August 28

The Story Behind the Appalachian Folk Song “Good Old Mountain Dew”

Bascom Lamar Lunsford
Bascom Lamar Lunsford with a Banjo Photo Credit: https://www.madisoncounty-nc.com

What makes an old song great is the story behind it. One of the known folk songs that became a standard song recorded by many artists is the song “Good Old Mountain Dew.” The Appalachian folk song was written in 1928. There were two versions of this song, the first version was written in 1928 and the second was in 1935.

The Story Behind the Song

Bascom Lamar Lunsford first wrote the song in 1928. Lunsford is an attorney, however, he is very fond of folk songs. He left his job as a lawyer in order to collect folk songs from people who know it best. Before that, his profession as a lawyer was the reason why he wrote the song. Alcoholic beverage can be purchased freely, as long as you are of legal age. But before, it was illegal to purchase any alcoholic beverages. During Lunsford’s time, he represented a man on the court because he was illegally making whiskey called Moonshine. This frequent experience of Lunsford led him to write the song “Good Old Mountain Dew.”

The Second Version of the Song

In 1935, when the second version of the song was born. Lunsford sold his song to his friend Scotty Wiseman because he needs a ticket to return home. Wiseman bought the song and changed some words in it. In addition, he is such a good person that half of the royalty of the song is given to Lunsford and he credited Lunsford as a co-writer of the song.

Cover Version

“Good Old Mountain Dew” has been recorded by many artists. The following artists who covered the song were Willie Nelson, Grandpa Jones, Glen Campbell, Mother Maybelle, and the Stanley Brothers. Among all of the artists, it was Nelson’s version that made it to the Billboard chart. It placed at No. 23 of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1981.

“The Rare Old Mountain Dew” Vs. “Good Old Mountain Dew”

Some people think that the song “Good Old Mountain Dew” was taken from the Irish Folk song “The Rare Old Mountain Dew.” However, if you listen to the song, there are no similarities between the two.

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Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Folk song, good old mountain dew


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