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DT Correct: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)

DigiTrad:
CLAUDE DALLAS
FOUR RODE BY
FOUR STRONG WINDS
RED VELVET
SOMEDAY SOON
SONG FOR CANADA
SPRINGTIME IN ALBERTA
SUMMER WAGES


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Greg F. 19 Jun 01 - 09:59 PM
raredance 19 Jun 01 - 10:24 PM
Midchuck 20 Jun 01 - 12:36 PM
Midchuck 20 Jun 01 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,songsue 05 Mar 09 - 05:52 PM
Ref 05 Mar 09 - 09:57 PM
Midchuck 06 Mar 09 - 07:15 AM
Ron Davies 06 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM
DonMeixner 06 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM
Ref 06 Mar 09 - 09:44 PM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 09 - 12:27 AM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 09 - 01:14 AM
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Subject: DT Correction: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Greg F.
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:59 PM

More of an addendum than an addition, for what it may or may not be worth.

Recently looked this up in the database to refresh my memory (what's left of it, that is) & noticed a note regarding the wording of the last line of the second verse, so I pulled out the vinyl (Northern Journey)and I hear it as:
"A hunger took their fight away and no one else was slain".

Also several other differences from the version in the database to the one on the record:
Second Verse:
Line 1: sounds like "wild bunch to these ears.
Line 3: "When the posse found them there in the lonely cabin"
Verse 3:
Line 1: "January eighteen eighty one"
Line 3: "And the son killed...".

Again, I could be hearing this wrong- don't have the sheet music in front of me.

Best, Greg
    For sake of comparison, here is the DT version. -Joe Offer-
FOUR RODE BY
(Ian Tyson)

Willie Palmer's stallion was no twenty dollar cayuse
And when the wild ones stole him he hightailed it into town
Ussher in those days was keeping order in the district
But before he'd ridden thirty miles the McLean boys shot him down

cho: Four rode by
Rode through here
Three Mclean boys and that wild Alex Hare
They were armed
All were armed
It was them I'd have known them anywhere

A shepherd known as Kelly saw the wild one as they passed
They shot him with a rifle and took his watch and chain
When the posse found him in the lonely cabin
A hunger took their pride away and no one else was slain*

They hung the boys in January eighteen eighty three
First time in that province that they'd strung up brothers three
And their sons killed nineteen Germans cross the seas back in seventeen
One thing that's for damned sure they're a wild old family

*been trying for 20 years to figure this line out, may have been hearing it
wrong
This song is vintage Tyson, and the Instrumental bridge by Daddy Bones
(John Herald)
still gives me chills.
@country @murder
filename[ FOURRODE
AS
Apr98


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: raredance
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:24 PM

Greg, I have the sheet music in front of me and your ears are very good. All of your corrections are absolutely correct.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 12:36 PM

I switched from playing the guitar with fingers to a flatpick as much on the basis of this one song (and John Herald's guitar on it) as any other I can think of. Been using mostly flatpick for the intervening 35+ years. Never got all that good with it, though.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 12:40 PM

Also, I think your line 3 is:

When the posse found them they were in a lonely cabin...

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: GUEST,songsue
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:52 PM

I think I've figured this out. It was a hundred-man posse who caught the McLean Gang. So I'm voting for:

A hundred took their fight away, and no one else was slain.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Ref
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 09:57 PM

Sorry, it's "hunger." This is an historical song, and the record shows that the Canadian posse (Unlike some American posses) wisely decided to sit back, surround them, and starve them out. I don't think anyone really bothered to count the posse.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 07:15 AM

...the Canadian posse (Unlike some American posses) wisely decided to sit back, surround them, and starve them out.

Yeah, but it makes for a BORING movie...

P.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Ron Davies
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM

What about the son?   Is that also true--that he killed 19 Germans in W W I?   

It's a dynamite song.   May well be my favorite by Ian and Sylvia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM

I find it interesting that I had no trouble with the lyrics to this song at all. My hearing very problematic as I am total deaf in one ear, I usually screw up the lyric somewhere. Not so in this case
"Four Rode Blind" has been a favorite for years.

Don


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Subject: RE: DT Correct: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Ref
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 09:44 PM

Nice, Don. Yes, the part about the son's war performance was factual as well.


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Subject: DT Correct: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 12:27 AM

I hear it almost the same as Greg did. Here's my transcription, with changes from the DT in italics. I've often wished that Ian Tyson had better diction.

FOUR RODE BY
(Ian Tyson)
    CHORUS
    Four rode by,
    Rode through here;
    Three Mclean boys and that wild Alex Hare.
    They were armed,
    All were armed,
    It was them I'd have known them anywhere.
Willie Palmer's stallion was no twenty dollar cayuse,
And when the wild ones stole him he hightailed it into town
Ussher in those days was keeping order in the district
But before he'd ridden thirty miles the McLean boys shot him down

A shepherd known as Kelly saw the wild bunch as they passed
They shot him with a rifle and took his watch and chain
When the posse found them they were in the lonely cabin
A hunger took their fight away and no one else was slain

They hung the boys in January eighteen eighty one,
The first time in that province that they'd strung up brothers three;
And the son killed nineteen Germans 'cross the seas back in seventeen
One thing that's for damned sure they're a wild old family



Transcribed by ear from the Ian & Sylvia CD set, Complete Vanguard Recordings


This song is vintage Tyson, and the Instrumental bridge by Daddy Bones
(John Herald)
still gives me chills.
@country @murder
filename[ FOURRODE
AS
Apr98


Rich R, who has an unusually good ear, posted almost the same corrections in this thread (click).

Here's a page with some interesting (but undocumented) background notes: http://www.rickmd.com/FOURRODE.HTM. The notes:
  • This song is based on actual events that occurred in 1880, in British Columbia, Canada
  • A man named Usher was the sheriff or law enforcement person.
  • Boys they were. Allan and Charles McLean were in their mid 20's. Alex Hare was 17 and Archie McLean was only 15.
  • The son was in the Canadian army in World War I, 1914-1918.


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Subject: RE: DT Correct: Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 01:14 AM

Also look at this article (click) from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography:
    McLEAN, ALLAN, horse-breaker and outlaw; b. in 1855 at Thompson's River Post (Kamloops, B.C.), seventh son of Donald McLean* and eldest son of Sophia Grant; d. 31 Jan. 1881, by hanging, in New Westminster, B.C.

          Allan McLean's father, a Hudson's Bay Company chief trader, had taken charge of the company post at Thompson's River in 1855, the year after his marriage to Sophia Grant, a Colville Indian. Following Allan's birth, two daughters and two more sons, Charley and Archie, were born before Donald McLean died in the war against the Chilcotin Indians in 1864. The family was then ranching near the village of Cache Creek. For five years his widow received a small pension, but in 1867 she sold the ranch and later moved to Kamloops. Donald's sister refused to recognize his Indian marriage and claimed his estate, causing legal arguments to continue for years. Meanwhile the young family was thrown on its own resources, belonging to neither the white nor the Indian communities. The boys virtually grew up in the saddle, working at various ranches mainly as horse-breakers and jockeys.

          In the depression of 1877 jobs were scarce in Kamloops; gold fever had abated and surveying for the Canadian Pacific Railway had ceased. The three boys ran wild, joined by Alex, half-breed son of Nicholas Hare, who was in trouble with the authorities for assault and cattle-rustling. Thefts of horses, ammunition, liquor, food, and clothing ensued in the district.

          John Tannatt Ussher was a farmer who also served as gold commissioner, government agent, constable, and jailer; he had little time or incentive to chase wild horsemen who could easily break out of the pathetically insecure jail. With Allan in the lead, the boys' contempt for the law increased with more raids and threats to local dignitaries, including John Andrew Mara*, mla and merchant, who, Charles Augustus Semlin* reported, had seduced their sister, Annie McLean, and fathered her child.

          On 3 Dec. 1879 the outlaws stole a stallion from rancher William Palmer, who promptly reported its loss to Ussher. John Thomas Edwards, jp, issued a warrant for the arrest of the McLeans and Hare, and rewards were posted. With Amni Shumway as guide, Ussher, Palmer, and John McLeod set out to arrest them and surprised the boys drinking at their camp near Long Lake on 8 December. Ussher had not expected violence, but shots were fired and panic reigned. McLeod and Allan were wounded, and Ussher was killed. The McLeans fled to the Nicola Valley Indians, pausing at ranches to steal firearms. During their flight they killed another man, James Kelly. Allan, married to a daughter of Chief Chillihetza, probably hoped to instigate an Indian uprising, but gained no support. The McLeans and Hare then took refuge in a cabin near Douglas Lake.

          The citizens of Kamloops, already fearing a general rebellion over Indian land grievances, felt decisive action was in order. Posses totalling some 70 men soon besieged the cabin and on 13 December, thirsty beyond endurance, the outlaws surrendered and were taken to Kamloops. There a preliminary hearing under Clement Francis Cornwall* committed them to New Westminster jail, charged with the murders of Ussher and Kelly.

          The trial of Allan, Charley, and Archie McLean and of Alex Hare, opened on 13 March 1880 after arguments about venue and authority for this special assize. Judge Henry Pering Pellew Crease* stressed the plight of fatherless half-breeds as outcasts, but the guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion. On 20 March they were sentenced to hang. Yet the legal debate continued, since no proper commission had been issued for the special assize. Eventually the British Columbia Supreme Court decided unanimously on 26 June that the assizes were invalid. The boys endured a second trial on 10 November and were again sentenced to death. They were hanged on 31 Jan. 1881 at New Westminster, apparently repentant.

          Allan left his widow and two children with the Nicola Valley Indians; his son George was decorated in 1917 for exceptional bravery at Vimy Ridge.

    Mary Balf

    Kamloops Museum (Kamloops, B.C.), HBC letters, 1879. In the

    Supreme Court of British Columbia; the Queen vs. Allan McLean, Archibald McLean, Charles McLean, and Alexander Hare, indicted, found guilty, and sentenced to death for the

    murder of John Ussher . . . , ed. H. P. P. Crease (Victoria, 1880). Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 28 Dec. 1879; 1, 20 Jan., 15, 20 Feb., 11, 14, 16?20 March, 18 May, 1, 8, 9, 13, 27 June, 19 Nov. 1880; 23 Jan., 1 Feb. 1881. Inland Sentinel (Yale, B.C.), 25 Nov. 1880, 3 Feb. 1881. Mel Rothenburger, "We've

    killed Johnny Ussher!": the story of the wild McLean

    boys and Alex Hare (Vancouver, 1973). "German killer returns home; Kamloops crowd meets hero of Vimy Ridge who was awarded dmc," Kamloops Telegram (Kamloops, B.C.), 11 Oct. 1917.


    McLEAN, DONALD, HBC chief trader and cattle rancher; b. 1805 in Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland; d. 17 July 1864 in Chilcotin, B.C.

    Donald McLean, a tall and powerful red-head, joined the Hudson?s Bay Company in 1833 as apprentice clerk, serving in the Western Department for two years. He then joined expeditions in the Snake River country (Oreg.) under Thomas McKay and John McLeod*. In 1839 he was moved to Fort Colvile (near present-day Kettle Falls, Wash.) under Archibald McDonald*, and next year was promoted clerk at Flathead Post (Mont.); here he lived with a Spanish-Indian girl, from whom he separated in 1853 or 1854.

    He was transferred to New Caledonia District in 1842, taking charge at times of the Chilcotin, Babine, and McLeod posts, and working at Fort Alexandria on the Fraser River under Donald Manson*. This district was the ?Siberia of the fur-trade?; troublesome servants were moved here to cool off in the harsh climate on rations of three dried salmon daily. The men were rough and tough, as was the discipline meted out to them. Governor George Simpson* was thoroughly justified in condemning the ?club law? enforced by Manson, McLean, and Paul Fraser, but perhaps reasonable methods had failed.

    Sometimes, quite inexcusably, violence was extended towards Indians by fur traders. In 1849 the Indian Tlelh killed Alexis Bélanger, a Métis in the HBC service, after considerable provocation. McLean, who was at that time at Alexandria, headed an unsuccessful manhunt, venting his spleen on Tlelh?s relations by killing two men and a baby. He wrote to Manson of those sheltering Tlelh: ?The black, ungrateful, blood-thirsty, treacherous, and cowardly scoundrels should have prompt justice for it; hang first, and then call a jury to find them guilty or not guilty.? His superiors apparently accepted this attitude. The Indians remembered it as their dislike for the white invaders, and particularly McLean, increased.

    In 1853 McLean was appointed chief trader, and two years later took charge of Thompson?s River Post (Kamloops) when Fraser died. Here he improved horsebreeding and developed larger cattle herds; he also, with his growing sons, amassed livestock of his own. He soon was aware of gold in the area but the HBC suppressed news of it until 1857, when the fur trade autocrats gradually yielded to mining and colonial interests.

    A naval officer, Lieutenant Richard Charles Mayne*, visiting Kamloops in 1859 praised McLean: ?A finer or more handsome man I think I never saw.? But HBC officials were not so impressed by his growing high-handedness, and he was ordered to headquarters at Victoria in 1860. He resigned the next year. The McLean clan moved their livestock to grasslands on the Bonaparte River; here they ranched, prospected, and ran ?McLean?s Restaurant? for travellers in the Cariboo country. Donald McLean had married Sophia Grant, a Colville Indian, at Fort Colvile in 1854, and now had a second family. He was apparently devoted and indulgent to all his children. The deaths of two moved him to verse of gentle resignation, contrasting strongly with his harsh public character.

    During 1864 Chilcotin Indians, seemingly provoked by unprincipled private traders, the ravages of diseases introduced by the white men, and the probability of reserves being established, killed some 19 members of work parties building a road inland from Bute Inlet for Alfred Penderell Waddington*. Panic arose in Victoria, where a large-scale uprising was feared. A mass meeting there urged that ?Captain McLean? lead a ?Chilcoaten? expedition of vengeance, and he duly left. the Bonaparte River, ostensibly under William George Cox*?s command. But, a self-confident individualist to the end, McLean scouted almost alone and was killed in an ambush. The murderers of the workmen were induced to surrender, but McLean?s slayer was sheltered by the Indians, who regarded his act as a just retribution for his victim?s life of cruel violence.

    McLean?s older children became worthy settlers, but the three youngest, Allan*, Charley, and Archie, wild half-breeds disclaimed by both Indians and the immigrant white society, eventually ran berserk, and were hanged for murdering a constable in 1879. Ironically, the son of one was decorated in 1917 for bravery in killing 19 Germans single-handed.

    Mary Balf

    Kamloops Museum (Kamloops, B.C.), HBC journals, 1859?60; HBC letters, 1879. PABC, Donald McLean, miscellaneous papers. R. C. Mayne, Four years in British Columbia and Vancouver

    Island: an account of their forests, rivers, coasts, gold fields,

    and resources for colonisation (London, 1862), 115?21. Daily British Colonistand Victoria Chronicle, 4 Nov. 1863; 3, 4, 6, 30 June, 7, 11 July, 1, 8, 25 Aug. 1864; 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 28 Dec. 1879; 1, 20 Jan., 16, 19, 20 March, 19 Nov. 1880. Morice, History of northern interior of B.C. (1904), 233, 239, 264?69, 272, 311. Mel Rothenburger, ?We?ve killed Johnny Ussher!?: the story of the

    wild McLean boys and Alex Hare (Vancouver, 1973), 3?21. ?German killer returns home; Kamloops crowd meets hero of Vimy Ridge who was awarded DCM,? Kamloops Telegram

    (Kamloops, B.C.), 11 Oct. 1917.




Looks like the DT was right about the sheriff's name being Johnny Ussher (see Wikipedia article):
    John Tannatt Ussher, usually known as Johnny Ussher, was a settler, provincial magistrate and Gold Commissioner in the Thompson Country of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada in the 1870s. John Tannatt Ussher was the son of Samuel Ussher Esq., a lawyer in Montreal, and Harriet Rebecca Colclough. He was born October 17, 1830.

    In 1879 the renegade sons of former Fort Kamloops Chief Trader Donald McLean, led by his eldest son Allan and accompanied by their friend Alex Hare, went on a drunken rampage across the Nicola and Thompson Countries. The "Wild McLeans" went on a binge of horse-thievery and stealing flour, liquor, ammunition and clothing. Ussher, whose duties as Gold Commissioner included the roles of constable and jailer as well as magistrate and who had previously demurred on arresting the McLeans, as attempts to hold them in the flimsy jail in Kamloops would prove futile, rode out with John McLeod, with Amni Shumway as guide, and rancher William Palmer, whose prize stallion the McLeans had stolen.

    Ussher and his party surprised the McLeans at Long Lake (near Quilchena, on Nicola Lake) on 8 December, 1879, and was killed in the ensuing gun battle, which also wounded McLeod and Allan McLean. Fleeing the consequences of Ussher's killing, the McLeans sought refuge with the Nicola people and made a speech to their chief Chilliheetza, son of the famous Chief Nicola, trying to enlist their support in a revived version of the abortive uprising planned by the Interior First Nations peoples in 1874. Chilliheetza refused, knowing that the boys' motivation was not political but caused by drink, and chastised them for their shameful behaviour. On December 13 the McLeans and Hare surrendered and were brought to the BC Penitentiary in New Westminster to await trial. They were, after a second trial had to be held because of technicalities, hung for the murder of Johnny Ussher on January 31, 1881.


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