Copper Kettle

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A copper kettle type of moonshine still

"Copper Kettle" (also known as "Get you a Copper Kettle", "In the pale moonlight") is a song composed by Albert Frank Beddoe and made popular by Joan Baez. Pete Seeger's account dates the song to 1946, mentioning its probable folk origin,[1] while in a 1962 Time readers column A. F. Beddoe says[2] that the song was written by him in 1953 as part of the folk opera Go Lightly, Stranger. The song praises the good aspects of moonshining as told to the listener by a man whose "daddy made whiskey, and granddaddy did too". The line "We ain't paid no whiskey tax since 1792" alludes to an unpopular tax imposed in 1791 by the fledgling U.S. federal government. The levy provoked the Whiskey Rebellion and generally had a short life, barely lasting until 1803. Enjoyable lyrics and simple melody turned "Copper Kettle" into a popular folk song.

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  1. ^ Pete Seeger, The Incompleat Folksinger, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1972, pp. 278-279; ISBN 0-8032-9216-3 ISBN 978-0803292161 As quoted at Bob Dylan Roots website:

    In 1946, a tall awkward man came upstairs to the offices of People's Songs and offered to help with the typing. The offer was gratefully accepted. Three days later, we asked his name.

    But what's your last name?
    Just Frank Frank? No middle initial?

    So, Frank O. Frank came to help us, and invaluable help it was, too. A few months later, he said that in his home county, Bexar County, Texas, were some fine songs, and that he had mimeographed a collection of them. Later, it appeared that many were rewritten by him, and some were almost totally original songs, but in any case, they went from hand to hand, and some people sing them now as old folk songs, such as "Get You a Copper Kettle," "See Them Buzzards," and "Quantrell Side." Good songs, folk or Frank.

  2. ^ Letters to the editor. Time. November 30, 1962; Quote:

    Sir: I am extremely thrilled that you printed my song in your folk singing article. I love music and Joan Baez. Copper Kettle was written in 1953 as part of my opera Go Lightly Stranger. A. F. Beddoe, Staten Island, N.Y.

  3. ^ "Gillian Welch + Old Crow Medicine Show - PopMatters Concert Review, PopMatters". Retrieved 2008-12-21. A quote:

    ..Much like Old Crow Medicine Show, Welch and Rawlings betray the influence rock and roll had in shaping their young lives; another incredible Dylan cover was "Copper Kettle", off his absurdly underappreciated album Self Portrait...

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