Mountain Story, Mountain Song: Stories and Songs from the Mountains and Beyond (CD)

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Original stories and old-time ballads from storyteller Granny Sue!
Included on this CD are stories and songs that are funny, sad, haunting and memorable. Come to a quiet place and be reminded of the goodness of just listening to a story.

l. The Headless Woman of Briar Creek. This story began as a short memory Larry had of a favorite story his Granny Holstein shared with him when he was a boy. Since he could only remember parts of the stories she told, we combined them into one tale about a true experience Larry had when he was about twelve years old.

2. Pretty Saro: I loved this old song the first time I heard it on a CD by Doug and Jack Wallin. The haunting melody and the longing of the young man for his sweetheart stuck with me until, after listening to many versions, I began singing it myself. It is generally agreed that the date in the song was originally 1749, a time of great migration from the British Isles to America, and changed over the years to fit the melody better.

3. Gracie’s Cabin: This story began life in an odd way. I heard and loved the story Tayzanne, a Haitian tale collected by storyteller Diane Wolkstein. It was the motif of the tale that grabbed me. I had been thinking of it for several months when we passed a road in Hampshire County, WV called Gracie’s Cabin Road. Who was Gracie, I wondered, and why was a road named after her? The two chains of thought combined in my mind to produce this story.

4. Lord Lovell: Child Ballad # 75: The lilting melody is so at odds with the tragic content of this ballad that it drew me in right away. Starting out as a happy adventure, it ends in tragedy. And yet the ending is not completely sad, is it?

5. Captain Wedderburn’s Courtship: This story is based on Child Ballad #46. While browsing a book of West Virginia folk songs, I happened on one called The Riddle Song. It was short and sweet, and I was curious as to whether it was actually part of a longer ballad. I found that it probably came from Captain Wedderburn’s Courtship, a much longer and bawdier song. The nerve of the young woman to propose that the Captain solve riddles to win her hand was an intriguing idea to me, and the story grew from that seed.