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...all wrapped in white linen.

DigiTrad:
BARD OF ARMAGH
PILLS OF WHITE MERCURY
STREETS OF LAREDO (Cowboy's Lament)
THE DYING LUMBERMAN
THE LINEMAN'S HYMN
THE STREETS OF LOREDO
THE TROOPER CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
UNFORTUNATE LASS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Trooper Cut Down in His Prime (Roy Palmer (47)
Lyr Req: Handful of Laurel (9)
Streets of Laredo - 'Live in the Nation'?? (57)
Streets of Stavanger aka The Seasick Norwegian (8)
Lyr Add: Pills of White Mercury (26)
Lyr Req: Streets of Toledo (Paul Clayton) (18)
(origins) Origins: Pills of White Mercury (36) (closed)
Streets of Laredo (37)
Chords Req: Pills of White Mercury (Old Blind Dogs (16)
BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text? (65) (closed)
Lyr Add: Tom Sherman's Barroom (4)
Lyr Req: Pills of White Mercury (5)
Lyr Req: The Pills of White Mercury (2)


RonU 04 Feb 98 - 12:09 AM
leprechaun 04 Feb 98 - 12:50 AM
Susan-Marie 04 Feb 98 - 08:33 AM
Bruce O. 04 Feb 98 - 10:35 AM
Jon W. 04 Feb 98 - 11:01 AM
Bruce O. 04 Feb 98 - 12:02 PM
Bruce O. 04 Feb 98 - 12:48 PM
Bill in Alabama 04 Feb 98 - 02:06 PM
RonU 04 Feb 98 - 11:27 PM
rich r 09 Feb 98 - 10:54 PM
rich r 09 Feb 98 - 11:26 PM
Paul Stamler 10 Feb 98 - 12:50 AM
Rick---obaoighill@earthlink.net 10 Feb 98 - 02:40 AM
Jerry Friedman 10 Feb 98 - 01:42 PM
Bruce O. 10 Feb 98 - 01:56 PM
Susan of DT 10 Feb 98 - 06:55 PM
Charlie Baum 10 Feb 98 - 07:41 PM
Paul Stamler 11 Feb 98 - 02:21 AM
Paul Stamler 11 Feb 98 - 01:27 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 98 - 12:42 AM
Will 25 May 98 - 09:49 AM
Cuilionn 25 May 98 - 02:16 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 98 - 03:29 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 25 May 98 - 06:29 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 98 - 07:12 PM
Art Thieme 27 May 98 - 10:52 AM
Debbie 27 May 98 - 03:58 PM
pavane 06 Aug 01 - 03:36 AM
Kim C 06 Aug 01 - 11:26 AM
Greg F. 06 Aug 01 - 12:46 PM
The Walrus at work 06 Aug 01 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,DaisyA 06 Aug 01 - 02:22 PM
LR Mole 06 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 06 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM
pavane 06 Aug 01 - 04:20 PM
Chicken Charlie 06 Aug 01 - 05:43 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 Aug 01 - 05:50 PM
katlaughing 06 Aug 01 - 05:54 PM
DougR 06 Aug 01 - 06:49 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 06 Aug 01 - 11:40 PM
artbrooks 06 Aug 01 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,Fred 07 Aug 01 - 11:41 PM
Sorcha 07 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM
Haruo 20 Jan 02 - 09:41 PM
Nerd 20 Jan 02 - 10:48 PM
Amos 20 Jan 02 - 11:05 PM
CapriUni 20 Jan 02 - 11:15 PM
DougR 20 Jan 02 - 11:21 PM
Rolfyboy6 20 Jan 02 - 11:21 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 02 - 11:52 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Jan 02 - 01:38 AM
Haruo 21 Jan 02 - 01:45 AM
Dave Bryant 21 Jan 02 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,breezy 21 Jan 02 - 10:10 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Jan 02 - 11:42 AM
Joe Offer 07 Oct 02 - 02:19 AM
Gurney 07 Oct 02 - 05:22 AM
CapriUni 08 Oct 02 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,Q 06 Mar 03 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Q 06 Mar 03 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,IanN 02 Apr 03 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Q 02 Apr 03 - 06:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Mar 05 - 05:50 PM
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Subject: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: RonU
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 12:09 AM

I know this seems perhaps insignificant but here goes anyway. In the song "Streets of Laredo (the cowboy's lament)" there is the line where the young cowboy was all wrapped in white linen. I don't get it, never did. Originally before I had seen all the words, I thought he was already dead but, the words in the database make it clear he died after telling his sad story. What gives ??


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: leprechaun
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 12:50 AM

I always thought of it as a shroud, or something they wrap him in before they stuff him in a coffin. Sort of like a cotton bag you wrap around a deer or elk carcass to keep the flies out. I think the idea that he dies after the song is just a matter of poetic license.

Mothers don't let your babies grow up to be turtle boys. I've got to make it to Rose's back door. But I'll be better, Doc, as soon as I am able.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 08:33 AM

Yeah, he must be dead, because in addition to being wrapped in a shroud, he's "cold as the clay". I always figured he was a ghost, which is why he could be dead but singing the song. Or maybe the writer was looking at the deceased young man, imagining what he would say if he could talk.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Bruce O.
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 10:35 AM

He originally died in Ireland. Irish broadsides of the song, c 1800, are "The Unfortuante Rake" and "The Buck's Elegy". It was the mercury given him to control his syphilis that killed him. I can't remember whether the mercury was in the form of calomel or corrosive sublimate (chlorides of mercury).

Susan of DT?


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Jon W.
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 11:01 AM

I searched the database and found several versions including parodies but nothing like the original "Unfortunate Rake." Anyone care to submit it?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUCK'S ELEGY
From: Bruce O.
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 12:02 PM

[This version is obviously a bit corrupt. 2nd and 3rd verses don't agree about the mercury.]

The Buck's Elegy

As I was walking down Covent Garden,
Listen awhile, and the truth I'll relate,
Who should I meet but my dearest comrade,
Wrapt up in flannel, so hard was his fate.

Had I but known what his disorder was,
Had I but known it, and took it in time,
I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut off in the height of my prime.

Doctors take away your mercury bottles,
For I am going to draw my last breath,
And into my coffin throw handfuls of funeral fine [No
[should be 'lime', to cover smell]
Let them all see that I die a sad death.

When I am dead wrap me up in funeral fine,
Pinks and fine roses adorning my head,
Come all gallows whores that do mourn after me,
Let them all follow me unto my grave.

There is Capt.---, and likewise Capt. Townsend.
These are the men that shall hold up my pall;
Come draw up your merrymen, draw them in rank and file,
Let them fire over me when I lay low.

Come bumble your drums, bumble them with crapes of black,
Beat the dead march as we go along,
Come draw up your merry men, draw them in rank and file,
Let them fire over me when I lay low.

From Holloway and Black, 'Later English broadside Ballads', I, #17, where references to traditional versions of the British Isles are given. I don't seem to have a copy of "The Unfortunate Rake" version. The Irish tune "The Unfortunate Rake" is in Crosby's 'Irish Musical Repository', but it does not sound to me to be at all related to America tunes to "Tom Sherman's Barroom", "St. James Infirmary (or Hospital)" or "Streets of Loredo", that I have heard.


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Subject: Tune Add: THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE
From: Bruce O.
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 12:48 PM

All but last d are sharpened, but even if last were, the tune would not be one of the 7 normal 'Greek' modes. I have not found the tune elsewhere under any title. 'Theme code' is 51H2H4 11H2H5.



X:1
T:The Unfortunate Rake
N:from Crosby's 'Irish Musical Repository', 1808
N:(for The Wandering Harper, not Unfortunate Rake)
L:1/8
M:6/8
K:Em
B|B e e e f g|f ^d B A G F|E e e e f g|f ^d BB2 A|\
B e e e f g|f ^d B A G F|G B e G3/2 A/ B|A G F E2||F|\
G B B B3/2 A/ G|F ^D F A3/2 G/ F| G B E G3/2 A/ B|\
A G F E2F|G B B B3/2 A/ G|F ^D F A3/2 A/ g|f3/2 e/ ^d e =d B|\
A3/2 G/ F E2|]


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 02:06 PM

"Streets of Laredo" is an American adaption of an English ballad (a broadside, I seem to recall). I can't remember the title: I believe that it's called "When I Was a Soldier," or "The Soldier's Lament." Maddy Prior did a fine job with it on one of the Steeleye Span albums, and even the tune was basically unchanged.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: RonU
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 11:27 PM

Looks to me like the dead Irishman was talking (or singing), also.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DYING OUTFIT ('Streets of Laredo' parody)
From: rich r
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 10:54 PM

THE DYING OUTFIT

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy wrapped up in white linen,
Wrapped up in white linen as cold as the clay.

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.
You see by my outfit that I am one too.
We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys.
Now you get an outfit an' you can be a cowboy too.

Now you got no outfit, so you're not a cowboy.
I got two outfits. You take one of mine.
Now you got an outfit, and I got an outfit,
And in our outfits now don't we look fine?

You fit in my outfit. I fit in your outfit.
We fit in our outfits. We're outfitted fine.
They're fine-fitted outfits. They're out-fitted fine-fits.
They're fit-outed b-b-l-l-r-r-b-b. I'm fit to be tied.

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a young outfit wrapped up in his cowboy,
Wrapped up in his outfit, so I let him lay.

A version of this was recorded by Tom & Dick Smothers

rich r


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Subject: Lyr Add: STREETS OF LAREDO (corrected verse)
From: rich r
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 11:26 PM

OK so I cannot spell "Wlaked", at least I'm consistently inconsistent. I noticed in the DT that the 2nd line of verse 11 or 12 of "Streets of Laredo" apparently dropped in by mistake from some other song. The verse should be:

Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin
Get six pretty maidens to bear up my pall;
Put bunches of roses all over my coffin,
Put roses to deaden the clods as they fall.

The long version of the song in DT is the same as "The Cowboy's Lament" published in 1908 in Songs of the Cowboys by N Howard "Jack" Thorp. Thorp writes, "Authorship credited to Troy Hale, Battle Creek, Nebraska. I first heard it sung in a bar-room at Wisner, Nebraska, about 1886."

rich r


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Subject: Lyr Add: ST. JAMES HOSPITAL (from A. L. Lloyd)
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 12:50 AM

Another version of the song is "St. James' Hospital", which makes it sound as though he's being wrapped in linen (or, in some versions, flannel) because he has the shivers. Here are the lyrics as recorded by A. L. Lloyd:

As I was out walking by St. James' hospital
I was out walking down by there one day
I spied a young man all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen, though warm was the day.

I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him
I asked him the cause of all his complaint
"It's all on account of some handsome young woman
'Tis she that has caused me to weep and lament"

"And had she but told me before she disordered me
Had she but told me of it in time
I might have got pills or salts of white mercury
But now I'm cut down in the height of me prime."

"Get six young soldiers to carry me coffin
Six young girls to sing me a song
And have each of them carry a bunch of green laurel
So they can't smell me as they bear me along."

"And don't muffle your drums, me jewel, me joy
Play your fife merry as you bear me along
And fire your bright muskets all over me coffin
Sayin', 'There goes an unfortunate lad to his home'."

It was recorded on Lloyd's Topic album "First Person", and has been reissued on the superb Fellside CD "Classic A. L. Lloyd".

Peace.
Paul


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Rick---obaoighill@earthlink.net
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 02:40 AM

Another version of the song above appears on Christy Moore's "Prosperous". It is entitled "Locke Hospital" and it tells the tale of a young soldier who dies of a sexually transmitted disease. On that note...

Slainte

Rick


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 01:42 PM

Maybe you know this, Bruce, but that D# makes it "harmonic minor" instead of "natural minor". If there were C's and some of them were sharped too (especially when they came before D#'s), it would be "melodic minor", like "Greensleeves".

I like harmonic minor because it sounds Jewish. In fact, that extra-long step between the 6th and 7th degrees has been called the "Jewish third".


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 01:56 PM

Harmonic and melodic minors seem to me to be uncommon, but also, I think ABC only recognizes the 7 normal 'Greek' modes. I have even used phoney keys in ABC to get the right number of sharps or flats on the key signature for a few tunes, so don't take the specified key litterally. The actual keynote in ABC will be the real one you enter in in spite of what the key signature mayn say.

[Those that are unfamiliar with harmonic and melodic minors might consult the tune coding section near the end of Herrmann and Huntington's 'Sam Henry's Songs of the People'. I think this is taken from Bertrand Bronson, but I don't have his publications on the subject]


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Susan of DT
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 06:55 PM

Searching for most of these "Unfortunate Rake" variants show up a DT #350. Then search for #350 to find 8 variants already in the database. Thanx for the additional ones.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 07:41 PM

While we're on the subject of "St. James Hospital", I've been searching for a recording I once heard on the radio (WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, CT) of Doc Watson singing it a cappella (as opposed to the recordings where he accompanies himself on guitar, which I already have). Can anyone supply me with the name of the album containing the version I'm seeking? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 11 Feb 98 - 02:21 AM

Doc's version appears on his first Vanguard album, "Doc Watson" (Vanguard VSD-79152). Don't know if it was reissued on "The Vanguard Years". He may also have recorded it elsewhere.

Peace. Paul


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 11 Feb 98 - 01:27 PM

Uh, whoops, let me correct myself. The version on "Doc Watson" (Vanguard) may be accompanied by guitar. I don't have it here, so can't check. But the version on "Live and Pickin'" (United Artists UA-LA-943-H, 1979) is a capella; it's combined with an instrumental, "Frosty Morn".

Peace. Paul


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Subject: Lyr Add: STREETS OF LAREDO (parody)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 98 - 12:42 AM

This one always seems bring a little cheer when people are grouchy. It's a favorite in our song circle in Sacramento. It may pre-date the Smothers Brothers rendition.
-Joe Offer-


STREETS OF LAREDO
(Parody by Milt & Marge Lev and Walt Robertson, with help from a very large bottle of wine)

As I walked out on the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay.

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
You see by my outfit that I am one too
We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys
For I have an outfit and you have one too.

My outfit fits neatly; it's a neat-fitting outfit
Your white linen neat-fitting outfit fits you
So we are two cowboys in white linen outfits
White linen outfits that fit neatly too.

When I'm out of my outfit, I am not a cowboy
When you're out of your outfit, then neither are you
But we're both fit out in our neat-fitting outfits
So I am a cowboy and you are one too.

Let's see if your neat-fitting outfit will fit me
Let's see if my neat-fitting outfit fits you
If my outfit fits you and your outfit fits me
Then we can trade outfits and they will fit too.

As the outfitted cowboys were trading their outfits
Their neat-fitting outfits of white linen hue
An outlaw passed by in his black outlaw outfit
And spied the two cowboys and shot up the two.

As I walked out on the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied two dead cowboys all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Will
Date: 25 May 98 - 09:49 AM

Peter Beagle (author of "The Last Unicorn" and several other books of fantasy) wrote a lovely book about him and a friend riding scooters from New York to the Bay Area in the early 1960s, called "I See By My Outfit". A recurrent theme is him singing the title-line to his friend.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Cuilionn
Date: 25 May 98 - 02:16 PM

Och, ye've given me a richt guid laugh wi' a' yer outfittin'... Jist thocht I'd drap a wee line in tae mention that Eric Bogle's sang "No Man's Land" (alsae ca'd "Willie McBride") brings in th' same chorus as a' th' ither versions, tho' it jostles it aroond a wee bit.

An beannachd ort,

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 98 - 03:29 PM

With typing like that, Cuilionn, one might think you were Shula. I never figured out how she could type dialect without going bonkers.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 25 May 98 - 06:29 PM

Where is Shula these days, anyway?

1. The Steeleye Span version was called "When I Was On Horseback." I assume it is an Irish version because it mentions Cork City, but I never did figure out the significance of the soldier being killed on the 14th of May.

2. Another version is from woman's point of view, and is called The Unfortunate Lass. There are versions of this from eastern Canada.

3. It would be an interesting, if somewhat depressing CD, to collect different variants of this song.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 98 - 07:12 PM

Hi, Tim - Shula's been sick, but she dropped in last week to say that she's doing pretty well.

The various versions of this song are linked in the database, and you can find them all by searching for #350. The notes for When I Was On Horseback say that an album of these songs is available on the Folkways label.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF SHERMAN WU (Pete Seeger)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 27 May 98 - 10:52 AM

Pete Seeger sang this on one of his BROADSIDE LPs for Folkways.

BALLAD OF SHERMAN WU

As I roved out on the streets of Northwestern,
I spied a young freshman dejected and blue, I said,
"Young man--why are you dejected?"
He said, "I'm Chinese and I can't join Psi U!"

"I see by your frat pin that you are a Psi U,
If I had a frat pin I'd be one too,
But I can't have a frat pin and I can't be a Psi U,
I can't be a Psi U because my name's Sherman Wu."

The dean said, "Now Sherman, don't raise a commotion,
It's wrong to wash laundry in public you know,
If he was just Jewish, Italian or German,
But he's so damn Chinese the whole campus would know."

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Debbie
Date: 27 May 98 - 03:58 PM

I believe Marty Robins also recorded a version of this one, but it's slightly different, i don't recognise some of the verses, and he sings some other verses....

Debs


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: pavane
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 03:36 AM

I don't see The Royal Albion mentioned - another member of the group of songs, but unfortunately I don't have the words to hand. Very similar though, as I remember it.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 11:26 AM

Oh, heavens.... everytime I sing Streets of Laredo I think about that damn Outfit thing..... :-D


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Greg F.
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 12:46 PM

and then there'sTHIS


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: The Walrus at work
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 01:14 PM

Bruce,

I'd tend to agree with the other versions quoted that
"..I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury,..."
is more likely
"...I'd took pila cotia, and salts of white mercury,..."
It just seems to make more sense that way.

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,DaisyA
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 02:22 PM

There is a lovely version of St James' Hospital on Kate and Anna McGarrigle's Heartbeats Accelerating. It's the last track - really wonderful. Daisy


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: LR Mole
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM

Misinformation? Someone once told me VD is called "clap" because the mercury treatment is so painful that people receiving it would be slapped to distract them. Interesting thing to put on one's resume.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM

"A Sailor Cut Down in His Prime" predates (I think) the streets of Laredo. Pretty Much the same melody.

It starts.......
As I was walking down by the Royal Albion. If anyone is interested in this, send me a PM and I'll dig it out for you.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: pavane
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 04:20 PM

White Copper (old name for mercury) is mentioned in the song Lass of London City, which is another song in a similar vein. 'As I was a walking down White Copper Alley'.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 05:43 PM

If one may be allowed to return to the original question .... Two possibilities occur. One is that it's a fossil leftover from the Irish version, in the context of which it might have made better sense.

Second is that cowboys and Western travellers in general sometimes wore an outer garment called a "duster" which was a very thin overcoat designed to protect one's clothes from trail dust, whence the name. I believe dusters were often light colored if not truly white, and generally made of linen so as to be more easily washable.

CC


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 05:50 PM

I always thought he was a ghost, trying to warn the cowboy, like ghosts usually do.... why can't ghosts just let us get on with it?

LTS


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 05:54 PM

As in a winding sheet? That's what I always thought it was.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: DougR
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 06:49 PM

I think of it as a shroud, as many others of you do, and the narrator as a ghost. In Burl Ives song book he merely notes that it is a "variant on an Irish song, "The Unfortunate Rake."

DougR


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 11:40 PM

Is it REALLY that important?


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: artbrooks
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 11:43 PM

For what its worth...which probably isn't much...there's also a version I learned in Seattle about a seasick Norwegen fisherman called "Streets of Stavanger". Uff da.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:41 PM

For what it's worth, the tune is from the Irish song The Bard of Armagh. I also always assumed that the cowboy was wrapped up for burying, but I never thought of him as a ghost. I guess I never stopped to wonder why he would already be wrapped for burying before he was actually dead. Love the parodies.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM

I always thought of it as a "left over" from the original St. James Infirmary song----the guy has syphillis so they give him salts of mercury to raise his body temperature to kill the spirochetes; then they wrap him in linen to increase the rise in body temperature.

After that, they put him on the roof of St. James to lie in the sunshine........and WHOOPS!! too much heat, so he cooks to death.

None of that really makes sense with the US cowboy version of Streets of Laredo but ballads often don't make sense when they are transferred from another culture.

The US cowboy version seems to be using the "white linen" as a shroud even though the boy isn't quite dead yet, but he is wrapped for burial and has Final Requests.......the 6 cowboys, maidens, etc. He KNOWS he is going to die and that he is wrapped for burial.

just my $0.02 worth


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Haruo
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 09:41 PM

Just posted La Stratoj Laredaj (Esperanto translation by Marta Evans, slightly revised by me) in La Lilandejo; would be interested in other non-English versions of "The Streets of Laredo".

Liland

PS The white linen is there (though only once, not repeated as in English), but the difference I find most striking is the seven (not six) pallbearers, maidens and roses ("luckiest number at dice for a bet").


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 10:48 PM

Someone mentions that it would be neat for a CD to be compiled of the versions of this song. This was done on LP by folklorist Kenny Goldstein in the 1960s. It was a folkways LP with scholarly notes and about twenty variants (including, I think, Sherman Wu) of the song. Like all folkways LPs, this can be ordered as a custom-Burned CD from Smithsonian Folkways. The title is The Unfortunate Rake. The notes give a complete run-down on the song's history (1st recorded text, etc) and the singers are an interesting mix of professional folksingers (the late Wade Hemsworth is on it, as is Rosalie Sorrels) and folklorists (including Goldstein, Roger Abrahams, Jan Brunvand, Alan Lomax). Not the best listening ever, but an interesting album


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:05 PM

Jeeze-- they used linen for bandages too -- the guy was shot in the breast, obviously seriously, and he'd be cold as the clay from loss of blood without a shroud coming into it. It's just BANDAGES folks!!

Let's stay as real as possible under the circumstances. They don't let the winding sheet committee in until someone says, "He's dead, Jim...."

A


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:15 PM

I guess what confuses people, Amos, is the phrase "All wrapped..." which suggests that it was head to foot. But that word could simply be in the line for scansion reasons

And then, there is another version in the DT, here. The first two verses make it clear that he is still alive, and was left in the street deliberately, and the people who did the wrapping (either bandages or shrowd) were on the run.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: DougR
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:21 PM

Anybody else checked out the thread of old music Rick posted in another thread of singers from the twenties and thirties singing this song. I heard three different versions of the tune of this song there. I wasn't familiar with any of them.

DougR


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:21 PM

Does anybody know how St. James Hospital got transformed into St. James Infirmary (Blues)? The feel of the words is late ragtime/early jazz/early blues. St. James Infirmary The D.T. lyrics are a little stilted in comparison to how it's usually sung.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:52 PM

Put The Cowboy's Lament in the DT and up comes Harry Jackson's version of the Streets of Laredo, where no less than 16 cowboys are called for to carry the coffin and 16 pretty ladies to bear up the pall. The cowboy was from southeast Texas; a Texas-sized funeral is expected.
Type in Lament, and up comes "Streets of Laredo (Cowboy's Lament)" where only six of each are required. The boy's people came from the Nation (Indian Territory) so he was probably Injun and wouldn't expect many to come to his funeral.
Folks, the two cowboys were not the same. This explains the confusion.
Liland, where did the seventh man position himself to carry the pall?


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 01:38 AM

Oh, yes, the roses in Jackson's version were to deaden the smell. A much more realistic reason that to "deaden the clods as they fall."


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Haruo
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 01:45 AM

Dicho, I have no idea where the seventh pallbearer would be placed. Of course, I also have no idea what text Marta Evans was working from; maybe there are English versions out there where the magic number is seven, and I just haven't run into any of them. Anybody?

FWIW, here's...
A line-by-line non-singable anglicization of

La Stratoj Laredaj

The Streets of Laredo
(The Cowboy's Lament)
Esperanto version by Marta Evans in Kantfesto I, 1982
Slightly revised by Liland Brajant Ros' in Donu hejmon al mi..., 1997

  1. Dum mi trapromenis la stratojn Laredajn,
    (ho, venu, aŭskultu al morna rakont'!)
    mi vidis vakeron volvitan linaĵe.
    Volvite en blanko, li ŝajnis mortont'.
    While I walked out through the Laredan streets,
    (oh, come, listen to a mournful story!)
    I saw a cowboy [vaquero] wrapped in linen.
    Wrapped in white, he seemed about to die.
  2. "Sidiĝu ĉi tie, aŭskultu kaj ploru,"
    li diras al mi de la grund', sia lit'.
    "Mi drinkis kaj vetis, kaj iu min pafis,
    kaj baldaŭ forlasos min mia spirit'."
    "Sit down here, listen and weep,"
    he said to me from the ground, his bed.
    "I drank to excess and gambled, and someone shot me,
    and soon my spirit will abandon me."
  3. "Venigu sep ulojn por porti la ĉerkon,
    kaj ankaŭ sep inojn : ploranta septet',
    kaj sep ruĝaj rozoj ornamu la tombon :
    plej bonŝanca nombro sur kuboj en vet'."
    "Bring seven guys to carry the coffin,
    and also seven gals : a weeping septet,
    and let seven red roses adorn the grave :
    luckiest number on dice in a bet."
  4. "Venigu vakerojn, la junajn, naivajn;
    rakontu al ili kronikon de l' sort'.
    Parolu pri aĉa, senbrida malbono,
    kaj kiom danĝeras la vetluda sport'."
    "Bring cowboys, the young, naïve [ones];
    tell to them a chronicle of the fate.
    Speak of yeccchhy, unbridled badness,
    and of how dangerous [is] the sport of betting."
  5. "Bonvolu alporti glaseton da akvo,
    mi petas : ĝi estu la lasta komfort'."
    Mi iris por fari, sed mankis la tempo :
    sur strato Lareda alvenis la mort'.
    "Please bring a little glass of water,
    I beg [of you] : let it be the final comfort."
    I went to do it, but time was lacking :
    on a Laredan street death arrived.

Liland


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 04:58 AM

There are so many versions of this song, I've always referred to it as "Young Soldier/Sailor cut down in his Prime". Obviously the "Cowboy" version came later. And perhaps the end of the line is "St James Infirmary Blues". On the other hand, in the future we might have, "Young spaceman cut down in his Suspended Animation".


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,breezy
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 10:10 AM

Set adrift in the vacuous void,? but it may not scan so .


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 11:42 AM

Liland, I think your version came from a bad east Indian movie.

The earliest claim for authorship of "The Cowboy's Lament" is 1876, by Francis Henry Maynard. At that time he was working with "the Grimes outfit" wintering cattle on the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River On the Kansas-Indian Territory border. He said that he was inspired by "The Dying Girl's Lament," at the time sung by cowboys. He moved the scene from a hospital to Tom Sherman's barroom, a popular watering hole in Dodge City (The Whorehouse Bells are Ringing, Guy Logsden, 1989, p. 291, University of Illinois Press). The locale ws moved to Laredo later. Certainly the Bard of Armagh was known in the United States, and the tune came from this.
The traditional version was well-known by 1898 when Owen Wister included a verse in his great western novel, "Lin McLean." The many other lyrics, such as those mentioned by Bryant, are little known now and their occurrence or distribution in the United States is not well-documented.
In 1908, Sharlot Hall collected a version in Arizona:
"As I rode out to Latern in Barin
As I rode out so early one day,
'Twas there I espied a handsome young cowboy
All dressed in white linen and clothed for the grave."
The Irish origin is obvious here. The other verses were all similar to the Maynard-traditional verses (from the same source mentioned above).


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 02:19 AM

Somebody sent me a list of songs and threads that are related to "St James Infirmary" and "Streets of Laredo" The list is far too long to use with our grouping system, but I thought I'd post it here.
-Joe Offer-

It is arguable whether the following should all be cross-referenced as one big group, or broken up into 2 or 3 groups. I'll leave it up to you to decide. Two groups already exist: (1) Streets of Laredo/Pills of White Mercury; and (2) St. James Infirmary (see footnotes)

    Songid=
    0089 A SUN VALLEY SONG
    0928 BRIGHT SUMMER MORNING
    2859 I ONCE WAS A CARMAN IN THE BIG MOUNTAIN CON
    3672 LOCKE HOSPITAL
    4271 NOO I'M A YOUNG MAN CUT DOWN IN MY PRIME
    4501 ONE MORNING IN MAY
    4684 PILLS OF WHITE MERCURY
    5525 ST. JAMES' HOSPITAL
    5526** ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
    5573* STREETS OF LAREDO (COWBOY'S LAMENT)
    5691 TARPAULIN JACKET
    5782 BAD GIRL'S LAMENT
    5792 BALLAD OF BLOODY THURSDAY
    6210 DYING LUMBERMAN
    6367 GIRL IN THE DILGER CASE
    6426 HALLS OF THE HIGH SCHOOL
    6607 LINEMAN'S HYMN
    6851 PROGRAMMER'S LAMENT
    7013 STREETS OF LOREDO
    7071 TROOPER CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
    7101 UNFORTUNATE RAKE
    7156 WILD LUMBERJACK
    7208 YOUNG SAILOR CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
    7498 UNFORTUNATE LASS
    7768 WHEN I WAS ON HORSEBACK
    Threadid=
    00241 Lyr Req: The Pills of White Mercury
    00890 Pills of White Mercury
    03172** Tune request: St. James Infirmary
    03918* ...all wrapped in white linen.
    06346 unfortunate rake
    13778** Tab request 'St. James Infirmary'
    14919* Streets of Laredo
    14941* Lyr Add: Pills of White Mercury
    16016 Wrap me up in my tarpaulin jacket????
    20068 Tune Req: St. James Infirmary
    20256** Tune Req: St. James Infirmary Blues
    20413 Lyr Add: Tom Sherman's Barroom
    22885 Penguin: The Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime
    24143** Lyr Req: st james infirmary (request only)
    26976** Lyr/Chords Req: St. James Infirmary
    30298** Chords Req: St. James Infirmary
    36109 BS: St. Jude's Infirmary (Parody for Spaw)
    42215 Lyr/Chords Req: Pills of White Mercury, Old B
    46310** History of Saint James Infirmary Blues?
    46314 Lyr Req: 16 Coal Black Horses, a funeral dirge
    48964** St. James infirmary
    *Already cross-referenced: Streets of Laredo group
    **Already cross-referenced: St. James Infirmary group
-
Here are the groups:


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 05:22 AM

Dreadful song. I used to love it, once. Cyril Tawney 'localised' it by remaming the hospital (maybe Royal Albion, I can't really remember)as I heard him announce about 30 years ago.
30 years. Good grief.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 12:45 AM

Gurney... what changed your mind about the song?

Was it learning what the song really meant?

Hearing it one (or one hundred) times too many?

A change in your musical aesthetic sense?

Just curious...


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COW BOYS LAMENT (Thorp 1908)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:16 PM

Lyr. Add: THE COW BOYS LAMENT (Thorp 1908)

'Twas once in my saddle I used to be happy
'Twas once in my saddle I used to be gay
But I first took to drinking, then to gambling
A shot from a six-shooter took my life away.

My curse let it rest, rest on the fair one
Who drove me from friends that I loved and from home
Who told me she loved me, just to deceive me
My curse rest upon her, wherever she roam.

Oh she was fair, Oh she was lovely
The belle of the Village the fairest of all
But her heart was as cold as the snow on the mountains
She gave me up for the glitter of gold.

I arrived in Galveston in old Texas
Drinking and gambling I went to give o'er
But, I met with a Greaser and my life he has finished
Home and relations I ne'er shall see more.

Send for my father, Oh send for my mother
Send for the surgeon to look at my wounds
But I fear it is useless I feel I am dying
I'm a young cowboy cut down in my bloom.

Farewell my friends, farewell my relations
My earthly career has cost me sore
The cow-boy ceased talking, they knew he was dying
His trials on earth, forever were o'er.

Chor. Beat your drums lightly, play your fifes merrily
Sing your dearth (Sic) march as you bear me along
Take me to the grave yard, lay the sod o'er me
I'm a young cow-boy and know I've done wrong.

Copied without changes from a facimile copy of "Songs of the Cowboys," N. Howard Thorp, News Print Shop, Estancia, New Mexico. Copyright, 1908, N. Howard Thorp.

The facsimile bears the manuscript inscription "1st Book of Cowboy Songs published in the U. S. Songs marked + are by the author
N. Howard Jack Thorp Alameda, N. M."
The Preface says "To the Ranchmen of the West this little volume is dedicated as a reminder of the trail days and roundups of the past. To the younger generation who know not of the trip from Texas to Dodge and the north, it will tend to keep alive the memory of an industry now past. I have gathered these songs from the cow camps of different states and territories [NM and AZ gained statehood four years later, in 1912]. They embrace most of the songs as sung by the oldtime cow punchers."
There is no mention of authorship or provenance. "I plead ignorance of the authorship of ["most" added in MS] them but presume that most of the composers have, ere now, "Gone up the dim narrow trail." Thorp, however, in MS, claimed authorship of five, including "Little Joe the Wrangler."

This is not the song in the DT pointed to by rich r. There is no note crediting authorship of "The Cow Boys Lament" to Troy Hale.

The facsilile is printed, unpaginated, after p. 257 of Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, "Songs of the Cowboys by N. Howard ("Jack") Thorp," Variants, Commentary Notes and Lexicon by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, Clarkson N Potter, publisher, 1966. Thorp had nothing to do with the 257 pages of comments, songs and music by the Fifes.
In 1921, "Thorp abandoned the 1908 text for Lomax's longer and smoother synthetic text, which has had much more influence upon the twentieth century singing of the song than it deserves." The Fifes go on to condemn Lomax's "bowdlerization." The 1921 edition is the one in which Troy Hale is mentioned. No one has taken this seriously.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:20 PM

Ok, facsimile.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,IanN
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 05:03 AM

Does anyone know for definate the origin of the tune for Streets of Laredo? GUESTFred suggest the Bard of Armagh however a book I've seen cites the origins of the tune as being England???


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 06:30 PM

Suggest you see thread 52843, especialy a post by Malcolm Douglas, 30 Oct 02, which discusses "The Unfortunate Rake," and also read the other posts in this thread. Seemingly the tune can be traced back to about 1800, English. Buck's Elegy

Bard of Armagh and Streets of Laredo belong in this group of songs with the same or very similar melody.


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Subject: RE: ...all wrapped in white linen.
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:50 PM

Worth noting in these threads is the Folkways Album, No. FA 3805, issued in 1960, called "The Unfortunate Rake, A Study in the Evolution of a Ballad," notes by K. S. Goldstein.
I checked several related threads, but didn't note mention of this album. Tracks:
The Unfortunate Rake. Sung by A. L. Lloyd
The Trooper Cut Down in His Prime. E. W. MacColl
The Young Sailor Cut Down in His Prime. Harry Cox
Noo I'm a Young Man Cut Down in My Prime. Willie Mathieson
The Bad Girl's Lament. Wade Hemsworth
One Morning in May. Hally Wood
Bright Summer Morning. Mrs. Viola Penn
The Girl in the Dilger Case. D. K. Wilgus
The Cowboy's Lament. Bruce Buckley
The Streets of Laredo. Harry Jackson
St. James Hospital. Alan Lomax
Gambler's Blues. Dave Van Ronk
I Once Was a Carman in the Big Mountain Con. Guthrie Meade
The Lineman's Hymn. Rosalie Sorrels
The Wild Lumberjack. Kenneth S. Goldstein
Sun Valley Song. Jan Brunvand
The Ballad of Bloody Thursday. John Greenway
The Streets of Hamtramck. Bill Friedland
The Ballad of Sherman Wu. Sung by Pete Seeger
The Professor's Lament. Roger Abrahams


    Thread closed temporarily because it's been a target for a heavy barrage of Spam. If you have something to add to the discussion, contact me and I'll reopen it.
    -Joe Offer-


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