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Origins: Coast of California (Kingston Trio)

DigiTrad:
COPLAS
SCOTCH AND SODA
THEY'RE RIOTING IN AFRICA (THE MERRY MINUET)


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Joe Offer 27 Nov 23 - 04:51 AM
Pappy Fiddle 26 Nov 23 - 06:47 PM
Pappy Fiddle 26 Nov 23 - 12:45 AM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 23 - 02:12 AM
Pappy Fiddle 22 Nov 23 - 06:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Coast of California (Kingston Trio)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Nov 23 - 04:51 AM

Hi, Pappy -
While gold wasn't discovered in California until 1848, the land certainly made some people rich. The Spanish land grants (ranchos) were huge parcels of land, and they must have made their owners wealthy. Some of these land grants still exist, most notably Tejon Ranch on the Grapevine (Interstate 5 between Bakersfield and LA).

https://ranchingheritage.org/ranch-highlight-ranchos-of-alta-california/.

Historic Ranchos of Los Angeles: https://curtiswrightmaps.com/product/the-historic-ranchos-of-los-angeles/ - note the Rancho names that have remained as modern placenames.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coast of California (Kingston Trio)
From: Pappy Fiddle
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 06:47 PM

OK, listening to some versions of Si Me Quieres Escribir, the tune is the same.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coast of California (Kingston Trio)
From: Pappy Fiddle
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 12:45 AM

Thank you for the work you put into this answer.

   Album jacket: "As students of early California history will agree, the story has a strong factual basis."
   YT: "The incidents described in the Bowers/Guard lyrics are fabricated and non-historical".

I thought it was probly fiction. I grew up in California. I never heard of El Diego. He obviously wasn't ~San~ Diego! Nor of any Spanish treasure hidden on the coast. They plundered Inca, Maya, and Aztec gold but they shipped it across the ~Atlantic~, with various wrecks there and pirates involved.

In school we were taught that early California had no rich native civilization and it's not on any treasure route. The California Gold Rush didn't start until about the time the US Army took it away from Mexico, so Spanish gold in California before that, was probly limited to the governor's gold watch.

The tune is said to originate as "Si Me Quieres Escribir". I'm not sure about that yet. Just play the chords Am, G, F, E on your guitar and you get a Spanish sounding motif. Folk music borrows indiscriminately.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Coast of California
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 02:12 AM

Hi, Pappy -

The YouTube recording has good notes which contend that the song is fictitious, and I'd tend to agree:

    The original Kingston Trio of Bob Shane, Dave Guard, and Nick Reynolds performs a song from their 1961 album "Goin' Places," the last one by the group to include Guard, who was shortly to strike out in his own musical direction. The song was composed by Guard and Texas songwriter Jane Bowers, deriving its melody from an anthem of the Republican faction in the Spanish Civil War entitled "Si Me Quieres Escribir." The performance is notable for the skillful interweaving by Guard of three distinctively different styles of playing the five-string banjo - frailing, strumming, and Scruggs picking.

    The incidents described in the Bowers/Guard lyrics are fabricated and non-historical, and the group was criticized in some quarters for trivializing a song regarded by some as near-sacred.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-fHx3Yy8Hs

Here are the liner notes (click) from the album Goin' Places (1961): "COAST OF CALIFORNIA There's a strong Spanish flavor to this dark and moody ballad which tells a tale of adventure, piracy, and hidden gold. As students of early California history will agree, the story has a strong factual basis."

I think of this song along with South Coast, which has a similar feel to it. I've always loved the area inland from the Central Coast of California, and these are two of many songs that remind me of this Steinbeckian location - Another is Kate Wolf's "Pacheco/Redtail Hawk."

Whatever the case, there's not much history in either "Coast of California" or "South Coast," but they're great songs and they convey the mystery of this area to me. I was there just a few weeks ago, visiting Mission San Antonio de Padua on the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation - once the property of William Randolph Hearst.


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Subject: Origins: Coast of California
From: Pappy Fiddle
Date: 22 Nov 23 - 06:58 PM

Someone has put a lot of Kingston Trio recordings on YouTube. I never heard Coast Of California before. Here are the lyrics, yeah it's about hidden treasure... but who's "El Diego", what ship was the Clara, was it real?

These 3 guys could make themselves sound like a whole ship's crew singing hearty in harmony, and some of their harmonies were amazing. Nostalgia in spades... I felt it deeply hearing them as a kid back then, and now it's compounded remembering the nostalgia I felt over 70 years ago!

=======================
Coast Of California
Dave Guard / Jane Bowers

There is treasure hidden there on the coast of California
El Diego hid it there when the Clara ran aground
On the coast of California, deep within a cave that's never seen
Treasure, stolen from the Incas, we could capture for the Queen

There's a mountain in the ocean on the coast of California
And deep within its side the tides of night alone reveal
El Diego's hidden cave where we'll plunder the riches of Grenada
While the Spaniard, blind with pleasure, plays ashore in Ensenada

Ah Ah ah ahh
Ah Ah ah ahh

We will sail before the dawn along the coast of California
El Diego is delayed the wine and woman hold their sway
And our map is clearly drawn to the dark and stormy shore
On the coast of California lies a mighty prize of war

Tell not a soul that you have seen me
Breathe not a word of what I say
Tell not a soul that you have seen me
Breathe not a word of what I say...

lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC


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