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Cumberland Gap

Written by TraditionalUnreleased song

Last updated on June 30, 2024

Related sessions

This song was recorded during the following studio sessions:

From Wikipedia:

“Cumberland Gap” is an Appalachian folk song that likely dates to the latter half of the 19th century and was first recorded in 1924. The song is typically played on banjo or fiddle, and well-known versions of the song include instrumental versions as well as versions with lyrics. A version of the song appeared in the 1934 book, American Ballads and Folk Songs, by folk song collector John Lomax. Woody Guthrie recorded a version of the song at his Folkways sessions in the mid-1940s, and the song saw a resurgence in popularity with the rise of bluegrass and the American folk music revival in the 1950s. In 1957, British musician Lonnie Donegan had a Top 10 hit with a skiffle version of “Cumberland Gap”.

The song’s title refers to the Cumberland Gap, a mountain pass in the Appalachian Mountains at the juncture of the states of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. The gap was used in the latter half of the 18th century by westward-bound migrants travelling from the original 13 American colonies to the Trans-Appalachian frontier. During the U.S. Civil War (1861–1865), Union and Confederate armies engaged in a year-long back-and-forth struggle for control of the gap. […]

In 1974, while filming the “One Hand Clapping” documentary, Paul McCartney recorded an acoustic guitar version of “Cumberland Gap” in the backyard of the EMI Studios at Abbey Road. This track remains unreleased.

Paul McCartney rehearsed this song in anticipation of his 1991 “Unplugged” concert. This rehearsal was officially broadcast as part of the Oobu Joobu radio show.


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

Paul McCartney writing

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