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Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?

DigiTrad:
WHAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE STATES


wilco 30 Jul 02 - 01:25 PM
MMario 30 Jul 02 - 01:32 PM
MMario 30 Jul 02 - 01:34 PM
MMario 30 Jul 02 - 01:41 PM
masato sakurai 30 Jul 02 - 11:56 PM
Mary in Kentucky 31 Jul 02 - 10:33 AM
Mary in Kentucky 31 Jul 02 - 10:35 AM
masato sakurai 31 Jul 02 - 11:31 AM
wilco 31 Jul 02 - 01:00 PM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 02 - 12:25 PM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 02 - 12:29 PM
masato sakurai 02 Aug 02 - 05:05 AM
MMario 02 Aug 02 - 09:29 AM
Art Thieme 02 Aug 02 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,mbbucholz 15 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM
MMario 15 Jan 10 - 04:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jan 10 - 05:09 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 10 - 08:33 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 10 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 Jan 10 - 09:15 AM
Joe Offer 17 Jan 10 - 02:57 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Apr 10 - 11:24 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Apr 10 - 12:39 AM
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Subject: what was your name in the states?
From: wilco
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 01:25 PM

Looking for the lyrics and chords for "What was your name in the states?" A mudcatter suggested this, and I can't locate it. Burl Ives recorded it.

Thanks!!!!


Click for lyrics in Digital Tradition (one stanza)


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: MMario
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 01:32 PM

this was submitted to the great tune search - but it's not one of the ones that I have on my hard drive. joe?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: MMario
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 01:34 PM

for midi click here

for lyrics click here


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Subject: ADD:what was your name in the states?
From: MMario
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 01:41 PM

a second verse:

Did you have to change your name?
Was it Miller or Benton or James?
Did you spend time in jail or ride on a rail?
Say what was your name in the States?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Jul 02 - 11:56 PM

The one-stanza version in the DT (MMario's link) seems to be from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag (1927, p. 106), which is also in Lingenfelter & Dwyer's Songs of the American West (U of California Pr., p. 313); The Burl Ives Sing-Along Song Book (Watts, p. 154); and The Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs (Simon & Schuster p. 307). The second verse MMario posted above, which is also HERE, is not given in Sandburg's book. The long version (with additional verses) Debbie Reynolds sings in the movie How the West Was Won (1962) was written by Johnny Mercer.

~Masato


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Subject: ADD: What Was Your Name in the States? (Mercer)
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 10:33 AM

I have sheet music of this song from How The West Was Won.

WHAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE STATES
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Music adapted by Robert Emmett Dolan.


1) What was your name in the States?
Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?
Did you happen to draw on your mother-in-law?
Or sink the old lady with weights, my friend,
Oh, What was you name in the States?...Oh!

2) What was your name in the States?
Was it Murphy, MacDonald or Gates?
Did you hold up a bank as a juvenile prank
And pack up the money in crates, my friend,
Oh, What was your name in the States?...Oh!

3) What was your name in the States?
Now yuh must have had some honest traits.
Did you try to abscond with a beautiful blond?
Such minor offenses we tolerates,
Oh, What was your name in the States?...Oh!

4) What was your name in New York?
Was it Clancy, O'Toole or O'Rourke?
Are you wanted for life 'cause you left your poor wife
When she caught you sniffing a cork, my friend,
Oh, What was your name in the States?...Oh!

5) What was your name in the East?
And how recently was you released?
Are you ridin' the rails 'cause you held up the mails?
Or was it the females you held, you beast!
Oh, What was your name in the States?...Oh!

6) What was your name in the States?
Though you've suffered the cruelest of fates,
'Way out here in the West ev'ry body's a guest,
So line up and fill up your plates, my friend,
Who ever you was in the States!


Robbins Music Co., sheet music from How the West Was Won
MT


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 10:35 AM

Here's at try at the chords...the last line has a little different melody.

  Eb            Ab          Eb
What was your name in the States?
Ab Eb
Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?
Cm Gm Cm Gm Cm Gm Fm Eb
Did you hap-pen to draw on your mother-in-law?
Gm Eb Ab Bb7 Eb Cm7
Or sink the old lady with weights, my friend,
Fm7 Bb7 Eb Cm Fm7 Bb7
Oh, What was you name in the States?...Oh!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 11:31 AM

Chords for the Sandburg version.

WHAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE STATES

Oh, [A]what was your name in the States?
Was it Thompson or [E7]Johnson or [A]Bates?
Did you murder your [E7]wife and [A]fly for your [E]life?
Say, [D]what was your [E7]name in the [A]States?

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: wilco
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 01:00 PM

Thanks!!!!


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Subject: ZDTStudy: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 12:25 PM

Looks like this thread will cover all we need to have on this song, so I'm tagging it for DTStudy purposes. Here are the Digital Tradition and Traditional Ballad Index entries for the song.
-Joe Offer-
WHAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE STATES

Oh, what was your name in the States
Was it Thompson, or Johnson, or Bates
Did you murder your wife and fly for your life
Say, what was your name in the States

filename[ NAMESTAT
JN
oct96




PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

What Was Your Name in the States?

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, what was your name in the States? Was it Thompson, or Johnson, or Bates? Did you murder your wife and fly for your life? Say, what was your name in the States?"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
KEYWORDS: migrant travel crime
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Sandburg, p. 106, "What Was Your Name in the States?" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, p. 861, "What Was Your name in the States?" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, NAMESTAT

Roud #4754
RECORDINGS:
Logan English, "What Was Your Name in the States?" (on LEnglish02)
File: San106

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in Ireland
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 12:29 PM

This message (click) says "Name in the States" is related to a song called "What Was Your Name in Ireland." Anybody know of lyrics for that one?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 05:05 AM

The entry in The Great Song Thesaurus (Oxford UP, 1984, p. 377) says:

"What Was Your Name in the States? 1849 w.m. possibly John Philip Sousa. See also Part I, 1849."

1849
"By ship around Cape Horn, by ship to Panama and up the west coast, or by the Santa Fe Trail, the rush to California is on. Along the way the California-bound gold hunters were singing Stephen Foster's 'Oh! Susanna' (1848), 'Sacramento' (1849), and 'What Was Your Name in the States' (1849)." (p. 15)

Can this "info" be reliable? Anyway, Sousa was born in 1854. Sandburg says: "This ditty, of course, is out of the time when fugitives from the East preferred western to eastern climate" (p. 106), while the editor of Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs says: "A strange melody of men were the thousands who joined the gold rush to California. Here was an opportunity for anyone, honest man or fugitive, to make a new life for himself" (p. 307). Was there any record of it before 1927?

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: MMario
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 09:29 AM

Hearsay only - but my mother says it was a favorite little ditty of children when she was a child (early 20's) - living overseas - and she HATED the song because her middle name was "johnson"


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: what was your name in the states?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 06:07 PM

And another thing...

Art


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Subject: 'what was your name in the states'
From: GUEST,mbbucholz
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM

Does anyone know the origin/date of 'What was your name in the states?' Pre Civil War or for 'How the West Was Won?' Thanks, Marge


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Subject: RE: 'what was your name in the states'
From: MMario
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 04:18 PM

All I know is that it was used to torment my mother and her sisters when they were living overseas in the 1920's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 05:09 PM

The earliest print of the song seems to be its publication in Sandburg, 1927 (See Traditional Ballad Index), although PD Info gives a date of 1849, but cites neither author nor documentation.

It was published in Botkin, and Lingenfelter and Dwyer, and in Boni, "Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs."

Not found in American Memory. Not in Emrich, "American folk Poetry."

Mentioned in the memoirs of Bernice Hubbard May (California, Bancroft Library); no data but undated memory of the song. Included in the Skaggs Cowboy Poetry Collection, Utah State University.

Singers include Burl Ives, Jimmy Driftwood, Johnny Mercer and John Wayne.

It is not a question any westerner would ask!


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM

No, indeed! Just to ask that question was a great social faux pas at best, and a deadly insult at worst.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 08:33 PM

The song was recorded by Logan English on the Smithsonian Folkways album The Days of '49: Songs of the Gold Rush (1957). It's a 37-second recording, and it's available for free with background notes by Kenny Goldstein here (click). Goldstein seems to think the song came from the California Gold Rush.

Here are Goldstein's notes:

    Many men who left their Eastern homes for the California diggings were of unsavory reputation. Others were previously respectable men who caught the o1d fever and took off to "make their pile" without a word of leave to their dear ones. Some were gamblers and criminals who found in the gold rush a double excuse for taking off to California: a chance to strike it rich, and a way to avoid the troublesome laws which they flouted. No matter their social status, most forty-niners had ample reason for changing their names. This little ditty incorporates a favorite joke of those roarine days, and whether the fortune seekers came by water or overland, they were sure to be greeted with this song. The tune and text may be found in Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag.
Oh, what was your name in the States?
Was it Thompson, or Johnson or Bates?
Did you murder your wife
And fly for your life?
Say, what was your name in the States?

It seems likely that this is an authentic California Gold Rush song, but I'd still like proof by seeing the song in print from that era.

Google books has an excerpt from California, the Great Exception, by Carey McWilliams (1999), that attributes the song to the "California Songster," but it's not in Put's Original California Songster.

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 08:56 PM

But wait - this is from page 38 of volume 5 of an 1885 publication called Outing, which says the song (four verses and a chorus) was clipped from a Mexican newspaper:

WHAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE STATES?

We have a queer way in the West,
When a fellow his story relates,
Of making this simple request:
Say, what was your name in the States?

CHORUS
Oh what was your name in the States?
Was it Thomson or Johnson or Bates?
Did you murder your wife,
And then flee for your life?
Oh, what was your name in the States?

Of course, sir, we all understand
You say you are William G Yates;
From New Hampshire you came overland,
But -- what was your name in the States?
CHORUS

Your features are handsome, tis true,
With luck you are blessed by the fates;
Your clothing is costly and new,
But -- what was your name in the States?
CHORUS

You may be an angel, that's so,
Just slipped through the heavenly gates;
But still we are anxious to know,
Just what was your name in the States?
CHORUS


Ah, this is satisfying....to find an old version of this song, and with FOUR verses! It still isn't direct from the Days of '49, but 1885 ain't bad.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 09:15 AM

Great find, Joe. Congratulations. It puts a little flesh on the bones of the stanza that, till now, Carl Sandburg was the only credible early source for.

From a Mexican newspaper, too! (Can that be true?) Smacks of border renegades and taking French leave in the middle of the night.

But what was the song doing printed in the newspaper at all, and in English yet? What English-language Mexican newspapers existed in 1885? Presumably in border towns like Nuevo Laredo and Tiajuana, or even perhaps a Spanish-language American newspaper in, say, San Antonio or San Diego? Newspaper poetry was all the go in those days (many good traditional songs began that way), but to find a gem like this in the Mexican press is wild beyond belief.

The mind is officially boggled.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 02:57 AM

One can only guess, Bob. Remember that California was part of Mexico until 1846, although I get the impression that Spanish and Mexican settlements here in Northern California were few and far between - mostly the missions along the Camino Real. There were large numbers of American settlers for a fair amount of time before the Gold Rush - some became Mexican citizens, and many would have read Mexican newspapers. So, a song like that could have been published in a Mexican newspaper in California in the 1840s. I get the impression that the song was popular during the Gold Rush, but I haven't found any actual mention of it in documents from that period.

But I'm pretty pleased about finding this. I have to call my neighbor Debby McClatchy and gloat.

-Joe Offer, Colfax, California-


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 11:24 PM

From an article "Grub Stakes and Millions" in Harper's magazine, Volume 60, February, 1880:

"What brought men out here [to California] was that they were just dead broke at home?just dead broke, I tell you: '57 had done that. These men were ready for a new country?had to find something?and they came out across the plains when there wasn't a thing here but Indians. Why, we old fellows have a round up 'most every year in Denver, and talk and laugh over those times. We were all alike?nobody had any money?all cleaned out before we skipped out from home. No one had done anything to be ashamed of; but it was a regular amalgamation of busted people, who left their country for their country's good, and their own. If you'd meet a man, and be introduced to him as Mr. Jones, it was all right to ask him, 'What was your name in the States, Mr. Jones?'"


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Was Your Name in the States?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 12:39 AM

Joe: You should email Robert B. Waltz or David G. Engle (editors of The Ballad Index) about your discovery, since it is older than their oldest known date for this song (1927). I have done this several times and they are always very appreciative.


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