In Search of Mountain Music

So one of my friends sent me the soundtrack to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

The songs are really something. I mean, it’s all awesome stuff, from the Chain Gang chant to the little girls singing about how they’ll be working for their Lord to “Big Rock Candy Mountain” (which always makes me cry).

Does anybody know of any collections of more music like this? I guess I’m thinking in terms of “hillbilly” or “mountain” music, especially the gospel stuff. I suppose it would be a kind of bluegrass, but with words, telling a story. The spirituals were great too, and I’d like to get some of those on CD as well if possible; good ones, so I’d like your opinions.

On a side note, when I was a kid, we sang some stuff like this in school, and I remember liking it then. There was one song in particular… went like this…

“Don’t sing love songs/
You’ll wake my mother/
She’s sleeping here, right by my side.
And in her hand/
A silver dagger/
She says that I can’t be your bride.”

And so on. Wish I could remember the rest of the words, but it’s been too long. I remember that we almost sang it like a chant. Slowly, drawn out The gist of the song, as I remember, was that the jealous mother ends up killing the girl’s suitor. Actually, does anybody know anything about that song in particular as well? Anybody maybe know the rest of the words or where I could get a CD of it?

Anyhow, thanking you in advance as always,

Creaky B.

Creaky, I invite you to explore the web site offered by Appalshop, a multimedia enterprise operating out of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Among many other things, they have produced a biography of Ralph Stanley, offer recordings of authentic mountain and Bluegrass music. Here is their recording page: JuneAppal. I personally have the Wry Straw recording entitled From Earth to Heaven, and it has a number of traditional songs, including Cotton-Eyed Joe, Where The Soul Never Dies and Land Beyond The Blue.

The song you quoted appears to be Silver Dagger, which I found on this page. Great lyrics. Others include:

My daddy is a handsome devil
He’s got a chain five miles long
On every link a heart does dangle
Of another maid he’s loved and wronged

Hope this helps!

I have ‘Clinch Mountain Country’ which is kind of close to what you’re looking for, a little more ‘commercial’. It’s Ralph Stanley playing and singing with a who’s who of country/bluegrass stars & Bob Dylan. Double-cd. I like it a lot.

Creaky I see you’re in MD. Assuming you can get WAMU FM out of Washington DC, you could be sitting there this Sunday morning listening to country music/bluegrass. is their home page with a schedule of programming. They just had their 6-10 A.M. Sunday morning gospel bluegrass show.

If you live in one of those nooks or crannies of MD. which is farther from DC than your radio will reach, WAMU also has a 24-hr live-streaming bluegrass arm, over the internet. is that website. If youlike listening to them, please send them a donation as I do. Ain’t nothing free.

I really like the soundtrack to Songcatcher. I wish they would have included more of the music from the film in the soundtrack.

You can find my recommendations (and those of other dopers) over in this thread.

Thank you so much, guys! Excellent! samclem, I’ll mess with my radio and see if I can get that station. I really never play the radio, so I may be able to get it and just never knew I could. Ellen Cherry, yeah! That’s the song. And thank you for the other links. Great!

I knew you all would come through. This is a type of music that I find really moves me every time I hear it, and this will be a great help in getting to know more, and finding some cool CDs.

Again, thank you everyone!