An Appalachian Spring - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-23-2011, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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An Appalachian Spring

Waited and waited and at last the long winter finally came to pass.

The video is set to an ancient Appalachian fiddle tune called Reuben’s Train adapted to the superb slide guitar of Harry Manx. He is a new to me and he is the schnitz! Feel free to turn off the drivel of the slide show and just listen to the tune…it alone is well worth the ride.

Please clicky for food porn, spring tonics, riding, hiking, 4WDing, hunting and a little more riding…i.e. a typical mid-Appalachian spring.

Here is a shout of thanks out to Ziggy for introducing Mr. Manx and me.

Montani Semper Liberi
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2011, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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I stand corrected. Reuben's Train is more likely an ancient banjo tune...
Originally posted by mwc9725e

The tune for Rueben's Train seems to be used in a number of songs: 500 Miles, Long Steel Rail, and of course Rueben's train are some I recall. Is this because the melody's old, and people through the various generations have put their own words to it, or is it just out-and-out plaigerism? I remember when I was a little boy in rural Texas in the early/middle 30s that a lot of tunes had "home made" lyrics added to them. I always thought it might be because in those days, it wasn't easy to just get on the web and look up lyrics. Recordings weren't readily available either, so if lyrics were needed, folks just made up their own or did without.There was probably no deliberate attempt to defraud anyone.//

Banjo historians believe the tune that Reuben's train is set in is a very, very old banjo tune, probably one Black people played on the original four string gourd banjos before five-string banjos became prevelant.
While recorded arrangements of Reuben's train amd Train 45 in the 1920s and 1930s cast a tight stamp on the tune, it is really the same tune as "Skillet Good and Greasy" and the way folk, especially Black folk singers sing "Rabbit in the Log." It is a very simple tune really based on what is called the Blues scale, one of the more dominant forms of African music brought to the US by us.

Older traditional banjoists Black and white like Doc Watson, or Lucius Smith, an african American banjoist from mississippi who played with Syd Hemphill's band and started learning banjo at the turn of the 20th century often report that this is the first tune they learn on the banjo.

Inasmuch as it deals with railroad trains, the version of the tune entitled Reuben and its derivaties like Train 45 and Five Hundred Miles, are probably putting later words on an old already well-used banjo tune.

In the 1930s Alan Lomax collected a version of the tune from one of the Golden Gate Singers that was more like a ballad that connects the song to the campaign to oust Black railroad engineers by violence which went on around the imposition of Jim Crow in the 1890s. The issue of Black membership in the Railroad Unions was an enormous issue over which no less than Eugene V. Debs resigned from the union when he could not convince the membership to accept Black membership.

It is also related to in the Pines

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2011, 10:39 AM
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You live in one of the best/most beautiful motorcycle road states IMO

'15 DL1000
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2011, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Well thank ye sir.

Say, why don't you come on over and sample some of the roads? There is a Yamaha dealer demo in Romney, WV on June 17-18. Ride the new line of Yamahas and camp at Jennings Randolph Lake, Elk Garden, WV. Ride some more.

Hope to see ya there.

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