Old-Time Mountain Song
There’s a place in Tennessee, just across the line,
No one ever goes up there, it’s too rough a climb,
You won’t find the name or place wrote on any map,
Folks down here ’round Shelton’s Trace calls it White Oak Flats.
Hazel Taylor was my wife, and I loved her so,
We was married on Shelton’s Trace, fifteen years ago,
Now I lie here all alone, wonderin’ on the past,
Wonderin’ why she left our home to go to White Oak Flats.
I don’t know how he looked at her, I don’t know what he said,
I don’t know what he could have done, to turn poor Hazel’s head,
Never in her darkest hour, could she imagine that,
She’d agree to go with him, up to White Oak Flats.
I can see the rocky trail up the mountain side,
I can see poor Hazel, now, lying by his side,
Folks down here still talks about how it come to pass,
Nothing but the silence now, up on White Oak Flats
Hazel Tighrow is a woman born far back in the Appalachian Mountains, in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. who explodes all the stereotypes. Where she “should” be an unlettered drudge, ready to marry young, and produce ten children, she is, instead, a reflective, self-taught, well-read, and sensitive young woman, who desperately wants the freedom to grow into herself.
Still, because she is so aware, she knows whence she comes, and tries to fit-in as best she can. She eventually marries a caring young man, George Taylor, and does what she can to settle-in to the life of the mountains.
Listen to the author’s recording of the White Oak Flats song played on a fretless gourd-banjo, in the old two-finger style on YouTube.