Appalachia Chatter and Chitter Music

The Red Haired Boy

The Red Haired Boy

Granny’s Christmas Tree

The girls made Paul videos of five songs he’d never heard them perform for Christmas. You may remember they always did that for Pap too. One of the songs they filmed was a fiddle tune they recently learned from Brasstown’s own Dog Branch Cats Band called “The Red Haired Boy”.

The tune is catchy and gets stuck in your head in a good way, but there’s another reason I like it.

Granny’s family of Jenkins was and is full of red heads. I can only remember Granny Gazzie having hair of snowy white, but they say her hair was a beautiful shade of red when she was young. Several of my cousins sport red hair themselves.

You’ve seen enough photos of Steve, Paul, and me to know none of us inherited red hair from our Granny Gazzie. The most I can claim is a red tint when the sun hits my hair and a sprinkling of freckles across my nose and cheeks. As a young girl those freckles drove me crazy. I thought they were ugly. One day Granny caught me moaning about them in the mirror and she told me they were Angel kisses. After that I didn’t seem to mind the freckles as much.

When Steve and Kim’s second son, Mark, came along we were surprised and pleased by his head of red hair. I think it especially pleased Granny. She didn’t have any red haired kids of her own, but now she had a red headed grandson. I’m sure she thought of her family every time she looked at him in those days. In much the same way, every time I hear something about red heads or gingers I think of Mark.

In an earlier post I mentioned that neither Mark nor his brother Ben and his family would be here for Christmas and that we were all kinda sad about it. Especially the boys’ mother Kim and Granny.

Well wouldn’t you know it-Mark pulled a good one on us all. He showed up and surprised everyone! Kim said she got up early that morning and walked into the living room on her way to the kitchen and there he sat in a chair. She said she started crying and yelling for Steve to get up. In typical Mark fashion he said “Well if you’re going to act like that I’ll just leave.” When she told that at Christmas we all got a good laugh! Before long they all tramped out to Granny’s to surprise her. Steve and Kim tried to hide Mark behind them which is no easy feat since he’s over 6 foot tall (he also got that from the Jenkins).

Granny was pleased as punch that Mark made it home for Christmas, actually we all were. And it seemed so appropriate that the girls learned and videoed “The Red Haired Boy” just in time for his arrival.

Hope you enjoyed the video and hearing about our Christmas surprise.



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  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    December 28, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Someone else mentioned this sounds like an Irish tune. No surprise, coming from this area.
    Here’s a version by the Dixie Chicks on Youtube.
    You all keep on playin’ it!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Tamela-they play by ear : )

  • Reply
    January 2, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    do the girls play by mostly by ear or do they read music?

  • Reply
    January 1, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Red hair flows on my Dad’s side of the family all tho he didn’t get it, his is the color of his Mother. My Brother and I took after him, how we got by without one of us having red hair I don’t know, I took after my Granny on my Mom’s side, they said she had dark hair up until her 40’s then it turned snow white. Well, guess what? I got some dark hair left but it’s leave faster than water in a bottomless bucket. O yea, seen the fiddle tune on the Tube, I noticed some vibrato in this tune more pronounced, Nice touch.

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    December 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

    If I would look before I leap I could have the answer myself. I found data at this link:
    However, truthfully, I enjoyed the girls’ playing better!

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    December 31, 2017 at 8:21 am

    This one has the sound of an Irish song. Do you know about the history of this song? That is interesting to me.
    Many thanks for you girls to share your talents with us!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    December 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    so nice to hear and also about your suprise as well first time i have heard freckles called angel kisses love the idea have a great new year

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I think I could have been a red haired boy but my hair has been gone so long I can’t really remember. All the pictures back then were in daguerreotype so that don’t help.
    Actually my sister Rhoda has auburn hair. Like a chestnut color with some extra copper mixed in. Very pretty! She’s the only one I can recall amongst my kin with even a hint of red.

  • Reply
    December 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve always heard that red-headed folks had a quick temper. I guess I’ll have to re-think that, cause I know most of Pap’s bunch. My brother Buster, married into a bunch of red-heads and they all had pretty hair. They were Bucks, from High Point.
    Louzine’s Christmas Tree is beautiful, especially with all those Homeade ornaments. Ben and Mark both went up North to college at Yale University. I’m glad Mark got to be home for Christmas. …Ken

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    December 30, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Daddy’s family is full of red-heads. His was a beautiful coppery red according to Mama. He was teased about it a lot as a little kid. Said the kids would chant “red-headed peckerwood, sitting on a fence; trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents!”.
    They all had curl in their hair as well but i inherited Mama’s stick straight black hair. She always said her hair felt like cat fur. Mine is like that too–no body at all but at 67 it’s still mostly black. We have some Cherokee ancestors & I wonder if that’s why it’s stayed black.
    My son’s beard is quite red–very attractive. He got his daddy’s thick springy hair–that whole family has amazing hair but unfortunately most of the men are losing theirs. My husband’s is getting mighty thin at 65.
    I hope yall had a wonderful Christmas–sounds like you did!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 30, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I think there may have been red-headed people on my Mom’s side (Holloway) but I’m not sure. The earliest ancestors I have found are James and John on the size roll of the Virginia Regiment in 1754. Their hair and complexion are identified as ‘dark’.
    I’m glad Mark made it back. Families get so scattered out and hard to gather up.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    December 30, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Super tune, girls! Re red-haired boys, I have always loved red hair on anyone, but especially on little boys. To my great delight, my son Tom was born with red hair — but, when he was about a month old, it all fell out and the new hair came in blonde. Sigh. Re freckles, Tipper, as a child I yearned for freckles. My sisters told me that the sparkle from cokes would make freckles if I let it sparkle on my nose. For weeks, I went around with a glass of coke held to my face, but no freckles ever grew.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    December 30, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I’ve always had trouble with the chord progression of that tune, but they make it seem so easy.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 30, 2017 at 9:20 am

    PS: Granny’s tree was very pretty with all those crocheted ornaments she made. Granny is very clever with that crocheting needle!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 30, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Good job, Girls, that’s a nice song! It was so sweet of Mark to drive so far to surprise everyone and it was great to see him. We had a very nice Christmas this year, didn’t we!

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    December 30, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Nice fiddle playing. I play that song on mandolin but it is a fiddle tune. Guitar complets it.

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