachusetts version had the serious religious moral that you never know when God will strike you down: "Let this be a warning to you all: / You never know when God will call." but as this provoked laughter it was changed to "Be careful how you all do pass / Too close to patches of high grass" and the song morphed into a comic one and spread throughout the entire country. This song is based on the true story of twenty-two year old Lieutenant Timothy Merrick who died on August 7, 1761 after being bitten by a rattlesnake in Springfield Mountain Massachusetts where he his grave may still be seen. As a comic song it was performed in the nineteenth century music hall in Boston.
About the session: A lecture and performance given by Alan Lomax in Texas City, Texas, on April 19, 1969. Lomax illustrates the development of American folk music through New England hymns to Black spirituals and bad-man ballads. The recording was given to Lomax by Robert P. Shinn.
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