Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cuckoo

Photo by Steve Gravano  http://stevegravano.blogspot.com
A song that has moved in and out of The Homegrown String Band's repertoire, "The Cuckoo" is really an old English folk song that made its way to America in the memories of early American colonists. The song found a home in the southern Appalachians where it entered the oral tradition of the mountain folk. Over time verses were added and dropped and the song developed a distinct American character. Cecil Sharpe documented several mountain versions of "The Cuckoo" during his Appalachian song catching expeditions between 1916 and 1918. The seminal American version of the tune is Clarence Ashley's 1929 Columbia recording, which helped restart Ashley's music career when it was included on Harry Smith's Folkways 1952 "Anthology of American Music." English folk rocker Richard Thompson's version, clearly influenced by Ashley's recording, shows how folk music continues to evolve by moving back and forth across the Atlantic. Listen to a live performance of "The Cuckoo" by The Homegrown String Band recorded at the Stone Soup Coffeehouse, by visiting our website www.homegrownstringband.com

English Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians (1917)

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