Music

Sand Mountain Blues

Today’s post was written by Paul.

The Streamline Cannon Ball

For the third train song this year, Corie and I tried an old Delmore Brothers classic “Sand Mountain Blues.”

The song was on the Louvin Brothers tribute to the Delmore Brothers album.

The Delmores, Alton and Rabon, were from Sand Mountain, Alabama, and the Louvins were from Henagar, Alabama. These two communities are very close to each other—and not very far from where we live. They’re located kind of just over the ridgeline from Chattanooga, which is only about an hour from here.

Ira and Charlie’s father was actually born in Murphy, NC, our county seat.

Anyway, the Delmores were musical heroes to the Louvins and inspired them to try to make it big in music too. Their song “Blues Stay Away from Me” has been covered by everybody from Merle Haggard to the Pressley Girls (go here for The Pressley version).

Like the Louvins, the Delmores faced many struggles in their lives and musical careers. There’s a great autobiography that Alton wrote about them called “Stranger than Fiction.” If you can find a copy, you may be blown away by the index of 100’s of songs that they wrote.

On the Blind Pig and The Acorn YouTube channel, Pap and I covered several, including: “When It’s Time for the Whippoorwills to Sing,” “Going to Lay Down My Old Guitar,” “Blow Your Whistle Freight Train,” and “Weary Lonesome Blues.”

My nephew Ben (called guitar man in Tipper’s earliest posts) and I also did “Freight Train Boogie” one year during the train song series.

Though they didn’t sing with the vocal power of the Louvins, their harmony was tight and uniquely their own. They were also great guitarists, especially Rabon on the tenor guitar. When the Louvins recorded their tribute album to the Delmores, Ira played Rabon’s tenor guitar, Rabon having tragically passed away from lung cancer in 1952 at only 36 years of age.

Many Delmore songs reference TRAINS in ways that portray them as both lonesome and as a means of escape from one’s troubles. “Sand Mountain Blues” is a lonesome song but always seemed to me to be mildly comedic in a down-on-your-luck kind of way. Pap and I used to try to sing it together a little bit when I was a teenager, but it seemed like I could never keep from running out of breath. It has a lot of words crammed into a short space. I remember that the verse about the gypsy and the line, “You’re going to be sorry for breaking my heart” would make Pap smile. Corie did a great job supplying some harmony, something no Delmore song should be without!

We hope you enjoyed this 3rd installment. For the last one in this year’s series, I hope to team up with Mr. Matt Cook, a local musician, barber, fisherman, and hunter. Matt appeared on our channel quite a few years ago when he played mandolin on the song, “O Come, Angel Band.”

Paul

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    November 21, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    That was a good one. I was clapping right along!

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    November 21, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Good foot tapping singing and music! I sure did enjoy listening to it. Thanks for sharing your talents with us.
    .

  • Reply
    Robert
    November 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Love the train songs! Paul and Corie make a great duet!

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    November 21, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Nice work folks! Love that tune. I think it’s the same as “White House Blues,” as played by Charlie Poole and the NC Ramblers.
    All blessings to you and your family for Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Greg Church
    November 21, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Yall keep that up and you just might learn to play and sing! Dang that was good. Was that one take?

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 21, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Very good and you all did a great job in keeping it moving!

  • Reply
    Patricia Wilson
    November 21, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Sand Mountain and Henagar – so important for Sacred Harp singers like me. They’re on my bucket list of Sacred Harp signings. The pandemic has inserted a two year hiatus into progress on my list, but maybe next summer, Lord will in’ and the creek don’t rise …

    • Reply
      Matt Laminack
      November 21, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      The last time I heard Sacred Harp singing was at the Episcopal Church in Mentone,AL about 3 years ago. There was also a Sacred Harp singing at Shoal Creek Church near me in the Talladega National Forest every Labor Day. I’m hoping there will be one there next year!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    November 21, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Great stuff! According to cousin, the late Ray Mauney, square-dance caller, the Louvin’s real last name was loudermilk and were related to his wife, a Cherokee County NC Loudermilk. And songwriter John D. Loudermilk.

  • Reply
    GoodGriefLouise ( Bill )
    November 21, 2021 at 8:59 am

    What a great way to start the day. Loved the story and I had to go to the YouTube version to make my comment. Loved it!!!

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    November 21, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Like Arthur Smith (of dueling banjos fame) who was from my home town of Kershaw, SC would say; mighty fine Paul and Corie, mighty fine.

    Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    donna sue
    November 21, 2021 at 7:42 am

    And I thought I tried to cram a lot of words into a short space of time when I talk sometimes! This song leaves you breathless! I loved the lyrics. Paul is such an accomplished and outstanding musician – both in singing, and playing any instrument he sets his mind on. He is also a talented song writer, just like his Dad. Corie is amazing in her own talents, and is following wonderfully in her family’s legacy! She can play and sing with the best of them (which happens to be Paul and Katie!!). Her talents go a step beyond her music even – she makes gorgeous soap, too! Have you seen that tree soap she posted on her ThePresslyGirls you tube channel community page? So very pretty! Wonderful song and video here! Thank you!

    Donna. : )

    • Reply
      Larry Paul Eddings
      November 21, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Paul and Corie sing and play so well together.

    • Reply
      Colleen Holmes
      November 21, 2021 at 8:43 am

      My husband is doing our upstairs restroom with a train theme. We love fleamarkets, but find little on trains. Thanks for the lovely read.

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    November 21, 2021 at 7:02 am

    Love the train songs, Paul and Cory are great together ❤

  • Reply
    Sandra henderson
    November 21, 2021 at 6:26 am

    Bravo!,,,,,
    That was really great pickin n singin!
    Love the upbeat sound, to what I suppose is suppose to be a sad song.

  • Reply
    OkieJammer
    November 21, 2021 at 6:25 am

    WHOOHOO! OUTSTANDING, KIDS! Love this. ❤ What a great way to start the day! Thanks much, as always.

  • Reply
    Jimk
    November 21, 2021 at 6:08 am

    Great musically start to the morning.

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