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Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains

katlaughing 15 Jan 10 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 09:58 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 10 - 10:10 PM
GUEST,999 15 Jan 10 - 10:20 PM
katlaughing 15 Jan 10 - 10:35 PM
Artful Codger 16 Jan 10 - 12:29 AM
Artful Codger 16 Sep 12 - 04:15 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 09:35 PM

I heard a snippet of this on Folkways (thanks for the link, Joe!) and did download the liner notes, but it's in pdf which doesn't allow for copy and paste.. If no one has them handy, I'll write them out from the notes as I think it should be included on Mudcat. The tune sounds like Lily of the West.

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From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 09:49 PM

Air: Caroline of Edinburgh [Caroline of Edinburgh Town]
Put's Original California Songster
Sacramento: Gardiner & Kirk, 1854

Come all you Californians, I pray ope wide your ears,
If you are going across the Plains, with snotty mules or steers;
Remember beans before you start, likewise dried beef and ham.
Beware of ven'son, d——n the stuff, it's oftentimes a ram.

You must buy two revolvers, a bowie-knife and belt,
Says you, "Old feller, now stand off, or I will have your pelt;"
The greenhorn looks around about, but not a soul can see,
Says he, "There's not a man in town, but what's afraid of me."

You shouldn't shave, but cultivate your down, and let it grow,
So when you do return, 'twill be as soft and white as snow;
Your lovely Jane will be surprised, your ma'll begin to cook;
The greenhorn to his mother'll say, "How savage I must look!"

"How do you like it overland?" his mother he will say,
"All right, excepting cooking, then the devil is to pay;
For some won't cook, and others can't, and then it's curse and damn,
The coffee-pot's, begun to leak, so has the frying-pan."

It's always about the teams, and how we ought to do,

All hands get mad, and each one says, "I own as much as you:"
One of them says, "I'll buy or sell, I'm d——d if I care which;"
Another says, "Let's buy him out, the lousy son of a b———."

You calculate on sixty days to take you over the Plains,
But there you lack for bread and meat, for coffee and for brains;
Your sixty days are a hundred or more, your grub you've got to divide,
Your steers and mules are alkalied, so foot it—you cannot ride.

You have to stand a watch at night, to keep the Indians off,
About sundown some heads will ache, and some begin to cough;
To be deprived of health we know is always very hard,
Though every night some one is sick, to get rid of standing guard.

Your canteens, they should be well filled, with poison alkali,
So when you get tired of traveling, you can cramp all up and die;
The best thing in the world to keep your bowels loose and free,
Is fight and quarrel among yourselves, and seldom if ever agree.

There's not a log to make a seat, along the river Platte,
So when you eat, you've got to sit or stand, or sit down square and flat;
It's fun to cook with buffalo wood, take some that's newly born,
If I knew once what I know now, I'd a gone around the Horn!

The desert's nearly death on corns, while walking in the sand,
And drive a jackass by the tail, it's d——n this overland;
I'd rather ride a raft at sea, and then at once be lost,
Says Bill, "Let's leave this poor old mule, we can't get him across."

The ladies have the hardest tine, that emigrate by land,
For when they cook with buffalo wood, they often burn a hand;
And then they jaw their husbands round, get mad and spill the tea,
Wish to the Lord they'd be taken down with a turn of the di-a-ree.

When you arrive at Placerville, or Sacramento City,
You've nothing in the world to eat, no money——what a pity!
Your striped pants are all worn out, which causes people to laugh,
When they see you gaping round the town like a great big brindle calf.

You're lazy, poor, and all broke down, such hardships you endure,
The post-office at Sacramento all such men will cure;
You'll find a line from ma' and pa', and one from lovely Sal,
If that don't physic you every mail, you never will get well.

The above is from I do not know how exactly they copy the link you put, Kat. I googled the first line from your link and that's the first site I found complete lyrics on.

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From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 09:55 PM

Notes for "Caroline of Edinburg Town" here.

Caroline Of Edinburgh Town (Caroline From Edinboro Town)

Come all young men and maidens give ear unto my rhyme,
For it concerns a damsel that was scarcely in her prime;
She beats the blushing roses and was admired by all around,
'Twas comely young Caroline of Edinburgh town.

Young Henry was a highlands man a-courting her he came,
And when her parents came to know they did not like the same;
Young Henry he was offended and this to her did say,
Arise, my dearest Caroline, and with me come away.

Unto London we will go and there we'll wed with speed,
And, beautiful young Caroline, we'll have happiness indeed;
Thus enticed by Henry she put on her over-gown,
And away went young Caroline of Edinburgh town.

Over hills and lofty mountains together they did roam,
And at length in London they carries from their home;
She says, now dearest Henry, never on me frown,
Or you'll break the heart of Caroline of Edinburgh town.

They had not been in London more than a half a year,
When hard-hearted Henry to her he proved severe;
Cries Hen-e-ry, I'll go to sea, your parents did on me frown,
So make your way without delay to Edinburgh town.

The fleet are setting out tonight and the dew is dropping down,
And I will go and join the fleet to fight for king and crown;
Those jolly tars may feel the sword or in the ocean drown,
But yet I never will return to Edinburgh town.

Concealed beneath a spreading oak this maid sat down to cry,
A-watching of those gallant ships as they would pass her by;
She gave three cries for Henry and plunged her body down,
And a floating went young Caroline of Edinburgh town.

A note, likewise a locket, was picked up on the shore,
And in the note a lock of hair, those words: I am no more;
I'm in the deep now fast asleep as the fish go swimming 'round,
Once comely young Caroline of Edinburgh town.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 09:58 PM

Digital Tradition Mirror

Caroline of Edinburgh Town

Please note that the whole musical notation kaboodle is in the DT.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 10:10 PM

Of course, then you could wonder if the lyrics 999 got, were a copy of my transcription of Put's Original California Songster, or if it was from another source. I know I got mine from the original.

Whatever the case, 999 has discovered a Gold Mine of California Gold Rush Songsters!!!!


Thanks a lot, Kat and 999.

(still, most of the songs that have been transcribed, are from the books that Q and I transcribed. Makes me wonder - but if they cam from us, I'm glad they have proliferated.)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 10:20 PM

Man, this is a small world. DANG: I didn't know it was already on Mudcat. Good work, all of you: Joe, Q, Kat. I got the lyrics from the hot-link in the second post, Joe. There seem to be many cognates of the song in UK and USA.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 10:35 PM

I didn't know, either, or I would not have started this thread. I did a search on exactly "Crossing the Plains" and nothing came up. Anyway, thanks 999 and Joe. These old songs are fun! Well, er...except the suicide bit; puir gel.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 12:29 AM

Too lazy to cross-check, but this song might also be in Lingenfelter's Songs of the American West.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crossing the Plains
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 04:15 AM

Yes, it is in Songs of the American West, pp. 39-40. Their tune comes from the Frank C. Brown Collection, Vol. IV: The Music of the Ballads (1957).

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