Doc Watson on the Cicada Concert

Doc Watson (right, with Tom Ashley), courtesy of Wilson Library's Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Doc Watson on the Cicada Concert

by R.T. Smith
Southern Cultures, Vol. 12, No. 4: Music 2006

"I wish they'd get tired of tuning and play."

They seem to think they have something to say,
those locusts high in your circle of pines.
I wish they’d get tired of tuning and play.

I can’t tell if it’s murder or chivaree.
You know it’s mountain. Listen at the whine.
They seem to think they have something to say.

You think they’d hurry; they live about a day
to marry and leave a hollow shell behind.
I wish they’d get tired of tuning and play.

“Shady Grove,” “Omie Wise,” “Gypsy Davy,”
anything with blue chords and a sober shine.
They seem to think they have something to say

about life’s sweet desperation. The way
they hover, praying whilst they die and dine,
I wish they’d get tired of tuning and play

a ghost song or ballad. If you ask me,
an old time melody’s not hard to find.
They seem to think they have something to say.
I wish they’d get tired of tuning and play.