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Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer

DigiTrad:
THE ARIZONA KILLER


GUEST,Gregory 14 Aug 07 - 12:53 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 14 Aug 07 - 01:10 PM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 07 - 02:10 PM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 07 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Katie Lee 26 Jun 08 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Noel Fray 26 Jun 08 - 06:32 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 26 Jun 08 - 09:00 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Jun 08 - 05:35 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Jun 08 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Monty 23 Jul 08 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,The Good Lord Above 20 Jan 10 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Lels 21 Jun 17 - 12:28 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Tennesse Killer
From: GUEST,Gregory
Date: 14 Aug 07 - 12:53 PM

Hi folks!

I've been trying to find information on a song called, "The Tennessee Killer".

I've found TONS of information a song called, "The Arizona Killer" which has almost identical lyrics. What's confusing is one page I found in which the lyrics for Arizona had been listed, but at the end of the page there's a note which reads...

"Ms. Lee's rewrite of The Tennessee Killer - DP oct97"

Any help you could give me would be great! Thanks

Greg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 14 Aug 07 - 01:10 PM

Quick Google search found this info at the Folk Music Index

Tennessee Killer [Laws E41d]
Rt - [460] Arizona Killer
 
1. Laws, G. Malcolm / Native American Balladry, [461] Amer. Folklore Society, Bk (1964/1950), p267
2. [462] Steele. Randolph, Vance / Ozark Folksongs. Volume II, Songs of the South and ..., [463] Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p166/#175 [1942/01/06]
 
The Arizona Killer - Traditional/Lee, Katie
Rt - [731] Tennessee Killer
 
1. [732] Lee, Katie. Lee, Katie (ed.) / Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle. A History of the Amer...., [733] Katydid, sof (1976), p189
 


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Subject: ADD: The Tennesse Killer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 07 - 02:10 PM

Hi, Greg-
I hadn't been familiar with this song. How'd you come across it? Can you give us the information you found on "Arizona Killer"? It's my understanding that "Arizona" is Katie Lee's rewrite of "Tennessee," and that the tune is her own composition.
There's not much on this song in the Traditional Ballad Index:Tennessee Killer, The

Tennessee Killer, The

DESCRIPTION: "Oh I've killed men in Georgia And men in Alabam', But kill a man in Arkansas And God your soul will damn!" The singer admits to widespread murders, but was taken in Little Rock. Now he will hang. He warns others against guns
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1942 (Randolph)
KEYWORDS: murder punishment execution warning
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Randolph 175, "The Tennessee Killer" (1 text)
Roud #4101
Notes: This song is item dE41 in Laws's Appendix II. - RBW
File: R175

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The version from the Randolph book is the only one listed in the Roud Folksong Index



"Tennessee Killer" is #175 in Volume II of Ozark Folksongs (Collected and edited by Vance Randolph). Here are Randolph's notes:
    Manuscript copy from Dr. George E. Hastings, Fayetteville, Ark., Jan. 6, 1942. He had it from a man named Steele, who writes on the stationery of the Blackfriars Fraternity, University of Arkansas. Steele credits it to a Negro beggar in Conway, Ark.
There's no tune in the Randolph book, but here are the lyrics:

(Randolph #175)
THE TENNESSEE KILLER

Oh I've killed men in Georgia,
And men in Alabam'
But kill a man in Arkansas
And God your soul will damn!

I'd killed a man in Memphis
In the State of Tennessee,
And I rode straight through to Arkansas
With a posse after me.

I rode into the Ozarks
And there it did not fail,
The men that were a-following me
They soon did lose the trail.

They rode right back to Memphis
In the State of Tennessee,
While I stayed in the Ozarks,
Enjoyed my liberty.

But I went down to the city
For to get my gal a frock,
I killed a man in Conway
And two in Little Rock.

The sheriff saw me do it,
He got the drop on me,
I went up to the jail-house,
Give up my liberty.

So they'll hang me in the morning,
Ere this long night is done,
They'll hang me in the morning
And I'll never see the sun.

Beware, beware, you fellows,
If you must have your fun,
Go do it in a harmless way,
But do not touch a gun.



(Katie Lee-from the Digital Tradition)
THE ARIZONA KILLER

I killed a man in Dallas,
And another in Cheyenne
But when I killed the man in Tombstone
I overplayed my hand.
I rode all night for Tucson
To rob the Robles Mine,
And I left old Arizona
With a posse right behind.

I rode across the border
And there it did not fail
The men that was a-follerin' me
They soon did lose my trail,
They lost my trail.

They galloped back to Tucson
To get the Cavalry,
While I stayed on in Mexico
Enjoying liberty.
Ayi-ha, enjoyed my liberty!

I promised my Rosita
A pretty dress of blue
She said, "You'd go and get it
If you really loved me true,
Did love me true."

So I went back to the border
Just to get that gal a dress
I killed a man in Guaymas,
And two in Nogales -
Killed two in Nogales.

But the posse was a-waitin'
To get me on the trail,
Now in Tombstone I'm a layin'
In the Cochise County jail -
The Cochise County jail.

They're gonna hang me in the mornin',
A'fore this night is done.
They're gonna hang me in the mornin',
And I'll never see the sun.
I want to warn you fellers,
And tell you one by one,
What makes a gallows rope to swing -
A woman...and a gun!

@cowboy @outlaw
filename[ ARIZKLLR
DP
oct97
Click to play (Arizona Killer)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Arizona Killer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 07 - 02:30 PM

The Digital Tradition lyrics for The Arizona Killer are an exact transcription from the Katie Lee book, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle. The Digital Tradition left out most of Lee's punctuation, so I put it back in above. Lee says she's the author of the lyrics and tune of "Arizona Killer," a rewrite of "Tennessee Killer." Here's what she says, in her inimitable style:
    A gen-u-wine rewrite, with very little of the original showing, save structure of the ballad and gist of the story. Place names all changed from the South to the West. Randolph collected it as The Tennessee Killer in MS. from Dr. George E. Hastings, Fayetteville, Ark., Jan. 6, 1942, "who had it from a man named Steel, who credits it to a Negro beggar in Conway, Ark." In 1955 I taped my version for Harry Belafonte. To my knowledge he never used it. No music accompanied the original lyric.
So, that's the scoop. Can anybody find a recording, other versions, or related songs? Can somebody post what Laws has to say about the song?
-Joe-

So, here's Katie Lee's tune:

Click to play (Arizona Killer)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: GUEST,Katie Lee
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 05:36 PM

Whoa There! Jest a miute!   I don't know whether to feel honored or ripped off. How come my song, my copywrittn melody and lyrics of The Arizona Killer are on your site without my knowing anything about it????? Someone had to get it out of my book Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, where the music is annotated and all the lyrics appear.

When the next to last verse appeared in the movie "3:10 to Yuma" someone emailed me (first I'd heard of it) and asked if I'd recorded the song, then sent me some sites, among them MudCat, were I hear my melody as well.

Naturally,I have a recording of it, along with all my other songs from my book and many more, so perhaps y'all better check my website and we'll see about how we might get it to you, along with the story about how and why it was written.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: GUEST,Noel Fray
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 06:32 PM

Mudcat Cafe,

Just to let you know that we are working on a version of Katie's "Arizona Killer" to make available on her web site:
http://www.katydoodit.com/

We thought about putting it on iTunes or something like that because it will be just the one song but I think what we will do is is just make a CD available for sale. That way, Katie will get all of the proceeds.

Thought you might want to know.

All the best,

Noel
Web Slave (there are no web masters)
for
Katie Lee


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 09:00 PM

Welcome Ms Lee & Noel,
It seems someone was so impressed by your song in 1997 that they posted the lyrics into the DT. Then in 2007 someone asked for information on the song that it was based on, the Tennessee Killer. The hosts of the DT do label all songs when information is supplied of the author's name and such information. Please let them know what you'd like them to do. It would be nice if you'd let them leave the lyrics in place. What is your web-site?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 05:35 PM

Here's the link to Katy Lee's site (as mentioned in Guest,Noel Fray's post):

http://www.katydoodit.com/

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 05:40 PM

Katy -- we hope you'll not feel ripped off, but honored. Folks using the Mudcat are great supporters of folk music and performers, generally honest in giving credit where credit's due (as above), and having your link here will likely gain a few more cd sales. However, if for any reason you'd rather not have your copyrighted song lyrics here, the database owners are also responsive and willing to take them out, when requested.

If you don't care to join Mudcat, which is quick, easy, painless, and free (and also allows you to send private e-mail messages to the database owners), then you could post your request here, and a member will forward it.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: GUEST,Monty
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 09:42 PM

I saw the movie...and then I listened to the song.Liked it a lot.But it seems to be pretty hard to find and listen to it on the web.Any ideas ?

- A Brazilian guy...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: GUEST,The Good Lord Above
Date: 20 Jan 10 - 04:01 AM

I read the lyrics to both versions of this song before listening to the version on Ms. Lee's website. I have to say that her rendition is not at all how I pictured it. She has utterly ruined folk music for me forever. Thank you Ms. Lee, and thank you for being a disgrace to women all over the world. Or at least in Texas. ect.al

Thank you,
Cleveland.Rocks


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tennesse Killer / Arizona Killer
From: GUEST,Lels
Date: 21 Jun 17 - 12:28 PM

Can somebody put some other versions of the song?? Because the one sang by Katie Lee and in the movie (Yuma) are different :( and I would like to hear full movie version :D thanx for help


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