Appalachia Music

Old Johnny Paycheck Song

The cave is scary


This past summer I fell in love with a new scary song. It all started when Chatter picked up a Josh Williams cd at a thrift store in Black Mountain, NC. Chatter was already a fan of Mr. Williams-but once she listened to that cd a few hundred times she became slightly obssessed.

Remember our trip to Cashiers back in the summer? Josh Williams just happen to be playing on the main stage-and Chatter just happen to get to meet him. After she came back down to Earth she said “You know what? Someday I’ll be playing on the same stage he is and I’m going to tell him I met him when I was only 15 years old and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” I said “That sounds totally possible to me.”

The whole cd is great-all the songs are top notch but the song I like the best is The Cave. I couldn’t wait to ask Paul if he’d ever heard it.

I said “I found the scariest song ever!” Then he busted my bubble by saying “Oh that’s an old Johnny Paycheck song.” I said “Well don’t you think it’s scary?” He said “Well I guess so.” Well I guess so-hmph! See if you think it’s scary-here are the words:

Last night I had the strangest dream that I have ever dreamed I was a boy again just barely in my teens Wondering through the woods and hills that towered above our town And in the rocks and brush an entrance to a cave I found

And like most any young boy would I crawled into the cave And in the damp dark darkness then I slowly made my way Tunnel after tunnel going this ole way and that Until suddenly I knew I didn’t know where I was at

Well I tried to find the way out but it seemed to be in vain The more I tried the more confused and frightened I became At last in sheer exhaustion I collapsed and fell asleep Until the distant roaring sound of thunder wakened me

The thunder boomed the Earth it shook I trembled in my fear Surely this must be the worst storm in a thousand years And all the time the fury of the storm just seemed to grow Until suddenly it ended with a great earthquaking roar

I then began to crawl around and what a stroke of luck I saw a ball of tiny light and so I followed up And soon I crawled out of what I thought would be my grave And what I saw it made me wish I was back down in the cave

For there was not a blade of grass a tree or bush around Not even one small bug a crawling on the parched burnt ground And looking down the hill I saw the shambles of a town Where people used to live before the bomb came down

Watch the video below and you can hear Josh Williams perform the song.

Another song on the cd is Mordecai-if you’ve never seen the video it is totally worth taking the time to watch. It’s not scary at all-well unless you’re afraid of birds. Click here to see it.


Portions of this post were published here on the Blind Pig in October of 2012.


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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    November 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Yep, it’s scary. Sounds like something from The Twilight Zone.
    Don’t you think?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Tipper, lovely post and that photo is awesome. Reminds me so much of my childhood. There were many places similar on Grandpa’s farm, except the creek was wider and deeper.
    Thank you for a fantastic read. Enjoyed visiting you. Drop over to the Writing Nook if you have a moment. I have a couple recent posts.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    November 1, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I don’t remember hearing this song. Johnny Paycheck is from my hometown. My brothers were friends back in the day.
    He played at a school assembly once. I remember him say he was going to be a star. I wasn’t very old, but I was old enough to be a skeptic. My exact thought was, “Yeah, right.” I guess that isn’t the only time I have been wrong.

  • Reply
    November 1, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Ed-shes got a shovel. Its one of those folding kinds. I think she was trying to decide where to dig for rocks next LOL : ) I call them Laurel too-and I love them too!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 1, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I don’t Facebook but its on Youtube
    Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Lovely photo! It’s fun to explore the creeks and hillsides. Very haunting song. Enjoyed listening to it

  • Reply
    November 1, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Josh Williams is certainly good at what he does.. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song myself, but I like it.. I like the New Blind Pig Look also..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 1, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    What does that young lady have in her hand? It looks sorta like an old weeding tool I have out in the shed. The picture doesn’t show enough detail for me to make out for sure if that’s what it is.
    I love a laurel thicket. Especially if a stream flows through it. (I know everybody thinks I am stupid for calling rhododendron laurel but to me that is what it is.) It is the most peaceful place in the world to be. On a hot summer day it can be 20° cooler that outside it. The flowing water is like a natural air conditioner. There are usually no bugs, bees, chiggers or snakes. Weeds don’t grow. The carpet of leaves on the floor and in the canopy above deaden the sounds of a bustling world and gives you solace from all it’s problems.
    Even in winter it is warmer in there than outside. The evergreen laurels dampen the winter winds. The flowing water never freezes and keeps the still air above freezing too, even on the harshest winter days.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    That’s a nice shot of Chatter standing there in Stamey Creek. I remember how
    I use to love to play in our creek, and now my grandchildren. Even when you
    flip over a rock, it makes you wonder what the little ones think, seeing all them
    creatures running in all directions.
    I liked the video, never heard of this Williams fellow though. He did a nice job
    on The Cave and I agree, it’s kinda scary. Hope everyone had a nice Halloween!
    And I got to set my clocks back…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 1, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Today is the day that everyone has the chance to turn back time….ha
    I say that very thing sometimes over and over to myself….”If I Could Turn Back Time”…but of course I can’t, so on and on I go in rhythm to my heart beating…I should feel blessed that it is still thumping at my age….but still I wish there were visiting hours in heaven….and turn back time if only just once a year!
    Does anyone remember Cher’s rendition of “If I Could Turn Back Time”? Like the clip going around on Facebook….I thought I would Cher!
    Thanks Tipper….

  • Reply
    November 1, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I remember most of Paycheck’s songs, but not The Cave. That is one scary song! Chatter, keep the positive attitude and you will get a chance to play on that stage and many more.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 1, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Love this picture! That look! Did she just hear something above the sound of the flowing cripple creek? Maybe she is deciding which way she wants to hike next…up towards the ridge or back down in the holler…Lost hikers, I believe should always just stop and wait until someone finds them. Maybe she saw a Bobcat’s track or thought she saw one… like my neighbor saw on his driveway the other evening! Our driveways meet at the county road. I have been hearing a Bobcat scream from the woods of late. I think they are getting braver, as I think they are seeing these roaming black bears and deciding it is safe for them to venture out in the open as well….Oh my!
    Let me get back on track…(pun intended!) That is a scary song! I grew up with the threat of the “A-bomb” so I know how to roll myself into a ball, tuck my head, sit in the hall or under my desk…HA…while everything around me would be wiped off the map!…For the life of me, I don’t know why we had bomb drills and they trained us to do that during the “A-bomb” years…The most important thing to have trained us to do, would have been to repeat prayer, after prayer…hug the kid sitting in the desk beside you, and roll in the ball and kiss yourself goodbye! Ha……Well, not the exact words we used to hear but I guess you get my drift…I used to worry myself silly, when I saw those old bomber reels at the movie theater, knowing I lived in the prime target spot. If we were outside playing and heard a plane….”skeery”….as no planes were supposed to fly over our area at all. Another thing, if Mom had forgotten to tell us that the “BOMB SIRENS” were to do a test that day and they suddenly went off…Lordy, my heart would drop quicker than I could drop and roll….HA Those were the days of a child or at least this child, growing up in and near the Secret City in the forties and fifties….
    A pinch and a punch for the first of the month…Can’t believe it is November already…Do you have those Thanksgiving recipes ready to share?
    Thanks Tipper for this post…

  • Reply
    November 1, 2015 at 5:04 am

    That is a great picture of one of your girls beside the brook. It reminds me so much of the many brooks and branches I enjoyed growing up. I always wondered why Mom cautioned me to save my steps, and now I know. When you are so very young it is good to enjoy the beautiful things nature has to offer, and the walk to them seems so easy. In earlier days not so many pictures and most were posed. It is refreshing to enjoy natural settings from the Blind Pig.
    I remember Mr. Paycheck’s music well , as it rang out from many a jukebox in the sixties. It is amazing at the range of subjects covered in Country and Bluegrass. Chatter could possibly see more important stages than the one Josh played on. She is very young to have so much talent and focus.

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