Holidays in Appalachia Music

From Mother’s Arms to Korea

flag in a grassy field

As we were tuning up before our show in Bryson City yesterday Paul said “We should have learned up some patriotic songs since its Memorial Day Weekend.” For the rest of the day I had “From Mother’s Arms to Korea” on  my mind.

“From Mother’s Arms to Korea” written by The Louvin Brothers

She’d just got an unfinished diary
That she once gave her darling son
It starts the day when he left her
And ends neath the enemy’s gun

From mother’s arms to Korea
And tomorrow I’ll face the front lines
Then the next line was written by a buddy
From a foxhole to a mansion on high

Last night I saw mother kneeling
By the old hearthstone to pray
In my dream I thought I was with her
And that’s all her darling could say

From mother’s arms to Korea
And tomorrow I’ll face the front lines
Then the next line was written by a buddy
From a foxhole to a mansion on high

Please tell his sweetheart who’s waiting
For his ship to anchor at shore
She should change her plans and forget him
Her lips he’ll kiss no more

From mother’s arms to Korea
And tomorrow I’ll face the front lines
Then the next line was written by a buddy
From a foxhole to a mansion on high


As the song went round and round my head I wondered if I’d ever shared it here on the Blind Pig. Turns out I did way back in 2010.

I dedicated the song to Sgt. Donald “Rocky” Edgerton who gave the ultimate sacrifice on July 10, 2010 while serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. You can read more about him here.


bowl of vegetables

Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    May 26, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Wonderful song and well done, I read Sgt. Donald “Rocky” Edgerton obituary and it just breaks my heart, for him and so many before him that have sacrificed so much, and then I remember some pictures of just recent months of young college students in various states burning the American Flag and then I get angry as ” H***” and he and others gave them the right to do it and express their opinion and I want to do the wrong thing, on the behalf of Sgt. Edgerton and others before him, and then I realize their the ones suffering inside. God help us.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    May 26, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Tipper , my Miss Julie(Praying Lady) had 5 son in War and Two son- in law all at the same time . Prayers from parents sounded in hilltops and dales . I was Three years old when I stood by my father listening to Roosevelt Announcement the War was over . All brothers and brother- in-laws came home unharmed ; prayers of a Godly praying woman and others .

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    May 26, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    so totally awesome beautiful thanks for sharing have a lovely week

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 26, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    As I said earlier, My oldest Brother was in the Korean War. One morning they were on a Hilltop and saw 5 haystacks off in the distant meadow with Dozer tracks behind. The next morning his outfit took aim and cut-loose on the haystacks with gatlin guns and other equipment. They captured about 25 of the enemy and turned them over to other to people who could interrogate them.

    The next morning Bud was by himself, cooking breakfast, and got the surprise of his life. A badly-dressed North Korean was standing between Bud and his gun. They just stared at each other for a
    few moments, until Bud noticed he didn’t have a gun. He saw the North Korean slowly raise his hands to surrender. Bud hugged the North Korean, fed him and when his crew came back from scouting around, Bud told them to be nice to the Korean, that he was half-starved and was harmless.

    My brother, Bud told this story to me many years ago and he was like that. …Ken

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 26, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Good job on a sad song, and even sadder about Sgt. Rocky.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 26, 2019 at 10:02 am

    My oldest brother was in the Korean War. That was an Awful War, but after Bud came home to loving arms, me and Harold would get in his pockets for any Money. He always kept lots of change for us, because he remembered how hard Money was to have back then. This was way before he had any kids of his own.

    When he was in Kentucky, he learned how to work on Dozers and became a Diesel Mechanic who
    could take one apart and put it back together. Upon retirement, he wanted me to have most of his tools and Roll around. There are Sockets up to 3 ” and 3/4″ drives, with Pull Handles and Ratchets
    (the Biggest I ever saw). (I’m saving them for Steve and Lauralea).

    God Bless all Veterans on this Memorial Day. …Ken

  • Reply
    May 26, 2019 at 9:25 am

    I was not very old, but I remember well the sadness and comments that surrounded the Korean War . My mother had two brothers who served. One served in the Navy and one in the Army. There are pictures of them held in family photos when they could not be present. As usual any time the Korean War comes up I recall two of my aunts sitting on the long porch strumming the guitar and singing a song from that era. I have not heard the song since, and when I googled it sent me right back to the Blind Pig where I mentioned it years before. These are a few words from the song. “We read in the newspaper, hear on the radio, they’re fighting in Korea–the men are called to go. My Mom had a very patriotic family, and they still are. Her Uncle Kenna Lester was awarded the Navy Cross for extreme bravery in WW11, and was an inspiration for many of them. He managed to sneak through the enemy lines undetected, and I always thought it was because he learned these important skills hunting and surviving as a country boy. Thanks to any of your family and readers for their service.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2019 at 9:00 am

    That song is a real tear-jerker. The Bellamy Brothers had a verse in their song, Old Hippie, that makes me just as sad after I get over my anger. “They Sent Him Off To Vietnam On His Senior Trip” – and some never returned.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 26, 2019 at 8:39 am

    My brother was in ‘Nam, a volunteer. After he had been there awhile, he got leave to come home. He wanted us two to go camping while he was in. We camped under a cliff in the national forest. That night he laid a pipe he had up on a ledge and said he might come back for it sometime. I knew what he was leaving unsaid, “If I make it back.”

    He did make it. And not only that but his last year or so he was stationed within driving distance. He was reporting back at Fort Dix, New Jersey and was told his unit had been disbanded. In all of his paperwork, there was a question about where he would like to be stationed and he had always put down “Fort Knox, KY”. They didn’t know what to do with him. He had volunteered for a second tour in Nam. So they sent him there.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      May 26, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      Ron when I came back from Vietnam I asked for germany, fort carson Colorado, and fort knox. I got fort knox. we called those dream sheets.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    May 26, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Reminds me of an old Ernest Tubb song that started off like this, “A warship had landed and I came ashore, fighting was over for me evermore, for I had been wounded they left me for dead, stone for my pillow and snow for me bed” but that is all I remember! Hope you enjoyed Bryson City CIty….will be going there soon. My adopted town. My grt-gndpa was Sumry Bryson, cousin to Thad.

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