Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Greenbriar Boys

Stewball

First recorded by Lead Belly (1940).
Also recorded by Woody Guthrie (1944), Lonnie Donegan (1956), The Weavers (1960), John Herald & The Greenbriar Boys (1961).
Hit version by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #35/MOR #17 1963).

From the wiki: “There are two major but different arrangements of the sporting ballad, generally titled either ‘Skewball’ or ‘Stewball’; the latter spelling is more popular in America. Versions date at least as far back as the 18th century. In most versions of ‘Stewball’ the winning horse triumphs due to the stumbling of the lead horse; ‘Skewball’ wins simply by being the faster horse in the end. The oldest broadside identified with the ballad is dated 1784 and is held by the Harding Collection of the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. The song spread to America by 1829 when it was published in a songbook in Hartford. American versions were sung and adapted by slaves in the Southern United States, and have ‘Stewball’ racing in California, Texas, or Kentucky.

Different Drum

Originally recorded by The Greenbriar Boys (1966).
Hit version by The Stone Poneys (US #13 1967).
Also recorded by Michael Nesmith, composer (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Different Drum’ is a classic song written by Mike Nesmith in 1965 (also copyrighted that year) and originally recorded by the northern bluegrass band the Greenbriar Boys and included on their 1966 album, Better Late than Never!. The song reached a wider audience when Nesmith rushed through a version of it in a comedy bit while pretending to be Billy Roy Hodstetter, in The Monkees television show episode “Too Many Girls”, which aired in December 1966.

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