Rich October Skies

I used the phrase “bright, blue, mid-October skies” in the preceding post. That reminds me of one of my favorite Carter Family songs,* A.P. Carter’s “School House on the Hill,” the third verse of which ends in the evocative phrase “rich October skies”:

Fond memory paints its scenes of other years
Bring me their memory still
And bright amid those joyous scenes of years
The schoolhouse on the hill

Oh, the schoolhouse that stands upon the hill
I never, never can forget
Dear happy days are gathered ’round me still
I never, no never can forget

There hangs the swing upon the maple tree
Where you and I once swung
There flows the spring, forever flowing free
As when we both were young

Oh, the schoolhouse that stands upon the hill
I never, never can forget
Dear happy days are gathered ’round me still
I never, no never can forget

There climbs the vines and there the berries grow
Which once would rise so high
And there the ripe nuts glistened in the grove
Of rich October skies

Oh, the schoolhouse that stands upon the hill
I never, never can forget
Dear happy days are gathered ’round me still
I never, no never can forget

The song was first recorded on June 17, 1933, in Camden, New Jersey, by A.P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter. And here they are:


Standing, A.P. and Sara; seated, Maybelle.

Here’s a snippet of the Carters’ original recording. And here’s a longer but, unfortunately, incomplete excerpt of a recording made by Jim Watson, Mike Craver, and the late Tommy Thompson of the original Red Clay Ramblers. The excerpt is from a 1980 album, Meeting in the Air, in which Watson, Craver, and Thompson performed 14 original Carter Family pieces. If the Ramblers’ rendition of “School House. . .” doesn’t bring a lump to your throat, you’re too young, too citified, or both.
__________
Lyrics of original Carter Family songs are available here and here.