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Lyr Add: The Cowboy's Christmas Ball

Dicho (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 01 - 02:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Dale 08 Dec 01 - 03:50 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 01 - 05:16 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 01 - 05:28 PM
masato sakurai 08 Dec 01 - 07:17 PM
masato sakurai 08 Dec 01 - 07:36 PM
Stewie 08 Dec 01 - 07:44 PM
masato sakurai 08 Dec 01 - 08:52 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 01 - 11:57 PM
richardw 10 Dec 01 - 11:07 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Dec 01 - 11:39 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 01 - 11:31 PM
open mike 03 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM
Gene 05 Feb 08 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,ClimbThatSymphonyHome 29 Nov 11 - 12:39 PM
Artful Codger 29 Nov 11 - 09:23 PM
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Subject: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM

THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL

Way out in western Texas, where the Clear Fork's waters flow,
Where the cattle are a-browsin' and the Spanish ponies grow.
Where the norther comes a whistlin' from beyond the Neutral Strip,
And the prairie dogs are wheezin' as though they had the grippe,
Where lonesome, tawny prairies melt into airy streams,
While the Double Mountains slumber in heav'nly kinds of dreams,
Where the antelope is grazin' and the lonely plovers call,
It was there that I attended the cowboy's Christmas ball.

The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles,
The ladies, kidder scatterin', had gathered in for miles.
And yet the place was crowded, as I remember well.
'Twas gave on this occasion at the Morning Star Hotel.
The music was a fiddle and a lively tambourine,
And a viol came, imported by the stage from Abilene.
The room was togged out gorgeous with mistletoe and shawls,
And the candles flickered frescos around the airy walls.

The women folks looked lovely, the boys looked kinder treed,
Till the leader commenced yellin', "Whoa, fellers, let's stampede,"
And the music started sighin' and a-wailin' through the hall
As a kind of introduction to the cowboy's Christmas ball.
The leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,
They called him Windy Billy from Little Deadman's Branch.
His rig was kinder keerless, big spurs and high-heeled boots.
He had the reputation that comes when fellers shoots.

His voice was like a bugle upon the mountain height.
His feet were animated and a mighty movin' sight,
When he commenced to holler, "Now, fellers, stake your pen.
Lock horns ter all them heifers and rustle them like men,
Salute yer lovely critters, now swing and let 'em go,
Climb the grapevine round 'em, now all hands do-si-do.
You maverick, join the roundup, jes' skip the waterfall."
Huh, hit was gettin' active, the cowboys Christmas ball.

Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans, no sir-ee!
That whirl at Anson City jes' takes the cake with me.
I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill.
Give me a frontier breakdown backed up by Windy Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhere when Windy leads the show.
I've seen 'em both in harness, and so I ought ter know.
Oh, Bill, I shan't forget yer and I oftentimes recall
That lively gaited soiree, the cowboy's Christmas ball.

Larry Chittenden. Music given in The Hell-Bound Train, A Cowboy Songbook, Glenn Ohrlin, 1973, p. 144-145. Ohrlin says that there are more verses.
@cowboy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 02:43 PM

Dicho, I LOVE it and so will my dad! Thanks for posting it. Does Ohrlin say where he got it or did he write it?

kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM

By Larry Chittenden, as I indicated. It appeared in print several times, including in The American Horseman. Ohrlin says he first heard it when he was a kid, so the song is fairly old.
Just checked the "Additional Bibliography" in Ohrlin's book, and found that Lomax published it in 1916. It apparently first appeared in Chittenden, W. L., "Ranch Verses," 1893, G. F. Putnam's Sons, NY, p. 12-17. That's quite old for cowboy verse!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 03:50 PM

I know of two very nice versions, though quite a bit different ~~ Glenn Ohrlin's of course, and one by Michael Martin Murphy. Murphy's version is readily available on his Christmas CD. I really am not sure if Glenn ever recorded it. I have heard him do it live, though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 05:16 PM

Oops, sorry I missed that. Thanks!

Now, I'll have to go dig out my Lomax and see if it's in there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 05:28 PM

Kat, it's in my printing of the 1938 edition, "Cowboy Songs," with more verses, p. 246-249.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 07:17 PM

The longer version, as in Lomax, is also in Jim Bob Tinsley, He Was Singin' This Song (UCF, 1981, pp. 144-146), with background info and Chittenden's photo.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 07:36 PM

And in Richard E. Lingenfelter & Richard A. Dwyer, Songs of the American West (University of California Press, 1968, pp. 350-352).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 07:44 PM

Dale

Ohrlin did record it - it is on his 1983 Rounder LP 'The Wild Buckaroo' Rounder 0158.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 08:52 PM

On Jack Thorp's version (1908), see Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, Songs of the Cowboys by N. Howard ("Jack") Thorp: Variants, Commentary, Notes and Lexicon (Clarkson N. Potter, 1966, pp. 219-224), with a facsimile of the Thorp edition appendixed.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 11:57 PM

Ah, my dad has a copy of "He was singing this song." Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: richardw
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 11:07 AM

Another reference to the poem is in Guy Logson's "The Whorehouse bells were ringing and other songs cowboys sing."

Logsdon's book is from University of Illinois and written in 1989. The advantage is that he looks at all previous references to the songs he prints and trys to sort them out. It has beome a main source for me.

He also says this was from a poem of Chittenden from 1893 that "was popular enough amoung cowboys to be adapted into a song and become part of cowboy lore."

Richard Wright


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 11:39 AM

Logsdon doesn't reproduce the song. Ohrlin's book, from which I took the song, is part of the same Univ. Illinois series, Music In American Life. This series also includes John I. White's Git Along, Little Dogies. Both Ohrlin's and White's books included floppy vinyl recordings, but The Cowboy's Christmas Ball is not among the cuts.
In an appendix, Ohrlin says Chittenden was born in Montclair, NJ, but owned a ranch near Anson, Texas (mentioned in the song), for a while. Ohrlin does not say where the music he includes with the lyrics came from.
Lomax (Cowboy Songs,1910, not seen), in the 1934 revision, says that the song, "slightly changed, was set to music by the cowboys." This probably is the source for Logsdon's statement.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BUNKHOUSE CHRISTMAS (S. Omar Barker)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 11:31 PM

BUNKHOUSE CHRISTMAS

"Twas Christmas Eve out on the ranch, and all the winter crew
Was settin' 'round the bunkhouse fire with nothin' else to do
But let their fancies wander on the thoughts of Christmas chuck,
And what they'd like the best to eat if just they had the luck
To set down to a table where the feast was laid so thick
That all they'd have to do was reach to take their choice and pick.

Young Sleepy Kid, the wrangler, claims he'd love a stummick-ache
From stuffin' steady half a day on choclit frosted cake.
"A slab of turkey breast," smacks Pete, "an' good ol' punkin pie!"
"I'd reach fer oyster dressin'!" Lobo Luther heaves a sigh.
"It ain't no Christmas feast for me," says little Charlie Moss,
"Without brown turkey gravy and some red cranberry sauce!"
"Mince pie!" avers ol' Swaller-Fork. "The kind my ma could make.
It beats your punkin forty ways- and also choclit cake!"

So each they named their fancy, till their chops began to drip,
Then ol' Pop Williams gives a snort and rubs his crippled hip.
He hitches to the window, sorter sizin' up the night.
"Well, boys," he says, "it's Christmas Eve, and if I figger right,
That snows too deep to travel, so before I hit the hay,
Upon the subject now in hand I'll have my little say.
It ain't what's in your stummick that's the most important part,
It's the feelin's of your gizzard, or in other words, your heart.
A-doin others kindness is the road to Christmas cheer,
But that, of course, ain't possible, the way we're snowbound here.

It looks like all that we can do for our good Christmas deed
Is hustle all the livestock in and give 'em extry feed.
To hungry cows an extry fork of hay will seem as nice
As when a hungry cowboy finds a raisin in his rice.
And as for favorite Christmas chuck, I'll name mine now, to wit:
It's beef and beans and biskits- 'cause I know that's what we'll get!"

S. Omar Barker; rancher, forest ranger, legislator, etc.; The Cattleman's Steak Book, 1967, Carol Truax and S. Omar Barker.
@cowboy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL
From: open mike
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM

there is a version of this on the western folklife center christmas radio show recording..with michael martin murphy et al.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL (from Lomax)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM

From Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads By John Avery Lomax, 1918.

THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL

"This poem, one of the best in Larry Chittenden's Ranch Verses, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, has been set to music by the cowboys and its phraseology slightly changed, as this copy will show, by oral transmission. I have heard it in New Mexico and it has been sent to me from various places,—always as a song. None of those who sent in the song knew that it was already in print."

1. WAY out in Western Texas, where the Clear Fork's waters flow,
Where the cattle are a-browzin' and the Spanish ponies grow;
Where the Northers come a-whistlin' from beyond the Neutral Strip;
And the prairie dogs are sneezin', as though they had the grip;
Where the coyotes come a-howlin' round the ranches after dark,
And the mockin' birds are singin' to the lovely medder lark;
Where the 'possum and the badger and the rattlesnakes abound,
And the monstrous stars are winkin' o'er a wilderness profound;
Where lonesome, tawny prairies melt into airy streams,
While the Double Mountains slumber in heavenly kinds of dreams;
Where the antelope is grazin' and the lonely plovers call,—
It was there I attended the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.

2. The town was Anson City, old Jones' county seat,
Where they raised Polled Angus cattle and waving whiskered wheat;
Where the air is soft and bammy and dry and full of health,
Where the prairies is explodin' with agricultural wealth;
Where they print the Texas Western, that Hec McCann supplies
With news and yarns and stories, of most amazing size;
Where Frank Smith "pulls the badger" on knowing tenderfeet,
And Democracy's triumphant and mighty hard to beat;
Where lives that good old hunter, John Milsap, from Lamar,
Who used to be the sheriff "back east in Paris, sah"!
'Twas there, I say, at Anson with the lovely Widder Wall,
That I went to that reception, the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.

3. The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles;
The ladies, kinder scatterin', had gathered in for miles.
And yet the place was crowded, as I remember well,
'Twas gave on this occasion at the Morning Star Hotel.
The music was a fiddle and a lively tambourine,
And a viol came imported, by the stage from Abilene.
The room was togged out gorgeous—with mistletoe and shawls,
And the candles flickered festious, around the airy walls.
The wimmen folks looked lovely—the boys looked kinder treed,
Till the leader commenced yelling, "Whoa, fellers, let's stampede,"
And the music started sighing and a-wailing through the hall
As a kind of introduction to the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.

4. The leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,—
They called him Windy Billy from Little Deadman's Branch.
His rig was kinder keerless,—big spurs and high heeled boots;
He had the reputation that comes when fellers shoots.
His voice was like the bugle upon the mountain height;
His feet were animated, and a mighty movin' sight,
When he commenced to holler, "Now fellers, shake your pen!
Lock horns ter all them heifers and rustle them like men;
Saloot yer lovely critters; neow swing and let 'em go;
Climb the grapevine round 'em; neow all hands do-ce-do!
You maverick, jine the round-up,—jes skip the waterfall,"
Huh! hit was getting active, the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.

5. The boys was tolerable skittish, the ladies powerful neat,
That old bass viol's music just got there with both feet!
That wailin', frisky fiddle, I never shall forget;
And Windy kept a-singin'—I think I hear him yet—
"Oh, X's, chase yer squirrels, and cut 'em to our side;
Spur Treadwell to the center, with Cross P Charley's bride,
Doc Hollis down the center, and twine the ladies' chain,
Van Andrews, pen the fillies in big T Diamond's train.
All pull your freight together, neow swallow fork and change;
Big Boston, lead the trail herd through little Pitchfork's range.
Purr round yer gentle pussies, neow rope and balance all!"
Huh! Hit were gettin' active—the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.

6. The dust riz fast and furious; we all jes galloped round,
Till the scenery got so giddy that T Bar Dick was downed.
We buckled to our partners and told 'em to hold on,
Then shook our hoofs like lightning until the early dawn.
Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans. No sir-ee!
That whirl at Anson City jes takes the cake with me.
I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill,
Give me a frontier break-down backed up by Windy Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhere, when Windy leads the show;
I've seen 'em both in harness and so I ought ter know.
Oh, Bill, I shan't forget yer, and I oftentimes recall
That lively gaited sworray—the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Cowboy's Christmas Ball
From: Gene
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 09:52 AM

MMM also did a VIDEO of it...hillllarrrrious....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Cowboy's Christmas Ball
From: GUEST,ClimbThatSymphonyHome
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 12:39 PM

The Killers do a charity Christmas single every year and this year they did a cover of The Cowboy's Christmas Ball!!...love it! :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Cowboy's Christmas Ball
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 09:23 PM

Gettin' more authentical, here's a link to the poem as printed in the tenth edition (1903) of Chittenden's collection Ranch Verses, first published in 1893.
http://books.google.com/books?id=e2FCAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA12

William Lawrence Chittenden was originally a newspaper journalist who went to Texas from New York, so the dialect is about as authentic as the Irish dialect in Tin Pan Alley songs--not that it matters. He later settled in Bermuda (winters) and Maine (summers).


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