September 2015 - "All The Good Times Are Past and Gone"

This month's tune is a traditional ballad called "All the Good Times Are Past and Gone". David discovered that this melody also went by the name of "Six Months Ain't That Long A Time". The exact origins of the tune are unknown, although we know that it pre-dates the Civil War. It is a mainstay in old-time music circles, and since the Monroe Brothers recorded it in the 1950's, it has also become popular at Bluegrass gatherings.

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In the late 1990's, with the help of his good friend Sandy Conatser, David started researching the history, mystery, and revival of the Tennessee Music Box. These were rectangular boxes, usually 27"-28" long, 10"-11" wide, and 3"-4" deep. The raised fingerboard is a solid piece of wood about 1.5" high and wide, glued on top of the sound box. The frets were often made out of staples, usually extending under only the first string. The tuners were often fashioned out of eye screws. They were usually played with a noter on the frets, while the strings were either finger-picked, or sometimes bowed. While to many observers, these instruments may appear to be rather crude and primitive, they are capable of a wonderfully full and rich tone. David spent the last several years of his life unearthing and cataloging these instruments, and restored many of them to playable condition. In 1997, David released a solo recording entitled "Tennessee Music Box", which features these instruments on several of the cuts. The opening cut on that album is his arrangement of "All the Good Times Are Past and Gone", performed on one of these restored instruments.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video of David singing and playing this tune on a music box:

This is a 5-part arrangement, starting with a basic "drone version" reminiscent of the sound of the music box.   The other parts add backup chords, harmony, counter melody, and 2 chord melody versions.   So find a few friends, and enjoy!

Lyrics

I wish to the Lord I'd never been born
Or died when I was young
I never would have seen your sparkling blue eyes
Or heard your lying tongue

Chorus:

All the good times are past and gone
All the good times are o'er
All the good times are past and gone
Little darling don't you weep no more

Don't you see that passenger train
Coming around the bend
It's taking me away from this lonesome old town
Never to return again

Don't you see that lonesome dove
Flying from pine to pine
He's mourning for his own true love
Just like I mourn for mine

Come back, come back, my own true love
And stay awhile with me
If ever I've had a friend in this world
You've been a friend to me.

Tull Glazener