“The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore” (Lyrics by Jean Ritchie)
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Oh, when I was a curly headed baby
My daddy sat me down upon his knee
Said, “Son, you go to school to learn your letters,

Don’t be no dusty miner like me.”

I was born and raised at the mouth of the Hazard holler
Coal cars roarin’ and a rumblin’ a past my door
Now they’re standin’ in a rusty row and empty

And the L & N don’t stop here anymore

I used to think my daddy was a black man
With script enough to buy the company store
But now he goes down town with empty pockets

And his face is white as February snow

I was born and raised at the mouth of the Hazard holler
Coal cars roarin’ and a rumblin’ a past my door
Now they’re standin’ a rusty row and empty

And the L & N don’t stop here anymore

Last night I dreamt I went down to the office
To get my payday like I done before
Them ol’ kudzu vines had covered out the doorway

And there was trees and grass well a growin’ right through the floor

I never thought I’d live to love the coal dust
Never thought I’d pray to hear the tipple roar
But, Lord how I wish that grass could change to money

Them green backs fill my pocket once more

I was born and raised at the mouth of the Hazard holler
Coal cars roarin’ and a rumblin’ past my door
Now they’re standin’ a rusty row and empty

And the L & N don’t stop here anymore


We’re very sad to pass on the news of the death of Jean Ritchie on Monday, June 1. She was 92 years old. No one was more important to the survival, appreciation, and revival of traditional Appalachian folk music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries than this ballad singer, songwriter, folksong collector, Fulbright scholar, and champion of the Appalachian dulcimer. The producers of a recent tribute CD to Jean write:

“We are so sad to have to share the news that our beloved Jean passed away on Monday evening. She was surrounded by members of her family, who sang at her bedside in the last hours. Her family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be sent to Appalachian Voices. [ http://www.appalachianvoices.org/ ]”

Ritchie was recorded many times for the AFC archive–our first recordings of her go back to 1946. In 2009, she and her late husband, the photographer and filmmaker George Pickow, arranged for their extensive archive of audio and video recordings, film, photographs, and manuscripts—the results of their seven decades of involvement in traditional performances and folklife documentation—to be preserved in the AFC archive. To read more about Ritchie, Pickow, and their remarkable collection, please download the issue of Folklife Center News at the link below.

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/news/pdf/FCN_Vol33no1-2.pdf?loclr=fbafc

BLACK WATERS
(Jean Ritchie)

I come from the mountains, Kentucky’s my home
Where the wild deer and black bear so lately did roam
By the cool rushing waterfall the wildflowers dream
And through every green valley, there runs a clear stream
Now there’s scenes of destruction on every hand
And there’s only black waters run down through my land
Sad scenes of destruction on every hand
Black waters, black waters, run down through the land

Well, the quail, she’s a pretty bird and she sings a sweet tongue
In the roots of tall timber she nests with her young
The the hillside explodes with the dynamites roar
And the voice of the small bird is heard there no more
And the mountain comes a slidin’ so awful and grand
And the flooding black waters rise over my land

In the rising of a springtime we planted our corn
In the ending of a springtime we buried a son
In summer come a nice man saying everything’s fine
My employer just requires a way to his mine
Then they threw down the mountain and covered my corn
And the grave on the hillside’s a mile deeper down
And the man stands and talks with his hat in his hand
As the poisonous waters rise over my land
Sad scenes of destruction on every hand
Black waters, black waters run down through the land.

Well I ain’t got no money, not much of a home
I own my own land, but my land’s not my own
But, if I had ten million, somewheres thereabout
I would buy Perry county and I’d run ’em all out
And sit on the bank with my bait in my can
And just watch the clear waters run down through my land

Well, wouldn’t that be like the old promised land?
Black waters, black waters no more in my land

Be sure to check out my posting about Hazard, Kentucky, my family’s ancestral home: https://aseekingspirit.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/the-l-n-dont-stop-here-any-more/

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