Today’s post was written by Paul.
Today’s video is track 1 from the Wilson Brothers first album “Words of Life” recorded in 1973. This is one of the original songs from the album written by Pap (Jerry Wilson). Stay tuned till the end of the video for a neat story involving Uncle Henry Wilson’s guitar, which he used on this track and all other songs on the album.
This song is not being posted as any type of political commentary on our current situation or government, and it was composed in the early 70’s if not the late 60’s. I am only trying to share a beautiful song that is well sung and played.
When I uploaded “O Why Not Tonight?” from this album, one YouTuber asked if the rhythm guitar that could be heard was Pap playing the Dove. On this album, Uncle Ray’s rhythm playing is more prominent. In this song, which is in the key of F major, you can hear Ray, who is playing in C position with a capo, make a falling run from C major position into A minor position. He did this on the A string (second from top), and it can be heard several times, such as just before the last line in each verse.
The only time that I hear the Dove in the song is at the very end of the song, when Pap, who was playing with a capo in the D major position, can be heard hitting the last 4-5 “bass” notes on the D and A strings, which seemed to harmonize nicely with the steel guitar and Uncle Henry’s electric guitar.
As I’ve said before, I don’t know the steel player on this album, but I really like his work, even though he is playing in the 1960’s style, which I don’t generally like as much as the Hank Williams style or the way steel was played in the 50’s. He was a friend or acquaintance of Uncle Henry’s.
Pap’s voice and Uncle Ray’s voice were much more alike back then, so if you’re having trouble telling them apart, this might help: Pap leads both verses then switches to high harmony when the chorus starts. Ray sings the solo line in the Chorus, ‘This land where our Christian fathers once trod…” That line rings like a bell and is some of the best lead I’ve ever heard him sing.
I absolutely love all of Uncle Henry’s playing on this album. My favorite part of his playing in this song is how he concludes his break in the middle and extends it into the second verse. As the song travels from F major to B flat major, he strings together a beautiful run that covers 8-10 measures or beats, depending on where you start counting. 🙂
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song. I filmed the giant American flag along the interstate between Knoxville and Chattanooga. The siren just happened to be in the background for part of it. The footage of Madalyn O’Hair is public domain taken from YouTube.
I hope you enjoyed Paul’s post and the song. Whenever I hear any of the songs on the “Words of Life” album I feel like I’m a skinny freckle faced little girl standing behind Pap or Granny’s legs.
The return of Uncle Henry’s guitar is something that’s being talked about far and wide in our area. A wonderful thing indeed.
Come cook with me!
MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
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.