The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #149470   Message #3477772
Posted By: GUEST,Dave Illingworth
10-Feb-13 - 04:25 AM
Thread Name: What is this song??? [Abilene]
Subject: RE: What is this song??? [Abilene]
I first heard a song called "Abilene" on an EP (which I still have) by the late Alan Lomax. Recorded in London in March 1958, with five British musicians. Lomax writes that he collected the song from a prisoner in a Texas prison, a man by the name of Augustus "Track Horse" Haggerty. Haggerty recorded the song (under the title "Hattie Green") in Huntsville State Penitentary in July 1933. He served three terms for manslaughter and was "killed in his last shooting scrape in Colorado Springs."
This version of the song could well have been the inspiration for Bob Gibson (and Loudermilk). They changed the lyrics and added those lovely passing seventh chords (Lomax's version sticks to the basic three chords.)

Abilene, Abilene, best town I ever seen.
Go by West Texas, stop by see Abilene.

Now Hattie Green, yes Hattie Green,
Prettiest gal I ever seen.
Go by West Texas, stop by see Hattie Green.

Cause she will hug you and she will kiss you,
And she will drive you really wild.
Get hard about it, laugh like a baby child.

Yes she will hug and and she will kiss you,
And she will carry on some more.
Get hard about it, put you right out the door.

So lock the doors and shut the windows,
Set the chairs up against the wall.
Turn up that music,
We'e gonna have a ball.

My friends in the band DPN+1 have been doing the song for about fifty years now. We sing the above words to the Gibson/Loudermilk chord sequence.