Annotation:Roll 'em on the Ground

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X:1 T:Roll 'em on the Ground S:Clayton McMichen (1900-1970) with Fate Norris and His Playboys M:C| L:1/8 Q:"Fast" D:Columbia 15435 (78 RPM), Fate Norris and His Play Boys (1929) F: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:G Bc|d2d2BddB|dBA2 G2 d2-|d2de ddBB|[A3A3]B [A2A2]d2-| ded2 BddB|[E3c3]d [E3c3][GB]- |[GB][G3B3]A4|G6|| g2-|gggg bgag|eg2e d2g2-|gggg bgag|fa2b a2g2-| gggg bgag|eg2e d4|[GB][G3B3][G2B2]A2|G6||

ROLL 'EM ON THE GROUND. American, Song and Reel (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A song with instrumental breaks, recorded by Fate Norris and His Play Boys in Atlanta, Georgia, in April, 1929. Norris was a banjo player and singer and a main player in the revolving Skillet Lickers group of North Georgia musicians. His "play boys" were non other than his Skillet Licker bandmates Clayton McMichen (1900-1970) and Gid Tanner (1885-1960) on fiddles, along with guitarist Riley Puckett (1894-1946). The song/tune is structurally and melodically similar to the "Big Ball's in Town" song family to be considered a member (a family that also includes a song "Roll on the Ground"). The Ballad Index [1] finds the piece began as a "coon song" with latter minstrel-era origins, recorded as early as 1899 by Billy Golden, but that verses to various versions are by an large "floaters", freely attached to this and other songs.

The words [2] on the Fate Norris recording go:

Roll 'em, boys, roll 'em,
Roll 'em on the ground
Shoot 7 and 11
Roll 'em all around.

When she sees me coming
She toss her head and smile
When she sees me leaving
She hangs her head and cries.

Every time I go down that road
It don't look so rough and rowdy
Every time I see that gal
She always tells me howdy.

I went to kiss my gal last night
Her love I was a-seeking
I missed her mouth and kissed her nose
And the goshdurned thing was leaking.

I met a possum in the road
Asked him where he's gwine
Ain't got time to tell you now
Little black dog's behind.

Additional notes

Recorded sources : - Columbia 15435-D (78 RPM), Fate Norris and His Play Boys (1929). Mountain Records 314, The Corklickers - "Old-Time Tunes & Songs from the South" (1978).

See also listing at :
Hear Fate Norris and His Play Boys 1926 recording at Slippery Hill [1] and [2]

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  2. From notes by Mark Wilson to Rounder Records 1005," Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers; with Riley Puckett and Clayton McMichen" (1973), posted to Mudcat Cafe 2.13.2005 [3].