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Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)

DigiTrad:
RED-HEADED STRANGER


GUEST,EJ 18 Apr 00 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,JenEllen 19 Apr 00 - 09:19 PM
Sorcha 19 Apr 00 - 09:43 PM
Song Dog 20 Apr 00 - 12:33 AM
Stewie 20 Apr 00 - 01:31 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 10 - 10:23 PM
Joe Offer 30 Nov 10 - 11:43 PM
Joe Offer 30 Nov 10 - 11:58 PM
Joe Offer 01 Dec 10 - 01:21 AM
GUEST,Don 01 Dec 10 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Steve 13 Dec 10 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Mtmozart 21 Jan 11 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,James Larry Campbell July 10,2011 11 Jul 11 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,Don 14 Dec 11 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,Bing Kinsey 05 May 12 - 07:14 AM
GUEST 22 Nov 12 - 05:04 PM
pdq 22 Nov 12 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,guest 24 Sep 13 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,Rab Noakes 19 May 14 - 04:57 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 14 - 09:15 PM
Amos 06 Jun 14 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Paul 06 Jan 17 - 03:38 PM
meself 06 Jan 17 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 Jan 17 - 06:44 PM
meself 06 Jan 17 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Jan 17 - 10:33 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 07 Jan 17 - 04:23 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 AM
meself 07 Jan 17 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 07 Jan 17 - 04:56 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 06:11 PM
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Subject: Red Headed Stranger
From: GUEST,EJ
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 10:25 PM

I have seen the lyrics in Digitrad and I have a copy of the Willie Nelson version. However, I'm sure I first heard this song back in the early-mid 50's, sung by someone else (whose name I do not know). This older version was done at a hard-driving tempo, much faster than Willie's. Does anyone know anything about this older version? Who sang it? I would sure like to get a copy of it, if I could. p.s. Shouldn't the first verse be"... Blue Rock, Montana", not "...Blue Rock, Wyoming"? And, there are a few other small differences.


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Subject: RE: Red Headed Stranger
From: GUEST,JenEllen
Date: 19 Apr 00 - 09:19 PM

*refresh*

(sorry I canna be of more help, but I'd like to see this answered as well. ~Elle)


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Subject: RE: Red Headed Stranger
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Apr 00 - 09:43 PM

Frankie Lane? Will look later, I used to have it


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Subject: RE: Red Headed Stranger
From: Song Dog
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 12:33 AM

It is, Blue Rock Montana on Willies. Don't know about the other version.


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Subject: RE: Red Headed Stranger
From: Stewie
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 01:31 AM

The 'Red Headed Stranger' was also recorded in the 60s by Eddy Arnold. It's on the Bear Family reissue CD 'Cattle Call', but it couldn't be described as 'hard-driving' by any stretch of the imagination. The Willie Nelson version is credited to C. Stutz/Calisch if that means anything to you.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 10:23 PM

Don

I remember Red Headed Stranger from the fifties.

I was able to find that the song was written by Edith Lindeman Calisch and Carl Stutz in 1953 for Perry Como. It was never recorded due to some dispute.

John D. Loudermilk recorded it in the fifties, the best I can tell in 1959 although it seems to me it was early in the fifties when I listened to it daily on the radio.

Listening to both the Nelson version and the Loudermilk version the loudermilk version has the lyrics as I remember them.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 11:43 PM

The Harry Fox Agency's songfile.com website confirms the "C. Stutz/Calisch" authorship, and says the song was recorded by Glenn Glenn and included on the Missouri Rockabilly 1955-1965 album. I swear it's a female voice on the Glenn Glenn recording, but I don't know who the singer might be.
Where did you find out it was written for Perry Como but not recorded? That's a gem of a piece of information, if it can be documented.
Great song, isn't it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 11:58 PM

Here's the New York Times obituary for Carl Stutz:
    Carl Stutz, Radio Announcer, 80
    Published: October 14, 1996

    RICHMOND, Oct. 13— Carl Stutz, a former radio announcer who was a co-writer of the song ''Little Things Mean a Lot,'' died on Tuesday at the Willow Creek Nursing Home in Chesterfield County, Va. He was 80 years old.

    While working at radio station WRVA in Richmond from 1948 to 1961, Mr. Stutz collaborated as a songwriter with Edith Lindeman Calisch, who was the amusement critic for The Richmond Times-Dispatch. He wrote the music; she wrote the lyrics.

    Their song "Little Things Mean a Lot" was recorded by the singer Kitty Kallen and was featured repeatedly on "Your Hit Parade" on radio and television during 1954. The recording sold over a million copies in a few weeks.

    Mr. Stutz later became a high-school mathematics teacher.

    He is survived by two daughters, Riese C. Kelly of Richmond and Lanna Sheehan of Massachusetts.


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Subject: Obit: Edith Elliott Lindeman Calish (1984)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 01:21 AM

I found an obituary at http://www.outsidethewalls.org/obit.pdf - no indication what's the original source, but I'm guessing it's the Time-Dispatch of Richmond, Virginia.

Edith Elliott Lindeman Calish
21 March 1898-22 December 1984

Entertainment critic of The Times-Dispatch for 31 years and lyricist of the popular songs "Little Things Mean a Lot" and "The Red-Headed Stranger," died Saturday at Stratford Hall Nursing Home in Henrlco County.
She was 86 and had lived at 5100 Monument Ave.
Mrs. Calisch, who wrote under her maiden name, was the widow of A. Woolner Calisch.
A native of Pittsburgh, Mrs Calisch was an alumna of Collegiate School and Barnard College.
She joined the staff of The Times-Dispatch in 1933, serving as a film and theater critic, enterta1nient writer and amusement editor. She retired in 1964.
In a 1958 retrospective, Mrs. Calisch estimated that by then, she nad seen 6,000 films ("give or take a few"), beginning with "Saturday's Millions," which she described as "a football picture with a difference."
During her career, she wrote, "sound films have achieved the ultimate, color has been perfected, 3D has come and gone, leaving my eyes the worse for wear. Cinerama, Cinema — and other — scopes, Todd-AO and stereophonic sound have been ushered in. Radio became a menace and was overcome. Television has become another menace and is still offering tough competition...
"I've enjoyed most of it, hated a little of it and benefited from all of it," she concluded.
Alf Goodykoontz, executive editor of Richmond Newspapers, said, "Edith Lindeman made a tremendous contribution to the cultural life of this community for many years. She'll be remembered especially for the strong coverage she provided for the area's regional theaters In their formative years."
In collaboration with composer Carl Stutz, Mrs. Calisch wrote several dozen popular songs in the 1950s. Their biggest hit was "Little Things Mean a Lot," which, as recorded by Kitty Kallen, was the top song of 1954.
"My father - and later, my husband went by the philosophy that it's the little things that mean so much," Mrs. Calisch said, explaining the genesis of the song.
"My dad always said, 'When you've got money, spend it and enjoy it. When you don't, you do without it. There are plenty of things to make up for it."
"Little Things" has been revived repeatedly by recording artists, most recently in 1978 by country singer Margo Smith.
In 1953, Stutz and Mrs. Calisch wrote "Red-Headed Stranger," a Western ballad originally intended for Perry Como. Because of a publishing dispute, Mrs. Calisch said, the tune never reached Como.
In 1976, "Stranger" became the title song of a best-selling album by country singer Willie Nelson.
"I was just sitting at home one night, playing with the idea of colors," Mrs. Calisch recalled. The redhead she had in mind was her husband. She set the ballad in Blue Rock, Montana, gave the hero a "raging black stallion" -and introduced him to a "yellow-haired lady" riding a bay.

A third Stutz-Lindeman composition, Blackberry Winter," originally recorded by the late "Sunshine Sue" Workman of WRVA radio's "Old Dominion Barn Dance," became a backdoor million seller in the 50s as the flip side of Mitch Miller's "The Yellow Rose of Texas."
Mrs Callsch said she took up songwriting while driving through Kentucky with her husband.
"We had the radio on and a lot of music was coming over, and I said,
"Oh, Lord, I could write better lyrics than that." And my husband, who believed I could do anything I set my mind to, said, 'Well, why don't you?'"
Insipired by the winding roads on that trip, she soon had a first lyric which, she took to Stutz, then an announcer at WRVA.
"We never went any place with the song," Mrs. Calisch recalled. "But I figured if I could write 'Curves In Kentucky,' I could write something a little better."
She was honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in l97l.
Before joining The Times-Dispatch, Mrs. Calisch wrote several children's books used In Jewish Sabbath schools including two volumes of "Bible Tales for the Very Young" and "Tales from Grandfather's Big Book," based on Old Testament stories.

Mrs. Cahisch was a member of Temple Beth Ahabah. A funeral is scheduled for 10 am Wednesday at Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Home, Third and Marshall streets. Burial will be in Hebrew Cemetery.
Mrs. Calisch is survived by a son, Elliott W. Calisch of Richmond, two daughters, Frances Rothenberg and Virginia C. Fairman, both of Richmond; and a brother, John B. Lindeman of Leesburg.
The family requests that meaoriaI contributions be made to the donor's favorite charity.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 04:08 PM

I Checked out the Missouri Rockabilly. The singer of the Red Headed Stranger there is Rose Maddox. It is not the original song.

The words that Rose uses are pretty much as I remember the song. It was one of my favorite songs and I pretty much remember the words.

Willie Nelson and Rose have the chorous as I remember it.

Loudermilk and Rose have the rest as I remember it.

The bay was lopin behind not walking

It was a yellow haired woman not a yellow haired lady.

Keep up the good work, I think we might be honing in on the original


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:13 PM

I remember this song when I was 12 which was 1954. Out on MGM, the record was by Arthur Smith and the Cracker Jacks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Mtmozart
Date: 21 Jan 11 - 08:37 PM

John D.Loudermilk's version of - Red headed stranger can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lecmpfZzxM


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,James Larry Campbell July 10,2011
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:44 AM

I first heard the song in early 1954, but never knew who sang it. My brother and I used to play and sing it all of the time in the 50's and 60's. I still know it word for word (I think). About 3 weeks ago, I was invited to a birthday party in Stephenville Tx.for a lady named Mrs. Winnie Browing, which was a teacher in Crane Tx. in the 40s 50s and 60s. She had just turned 96. And at that party, I was asked to play The Red Headed Stranger. And I did. Don't think I missed a word. It is still a great song. I don't know how many arguements I have had with people saying that Willie wrote it and sang it first.
My e-mail is Gtrmn915@aol.com if you want to get in touch with me. Thanks Jim Campbell


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 11:30 PM

I have found a web site that sell what appears to be a CD of Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks that has the Red Headed Stranger on it as well as 26 other Arthur Smith songs.   They want $15 for the CD. Maybe this will put the rest the quest for the original singer of the song.

Here is the link to it: http://www.countysales.com/products.php?product=ARTHUR-SMITH-'Arthur-Guitar-Boogie-Smith-%26-The-Cracker-Jacks'


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Bing Kinsey
Date: 05 May 12 - 07:14 AM

The first version of Red Headed Stranger that I heard was by Sonny Curtis in the early 60s. I thought it was a great version. Have searched for it without any luck


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 05:04 PM

Aurther Smith recorded The Red Headed Stranger on the MGM lable, I think in 1954.
                Roy


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: pdq
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 05:34 PM

I find a 78 RPM 10" single called "Red Headed Stranger" By Arthur (Guitar Boogie) Smith and his Cracker Jacks.

Item number is 54-S-256, so the date of 1954 is correct.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 24 Sep 13 - 12:01 AM

I remember listening to this song on a Wurlitzer Juke box in 1955 at the "Friendly Cafe" on Route 66 in Texola, Oklahoma. The Cafe was owned by Basil and Loretta Goode, both deceased, and the juke box only played only 78 rpm records. I can't remember who the singer was but it sure wasn't Nelson. By the way I was only 13 or 14 at the time and I wasn't supposed to be in the places that sold beer, but I'd sneak in and listen to a fiddle instrumental "Life is a Dream" and this song. If anyone has a copy of the fiddle instrumental "LIFE IS A DREAM" Please put it on U tube.
OFF Road Mech.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Rab Noakes
Date: 19 May 14 - 04:57 AM

I first heard this on a 45 by Sonny Curtis. Other side was 'Talk about my baby'. Early '60s that would have been.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 14 - 09:15 PM

I read in Willie Nelsons bio,that the first time he heard "Red-headed Stranger" was in a beer joint in Lubbock,in the late 50's.
I bought the Sonny Curtis 45 around that time...and guess where Sonny used to perform back then...Lubbock,Texas.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RED HEADED STRANGER (Calisch/Stutz)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jun 14 - 01:39 AM

Lyrics as Willie sung 'em:

THE RED HEADED STRANGER
(Words by Edith L. Calisch, music by Carl Stutz)
As recorded by Willie Nelson on "Red Headed Stranger" (1975)

The red-headed stranger from Blue Rock, Montana rode into town one day,
And under his knees was a ragin' black stallion and walkin' behind was a bay.
The red-headed stranger had eyes like the thunder and his lips they were sad and tight.
His little lost love lay asleep on the hillside and his heart was heavy as night.

CHORUS: Don't cross him; don't boss him; he's wild in his sorrow.
He's ridin' an' hidin' his pain.
Don't fight him; don't spite him; just wait till tomorrow.
Maybe he'll ride on again.

A yellow-haired lady leaned out of her window an' watched as he passed her way.
She drew back in fear at the sight of the stallion but cast greedy eyes on the bay.
But how could she know that this dancin' bay pony meant more to him than life?
For this was the horse that his little lost darlin' had ridden when she was his wife. CHORUS

The yellow-haired lady came down to the tavern an' looked up the stranger there.
He bought her a drink, an' he gave her some money; he just didn't seem to care.
She followed him out as he saddled his stallion an' laughed as she grabbed at the bay.
He shot her so quick, they had no time to warn her; she never heard anyone say: CHORUS

The yellow-haired lady was buried at sunset; the stranger went free, of course,
For you can't hang a man for killin' a woman who's tryin' to steal your horse.
This is the tale of the red-headed stranger, and if he should pass your way,
Stay out of the path of the ragin' black stallion and don't lay a hand on the bay. CHORUS



Red Headed Stranger album by Willie Nelson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eOPa91zm4&list=PLY5GVGiR0vR3rss8HrF6EUEfhClhsmPPw


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 03:38 PM

Well I've just come across a document that has a blue grass Montana instead of blue rock. This document consists of 30 hand typed songs that have no names associated with it. I'm just digging for info, glad I read this forum.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 05:11 PM

Does the story this song tells make much sense to anyone? The stranger went free "of course"?? The stranger was a psycho/sociopathic killer, even by open-carry-stand-your-ground standards. Damn right you can hang a man for killing a woman who "grabbed at" his horse - or you can get him for tax evasion, or something .....

Seriously, though, now that I think about it: anyone know what the law in the Old West would have been about killing someone in the unlikely event that they "grabbed at" your horse when you were standing right there with a Big Iron on your hip?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 06:44 PM

The bay was his ex-lover's (and previous victim's) horse. The verse:

"For you can't hang a man for killin' a woman
Who's tryin' to steal your horse.
"

falls under the same part of Texas culture as the two murders of the preceding medley (track A4 on the album)

Regardless of the exact written Federal, State or Local legalities, the all white male juries would refuse to convict on grounds of temporary insanity (passion) or self defense (broadly known as the Law of Texas)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 07:02 PM

Well, that kind of thinking is clearly implied in the song, but I just wonder how accurate it is. Is that really what is likely to have happened, or is that the same kind of mythology that has all cowboys as square-jawed Anglo-Celts who wore their six-guns in town (usually not allowed, to my uderstanding; cf. the 'shoot-out at the OK Corral')?

So, I'm skeptical, but you seem to know more about it than I do, so I'd be interested if you have the time and inclination to elaborate. For instance, any (in)famous cases?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 10:33 PM

I agree with you, meself. I think the song is junk inspired by cowboy movies, not history.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:21 AM

Edith Elliott Lindeman Calisch (1898-1984) was the film and theater critic for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 1933 to 1964. She is best remembered for writing lyrics to popular songs, in collaboration with composer and Richmond radio announcer Carl Stutz. In addition to "Red Headed Stranger," they wrote "Little Things Mean a Lot," made popular by Kitty Kallen.

I've heard the song a million times, but this is the first time I really listened to the Edith Calisch's lyrics. I admit that I was momentarily shocked at the guy just shooting the blonde for reaching for the bay horse - but then I laughed at my reaction. Hey, it's a great story, so why not enjoy it instead of moralizing about it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:23 AM

"...but you seem to know more about it than I do, so I'd be interested if you have the time and inclination to elaborate."

The last person Doc Holliday talked to before before he traipsed off to the ol' 'Corral might have been Charles Colby's mother Maggie, still checking (it's a curse.)


"So, I'm skeptical…"
"...I think the song is junk inspired by cowboy movies, not history…."


Oy.

Edith Lindeman (the newspaper amusement critic-lyricist) "I was just sitting at home one night, playing with the idea of colors." The redhead she had in mind was her husband. She named the town Blue Rock, gave the hero a "raging black stallion" and introduced him to a "yellow-haired" lady riding a bay-colored horse." (1953)

You were expecting Frankie, Johnny & Django maybe?

The 1975 Nelson concept LP is part of the Austin, Texas - Cosmic Cowboy genre. Frankly, the premise of a prostitute's murder getting swept under the rug to expedite a dangerous bully on down the line in 1901, small town Texas isn't that farfetched.


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Subject: ADD: Blue Rock Montana (songwriter?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 AM

Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger album also includes another, brief song titled "Blue Rock Montana." I don't know the songwriter. Here's my transcription:

BLUE ROCK, MONTANA
(Songwriter??)

Well he rode into Blue Rock, dusty and tired,
And he got him a room for the night.
He lay there in silence with too much on his mind,
Still hoping that he was not right.
But he found them that evening in a tavern in town
In a quiet little out-of-the way place.
And they smiled at each other when he walked through the door,
And they died with their smiles on their faces,
They died with a smile on their face.

Don't cross him, don't boss him
He's wild in his sorrow
He's ridin' and hidin' his pain
Don't fight him, don't spite him
Just wait till tomorrow
Maybe he'll ride on again


Interesting. Who wrote it? The tune for the verse is different from the original song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 10:57 AM

I know the song is not supposed to be taken particularly seriously, but I do prefer my songs to make sense, especially when they involve murder and mayhem. Even moreso when they involve the gratuitous murder of women. Also, I find the relationship between historical myth and historical reality interesting. So: "why not enjoy it instead of moralizing about it?" - what if I happen to enjoy moralizing about it? Not to mention that I've probably wasted too much of my life enjoying it anyway .......


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:56 PM

Meself:

Well you're in good company,

Just before this one first came out the Roman Catholic Church was all torches and pitchforks over Jimmy Boyd and Norman Luboff's I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

I found that one enormously entertaining myself... the song to.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red Headed Stranger (Stutz/Calisch)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 06:11 PM

Well, Phil, it was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that bannned I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

Is that where the phrase "banned in Boston" came from?

...but anyhow, about the Red Headed Stranger, all I can say is that I still like it, even now that I've taken the time to read the lyrics closely. It's a cowboy song written by a Virginia movie critic, so it's certainly not authentic. It does paint a portrait of a man overcome by grief to the point that he is driven to violence.

And then there's the brief "Blue Rock, Montana" song that uses the "Stranger" chorus. Another depiction of an extreme response.

But it's true that people make extreme responses to minor provocations. Ever flip your finger or honk at a driver who cuts you off in traffic? Better hope he doesn't have a gun.

-Joe-


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