Appalachia Ghosts - Haints - Spooky Music

Gathering Flowers from the Hillside

Pap and Paul keeping the music alive

We talked about Appalachian Murder Ballads last Sunday, more specifically the ballad of Tom Dooley. Today I have a different ballad to share with you-Gathering Flowers from the Hillside, which is attributed to A.P. Carter of the famed Carter Family.

Although A.P. did write songs, many of the ones listed under his name are traditional songs he grew up hearing or collected from other folks. I was unable to pinpoint whether he wrote Gathering Flowers from the Hillside or was simply familiar with the song. Actually I couldn’t find out anything about the song-no history or stories connected to the murder described in the song. The Carter Family recorded it in the late 1930s.

Most murder ballads hint at the unfaithfulness of the deceased, however the only complaint about the sweet girl in this song is that she kept him waiting. Maybe she kept him waiting because she’d changed her mind about their relationship or maybe she never even thought they had a relationship and he was just a crazy stalker. Of course nothing she did or didn’t do deserved the ending of her life.

Pap and Paul learned the song from Reno and Smiley and recorded it back in 2009 on their Lamp Lighting Time cd.

Gathering Flowers from the Hillside – A.P. Carter

I’ve been gathering flowers from the hillside
To wreath around your brow
But you’ve kept me a-waitin’ so long, dear
That the flowers have all withered now

I know that you’ve seen trouble
But never hang down your head
Your love for me is like the flowers
Your love for me is dead

I’ve been gathering flowers from the hillside
To wreath around your brow
But you’ve kept me a-waitin’ so long, dear
That the flowers have all withered now

Closed eyes cannot see these roses
Folded hands cannot hold them, I know
And your lips that are still they cannot kiss me
They are gone from me forever more

It was on one bright June morning
The roses were in bloom
I took the sweet life of my darling
And that will be my doom.

I’ve been gathering flowers from the hillside
To wreath around your brow
But you’ve kept me a-waitin’ so long, dear
The flowers have all withered now

—–

Give the song a listen:

I hope you enjoyed the song-sort of peppy for a murder ballad. If you have any history about it, please leave a comment and share it with me.

Tipper

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    October 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Wonderful song! I have to say, The photo is wonderful as well, the colors are beautiful and it is so clear!
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I’m glad Ken didn’t tell anybody that the reason I noticed he had the month wrong is because I went to my Oct 7th doctors appointment on Sep 7th. I wouldn’t want anybody to know that!

  • Reply
    Ken
    October 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Tipper,
    Paul and Pap do a wonderful job on that song, their harmony is so soothing. In a few days, those folks in our sister-state will get a real treat from Our Pressley Girls. A few days ago, Ed reminded me I had the wrong month as to when they were going to Spartenburg at Woffard College and perform. (Sorry about that, this year’s a flyin’ by.)
    …Ken

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    October 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Good picking and singing.
    Use to be that most every beginning gettar(guitar) picker in this part of the country learned to pick wildwood flower.
    LG

  • Reply
    Mark Selby
    October 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

    The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band does a slightly different version. They recorded it not too long back on their “Poor Leroy’s Almanack” CD, but here’s a link to a performance of it they did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1czcX7JN_f4

  • Reply
    Jack
    October 16, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Really like the song. Thought the harmony was very good. Also , nice pic of Pap and Paul.

  • Reply
    mary Lou McKillip
    October 16, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Tipper,
    This song is beautifully written. It amazes me where you get so many wonderful material to post. Thank you for sharing the words to this song.
    Talents scouts needs to hear your wonder Girls and family sing and their collections of old ballads . These mountains are full of talented folks like you and your entire family.
    Thanks for entertaining us.
    Mary Lou McKillip

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