Author: Daniel, Bert

Rain Songs

You've heard of Hank Williams's pain songs and Jerry Jeff's train songs. As I write this column, I'm preparing to leave for my annual pilgrimage to Turlock. I can hear the rain coming down outside and I'm hoping my new tent won't leak. I've yet to experience significant rain at a bluegrass event and I wish my luck would hold out. But one way or the other, I'm determined to go have fun anyway.

My old friend Clarence, who taught me how to fly cast, used to extoll the virtues of his adopted home, the Pacific Northwest. It almost made me want to move up there right then when I'd hear him talk about the great fishing and backpacking they have. But constant rain tends to get me down and I pointed that out to him.

"Oh, but it's a DRY rain. It's a dry rain," he'd say. I thought about that for a while and it didn't sound so bad after all. Then I started to think: exactly what does that mean? So I asked him. "That means you just don't pay any attention to it. You put on some warm dry layers and you just go out and do what you want to do anyway."

Well if rain is what's in store for the Turlock campers this year, I hope we can all remember Clarence's good advice. Maybe what we need are some good rain songs for jamming. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) It's Raining, Raining Here This Morning, written by Louis M. Jones ("Grandpa" Jones)

"It's raining, raining, raining here this morning as I sit in jail and hang my head in shame
With a smile I try to greet each early dawning. But they've given me a number for my name.
Many little raindrops are falling close to me.
Makes all the streams and rivers as muddy as can be.
It's raining, raining,raining here this morning
As the Mississippi flows on to the sea."

2) I Wonder Where You Are Tonight (J. Bond)

"That old rain is cold and slowly falling
Upon my window pane tonight
And, though your love grows even colder
I wonder where you are tonight"

(3) Little Cabin Home on the Hill (B. Monroe and L. Flatt)

"Just listen to the rain
Beat on my window pane
In our little cabin home on the hill"

(4) Rain (Richard Betts)

"Rain, Rain, Rain, you're lonesome company
But it's just you and me tonight
Rain, Rain, Rain, sing your song to me
It won't be long 'till the morning light"

(5) Storms Are on the Ocean (traditional)

"The storms are on the ocean
The heavens may cease to be
This world may lose its motion, Love
If I prove false to thee.

(6) Rain and Snow (traditional)

"Rain and snow. Oh, good Lord
Put me out in the cold rain and snow"

(7) Galveston Flood (John Duffey)

"Wasn't that a mighty storm
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning
Wasn't that a mighty storm
It blew all the people away."

Hopefully we won't be playing in a hurricane any time soon. But who knows, maybe you'll have heard a few of these tunes at Turlock this year. If you're unfamiliar with some of the above tunes here are some performers who you can check to be ready for your next soggy campout: (1) Blake and Rice; (2) Jim & Jesse; (3) Bluegrass Boys; (4) Dickey Betts (with Vassar Clements and the Rambos replacing the rest of Allman Brothers); (5) Carter Family; (6) Old and in the Way (7) Tony Rice.

And remember, If you get tired of rain songs, you can always change the pace with something like "Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day."
Posted:  4/17/2012

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