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Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl

Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Dec 13 - 02:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Dec 13 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Dec 13 - 11:14 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Dec 13 - 12:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 13 - 02:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 13 - 02:19 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Dec 13 - 02:12 PM

"The Kansas Cowboy" Dodge City, 1884

I'm a buzzard from the Brazos on a tear,
Hear me toot.
I'm a lifter of the flowing locks of hair,
Hear me toot.
I'm a racker from the Rockies
And all of the town the talk is
"He's a pirate from the pampas,"
On the shoot.

Those who love me call me little dynamite.
I'm a pet.
I'm a walking, stalking terror of the night
You can bet,
By mu nickel plated teasers
Many a rusty featured Greaser's
Sun has set.

Sometimes I strikes an unprotected town,
Paint it red.
Choke the sheriff, turn the marshall upside down
On his head.
Call for drinks for all the party
And if chinned by any smarty
Pay in lead.

I'm a coyote of the sunset, "Pirate Dude!"
Hear me zip:
In the company of gentlemen I'm rude
With my lip.
Down in front remove that nigger
Or I'll perforate his figger.
I am fly, I am a fighter, I am flip.

Poems of this kind, printed in western books and newspapers at the time of the cattle drives to the railroad, created the legend of the cowboy as an uncouth brawler.

No. 31, p. 81; Austin & Alta Fife, editors, 1970, "Ballads of the Great West," American West Publishing, Palo Alto.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Dec 13 - 11:58 AM

"Kansas Cowboy" newspaper, 1884.

A man there lives on the western plain,
With a ton of fight and an ounce of brain,
Who herds the cattle and rides the train
And goes by the name of cowboy.

He shoots with pistol and carves with knife,
He feels unwell unless in strife,
He laughs at death and mocks at life,
For he is the terrible cowboy.

He snuffs out candles with pistol balls,
He snuffs out lives in drunken brawls,
He gets snuffed out in gambling halls,
This wayward frolicsome cowboy.

He riots in cities and towns and browbeats,
He drives policemen off the streets,
He fills with terror all he meets,
For all give way to the cowboy.

Ten cowboys drunk near a small station,
Ten pistols ring in sepulchral tune,
Ten corpses stare at the big white moon,
And where, oh, where is the cowboy?

The "Kansas Cowboy" was published in Sibley, KS, by Col. S. S. Prouty, from 1883 to the end of 1886. He publicized the Dodge City "Cowboy Band," whose members wore a grey slouch hat, plaid shirts, and had a holstered silver-plated six-shooter.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Dec 13 - 11:14 AM

It's hard to know what to say about these, Q. They are clever in a way, but somehow the humor in shooting people eludes me.

(I have read that almost no cowboys ever carried a gun. But getting drunk and getting into fights probably was a real problem.)

Three days ago I heard a country band where the guys wore slouch hats (cowboy hats to you and me) and plaid shirts just like the guys in your second post. They had no six-shooters. Instead they assaulted us with volume, but I had my hearing protection along so they were foiled again.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Dec 13 - 12:46 PM

These poems from the 1880s show that the rootin' shootin' cowboy stereotype already had developed by the time of the drives to Dodge City.
Moreover, they were published in the local town (Dodge City-Sibley) newspaper.

The Dodge City Cowboy Band of the 1880s was well-photographed and publicized at the time. Google the name for photos.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 13 - 02:17 PM

D. J. White, c. 1894

I want to be a cowboy and with the cowboys stand,
With leather chaps upon me and a six gun in my hand.
And, while the foreman sees me, I'll make some *winter plays
But I will catch a regular when the herd's thrown out to graze.

I'll have a full-stamped saddle and silver mounted bit
With conchas big as dollars and silver mounted spurs, to wit.
With a long rawhide reata and a big Colt forty-five
I'll be a model puncher as sure as you're alive.

I want to be a tough man, and be so very bad,
With my big white sombrero I'll make the dude look sad.
I'll get plumb full of bug juice and shoot up the whole town,
When I start out to have a time you bet I'll do it brown.

I want to be a buster and ride the bucking horse
And scratch him in the shoulder, with my silvered spurs, of course.
I'll rake him up and down the side, you bet I'll fan the breeze,
I'll ride him with a slick saddle and do it with great ease.

I want to be a top man and work on the outside
So I can ride within the herd and cut it high and wide.
Oh, a rep is what I want to be, and a rep, you bet I'll make
At punching cows I know I'll shine; I'm sure I'll take the cake.

Printed in the Stockgrowers Journal,, Miles City, Montana, April 7, 1894.
* make an impression so that he gets a "regular" job.
White was a puncher in the 1880s, later a rancher.

Austin & Alta Fife, 1970, "Ballads of the Great West," p. 72.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Texas Idyl
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 13 - 02:19 PM

The image of the movie cowboy was already full blown in the 1880s-1890s, as shown by the ballads posted above.

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