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Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?

DigiTrad:
FORTY BELOW
RED RIVER VALLEY
RED RIVER VALLEY (2)
THEY CALL ME A MACV ADVISOR


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Spanish lyrics to 'Red River Valley'? (30)
(origins) Lyr Req: In the Bright Mohawk Valley (33)
(origins) Origin: Red River Valley (37)
(origins) Lyr Req: Alternate Red River Valley (43)
Lyr Req: Sherman Valley (Bascom L. Lunsford) (6)


Keith A of Hertford 21 Oct 03 - 03:05 AM
Hrothgar 21 Oct 03 - 04:10 AM
sian, west wales 21 Oct 03 - 04:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 03 - 07:04 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Oct 03 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Q 21 Oct 03 - 02:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Oct 03 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Q 21 Oct 03 - 03:46 PM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Oct 03 - 03:04 AM
LadyJean 22 Oct 03 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Boab 23 Oct 03 - 02:23 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Oct 03 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,stewartrobinson@sbcglobal.net 07 Jul 05 - 06:05 PM
Paul Burke 08 Jul 05 - 04:23 AM
RiGGy 08 Jul 05 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,JTT 08 Jul 05 - 05:25 PM
GUEST 09 Jul 05 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 09 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jul 05 - 03:29 PM
GUEST 09 Jul 05 - 07:51 PM
Bob the Postman 09 Jul 05 - 07:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jul 05 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,John Garst 23 Jul 05 - 07:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 Jul 05 - 07:21 AM
greg stephens 23 Jul 05 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,John Garst 30 Jul 05 - 03:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jul 05 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,John Garst 03 Aug 05 - 11:30 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Aug 05 - 12:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Aug 05 - 01:14 PM
Jim McLean 03 Aug 05 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,John Garst 03 Aug 05 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,John Garst 03 Aug 05 - 02:37 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Aug 05 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,John Garst 05 Aug 05 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,John Garst 05 Aug 05 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Frankham 05 Aug 05 - 05:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 05 - 05:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 05 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,John Garst 06 Aug 05 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,John Garst 06 Aug 05 - 02:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 05 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,John Garst 10 Aug 05 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Obie 10 Aug 05 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,John Garst 10 Aug 05 - 04:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Aug 05 - 07:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Aug 05 - 08:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Aug 05 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,John Garst 11 Aug 05 - 01:26 PM
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Subject: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 03:05 AM

A Scottish singer at Our Monday session in Hertford sings Red River valley with a Gaelic chorus. He says he got it from his grandfather who had it from his father.
This would suggest a non cowboy origin?
Sweet smile,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 04:10 AM

More probably indicates that Gaels are thieves.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 04:43 AM

It was first noted down in Canada (Manitoba) in, I think, 1895. It is far more likely that it was heard, liked and translated by someone who had emmigrated there. This happened a lot with the Welsh, and there are a number of Welsh folk songs still popular which travelled back to the Old Country from North America.

sian


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM

The tune was used for "Take it Down from the Flag, Irish Traitors" in the Irish Civil War. But I doubt very much if it was an Irish tune to start with.

Here's a page about the song:

"...According to Carl Sandburg, this song originated as "In the Bright Mohawk Valley" (1896) and became "The Red River Valley" in the western United States and Canada."

Canadian folk-lorist Edith Fowke shows "that it was known in at least five Canadian provinces before 1896, and was probably composed during the Red River Rebellion of 1870." And the people involved are probably Metis. (Some versions have "half-breed who loved you" rather than cowboy, and "dark maiden".

So it likely has "a non-cowboy origin" anyyway, even if it's not Irish.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 07:04 AM

i've heard Irish songs in English with similar lines


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 01:50 PM

Given the form of the song, it would be surprising if parts of it were not reminiscent of other songs to be found in Ireland (or any English-speaking country); that doesn't really get us anywhere. Neither, I think, does immediately starting to talk about Ireland whenever Gaelic is mentioned; the question here relates, it would appear, to Scottish Gaelic, and the suggestion would be that there might be some Scottish ancestry involved.

It must be remarked that many people have a tendency to assume that verses in Gaelic "must" be older than verses in English. This is not necessarily the case. There is a long tradition of translating English-language songs into Gaelic as well as the reverse, so linguistic evidence alone tells us little.

Sandberg's comments on original authorship (see above) seem to have been dismissed in a paper, 'The Red River Valley Re-Examined', in Western Folklore, 23, 163 (referred to by Edith Fowke in The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs and probably elsewhere). The DT repeats the attribution to James Kerrigen (as do a number of other websites) but it would appear that he simply adapted an existing song.

Nor does an examination of the tune help a great deal. It is widely known and has been much-parodied (I think that I heard it as a Rugby song long ago); on the whole, and without going into it in any depth, it strikes me as a fairly typical nineteenth century parlour ballad. My suspicion would be that the Gaelic chorus is a later addition, but it would help to know what the words are; that might help to indicate whether it is a translation of part of the song, or whether it has been added from somewhere else. Bear in mind that this song has been widely found in tradition, but never, so far as I know, with any Gaelic in it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 02:45 PM

Only anecdotal evidence of the song in Canada before "The Bright Mohawk Valley" was written in the 1890s by James J. Kerrigan.

The song most likely concerns the Red River in Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana and the rich farmlands along it. Settlement expanded rapidly in the 1860s, and included the Valley all the way into Louisiana. It forms the border between much of north Texas
and Oklahoma.

John Clement Reed (Handbook of Texas), important in Texas history, farmed in the Red River Valley in Texas in 1836, and was one of the first.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 03:15 PM

Presumably there must be some grounds for it being "most likely" to be that Red River Valley, and not the one in the North East?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 03:46 PM

The red River of the North is north central, not northeast. It is due north of the Red River of the South.

There is no clear indication of location in "Red River Valley." My grounds are that the farms along the southern Red River, and ranches of North Texas, were well-developed and well-known before the Metis and immigrants made much of the Manitoba area.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:04 AM

I'll ask Ronnie for the (Scottish) Gaelic chorus. He himself does not know what it means! Watch this space.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
From: LadyJean
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 10:38 PM

There is a Greek folk dance that originated among Greek Americans in Pittsburgh, PA. It migrated back to the Greek Isles, and is danced there still. Folk tradition travels, especially these days.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 02:23 AM

Just a wee comment on the "migratory" nature of folk music; a song---now very popular among folkies in Scotland---which I never came across in any venue or publication before Jean Redpath's association with Serge Hovey re. Burns' works, was discovered by that Lady when she was in Montana."Dumbarton's Drums". Am I alone in getting an American "country" flavour in the melody.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 09:12 AM

The Dumbarton's Drums tune currently popular for the song is not the original one, but came from the American Beers family. More info at Dumbarton's Drums-History?

The song itself has been known since the early part of the 18th century (Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius,1733), the original tune since the later 17th (Skene MS).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,stewartrobinson@sbcglobal.net
Date: 07 Jul 05 - 06:05 PM

I am interested in obtaining the lyrics to james kerrigan's song "In The Bright Mohawk Valley." Are they available on the web, and if so, could you give me the site or paste the lyrics and e-mail them to me. Thanks, Stewart Robinson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Jul 05 - 04:23 AM

Folk tradition travels, especially these days.

Peter Bellamy used to tell the story of one of the tin whistle slow airs that he played. A song, collected by Alan Lomax in the USA, bought on record by Willie Clancy in Ireland in the fifties. He loved the tune, so played it in his own inimitable style on his whistle. Picked up by folk music collectors in Ireland, and issued on yet another recording, from which Peter learned it. The song? Black is the color...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: RiGGy
Date: 08 Jul 05 - 10:05 AM

I think it's "Connamarra Cradle Song."
Riggy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 08 Jul 05 - 05:25 PM

Take It Down From The Mast isn't the same tune. Similar; not the same.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 10:36 AM

Guest, Q....it hain't got nuttin' to do with texas, ya'll!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM

It was attibuted in many US published books to one ' James A. Kerrigan '
- note the spelling ye Scot folkies - who I guess lived in the southwest , possibly New Mexico/Kansas/Oklahoma - which would explain some of the odd lyrics I've seen ...eg "When you to your home in THE NATIONS". Also associated - in my mind- with the Cado people which live/d along the Red River on the Texas Oklahoma border. IOW I think the song was written by Native American for a Native American and was later adopted by everybody.

KerrigAn btw is a common Oirish name and most likely for the time( famine immigration decades) and location(wild west still being settled), ie Red River country - rustler, lawless and wide open even in the later decades of the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 03:29 PM

Guest, you take your origins and I'll take mine.

Sorefingers, don't know about a native American origin, but you have the correct river.

You are both right and wrong about the character of the area. Many old farms there (See Handbook of Texas), and it was a prominent outlet for cotton and cattle from northeast Texas to New Orleans by steamboat. Red River Co. had 8500 residents by 1860; Bowie County has 2600 slaves and 2400 whites in 1860 (cotton and corn the main crops); Montague County was still the wild west, having Indian troubles in 1860, but by the 1880s there were 11000 farmers and cattlemen.   

No one has ever located a copy of the supposed Kerrigan song of 1896, first mentioned by Sandburg. It doesn't seem to exist. See thread 66800: In the Bright


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 07:51 PM

About the year 1812, Lord Selkirk settled some of his Gaelic-speaking tenantry in the Red River Valley of what is now southern Manitoba. Please note, Q, that this was roughly 25 years before John Clement Reed became "one of the first" ranchers in the Texan Red River district. In fact, Texas was still part of Mexico when the northern Red River Settlement was established. So the existence of a Gaelic chorus to the song Red River Valley might add weight to the Manitoban claim for primacy. Keith A of Hertford, please post this Gaelic lyric from your mate's great-grandfather. It would be so cool if the words referred to, for instance, the Pembina Hills or the storm-tossed waters of Lake Winnipeg or the Metis encampment at The Forks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 07:56 PM

Oops, stale cookie. The above posting was me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 08:51 PM

Since the chorus in question appears only ever to have been heard in Hertfordshire, UK, from somebody who didn't know what it meant, any real connection with the American song does seem extremely unlikely on the face of it. If the words turn out to be real Gaelic (and bear in mind that Keith started this thread nearly two years ago; we still haven't seen them) there is always the risk that they may be from somewhere else entirely; or just an early 20th century Highland shopping list added for a laugh. A lot of grandfathers have that kind of sense of humour.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 23 Jul 05 - 07:11 AM

The tune of Red River Valley/etc is nearly identical with that of a famous New Orleans jazz song, "We Will Walk through the Streets of the City," also recorded by the Carter Family and by Bllind Gary Davis (and others).

I have just yesterday, 22Jul2005, found sheet music for "We Will Walk in the Streets of the City" at the Library of Congress' American Memory site. See
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.music/sm1874.14542

The words are by Rev. Mr. A. Flamman and the music by Dr. T. H. Peacock, copyright (U.S.) 1874. The chorus is definitely the "Red River Valley" tune.

1874 is only 4 years after the end of the Canadian Red River Rebellion. It seems quite plausible to imagine that when "Streets of the City" was published someone found its chorus tune attractive enough to use it for a song about the late rebellion. In this scenario, it would spread to other areas and be adapted as a cowboy song and as "Bright Sherman/Mohawk Valley."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Jul 05 - 07:21 AM

Sorry, I forgot about this, and I won't be seeing Ronnie for a few weeks now.
I will get back to you.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Jul 05 - 07:22 AM

Evidence from the style of a tune is notoriously unreliable: having said that, I would say the tune has very strong "southern" characteristics.In American or European terms I mean Spanish rather than Anglo-Saxon/"Celtuc". Which makes Texas marginally more likely than Canada. Excedpt, of course, that people who make up tunes are allowed to travel round the world. Or listen to other people who do....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 03:45 PM

Starting as early as 1898, at least, THE GOLDEN CITY was published in hymnals. Variants of its text go back to some time before 1882. Its tune is an adaptation of the chorus of Peacock's WE WILL WALK IN THE STREETS OF THE CITY (1874). THE GOLDEN CITY has "Words arr. by Geo. J. French" and "Geo. J. French, Arr." (of the music). It seems evident that French based his tune "arrangement" on Peacock's chorus. It also seems likely that the text of GOLDEN was inspired by Flamman's text for STREETS, the GOLDEN text probably being a rewrite aimed at Adventists.

French removes the "jerkiness" from Peacock's tune by replacing dottted-eighth-sixteenth note pairs by eighth-eighth pairs. He also modifies the incipit, from SOL-do-mi (STREETS and RED RIVER VALLEY) to do-re-mi (GOLDEN). My recollection is that New Orleans jazz bands follow GOLDEN and play do-re-mi, rather than SOL-do-mi.

My guess, then, is that jazz musicians picked up the song from French's arrangment of GOLDEN. The latter was arranged from the chorus of Peacock's STREETS. GOLDEN uses variants of the same tune for stanzas and chorus, as do, I think, jazz bands. STREETS, however, has different tunes for stanzas and chorus.

RIVER seems to have taken its tune from the chorus of STREETS, while jazz bands take theirs from GOLDEN.

Interestingly, Taylor's 1882 song, also entitled THE GOLDEN CITY, follows Peacock in having different tunes for stanzas and chorus. Moreover, Taylor's tune for the chorus seems to contain a feature of the usual RIVER tune that both Peacock and French lack. P and F have the last two notes of the 3rd phrase as fa-fa, whereas RIVER and Taylor have the as sol-fa. ("Just remember the Red River Valley" - these are the notes for "Val-ley".)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 08:44 PM

Very interesting, but I dunno.
Although with about the same meter, I can't convince myself that any similarity between "Red River Valley" and the Peacock-Flamman "We Will Walk in the Streets of the City" is more than coincidental. When sung, the two are different.

Can't find Taylor's or French's "Golden City." Also can't seem to find a New Orleans band version. I vaguely recall it, but it has been quite a few years since I heard it.

The chorus of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (not the Robinson- Nettleton version but the folk version in Brown, 562, p. 355 of vol. 5) has a suggestive meter*, but I can't convince myself that it is the same song as Red River Valley." Several tunes have been used for this hymn.

(*We will walk through the streets of the city
Where our friends have gone before;
We will sit on the banks of the river,
Where we meet to part no more).   

To date, no one seems to have found the 'ghost' song, "Bright Mohawk Valley" by Kerrigan. Its existence is doubtful, as noted before.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 11:30 AM

Q wrote

>I can't convince myself that any similarity between "Red River
>Valley" and the Peacock-Flamman "We Will Walk in the Streets
>of the City" is more than coincidental. When sung, the two are
>different.

Wow! It is obvious to me that they are the "same" tune. There are minor variations, of course.

>Can't find Taylor's or French's "Golden City."

Marshall W. Taylor, Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies, Cincinnati: Marshall W. Taylor and W. C. Echols, 1882, pp 50-51.

The Golden Sheaf (enlarged edition), Boston: Advent Christian Publication Society, 1902, p 51.

>Also can't seem to find a New Orleans band version.

Found on the WWW:

Bunk Johnson We will Walk Through The Streets of the City

1961 - Humphrey, Percy - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - Riverside - Crescent City Joy Makers

FW02856 Doc Paulin's Marching Band
Record Label: Folkways Records
201 - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - Dirge
202 - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - March

From WWW sources, I estimate that there have been around 60 jazz recordings of "We Will/Shall Walk through the Streets of the City."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 12:37 PM

John, please could you provide the actual urls or links to the various sources you've indicated? Makes it much nicer. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 01:14 PM

What I meant was that the songs were not available to me.
The only copy of Marshall W. Taylor I can locate costs #275.00.

"The Golden Sheaf" is reasonable, but does it have the sheet music?

We Shall Walk (Streets of the City) does not seem to be available at RedHotJazz.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 01:24 PM

http://www.sheppey.free-online.co.uk/sijb/ The sheep Island Jazz Band's home page features We shall Walk ...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 02:23 PM

I wrote of several things found on the WWW. George Seto asked for URLs.

>Bunk Johnson We will Walk Through The Streets of the City

http://www.pierceworld.com/byartist.txt

>1961 - Humphrey, Percy - We Shall Walk Through the Streets
>of the City - Riverside - Crescent City Joy Makers

http://www.jass.com/tom/next/noms/hueybluey.html

>FW02856 Doc Paulin's Marching Band
>Record Label: Folkways Records
>201 - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - Dirge
>202 - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City - March

http://www.smithsonianglobalsound.org/containerdetail.asp?itemid=2113

>From WWW sources, I estimate that there have been around
>60 jazz recordings of "We Will/Shall Walk through the Streets
>of the City."

http://www.lordisco.com/tunes/

This site lists

Streets of the city   25
We shall walk through the City   1
We shall walk through the street   1
We shall walk through the streets   1
We shall walk through the streets of the city   28
We shall walk thru the streets of the city   1
We will walk through the streets of the city   1

These are probably all the same song. The following may or may not be that song.

golden city   1
golden city strut   2
Streets   2
Streets boogie   1
We shall walk   3


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 02:37 PM

Q wrote (>):

>The only copy of Marshall W. Taylor I can locate costs #275.00.

That's probably a reasonable price. On WorldCat (on-line library catalog) I find 38 copies in libraries and 11 more that have it on microform.

>"The Golden Sheaf" is reasonable, but does it have the sheet
>music?

If by "sheet music" you mean "musical score," yes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 02:46 PM

Thanks, John. Immeasurable help. Now for the blickies:


Bunk Johnson We will Walk Through The Streets of the City

1961 - Humphrey, Percy - We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City

FW02856 Doc Paulin's Marching Band : Folkways Recording

60 jazz recordings of "We Will/Shall Walk through the Streets of the City


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Subject: Lyr Add: IN THE BRIGHT MOHAWK VALLEY (Kerrigan)
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 04:45 PM

Q sez:
>To date, no one seems to have found the 'ghost' song,
>"Bright Mohawk Valley" by Kerrigan. Its existence is doubtful,
>as noted before.

I just went over to the library and copied Edith Fowke, "'The Red River Valley' Re-Examined," Western Folklore 23 (1964), 163-171. If she didn't see Kerrigan's sheet music, she surely faked it well. Sandburg, the Lomaxes, and Spaeth all refer to it. Fowke gives the following information.

IN THE BRIGHT MOHAWK VALLEY
Words and music by James J. Kerrigan
New York: Howley, Haviland & Co.
Copyright 1896
Sheet music

Oh they say from this valley you're going,
We shall miss your sweet face and bright smile,
You will take with you all the sunshine
That has gladdened our hearts for awhile.

I have waited a long time my darling,
For those words that your lips ne'er would say,
Now the hope from my heart has departed,
And I'm told you're going away.

Chorus:
For the sake of the past, do not leave me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu!
Oh, remain in this bright Mohawk valley,
With the fond heart that lives but for you.

Do you think of the valley you're leaving?
Oh, how dreary 'twill be when you go,
Have you thought of the heart, so lonely,
That has loved you and cherished you so.

Tell me not that our lives must be severed,
Give me back, love, the smile once so dear,
Oh! this valley would lost (sic) all its brightness,
If its fairest of flow'rs were not here.

At a brief glance, Fowke's paper seems to make an excellent case for a Canadian genesis of "Red River Valley."

Included among the testimonials is the following:

"Some years ago a friend whose home was in Montreal told me that at one time a crack Canadian regiment had been stationed in the Red River Valley locality. The officers were well thought of socially, but seem to have philandered among the Indian girls to some extent. The white girls, of course, resented this, and at a farewell ball given to the officers on the occasion of their transfer, the young lady who had composed this song rose and sang it, much to the embarrassment of the ones at whom it was aimed."

This is cited as being from the Robert Winslow Gordon collection, item no. 3133.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 04:54 PM

More on Kerrigan:

From
http://www.itebooks.net/Bands/rubber-band-man-song/

"I found "The Bright Mohawk Valley" listed as f.5 in Box 2 in the Milne Special Collections and Archives at the University of New Hampshire Library. Closer to home, it turned up in the Library of Congress (call # M1622.K) with words and music by James J. Kerrigan and published in New York City in 1896."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 05:27 PM

The Red River Valley is in Texas. The published version in the 1800's could possibly have been a copyrighted adaptation of the
song which could have predated that.

The problem with copyrighted versions of songs is that there is no
proof that they are the definitive originating versions.

Sam Hinton has stated that Barbara Allen was only saved as a song
in aural tradition because someone wrote it down. It was adapted
through other variants after that.

Here's the problem with folk songs. We can find an attributable
author to almost any song but there's no telling it's the first
authentic version of the song.

In some cases, there seems to be no doubt that there is an attribution before the song goes into aural transmission such as
Maud Irving's Wildwood Flower.

Remember, though, that many folksingers and songwriters put their names on traditional tunes that have been
floating around for decades such as folks like Guthrie, Dylan, and others.
Who really knows who composed these tunes originally? If you can
trace Red River Valley back to the 16th Century, you might have a point. Otherwise, it's up for grabs.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 05:52 PM

I had the Univ. New Hampshire Milne collection reference, before. Their copy is not by Kerrigan:
"The Bright Mohawk Valley
Copyright Date: 1935
Composer unknown, Lyricist unknown
Arranged by: Nick Manoloff
Performer: Patsy Montana
Publisher: Calumet Music Co."

Theit copy seems to be in a book of western songs published by Calumet.

The Library of Congress search Number 1622k turns up songs by Kuhns, Kelly, Keller and Kennedy under 'K' but no Kerrigan.
Search for James J. Kerrigan leads to a book on investing.
Lomax and Sandburg
Bright Mohawk Valley, or In the Bright Mohawk Valley (cited in Fuld)provide 0 results.

Still no beef. Did you get the text of the song from Fowke's paper?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 06:05 PM

I am not able to look into the Piper Collection, Univ. Iowa, wrere apparently there is an old pencil manuscript with dates 1879 and 1885 on it (cited in Fuld and elsewhere).

The Lomaxes and Sandburg, with reference to Bright Mohawk Valley, were quoting from Spaeth, a notoriously poor researcher whose results were often given to him by unnamed assistants. [Finishing a cut-off sentence in my previous post.

Guest Frankham, students of folksong in Texas would mostly agree with you, as I do, but no clear evidence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:09 PM

Q: "Did you get the text of the song from Fowke's paper?"

Yes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 02:55 PM

The alleged Kerrigan sheet music is, as Q states, mystifying. I wonder where Fowke got such details. Could she be copying from Spaeth. The Spaeth work she cites is

A History of Popular Music in America
New York: Random Housee, 1948
p 289


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:48 PM

The Spaeth book should be in many libraries and it is low-priced on the used market. Should be easy to check what the content is on this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 02:57 PM

I checked Spaeth, A History of Popular Music (1948). He mentions Kerrigan, In the Bright Mohawk Valley, but gives no information about it at all. Spaeth is not Fowke's source.

I checked Sandburg, The American Songbag (1927). His note says, "The popular song In the Bright Mohawk Valley went through changes in the seaboard and mountain states of the South...." There is no mention of James J. Kerrigan or of the date 1896. Sandburg is not Fowke's source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 03:51 PM

The Red River Valley is in Manitoba. The early settlers were Gaelic speaking Highland Scots so it should be hardly surprising that there would be a Gaelic version of this song. There was also a lot of intermarriage between these people and the Native Indians so a Metis connection is also not unreasonable. There is more than one Red River, and just because there is one in Texas does not mean that it was the original venue of the song.
       Slainte,
          Obie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 04:25 PM

Country Music Sources. Guthrie T. Meade, Jr.; Dick Spottswood; Douglas S. Meade. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

"When Gus Meade died suddenly on February 9, 1991, he was only 58 years old and still in the midst of preparing this monumental work." - Dick Spottswood

It would be over 10 years before Gus' "biblio-discography" would be published, and the editors had quite a time making sense of some of what they had. Gus used short abbreviations for all kinds of works. The editors identified most of those, but not all.

For what it's worth, here are the significant parts of the headnotes to In the Bright Mohawk Valley:

****
'A Lady in Love,' ca. 1889/James J. Kerrigan, 1896; Ref: (1) WCS#24(Oct. 1889), p. 17, 'A Lady In Love'; Delaney #13
****

"WCS" is Wehman's Collection Of Songs (NYC: Henry J. Wehman, 1884-94), 42 issues.

"Delaney" is Delaney's Song Book, #1-88 (NYC: Wm W. Delaney, 1892-1921).

I suppose that someone will have to go to the Library of Congress, or some such place, to track down the Wehman/Delaney references.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 07:17 PM

I don't know when Fowke obtained the material for her article in Western Folklore (1964).
The song is not mentioned in her "Canada's Story in Song," (with Alan Mills and Helmut Blume). 1960.
In the 9 LP set "Canadian Folk Songs," A Centennial Collection, 1967, "Red River Valley" is sung by Joyce Sullivan on V-B. The note says: "One of the best-loved songs of Canada's prairie provinces. This is a variant of a popular American song of the late 19th Century called "In the Bright Mohawk Valley", which is sung in various forms all through North America and elsewhere. A good example of how Canadians- especially westerners- adopted the songs of their southern neighbors and "regionalized" them to suit their own particular areas, the song tells the sentimental tale of a prairie girl who is "jilted" by her lover and yearns for the happy times they once new together."
There is no mention of a dark maiden. No dates or supporting data.
She must have developed her ideas after 1960.

I find it odd that no copies of sheet music for "In the Bright Mohawk Valley" have been found, if the song was so popular.

An unrelated song, "Our Mabel," 1860, sheet music is in the Levy Collection. The song begins: "Down in the Mohawk Valley where the river flows, There lives dear little Mabel, Our wild forest rose." Chorus: "Angels guard sweet Mabel ev'ry day and hour,..."

No copies of sheet music of any of these titles are in The Western Trails Collection at the University of Colorado sheet music collection.
"A Bright Little Valley," by F. C. Andrews, 1883, at American Memory, is unrelated.

The song seems not to have spread by means of formal printings.
It is not in John A. Lomax, 1910, "Cowboy Songs," nor in the 1925 revision. It was added later, first? by the Lomaxes in the 1938 "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads," taken from "Patt Patterson's "Songs of the Round-Up Rangers," tune from "Pioneer Songs," compiled by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
Where does "The Traditional Ballad Index" get the 1910 date for first printing? It is not from John Lomax 1910.

The Fifes, in "Songs of the Cowboys," note that one of the songs in Thorp's 1908 collection, The "Grand Round-Up," was sung to "Red River Valley" as well as "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." No dates given.

Powder River Jack Lee, in his 1938 "Cowboy Songs," tells one of his tales. "The original version of the Red River Valley pertains to a love affair between a cowboy and a school teacher who hailed from the east and was returning to her home. ..... The Red River valley in the original song refers to South Dakota, where I first heard Frank Chamberlin sing it at a cowcamp on the Moreau River. Carl Sprague was given credit for the music, ...."

Randolph collected the song from Maxine Reno, Missouri, in 1927. Brown collected versions in 1921(?)-1922 (Laurel Valley, Bascomb Lamar Lunsford; and Sherman Valley, Addie Hardin).

Not much of substance in the above, but setting it down helps to keep it straight in my mind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 08:58 PM

Fowke claimed that the song developed in 1869 at the time of the Red River Rebellion (Canadian Encyclopedia): Encyclopedia

A very popular website, www.homestead.com, says the song originated among British troops who came to Manitoba through the Northern Red River Valley. "It was a military song."
In the next paragraph, this website says the song "is believed to have been written by James Kerrigan in 1896." This of course is impossible if the song is, as Fowke believes, some 25 or so years older.
The website has an excellent midi, with a slightly variant chorus, and very attractive illustrations: Red River Valley
Not carrying the investigation forward, but interesting.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RED RIVER VALLEY (Fowke)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Aug 05 - 10:22 PM

Edith Fowke, ed., 1973, "The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs," includes a version of "The Red River Valley," no. 52, p. 124-125, with note as follows (in part): "This is probably the best known folk song on the Canadian prairies. --- later research indicates that it was known in at least five Canadian Provinces before 1896, and was probably composed during the Red River rebellion of 1870 ('The Red River Valley Re-examined', Western Folklore, 23, 163). Later versions are short and generalized but the early form told of an Indian or half-breed girl lamenting the departure of her white lover, a soldier who came west with Colonel Wolseley to suppress the first Riel Rebellion. Mrs Fraser's text is very similar to the earliest known versions, and Barbeau gives another traditional version from Calgary in "Come A-Singing."
The version, with music (chorus same as verses) and chords is presumably the one from Mrs. Fraser. No dates given for any version.

Lyr. Add: THE RED RIVER VALLEY (Fowke)

b 4/4 From this (F)valley they say (C7)you are (F)going; F
I shall (F)miss your bright (F)eyes and sweet (C7)smile, C
For a- (F)las you take (F)with you the (Bb)sunshine Gm
That has (C)brightened my (C7)pathway a- (F)while.

Chorus
Come and sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley
And the girl who has loved you so true.

For this long, long time I have waited
For the words that you never would say,
But now my last hope has vanished
When they tell me that you're going away.

Oh, there never could be such a longing
In the heart of a white maiden's breast
As there is in the heart that is breaking
With love for the boy who came west.

When you go to your home by the ocean
May you never forget the sweet hours
That we spent in the Red River Valley,
Or the vows we exchanged 'mid the bowers.

Will you think of the valley you're leaving?
Oh, how lonely and dreary 'twill be!
Will you think of the fond heart you're breaking
And be true to your promise to me?

The dark maiden's prayer for her lover
To the spirit that rules o'er the world;
His pathway with sunshine may cover,
Leave his grief to the Red River girl.

Sounds like a parlor song. It does not sound as though it developed from the people involved.
There are many Metis (half-breed) in the west, who are still on Metis reserve land. Some rights are still undetermined. They were set apart from the Indians and from the whites. Hudson Bay Traders sometimes took Indian women as wives. In some cases the marriage took, and the family, which may have been given land by the Bay, eventually moved into the Canadian population, others were drawn into the Metis settlements which were in the center of the Riel Rebellion, and may have either kept the Metis way of life, or eventually moved into the general population. In many cases, the white trader or voyageur moved on, leaving the woman and children to the welfare of Indian or Metis relatives. The story is complex.
Some Canadian families with these origins recognize their native blood, others do not. Some with roots from the British Isles prefer the term 'country' in place of Metis but those with French roots use the term Metis.
Most military men went back to where their units came from.

An interesting complication is that a percentage of the active voyageurs were hired from Hawai'i. Not all returned although they mostly had contract limits.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 11 Aug 05 - 01:26 PM

Thanks, Q, for all the info. I have recently ordered and received a copy of Fowke's Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs and I vouch for your representation, except that the version from Mrs. Fraser does carry a date (and place), 1961 (Lancaster).

I think we can be certain that In the Bright Mohawk Valley is not a phantom. Steve Roud tells us,

"Delaney's Song Book No.13 [Sep 1896] p.18 has a text of IN THE BRIGHT MOHAWK VALLEY, headed 'Words and music by James J, Kerrigan, copyright 1896 by Howley, Haviland & Co.'" This fits the information provided by Fowke in Western Folklore 23 (1964). Indeed, it is possible that Delaney's is Fowke's source. I will try to verify with Steve that the words in Delaney's are the same as those printed by Fowke.


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