Appalachia Music

Down in a Little Green Valley

As I spent time outside over the last few days I was reminded of this post I wrote back in 2013. With summer’s bright green coat shining brightly this time of the year always makes me feel like I’m living in a little green valley.

Carson Robison

 

On August 4, 1890, Carson Robison was born in Oswego, KS. Robison had many occupations over his lifetime, most of them centered around life on the prairie. He was a farmer, a cow puncher, and an oilfield worker. Robison was also a song writing musician who had a unique whistling talent-he was able to whistle in 2 part harmony at the same time. Robison was nicknamed The Kansas Jaybird.

In 1904 he penned his first song Anthem. By 1924 he made his first recordings with Victor Records laying down the tracks Songbirds in Georgia and Whistling the Blues Away.

Throughout the coming years, Robison formed his own band, Carson Robison and His Pioneers. The band traveled throughout the US and abroad even performing for King George and Queen Elizabeth.

In 1971 Robison was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

To see a discography of Robison you can go here: Nashville Song Writers Hall of Fame. A quote shared on the same website gives us a glimpse into Robison’s mind:

“Nature and tradition have been my best sources for material. I’ve learned plenty of things from her and I reckon most people could write songs about the odd characters, odd happenings right in their own backyard. I’m not aimin’ to hand out any advice on how to write songs. I don’t think there’s a set formula for the work. My heritage and tradition has come down to me from the covered wagon days and I suppose there couldn’t have been a better background for my efforts. I just hope they keep that tradition alive long after I’m gone and I hope my son carries on after me.”

Paul and Pap learned one of Robison’s songs from Granny’s uncle, Henry Truett. Other than Uncle Henry, Marty Robbins, Doc Watson, and Fret Killer (of Youtube fame)-they’ve never heard anyone else sing it. The title of the song is Little Green Valley-its a great song take a listen and see if you don’t agree. (Pap-my father, Paul-my brother, and Mark-my nephew, can be seen playing in this video-off camera Ben-my nephew is hitting some licks on the guitar too)

I hope you enjoyed the old song-it’s got a catchy tune. And who wouldn’t like to live in a Little Green Valley like the song describes?

Tipper

*Source: Nashville Songwriters Foundation

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Linnie Knight
    November 12, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I’m just now seeing this older post that tells of Carson Robison and had to comment that a young lady from my town in Kansas was part of his group when the Pioneers were renamed the Buckaroos. Her name was Pearl Pickens.

  • Reply
    Stephen Suddarth
    June 29, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Reminds me of a time when our Folks would take us out to some friends house near Haymarket, Va. for a bible meetin’ and after, they’d all get out their instruments and play bluegrass till late.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    June 26, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Beautiful!!!
    Unfortunately good people like him are fading away, and the world is becoming a much sadder place without them.
    I pray everyone has a safe happy week ahead.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    June 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Loved the song and Pap and Paul, as usual, did a wonderful job singing it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Vestal Goodman sang a song titled “God on the Mountain” which began “Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain” and contains “But things change, when you’re down in the valley”. It is apparent to me that the author of the song had never lived in the mountains. On a mountain, perhaps! People who live in the mountains actually live in the valleys. People who live on the mountains are the affluent looking for a getaway and retirees looking for a place to die.
    The first settlers who came into our mountains were looking for river and creek bottomland where the soil was rich and slopes were gentle. At the margins of these rare finds, they found springs and built their homes. None of them built on the mountaintop and rarely on the mountainside. Those areas where reserved for procurement of timber, wild game hunting or pasturing of free-range livestock. For many years vast tracts of wilderness remained unclaimed and were used as public land.*
    As the beauty of our mountains started to reveal itself to the outside world; outlanders, flatlanders and foreigners began to invade. Guess where they chose to live! On the mountains! How could they do this one might ask. Where they came from, they were living off the backs of others. They had amassed their fortunes by the sweat of another’s brow. We can imagine that in a glimmer of conscience they could not look upon the faces of their vassals; but rather than rectify to situation, they took their filthy lucre and headed for the hills so to speak, leaving overseers and managers to continue in their stead.
    Just such practices are why our mountain kin chose to inhabit these rugged terrains in the first place. They weren’t ignorant degenerates, as was, and still is, promulgated by books and newspapers and lately movies, television and social media. Had they been, they could not have survived. But survive they did and still do as is evident by the discussion we have here daily.
    God is God! Life is not easy whether you are on the mountain or down in the little green valley but in my humble opinion valley living is preferable.
    * public land, meaning for public use, not land owned by a governmental entity.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    “Little Green Valley,”–how we all long to be back there once we’ve experienced the peace and contentment of living in such a place. We may have had to work hard in the fields and gardens, but going back to those streams, valleys and towering mountains all around is always in the heart, urging one back again. Good playing; good song; good rendition of it! Thank you for posting!

  • Reply
    Ken
    June 26, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Tipper,
    Thanks for playing The Little Green Valley, brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. Being born and raised at the Foothills of the Smokies, I can relate to those “Little Green Valleys” where we use to Rabbit Hunt and fish in the winding waters of Valley River. Wouldn’t take nothing for my raisin’…Ken

  • Reply
    Dolores
    June 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Ah! Such a wonderful tune and fun listening. It fits with today’s pretty day!

  • Reply
    Jeanne
    June 26, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    We worked, in the 90 degree heat, yesterday in our WI “little green valley”. Everything looks so lush. The doe and her fawn and the hen turkey with her polts looked at us as though we were intruding on their “little green valley”, and I suppose we were.
    We like to tend our field roads and keep them clear of downed trees and encroaching brush…..which there was a lot thanks to a recent storm. Hard work it is, but something to be proud of as we take a look at all the beauty of the woods, the new crops springing up and wildlife scampering back and forth.
    I have loved all the “little green valleys” that I have ever seen from North to South and East to West. We live in a beautiful country, and must stop to open our eyes and “smell the roses” a bit more often.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    June 26, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Well Tipper, I am going to get Jim to get his mandolin and play along as we listen as we listen to “Little Green Valley” – right here at the kitchen table. We may stay inside all day – as it shore is too hot a day to plow! PLUS it is the Sabbath!
    But Tipper, let me tall you that I sold a copy of “Fiddler of the Mountains” yesterday TO A SENATOR! I was so delighted and even felt blessed – maybe he will share it down in Nashville.
    And speaking of Nashville: Our youngest grandson is going down there for a two day recording session. Jim and I get to go with him! WHAT FUN!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Tipper,
    I always loved this rendition of The Little Green Valley…..no group could do it better!
    I like a beautiful green valley….however my little green mountain is my home…..although going thru a drought right now…only enough rain Thursday night to help the cucumber plants standing upright….
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    June 26, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I like this song. I discovered it on a movie soundtrack “Smokey” the horse, not the Bandit. Burl Ives was the singing cowboy. We play it at the nursing homes and it is always a hit. We do the song almost identical to your post.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 26, 2016 at 8:33 am

    You have a wealth of knowledge about country music and I’m sure a lot of experience playing it as well.
    Earlier this year we went to OK to visit our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. While there, we went to Roman Nose State Park. It is a little green valley and it is easy to see why someone from the prairie would sing of one. The difference between the valley and the adjacent rocky uplands was a daylight to dark one.
    I had never really thought about before how the land shapes our proverbs, songs, poems, etc by our feelings about it and how we see in it metaphors for life. But they differ in different landscapes. Kind of like how ‘mountain’ does not have the same meaning everywhere.Alabama mountains are different from Georgia mountains and Georgia mountains are different from Tennessee mountains.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    June 26, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Valleys are metaphors for so many things, from cozy protection to the depths of despair. And then there are times when the valley is just a meaningful place of the heart sung about with fondness and hope. I think Mr Roberson would be proud to hear his song sung by this portion of the Blind Pig Gang. They put the right touch of reminiscence, winsomeness, and eagerness, not to mention a whole lot of talent, into a lovely song.

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