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Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)

Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Req: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter) (36)
Lyr Add: WTO Song (Don't Fence Me In) (2)


karen jonason 14 May 01 - 04:11 AM
SeanM 14 May 01 - 04:20 AM
Gary T 14 May 01 - 06:16 AM
Dahlin 14 May 01 - 07:42 AM
karen jonason 14 May 01 - 08:31 AM
Gary T 14 May 01 - 08:36 AM
Gary T 14 May 01 - 08:39 AM
Allan C. 14 May 01 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Gary T (lost my cookie--Netscape actin weird 14 May 01 - 09:28 AM
DougR 14 May 01 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Les B. 14 May 01 - 04:48 PM
SeanM 14 May 01 - 05:34 PM
Joe Offer 15 May 01 - 02:40 AM
karen jonason 15 May 01 - 04:04 AM
DougR 15 May 01 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 16 May 01 - 03:40 AM
Alice 26 Jul 01 - 09:12 AM
Alice 30 Jul 01 - 10:24 PM
masato sakurai 06 Nov 01 - 07:09 AM
Gary T 06 Nov 01 - 09:41 AM
DougR 06 Nov 01 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Sheila 17 Nov 07 - 11:34 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 17 Nov 07 - 12:08 PM
van lingle 17 Nov 07 - 12:21 PM
harpmolly 17 Nov 07 - 03:17 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 17 Nov 07 - 04:14 PM
Genie 18 Apr 09 - 08:04 PM
Alice 18 Apr 09 - 08:25 PM
Genie 20 Apr 09 - 02:26 PM
Genie 20 Apr 09 - 02:28 PM
Genie 20 Mar 12 - 09:13 PM
Joe Offer 21 Mar 12 - 02:54 AM
Genie 21 Mar 12 - 04:31 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Mar 12 - 06:33 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Mar 12 - 06:38 AM
Genie 27 Mar 12 - 10:55 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Mar 12 - 01:30 AM
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Subject: Don't fence me in
From: karen jonason
Date: 14 May 01 - 04:11 AM

I would like the lyrics of a version of "Don't fence me in" which pre-dated the one sung by Bing Crosby. From what I have heard, the sentiments were similar to "This land is my land". Anyone know what I mean?


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: SeanM
Date: 14 May 01 - 04:20 AM

PRE dating the Bing version?

Haven't heard about that. The only one that pre-dates it that I'm aware of would be the original version that I believe Roy Rogers used. Actually, I'm blanking right now... I don't think it was Rogers, but it's definitely one of the Singing Cowboys.

Now I'd say it's entirely possible that the song has been rewritten for the purposes you name. The original is fairly anti-development if you care to take it that way to begin with...

M


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: Gary T
Date: 14 May 01 - 06:16 AM

Hmmm. Yes, Roy Rogers sang it in a movie. I have seen an old piece of sheet music with no indication of a verse as described above. There is a verse about the singer's girlfriend wanting to marry him, his reply being "Don't fence me in."


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: Dahlin
Date: 14 May 01 - 07:42 AM

Gene Autry recorded "Don't Fence Me In".


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: karen jonason
Date: 14 May 01 - 08:31 AM

It's possible my original informant about the song was wrong. Maybe the version I am seeking is post-Bing Crosby. Any versions with political meaning would be welcome (I already have the Seattle one)


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: Gary T
Date: 14 May 01 - 08:36 AM

Apparently Roy Rogers sang it in two movies, "Hollywood Canteen" and "Don't Fence Me In." Details here. Gene Autry had the chart hit. Bing Crosby recorded it with the Andrews Sisters (also in "Hollywood Canteen"). I've seen a tape of Bing singing it solo on a TV show, but I don't know if he released a solo recording.

The above link refers to a poem written by Robert Fletcher as the source for the song's lyrics. I haven't found the actual poem yet to see if it might have the verse karen asked about.


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: Gary T
Date: 14 May 01 - 08:39 AM

karen, go to www.google.com and type in "don't fence me in." You'll get thousands of hits (including anything with just the word "don't," just the word "fence," etc.) and might find what you're looking for.


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Subject: ADD: Don't fence me in
From: Allan C.
Date: 14 May 01 - 08:39 AM

Dinah Shore and hundreds of others recorded it as well. Although Bing and the Andrews Sisters had the main hit in 1944, I didn't hear it until years later when I heard it done by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. But perhaps it should be pointed out to those who aren't familiar with the song that this is not a trad song. It was written by (are you ready?) Cole Porter.

DON'T FENCE ME IN
(Cole Porter)

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies.
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.

In the Roy Rogers version, (which I believe was closer to the original text,) the intro lines were:

Wildcat Kelly was lookin' mighty pale
While standin' by the sherrif's side.
And when that sherrif said, "I'm sendin' you to jail."
Wildcat raised his head and cried...

Oh give me land, lots of land...etc.


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: GUEST,Gary T (lost my cookie--Netscape actin weird
Date: 14 May 01 - 09:28 AM

The sources I found gave Robert Fletcher at least partial credit for the words. I think it's questionable whether Cole Porter actually wrote any of the lyrics, although it seems he did write the tune.

The second verse I mentioned above is actually a second intro, all the lyrics that follow it are a repeat of the above. The whole thing can be found here.


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: DougR
Date: 14 May 01 - 01:58 PM

THREAD CREEP TRIVIA! I attended a rodeo in Dublin, Texas with my dad and a couple of friends in the mid-forties. The stock for the rodeo was owned by Gene Autry and Everett Colburn, who owned a ranch near Dublin. Gene Autry was the featured performer with the Cass County Boys. He announced that he was going to sing a song and dedicate it to TOJO, Japan's military leader during WW II. He was dressed in his Warrant Officer's uniform, as he sang "Don't Fence Me In." The crowd loved it.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 14 May 01 - 04:48 PM

Allan C., et al:

Cole Porter didn't write "Don't Fence Me In," he just knew a good song when he heard it and paid a rather naive Bob Fletcher a paltry sum for the song !!

Fletcher worked for the Montana Department of Highways, here in Helena, for several years. He's the one who's famous for writing the verbally colorful 'roadside history' plaques that dotted Montana highways for many years. (Until they were mostly removed in the 1980's because they were not all "politically correct" in reference to American Indians.)

When I worked at the MT Dept. of Highways about 16 years ago, I found several references to Fletcher's career, including his writing of "Don't Fence Me In" in old files.

He apparently sold the song to Porter (I believe in the 1930's) and since Porter "owned" it, he took credit for it. Later, after the song became a hit, Fletcher sought legal advice, and, after some negotiation with Porter's lawyers, he was co-credited with Porter as the song's creator.

The Montana Arts Council used to have an old, poor quality, home recorded tape of Fletcher performing an early version of the song, accompanied by an organ ! It certainly doesn't have the Pizazz that later versions do, but it was recognizable as "Don't Fence Me In" !

So it is Cole Porter via Bob Fletcher !


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: SeanM
Date: 14 May 01 - 05:34 PM

I've always been partial to the version David Byrne did for the 'Red Hot + Blue' benefit album...

But that gets us away from the original question. Anyone have the 'political' version around that was asked for?

Barring that, anyone willing to write one?

M


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Subject: ADD: Don't fence me in (Porter & Fletcher)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 01 - 02:40 AM

Well, I dunno. sounds like Fletcher made a significant contribution to the lyrics, but the finished product seems to be Porter's work. I'm repeating part of what Allan posted above, so the whole song is in proper order.
-Joe Offer-
(from The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, Robert Kimball, 1983)

"Don't Fence Me In"
(Cole Porter & Bob Fletcher)

Published October 1944. After the triumphant launching of Anything Goes at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on November 5, 1934, Porter signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox to provide songs for a film tentatively titled Adios, Argentina. The plot concerned the decision of an orphan girl who had inherited a big cattle spread in Texas to ship her four polo-playing cowboy tutors East to challenge the winner of a polo match between teams from the United States and Argentina. At one point the cowhands, unable to find anyone to accept their challenge, were supposed to burst into song to express their loneliness for the life back on the ranch. Hired presumably for his exceptional talent at writing songs with a distinct Latin flavor, Porter was also expected to write the cowboy song required by producer Lou Brock for this nostalgic moment in the film.

A month earlier Brock had received a book of verse from his friend Bob Fletcher, then employed in Helena, Montana, as Plans and Traffic Engineer for the Montana State Highway Department. In response, Brock wrote of the fancy he had taken to having a song entitled "Don't Fence Me In" in Adios, Argentina and added, "If I use this, will probably have you write or collaborate on the lyrics for the tune, in which event I would want the chorus to start with the words `Don't Fence Me In.'" Fletcher promptly wrote a song. On November 3, Brock wired Fletcher asking him to send a copy of the song care of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, where Brock was staying in his ultimately successful quest to persuade Porter to write the score for the film. Porter signed with Fox on November 14. One week later, Brock asked Fletcher to send a copy of his song to Porter, whom he described as "one of our very best composers, who is rated as high as anyone on Broadway at the present time. Unlike most of the others, he also writes his own lyrics and does not as a rule have anyone collaborating with him. However, he was very much interested in your stuff, and what kind of a deal I can work out with him I do not know as these are matters to press somewhat delicately with a man of his standing."

On November 24, Fletcher sent Porter the lyrics and music for the refrain of "Don't Fence Me In" and some lyrics for a verse. On December 1, Brock wired Fletcher that "Cole Porter wants to buy right to use title and some characteristic words and phrases from your lyrics. Suggest you quote him price two hundred fifty dollars outright. Account Porter's reputation for always doing his own lyrics, believe impractical for him to give you credit. In any event, please wire him your proposition direct immediately and write me what you have done."

Fletcher complied with Brock's request, and Porter accepted the offer, perhaps for the simple reason that his producer had asked him to do so. Whether Porter was unable to write a satisfactory cowboy song is impossible to know. The primary center of musical-comedy production, however, had shifted from Broadway to Hollywood and the opportunities and money were incomparably greater at the Hollywood sound studios. Porter was hopeful that, should he prove to be a "cooperative" creator, the initial assignment from Fox would lead to more exciting and more lucrative offers from the film capital in the future.

The agreement, dated December 11 and signed by both Porter and Fletcher, gave Porter all of Fletcher's rights to the title and lyrics of "Don't Fence Me In" for the sum of $250. The agreement did not apply to Fletcher's music, which Porter did not use in any way. Porter also promised Fletcher that he would do all in his power to see that Fletcher received recognition for the material he sold to Porter.

On January 7, 1935, Porter, acknowledging Fletcher's Christmas gift of a book of his verse, sent Fletcher a copy of "Don't Fence Me In." Advising Fletcher "to keep it carefully under your hat as the music will not be released until next autumn," Porter also wrote, "I have given you credit under the title. Hope you will be pleased with it. Certainly, I am very grateful to you."

A week earlier Porter had gone to the Brunswick studios, where, with the assistance of baritone Edward Nell, pianist Victor Piemonte, and the Anything Goes Foursome Quartet, he had participated as a pianist in recording a complete set of demonstration discs of the six songs he had written for the film: "Adios, Argentina," "The Chinpah," "Don't Fence Me In," "If You Could Love Me," "The Side Car," and "Singing in the Saddle." The records were sent to Lou Brock at the Fox studio in Hollywood, but the picture was never filmed and the score went into the trunk.

Ten years later, "Don't Fence Me In" was pulled off the shelves of Harms, Inc., then owned by Warner Brothers, and used in Hollywood Canteen, where it was sung by Roy Rogers. A best-selling record by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters sent it to the top of the Hit Parade. The song, then published, sold over one million copies and a like number of records. The published version did not acknowledge Bob Fletcher. Porter later stated that this was an "oversight" committed without his knowledge, as he was in the hospital at the time.

A story in the January 22, 1945, issue of Newsweek implied that Fletcher's contribution ("nothing but the title and a couple of words remained at the finish") was minor indeed. This impression has been reiterated by virtually every Porter biographer and almost every article that has appeared about the song. The story was further confused by the rash statements of Fletcher's friends. One of them, a Montana newspaper publisher, printed an editorial accusing Porter of stealing Fletcher's song. Walter Winchell picked up the item, and his version led to people calling Fletcher an "antediluvian cowboy" trying to cash in on Porter's good fortune. Fletcher, of course, had sold the song to Porter outright and had no further claim to it. Nevertheless, Fletcher was quite justified in his disappointment over not receiving credit in the published copies of the song. Porter later made amends for the oversight of his publishers by signing over a portion of the royalties on the song to Fletcher even though he didn't have to.

Still at issue after thirty-five years is the extent of Fletcher's contribution to Porter's lyric. That question can now be answered. Here is Fletcher's original lyric for the refrain of "Don't Fence Me In":
[Fletcher's title not shown]
(Bob Fletcher)

Don't fence me in.
Give me land, lots of land,
Stretching miles across the West,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride where it's wide,
For somehow I like it best.
I want to see the stars,
I want to feel the breeze,
I want to smell the sage,
And hear the cottonwood trees.
Just turn me loose,
Let me straddle my old saddle
Where the shining mountains rise.
On my cayuse
I'll go siftin': I'll go driftin'
Underneath those Western skies.
I've got to get where
The West commences
I can't stand hobbles
I can't stand fences,
Don't fence me in.

And here is Cole Porters' lyric.
DON'T FENCE ME IN
(Cole Porter and Bob Fletcher)

VERSE 1

Wild Cat Kelly, looking mighty pale,
Was standing by the sheriff's side,
And when that sheriff said,
"I'm sending you to jail,"
Wild Cat raised his head and cried:

REFRAIN

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride thru the wide-open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evening breeze,
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever, but I ask you, please,
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose,
Let me straddle my old saddle underneath the Western skies.
On my cayuse,
Let me wander over yonder till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences,
Gaze at the moon till I lose my senses,
Can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences,
Don't fence me in.

VERSE 2

Wild Cat Kelly, back again in town,
Was sitting by his sweetheart's side,
And when his sweetheart said,
"Come on, let's settle down,"
Wild Cat raised his head and cried:

REPEAT REFRAIN


    Note from Joe Offer (30 March 2012): I checked the Kimball book again, and it does indeed say in the first line that the song was published in October 1944. Note, however, that the Kimball book says that Cole Porter sent a copy of "Don't Fence Me In" to Bob Fletcher on January 7, 1935, saying that the song would be published the following autumn. Nonetheless, the Kimball book and the Levy Sheet Music Collection say the song was published in 1944.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WTO SONG (DON'T FENCE ME IN - PARODY)
From: karen jonason
Date: 15 May 01 - 04:04 AM

The Seattle version is as follows, called THE WTO SONG. The second verse was written by my choir leader to make it relevant to the UK:

Oh give me land lots of land lots of cash and lots of power
Don't fence me in
Don't you say I can't pay workers 20 cents an hour
Don't fence me in
I think it's cute to pollute and so if your nation
Bans my toxic product without compensation
I can turn and sue you for expropriation
Don't fence me in

Just turn me loose don't you question an investments that I make in any land
Don't introduce any laws I have to follow but the laws they call supply and demand
The world's a big casino and I want to play so
Leave me here to speculate because I say so
I don't care if it crashes like the peso
Don't fence me in

Oh give me GATS becasue that's what I need for full control
Don't fence me in
I'll be made if I can trade all the services you've sold
Don't fence me in
I want your trains and your drains and privatisation
Of health care, of prisons and of education
It's all in the cause of globalisation
Don't fence me in

Double you tee oh, these 3 letters spell unfettered trade and ought to be your pride
When folks say no to your decisions your can tell them that it really isn't there's to decide
So hand me command just the way I've stated
I can make your job a lot less complicated
Don't you think democracy is overrated
Don't fence me in


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: DougR
Date: 15 May 01 - 04:50 PM

Interesting, Joe, thanks for posting the whole story.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 16 May 01 - 03:40 AM

Fascinating. It may not be folk but it's the Mudcat at its best.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Words for '...Don't fence me in' please
From: Alice
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 09:12 AM

The song was actually first written by a man in Montana, and tweaked by Cole Porter, who reaped the fame and fortune for it.


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Subject: RE: Words for '...Don't fence me in' please
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 10:24 PM

If you search the internet for "Bob Fletcher" or "Robert H. Fletcher", you will find several music sites or Cole Porter sites that note Bob Fletcher's poem being the basis of the song Don't Fence Me In. As my mother related the story to me, a man she referred to as a "song buyer" came through the Roundup, Montana area, and bought the rights to the poem from Bob Fletcher for $20. I have no other confirmation of the amount paid or how the deal was done, just my mom's memory of it. I recently saw an article in a local paper regarding a highway roadside marker with the poem, commemorating the author, Bob Fletcher. I have been looking through old issues of the paper to find it... I should have clipped it out. I think it included the original version that Fletcher wrote. I contacted the paper, but they don't recall writing it locally - may have been something they picked up on the news wire of local interest. If I find it, I'll add it here.

Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: don't fence me in
From: masato sakurai
Date: 06 Nov 01 - 07:09 AM

I heard Roy Rogers sing this song in a movie clip in a video (possibly America's Music: the Roots of Country). By the way, there's a parody on this song (quoted from HERE):

"If you're a Bing Crosby (or Roy Rogers) fan, or a student of 1940's popular music, you might be familiar with the song "Don't Fence Me In." It's a catchy Cole Porter tune with some pretty corny lyrics. Supposing (tongue in cheek) you wanted to update these lyrics for the new millenium, the subject of intranet webs might be just the place to start:

"Oh, give me links, lots of links under banner ads above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me surf through the wide open pages that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me search by myself in directory trees,
And listen to the streaming of my MP3's,
Log my use forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in."

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: don't fence me in
From: Gary T
Date: 06 Nov 01 - 09:41 AM

This song was based on a poem/song by (I forget the name, but an internet search will turn it up (click)), with whom Cole Porter was willing to share the songwriting credit. Porter did rework it significantly. His record company nixed the idea, giving rise in later years to the notion that Porter stole the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: don't fence me in
From: DougR
Date: 06 Nov 01 - 10:22 PM

I saw Gene Autry sing this song at the Dublin, Texas, rodeo in about 1944 (just a guess). He was a Warrant Officer in the Airforce at the time. He and Everett Colburn owned a ranch outside of Dublin that supplied rodeo stock to other rodeos. I got him to autograph his picture in uniform in the program, and he began by dedicating the song to Tojo. The Cass County Boys accompanied him.

This song was recorded by a lot of recording artists.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 11:34 AM

Near the end of this song comes "Can't look at hobbles..." but so often I see "hovels". Is this just auditory error? "Hobbles" certainly makes more sense in the context. Thanks for input.


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 12:08 PM

It's hobbles. The other is a good example of a mondegreen


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: van lingle
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 12:21 PM

Ella Fitzgerald clearly uses hobbles in her version.


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: harpmolly
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 03:17 PM

All I know is, it's WAY too much fun to play on the ukulele (& sing of course!)

:D

Molly


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Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 04:14 PM

It's 'hobbles' as in hobbling a horse to keep it from wandering...or putting leg irons on a prisoner. At least that's the way I heerd it way out yonder.


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Subject: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (R Fletcher, C Porter)
From: Genie
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 08:04 PM

So glad to find the full lyrics to this song, including the verses, and to see Fletcher's original poem.
I agree, Joe, that the final product is quintessential Cole Porter, but obviously Fletcher provided the basic outline of what became this "Cole Porter song," as well as some of the lines in the final version.   I'm so glad he was able to get some overdue recognition for his contribution to the song.

It's very hard to find recordings of the song that include the verses. Not only do most singers skip them, but when you search a discography or song catalog it almost never tells you whether the version in question is complete in that regard.

Fortunately, I did find a nice YouTube version with a guy who sings the whole song:

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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Alice
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 08:25 PM

I had heard the story of Fletcher's poem for Don't Fence Me In ever since I was a child. A lot of people in Montana knew his contribution to the song.

I have an interesting story about this. Larry King's radio show used to be on a daytime radio station that I listened to here in Montana. One day Arlo Guthrie was his guest, and they started the interview with Arlo singing "Don't Fence Me In". I called in to talk about it and as soon as I began talking about Fletcher and the lyrics, they cut me off and both King and Guthrie ridiculed me on the air for being such a crackpot. Now I can't think of that song without remembering that experience. Funny, but the manager of the airport was a friend of mine, and he said, Gee, I heard you on the radio today... they were very rude to you!

Genie even referred to Fletcher not getting credit for his contribution to Don't Fence Me In in the thread we had on the composer of Isle Of Innisfree, considering there are so many people who don't get credit where credit is due.

I have since found a reference to where Cole Porter tried to rectify the lack of acknowledgment to Bob Fletcher, not just monetarily.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Genie
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 02:26 PM

Here's the YouTube link I tried to post earlier:

guitarguru88 - Don't Fence Me In (with verses)

BTW, It's "... lose my senses," not "...loose my ..." and the original © date is earlier than 1944. I have sheet music with a 1942 copyright date, and it may go back to 1940.
Genie


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Subject: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter & Robert Fletcher)
From: Genie
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 02:28 PM

Apparently, it was $250, not $20, but Fletcher did sell his poem.   More details about this aspect of the song's history in the other threads listed up top.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Porter, Fletcher)
From: Genie
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 09:13 PM

I just noticed that, at least as of today, Wikipedia's article about Don't Fence Me In claims that the Bob Fletcher poem that Porter bought appears "to be 'Open Range', contained in his 1934 book Coral Dust" and that the only part of that poem that Cole Porter used was the line 'And turn me loose on my cayuse, But please don't fence me in', unless Porter somehow gleaned "other material from the book."

I'd like to find references to the sources that cite Fletcher's full original poem, as well as the report that he signed his copyright over to Porter (and Porter's publishers) originally with the stipulation that the original title, "Don't Fence Me In," must be retained.

Apparently, what is now written on the Wikipedia page is incorrect - not to mention that there is no mention whatsoever of the song having had verses, which have been seldom been recorded (at least by the big studios).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 02:54 AM

Genie, I thought Kimball's Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter did a pretty good job of telling the story. Were you looking for something beyond that?
I notice that post says the song was published in 1944 - I'll have to check the original source when I get home next week. From the context, it seems the publication date must be 1934.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Genie
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 04:31 AM

Mainly, I was looking for a citation I could use for Wikipedia beyond just the title of the book. Preferably some online page to refer people to, to see the cited paragraphs or pages, or at least page numbers.
I was able to track down online the pages you quoted from, above, but I don't think a message board such as Mudcat meets Wikipedia's definition of "reliable source" simply because it IS a message board. Books and magazine articles get more respect.   But I did give a link to your post above in conjuction with the reference to Kimball's book.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 06:33 AM

The published poem seem to differe from the original version Joe gives above: Cowboy Songs - Open Range from Fletcher Corral Dust, 1936ed (first 1934).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 06:38 AM

Here's the LOC catalog entry for the book: Fletcher - Corral Dust - 1934 - LOC Catalog


Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Porter, Fletcher)
From: Genie
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:55 PM

Mick,
The Fletcher poem that Joe posted is from "The Complete Works Of Cole Porter," not from the sources you cited.   
From the narrative given in the "Complete Works" book, it sounds like Fletcher probably wrote "Open Range" first, and then when Lou Brock approached him about writing a song with the title "Don't Fence Me In" for the planned movie "Adios, Argentina," he expanded on that poem's theme to write a complete song -- lyrics and music - called "Don't Fence Me In."

From Kimball's book: [[ On November 24, Fletcher sent Porter the lyrics and music for the refrain of "Don't Fence Me In" and some lyrics for a verse. On December 1, Brock wired Fletcher that "Cole Porter wants to buy right to use title and some characteristic words and phrases from your lyrics. ...

"Fletcher complied with Brock's request, and Porter accepted the offer ...

The agreement ... gave Porter all of Fletcher's rights to the title and lyrics of "Don't Fence Me In" ... . The agreement did not apply to Fletcher's music, which Porter did not use ... ."]]

It's pretty clear from this that it was not the poem "Open Range" which Porter bought from Fletcher. That poem does not have the title that Brock wanted and that Porter bought and used. It also has hardly any lyrics or lyric phrases that Porter used, and it did was a poem - no music - not a song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 01:30 AM

I remember my father was much struck by this song when we heard Roy Rogers sing it in 1944 in 'Hollywood Canteen' (one of those 'composite' films much regarded at the time which really constituted a sort of divertissement of various artistes performing in some particular milieu, framed by somewhat feeble and jejune plots about people visiting the venues).

He [my father] would always say that he thought the lines "I will ride to the ridge where the West commences, Gaze upon the moon until I lose my senses" fit to rank with the most beautiful of poetry.

~Michael~


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