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Origins: tune of Vigilante Man (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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In Mudcat MIDIs:
Vigilante Man [Woody Guthrie] (from The [Nearly] Complete Collection of Woody Guthrie Folk Songs)


GUEST 17 Mar 05 - 04:41 PM
Mark Ross 18 Mar 05 - 08:57 AM
Big Tim 18 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Bill 18 Mar 05 - 04:40 PM
Joe Offer 19 Mar 05 - 03:26 AM
Big Tim 20 Mar 05 - 02:52 AM
Goose Gander 20 Mar 05 - 06:08 AM
Big Tim 20 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM
Goose Gander 20 Mar 05 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Brian 20 Mar 05 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,mick 21 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM
Mark Ross 21 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,mick 22 Mar 05 - 12:51 PM
Mark Ross 23 Mar 05 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,jb 08 Sep 06 - 08:17 PM
Flash Company 09 Sep 06 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Gerry 18 Jul 17 - 10:48 PM
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Subject: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 04:41 PM

Does anyone know where the tune used for Woody Guthrie's 'Vigilante Man' comes from? Clearly, many of his songs were put to tunes from existing songs and I was wondering whether this one that had come from somewhere else, and if so where. It is a very fine modal tune which is quite close to that used by Gillian Welch for 'The Devil Had a Hold on Me' on Hell Among the Yearlings. Is there a common root to these tunes?

Thanks for any information

Bill


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 08:57 AM

The tune Woody used was the Carter Family's TODAY HAS BEEN A LONESOME DAY, which is a white reworking of Blind Lemon Jefferson's
SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Big Tim
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM

Thanks Mark, I apprecate that. (Springsteen does a mean version).


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 04:40 PM

Dear Mark

Thanks tremendously. Its amazing how obvious it was when you pointed it out and I went back to the sources you mentioned to listen again. Nonetheless, I have been puzzling over this for days. Thanks for sorting it out for me.

All the best

Bill


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Subject: ADD: Vigilante Man (Woody Guthrie)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 03:26 AM

Vigilante Man
(words and music by Woody Guthrie)

Tell me what is that Vigilante Man?
What is that Vigilante Man?
Does he carry a gun and a pistol in his hand?
I've heard his name all over the land.

Have you seen that Vigilante Man?
Have you seen that Vigilante Man?
Have you seen that Vigilante Man?
I been hearing his name all over the land.

Rainy night down in the engine house,
Sleepin' just as still as a mouse;
Man come along and chased us out in the rain,
Was that a Vigilante Man?

Stormy days we'd pass the time away,
Sleepin' in some good warm place.
Man come along an' we gave him a little race.
Was that a Vigilante Man?

Preacher Casey was just a working man,
And he said, "Unite all you working men."
Killed him in the river, some strange man.
Was that a Vigilante Man?

Oh, why does a Vigilante Man,
Why does a Vigilante Man
Carry that sawed-off shot-gun in his hand?
Would he shoot his brother and sister down?

I rambled around from town to town,
I rambled around from town to town,
And they herded us around like a wild herd of cattle;
Was that the Vigilante Men?

Have you seen that Vigilante Man?
Have you seen that Vigilante Man?
I've heard his name all over this land.

from The [Nearly] Complete Collection of Woody Guthrie Folk songs, 1963

Song Copyright Ludlow Music, 1961

Click to play


The Woody Guthrie recording I have is a bit different, more like the lyrics McGrath posted in another thread:
    Thread #59351   Message #945509
    Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
    03-May-03 - 03:52 PM
    Thread Name: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??

    Subject: RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching??

    Yup, I can understand why Tom Lehrer decided that it wasn't possible to write satire, because real life would always trump it.

    Here's what Woody Guthrie had to say about this kind of thing:

    Have you seen that vigilante man?
    Have you seen that vigilante man?
    Have you seen that vigilante man?
    I been hearin' his name all over the land.
    Well, what is a vigilante man?
    Tell me, what is a vigilante man?
    Has he got a gun and a club in his hand?
    Is that is a vigilante man?

    Rainy night down in the engine house,
    Sleepin' just as still as a mouse,
    Man come along an' he chased us out in the rain.
    Was that a vigilante man?

    Stormy days we passed the time away,
    Sleepin' in some good warm place.
    Man come along an' we give him a little race.
    Was that a vigilante man?

    Preacher Casey was just a workin' man,
    And he said, "Unite all you working men."
    Killed him in the river some strange man.
    Was that a vigilante man?

    Oh, why does a vigilante man,
    Why does a vigilante man
    Carry that sawed-off shot-gun in his hand?
    Would he shoot his brother and sister down?

    I rambled 'round from town to town,
    I rambled 'round from town to town,
    And they herded us around like a wild herd of cattle.
    Was that the vigilante men?

    Have you seen that vigilante man?
    Have you seen that vigilante man?
    I've heard his name all over this land.


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Big Tim
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 02:52 AM

Did Woody write any original tunes?


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 06:08 AM

Your question goes to the heart of our discussions regarding traditional music. Woody Guthrie freely admitted that his songs were recompositions of older material. Were they original songs? That depends upon how you define originality. Obviously, the lyrics and themes he employed were his own. The chord progressions and melodies he set those lyrics to were often borrowed (appropriated?) from other sources. My personal opinion: Woody Guthrie only admitted to what songwriters have done for centuries. Every newly-composed song is to a certain degree a rewrite of existing material. An 'original' composition introduces a degree of novelty (originality?) that sets the song or ballad apart from any antecedents. I cannot offer a quantifiable definition of 'originality', but I know an original song when I hear it.


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Big Tim
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM

I wasn't being critical, merely curious. The tunes of many of his songs are pretty obvious, but since I didn't reognise the "Vigilante Man" tune, I had assumed that Woody had written it.

As Arlo said when I saw him live one time, I'm paraphrasing slightly, it was a few years ago, "the mark of a good songwriter is how skillfully he disguises the melodies that he steals".


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 01:38 PM

My own familiarity with Woody's material leads me to say that just about everything he wrote was 'borrowed' from available sources including the Carter Family, traditional material, stage songs, blues, minstrelsy, etc. But I know a Woody Guthrie song when I hear it. So Arlo's comments are very appropriate.


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 02:21 PM

Thank you Mark Ross for leading me back to TODAY HAS BEEN A LONESOME DAY. I have that song on a misplaced vinyl record. I love that line, "Did you ever hear a church bell toll." I banged that out this morning. It surprised me to find Woody played it without using any minor chords. The economy of Woody's playing features prominently as well as his borrowing and remolding. My friend, Slaid says Woody believed that playing three chords was showing off.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: GUEST,mick
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM

Wouldn't the tune be closely related to Careless Love?


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM

It is similar come to think of it. But it goes up to a suspended 4th on the 3rd line. That sets it apart, and, I think, links it to an older tradition.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: GUEST,mick
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:51 PM

The Preacher Casey mentioned in the lyric is presumably the same man that "vigillante thugs" shoot in Guthrie's Grapes of Wrath inspired ballad ,Tom Joad . Does anybody know whether the preacher is based on a historical character ?
Sorry if this is creeping a bit off thread.


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Subject: RE: Vigilante Man, Woody Guthrie, Tune?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 10:19 AM

I don't think that Preacher Casey was based on any one individual. My guess is that he was a composite of people that Steinbeck met while he was traveling around researching the book.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: tune of Vigilante Man (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,jb
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 08:17 PM

VIGILANTE MAN –WOODY GUTHRIE D G D 1. Have you seen that vigilante man? Have you seen that vig-i-lan-te man? G D A D Have you seen that vigilante man? I've been hearin' his name, all over the land.

D G D 2. Well, what is a vigilante man? Tell me, what is a vig-i-lan-te man? G D A D Has he got a gun and a club in his hand? Is that a vigilante man?

D G D 3. Rainy night down in the engine house, slee-pin' just as still as a mouse. G D A D Man come along an' he chased us out in the rain, was that a vigilante man?

D G D 4. Stormy days we passed the time away, slee-pin' in some good warm place. G D A D Man come along an' we give him a little race. Was that a vigilante man?

D G D 5. Preacher Casey was just a workin' man. And he said, "Un-ite all you working men." G D A D Killed in the river by some strange man. Was that a vigilante man?

D G D 6. Oh tell me why does a vigilante man, why does a vig-i-lan-te man, G D A D carry that sawed-off shot-gun in his hand? Would he shoot his brother and sister down?

D G D 7. I rambled 'round from town to town. I rambled 'round from town to town, G D A D Like a wild herd of cattle they herded us a-round. Was that the vigilante men?

D G D 8. Have you seen that vigilante man? Have you seen that vig-i-lan-te man? G D A D Have you seen that vigilante man? I've been hearin' his name, all over the land.


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Subject: RE: Origins: tune of Vigilante Man (Woody Guthrie)
From: Flash Company
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 09:49 AM

Got to say, I'm with Woody all the way on this, never waste a good tune on one set of lyrics!

FC


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Subject: RE: Origins: tune of Vigilante Man (Woody Guthrie)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 10:48 PM

Guthrie recording of (Today Has Been a) Lonesome Day is up at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTFDE4tjODY


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