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I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling: Music Clips and Liner Notes

TRACK LIST

MY GEORGIA MOUNTAIN HOME
Written by Alton Stitcher/Eula Stitcher/Marshall Hannah
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

     Alton and his friend Marshall Hannah began writing this song together in the 1950s. When Stitcher performed it on live radio broadcast in 2002, the show’s host, Steve Sedberry, suggested that he add more verses. Alton’s wife Eula promptly composed three additional verses.

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WHEN IT’S TIME FOR THE WHIPPOORWILL TO SING
Written by Alton Delmore
(Vidor Publications, Inc. BMI)

     First recorded by the Delmore Brothers in 1940, Alton performed this oft-requested romantic ballad on his radio programs later in the decade with Myrtle Gable, the Craven Twins, and Frances Ashmore.

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MODEL-T LOVE
Written by Alton Stitcher/Helen Gable Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

    Alton’s first wife, Helen, composed the lyrics to this tale of “rough and rocky” courtship.

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BABES IN THE WOODS
Traditional

     The first time that he taught himself to play on harmonica when he was seven years old, Stitcher recalls that “I learned that from a school teacher of mine when I was in about the third grade. She was the only teacher we ever had that would sing to us.” Also known as ‘Children in the Woods,’ this melancholy English ballad has been traced back to the 1600s.

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THAT’S MY BABY
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

     One of Alton’s earliest compositions, it remains his favorite. His 1959 home recording of the song, which features Uncle John Patterson on banjo, has been released on the CD, “Everybody’s Tuned to the Radio: Rural Music Traditions in West Georgia, 1947-1979.”

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LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD
Written by Septimus Winner
(Public Domain)

    One of the “old folks song” Alton heard his older brother and sister singing a lot when he was a kid was actually composed for the minstrel stage in 1855 by Septimus Winner, a professional songwriter from Philadelphia.

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I FEEL LIKE TRAVELING ON
Written by William Hunter
(Public Domain)

     Previously recorded by the Blue Sky Boys and Reno and Smiley, among others.

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OLD DAN TUCKER
Traditional

     A minstrel song from the early 1800s that became a popular dance tune throughout the South, Alton remembers hearing it played and sung by relatives when he was a young boy. This recording feature Alton playing guitar and harmonica on a wire rack at the same time.


ALONE AND BLUE
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

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REMEMBER ME (WHEN THE CANDLELIGHTS ARE GLEAMING)
Written by Scott Wiseman
(Universal-Songs of Polygram International Inc. BMI)

     Scott Wiseman, of the popular 1930s duo Lulu Belle and Scotty, wrote this and ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,’ two of country music’s all-time classic sentimental love songs. It was one of the most requested songs by listeners to Alton’s radio programs.

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ONLY YOU
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

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PRODIGAL SON
Author unknown, copyright control

     After he heard a friend singing this variation on a familiar biblical theme, Stitcher added it to his own repertoire.

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MY LITTLE DARLING
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

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SWEET MEMORIES
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

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WHEN HEAVEN COMES DOWN
Written by Johnny Bailes/Al Robinson
(Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music. BMI)

     Reflecting the pervasive role of fundamentalist religion in the lives of country music audiences and performers, it was a standard practice for hillbilly acts to include a gospel song or two on their radio programs. Alton was no exception.

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MY RED ROSE HAS TURNED TO WHITE
Written by Alton Stitcher/Lance Hart
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

Back in the 1950s, Lance Hart, a co-worker of Alton’s from Lawler Hosiery Mill gave him this poem to put to music.

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FROGGIE WENT A-COURTIN’
Traditional

Variations on this well-known children’s song have been traced back to the British Isles in the 16th century. Alton learned it from his brother. An earlier recording of Stitcher and Marshall Hanah performing this song on Hannah’s WLBB program circa 1960 is available on “Everybody’s Tuned to the Radio.”

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RED RIVER VALLEY
Traditional

Like so many of the traditional numbers in his repertoire, Alton learned this 19th century ballad from his older brother Arlin.

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JUST AN OLD CHIMNEY STACK
Written by Hoyt Bryant
(Peer International Corp. BMI)

In the days of live radio, country performers usually opened and closed their programs with a short theme song. Alton’s radio theme was written by Georgia guitarist Thomas H. “Slim” Bryant and first recorded by Clayton McMichen’s Wildcats in 1938.

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KENTUCKY
Written by Carl Davis
(Warner Bros. Music. ASCAP)

First recorded by Karl and Harty in 1938, the song became a hit for the Blue Sky Boys in 1947. Around this same time, Stitcher began performing it on his own program. This home recording was previously released on “Everybody’s Tuned to the Radio.”

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WILDWOOD FLOWER
Written by M. Irving/J.D. Webster
(Public Domain)

This nineteenth-century parlor song was later popularized by the Carter Family.

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THEY CALL ME A DREAMER
Written by Alton Stitcher
(Gaping Maw Music. BMI)

This 1959 home recording of the first song Alton wrote features the banjo playing of Uncle John Patterson, with whom he occasionally performed on the radio or at personal appearances. Something of a folk legend in West Georgia, Patterson parlayed his popularity as a musician into two terms as Carroll County’s representative to the Georgia State Legislature, from 1968-1972. During the 1970s he recorded an LP released on Arhoolie Records as well as some 45s for local labels. Uncle John passed away in 1980.

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AS LONG AS I LIVE
Written by Roy Acuff
(Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music. BMI)

The Silver Dew Melody Boys were reunited for a day when Alton and his old friend Lee Williams recorded this and a couple of other songs at Stitcher’s house.

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HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU
Written by Scott Wiseman
(Universal-Duchess Music Corp. BMI)

Alton’s home recordings with Elizabeth Cooper were made during the period when they were performing together on WLBB in the early 1960s. Their duet on Bill Monroe’s ‘I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling’ was released on “Everybody’s Tuned to the Radio.”

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WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE
Written by Philip P. Bliss
(Public Domain)

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I DREAMED I SEARCHED HEAVEN FOR YOU
Written by James D. Vaughan/Mary Ethel Weiss
(Public Domain)

Another of the sacred ballads that Alton often performed on the radio.

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THE FOX
Traditional

Unlike most of the traditional folk songs he knows, Alton learned this one, also known as ‘The Fox is on the Town’ from a recording by Burle Ives rather than oral transmission.

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THE STRAWBERRY ROAN
From a poem by Curley Fletcher
(Public Domain)

This cowboy ballad is based on Curley Fletcher’s poem “The Outlaw Brocho,” first printed in an Arizona newspaper in 1915 and later set to music by a person or persons unknown. By the early 1920s it was being sung all over the southwest and as far north as the Dakotas. Alton learned it from his older brother. He vividly recollects one Saturday afternoon in the 1930s when he was hanging out on the streets of Griffin, guitar in hand. Just killing time, he began singing “The Strawberry Roan” and right away found himself drawing a rather different audience than he was accustomed to. Overhearing his impromptu performance, the inebriated patrons exiting the nearby barrooms began clamoring for one sad song after another. As Alton recalls, “you’d take people that’s drinking back then, if they had a dollar in their pocket and somebody was singin’ a song they liked, they’d take it out and give their last dollar to them. By the time we got ready to go I had a pocket full of money. I had more money than I’d make in a week at the mills.” Laughing about the incident nearly seventy years later, Alton joked “I thought about goin’ back up there and doin’ it again sometime. See if some of them drunks are still there.”

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