This country music section provides a bumper crop of many nice cave-inspired songs. In the 1920s when country music was first recorded they called it Old Time music. Then in the 30s when Western Swing came along with western musical films the music got to be called Country an' Western. Down through the years Country music has always been extremely popular among American cavers east of the Mississippi. Understandibly, southeastern US cavers find caves in the very country where this music is present at every level of the culture.
The Floyd Collins ballads stand out as not only the earliest country records with a cave theme but also as important documents for the study of the Floyd Collins tragedy in all its aspects, especially the social and emotional impact that this event had on people. For all American cavers from coast to coast from generation to generation, Floyd Collins is remembered as a great caver, one of the very finest. And we are proud to have Floyd celebrated in song.
These Floyd Collins ballads have been broken down into a handful of groupings. The various versions of Andrew Jenkins’ first and most famous ballad have been divided into three sections: early recordings (in two parts), 1925 to 1930, and later recordings, 1930 to 2005. The string band variants of this ballad, Floyd Collins Waltz, and the piano rolls versions are listed apart. Other entirely different ballads inspired by this event are placed separately, including the 1997 musical, Floyd Collins.
Bluegrass music offers some very nice pieces and this includes Tommy Magness’ classic, Natural Bridge Blues, which had several different versions.
Country music such as we know it today also provides many great songs, some very obscure but well worth hearing. Jack Clement’s outstanding classic, Miller’s Cave, was first released in 1960 and has gone on to be covered by numerous well-known country singers. A total of 40 different versions are listed here (including one by the song composer himself) covering the period from 1960 to 2005 and all have been divided into two sections: early recordings 1960 to 1969 and late recordings 1970 to 2004.
Finally, six versions of the controversial cow-punk song, Country Death Song, by the Violent Femmes have been listed. Strict fans of country music will highly object to the inclusion of this song under country music. But for various reasons mentioned in the introduction to this song it was felt justified to include it here.
Beginning with the Floyd Collins ballads right through to Miller’s Cave, the music has been broken down into the different genres of country music – old time, bluegrass, and country. Within these sections, subheadings were established for specific songs that had several versions.
Each entry was given a code number – starting with “CY” meaning country music followed by the category of country music.
The complete song lyrics are provided for all the entries. These lyrics will be found in “Country Music Lyrics” section (tab on bottom left).
The list of abbreviations used for each entry will be found in the “Abbreviations” tab on the bottom left.