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Origins: Blood on the Saddle

DigiTrad:
BLOOD ON THE SADDLE


Lighter 24 Sep 19 - 05:46 PM
JHW 25 Sep 19 - 05:13 AM
Mrrzy 25 Sep 19 - 11:05 AM
Lighter 25 Sep 19 - 11:24 AM
meself 26 Sep 19 - 10:56 AM
Lighter 26 Sep 19 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Starship 26 Sep 19 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Starship 26 Sep 19 - 11:26 AM
Charley Noble 26 Sep 19 - 03:06 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 19 - 03:21 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 19 - 03:29 PM
Lighter 26 Sep 19 - 06:53 PM
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Subject: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 05:46 PM

"Blood on the Saddle" may have been written by Everett Cheetham, of Taos, New Mexico, some time in the 1920s, as he told interviewer Jerry Herndon in 1974.

Cheetham sang the song in the 1930 Broadway production of Lynn Riggs's "Green Grow the Lilacs." It was later popularized on disc by Cheetham's friend, roommate, and fellow cast-member Tex Ritter (who, interestingly enough, had been a student of John A. Lomax at the University of Texas).

Cheetham told Herndon in 1974 that Tex Ritter sang the song complete, exactly as he had written it.

However...
Arizona cowpuncher and radio singin' cowboy Romy Lowdermilk told Katie Lee in 1969 that *he* was the author and had traded the song to Cheetham around 1929 for one of Cheetham's called "Jose Cuervo's Daughter" (Lowdermilk called that song "a good one".)

Lowdermilk recalled that he and cartoonist J. W. Williams had cooked up the first stanza, apparently without music, which Williams later used in one of his cartoons. Lowdermilk made the song "longer and goryer [sic]."

Then someone else told Katie Lee that he'd heard a cowboy named Oklahoma Pete singin' it in Alberta in 1905....

Jerry Herndon noted in the Journal of American Folklore that, according to Tex Ritter, Cheetham "wrote the song about a rodeo rider who was injured at the Wickenburg, Arizona, rodeo. [Ritter] maintains that the song was meant to be a serious one about a genuinely tragic event, but, when Everett Cheetham sang it at the dude ranches where he worked, the people laughed. Thus it became a comedy song... used by both Disneyworld and Disneyland as
one of the featured attractions at these places."

A 1941 news item reported that "Blood on the Saddle " was the favorite song of Russian actress Maria ("The Wolfman") Ouspenskaya. She learned it from Eddie ("Green Acres") Albert.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: JHW
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 05:13 AM

'home came his good horse, but never came he' ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 11:05 AM

Nope, at least not in the version I had.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 11:24 AM

It seems more likely that Oklahoma Pete was singing "Bonnie James Campbell" in 1905 than "Blood on the Saddle."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: meself
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 10:56 AM

We had this song in an elementary school songbook in 1960s Ontario. There was an abbreviated prompt to sing the song, quote, "With relish."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 11:07 AM

But it appears on another thread as one of the *saddest* songs of all!

(I must admit that when I heard it at the age of 14, it was pretty shocking - but not really "sad." The gloating tone was part of the shock.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 11:20 AM

It ain't hard to see the humor, unless you's the star of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 11:26 AM

No doubt in my mind that the song influenced a phrase or two from Pat Sky's "Songs That Made America Famous."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 03:06 PM

Tony Kraber also recorded this song in the 1940s. That's when I first heard it, and it was a blood-curdling version.

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 03:21 PM

Here are a couple of posts with lyrics:

Thread #12357   Message #99399
Posted By: DougR
26-Jul-99 - 04:48 PM
Thread Name: The Saddest Song of All
Subject: Lyr Add: BLOOD ON THE SADDLE (from Tex Ritter)

Emily:

Great voice, beautiful voice!

I do believe one of the saddest of all cowboy songs has not been mentioned: "BLOOD ON THE SADDLE." I think part of the words are:

There was blood on the saddle, and blood all around,
And a great big puddle of blood on the ground.

A cowboy lay in it, all covered with gore,
And he never will ride any broncos no more.

Oh pity the cowboy, all bloody and red,
For the bronco fell on him, and mashed in his head.

Repeat: First verse.

Recorded by Tex Ritter.

DougR




Thread #39994   Message #970135
Posted By: cobber
21-Jun-03 - 08:09 AM
Thread Name: Songs of Dismemberment
Subject: Lyr Add: BLOOD ON THE SADDLE

What about "Blood on the saddle"?
There was blood on the saddle, blood on the ground
And a great big pool of blood of around
And the cowboy lay in it all covered in gore
And he ain't gonna ride them broncos no more

Oh pity the cowboy, all bloody and red
Cos a bronco fell on him and mashed in his head
There was blood on the saddle and blood on the ground
And a great big pool of blood all around

I love it.



Thread #39994   Message #4010114
Posted By: Lighter
23-Sep-19 - 07:41 PM
Thread Name: Songs of Dismemberment
Subject: RE: Songs of Dismemberment

From the movie Husbands ( 1970):

                There was blood on the saddle,
                And blood on the ground,
                Great big buckets
                Of blood all around.

                The cowboy was dying,
                The horse was dead too,
                And that’s all the story
                That I ever knew.

The tune resembled "Stewball."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 03:29 PM

Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics:

BLOOD ON THE SADDLE

There was blood on the saddle, blood all around
And a great big puddle of blood on the ground

The cowboy lay in it, all covered with gore
He'll never ride tall in the saddle no more

Oh pity the cowboy, all bloody and dead
A bronco fell on him and mashed in his head

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Nowadays, this is usually exaggerated for laughs. In 1827, Motherwell
published a pem called "Halbert the Grim" suggested by description of Hell
written by Matthew Paris in the early 13th century. The poem started:

There is blood on that brow,
There is blood on that hand,
There is blood on that hauberk
And blood on that brand

Oh! bloody all over
In his war cloak, I weet
And he's wrapped in the cover
Of murder's red sheet

Recorded by Tony Kraber in the dark ages (Folkway or Stimson, I
think...RG) ; also Tex Ritter

@cowboy @death @work
filename[ BLOODON
TUNE FILE: BLOODON
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

Popup Midi Player






And the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Blood on the Saddle

DESCRIPTION: "There was blood on the saddle And blood all around, And a great big puddle Of blood on the ground. The cowboy lay in it All covered with gore, And he won't go riding no broncos no more.... For his bronco fell on him and mashed in his head."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905
KEYWORDS: cowboy injury death horse
FOUND IN: Canada(West) US(MW)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Fowke/Johnston, p. 101, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 101, "Blood" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 38, "Blood on the Saddle" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Tinsley, pp. 72-75, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 36-37, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 331-332, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 106, "Blood On The Saddle" (1 text)
DT, BLOODON

Roud #3685
RECORDINGS:
Harry Jackson, "Blood on the Saddle" (on HJackson1)
NOTES [177 words]: The Fifes trace this piece back to something called "Halbert the Grim" (published by Motherwell in 1827). The melody is said to be the same, and both involve vast quantities of blood. There has been a lot of evolution along the way, though; I would not consider the two related if it weren't for the melody.
Jim Bob Tinsley has it go back even earlier: One of the goriest of all cowboy songs can be traced indirectly back to a description of Hades written during the Middle Ages. In the first half of the thirteenth century, Matthew Paris, English historian and a monk at the monastery of St. Albans, wrote a highly graphic description of the abode of Pluto, ruler of infernal regions in classical mythology. These grim passages inspired the ancient Sotttish ballad 'Halbert the Grim....'"
The version we usually hear focusses solely on the blood, but the Gardner/Chickering text gives a brief biography of the cowboy and talks of his sweetheart who has lost her love. The common version seems to owe a lot to pop cowboy recordings; see the notes in Tinsley. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
File: FJ101

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2019 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blood on the Saddle
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 06:53 PM

So Cheetham, Lowdermilk, Williams, and/or Oklahoma Pete had all heard about "Halberd the Grim"?

Or did they get the song straight from Matthew Paris?


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