The preservation of old time country music has been well documented by Norman & Nancy Blake over the past 30 years. The Morning Glory Ramblers, the 31st recorded work of Norman and/or Nancy is their first duet release in eight years with their previous four receiving Grammy nominations.
The motion picture release of Cold Mountain includes soundtrack work by Norman & Nancy. Again, musical producer, T Bone Burnett has called on the Blake’s talents for movie music and the soundtrack CD while industry mathematicians continue to count sales on T Bone’s O Brother Where Art Thou? CD which features two selections by Norman Blake. In addition, Norman and Nancy were featured in all 57 coast to coast concerts of the critically acclaimed “Down From The Mountain” tours. An over 40-year friendship and musical association with Johnny Cash & June Carter culminated with the new release of the Johnny Cash box set Unearthed which includes Norman’s picking and musical composition, “Chattanooga Sugar Babe.”
In addition, Dualtone’s Wildwood Flower with June Carter Cash, featuring Norman and Nancy throughout, received two Grammys at the February 2004 Awards
Tracks from The Morning Glory Ramblers
- The Sunny Side of Life — This song was the audition number Bill and Earl Bolick, The Blue Sky Boys, sang for Blue Bird Records, June 16, 1936 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Dark and Stormy Weather — Recorded by the Carter Family, October 14, 1941 in New York City. Also known as, “I Don’t Know Why I Love Him”. Also recorded by the Delmore Brothers in 1937.
- Precious Memories (Was a Song I Used to Hear) — written by our silversmithing and songwriting friend, Jerry Faires of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Little Log Hut in the Lane — Recorded by the Carter Family, May 24, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. An old song with many origins, such as William Shakespeare Hays’ “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.”
- All the Good Times Are Over — An old song with many variant verses, is a composite of old lyrics and my own.
- We Are Climbing — Author listed as Wilson. Recorded by the famous Chuck Wagon Gang of Fort Worth, Texas.
- Going Down the Valley — I have heard this song all my life. It has been recorded by artists such as: Smith’s Sacred Singers, Columbia, and Ernest Stoneman, Victor, and published in some hymnals.
- I Loved You Better Than You Knew — Recorded by the Carter Family, June 17, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. Better known through a later Delmore Brother’s recording, it has been traced to an 1893 printed source by Johnny Carroll. Printed on ballet cards, where the Carters learned it, and in several folksong collections
- When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland — Recorded by the Carter Family, November 24, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Written in 1913 by George “Honeyboy” Evans. one of the last great minstrel showmen.
- I Ain’t Got Time — Written by Buford Abner, recorded by James Roberts and Martha Carson, WSB Barndance sweethearts.
- The Wayworn Traveler — Also known as Deliverance Will Come and Palms of Victory (different from the Sacred Harp Version). Recorded by the Carter Family, June 8, 1936, in New York City. Thought to be as early as 1836. Earliest known publication date is Full Salvation Hymnal, 1877, there attributed to Rev. W. McDonald. However, most historians today give credit to John Matthias. As legend goes, it was spread through Virginia by a circuit riding Methodist minister named Steffey.
- Rise When the Rooster Crows — Recorded 1928, Nashville, Tennessee by the Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers, “I’ll Rise When the Rooster Crows” was the biggest hit of their Victor session, and the first country hit to come out of Nashville.
- Short Life of Trouble — Lots of versions of this one around, some fast, some slow. We sing the one closest to The Blue Sky Boy’s version.
- Elijah’s God — Written by W.J. Henry. Our source, Favorite Songs and Hymns, Stamps Baxter, 1939. The rain on the old tin warehouse roof in Colorado Springs really happened as we were ending this take. We could hardly contain ourselves to finish, but managed to hang on and keep rolling afterward. Dedicated to the Rev. Sullins Lamb.
- Fame Apart from God’s Approval (subtitled: Sweeping Through the Gate) — Credited to J.L. Moore. Recorded by Uncle Dave Macon as Fame Apart, and by Welling and McGhee as Sweeping Through the Gate. I have added lyrics and reworked this song somewhat. We sang this to comfort the family and loved ones of Theodore David (Teddy) Short, Nancy’s brother, who died in Lufkin, Texas, 2003.
- Dry Bones — Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Asheville, North Carolina’s country lawyer was one of our greatest folksong collectors. This mountain version of a Negro spiritual is from his Library of Congress Recordings.
- Men With Broken Hearts — Luke the Drifter, alias Hank Williams, Sr., penned this recitation, which, I found out after recording it, was the favorite thing of his own that he ever wrote.