Damned Old Piney Mountains

(Craig Johnson, BMI)
Folk Legacy Records, Inc., BMI, 1992

Sandy Paton: lead vocal; Chorus vocals: Caroline Paton, Cathy Barton, Ed Trickett, Harry Tufts

Some years ago in the mountains of West Virginia, Craig Johnson met an old logger, once a fiddler, who explained why he could no longer make music. He had lost all four of the fingers on his left hand. Craig listened to his story, sang him the requested "sad old song," and then wrote this outstanding one. As long as we have people like Craig making songs like this (and the next one), we can be assured that what I like to call our Continuing tradition" will do exactly thatócontinue. Folk-Legacy is proud to act as Craig's publisher.

(Sandy Paton)


Well, sit down, buddy, we'll drink and smoke.
   Woman, don't you weep for me.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.
   You damned old piney mountains.
I lost my fingers in the Galax mill.
   Buddy, sing a sad, old song.
My heart got broke in the yew-pine hills.
   Lord, and my time ain't long.

(Similarly:)

I started in to logging when I was in my prime,
Hitchin' up spruce to the big drag-line.
And the skidders started buckin' when the gears come down,
Makin' God's own thunder on the new-cul ground.

We was fightin' over nothin' and drinkin' too hard,
Ridin' up to camp on a flat-wheel car.
I was thirty years a-hangin' on the old chain brake.
I got laid off and paid off in '58.

Now the skidders got sold to the scrap-iron yard.
I moved down Virginia when the times got hard.
And I lost my fingers to the steel bandsaw.
My fiddle just hangs, untuned, on the wall.

Now the trees have growed up in the loggin' road
And wildflowers bloom where the big Shays blowed.
And there's nothin' left for me but to drink and smoke.
My hands can't fiddle and my heart's been broke.

©1992 Folk-Legacy Records, Inc. Sharon, Connecticut 06069
  Used by permission.