Darlin' Corey History

Darlin' Corey is known by many names including "Dig a Hole in the Meadow," "Darlin' Cora," "Little Lulie," "Darling Cora," "Corey, Corey." It's related to "Little Maggie" "Country Blues" and other white mountain blues.

Here's a list of some recordings by date: Little Corey - Clarence Gill (01/06/1927); Darling Cora - Buell Kazee (04/19/1927); Darlin' Cora - B.F. Shelton (07/29/1927); Little Lulie - Dick Justice (ca.05/1929); Darling Corey - Monroe Brothers (06/21/1936); Little Lulie - Homer Brierhopper (06/09/1938); Doc Watson (1963); Monroe Brothers (1964); Single: Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys (1964).

For a good video of an authentic version, watch Mike Seeger on UTube (link below):

The first collected version was made by Cecil Sharp in 1918 from English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians (1932, no. 152; with tune).THE GAMBLING MAN (version B) (Sung by Mrs. Clercy Deeton at Mine Fork, Burnsville, N.C., Sept. 19, 1918)

1. My pocketbook full of money,
My friends all a-standing around;
My pocketbook are empty,
And I ain't got a friend to be mine.

2. Last night as I lay on my pillow,
Last night as I lay on my bed,
Last night as I lay on my pillowI
dreamed little Bessy was dead.

3. Go dig me a hole in the meadow,
Go dig me a hole in the ground,
Go dig me a hole in the meadow
When I lie this poor gambler down.

4. The first time I saw darling Corie,
She had a dram glass,
Drinking away her trouble
And a-going with a gambling man.

5. The next time I saw darling Corie,
She had a sweet smile on her face;
Drinking away her troubles
And a-going in another girl's place.

Another printed early version was from the singing of Aunt Molly Jackson and is found in Our Singing Country (John and Alan Lomax, 1941). Mt. Airy, North Carolina, fiddler Tommy Jarrell remembered the tune "going around" the Round Peak area (where he grew up) around 1915 or 1916, and became quite popular with the younger folk.

Little Maggie and Darlin' Corey are similar songs. Some of the lyrics appear in both songs. The chords are frequently played the same but the melody of each song is distinctly different. The Darlin' Corey songs have the "Dig a hole" verse, and the revenuers (or highway robbers) verse. The last verse was found in the Monroe Brothers recordings done in the 1930s; it's also in the Aunt Molly Jackson version.

There are 20 lyric versions and more info on my web-site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/fiddle.html


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