Georgia Buck

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GEORGIA BUCK. Old-Time, Breakdown. "Heard in many parts of the South, but relatively rare" (Kerry Blech). The tune is known as a black Southern banjo song, a prime example of what Cece Conway called in American Banjo Echoes in Appalachia (1995) the 'banjo song genre.' She says these songs had five musical characteristics: rhythmic and syncopated playing throughout the performance, especially when singing; elaborated musical interludes; compressed vocal lines of two or more syllables per beat; occasional but irregular interruptions by instrumental interludes within the stanza; and varied repetition of instrumental elements. The earliest citation is in Brown (III 500 B), from 1913, where the informant declared: "I've known this song since about 1895." The lyrics, as played by North Carolina banjo player John Snipes, go:

Where ya' goin' old rabbit
Where ya' goin' old crow
Goin' in the new-groun' to git my grubbin' hoe

Oh me, trouble do I see
Goin' in the new groun' to git my grubbin' hoe.

Georgie Buck, Georgie Buck... (John Snipes/Cecilia Conway)

Banjo player Dent Wimmer of Floyd, Floyd County, Virginia, sang:

Georgia Buck is dead,
Those words he said,
'Don't give a (?) when we die. Don't give a (?) when we die.

Oh, Georgia Buck is dead, last word he said,
'Come to my grave on a (sleigh?), come to my grave on a (sleigh?).

Joe and Odell Thompson sang on their 1974 recording:

Georgie Buck is dead
Last word he said,
"Don't want no shortnin' in my bread*

Caused me to weep
Caused me to mourn
Caused me to leave my home

English folksong collector Cecil Sharp had a single verse ("Barbara Buck") from Laura V. Donald of Dewey, Virginia, that had some similarities. The tune was also in the repertoire of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, guitarist and banjo player Elizabeth Cotten, and was played by African-American fiddler Joe Thompson in GDgd tuning.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Document 8041, The Hill Billies/Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, vol. 3" (reissue of the 1927 original recording). Global Village C217, Joe and Odel Thompson - "Old Time Music From the North Carolina Piedmont." Musical Traditions MTCD321-2, Dent Wimmer (et al) - "Far in the Mountains, vols. 1 & 2" (2002). Rounder CD 0382, Marvin Gaster - "Uncle Henry's Favorites." Rounder CD 0439, Odell Thompson. Smithsonian Folkways SF CD 40079, Dick Roberts, Joe Thompson & Odell Thompson.

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]




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