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Lyr Req: Leaving Old Texas / I'm Going to Leave...

DigiTrad:
OLD TEXAS (The Cowman's Lament)


GW 19 Sep 98 - 03:42 AM
Dale Rose 19 Sep 98 - 05:08 AM
Joe Offer 19 Sep 98 - 07:16 AM
Art Thieme 20 Sep 98 - 02:21 PM
rich-joy 28 Mar 06 - 09:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Mar 06 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 28 Mar 06 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 28 Mar 06 - 10:20 PM
Peace 28 Mar 06 - 10:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Mar 06 - 11:40 PM
Peace 28 Mar 06 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,Dale 29 Mar 06 - 12:01 AM
Peace 29 Mar 06 - 12:03 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Mar 06 - 12:22 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Mar 06 - 12:28 AM
Joe Offer 29 Mar 06 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 29 Mar 06 - 01:16 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Mar 06 - 01:23 PM
Stewie 29 Mar 06 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 29 Mar 06 - 09:34 PM
Stewie 29 Mar 06 - 09:54 PM
leeneia 09 Apr 11 - 01:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 11 - 01:54 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Apr 11 - 08:09 AM
leeneia 11 Apr 11 - 08:30 AM
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Subject: Leaving Old Texas
From: GW
Date: 19 Sep 98 - 03:42 AM

I was reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck when I came across this passage.... (p.257 by my copy)

"And perhaps a man brought out his guitar to the front of his tent. And he sat on a box to play, and everyone in the camp moved slowly in toward him, drawn in toward him. Many men can chord a guitar, but perhaps this man was a picker. There you have something- the deep chords beating, beating, while the melody runs on the strings like little footsteps. Heavy hard fingers marching on the frets. The man played and the people moved slowly in on him until the circle was closed and tight, and then he sang, "Ten Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat." And the circle sang with him. And he sang, "Why Do You Cut Your Hair, Girls?" And the circle sang. He wailed the song, "I'm Leaving Old Texas," that eerie song that was sung before the Spaniards came, only the words were Indian then."

Does anyone know where I could find a recording of this ancient American folk song called "I'm Leaving Old Texas?"


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Dale Rose
Date: 19 Sep 98 - 05:08 AM

I'm Going To Leave Old Texas (Now) is available by Wayne Erbsen on one of his cowboy albums (check his website, Native Ground Music) and by Riders In The Sky on Saddle Pals. I am not sure if it is the same or not, though. The other two songs are available as well, though they are not necessarily easy to find. The second one is usually known as Why Do You Bob Your Hair, Girls?


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Sep 98 - 07:16 AM

Hey, GW, are you and Aaron Wesley classmates? He's been reading the same book, and asked the same questions. Click here to see the answers on his thread. Hope you enjoy the book.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 02:21 PM

"Gonna Leave Ol' Texas" was the first song I ever had on an LP. But on that compilation of singers from Charlotte'e Web (a club in Rockdord, IL --1970s)called __GET FOLKED__, it was called "Wide Open Spaces" for some reason I never could figure out---noboidy bothered to ask me about it.My version came from Bob Gibson.

But from what Steinbeck said, the tune was "eerie" and "sung before the Spaniards came but the tune was Indian then."

Gordon Bok does the song in a minor key that could be called eerie, I guess. (see his Folk Legacy recordings---I think it's there on one o' those) Gibson's tune was almost happy and definitely in a major key. Not eerie at all.

And, somehow, I think Steinbeck MADE UP the part about it coming from "before the Spaniards came" and the song having an "Indian tune"! You ask me why I think that? Well, This is fiction, after all. Cattle were brought here first by the Spaniards. Before them, there weren't any. But we are talking about the tune more than the story of the song. More likely it's of Irish or British origin. This version I sing is from the latter days of the cattle drive era from Texas on the various trails. It's about CHANGE and THE END OF THINGS and just MOVIN' ON.
"The more things change, the more they get different."----Art

I'm gonna leave old Texas now,
They've got no place for the longhorn cow.

They've roped and fenced all over my range,
And the people there---they are so strange.

Gonna take my horse and away I'll go,
Find a better life in Mexico.

And so, kind friends, I bid adieu,
I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: rich-joy
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 09:43 PM

Just heard this song for the first time ever (well, I'm an Aussie!) - on a Sylvia Herold recording (lovely singer!) - and it's a beautiful, evocative tune indeed!!!
I'm interested to hear Gordon Bok's minor key version now ...


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 09:49 PM

By now the kid asking the question on the other thread has graduated from high school AND college--who knows, maybe he became a folk singer along the way.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 10:12 PM

The long ago post I made to this thread in 1998 (above) mentioned that this was the first song I ever had on a released recording.

Strange !

This good old song, besides being the first song of mine on an LP, is also the LAST SONG on my new (last?) CD that's being talked about now in the thread Art Thieme's New CD out at www.folklegacy.com .

The recording we used for this CHICAGO TOWN AND POINTS WEST CD is/was the last song I did at a big benefit concert we threw at Stages Music Hall in Chicago -- 1979 -- for then injured folksinger Michael Cooney. (He is good now!!)
On the bill that night, besides me, were Steve Goodman, Cindy Mangsen and Pete Seeger. I love listening to that old tape of all of us doing "Mama Don't 'Low" to end things off. (I played the saw and nose flute.) Stevie G. led the singing 'cause Pete had a terrible cold that night.

Fond memories galore.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 10:20 PM

SRS,

That ain't no 'kid' who started this thread back in '98. Dale Rose is a dedicated folkie extraordinaire from Arkansas. He used to be here a lot more but stayed away more when the B.S. got too deep around these parts.

Art


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Peace
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 10:24 PM

He seems to have left in May of 2003.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM

"I'm Going to Leave Old Texas Now" is a variant of "The Trail to Mexico." See variants in Fife and Fife, 1969, "Cowboy and Western Songs," esp. text E, p. 182.
In turn, the melody is inherited from "Early, Early in the Spring" (and other titles), Campbell and Sharp, 1917, "English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians," discuss English precursors (not seen, reference from Randolph, "Ozark Folksongs," vol. 1, p. 333). Belden refers to a 17th c. broadside, "The Seaman's Complaint," "printed for Charles Baker" (British Museum C. 22, f. 14, p. 175).

The first verse is:
It was early, early in one spring,
I was pressed on board to serve my king.
I left my dearest dear behind,
Who oft times told me her heart was mine.

The song of disappointed love and its cowboy derivative, in many variants, is widespread, from Newfoundland to West Virginia to the Ozarks, Mississippi and Texas.
Compare "The Sailor Boy's Bride," in the Bodleian Library.

The mention in a Steinbeck novel of Indian or Spanish precursors is fiction.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 11:40 PM

"So Early in the Spring" is in the DT


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Peace
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 11:56 PM

See also

OLD TEXAS (The Cowman's Lament)


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 12:01 AM

Ah actually, I am still around, Peace, just never bother signing in anymore. That and not much to say.

Due to the jumbled up Mudcat threads, my post was not actually first. First was GW asking about the songs, then me, then Joe, followed by Art. Looks like it's Joe's turn again, doesn't it?

Have you ever noticed that when an old thread is revived for whatever reason, it gets way more posts the second time around?


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Peace
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 12:03 AM

True to that, Dale. Might be due to better search engines, more readily available information, faster internet than in the late 1990s. Glad to meet you. My apologies for the presumption on my part.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 12:22 AM

Peace, "Old Texas" (The Cowman's Lament)in the DT is very close to the way we sang it when I was a kid. Do you, or anyone, know whose version it is?

Another version makes use of a "wailing chorus," as Powder River Jack Lee calls it. This may be an addition by Jack Lee himself.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 12:28 AM

Thread 61371 has several versions. Trail to Mexico


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 12:43 AM

Hmmm. I thought there's be more songbook entries in the Traditional Ballad Index, but they mention only Fife, which has vive versions. Here's the Ballad Index information:

Going to Leave Old Texas (Old Texas, Texas Song, The Cowman's Lament)

DESCRIPTION: "I'm going to leave old Texas now, They've got no use for the longhorn cow...." The singer departs to "make his home on the wide wide range." When he dies, he will "take [his] chance on the holy one."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1966
KEYWORDS: cowboy travel death
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Fife-Cowboy/West 66, "The Trail to Mexico" (5 texts, 1 tune, of which only the "E" text goes here; "A" and "B" are "The Trail to Mexico" and "C" and "D" are "Early, Early in the Spring")
Tinsley, pp. 224-227, "I'm Going to Leave Old Texas Now" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, OLDTEXAS

Roud #12711
RECORDINGS:
Harry Jackson, "I'm Gonna Leave Old Texas Now" (on HJackson1)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" (tune)
NOTES: Often sung to the tune of "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," but Gordon Bok's family tradition includes a different tune. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.1
File: FCW066E

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 01:16 AM

Dale, Hello! I do hope you are well these days.

Fascinating, I used to sing "Old Texas", "Trail To Mexico" and also "So Early In The Spring"---and only just now "it dawned on me" (Dracula's last words) that the songs were related to each other at all. Thanks folks.

Art


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 01:23 PM

Joe, I remember a recording by Jules Verne Allen, but I don't know the date or company. His version of "The Trail to Mexico" is printed, with music, in his "Cowboy Lore," pp. 72-73.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 09:16 PM

There's a fine recording of 'The Trail to Mexico' on Slim Critchlow's excellent 'The Crooked Trail to Holbrook' on Arhoolie.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 09:34 PM

...and I seem to recall Jules Verne Allen's rendition on an RCA Victor LP compilation of early cowboy 78s.

Art


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Subject: RE: Leaving Old Texas
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Mar 06 - 09:54 PM

Hi Art,

Allen's rendition of 'Trail to Mexico' was also reissued on a Folk Variety LP: Jules Allen 'The Texas Cowboy'. I believe Folk Variety was a precursor to the German Bear Family label. Bear Family have issued a Carl T. Sprague CD but so far nothing by Jules Allen.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Leaving Old Texas / I'm Going to Leave...
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 01:04 PM

"Earliest date: 1966" !?

I remember singing this in my 4-H club about ten years earlier than 1966. And we sang it off yellowed, mimeographed sheets that probably dated to the late medieval period.
==========
"Belden refers to a 17th c. broadside, "The Seaman's Complaint," "printed for Charles Baker" (British Museum C. 22, f. 14, p. 175)."

Does it seem to you that some folklorists are trying awful hard to link songs that have no connection? So a cowboy song and a broadside both tell of a man who is discontented and plans to move along. That has probably happened millions of times in history, and it doesn't mean the songs are related.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Leaving Old Texas / I'm Going to Leave...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 01:54 PM

leeneia, yes, links are often suppositions. In this case, the links may be a stretch too far.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Leaving Old Texas / I'm Going to Leave...
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 08:09 AM

Leenia: The Traditional Ballad Index is a work in progress. By searching in Google Books, I have found several examples of published songs that are older than the "earliest date" posted at TBI. When I notified the editors of the TBI, I always received a personal note of thanks.

If you can document the fact that GOING TO LEAVE OLD TEXAS was published earlier than 1966, I'm sure they would like to know about it—but I doubt that they would accept your memory of yellowed song sheets as sufficient evidence.

It was sufficient to make me go looking in Google Books, however. When I search for the phrase "I'm going to leave old Texas now" (in quotes) I find that that phrase appears in Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads by John A. Lomax, Alan Lomax, and Edward N. Waters. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938).

But that edition is not viewable online, and earlier editions apparently don't contain the phrase. Without actually seeing the book, I can't tell whether the whole song is present, or it's merely mentioned in a footnote.

So I'd say that's pretty good evidence that the song was at least known, if not fully published, in 1938.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Leaving Old Texas / I'm Going to Leave...
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 08:30 AM

I thought so.


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