Gospel Plough

CHURCH! – Get up and go. It’s the Lord’s Day, not yours, give it back to Him.


Mary wore three links of chain
Every link had Jesus’ name

Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on
Hold on, (hold on) hold right on (can you hold right on)
Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on

Well, Peter got anxious and he said
Won’t you wash my hands and my feet and head

Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on
Hold on, (hold on) hold right on (can you hold right on)
Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on

Matthew, Mark and Luke and John
All my prophets dead and gone

Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on
Hold on, (hold on) hold right on (can you hold right on)
Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on

I ain’t never been to Heaven, but I’ve been told
It’s a first class city, and the streets are gold

Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on
Hold on, (hold on) hold right on (hold right on)
Keep your hand on that plough, hold right on

Conversations with Death

Some old school music with a tad bit of Bible and history thrown in.

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Psalm 49.15

“O Death, also known as O, Death, Oh Death and Conversations with Death, is a traditional American folk song. In 2004, the Journal of Folklore Research asserted that “O, Death” is Lloyd Chandler’s song “A Conversation with Death”, which Chandler performed in the 1920s while preaching in Appalachia.” – Wiki


Oh death, oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

Well what is this that I can’t see With ice cold hands taking hold of me
Well I am death none can excel I’ll open the door to heaven or hell

Whoa death someone would pray Could you wait to call me til another day
The children pray the preacher preached Time and mercy is out of your reach

I’ll fix your feet til you can’t walk I’ll lock your jaw til you can’t talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see This very hour come and go with me

In death I come to take the soul Leave the body and leave it cold
To drop the flesh off of the frame The earth and worms both have a claim

Oh death, oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

My mother came to my bed Place a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold Death is a movin upon my soul

Oh death how you’re treatin me You close my eyes so I can’t see
Well you’re hurtin my body you make me cold You run my life right out of my soul

Oh death please consider my age Please don’t take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command If you’ll remove your icy hands

Oh the young the rich or poor All alike to me you know
No wealth no land no silver or gold Nothin satisfies my but your soul

Oh death, oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year


“In The Midst Of Life We Are In Death” from Magill’s Quotations in Context
Context: According to The Order for the Burial of the Dead from The Book of Common Prayer, while the body is being made ready to be placed in the grave, there shall be said or sung, by those standing by, the anthem from which this quotation is taken. This anthem, retaining the medieval sense of awe and dread in the presence of death, acknowledges this sense as a judgment upon our sins from whose bitter pains we may be spared by the mercy of our Saviour and Judge. The anthem, one of the few survivals of the medieval spirit in the Prayer Book offices of the dead, is as follows:

Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.


LYRICS: John Leland (1754-1841)leland

“Rev. John Leland was born in Grafton, Mass., May 14, 1754. At the age of eighteen he passed through an experience not unlike that of John Bunyan, coming out gradually into the liberty of the gospel. Within a month after his conversion, in June, 1774, he made his first attempt at public speaking. Having connected himself with the church in Mount Poney, Culpeper Co., Va., he was ordained by the choice of the church. He preached from place to place, everywhere proclaiming “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Wonderful revivals everywhere followed the labors of Mr. Leland in Virginia. Hundreds came under the power of converting grace, and professed their faith in Christ. The summary of his labors during the fifteen years of his ministry in Virginia is thus recorded, — 3009 sermons preached, 700 persons baptized, and two large churches formed, one of 300 members, and another of 200.

Having finished the work which he thought his Master had given him to do in Virginia, Mr. Leland returned to his native State, and made his home for the most of the remainder of his life in Chesire, Mass. Here, and in the region about, the same power and the same success followed his ministry. He reports the whole number of persons whom he had baptized down to 1821 as 1352. “Some of them,” he says, “have been men of wealth and rank, and ladies of quality, but the chief part have been in the middle and lower grades of life. Ten or twelve of them have engaged to preach.” Missionary tours were made in almost every direction, and multitudes crowded to hear him. The story of the “mammoth cheese” sent by the people of Cheshire to President Jefferson belongs to this period. He was the bearer of the gift to Washington. “Mr. Jefferson,” remarks Rev. J. T. Smith, “Treated taking him with much deference, among other things taking him into the Senate chamber.” Year after year he went on doing that special work to which he believed the Lord had called him. “From seventy to beyond eighty years of age he probably averaged more sermons a week than most settled pastors.” And it is interesting to have the following recorded of him by one who could speak intelligently about him, “The large attendance on his preaching was as creditable to the hearers as to the preacher. A sensational preacher he was not, nor a mere bundle of eccentricities. The discriminating and thoughtful listened to him with the most interest and attention.” He was evidently “a born preacher.” The life of a settled pastor would have been irksome to him. He wanted freedom from all restraint, and to do his own work at his own time and in his own way.

In politics he was a Democrat of the Jeffersonian school, a hater of all oppression, whether civil or ecclesiastical. His warmest sympathies went out to his Baptist brethren in their efforts to secure a complete divorce of the Church from the State. Everywhere he pleaded with all the energy of his soul for civil and religious liberty, and he had the satisfaction of seeing it at last come out of the conflict victorious over all foes. Among the class of ministers whom God raised up during the last century to do the special work with it was given the Baptist denomination to perform, John Leland occupies a conspicuous place. We doubt if his equal will ever be seen again. Mr. Leland died Jan. 14, 1841.”

Source: The Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, editor, 1881; reprint, 1988, pp. 682-683

Oh, when shall I see Jesus,
And reign with Him above?
And from the flowing fountain
Drink everlasting love?


Oh had I wings,
I would fly away and be at rest,
And I’d praise God in His bright abode.

Whene’er you meet with troubles
And trials on your way,
Then cast your care on Jesus
And don’t forget to pray.


Gird on the gospel armor
Of faith and hope and love,
And when the combat’s ended,
He’ll carry you above.


Oh, do not be discouraged,
For Jesus is your friend;
And if you lack for knowledge,
He’ll not refuse to lend.


Neither will He upbraid you,
Though often you request;
He’ll give you grace to conquer,
And take you home to rest.



Enjoy your Friday,



boggARTIST:  Dock Boggs 1968
DATE: circa 1894
ALSO KNOWN AS: “There’s a Hill Lone and Grey,” “On A Hill Lone and Grey”

from BALLAD INDEX: “Calvary” is a religious ballad collected from Dock Boggs in 1968 about Jesus’ crucifixion told from the point of view of one of his grieving followers. The original hymn, “There’s a Hill Lone and Grey,” by Robert R. Car­ra­dine (words)and John B. Bry­ant (music) appeared in Tears and Triumphs For Revival in 1894. It was also in the repertoire of The Carter Family who titled it “On A Hill Lone and Grey” and recorded it for Victor in 1932 (unissued) and again for Bluebird in 1934.

This should not be confused with the Sacred Harp hymn of the same name. Based on Paul’s description, it would appear that this song generally follows the passion account of John rather than the other three gospels — e.g. Jesus carries his own cross (John 19:17; compare Mark 15:21, etc., where Simon of Cyrene carries the cross) and makes no complaint (compare John 19:25-30 to, e.g., Mark 15:34)[END QUOTE]


There’s a hill, lone and gray, in the land far away
In the country beyond the blue sea

Where beneath that fresh sky, went the man, forth to die
For the world, and for you and for me

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me

Behold, faint on the road, ‘neath the world’s heavy load
Comes a thorn-crowned man on the way
With a cross he is bowed, but still on through the crowd
He’s ascending that hill, lone and gray

Hark, I hear the dull blow of the hammer swung low
They are nailing my Lord to the tree

And the cross, they up-raise, while the multitude gaze
On the best Lamb of dark Calvary

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me

How they mocked him in death, to his last laboring breath
While his friends sadly wept over the way
But though lonely and faint, still no word of complaint
Fell from him on the hill of Calv’ry

Then the darkness came down, and the rocks went around
And a cry pierced the sad, leaden air
‘Twas the voice of our King, who received death’s dark sting
All to save us from endless despair

Let the sun hide His face, let the earth reel a space
Over men who their Saviour have slain
But behold, from the sod, comes a blessed Lamb of God
Who was slain, but has risen again

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me


Tune: Daniel Read, 1785
Words: Isaac Watts, 1707
Meter: Common Meter (8,6,8,6)

My thoughts, that often mount the skies,
Go, search the world beneath,
Where nature all in ruin lies,
And owns, her sovereign — Death!


May your heart be blessed by the music,



Posting some videos of the old time tune Snowdrop seems appropriate considering how much snow we have been getting up here. It’s such a pretty tune. The -20 degree temperatures is a nice kick to the shins of the global warmers!  Today’s post includes three vids, the first is a 5 string banjo, the second a ukulele version of Snowdrop and the last vid is a banjolele or banjo ukulele playing the same tune.



Deep Elm or Black Bottom Blues

A song I enjoy playing, Black Bottom Blues.


The “Deep Elm Blues” is an American traditional song. The title of the tune refers to historical African American neighborhood in downtown Dallas, Texas, known as Deep Ellum, and a home to music legends Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely. Sometimes the song’s title is also spelled “Deep Elem” or “Deep Ellum.”

The first known recording was made by the Cofer Brothers under the name of The Georgia Black Bottom on OKeh Records. The Shelton Brothers recorded various versions of this song, the first being cut in 1933 with Leon Chappelear under the pseudonym of Lone Star Rangers for Bluebird Records. They recorded it again in 1935 for Decca Records followed by “Deep Elm No.2” and “Deep Elm No.3”. Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red) recorded “Deep Elem Blues” and “Deep Elem Blues #2” on Decca in 1936. The Sheltons also recorded it in the 1940s as “Deep Elm Boogie” for King Records. Other versions of the song were made between 1957 and 1958 by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, by Mary McCoy & the Cyclones for Jin Records and, later, by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the Infamous Stringdusters, Rory Gallagher and most recently by Redhorse Black.

A very cool article about “Deep Ellum Blues.”

Poor Ellen Smith [gDGAE tuning]

Wiki: Poor Ellen Smith is a late 19th-century murder ballad recounting the shooting death of one Ellen Smith, and the trial and execution of her murderer.

The song is based on real events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1894, a ne’er-do-well named Peter DeGraff had a love affair with Ellen Smith, who may have been mentally challenged and was unable to understand his rejection towards her. Smith became pregnant by DeGraff, but their child died at birth. Afterwards she began following DeGraff around town, and eventually he sent her a note that asked her to meet him in a secluded area, worded in such a way that Smith would have believed DeGraff wanted to reconcile. Instead, when she arrived, DeGraff shot her through the chest. He later reported that Smith’s only words after being shot were “Lord have mercy on me.” DeGraff confessed to the crime on the gallows, shortly before he was hanged.

The song and its variants have been performed and recorded by a range of artists including Tommy Jarrell, Neko Case, Laura Cantrell, Molly O’Day, Kristin Hersh, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Jimmy Martin, the Stanley Brothers, Ralph Stanley & Larry Sparks, the Kossoy Sisters, Country Gentlemen, John Hartford, The Kingston Trio, and Crooked Still. The plot was also adapted by German Folk-Metal band Subway to Sally in their song “Arme Ellen Schmitt”.

My attempt here:

Frank Fairfield going to town:

Tab and information here: http://2ftlbanjer.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/poor-ellen-smith/

More Pretty Girls Than One (crooked)

Got home from work late, visited with the family before they went off to bed, and picked up the tab book recently posted in the comments section on the blog. Dwight Diller’s playing style is simply awesome. If you are listening to Diller play toe tapping will ensure. Here’s my attempt at “More Pretty Girls Than One.” This is after about 30 minutes.

According to the tab book,

Lee Hammons is the only person who played it this way that I personally know of. It is crooked because it leaves out beats at the end of phrases. Crooked like our mountain roads and streams. This tune is similar to the square tune, ‘Tempie’. Lee Hammons never played this tune with “chucks.” Like many West Virginia tunes it is crooked, having 13 measures. This, obviously, is not a good tune to dance to. In the UK they call them “leg breakers”. Diller: Lee said, “My sister hated that tune. Didn’t want anything to do with it.” She also played the banjo. As youngsters, I think they would play the banjo together once in great awhile.

Dwight Diller playing the tune.

Double C – Clawhammer & Two Finger Two Lead

Getting back into playing so last night I started to mess around with double C tuning.

Some glad morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To a home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away – I’ll Fly Away

Eat up the meat and save the hide,
Eat up the meat and save the hide.
Best dang shoe lace I ever did tie.
Ol’ Ground Hog. – Ground Hog