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Origins: The Days of Forty Nine

DigiTrad:
DAYS OF FORTY NINE
FOOLS OF FORTY NINE


Related thread:
INFO REQD: days of '49 (2) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Days of Forty-Nine [Text by Joaquin Miller, Tune by Leila France] (late 19th Century - from Singing Gold, the Sacramento Bee)
The Days of Forty-Nine [Charley Rhoades (Bensell)] (from Songs of the American West, Lingenfelter/Dwyer)
The Days of Forty-Nine [from the singing of "Yankee" John Galusha] (source: Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne and Frank Warner Collection)
The Days of Forty-Nine (John Lomax) (from John Lomax, Cowboy Songs, 1916)
The Days of Forty-Nine (Lomax) (from Lomax & Lomax, Best-Loved American Folk Songs)


Pene Azul 10 Jun 00 - 02:42 AM
GUEST,Banjo Johnny 10 Jun 00 - 02:46 AM
richardw 10 Jun 00 - 01:09 PM
Jeri 10 Jun 00 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Gene 10 Jun 00 - 04:57 PM
Pene Azul 10 Jun 00 - 05:01 PM
Amos 19 Sep 00 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Barbara Savoie Carns 23 Jan 02 - 03:32 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 02 - 04:39 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 02 - 04:50 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 02 - 11:39 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 02 - 07:40 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 02 - 08:10 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 02 - 08:14 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 02 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Jul 03 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Jul 03 - 08:41 PM
InOBU 27 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 28 Oct 03 - 10:40 AM
InOBU 28 Oct 03 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 28 Oct 03 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 10 Nov 03 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 11 Dec 03 - 02:47 PM
Amos 11 Dec 03 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 11 Dec 03 - 03:29 PM
Joe Offer 11 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 11 Dec 03 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 11 Dec 03 - 04:58 PM
Joe Offer 11 Dec 03 - 05:30 PM
Charley Noble 11 Dec 03 - 08:13 PM
Joe Offer 11 Dec 03 - 08:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Dec 03 - 09:41 PM
Amos 11 Dec 03 - 09:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Dec 03 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 12 Dec 03 - 11:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Dec 03 - 04:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Dec 03 - 08:46 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Dec 03 - 10:30 PM
Art Thieme 13 Dec 03 - 11:54 AM
Amos 13 Dec 03 - 12:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 03 - 03:43 PM
Art Thieme 13 Dec 03 - 10:54 PM
Joe Offer 13 Dec 03 - 11:17 PM
Art Thieme 14 Dec 03 - 12:22 AM
Art Thieme 14 Dec 03 - 12:30 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,cliffabrams@yahoo.com 23 Jan 04 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,guest mick 24 Jan 04 - 07:48 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jan 04 - 03:23 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 04 - 11:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jan 04 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Karl 26 Feb 12 - 09:00 AM
meself 26 Feb 12 - 10:45 AM
Joe Offer 27 Feb 12 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Feb 12 - 11:02 AM
meself 27 Feb 12 - 08:53 PM
meself 29 Feb 12 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Feb 12 - 08:12 AM
RoyH (Burl) 29 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM
meself 29 Feb 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Andrew Finch 04 May 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 May 12 - 09:03 AM
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Lighter 11 Jul 17 - 08:13 AM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Pene Azul
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 02:42 AM


Lyrics delete. In DT here(click).

See Gold Miners' Songs


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 02:46 AM

Hi again Pene - thanks for your help! As you see, I got the title mixed up. Got your tip on the line break for next time. Johnny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: richardw
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 01:09 PM

There are version with many more verses.One of the great goldrush songs.

As a matter of interest I we just recorded it on our new CD, Rough But Honest Miner, Richard Wright, vocals and Ken Hamm on guitar.

richard


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 03:21 PM

It's also in the DT here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 04:57 PM

I have one recorded by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith

called [THE FOOL'S OF '49]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Pene Azul
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 05:01 PM

Thanks Jeri,

Somehow I missed that.

PA


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: THE DAYS OF FORTY NINE^^^
From: Amos
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 10:43 PM

The Days of Forty Nine


One of my favorites, collected by Frank Warner and sung by him on an early Folkways disk.  The tune is a standard come-all-ye.  This soong was sung in beerhalls through the 1890's I believe.
 

DAYS OF FORTY NINE
 

Am~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~
I'm old Tom Moore from the bummer's shore
Am~~~~~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~Am
In the good old golden days.
Am~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~
They call me a bummer and a gin sot, too
Am~~~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~Am
But what care I for praise
C~~~~~~~~~~~~~ G~~~~~~~~~E7
I wander around from town to town
Am~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~~E7
Just like a roving sign,
Am~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~~~~~
And the people all say "There goes Tom Moore
Am~~~~~E7~~~~~Am
Of the days of '49.
            AM~~C~~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~~
cho: In the days of old, in the days of gold
Am~~~~G~~~~~E
How often I repine
Am~~~~~~~~~~~~~C~~~~~~~~G~~~~~~
For the days of old when we dug up the gold
Am~~~~~~E7~~~Am
In the days of '49.

There was Nantuck Bill, I knew him well,
A feller that was fond of tricks.
At a poker game he was always there
And heavy with his bricks.
He would ante up and draw his cards
And go in a hatfull blind
In a game of bluff, Bill lost his breath
In the days of '49.

There was New York Jake, a butcher boy
He was always getting tight.
And every time that he got full
He was always hunting a fight.
One night he run up against a knife
In the hands of old Bob Kline
And over Jake they held a wake
In the days of '49.

There was poor old Jess, the old lame cuss
He never would relent.
Her never was known to miss a drink
Or ever spend a cent.
At length old Jess like all the rest
Who never would decline,
In all his bloom went up the flume
In the days of '49.

There was roaring Bill from Buffalo
I never will forget.
He would roar all day and he'd roar all night
And I guess he's roaring yet.
One night he fell in a prospector's hole
In a roaring bad design,
In in that hole roared out his soul
In the days of '49


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
From: GUEST,Barbara Savoie Carns
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 03:32 AM

The lyrics from Amos are the ones that I have but somewhere along the line I picked up three extra verses - a first and last verse and one in between describing yet another miner. I thought I'd learned them from Warner' singing on that arly recording of his but in looking at his verses in the Frank Warner collection, I didn't find those missing verses. Verse one contains the phrase "... a few hard cases I will admit but they were kind and true" and the last "...I'm left alone with my memories like some old ?..." The other escapes me at the moment but as I recall it was another description of one of his pals. I'm researching this for my son Tommy Carns whose sometimes singing partner is named Tom Moore - seems appropriate, n'est pas? Where is Debbie McClatchey when we need her? Barbara Savoie Carns bbcarn@juno.com


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Subject: Lyr Add: DAYS OF FORTY-NINE
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 04:39 AM

I believe I've heard Debby McClatchy sing this, but I don't know the verses she sings. I'm in the process of moving, so I don't have her CD's handy. A Google search brought up a slightly different version here (click - RTF File).

Days of 49

I'm old Tom Moore from the bummer's shore, in the good old golden days,
They call me a bummer and a ginsot too, but what cares I for praise,
I wander around from town to town, just like a roving sign, (Oooooooo)
And the people all say, "There goes Tom Moore, of the days of '49" (Oooooooo)

CHORUS:
In the days of old, in the days of gold, how oftimes I repine, (Ooooooooooo)
For the days of old when we dug up the gold, in the days of '49 (Ooooooooooo)

My comrades, they all loved me well, a jolly saucy crew,
A few hard cases I will admit, though they were brave and true,
Whatever the pinch they ne'er would flinch, they never would fret or whine, (Oooooooo)
Like good old bricks, they stood the kicks, in the days of '49 (Oooooooo)
[Chorus]

There was old Lame Jess, a hard old cuss, who never did repent,
He never was known to miss a drink, or ever spend a cent,
But old Lame Jess, like all the rest to death he did resign, (Oooooooo)
And in his bloom went up the flume, in the days of '49, (Oooooooo)
[Chorus]

There was New York Jake, the butcher's boy, he was always getting' tight,
And every time that he'd get full, he was spoilin' for a fight,
Then Jake rampaged against a knife in the hands of old Bob Sine, (Oooooooo)
And over Jake they held a wake, in the days of '49 (Oooooooo)
[Chorus]

There was Ragshag Bill, from Buffalo, I never will forget,
He would roar all day and roar all night and I guess he's roaring yet,
One night he fell in a prospector's hole, in a roaring bad design, (Oooooooo)
And in that hole, roared out his soul, in the days of '49 (Oooooooo)
[Chorus]

Of all the comrades that I've had, there's none that's left to boast,
And I'm left alone in my misery, like some poor wandering ghost,
And as I pass from town to town, they call me the rambling sign, (Oooooooo)
There goes Tom Moore, a bummer sure, of the days of '49 (Oooooooo)
[Chorus]


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Subject: Lyr Add: DAYS OF FORTY NINE
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 04:50 AM

Another version here (click).
-Joe Offer-

Days of Forty-Nine

During the Gold Rush many Cowboys had been in California. This tune is the most nostalgic ballad conjuring up those bygone days.

1. You are gazing now on old Tom Moore, a relic of bygone days;
'tis a bummer too they call me now, but what care I for praise?
It's oft, says I, for the days gone by, it's oft do I repine
for the days of old when we dug gold in the days of forty-nine.

2. My comrades they loved me well, a jolly, saucy crew,
a few hard cases I will admit, though they were brave and true;
whatever the oinch, they ne'er would flinch, they never would fret or whine
- like good old bricks, they stood the kicks in the days of forty-nine.

3. There's old "Aunt Jess", that hard old cuss, who never would repent;
he never missed a single meal, nor never paid a cent.
But old "Aunt Jess", like all the rest at death, he did resign,
and in his bloom he went up the flume in the days of forty-nine.

4. There is Ragshag Jim, the roarin' man, who could out-roar a buffalo, you bet,
he roared all day and he roared all night, and I guess he's roarin' yet.
One night Jim fell in a prospect's hole, it was a roarin' bad design,
for in that hole Jim roared out his soul in the days of forty-nine.

5. There was New York Jake, the butcher boy who was fond of getting tight.
And every time he got on a spree he was spoilin' for a fight.
One night Jake jumped against a knife in the hands of old Doc Sine.
And over Jake they held a wake in the days of forty-nine.

6. Of all the comrades that I've had there's none that's left to boast,
and I'm left alone in my misery like some poor wandering ghost.
And as I pass from town to town, they call me the rambling sign,
since the days of old when we dug gold in the days of forty-nine.

Almost the same as the John Lomax version, but missing the "Monte Pete" verse.


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Subject: ORIGINS: Days of Forty-Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 11:39 AM

I thought this song was fairly recent, but the Traditional Ballad Index dates it back to at least 1878. I'll post the Ballad Index entry. If any of you songbook collectors would like to check the versions mentioned below and post lyrics we don't have, that would be nice. My books are still 50 miles away.
-Joe Offer-

Days of Forty-Nine, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer, "Old Tom Moore from the Bummer's Shore," a relic of the California gold rush of 1849, recalls the various characters that he encountered "in the days of old when we dug up the gold"
AUTHOR: Charles Bensell ("Charley Rhoades") ?

EARLIEST DATE: 1874 (The Great Emerson's New Popular Songster)
KEYWORDS: gold mining drink death moniker
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1849 - Beginning of the California gold rush
FOUND IN: US(MA,So,SW)
REFERENCES (7 citations):

Randolph 198, "The Days of Forty-Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner 12, "The Days of Forty-Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
FSCatskills 91, "The Days of 'Forty-Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 54, "The Days of '49" (1 text, 1 tune)

Silber-FSWB, p. 285, "The Days of Forty-Nine" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 172-174, "The Days of '49" (1 text)
DY, DAYSOF49*

Roud #2803
RECORDINGS:
Jules Allen, "The Days of Forty-Nine" (Victor 21627, 1928; Montgomery Ward M-4463, 1933)

File: R198


Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 07:40 PM

Give a listen to Doughbelly Price singing "Days of Forty-nine" on this Univ. Pennsylvania website:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/doughbelly
He sings a few other western songs as well. No instrumental accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 08:10 PM

This should lead to Doughbelly Price: Here


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 08:14 PM

Hooray! It worked. A few other western songs are listed.
WyS, I remember that "Sweet Betsy From Pike" went to the goldfields in some versions. I'll see if I can find any songs about women in the gold fields in my western song books.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 08:58 PM

A version of the "Days of Forty-Nine, close to the one posted by Joe Offer (23Jan02) is offered by Guy Logsdon in "The Whorehouse Bells Are Ringing," p. 179-181. It was sung by Riley Neal.


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Subject: ADD Versions: Days of 49
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 05:36 PM

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, contains several older published versions of "The Days of Forty Nine."

1. Days of Forty-Nine, Lomax and Lomax, Cowboy and Other Frontier Ballads, 1938. Tom Moore mentioned.
2. Days ..., "To Old Hangtown or Bust," J. W. [Studebaker?], Placerville, CA, 1912. Tom Moore mentioned.
3. Days ..., Joaquin Miller, "The Gold Seekers of the Sierras, 1884. No mention of Tom Moore.
4. Days of ..., Lummis, Chas. F., ed., "Out West," 1903, pp. 202, 204. Mention of Tom Moore in one version.

Here is the 1884 text by Joaquin Miller, well-known poet. He probably originated the song; characters like Tom Moore added by others.

Lyr. Add: THE DAYS OF FORTY-NINE
By Joaquin Miller, 1884

We have worked our claims, we have spent our gold,
Our barks are astrand on the bars;
We are battered and old, yet at night we behold
Outcroppings of gold in the stars.

And though few and old, out hearts are bold;
Yet oft do we repine
For the days of old,
For the days of gold
For the days of Forty-Nine.

Chorus:
And though few and old, our hearts are bold,
Yet oft do we repine
For the days of old
For the days of gold,
For the days of Forty-Nine.

Where the rabbits play, where the quail all day
Pipe on the chapparal hill,
A few more days and the last of us lays
His pick aside and is still.

Though battered and old, our hearts are bold,
Yet oft do we repine
For the days of old,
For the days of gold,
For the days of Forty-Nine.

From "The Gold Seekers of the Sierras, Chap. VII, p. 68, Funk Wagnalls, New York, 1884. Needs to be checked for completeness against the writings of Joaquin Miller. The Lummis versions are based on this 1884 poem.


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Subject: ADD Versions: Days of 49
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:41 PM

Lyr. Add: DAYS OF FORTY-NINE
By Joaquin Miller. Complete text.

We have worked our claims, we have spent our gold,
Our barks are astrand on the bars;
We are battered and old. yet at night we behold
Outcroppings of gold in the stars,
And though few and old, our hearts are bold;
Yet oft do we repine
For the days of old,
For the days of gold-
For the Days of Forty-Nine.

Chorus:
Though battered and old,
Our hearts are bold,
Yet oft do we repine;
For the days of old,
For the days of gold,
For the Days of Forty-Nine.

Where the rabbits play, where the quail all day
Pipe on the chaparral hill,
A few more days and the last of us lays
His pick adide, and all is still.

Chorus:

We are wreck and stray,
We are cast away,
Poor battered old hulks and spars;
But we hope and pray,
On the judgement day,
We shall strike it up in the stars.

Written in the 1880s, the text in The Gold Seekers of the Sierras, 1884, Ch. 7, p. 68, Funk Wagnalls, NY.
Miller may have written more than one version, or the quotation in California Gold, Northern California Folk Music From the Thirties, is incomplete. Charles F. Lummis reproduced the complete poem in "Out West," vol. 18, no. 2, p. 204, 1903.

In the same "Out West," p. 202, Lummis printed a version which tells of Tom Moore.

Lyr. Add: THE DAYS OF FORTY-NINE

You are looking now on old Tom Moore,
A relic of bygone days;
A Bummer, too, they call me now,
But what care I for praise?
For my heart is filled with the days of yore,
And oft I do repine
For the Days of old, and the Days of gold,
And the days of Forty-Nine.

Oh, my heart is filled with the days of yore
And oft I do repine
For the days of old, and the days of gold,
And the days of Forty-Nine.

I had comrades then who loved me well,
A jovial, saucy crew
There were some hard cases, I must confess [,?]
But they were all brave and true;
Who would never flinch, whate'er the pinch [,?]
Who never would fret nor whine,
But like good old bricks they stood the kicks,
In the Days of Forty-Nine.

There was Monte Pete- I'll ne'er forget
The luck he always had.
He would deal for you both day and night,
So long as you had a scad.
He would pay you Draw, he mould [would?] Ante sling,
He would go you a hatful blind
But in a game with Death Pete lost his breath
In the Days of Forty-Nine.

There was New York Jake, a butcher boy,
That was always a-gettin' tight;
Whenever Jake got on a spree,
He was spoiling for a fight.
One day he ran against a knife
In the hands of old Bob Cline,
So over Jake we held a wake,
In the Days of Forty-Nine.

There was Rackensack[?] Jim who could outroar (Prob. Hackensack)
A Buffalo Bull, you bet!
He would roar all night, he would roar all day,
And I b'lieve he's a-roaring yet!
One night he fell in a prospect hole
'Twas a rearing bad design
For in that hole he roared out his soul
In the Days of Forty-Nine.

There was poor lame Ches, a hard old case
Who never did repent.
Ches never missed a single meal,
Nor he never paid a cent.
But poor lame Ches, like all the rest,
Did to Death at last resign,
For all in his bloom he went up the flume
In the Days of Forty-Nine.

And now my comrades all are gone,
No one remains to toast,
They have left me here in my misery,
Like some poor wandering ghost,
And as I go from place to place,
Folks call me a "Traveling Sign"
Saying, "There goes Tom Moore, a Bummer, sure,
From the Days of Forty-Nine."

Lummis, Chas. F., editor, "Out West" vol. 18, no. 2, p. 202, February, 1903.
Messages from multiple threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM

Hey Folkies... Anyone catch the Ken Burns documentry about the 49ers? There was a version of Days of 49, not completely like the one posted by Joe Offer... had one verse about good for nothing but a senator... nice version, anyone know it?
Cheers
Larry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 10:40 AM

Hey! I can help with this one, but it will take awhile. That was my brother singing it on the documentary. He was a ranger at the Marshall Gold Discovery Site at the time, but has since retired to a life of genteel folk-singer poverty. He has quite a collection of Gold Rush material. If you're ever in the Gold Country, look for performances by Alan Fuller.

I'll be seeing him in a couple of weeks, and I'll ask for the lyrics when I do. Watch this space...

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 11:11 AM

Well Claire, tell your brother "Job well done!" ANd if you are ever in New York, looking for songs which call everything most Americans are comfortable with, into question... (though the polls are fast turning... ;-) ... look for performances by, me, Lorcan Otway!

It really was very good. I like to hear that special sites have appropriately good art to set the context.

All the best,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 12:44 PM

I'll be sure and pass on the compliment; that should ensure a complete version of the lyrics!

And if I'm ever in New York . . . (now why do I think I'd be one of the comfortable few?)

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 12:11 PM

Hey Larry! Sorry, I was hoping to get you definitive lyrics for this, but Alan didn't have them handy. He says, though, that he got the song directly from a University of California Press book; unfortunately he didn't quite get around to giving me the exact title of said book in the course of the (rather hectic) Guy Fawkes concert we were giving together.

So I checked the UC Press Web site this morning, and I believe the book in question is likely to be this one:

Rohrbough, Malcolm J. Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation. 1997, University of California Press.

The book description doesn't mention song lyrics, but since the title of the book is itself a reference to the song, I'd guess they're in there. The publication year is about right, too.

So now, the next question is how good inter-library loan is in your area...

Good luck! If you get stumped, I'll try again, but since my brother isn't e-mailable, it won't be very efficient. Sigh.

Claire


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Days of 49
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 02:47 PM

Hello again!

Rather unbelievably, a co-worker just gave me the book it's ACTUALLY from, which is not the above. It's Dwyer, Richard (editor), The Songs of the Gold Rush. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964.

Here are the lyrics.

NOTE: I'm including the version's last, extremely racist verse with my teeth gritted. I have an obligation to quote the source book accurately, I suppose, even if I hate it! I'm pretty sure Alan didn't sing that verse -- in fact, it may well be why he didn't produce the source for me.

Claire

THE DAYS OF '49

C. Rhoades (Bensell)
[Rhoades is listed as Charley Rhodes (no A) elsewhere in the book; I have no idea who Bensell is.]

Here you see old Tom Moore
A relic of bygone days.
A bummer too they call me now
But what care I for praise
For my heart is filled with woe
And I often grieve and pine,
For the days of old, the days of gold,
The days of '49.

I had comrades then a saucy set
They were rough I must confess.
But staunch and brave, as true as steel,
Like hunters from the West;
But they like many another fish
Have now run out their line
But like good old bricks they stood the kicks
Of the days of '49.

There was Monte Pete, I'll ne'er forget
The luck that he always had,
He'd deal for you both night and day,
Or as long as you had a scad.
One night a pistol laid him out,
'Twas his last lay out in fine,
It caught Pete sure, right bang in the door,
In the days of '49.

There was another chap from New Orleans
Big Reuben was his name,
On the plaza there with a sardine box
He opened a faro game,
He dealt so fair that a millionaire
He became in course of time,
Till death stept in and called the turn
In the days of '49.

There was Kentuck Bill, one of the boys,
Who was always in for a game;
No matter whether he lost or won
To him 'twas all the same.
He'd ante a slug; he'd pass the buck;
He'd go a hat full blind
In the game of death, Bill lost his breath
In the days of '49.

There was New York Jake, the butcher boy
So fond of getting tight.
Whenever Jake got full of gin
He was looking for a fight.
One night he ran against a knife
In the hands of old Bob Kline
And over Jake we had a wake
In the days of '49.

There was North Carolina Jess, a hard old case,
Who never would repent.
Jess never was known to miss a meal
Or ever pay a cent.
But poor old Jess like all the rest
To death did at last resign,
And in his bloom he went up the flume
In the days of '49.

There was Hackensack Jim who could out roar
A buffalo bull you bet.
He roared all night; he roared all day
He may be roaring yet.
One night he fell in a prospect hole
'Twas a roaring bad design,
And in that hole roared out his soul
In the days of '49.

Of all the comrades I had then
There's none left now but me,
And the only thing I'm fitting for
Is a Senator to be;
The people cry as I pass by,
"There goes a traveling sign;
That's old Tom Moore, a bummer sure,
of the days of '49."

Since that time how things have changed
In this land of liberty;
Darkies didn't vote nor plead in court
Nor rule this country,
But the Chinese question, the worst of all
In those days did not shine,
For the country was right and the boys all white
In the days of '49.

Text and music: "The Days of '49," arr. by E. Zimmer (San Francisco: Sherman and Hyde, 1876).

P.S. I think Alan added this last bit, listed as the chorus in the version currently in the DT, as a postscript after the last verse, but it's not in the book:

In the days of old, in the days of gold
How often I repine
For the days of old when we dug up the gold
In the days of '49.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: Amos
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 03:16 PM

Interesting variation. When Frank Warner collected the song it had many of the bits in the above, but not the segment concerning other races. It did have that last quatrain as a choris between verses.

Elektra EKLP 3 1952, right after an early Jean Ritchie release!

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: PBS version of Days of 49
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 03:29 PM

Yes, I started with a copy-paste of that version. Does it strike you that the one Warner collected had been deliberately rusticated (de-grammaticized and de-metered) to make it sound more authentic? That's how it struck me.

The horrid last verse in the version I posted above doesn't really strike me as being in the same voice as the others, now that I think about it. The folk porcess is a fascinatin' thing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM

Hi, Claire - I hope nobody minds that I combined the two threads on this song so all the versions would be together.
I can't find my copy of The Songs of the Gold Rush to double-check. I rarely use it, since most of the songs are also in Lingenfelter-Dwyer's Songs of the American West. The Lingenfelter-Dwyer book has the last part of the first verse listed as a chorus, like this:
    Here you see old Tom Moore
    A relic of bygone days.
    A bummer too they call me now
    But what care I for praise
    For my heart is filled with woe
    And I often grieve and pine,
    For the days of old, the days of gold,
    The days of '49.
    CHORUS: For the days of old, the days of gold,
    The days of '49.
Is that how it's shown in Songs of the Gold Rush? Seems to me it would be better to just repeat the last two lines of each verse.

Are you in California, too?
-Joe Offer in Colfax (in the Gold Country)-
    joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 04:23 PM

Hmm. Interesting question. In the written-out lyrics no chorus is mentioned. In the music, a "chorus" is indeed present and it is the lyrics you cite, but then that IS the last two lines of the first verse, which is of course the verse written in under the music. The tune for this "chorus" is identical to the last two lines of the verse as well.

I'd think it would be safe to infer from what's there that you repeat the last two lines of each verse, even though it doesn't exactly *say* that.

Yes, here I sit in sunny San Jose, envying my brother in his bucolic Placerville diggins. And you in Colfax, for that matter! Oh, for some trees...

(Actually I live in an extremely rural part of Scotts Valley, where there are LOTS of trees. It just seems as though I never see them during the daylight hours.)


Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 04:58 PM

Combining the "PBS version" thread with the previous one was, in general, a good thing, but could someone PM InObu and tell him his lyrics have arrived? I don't know if he'd think to search for this other thread name, and I told him to "watch this space" on the other thread.

Thanks! (I will join up and take care of this type of thing myself, just as soon as I have home Internet access! Honest!)

Claire
PM sent to InObu.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 05:30 PM

I think the version in the Digital Tradition is almost an exact transcript of the version in Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne and Frank Warner Collection, except that the Warner book has one word different in the refrain:
    In the days of old, in the days of gold
    How oft-times I repine
    For the days of old when we dug up the gold
    In the days of '49.
The Warner version is a transcription from their 1941 recording of "Yankee" John Galusha. You can hear Galusha sing the song on the Appleseed CD, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still: The Warner Collection, Volume 1 - but there are only two verses on the CD.

Here are the notes from the Warner book:
    According to Professor William L. Alderson of Reed College [ Days of '49, Reprise," Northwest Folklore I (1965): 5—101, the first appearance of this song in print was in The Great New Popular Songster (San Francisco, 1872) where it was described as "sung with great success by [Billy] Emerson's Minstrels at the Alhambra Theatre in San Francisco."
    Professor Alderson says, "In the Lomax edited anthology Folk Song U.S.A., that work employs a tune collected by Frank Warner from Yankee John Galusha, but of that text only a 'portion,' determinably rather small, came from that source" [Galusha].
    Alderson (who happens to be wrong in his assumption, since Yankee John sang us five verses and the chorus)* was arguing against the song's being a folk song since he had found it only in fragmentary texts, or in printed texts similar to that printed in the book noted above. Yankee John's version, however, like all his songs, he had
    learned through oral transmission. Of course he could have learned it from someone who had a printed source.
    Professor Alderson says the original song probably was written by banjo artist Charles Bensell (stage name: Charley Rhoades) who died in June 1877. It is "certainly a minstrel song par excellence." It was published in many songsters of the seventies and eighties, including, we are sure, "Old Put's Golden Songster" in its later editions.
    "The Days of Forty-Nine" was one of many songs that came out of the Gold Rush days when on Long Island, for instance, not a boat was left that was capable of sailing to Panama or around the Horn. Though it began as a stage song, we think it was kept alive by communities that saw their sons strike out for the West to seek their fortunes, and then saw them come home, often, broke and broken. Old Tom Moore is an example of the returning forty-niner, the disillusioned seeker of that elusive pot of gold. That we found this version of the song in upper New York State shows that the composer told a tale that was real to his hearers.
    Folk Songs of the Catskills (Cazden II) has a similar and longer version of the song given to the editors by George Edwards. Cazden's notes further explore the song's history and transmission.

    See: Cazden II, 341; Laws, NAB, Appendix 3, Z77; Lingenfelter, 196;
    Lomax, Cowboy Songs, 378; Lomax, FSUSA, i8o; Randolph, Vol. 1, 221


*could it be that Alderson heard the same abbreviated Warner recording that ended up on the CD?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:13 PM

Looks like you've done a good job of nailing this one.

Thanks!
Charley Noble


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Subject: Tune ADD: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:48 PM

We ain't done yet, Charley! I think it's time to talk tunes. I guess the tune I'm most familiar with is the one in the Digital Tradition (click). With all due respect to Debby McClatchy and others who use this tune, it sounds a lot like "Gilligan's Island" to me. I think it's supposed to be a transcription of the Warner tune:

Click to play Warner


In Songs of the American West Lingenfelter & Dwyer have a very different tune, apparently by Charles Rhoades:

Click to play Chas. Rhoades


I have a book from the Sacramento Bee newspaper called Singing Gold: Songs and Verses from Early California. It has lyrics by Joaquin Miller (click) that appear to be earlier than the others, and a 19th-Century tune by Leila France.

Click to play Leila France


It appears from information posted above that the original version of this song may have been a poem by Joaquin Miller (1837-1913). I've wondered about Miller, since there's a school in Sacramento named after him. Here's what Singing Gold says about him:
    Like many celebrities today, Joaquin Miller (born Cincinnatus Hiner Miller) was unconventional and used his manner of dress and actions to seek attention. He was a celebrity because he was not only extremely talented, but wrote of what he knew best — the Indians and the West. As romantic looking as a poet should be, he had clear blue eyes and shoulder-length blonde hair. Though one time an attorney and a judge, he was somewhat of a rebel — even changing his name to Joaquin after the bandit, Joaquin Murietta.
By the way, "Joaquin" is pronounced Wah-KEEN in this area. -Joe Offer-
there's another song called Days of 49 at Levy. As a resident of the Sacramento area, I'm almost embarrassed to post a link to it. Sure is corny.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 09:41 PM

I agree with Claire Bear that the last two lines of each verse are repeated as a 'chorus'. The way it is printed in Lingenfelter and Dwyer would seem to make the last lines of the first verse repeatable as a chorus, but this doesn't work.
The song as printed in Lingenfelter and Dwyer is taken from the 1876 printing by Sherman and Hyde, San Francisco. It has not been expressly stated, but was the 1874 printing in The Great Emerson New Popular Songster the same?

The lyricist's name perhaps should be cited as Charles Bensell ('Ch. Rhoades'), his real name- but was sheet music published in the 1876 printing? The "Arr. Zimmer" would seem to indicate so. If the tune is original, Zimmer probably was the composer. Was Zimmer with the Emerson Minstrels? Details and Trivia, but answers would be nice to have.

"The Chinese Question" was the subject of much newsprint, oratory and heat from the Gold Rush days of 'Forty-Nine to as late as 1930, especially in the West. The section of songs about 'John Chinaman' could not have been deleted from Lingenfelter and Dwyer without leaving a large hole in the fabric of "Songs of the American West."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Amos
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 09:43 PM

Joe:

How innerestin' that these very differing tunes would evolve for the one song. I, of course, swear by Warner, approximately -- I learned it from the Elektra release mentioned above -- but over the years I have softened the edges of that tune a bit. Love that description of Joaquin.

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 10:47 PM

Joe the version you found without attribution and posted 23 Jan 02 is the one printed in John A. Lomax, 1910, "Cowboy Songs,' minus two verses.
These concern Monte Pete (in Claire Bear's post, with a few differences), and one about Wylie Bill, neither in Claire Bear's nor in Lingenfelter and Dwyer's versions.

There is Wylie Bill, the funny man,
Who was full of funny tricks,
And when he was in a poker game
He was always hard as bricks.
He would ante you a stud, he would play you a draw,
He'd go you a hatful blind,--
In a struggle with death Bill lost his breath
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There was Monte Pete, I'll ne'er forget
The luck he always had,
He would deal for you both day and night
Or as long as he had a scad.
It was a pistol shot that lay Pete out,
It was his last resign,
And it caught Pete dead sure in the door
In the days of Forty-Nine.

Note "It was his last resign" in Lomax and "'Twas his last layout in fine" in Bear's post and in Lingenfelter and Dwyer.
Lomax provides no notes; pp. 9-11.

In Lomax and Lomax, 1938, pp. 378-381, "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads," a new rendering, "from Florence N. Gleason of Bakersfield. CA," is printed (no other notes).
"North Carolina Jess" becomes "Old Lame Jess."
"Wylie Bill" is discarded and replaced with "Poker Bill," a different verse.

There's Poker Bill, one of the boys,
Who was always in for a game,
Whether he lost or whether he won,
To him it was always the same.
He would ante you a slug, or rush the buck,
He'd go you a hatful blind--
In the game of death Bill lost his breath
In the days of Forty-Nine.
In the game of death Bill lost his breath
In the days of Forty-Nine.

The music given in the 1938 Gleason rendition is somewhat different from the Bensell-Zimmer sheet music in Lingenfelter and Dwyer. No music was provided in the 1910 edition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 11:33 AM

I was just cruising PBS' Web site for The West, in hoipes of finding a sound link to my brother's performance, which didn't sound exactly like any of Joe's MIDIs above -- though it was clearly related to the Rhoades one, as it should be.

Well, I haven't found one yet, though I haven't given up hope -- I KNOW I've heard the cut on the radio, so there must be a CD set somewhere. But what I did find is the verse that caught Larry's attention, along with what must be the actual "postscript" (what the heck do you call that bit in a song? I can't remember!) Alan sang for the series, which is spomewhat different from what I quoted in my Lyr Add:

Oh, I miss the boys and all the noise,
And the gold that once was mine;
In the days of old, the days of gold, the Days of '49.
In the days of gold, when we dug up the gold, in the Days of '49.

I'll keep looking for a sound sample and get back to you with a link if I find one.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 04:14 PM

Keith McNeil sings "The Days of Forty-Nine" from his "California Songs" at Days of Forty-Nine

Here is the "senator" verse:

Of al the comrades that I had then,
There's none left now but me.
And the only thing I'm fittin' for
Is a senator to be.
The people cry as I pass by
"There goes a traveling sign,
That's old Tom Moore, a bummer sure,
Of the days of 'Forty-Nine."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:46 PM

I think it has been posted before, but the late Doughbelly Price of Taos singing "Days of Forty-Nine" should be on a cd: Doughbelly's Songs
With one or two slips, he sings it all. A few others at the same website.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 10:30 PM

Our community TV station Bris 31 used to play whtever it could get.

They had some old programs from about 1988 (or was it 98) one or two of which were about a guy - more of an entertainer than just a singer - playing banjo on a stage set with a wagon. He did a lot of songs - including "Jesse James" - complete with lots of stories and histories interpolated, as well as "Days of 49".

He seemed to be somewhere from the midwest - his themes were all about the pioneer days. The TV station/network/production company had a mid western sounding name. He wasn't too old - did it for a living from his comments.

Can't remember his name.

Robin


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Subject: ADD: Days Of '50,'1 and '2
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 11:54 AM

and yet another...

Days Of '50,'1 and '2

The only notation I have on the typed-out version I've kept says, "From a broadside sheet of 1867" But it does sound later to me.

----------------------------------------------------------

Tom Moore has sung of '49 and the pioneers who came
Across the plains and around the horn in search of gold and fame,
But in his song he tells us not one word of those we knew,
Those pioneers of of the good old days of '50, '1 , and '2.

There's Kaintuck Bill and Monty Pete, he holds them up to fame,
New York Jake and Ransack Jim and old Lame Jess the same,
But men like these were not the boys so hardy, tough and true
That flumed the streams and worked the mine of '50, '1, and '2.

There's Captain Love and gallant Burns, Dave Buell tall and brave,
Likewise Bob Fall and also Thorn were the dread of Robbers Cave,
They would trace them oer the mountains, steep ravines and canyons through,
Those men of pluck from the good old days of '50, '1 and '2.

There was Joaquin and 3-fingered Jack, to catch 'em seemed in vain,
Though followed on their bloody track oer mountain, hill and plain,
But they at last were forced to yield to men who well I knew,
Those gallant souls who knew no fear in '50, '1 and '2.

Where are they now that gallant band, those friends who once were mine,
Some sleep beneath the willow's shade, some 'neath the lofty pine,
Whilst some have sank beneath the waves deep in the ocean blue,
Those cherished friends of bygone years of '50, '1 and '2.

I once had wealth and it brought new friends and I thought them true I'll own,
But when kind fortune ceased to smile those summer friends had flown,
And now I wander on alone life's thorny pathway through,
But I'll ne'er forget those dear old friends of '50, '1 and '2.

'Tis true theres some old pioneers that unto wealth have gone,
But there are many that are poor and I am one I'll own,
But never shun a ragged coat if the heart beneath is true,
Of a pioneer of the good old days of '50, '1 and '2.

And now kind friends I've sung my song, I've had my little speak,
But when I think of those good old day tears oftimes wet my cheek,
We opened then the Golden Gate and it's treasures unto you,
We boys who came in '49, and in '50, '1 and '2.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 12:04 PM

Wow, Art!! That's a doozy!! I love it!! It does sound a bit later, somehow. I'd love to know where it came from!


A


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 03:43 PM

Lyr. Add: THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF '50, '1, AND '2
Lyrics: J. Riley Mains
(Answer to "The Days of '49.")
Words given above by Art Thieme.

Lyrics composed by J. Riley Mains and distributed on an undated broadside. The date would have to be after 1874-1876 when Charles Bensell's "Days of Forty-Nine" was published. The same music was used.

Lyrics in Lingenfelter and Dwyer, "Songs of the American West," p. 560, and Dwyer et al. 1964, pp. 191-192. Also appeared in J. W. Sullivan, "Popular California Songs," no date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 10:54 PM

Q,

Thanks ! I always wondered where I got that song. I used to own Lingenfelter and Dwyer's Songs Of The American West.

And, Q, it's good to find you at Mudcat. I'd wondered where you went after THE NEXT GENERATION left the air. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 11:17 PM

Art, did you record either of thes songs (49, or 50/51/52)? I think I can hear your voice singing '49 with more-or-less the Charley Rhoades tune, but I can't seem to find it.
-JOE-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 12:22 AM

Joe,

I did the song for years but never did put it on a recording. The version I did was one I heard Jim Kweskin do (just him and a guitar) on Ella Jenkins' very early (1961 I think) folk radio show called The Meetin' House on WSBC-FM in Chicago. Always the collector of music that just knocked me for a loop, I did tape the show (reel-to-reel) way back then. A friend just put that show onto a CD for me---along with a '70s set of Kweskin in a Rockford, Illinois folk club. (I opened that show .)

By the way, Ella Jenkins is a real wonder. I just talked to her a month or so ago. I think she must've had over 100 childrens albums out on Folkways over the years...just wonderful stuff.

Good to talk at ya !! (and thanks for those MP3 copies !!)

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 12:30 AM

Joe,

No, that tune your link took me to wasn't the way I used to play it. I used the minor key tune that Jim used.

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM

Joe, I had a hard time recognizing your tune for Days of Forty-Nine. If that is the one in Lingenfelter, maybe no one sings it that way. The em-phas'-sus is wrong for the story.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,cliffabrams@yahoo.com
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 10:37 PM

Great thread and info. This song, in its many variations, has the ring of authenticity. Thanks to all.
CA


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,guest mick
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 07:48 AM

Does anyone know what Bummers Shore means or where it is.   Does "bummer" predate "bum" ie hobo?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 03:23 PM

Bummer appears in 1855 (Portland Oregonian) and bum in the 1860s (Gold Hill NV News, 1864) in American print (in the sense in the song). Probably older and both probably equal in age.
Bummer in print in England in the 1860s (Pall Mall Gazette) in the same sense. Country of origin??
Hobo is more recent, 1880s in U. S. print, Ellenburgh, Washington, Capital). A western U. S. term?
Vagrant, the term beloved in legal statutes, goes back to ME, 15th c. in print.
Bummers Shore may come from one of the song versions which includes the words, "bummers, sure,..." Then again, could be just some singer waxing poetic.

Bum as buttocks goes back to the 14th c. at least, from ME bom.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM

Q, I double-checked that Lingenfelter-Dwyer tune, and it's exactly what's found in their two songbooks. Sounds to me like the key signature or accidentals are wrong, but that's what's in their books. Maybe it's not wrong - maybe it just takes some getting used to, since we're so familiar with the Lomax tune.
The tune from Lomax is almost the same as what's in the DT, but I think I'll post it for completeness. The Lomax lyrics have been postedabove - mostly, but not completely.
-Joe Offer-

The Days of '49 (Lomax)

I'm old Tom Moore from the bummer's shore,
In the good old golden days,
They call me a bummer and a gin-sot too,
But what cares I for praise?
I wander around from town to town.
Just like a roving sign,
And the people all say, "There goes Tom Moore
Of the days of Forty-Nine."

CHORUS: In the days of old, in the days of gold,
How oftimes I repine—
For the days of old when we dug up the gold
In the days of '49.

2. My comrades, they all loved me well,
A jolly saucy crew,
A few hard cases I will admit,
Though they were brave and true;
Whatever the pinch they ne'er would flinch,
They never would fret or whine—
Like good old bricks, they stood the kicks
In the days of '49.

3. There was old Lame Jess, a hard old cuss,
Who never did repent;
He never was known to miss a drink
Or ever spend a cent;
But old Lame Jess, like all the rest,
To death he did resign
And in his bloom went up the flume
In the days of '49.

4. There was Poker Bill, one of the boys,
Who was always in for a game,
Whether he lost or whether he won,
To him it was all the same;
He would ante up and draw his cards
He would go you a hatfull blind,
In the game with death Bill lost his breath
In the days of '49.

5. There was New York Jake, the butcher's boy,
He was always getting tight;
And every time that he'd get full
He was spoiling for a fight;
Then Jake rampaged against a knife
In the hands of old Bob Sine;
And over Jake they held a wake
In the days of '49.

6. There was Ragshag Bill from Buffalo,
I never will forget,
He would roar all day and roar all night
And I guess he's roaring yet;
One night he fell in a prospect hole
In a roaring bad design;
And in that hole he roared out his soul
In the days of '49.

7. Of all the comrades that I've had
There's none that's left to boast;
And I'm left alone in my misery
Like some poor wandering ghost;
And as I pass fmm town to town
They call me the rambling sign—
"There goes Tom Moore, a bummer shore,
Of the days of '49."

CHORUS: In the days of old, in the days of gold,
How oftimes I repine—
For the days of old when we dug up the gold
In the days of '49.

Source: Lomax & Lomax, Best Loved American Folk Songs


Click to play


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Subject: ADD Version: The Days of Forty Nine (John Lomax)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 11:34 PM

OK, and here's yet another version. Most of these verses are posted above, but not in this order.

THE DAYS OF FORTY-NINE

We are gazing now on old Tom Moore,
A relic of bygone days;
'Tis a bummer, too, they call me now,
But what cares I for praise?
'It's oft, says I, for the days gone by,
It's oft do I repine
For the days of old when we dug out the gold
In those days of Forty-Nine.
For the days of old when we dug out the gold
In those days of Forty-Nine.



My comrades they all loved me well,
The jolly, saucy crew;
A few hard cases, I will admit,
Though they were brave and true.
Whatever the pinch, they ne'er would flinch;
They never would fret nor whine,
Like good old bricks they stood the kicks
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There's old "Aunt Jess," that hard old cuss,
Who never would repent;
He never missed a single meal,
Nor never paid a cent.
But old " Aunt Jess," like all the rest,
At death he did resign,
And in his bloom went up the flume
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There is Ragshag Jim, the roaring man,
Who could out-roar a buffalo, you bet,
He roared all day and he roared all night,
And I guess he is roaring yet.
One night Jim fell in a prospect hole,
— It was a roaring bad design,
— And in that hole Jim roared out his soul
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There is Wylie Bill, the funny man,
Who was full of funny tricks,
And when he was in a poker game
He was always hard as bricks.
He would ante you a stud, he would play you a draw,
He'd go you a hatful blind,
— In a struggle with death Bill lost his breath
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There was New York Jake, the butcher boy,
Who was fond of getting tight.
And every time he got on a spree
He was spoiling for a fight.
One night Jake rampaged against a knife
In the hands of old Bob Sine,
And over Jake they held a wake
In the days of Forty-Nine.

There was Monte Pete, I'll ne'er forget
The luck he always had,
He would deal for you both day and night
Or as long as he had a scad.
It was a pistol shot that lay Pete out,
It was his last resign,
And it caught Pete dead sure in the door
In the days of Forty-Nine.

Of all the comrades that I've had
There's none that's left to boast,
And I am left alone in my misery
Like some poor wandering ghost.
And as I pass from town to town,
They call me the rambling sign,
Since the days of old and the days of gold.
And the days of Forty-Nine.


Source: John A. Lomax, Cowboy Songs, 1916

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 03:40 AM

Footnote: The 1910 version was reprinted without change in 1916. Lighter found that additions in 1916 were made at the end, starting at page 327, thus pagination of the older ones remained the same through the 1925 re-printing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Karl
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 09:00 AM

Think that I remember Bob Dylan singing this on the ..? (I forget).. album. Jim Kweskin did it too on "Kweskin Live"?..? Don't have those pieces of vynil anymore. Alas


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: meself
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 10:45 AM

Yes, Dylan recorded it.

One of the persistent phrases that has persistently aroused my curiosity is "the travelling/roving/rambling sign" - would this have had some more specific meaning in the late 19th C., or would it have been as open to interpretation then as it is now (i.e., "sign" of what? the folly of youthful misadventure? the consequences of drinking and gambling? the awful truth that can't be revealed to the ears of youth?)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Feb 12 - 02:49 AM

Dylan did it on the Self Portrait album (1970). Lots of good songs on that album. Seems like the song is usually listed as "The Days of '49," and not often as The Days of Forty Nine. Try both spellings if you're searching Spotify - you'll find several nice recordings, and a number of songs you'd never expect to hear from Dylan - Dylan Does Rodgers & Hart, Lightfoot, and Paul Simon???.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Feb 12 - 11:02 AM

As I understand it, a "traveling sign" was what was also called a "sandwich man": a menial hired to walk around wearing advertising placards front and back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: meself
Date: 27 Feb 12 - 08:53 PM

It occurred to me that that could be the meaning - but you would think if it were going to be mentioned at all in that sense, that somewhere along the line some songster/poet/wag would have made a little more of it. And, to me, that meaning just seems somehow at odds with the general tenor of the song - although it is not totally illogical, either.

How do the rest of you interpret it - is old Tom Moore an unholy prophet, a walking object lesson, a sandwich man, or what?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: meself
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 12:03 AM

Talk to me, people!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 08:12 AM

He could be an object lesson.

The line may have been as obscure to most people in 1874 as it is today.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM

I don't know if Jerry Epstein has recorded this, but he should do. He sings it really well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: meself
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 10:52 AM

"The line may have been as obscure to most people in 1874 as it is today."

Perhaps - but then I wonder why it would be so persistent, while so many other words and phrases in the lyrics change or are replaced ....


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Andrew Finch
Date: 04 May 12 - 08:57 AM

Very interesting discussions here! I have an original manuscript lyrics book from Helena Montana Territory 1873-74 era with some variant lyrics of this song, likey designed for the local audience. There are an amazing 12 verses, some with obscure lyrics - I wrote them as I deciphered them - some of the error could be mine, some in the spelling, etc. With more research, the date could probably be more accurately established but the manuscript ledger book was owned by one Mose Abraham, Helena City Montana, and he dated the front October 20, 1873. Some of the songs are "as performed by", including members of the Great Western Minstral Troupe, apparently led by Eugene Holman, Song and Dance Artist, Bajoist, etc. Enjoy!

Days of Fourtynine
1st
You see before you Old Tom Moor
A relic of by gone days
The people call me a bummer sure
But what care I for praise
When I think of the days that are passed and gone
It makes me grieve and pine
For the days of old the days of gold
The days of fourtynine
2nd
I had comrades then a savage set
They were rough I must confess
But brave and bold as true as steel
Like hunters from the West
But they like many an other fish
They have run out their line
But like good old briks they stord(?) the kicks
Of the days of fortynine
3rd
There was "Monte" Pete a clever chap
As ever had a dad
He'd deal from morning untill night
Or as long as he had a scad
One night a pistol "laid him out"
T'was his last "lay out" in fine
For it caught him sure right "bang" in the door
In the days of fourty nine.
4th
There was "New York" Jake the butcher boy
Who was always on a tight
Whenever Jake got on a spree
He was "spiling" for a fight
One night he ran a gainst a knife
In the hands of old Bob Kline
And over Jake we held a "wake"
In the days of Fourtynine.
5th
There was "Old Lame Jess" a hard old cuss
Who never would repent
Jess was never known to miss a meal
Nor never to pay a cent
But poor lame Jess like all the rest
To death he did incline
And in his bloom he "went up the flum"
In the days of fourtynine
6th
There was "Buffalo" Bill who could out roar
A Buffalo Bull "you bet"
He "roared" from morning untill night
He may be "roaring" yet
One day he fell in a prospect hole
Twas a "roaring" bad design
And in that hole he "roared" out his soul
In the days of fourtynine.
7th
Then there was Henry Plumer
A ruffin he was by trade
He went up to Montana
And thought his fortune was made
But quickly he "passed in his checks"
Like others of his kind
With a hempen rope about his throat
Like the days of Fortynine.
8th
There was Bill Luttle as good a boy
A ever drew a breath
He caught Banmonia one day
And struggled hard with death
Poor bill he now lies in his grave
Way over in white pine
He leaves many friends to mourn his death
Of the days of fourtynine
9th
There was "Farmer" Peele another sport
Who from California came
He delt faro and played "short card"
And many an other game.
But "Farmer" like many an other one
He had lived out his time
For "Sonny Bull" put out his light
Like the days of fortynine
10th
There was one I nearly had forgot
And that was Irish Tom
As brave a heart as e'er drew a steel
Or made an enemy run
His enemies said that he would hang
In his boots when he was dead
But he died one day in the month of may
On a downy Feather bed
11th
There was old bill stine a good old sport
A butcher he was by trade
He used to run "with der machine"
A gallant fire "blade"
He worked on a fire in Montana one day
Which over taxed his spins
Wid out stopping he laid down and died
Like the days of fortynine
12th
Of all the comrads I had then
Theres none now left but me
The only thing I'm waiting for
Is a senator to be
The people cry as I pass by
There goes a travelling sign
It is Old Tom Moore a bummer sure
Of the day's of fourtynine.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 May 12 - 09:03 AM

Thanks for that!

Interesting "new" stanzas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: GUEST,Truman Price
Date: 10 Jul 17 - 10:30 PM

I learned it from "Reminiscences of an old timer" by George Hunter, published 1888-9, who said it was popular in Jacksonville Oregon in 1856.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jul 17 - 05:40 AM

While sorting out some old files, I stumbled across one containing a load of digitised songbooks including:

Put's Original California Songster
Giving In A Few Words What Would Occupy Volumes.
Detailing The Hopes, Trials And Joys Of A Miner's Life.
4th Edition, 18th Thousand.
San Francisco :
Published By D. E. Appleton & Co. 504 & 510 Montgomery St. 1868

If someone could find space for it on this forum, or could make use of a copy of it (or anything else from the file) personally, please let me know
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Days of Forty Nine
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Jul 17 - 08:13 AM

Eight stanzas without a chorus appeared in the "Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman" (Sept. 21, 1871) with the note that "The following 'touching ballad' has become quite a favorite, especially with old Californians."


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