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Origins: The Brazos River / Rivers of Texas

DigiTrad:
DOWN BY TOMS RIVER
RIVERS OF TEXAS


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Rivers of.... (States other than Texas) (35)
Art Thieme - Many a River that Waters (18)
Lyr/Chords Req: Rivers of Texas (38)
Lyr Add: Rivers of Georgia (9)
Add: Rivers of Texas Parody- The Rivers of Life (2)
Lyr Req: Rivers of New Jersey (38)


Stewie 01 Oct 00 - 12:22 AM
Oversoul 01 Oct 00 - 11:10 PM
Ely 01 Oct 00 - 11:51 PM
Ely 02 Oct 00 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Barry Finn 02 Oct 00 - 07:47 PM
Bill D 02 Oct 00 - 08:38 PM
raredance 02 Oct 00 - 11:30 PM
rabbitrunning 02 Oct 00 - 11:32 PM
Bill D 02 Oct 00 - 11:38 PM
Bev and Jerry 02 Oct 00 - 11:50 PM
raredance 02 Oct 00 - 11:50 PM
Ely 03 Oct 00 - 03:37 AM
Barbara 03 Oct 00 - 10:00 AM
mg 03 Oct 00 - 11:29 AM
Ely 03 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Sandy 03 Oct 00 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Sandy 03 Oct 00 - 06:14 PM
Sandy Paton 03 Oct 00 - 07:30 PM
Stewie 03 Oct 00 - 07:35 PM
Barbara 03 Oct 00 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,susan 13 Mar 03 - 06:37 PM
Mark Cohen 13 Mar 03 - 10:29 PM
mg 13 Mar 03 - 11:45 PM
Frankham 14 Mar 03 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,K.Goodin 28 Sep 10 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,Darwin Long - Tucson Az 01 Jul 12 - 11:16 PM
Mike in Brunswick 02 Jul 12 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,Gerry 02 Jul 12 - 11:30 PM
dick.hamlet 03 Jul 12 - 10:21 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 15 - 12:04 AM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 16 - 01:43 AM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 16 - 01:46 AM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 16 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,Tim Kavanaugh 12 May 17 - 01:01 AM
Joe Offer 12 May 17 - 01:27 AM
Bill D 12 May 17 - 10:33 AM
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Subject: ADD: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Stewie
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 12:22 AM

Here are a couple of versions of a beaut cowboy love song. Does anyone have any information about its origins? Is it a traditional song or another example of what Slim Critchlow called 'hand written songs' that passed into tradition? The first version is that sung by Frank Hamilton. I got the lyrics from Roger McGinn's site Click. The second version is my transcription from a Slim Critchlow recording.

THE BRAZOS RIVER
(Traditional ?)

The cool Angelina runs lofty and gliding
The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding
The Red River runs rusty, the Wichita clear
But Down by the Brazos, I courted my dear

I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
There's many a river that waters the land

She hugged me and she kissed me
And she called me her dandy
The Brazos is muddy,
And sometimes quick sandy

She hugged me and she kissed me
And called me her own
But down by the Brazos
She left me alone

Now the girls of them rivers
They're plump and they're pretty
The Supine and the Sulfur
Have many a beauty

I may wander the rivers
And many a shore,
But down by the Brazos
I'll wander no more

I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
I la lie lee lee lee give me your hand
There's many a river that waters the land X2


The following is my transcription from Slim Critchlow.

THE BRAZOS RIVER
(Traditional ?)

We crossed the wild Pecos, we forded the Nueces
We swum the Guadalupe, we followed the Brazos
Red River runs rusty, the Witchita clear
But it's down by the Brazos I courted my dear

Lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie lee lily give me your hand
There's a-many a river that waters the land

The fair Angelina runs glossy and gliding
The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding
And the slow San 'tonio courses the plains
But I never will walk by the Brazos again

Sing lie, lie, lie, lee lily pull the boat on
Lie, lie, lie, lee lily pull the boat on
Lie, lie, lie lee lily pull the boat on
My Brazos River sweetheart has left me and gone

She kissed me, she hugged me, she called me her dandy
Oh the Trinity's muddy and the Brazos quick sandy
She kissed me, she hugged me, she called me her own
But down by the Brazos she left me alone

Lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie lee lily give me your hand
The Trinity's muddy and the Brazos quick sand

The girls of Little River they're plump and they're pretty
The Sabine and the Sulfur have many a beauty
On the banks of the Nacodoches are girls by the score
But down by the Brazos I'll wander no more

Sing lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie, lee lily give me your hand
Lie, lie, lie lee lily give me your hand
There's a-many a river that waters the land

^^ Source: transcribed from Slim Critchlow 'Cowboy Songs: The Crooked Trail to Holbrook' Arhoolie CD 479.
PS.
Slim noted that the song was unearthed by Sam Hinton. I would be grateful for confirmation or correction of the river names in this version. However, 'Nacodoches' is a made up name by Critchlow. He commented: 'I can only offer my apologies to the state of Texas for inventing one of their rivers. After a long sojourn in Oklahoma, I was perfectly sure that there was a Nacodoches River and, liking the ring of the name in preference to Naches (which it was before I tinkered with it), I changed it. Too late now, but let that be a lesson to me!'

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Oversoul
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 11:10 PM

I have an old (1958) LP by Alan Lomax with a song called "Ain't No More Cane On This Brazis (sic)", the notes say it is from page 58, AMERICAN BALLADS AND FOLK SONGS. A "cane cutting" prison song from Texas.


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Subject: ADD Version: Rivers of Texas
From: Ely
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 11:51 PM

I think a lot people sing "Neches" instead of Nacogdoches, anyway. I think Nacogdoches gets the award for the wonkiest spelling of the week, too.

Just for the record, it's also called "Rivers of Texas" and "Texas River Song", since it includes so many more than the Brazos. I learned it about 7 years ago from dulcimer club.

See also Lyle Lovett's _Step Inside this House_ album.

RIVERS OF TEXAS

We crossed the wide Pecos, forded the Nueces,
We swam the Guadalupe, and we followed the Brazos.
Red River runs rusty, the Wichita clear,
But down by the Brazos I courted my dear.

Ly-ly-ly, lee-lee-lee lend me your hand.
Ly-ly-ly, lee-lee-lee lend me your hand.
Ly-ly-ly, lee-lee-lee lend me your hand.
There's many a river that waters this land.

The fair Angelina runs glossy and gliding,
The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding.
The slow San Antonio crosses the plain,
But I never will walk by that Brazos again.

She kissed me, she hugged me, she called me her dandy,
The Trinity's muddy and the Brazos quick-sandy.
She kissed me, she hugged me, called me her own,
But down by the Brazos she left me alone.

Those girls on Little River are plump and they're pretty,
The Sabine the Sulphur hold beauties a-plenty,
On the banks of the Neches there's girls by the score,
But down by the Brazos I'll wander no more.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Ely
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 12:34 AM

(As if I haven't said enough)

I've always seen it listed as "traditional" but I can't help but think it smacks of having been a "wrote" tune at some point, and probably not so long ago. But I've never been able to prove it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 07:47 PM

I first heard, learnt & loved this over 25 yrs ago, got it from an older fellow (from the Boston area) of great voice & even greater wealth of song & lore, Rob Joel (RIP). He told me it started out as a work song used by rivermen but I don't know where he got that info from. I've yet to run across it as a work song over but that doesn't mean sh+&%$@t. I'm fondest of the way Skip Gorman sings. My kids always loved this as a lullabye & when I'd sing it they'd hold my paw as they drifted off. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 08:38 PM

I first heard it in 1962, from a girl who got it in Chicago...somewhere I have a hand-done map showing the various rivers. I'll go dig in the catacombs and see if I can post it. (The 2nd version posted is closest to the 'standard'...the first has been mis-heard and re-written)

I think that one river is the 'Natchez'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: raredance
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 11:30 PM

In a related question, how many states have their versions of this? Art Thieme does "Rivers of Illinois". Dan Keding did "Rivers of Wisconsin". Are there more out there?

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 11:32 PM

My nephews, who moved to Texas while they were still in elementary school, learned this song as part of geography class.


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Subject: ADD: The Rivers of Nebraska
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 11:38 PM

THE RIVERS OF NEBRASKA

"We crossed the wide Platte,
We forded the Platte,
Swam the Platte,
And followed the Platte."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 11:50 PM

We learned this song many years ago and we can't remember who we heard do it. Might have been Sam Hinton, maybe Faith Petric. When we got around to learning it we used a book for the words (how unfolky) and we could not fit the word Nacogdoches in no matter how hard we tried. So, we looked at a map and found there was a Frio River in Texas so we put that in. Good thing, too, since we have sung this song in many a Texas classroom without knowing that Nacogdoches was a made up river.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: raredance
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 11:50 PM

Recorded by the Platters, no doubt


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Ely
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 03:37 AM

Bill D, there is no Natchez River in Texas (but I admit that "Neches" sounds very similar).

I've lived in Houston for ten years--I wouldn't still be singing it that way if the rivers didn't exist.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Barbara
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 10:00 AM

Thing is, while the river may be made up, there is a town called Nachedoches in Texas, so he didn't make up the whole thing. I think I've spelled it right, I will check.
I had an aunt who lived there, and when I had to write her as a child, I was always amused by the unusual name.
Blessings,
Barbara, who learned this from Faith, too, and the way you fit in Nachedoches is you drop the word 'River'; i.e. "And down in Nachedoches, there's girls by the score..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: mg
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 11:29 AM

I have one called rivers of Washington...I'd like to see tjhe others and I remember something on some other list that mentioned quite a few...I'll post after work..

mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Ely
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM

Barbara, the town is Nacogdoches (see posts above)--the Oldest Town in Texas. I have no idea why there's a "g" in it . . .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,Sandy
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 05:33 PM

This song was collected from Mrs. Irene Carlisle by Vance Randolph in Fayetteville, Arkansas, January 30, 1942. He published it in his great collection, Ozark Folksongs, (Volume 2, page 231). I asked Vance about this song in 1962 because I, like Ely (above) suspected that it was a fairly recently written song, with all the deliberate use of alliteration, etc. It turns out that Vance, who was a superb researcher, had failed to find it in any of the songsters he was famous for including in his research, and he, too, suspected it to be a "written" song (as they say). He told me that he had gone back to Irene Carlisle and asked her, "C'mon, Irene, didn't you write that song?" "No," she told him. "I learned it in 1921 from a hired man. He'd come up from Texas, cutting timber here in the Ozarks, and was boarding at our place. We courted a little, and he taught me that song. Then he went back to Texas."

I first learned the song in the early 1950s from the singing of Ellen Steckert, who had it from Randolph's book. We all were singing it in the Berkeley area in 1957, when I met Slim Critchlow. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Slim may have learned it from Barry Olivier at about that time. Slim was a fine singer with a wealth of good western songs, but I think he must have added this one to his repertoire after moving to California. It isn't found reported from tradition in any of the other printed collections.

Art can verify my recollection that Win Stracke wrote the Illinois version he sings, another was sent to me by a Kentucky folkie who wrote one for his state after learning the song from my own recording of it (with Caroline) which came out in 1966 (Folk-Legacy's EGO-30 LP). All of the other revisions could properly be considered "parodies" of Irene Carlisle's song, rather than "versions," a term which implies circulation in the oral tradition.

I hope this clears things up a bit.

Sandy (on a different computer)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,Sandy
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 06:14 PM

Forgot to add: Mrs. Carlisle was from Arkansas, of course, so her knowledge of Texas geography may have been lacking. However, she did sing "Natchez" (a place with which she may have been more familiar), even though it's possible she misunderstood her "hired man." Also: her first chorus says "La la la lee lee lee, pole the boat on," (3X) and ends with "My Brazos River sweetheart has left me and gone." She ended the second chorus with "The Trinity's muddy but the Brazos quicksand." The final chorus she closed with "There's many a river that waters the land." I didn't sing them right in my own recording of the song, back in the dark ages, but that's because I wanted the chorus to be consistent, allowing folks to sing along. Caroline and I just stayed with "There's many a river that waters the land" all the way through. Finally: Irene always sang "La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand" rather than the frequently heard "Lie lie lie, lee lee lee..." Trivia, but there you have it.

Sandy (still not at home)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 07:30 PM

Can't get away from this one... I should have re-read the above notes. Slim says he learned it from Sam Hinton. That doesn't surprise me at all, and confirms that he learned it after he moved to California. Sam could tell us where he learned it, but I'd wager it was from Randolph. If I'm correct, you can also bet he got the words right. Sam is one of the most widely-read and knowledgeable folk singers I've ever known. How he had time to soak up so much from the literature of folklore and folksong, while remaining equally well-informed in his own scientific field of marine biology is beyond me. I think he had total recall! More than that: he is the only person I've ever known who could whistle one part of a round while humming a second part. Pure genius!

Sandy (at home, briefly)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Stewie
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 07:35 PM

Thanks to all, especially to Sandy for taking the trouble to provide all that wonderful information about the song.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Barbara
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 08:12 PM

Faith alternates the beginning lines of the choruses as well as then end phrase, first singing "Give me your hand" and then the next time around "Pole the boat on" For the last line she alternates "many a river" with "the Trinity's muddy," and the last time using "my Brazos River sweetheart has left me and gone".
At least I think that's how Faith does it, my version's been folk-processed too.
Blessings
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,susan
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 06:37 PM

I've been searching for this song since I was in school in Texas half a lifetime ago. Many thanks for the lyrics -- does anybody have the music?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 10:29 PM

p.s., Mary, you never posted "Rivers of Washington"...please do!

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: mg
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:45 PM

I did..honest..look at clicky up top that says rivers of other states and there it is mg.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Frankham
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 05:23 PM

The last verse, "I may wander the rivers and many a shore, but down by the Brazos I'll wander no more" came from Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman of the Weavers.

Changing verses is part of the folk process.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,K.Goodin
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 12:48 AM

Hearing the song sung by
Ed and Penny Tricket at the Mythical Beast..in Denver.
Sweet sounds from 45 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,Darwin Long - Tucson Az
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 11:16 PM

Lanny Fiel of Texas Tech University has done extensive research on the origins of this song. I had printed the workshop info from one of his Texas heritage workshops but can't locate it at present. I suggest you contact him if you need more information. He is a wonderfull musician who is devoted to preserving the Heritage of West Texas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: Mike in Brunswick
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 12:26 AM

Ed Miller recorded this song as Rivers and Reivers on his Lowlander CD. In the notes he says "Over the years, I've heard many Texas singers perform 'The Texas River Song', my personal favorite being the version of the late Buck Ramsey. Andy Wilkinson, another great West Texan poet who worked extensively with Buck, commented once that he he'd heard this was originally a Scottish song, and that it had been adapted by cowboy singers to encompass the names of Texas rivers. Having searched in vain for a Scottish equivalent, I did the next best thing and wrote a couple of verses mentioning the southeast Scottish Borders. While rehearsing, it also struck me that the old Jacobite tune 'Over the Water to Charlie' was musically compatible."

Mike


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 11:30 PM

I like the recording by Bill Staines on the album, Whistle of the Jay.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: dick.hamlet
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 10:21 PM

I learned this at Cornell Outing Club weekends on the islands
in Lake George in the early 1960s, with the alternate choruses.
The singer's name was Adriane (?) -- anyone know her? Her other
party piece was Coltman's Web of Birdsong.

Dick Levine sings a NJ version.

Bill D., I too have the map, probably not the same as yours,
traced on onionskin paper by Jo Houghton. If there's any
interest, I could scan it in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Brazos River - 2 versions
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 15 - 12:04 AM

I've known this song since the late 1950's--early 1960's. It was sung by Molly Scott and is on a recording she made around that time. She sang it on an early television show for Children, if I remember this right. I might not. It's been a long time.

She sang a beautiful version that is very close to your second version. The river in question, in her version, was the Natchez. Whether there is or is not such a river, that fits the meter perfectly and that's how I will continue to sing it.

I really love this song.......

Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rivers of Texas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 16 - 01:43 AM

Here's the version that's in the Digital Tradition.


RIVERS OF TEXAS (DT Version)

We crossed the broad Pecos, we forded the Nueces
Swum the Guadalupe, we followed the Brazos
Red River runs rusty, the Wichita clear
But down by the Brazos I courted my dear

Li li li lee lee lee, give me your hand
Li li li lee lee lee, give me your hand
Li li li lee lee lee, give me your hand
There's many a river that waters the land

The sweet Angelina runs glossy and gliding
The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding
The slow San Antonio courses the plain
But I never will walk by the Brazos again

The girls on Little River, they're plump and they're pretty
The Sabine and Sulphur have many a beauty
And down by the Natchez there's girls by the score
But I never will walk by the Brazos no more

She hugged me and kissed me and called me her dandy
The Trinity is muddy, the Brazos quick sandy
I hugged her and kissed her and called her my own
But down by the Brazos she left me alone

@west @water
recorded by Sandy and Caroline Paton
and by Ellen Stekert and Milt Okum
filename[ RIVTEXAS
TUNE FILE: RIVTEXAS
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF



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Subject: RE: Origins: The Brazos River / Rivers of Texas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 16 - 01:46 AM

...and here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

Rivers of Texas, The (The Brazos River)

DESCRIPTION: The singer lists the various rivers of Texas he has seen, noting that "Down by the Brazos I courted my dear." But now she has left him, and "I never will walk by the Brazos no more."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1942 (Randolph)
KEYWORDS: love courting separation river
FOUND IN: US(MW,So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Randolph 201, "The Brazos River" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, RIVTEXAS*
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 36, #3 (1991), pp, 72-73, "Down by the Brazos" (1 text, 1 tune, from the Scragg Family)

Roud #4764
RECORDINGS:
Irene Carlisle, "The Brazos River" (AAFS-L30, 1942?)
Art Thieme, "Down by the Embarass" (on Thieme02) (on Thieme05)

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Down by the Embarras (Illinois version)
The Rivers of Georgia
NOTES: Paul Stamler notes that there are "non-Texas" versions of this song (see the alternate titles), though I have never encountered them. I know that at least one modern "folk" composer has created a localized version; I suspect the traditional versions are of similar origin. Though I am not sure which is the original. - RBW
As far as I can tell, the Texas version was first. I also gather someone tried to rewrite it for Nebraska, but they didn't have enough rivers to finish a verse. - PJS
Last updated in version 2.4
File: R201

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

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version The Brazos River (Rivers of Texas)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 16 - 02:01 AM

I got a little upset when I saw "Natchez" in the last verse of the version of this song that appeared in the Rise Again Songbook. I once again reminded myself that I was the associate editor, not the editor - but I knew that the authentic version of the song had "Nacodoches," because that's what's on the recordings by Slim Critchlow and by Faith Petric. After all, there's no Natchez River in Texas. Natchez is a Mississippi name, not necessarily of a river at all.

But then I heard a recording by Sandy Paton, the only person I've known to have read all of the books in the Rivers of America collection - and Sandy sang "Natchez." On top of that, Bill Staines sings "Natchez." And I found in the Rise Again editing notes that I was the one who chose to use the Sandy Paton lyrics with "Natchez." So, shut my mouth....

The Traditional Ballad Index says the earliest version known to the Index is the one collected by Vance Randolph from Mrs. Irene Carlisle of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on January 30, 1942. Mrs. Carlisle learned it from a hired man who had lived in Texas. Here are the lyrics from Randolph's Ozark Folksongs Vol 2, Page 231, #201 (1980 edition)

THE BRAZOS RIVER

We crossed the broad Pecos, we forded the Nueces,
We swum the Guadalupe, we followed the Brazos,
Red River runs rusty, the Wichita clear,
But down by the Brazos I courted my dear.
    Then La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    There's many a river that waters the land.

The fair Angelina runs glossy and gliding,
The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding,
And the slow San Antonio it courses the plain,
But I never will walk by the Brazos again.
    Then La la la lee lee lee, pole the boat on,
    La la la lee lee lee, pole the boat on,
    La la la lee lee lee, pole the boat on,
    My Brazos River sweetheart has left me and gone.

She kissed me, she hugged me, she called me her dandy,
The Trinity's muddy, the Brazos quick-sandy,
She hugged me, she kissed me, she called me her own,
But down by the Brazos she left me alone.
    Then La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    The Trinity's muddy, but the Brazos quicksand.

The girls of Little River, they're plump and they're pretty,
The Sabine and the Sulphur have many a beauty,
On the banks of the Natchez there's girls by the score,
And down by the Brazos I'll wander no more.
    Then La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    La la la lee lee lee, give me your hand,
    There's many a river that waters the land.


Mrs. Carlisle singing "The Brazos River" for Max Hunter in 1960: http://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?id=508

YouTube search: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22rivers+of+texas%22

See the posts above. The arguments for "Neces" are quite convincing. There IS a Neches River in Texas, and it's a substantial river - and the name sounds very much like "Natchez."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Brazos River / Rivers of Texas
From: GUEST,Tim Kavanaugh
Date: 12 May 17 - 01:01 AM

It sounds like "Natchez", but is "Neches" (Nacogdoches is a city - oldest in Texas, but not a river). I crossed the San Jacinto, Trinity, Neches, Angelina, Sabine, Red, Ouachita, and Mississippi just today on the drive from Houston to Vicksburg (went through and had lunch in Nacogdoches, as well!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Brazos River / Rivers of Texas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 May 17 - 01:27 AM

Hi, Tim - You may well be right. But the earliest known version, collected by Vance Randolph in 1942, says "Natchez" - this is the singer's recollection of a song she heard many years before. I think we can all agree that "Natchez" is not correct; but so far, we haven't found an earlier version.
I think I'd probably sing it as "Neches," because that's the most credible answer we've had so far - but would the writer have put both "Neches" and "Nueces" in the same song? I put "Natchez" in the Rise Again Songbook, because that's what's in the only version I could document from an authentic source. Finding a source earlier than 1942, would be a wonderful discovery.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Brazos River / Rivers of Texas
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 17 - 10:33 AM

Having sung Natchez since 1962, as have many others, I probably can't reprogram my brain.... but since it sounds a LOT like 'Netches', I will cheerfully tell anyone who asks that "it is close enough, and was probably just a matter of someone mis-hearing it way back when".
So far, everyone just likes the song.... and I once watched at a sing in the mid-60s as a guy made a play for the attention of a girl- singing several 'meaningful' songs for/at her.... he finally got her with "Brazos" and they left together.


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