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Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)

DigiTrad:
A PICTURE FROM LIFE'S OTHER SIDE
AS I GO RAMBLING ROUND
BELLE STARR
BOUND FOR GLORY
CLEAN-O
DEPORTEES
DO RE MI
DUST PNEUMONIA
EL DO RE MI
GAMBLER
HARD TRAVELIN'
HARD, AIN'T IT HARD
HIGHWAY 66 BLUES
I AIN'T GOT NO HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE
I'M GONNA MAIL MYSELF TO YOU
JACKHAMMER JOHN
JESUS CHRIST
JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
LIFEBELT WASHED UP ON THE SHORE
LUDLOW MASSACRE
MEAN TALKING BLUES
MRS. ROOSEVELT
NINE HUNDRED MILES
OKLAHOMA HILLS
PASTURES OF PLENTY
POOR LAZARUS
PRETTY BOY FLOYD
RAMBLING ROUND
RANGER'S COMMAND
RED WINE
ROLL ON COLUMBIA
ROLL ON THE DAY
SHIP IN THE SKY
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
TALKING BLUES
TALKING DUST BOWL BLUES
THE 1913 MASSACRE
THE BLINDING OF ISAAC WOODARD
THE GRAND COULEE DAM
THE LADIES' AUXILIARY
THE PHILADELPHIA LAWYER
THE SINKING OF THE REUBEN JAMES
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
THOSE BROWN EYES
TOM JOAD
UNION MAID
WHY OH WHY


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GUEST,JK23 08 Feb 14 - 08:40 AM
Lighter 08 Feb 14 - 10:32 AM
Lighter 08 Feb 14 - 10:41 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 14 - 01:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 14 - 01:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 14 - 03:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 14 - 03:48 PM
Lighter 08 Feb 14 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,JK23 08 Feb 14 - 05:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 14 - 07:12 PM
Lighter 08 Feb 14 - 07:41 PM
Lighter 08 Feb 14 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,JK23 08 Feb 14 - 11:23 PM
Lighter 09 Feb 14 - 08:59 AM
Lighter 27 Feb 14 - 02:34 PM
Lighter 12 Mar 14 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Dalillama 13 Mar 14 - 01:01 AM
Lighter 18 Mar 14 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,mayomick 18 Mar 14 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,mayomick 18 Mar 14 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,JK23 18 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 19 Mar 14 - 08:10 PM
Rapparee 19 Mar 14 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,Ciaran 16 May 14 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,mayo mick 17 May 14 - 01:29 PM
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Subject: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: GUEST,JK23
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 08:40 AM

Mining the excellent Mudcat brain for insight regarding origin and/or predecessors to Guthrie's Ranger's Command. I'm aware of several recordings: Joan Baez, Cisco Houston, the Hillmen, and others. It doesn't seem related to old songs about the Texas Rangers I'm aware of, and the "fair maiden" in Woody's song appeard to be a rip-snorter - unusual in this type of western song. She "drinks that hard liquor from a cold bitter cup: and rouses the cowboys out of bed to "fight for their land." Kind of a modernist take, yet Woody and most others have sung it in an older, pre-commercial form. Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 10:32 AM

Surprisingly this song seems not to have been very well known in "tradition." There are three texts in Vance Randolph's "Folk Songs of the Ozarks." There's another in Margaret Larkin's "The Singing Cowboy," but she got it from Randolph.

The version in Mellinger E. Henry's "Songs Sung in the Southern Appalachians" is called "The Death of a Maiden Fair."

One of Randolph's sources told him the song was already "old" in 1893, but John Lomax's extensive "Cowboy Songs" (1910, 1916) doesn't have it.

Guthrie presumably adapted the words from Larkin and set his own very effective tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 10:41 AM

Randolph and Larkin call it "A Fair Lady of the Plains." A version with the same title appears in Moore and Moore's "Ballads and Folksongs of the Southwest."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 01:16 PM

Randolph and Guthrie versions in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 01:49 PM

Lyr. Add: FAIR LADY OF THE PLAINS
Notebook of Edwin Pope Piper, State University of Iowa.

There was a fair lady who lived on the plains,
She stayed with me through the long steady rains;
She stayed with me through the long roundup
And drank with me from the poor bitter cup.
She drank the red liquor that affects a man's soul,
She was a fair lady, just white as the snow.

I taught her the tricks at the cowboy's command,
To use a six-shooter in each one of her hands,
To use a six-shooter and never to run
As long as there was a load left in her gun.

We camped in the canyon the following year,
We stayed there that summer with a herd of fat steer;
'Til the Indians came in on us at the dead hour of night,
She arose from her pillow all ready to fight;
She arose from her pillow with a gun in each hand
Saying, "Come all you brave cowboys, we must win this fair land!"

So loud rolled the thunder and down came the rain
And in came in a bullet that dashed out her brain.
I jumped in my saddle to battle, to fight,
For the Indians had murdered my dear loving wife.

No. 42, pages 120-121, with musical score. Also another close version sung by Joan O'Bryant, from the 42 volumes of the Fife American Collection; also recorded by Kathy Dagel.
No dates are given.

Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, 1969, "Cowboy and Western Songs, A Comprehensive Anthology; Bramhall House, New York.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 03:42 PM

Randolph reports a similar song from the novel, "A two-Gun Cyclone," by B. E. Denton, 1927, p. 142.
A Missouri text by Randolph was published in 1930 in "The Arcadian Magazine."
Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 2, p. 199-203.

Lyr. Add: THE COW GIRL
Sung by Howard Spurlock, KY, recorded by A. and E. Lomax 1937

A pretty fair maiden all out on the plains,
Who helped me herd cattle through hail storm, and rains.

She helped me herd cattle whatever were done,
She'd drink her corn whiskey from the cold bitter cup.

She'd drink her corn whiskey and swing her lasso,
As fine as a lily, as white as the snow.

We camped in the canyon in the fall of the year,
To feed Uncle Sam's soldiers a herd of fat steers.

I taught her the language of a cowboy's command,
To hold her six-shooter in each little hand;

To hold a six-shooter and never to run,
As long as a bullet was let in her gun.

The Indians broke over us one dark stormy night,
Sprang from the valley, sprang out for a fight;

Sprang from the valley with a gun in each hand,
"Come all you brave cowboys, let's save our dear land."

It thundered, it lightninged and down fell the rain,
Along came a bullet and dashed out her brains.

I left her layin' in a furrin land,
And how I done it I can't understand.

In a grave that I dug way out in the West,
The cow girl sleeps in the home of the blest.

Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress.
No. 64, p. 140, no musical score.
Austin and Alta Fife, 1970, Ballads of the Great West; American west Publishing Co., Palo Alto.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 03:48 PM

Ola Belle Reed and Family (Rounder, 1977) used the same title as Guthrie, "Ranger's Command."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 04:38 PM

Here's a more recent one:

http://www.davefredrickson.net/fair_maid_from_the_plains.htm


And Mellinger E. Henry's version:

                      DEATH OF A MAIDEN FAIR
"Obtained from Miss Rachel Tucker, Varnell, Georgia, December, 1930. Miss Tucker is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Harmon, formerly of Cade's Cove, Tennessee.

1. There was a fair maiden;
She lived on the plains;
She helped me herd cattle
Through the cold rain and snow.

2.She help me herd cattle
The year in and up;
She would take a drink with me
From the strong whisky cup.

3. She drink as strong whisky
That effects a man's soul;
She help me herd cattle
Through the cold rain and snow.

4.I learned her the cow trade,
A ranger's command,
How to hold a six-shooter
In a neat little hand.

5. How to hold a six-shooter
And never to run
As long as she had a bullet
Or a load for her gun.

8. We camp by the canyon
In the fall of the year;
We stood there one season
With a herd of fat steers.

7. The red skins broke on us
In the middle of the night.

8.She arose from her bed
With a gun in each hand:
'Come, all of you young cowboys,
Let's win this fair land.'

9. Loud roared the thunder
And down came the rain;
In come a stray bullet
And blew out her brains."

10. I jumped in my saddle
And this was the cry:
"Come, all of you young cowboys,
Right here we must die,
For these redskins has murdered
My dear, darling wife."

Theodore Garrison. "Forty-Five Folk Songs Collected from Searcy County Arkansas," Mid-America Folklore, Vol. 30, Fall 2002, pp. 167-168:

                              THE FAIR LADY

Sung by Mrs. Daisy Turner of Zack, Arkansas, in July, 1942.

There was a fair lady,
Lived out on the plain;
She'd help me herd cattle
Through slow, steady rain.

She'd help me heard cattle
All through the round-up;
She'd drink her red liquor
From a full, brimming cup.

She'd drink her red liquor;
It would affect her own soul.
There was a fair lady
As white as the snow.

We camped at the stock yard
In the fall of the year;
Stayed all of the winter
In the herd of the steers.

The Indians would attack us
Mid-hours of the night;
She owuld rise from her warm bed
The battle to fight.

She would rise from her warm bed;
Now loud she would cry,
"Come, all you brave cowboys,
Right here we must die!"

Loud roared the thunder,
Down poured the rain.
Then came astray bullet
And dashed out her brains.

I sprang to my saddle
With a gun in each hand.
Come all you brave cowboys,
Let's win this fair land.

We'll win this fair land
If it costs me my life,
For the Indians have murdered
My darling sweet wife.

Shining bright rifles,
We fed them cold lead,
Till many an Indian
Lay round that shack dead.


Otis Pierce, born 1902 in Douglas Co., Mo., recorded a version he called "Fair Maiden on the Plains" on the LP "Every Bush and Tree" (Bay 102, 1975).

I've ordered "Two-Gun Cyclone" through my library. Stay tuned.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: GUEST,JK23
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 05:42 PM

Wow, you guys are great. I wasn't aware of the connection with "Fair Lady." Both Spurlock's "Cowgirl" and Tucker's "Death" seem closer to what Woody recorded, yet the woman in both is killled, as she is in Turner's "Fair Lady," while Woody's heroine is vital and rousing the cowboys to get up and fight.It also struck me that though he called his song "Ranger's Command," there's no further reference to rangers than in the second line. What is presented in Tucker's fourth stanza helps clarify for me where that came from. I wonder if there's could be a connection drawn to some of the sea chanty's suck as "Willie Taylor" and the like? Thanks for all your expertise and help here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 07:12 PM

Lighter, looking forward to what you find in "Two-Gun Cyclone." This book seems to be the recollections of a Texas cowboy, privately printed.

I wonder if other songs are mentioned or quoted.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 07:41 PM

Will let you know, Q. It should take about ten days.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 08:28 PM

Since Guthrie was "discovered" by Alan Lomax in 1940, it may be that Spurlock's recording rather than Randolph-Larkin is what inspired him.

Too bad we can't compare the tunes with a trip to the Library of Congress.

Guthrie recorded "Ranger's Command" in 1944.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: GUEST,JK23
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 11:23 PM

B. E. Denton was also a showman with Buffalo Bill Cody's show. Ramon Adams wrote a story "Billy the Kid's Lost Years" in the Sept. 1929 Texas Monthly based on an interview with Denton. He claims Billy the Kid taught him how to use two guns. The book looks like an interesting read.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 08:59 AM

Adams wrote in "The Rampaging Herd" that he'd known Denton well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command, Woody Guthrie
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Feb 14 - 02:34 PM

Sorry to report that my library has been unable to obtain a copy of "Two-Gun Cyclone."

If that changes, I'll refresh the thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 09:58 PM

Through a miracle of electronics, the library has provided me with a scan of "A Two-Gun Cyclone." It's a colorful read all right.

Denton gives full texts (no tunes) of three songs: "The Death of Utah Carroll," "Sioux Indians," and "Death of a Maiden Fair" (p.142):

There was a maiden fair, who lived on the plains,
She helped me herd the cattle, through cold storms and rains.
She helped me herd the cattle through one whole roundup,
And she drunk red liquor from the cold and bitter cup.

She drunk the red liquor which affected a man's soul;
She was fair as a lily and as pure as the snow.
We taught her the trademark, by the rangers' command,
To hold a six-shooter in each of her hands.


Will post the two other songs shortly.
To hold a six-shooter and never to run
As long as a bullet was in each of her guns.
We camped in the canyon in the fall of the year,
Intendin' to stay there with a herd of fat steers.

The Indians approached us in the hour of midnight--
She rose from her warm bed with a gun in each hand.
Come all you brave cowboys, let's win this fair land,
A keen clap of thunder and down came the rain.

In came a bullet and dashed out her brain.
I dashed in my saddle with a gun in each hand,
Come all you brave cowboys, let's win this fair land,
Come, all you brave cowboys, if it takes your life--
For they have murdered my intended wife.



Will post the two other songs shortly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,Dalillama
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 01:01 AM

Bookmarking this thread. I have a recording of someone singing the first three lines of "The Death of Utah Carroll," and I've been trying for 20 years to find the rest of the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 06:48 PM

For Benton's version of "Utah Carl's Last Ride," see the thread "Death of Utah Carroll."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 06:58 PM

The tune is Stewball/ Skewball.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 06:58 PM

The tune is Stewball/ Skewball.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,JK23
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM

Great work, guys. It's interesting how Guthrie changed the focus of the song from bad Indians and tragic love to feminine heroics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 08:10 PM

A very good and important discussion of a fine song.

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 09:01 PM

I've heard that sung to the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike." That was in a bar in Dillon or Ennis, Montana.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,Ciaran
Date: 16 May 14 - 07:20 PM

Did i not read about it in a Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie bio that he heard it from a library of congress recording ?

hence the reference above. Ive emailed a congress folkore archivist/librarian and he disagreed


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ranger's Command (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,mayo mick
Date: 17 May 14 - 01:29 PM

Woodie Guthrie singing Stewball and Rangers Command
http://www.musictory.com/music/Woody+Guthrie/Stewball



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FznriVNbWCI&feature=kp


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