Appalachia Music

Working on a Building – Take 4


The same day my we filmed “Where the Soul of Man Never Dies” at my nephew’s house we filmed “Working on a Building.” This will be the fourth time I’ve shared the song here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn.

Over the years lots of folks besides us have covered the song: The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Davis, and too many other performers to name.

The song is generally said to be a traditional song, meaning no one knows wrote it. The song is also often listed as a Negro Spiritual. Like many old songs, the verses of the song vary depending on who’s singing.

I can’t remember how or why we started fooling around with the song. Our first go-round consisted of a trio of harmony from Pap, Paul, and Chatter. We’d just got the song down pat and were enjoying doing it at performances when Pap broke his hip and had a heart attack all in the same day! During his recovery we missed doing the song and Pap encouraged Chitter to take over his part so she did.



I hope you enjoyed our latest version of the old song and if you’d like to see our previous videos of the song you can follow the links below. As you might have guessed I love all of them. There’s something special about each and every video.

Of course the first video is wonderful because Pap is singing it. The second video is special because it’s the first time we recorded Chatter doing Pap’s part and Pap was well enough to go with us that night so he was there watching in the crowd. The third version is special because it was one of the first concerts we played after Pap’s death. That summer night at JCCFS had a wonderful feel to it. It was as if we all agreed we were doing the music Pap loved in his very own home of Brasstown and all was right with the world even though he was no longer living in it.

Working on a Building 1

Working on a Building 2

Working on a Building 3


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  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    One more thing and I will shut up for today. Wendy Meyers who publishes “” (click on” Reflections of Olde Swain” here in the right column under Sit a Spell) has a post out about the flu and a murder in Swain County in 1920. An interesting article, at least to me, but should be of some interest to anyone who studies the history of Western North Carolina. It made news statewide and even into surrounding states. The best part about it is that I had a hand in providing bits of information from my warehouse of knowledge (actually more like a metal storage building after a wind storm).

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    February 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Well, if that don’t light your fire, your woods wet!! My toes were a tapping !

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    The search bar isn’t working right. The little magnifying glass don’t do anything when you click on it. I was trying to find the easy blueberry pie recipe you had a couple of years back that Dusty liked so much. I figured out though. I just had to hit enter to get it to work but not everbidy is as thmart as me.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Oh, and the pie came out almost perfect. The filling bubbled over and got under the crust in two places, just a tiny bit. That was my fault. I should have stretched the crust out a little more. I was trying to make sure there wern’t no crust without no filling on it. Also the blueberries was pretty big too. If I had just sampled a couple of them the pie would come out perfect.

      • Reply
        February 25, 2018 at 4:04 pm

        I lied again. Only one place bubbled over. I sent you pictures. I am so proud of me!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    My Favorite group for sure! I like the Format too, with all four up front. Paul is an asset to the girls singing too. I sure miss pap though, after all, this is his bunch and I bet he’s watching and proud. …Ken

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    February 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    beautiful job by all concerned thanks

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Been watching this 4th take on Youtube for a while now and I absolutely love it. As I put in my comment there, the only thing that keeps this from being perfect is that Chitter’s fiddle doesn’t play a part in it.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 10:12 am

    What a Sunday morning delight. I have never before heard that song. Thank you.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Amen! Very good

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 25, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I listened to all of them, Tip, it’s fun to see the differences as the girls had matured in their music. It’s also very touching to see and hear Pap. I sure do Miss him! We are all working on our own buildings.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    February 25, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Oh, my goodness, I love that song and you did it beautifully!!! Leaving for church but will listen to the other ones when I get back.

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