Appalachia Music

Why Did I Leave The Plow In The Field?

the old homeplace by the pressley girls

The Old Homeplace

It’s been ten long years since I left my home
In the hollow where I was born
Where the cool fall nights makes the wood smoke rise
And the fox hunter blows his horn.

I fell in love with a girl from the town
I thought that she would be true
I ran away to Charlottesville
And worked in a sawmill or two.

What have you done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town.

Well the girl ran off with somebody else
The taverns took all my pay
And here I stand where the old home stood
Before they took it away.

Now the geese fly south and the cold wind blows
As I stand here and hang my head
I’ve lost my love I’ve lost my home
And now I wish that I was dead.

What have you done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town.

——————-

The song above was written by Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne. If you don’t recognize their names-just let your mind drift back to the Andy Griffith Show-more specifically The Darlings…who were really The Dillards.

I first fell in love with the song when I heard Tony Rice’s version. I was just a kid-but from the instant the words breathed themselves through my ears and into my brain I knew it carried a powerful message of woe.

As with many old songs, this one is written from the man’s point of view, which can throw up an obstacle for female crooners. I’ve heard many female singers leave the point of view-preferring to stay true to the original writer.

Chatter and Chitter have always been girls who walked to the beat of their own drum. The Pressley Girls never hesitate to change the gender of the song. Their reasoning: we all identify ourselves with the songs we love -no matter the gender point they are sung from. So if we’re already “changing” the words in our head why not change them as they come out of our mouths as well?

Although the girls slightly changed the words to the song-The Old Homeplace-it still packs a punch.

First-you leave home and all you’ve ever known.

Second-you realize that home wasn’t so bad after all.

Third-you meet someone who makes you feel a little better about your decision.

Fourth-that certain someone breaks your heart and leaves you at about the same time you realize home is where you need to be.

Fifth-you go home to find out it ain’t there no more.

Sixth-you wish you were dead.

On some level, everyone can identify with the message the song sends. Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne sliding such a powerful story of life between less than 3 minutes of music is an amazing feat of songwriting.

Hope you enjoyed The Pressley Girls’ version of The Old Homeplace.

——————-

I shared the post above with you back in 2014. I found myself thinking about the longing in the lyrics this week. Not because I’ve moved away from home looking for a job or a new love, but because I’ve once again been pondering the way we live our modern lives: scratching and scraping trying to get ahead and keep up with what society tells us we ought to have or own. Don’t get me wrong I love and appreciate our modern day conveniences, but sometimes I wonder if things weren’t easier and maybe even better when the most important thing was the plow in the field.

Tipper

 

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette-Dean
    September 8, 2017 at 7:46 am

    One of my favorite songs and your girls do a wonderful version! I have been a fan of The Dillards for years.
    I’m unable to go home again because my childhood home was torn down by the state to build a 4-lane road and all of my family has passed. It is simply heart-breaking to go to the area where “home” was because everything has changed, including the landscape, because of that 4 lane highway. It is difficult to even recognize places. As an Appalachian girl, home and sense of place means so much to me and it identifies who I am, so it feels as if a large part of me has been ripped out. I’m thankful that my childhood, family, and home lives on in my memories.

  • Reply
    Brenda McLaine
    July 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

    There was a family here in the South who had a Bluegrass band, “HUbert Cox and Southern Grass” who sang this . Loved it.

  • Reply
    Bob Wasmer
    February 27, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I love this song, regardless of who sings it, even the the girls!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    February 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

    We have both versions (Tony Rice and the Dillards) on Ipod. Funny – that’s one of the modern “conveniences.” The song always made me sad – especially when our home burnt to the ground and then momma sold the land. Now that I’m way up north, it even has more pathos. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Perri
    February 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    That song strikes a chord with me. I couldn’t wait to get out of Asheville when I graduated high school, but every time I found myself all alone in a strange part of the country, working toward some unattainable goal, all I could think about and long for was Home. Sometimes, late at night when I couldn’t sleep, the longing for Home was like a physical pain in my heart and soul. Whenever I returned, the sight of my mountains always lifted the weight off of my heart.
    Thanks for that song, Chitter and Chatter – y’all change the gender like I always do in my own head!
    Love from the riverbank in Marshall!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 26, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I remember the post from 2014. I listen to the girls a lot. I compared their voices and their presence to recent videos. They have come a long way in the ensuing 3 years. Their harmony has improved drastically and the depth of their voices likewise. Some might say “it don’t get better than that” but it can, it does and it will. Mark my word!
    I don’t watch Andy Griffith. That’s where Gomer Pyle started and I don’t care to be reminded.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 26, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Well Tipper: This post was sad the first time I read it! Today it brought tears to my eyes!
    Maybe just thinking about my dear brother, Donald Roger, who left us recently. But he would just say “No, don’t cry over me!” On April 22, my mother’s birthday, we will place flowers on his grave along with Mama and Daddy’s grave sites!
    Hope your Sunday is sunny!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken
    February 26, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Tipper,
    I love the Pressley Girl’s version, it just suits them better. But I can relate to the male version also. Either way, it’s a heart-wrenching idea about life as it was when we were young. …Ken

  • Reply
    Shirl
    February 26, 2017 at 9:58 am

    When my family speaks of the old homeplace, we are talking about where my mom and her nine siblings grew up. I just got together with my sister and some cousins to look at pictures of that old house. I don’t have any memories of seeing it before it was torn down but my younger cousins can describe every room. How I wish I could go back and see it just one time. Some of my cousins have offered the current owners a small fortune for the land where the house once stood. So much of the landscape remains the same as it was a hundred years ago and may even have a plow left in the field.

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    February 26, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Tipper, I beleive anyone can relate to the song no matter where their home place was or their gender. The words touched my memories for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    February 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Nice song that I had forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Enjoyed!
    I agree with you Tipper,but it’s really hard to get out of this modern web.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Enjoyed!
    I agree with you Tipper,but it’s really hard to get out of this modern web.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Enjoyed!
    I agree with you Tipper,but it’s really hard to get out of this modern web.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Enjoyed!
    I agree with you Tipper,but it’s really hard to get out of this modern web.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    February 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Great job as usual. I have been a fan of the Dillards (Darlings) ever since they appeared on The Andy Griffith Show. Even though they only appeared in six shows and the Anniversary Movie they became identified as a part of the show along with Denver Pyle and Maggie Peterson as Briscoe and Charlene Darling since the numerous reruns make it appear that they were a larger part of the cast.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    February 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Sadly, this has become my theme song. Tipper, your analysis nailed it. I’m just glad I get to go home once in a while.
    This was the first song my daughter Alex learned to sing. Of course, the girls do a great job.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

    That song fits Appalachia in several different ways. I left Kentucky a bit over 40 years ago and now it is not home in the same way it once was. Yet neither has where I have lived the last 30-some years become home as it was. I really feel rather homeless. That is what the song says to me.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 26, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Nice job on the song! It’s life, Tipper, we can’t stop and we can’t go back. It’s here and now. Sometimes looking back can give the illusion of being better but it’s just different. When that was present time, plowing the fields was hard work, even if you had a horse to pull the plow.
    Remember, that time also included out houses and carrying water from a well and that’s hard work and sooo cold in the winter!

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