From the recording Two To Get Ready
© Dale Ann Bradley
Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Gaither-Vaughan: lead vocals, fiddle
Rachel first heard this song courtesy of Pandora, and fairly insisted that the band pick the song up. This true-to-life story was written by Dale Ann Bradley, a Kentucky-born singer/songwriter from the coal-fields of Appalachia and Baptist minister’s daughter who has become one of modern Bluegrass’ finest talents and five-time Female Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year.
And she feared for his life every time his daddy would put him on the run again.
Well, the mountains were a prison for their family of nine - nowhere to go, no place to work unless you crawled down in the mines. And his Momma knew the sound of a man’s lungs turning black, so when Daddy found another way to make a living, it was easy to turn her back.
Now Rufus was the oldest, and he knew Bell County well. He could hunt and fish like any grown man, and take care of himself. So his Daddy put him to running shine when he was just a’ 12 years old. Said, “It may not be the right thing, but it sure beats mining coal.” And she’d say,
“Run, Rufus, run. Run across the mountain, darling. Daddy wants you to take a load of shine to man up near Harlan.” And she feared for his life every time his daddy would put him on the run again. She said, “A boy’s no match for a shotgun blast from the gun of a revenuer man.”
Well one fall night when the moon was bright enough to light his way, Rufus loaded up that old sedan, said I’ll be back before the break of day. But as he turned onto Highway 119 he heard three shotgun blasts. His blood ran cold and he wondered - could this run be his last?
And his Momma never closed her eyes that night when he left home, she tossed and turned and walked the floor praying nothing would go wrong. ’Cause her thoughts were on a stranger that she’d heard about from town - he had a funny talk and a brand new car and been asking around. And she’d say,
“Run, Rufus, run, &c
Oh but Rufus knew those mountain roads like the back of his hand. He could take those curves on two wheels in that beat up old sedan. So he ran ’em up a holler and lost ’em somewhere ’round a’ Williams branch. There was one back road they didn’t know, that revenuer never stood a chance. And she’d say,
“Run, Rufus, run, &c