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I came across a YouTube recording of this song by Ed Miller:
Thread #36328 Message #505173
Posted By: GUEST,Winick
12-Jul-01 - 02:57 PM
Thread Name: Songs About Hell
Subject: Lyr Add: HELL IN TEXAS
The Jam song that was mentioned is actually "Private Hell," though the way they sang it, it could easily be mistaken for "life in Hell."
BTW, "The Farmer's Curst Wife," which I mentioned in a previous post, is the same song as "Kellieburne Brae" and "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife."
I was reminded of another song about Hell in Texas:
HELL IN TEXAS
Oh, the Devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained;
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being shut in a prison pen;
So he asked the Lord if He had any sand
Left over from making this great land.
The Lord He said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's away down south on the Rio Grande,
And, to tell you the truth, the stuff is so poor
I doubt if 'twill do for hell any more."
The Devil went down and looked over the truck,
And he said if it came as a gift he was stuck,
For when he'd examined it carefully and well
He decided the place was too dry for a hell.
But the Lord just to get the stuff off His hands
He promised the Devil He'd water the land,
For he had some old water that was of no use,
A regular bog hole that stunk like the deuce.
So the grant it was made and the deed it was given;
The Lord He returned to His place up in heaven.
The Devil soon saw he had everything needed
To make up a hell and so he proceeded.
He scattered tarantulas over the roads,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sands with millions of ants
So the man that sits down must wear soles on his pants.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steer,
And added an inch to the jack rabbit's ear;
He put water puppies in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks he put rattlesnakes.
He hung thorns and brambles on all of the trees,
He mixed up the dust with jiggers and fleas;
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The heat in the summer's a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
And all who remained in that climate soon bore
Cuts, bites, stings, and scratches, and blisters galore.
He quickened the buck of the bronco steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede;
The wild boar roams in the black chaparral
It's a hell of a place that we've got for a hell.
He planted red pepper beside of the brooks;
The Mexicans use them in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Greaser and then you will shout,
"I've hell on the inside as well as the out! "
And an interesting post from Nerd:
Thread #52845 Message #811215
Posted By: Nerd
25-Oct-02 - 01:38 PM
Thread Name: Looking for Irish in Tex/Mex Music/Lore
Subject: RE: Looking for Irish in Tex/Mex Music/Lore
"Rocking the Cradle" is a British broadside of wide distribution. It's not necessarily any more Irish than "The Newry Highwayman," which overlays Irish place names on a core story that's obviously set in London. "The Unfortunate Rake," too, is first known from an English source. Since English descendants were in Texas before great numbers of Irish immigrants arrived, there's no way to demonstrate if "Streets of Laredo" or "Git Along Little Dogies" has anything to do with Ireland or "the Celts" per se. But clearly there's an affinity between Texas music and what we think of as "Celtic" music nowadays.
A good example with perhaps a clearer connection. "The Devil Made Texas" (aka "Hell in Texas") is a song that originally appeared on broadsides throughout the Southwest. Though the early broadsides don't suggest a tune, when the song was sung it was often to the old jig "The Irish Washerwoman." You can hear Hermes Nye do it on the album "Cowboy Songs on Folkways." The selection of tunes clearly shows an Irish influence in the region, though the words have no obvious connection to ireland.
Another great resource, by the way, would be Ed Miller in Austin, an Edinburgh native, folklorist, and great singer of folk songs. He's recorded "Hell in Texas" on one of his CDs.
The Robokopp Website has nearly identical lyrics: