Appalachian Music Fellowship 5

Berea College Appalachian Music Fellowship

Day 5, June 5, 2009

The Coon Creek Girls used the old parlor song “Flower Blooming in the Wildwood” as one of their theme songs on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. Today I heard a 1941 radio broadcast of The Coon Creek Girls performing this song, a slow, nearly maudlin ballad, much in contrast to the noisy, fast, kicking music they usually played on the Barn Dance radio shows. Here’s the words, including the oft-quoted phrase: “drown-ded in the deep blue sea” —

On an evening long ago when the sun was sinking low
My true lover went to sail upon the sea
It was in the month of June when the roses were in bloom
That he took me in his arms and said to me

You’re a flower that is blooming in the wildwood
Flower that is blooming there for me
Sweeter than the morning dew and I’ll soon return to you
You’re a flower that is blooming there for me

Then a letter came to me from the captain of the sea
And it told me my lover was dead
Oh the shock of that surprise made the teardrops in my eyes
And I thought about the last words that he said . . . chorus

Now he’s drowned in the deep blue sea and he can’t come back to me
He has passed over life’s weary way
And when it’s in the month of June and the roses are in bloom
It seems that I can hear my sweetheart say . . . chorus

You can listen here, and this version is a little livelier because all The Coon Creek Girls sing on the chorus.

Or you can watch a flat-out-race-to-the-finish version of Lily May and Sis (Rosie) Ledford at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival playing “Cacklin’ Hen”

Published by Marianne Worthington

Marianne Worthington is a poet, editor, and co-founder of Still: The Journal, an online literary magazine publishing writers, artists, and musicians with ties to the Appalachian region since 2009. She received the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Appalachian Book of the Year Award for her poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine. She was awarded grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship at Berea College. She co-edited, with Silas House, Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, a writing craft anthology from teachers at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop from the last 40 years. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, CALYX, Grist, Shenandoah, The Louisville Review, Appalachian Review, Cheap Pop, and Chapter 16, among other places. She lives in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and teaches communication studies, media writing, and journalism at University of the Cumberlands. Her poetry collection, The Girl Singer, is available from University Press of Kentucky, 2021.

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