House of David Blues (The)

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HOUSE OF DAVID BLUES. American, Country Blues (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Tennessee's Fiddlin' Arthur Smith (d. 1971), along with his group the Dixieliners (later to become the Delmore Brothers) recorded this old blues song in 1937. At the turn of the 20th century the House of David, a religious sect, was perhaps better known as the sponsors of a touring baseball team than for their spiritual tenets. The team was made up of bearded acolytes. The society had been founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in March, 1903, and at its peak numbered several hundred members in a self-sustaining community. However, it was beset around 1920 by allegations of sexual relations between the patriarch and minors, which soon split the community.

House of David team members, c. 1920



Lyrics to the melody go:

Gee, but ain't it grand, don't you hear that band,
Play those House of David Blues.
All the folk in town are gatherin' around
To see the funny thngs they do.
When ham was selling for a dollar a pound,
Eat so many rabbits, made me hop all around;
Gee, but ain't it grand, don't you hear that band,
Play those House of David Blues.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kuntz (Ragged But Right), 1987; pp. 181-182. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 73, p. 27.

Recorded sources: Folkways FTS 31039, "The Red Clay Ramblers with Fiddlin' Al McCanless" (1974). Lowe Stokes - "Brandywine Festival 1982."

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




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