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Origins: Windy Bill

DigiTrad:
WINDY BILL


Rex 19 Jan 04 - 03:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 04 - 03:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 04 - 04:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 04 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Jan 04 - 02:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 04 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Jan 04 - 04:34 PM
Rex 20 Jan 04 - 04:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 04 - 06:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 04 - 11:27 PM
Stewie 21 Jan 04 - 01:32 AM
GUEST,LIGHTER 21 Jan 04 - 10:22 AM
Rex 21 Jan 04 - 11:12 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jan 04 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Lighter 21 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM
Rex 22 Jan 04 - 11:42 AM
Rex 24 Mar 04 - 11:58 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 04 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Rex on the work 'puter 29 Mar 04 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,ed dixon 22 Jun 10 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,Donjo 01 Jul 10 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,lisa 31 Jan 11 - 02:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jan 11 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Guest, john B 05 Feb 14 - 10:21 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 14 - 03:03 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Feb 14 - 02:11 PM
Bert 06 Feb 14 - 05:58 PM
GUEST 06 Feb 14 - 06:10 PM
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Subject: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Rex
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 03:04 PM

Mark Gardner and I are doing another CD on early cowboy songs based on Howard "Jack" Thorp's book: Songs of the Cowboys, first published in 1908. We want to include "Windy Bill". The first question is does anyone know just when or where this song first appeared? The next one then is the kind of question that just drives normal people up the wall. Real picky details. You'll find in the songbooks that this song often comes with its own glossary to nail down those cowboy terms. But it's not that simple. They will say that the "Sand_Stacked" is a well known type of tree, yes, rawhide over wood, or the whole saddle. Well the tree is just the framework if you will. I've been in touch with historians who insist that it was a "Sam Stagg" tree. There were saddles in Texas in the 1860's that had a particular exposed rigging and were identified as having a Sam Stagg tree. (See the Smithsonian's "Man Made Mobile"). So then, why does Thorp who was acquainted with cowboys and their truck, call it "Sand-Stacked"? He also stays with that term in his reprinting of the book in 1921. Was it a running joke? Or did he just hear it wrong and never worried about it? I'm hoping that someone out there can help with this one. Thankee,

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 03:42 PM

Fife and Fife remarked in the Lexicon on sand stacked tree in "Songs of the Cowboys", N. Howard (Jack) Thorp, Variants, Commentary, Notes and Lexicon, 1966- "Probably a willful corruption of "Sam Stack," well-known saddle maker," p. 316.

In their "Cowboy and Western Songs," 1969, they changed it to "Sam Stack tree."

I seem to remember that this saddle had some open areas, (think McClellan) that just might have collected sand or other debris. Could be the basis for the corruption.

Not the only word in the original that needs explanation. Thorp refers to withers as 'weathers," still heard as often as withers in the southwest.

Maguey, the rope made of maguey fiber, is sometimes called a 'McGay'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM

I had always heard Sam Stack, but that could be wrong. Just phoned my daughter, who collects old western gear, and has a couple of pre-1900 saddles. She says it is Sam Stagg, and that the saddles were notorious for collecting garbage, sand, etc. She knows of one auctioned recently, with an 1880s date affixed to it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 04:22 PM

Finally, the straight of it, thanks to my daughter's library.
The rig was made as the Sam Stagg. The maker (originator) was Joseph Alexander Samstag, from New York, but he went west in the Gold Rush days, to Visalia, CA.
The design was copied by others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 12:40 PM

Lomax gave no data for "Windy Bill" in the 1910-1925 editions, but Lomax and Lomax in the 1938 revision said that they got their version from a Birdsall Briscoe, Houston, TX, "who said he learned it in New Mexico" (no other information). No mention of Thorp, 1908 in their editions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 02:26 PM

Another interesting question is where the well-known tune came from, since neither of Thorp's editions (1908, 1921) contains a tune.

The song was recorded in the late '20s or early '30s - I forget by whom.
Slim Critchlow, a well-known radio cowboy in Utah, I believe, used the same song on his 1960s album, "The Crooked Trail to Holbrook." Critchlow, who supplied a few texts and tunes to Lomax in the '30s, tried to be truer to the old songs than most radio cowboys, but he probably got this one second-hand.

The first and fourth lines of the tune resemble a 4/4 version of "Son of a Gamboleer."


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Subject: Lyr Add: WINDY BILL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 04:21 PM

Fife and Fife say "there are several musical settings available, but the one which seems to match the humor of the text is the Larkin version (2/4). It possesses a light jaunty air, with the rhythm and melodic line carrying an undercurrent of good-humored laughter befitting the text. One interesting rhythmic variation is given by Kitty Lee, where it has a 6/8 rhythm that gives the song another humorous twist, although the standard setting seems to be a 2/4 rhythm. It is sung by Frank Goodwyn to the well-known tune "Polly Wolly Doodle"."
Fife and Fife reproduce the Margaret Larkin sheet music.

The Lomax tune is 4/4 (sheet music in the 1938 edition, Lomax and Lomax, "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads," pp. 113-115), quite different from the Larkin tune, and requiring a slight adjustment in the words. Lighter, I think this is the one to which you refer.

All versions are closely similar, possibly suggesting that the original was published as a poem in some small western (California?) paper ca. 1890s.

The DT-Forum doesn't have Thorp's words to "Windy Bill," so here they are:

Lyr. Add: WINDY BILL (Thorp 1908 version)

Windy Bill was a Texas man
And he could rope you bet,
Talk of the steer he couldn't tie down
Had'nt sort'er been born yet;
The boys they knew of an old black steer
A sort of an old outlaw,
Who ran down in the bottom
Just at the foot of the draw.

This slim black steer had stood his ground
With punchers from everywhere
The boys bet Bill two to one
He couldn't quite get there
So Bill brought up his old cow horse
His weathers and back were sore
Prepared to tackle this old black steer
Who ran down in the draw.

With his grazin' bits and sand stacked tree,
His chaps and taps to boot,
His old maguey tied hard and fast,
Went out to tackle the brute.

Bill sorter sauntered around him first;
The steer began to paw
Poked up his tail high in the air
And lit down in the draw.

The old cow horse flew at him like
He'd been eatin' corn
And Bill he landed his old Maguey
Around old blackies horns.
The old time cow horse he stopped dead still,
The cinches broke like straw
Both the sand stacked tree and old maguey,
Went driftin' down the draw.

Bill landed in a big rock pile
His face and hands were scratched;
He 'lowed he always could tie a steer
But guessed he'd found his match.
Paid up his bet like a little man
Without a bit of jaw
And said old blackie was the boss
Of all down in the draw.

There's a moral to my song, boys,
Which I hope that you can see
Whenever you start to tackle a steer
Never tie hard your maguey.
Put on your dalebueltas
'Cordin' to California law
And you will never see your old rim-fires
Driftin' down the draw.

Taken without change from the facsimile of "Songs of the Cowboys," 1908, N. Howard Thorp, News Print Shop, Estancia, New Mexico. The facsimile is reproduced in full in "Songs of the Cowboys," N. Howard ("Jack") Thorp, "Variants, Commentary, Notes and Lexicon" by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, 1966, following p. 257, Clarkson N. Potter Inc. publisher.

Margaret Larkin, "Singing Cowboy, a Book of Western Songs," 1931 (1963 Oak Publications Edition), pp. 68-71.

WINDY BILL (Larkin version)

Windy Bill was a Texas boy,
Said he could rope, you bet,
Said the steer he couldn't tie
He hadn't met up with yet.
Us boys we knew of an old black steer,
A sort of an old outlaw,
That ran down in the Mal País
At the bottom of the draw.

This old black steer had stood his ground
With punchers from everywhere,
So we bet old Windy two to one
That he couldn't tie that steer.
Then Bill saddled up his old gray hoss,
His withers and back were raw,
Prepared to tackle this old black steer
That ran down in the draw.

With his grazing bits and his Sam Stack tree,
His chaps and taps to boot,
And his old maguey tied hard and fast,
Bill swore he'd get that brute.
Bill sorta sauntered 'round him first,
The steer began to paw,
Threw his tail up skyward,
And went drifting don the draw.

The old cow hoss flew after him
Like he'd been eating corn,
And Bill, he piled his old maguey
Around old Blackie's horns.
The old time hoss he set right down,
The cinches broke like straw,
The Sam Stack tree and the old maguey
Went drifting down the draw.

Bill he lit in a pile of flint,
He got his face some scratched,
He said he always could tie a steer
But this one was his mach.
He paid his debts like a gentleman,
Without a bit of jaw,
And said old Blackie was the boss
Of everything down that draw.

There's a moral to my story, boys,
And that you all must see,
Whenever you go to tie a steer,
Don't tie him to your tree;
But take your dally weltas,
That's the California law,
And you'll never see your Sam Stack tree
Go drifting down the draw.

Original Vaquero Spanish "'dale vuleta', or give it a turnaround (tie it down). Original vaqueros developed the technique of tying the rope to the saddle horn by giving it a couple of turns to stop the animal at the other end." "Cowboys- Vaqueros," D. Gilbert y Chavez, Chap. 9, Lingo and Definitions, Univ. New Mexico; also on line at Vaqueros

Larkin remarks that it is a Texas practice to tie hard and fast.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 04:34 PM

Q, you are on the ball at all times.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Rex
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 04:53 PM

I sure do appreciate the input here. Just what I had hoped for.
Thorp says he first heard sung by John Collier, Cornudas Mountain, New Mexico, July 1899. I was wondering if there might be an earlier mention of it. I don't know about singing it to Polly Wolly Doodle but will look into Son of a Gamboleer.
So there's this saddle rig that picks up all sorts of brush and such. It's gets packed with that and sand too. Sand packed... Sand Stacked. OK I'm reaching.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 06:09 PM

Rex, you are probably correct about the reason Thorp used 'sand stacked', which most likely was just an occasional, or rare problem. Like most workers, cowboys often used 'in' names for their gear.
But the saddle was light and easily rigged, hence its widespread use.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 11:27 PM

Note- the line in the first verse of the Larkin version mentioning mal país probably was introduced into the song by Powder River Jack Lee.
(Mal país, bad lands: in Arizona and western New Mexico often referring to areas of rough and broken volcanic rock.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WINDY BILL
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 01:32 AM

Slim Critchlow's version is similar to the Larkin one posted by Q, but there are significant differences. Slim gives no information about his source, but has an extensive note on technical terms which I have reproduced below.

WINDY BILL [Slim Critchlow's version]

Windy Bill was a Texas boy,
And he could rope, you bet,
He swore the steer he couldn't tie
He hadn't met up with yet.
But us boys we knew of an old black steer,
A regular old outlaw,
That ran down in the mal país
At the foot of Rocky Draw

This old black steer had stood his ground
With the cowboys from everywhere,
So the boys bet Billy two to one
He couldn't quite get there
So Billy brought out his old grey horse
His withers and back were raw,
Prepared to tackle the big, black steer
That ran down in the draw.

With his Brazos bit and his Sam Stack tree,
And his chaps and taps to boot,
And his old maguey tied hard and fast,
Bill swore he'd get that brute.
First, Billy sort of sauntered round
Blackie began to paw,
Then he twirled his tail up skyward,
And went a-driftin' down the draw.

The old grey horse flew after him
Like he'd been eating corn,
And Billy hung his old maguey
Right round old Blacky's horns.
The old grey horse he stopped right still,
The cinches broke like straw,
And the Sam Stack tree and the old maguey
Went a-driftin' down the draw.

Billy lit in a pile of rocks
And his face and hands were scratched,
He said he thought he could rope a snake
But he guessed he'd met his match
He paid his bets like a gentleman,
Without a bit of jaw,
And he 'llowed Old Blacky was the boss
Of anything down that draw.

There's a moral to my story, boys,
And this you all must see,
When you go to rope a snake
Don't tie it to your tree
But take your dally weltas, [dar la vueltas]
'Cordin' to California law,
And you'll never see your old rim fire
Go a-driftin' down the draw

Source:   Slim Critchlow 'Cowboy Songs: The Crooked Road to Holbrook' Arhoolie CD 479.

Slim's note to this song is as follows:


Although a comparatively short song, 'Windy' has the distinction of having more technical terms per line than any other song I can think of. It'll take more than a few words to tell you about this one! It's one side of the story of an argument that has been going on for a hundred years between the 'dally ropers' (an English corruption of the Spanish 'dar la vuelta' meaning to take a turn around the saddle horn) and the 'hard and fast' ropers from Texas, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii and other points – depending on how they were raised – who used a shorter rope tied to the saddle horn. The brush poppers had no time for a dally. They threw a small loop whenever they had room enough to fit it over the steer's horns.

Bill was evidently a fellow who used his saddle stock hard and rough judging from the fact that his horse's withers and back were raw, so maybe he deserved what he got. His saddle was what was known, and still is in some parts of the country, as a 'rim fire' or Spanish double, meaning that the front cinch hung directly beneath the saddle horn, the back cinch loose just to keep the saddle from tipping up when the roper made his catch.   Saddle rigging is graduated from the full double to the 7/8 double, to the ¾ or 5/8 either single or double and finally to the ½ rigging or 'center fire'. You can't hardly find any of those any more. Both 'rim fire' and 'center fire' terms stem from the time when metallic rifle cartridges came into use and rifles were chambered for either a rim fire or a center fire shell.

The old black steer had his home in the rocky, brushy country – the mal pais or bad country and steers like Old Blacky became as wild as any animal could be. Bill's saddle , or tree, was made, according to the song, by Sam Stack (or Stagg, as the case may be) who was evidently a well-known saddle maker in Texas. His rope was a Mexican grass rope made from maguey fibres, shorter and stouter than the rawhide riatas used by many of the dally ropers back when this song was 'composed'. His 'taps' or tapaderos were short leather shields to keep the brush out of his stirrups, his bit was evidently a spade or curb peculiar to the Brazos River country, and 'snake' was a term sometimes applied to a real ornery outlaw steer.

And that just about takes care of Windy Bill. He may have lost his saddle but he'd never lose a finger or two getting caught up in a dally.
[Slim Critchlow from booklet insert to 'Crooked Road to Holbrook].


--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,LIGHTER
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for the post, Stewie. My copy of that excellent album (with its great notes) is long gone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Rex
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:12 AM

It's good to have Stewie join in here. Thanks for the notes from Critchlow.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for the Critchlow version.
The 'grazin' bit' in Thorp and Larkin is changed to 'Brazos bit' in his version. The 'grazin' bit' is a "small bit with a curb in the mouthpiece. It is a good all-round light-weight bit, does not punish a horse, and is used now in most states east of the Rockies" (Ramon F. Adams, "Western Words").
Critchlow's explanations are valid, except for a couple of errors. The Maguey (pronounced McGee in the song) is not a grass, but an agave, 'century plant', and is noted for the stiff, useful fibers in its leaves. The species A. sisalana, from Mexico, produces fibers made into rope and twine; it is not the only useful member of the plant genus. The family is known only from America and Australia.

'Dar la vuelta' is one of the many forms and mis-spellings of the Spanish term, probably already corrupted by the Vaqueros themselves; known to most cowboys as 'dally' or 'dolly'. The variant 'dolly welter' is used in a tale by Omar Barker about a tenderfoot roper who made a lucky catch and was advised from all sides "to take your dolly welter," but he retorted that he "didn't even know the gal" (Retold by Ramon F. Adams in "Western Words").   

In the article by Gilbert y Chavez (link in previous post, 'Vaqueros'), are illustrations of common saddle types including the vaquero saddle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM

Q, what I said goes double.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Rex
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 11:42 AM

Yes, what Lighter said. Thanks to Q for pointing out a great bit of work on the Vaqueros.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Rex
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 11:58 AM

Say Q, you had mentioned your daughter being savvy to these Sam Stagg rigs. Well one has turned up right under my nose. In the musuem collection of the folks that are doing the book that our recording goes with. And it is a rim fire! Would you kindly ask if she knows where on the beastie we might find anything like a name or a date? Thankee,

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 01:19 PM

Rex, I will PM my email address.
This type of saddle was copied by a number of small saddlemakers, scattered over the west. Often the saddle was not marked. Usually the mark was visible on saddles if it was applied, but sometimes a part was marked in some way, so the saddle should be examined in detail. The shape, style, etc., used by a saddlemaker could be distinctive, identifying the maker or narrowing it down.
A couple of ranchers here collect old catalogues and advertisements of western gear, and my daughter was able to get one of her old saddles (not a Sam Stagg) identified. (Prices for these old lists are scary)
Send a couple of photos by email, taken with a scale in the image, and she will send them to these collectors. There may be some collector in your area as well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Rex on the work 'puter
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 02:17 PM

Q, I'm beginning to see that I can surely depend on you. I'll be looking forward to getting a PM from you. Thankee,

Rex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,ed dixon
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 02:30 AM

well I heard it to be "sand slick" tree
as in worn smooth from the abrasion of sand
not really, i just made that up
but I honestly did hear it to be "Sam Slick"
who was supposed to be a famous saddle maker


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Donjo
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 11:01 AM

Ian Tyson's version in his album "Old Corrals and Sagebrush" mentions "Sam Slick tree," "Brazos bits," "take your dallies," and "Rimfire." Guess they talk a little different up there in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,lisa
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 02:26 PM

i have a orignail n.howard thorp songs of the cowboys 1809 and it does say stacked tree


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 09:02 PM

Date 1908, but yes, it is 'stacked tree.'

The verse:
With his grazin' bits and sand stacked tree,
His chaps and taps to boot,
His old maguey tied hard and fast,
Went out to tackle the brute.

See my post of 20 Jan 04 for the complete N. Howard Thorp "Windy Bill," Songs of the Cowboys, News Print Shop, Estancia, New Mexico; Copyright 1908 N. Howard Thorp.

A common variant of the name of the saddle maker, Sam Stagg.

See illus. 13 and links, http://www.schradersaddles.com/ld%20Style%20Saddles.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST,Guest, john B
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 10:21 PM

So does anyone know for sure if Windy Bill is Copyrighted?   I would like to include it on one of my CD's.
thanks


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 03:03 AM

Hi, John -

The "Tharp" version of "Windy Bill" above was published in 1908, although the song may be older than that - so the copyright has expired in the U.S. and almost every country. In the United States, songs published before 1923 are safely in the public domain - but songs published after that are subject to a more recent law and most of them will enter public domain sometime after I'm dead.

Good luck with your recording.

-Joe Offer-


The Traditional Ballad Index has three entries on this song:

Windy Bill (I)

DESCRIPTION: "When Joshua camped at pore Jericho's town, He blew his horn till the walls tumbled down... I blow my own horn... That's why they call me Windy Bill." Assorted tall tales, many Biblical, and often offered as explanations for the name "Windy Bill"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1942 (Randolph)
KEYWORDS: talltale humorous religious Bible
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Randolph 430, "Windy Bill" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #7611
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Walkin' in the Parlor" (theme)
NOTES: Among the Biblical incidents related in this story are:
* Jericho destroyed by Joshua: Josh. 6:15-21 (the preliminaries occupy Josh. 2 and the rest of Josh. 6)
* "David went round with a stone and a sling, And he beaned old Goliath and later was king, He ran with the wild bunch while Saul was alive" (David and Goliath: 1 Samuel 17; David's anointing: 1 Samuel 16; David flees into the Wilderness: 1 Sam. 19:10 to the end of the book, with preliminaries beginning in 18:9)
* "Esau was a farmer of the wild wooly kind, That could not stand work and being confined, He did not think titles to his land was quite clear, So he traded his farm for a sandwich and beer" (Esau the"hairy man": Gen. 27:11f.; Esau sells his birthright for a meal of bread and lentil stew: Gen. 25:29f.)
* "Sampson, that big boy, wore his hair long, Till he met with a jane and she got him in wrong, He slung a wicked jawbone, I do the same, That's how I got Windy Bill for a name" (Samson, his hair, and Delilah: Judges 16:4f.; Samson and the jawbone: Judges 15:14f.) - RBW
File: R430

Windy Bill (II)

DESCRIPTION: Windy Bill is convinced he can handle any steer. He and his mates place a wager on the matter, and they give him the worst bull available. Bill's rope technique is imperfect; he is thrown onto a rock pile. He pays up. Listeners are warned against bragging
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (Thorp)
KEYWORDS: cowboy gambling contest
FOUND IN: US(MA,So,SW)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Thorp/Fife II, pp. 38-43 (11-12), "Windy Bill" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
Fife-Cowboy/West 75, "Windy Bill" (1 text, 1 tune)
Larkin, pp. 68-71, "Windy Bill" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ohrlin-HBT 5, "Windy Bill" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logsdon 18, pp. 123-126, "The Old Black Steer" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, WINDYBLL*
ADDITIONAL: Hal Cannon, editor, _Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering_, Giles M. Smith, 1985, pp. 26-27, "Windy Bill" (1 text)

Roud #4044
RECORDINGS:
J. D. Farley, "Bill Was a Texas Lad" (Victor V-40269, 1930; Montgomery Ward M-4300, 1933; rec. 1929; on AuthCowboys, WhenIWas1)
Harry Jackson, "Windy Bill" (on HJackson1)
Powder River Jack Lee, "The Old Black Steer" (probably Bluebird B-5298, 1934; on MakeMe)

NOTES: This song is item dB41 in Laws's Appendix II. It has been claimed by Ray Reed, and credited to George B. German. I know of no supporting evidence for the former claim, and the latter appears to refer instead to "Windy Bill's Famous Ride." Thorp claimed in 1921 to have heard the song in 1899, but the claim is not found in his 1908 edition.
Logsdon notes that there are distinct roping styles in Texas and California, and the difference accounts for the Windy Bill's result in the song. Logsdon quotes, seemingly with some approval, Ohrlin's suggestion that the song originated in Arizona where the two roping styles overlapped. - RBW
File: TF02

Windy Bill's Famous Ride

DESCRIPTION: A stranger comes up to Windy Bill. Bill boasts of his riding skill, and the stranger challenges him to come ride a difficult horse They take a long, wild ride in a car. When Bill asks where the horse is, the stranger tells him they just won a car contest
AUTHOR: George B. German
EARLIEST DATE: 1929
KEYWORDS: cowboy technology trick travel recitation
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Ohrlin-HBT 70, "Windy Bill's Famous Ride" (1 text)
File: Ohr070

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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 02:11 PM

Lyr. Add: WINDY BILL'S FAMOUS RIDE
Written by George B. German

1
Windy Bill was loafin' round town one sunny day,
He was nigh out of terbacker an' not drawin' any pay,
When a feller steps up gently, and he says, "well, how-de-do,
You look like one rough-ridin', bronc-bustin' buckaroo,"
2
Then Windy, he looks up with that curt, satirical grin,
And he says, "Well, holy moses, who in blazes left you in?
An' speaking of my ridin', now say, what do you mean?
I'm the roughest ridin' buckaroo that you have ever seen.
3
"I've rode the Spanish ponies, and I've rode the wild mustang,
And I've rode these western broncos till their nerve just went kerbing.
I've rode elephants and camels, and I've rode all kinds of fish,
And when it comes to bears and lions, why shucks, they're just my dish.
4
I can ride those alligators that swim around the lakes,
And way down south in Africa I've rode them cobra snakes.
I can ride these bucking mules that old Barnum raves about,
And once I rode a boxcar when my pocketbook got out."
5
While Windy's gettin' breath the feller says, "Well, I don't know,
This outlaw that I've got to ride, I'm telling you, ain't slow."
"Oh ho! says Windy Bill, "git them thoughts out of your head,
For I'll surely ride the critter till he's either broke or dead."
6
So the feller says, "All right, step up into this machine,
It's a big twelve-cylinder giant high-powered limousine.
Windy takes a chaw of ternacker, then he gits up in the seat,
And the feller starts the motor and they're headin' down the street.
7
Next they're goin' 'cross the prairie making more than a mile a minute,
And Windy begins to cuss himself for ever gettin' in it.
Then they're a-runnin' into chuckholes and they hit a million bumps,
And once they go through water, and Windy nearly jumps.
8
Then they're headed round toward town again, and Windy wonders why:
"Lord, the feller must be crazy, and here's where I must die."
Then they pull up where they started from, and the driver he gets out,
And Windy starts to roarin', asking what it's all about.
9
"Where is that horse, you crazy loon, that I'm supposed to ride?
Come clean, you ugly sinner, or I'll tan your measly hide!"
But the feller he just grins as a guy hands him some bills.
Then he turns and speaks to Windy, who's a-boilin' to the gills;

"Take the money, my dear Windy, and tuck it in your vest.
We just won five thousand dollars in a car endurance test!"

No. 70, pp. 174-175, lyrics only.
Glenn Ohrlin, 1973, "The Hell-Bound Train, a Cowboy Songbook," University of Illinois Press.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: Bert
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 05:58 PM

Years ago, in the Fifties and Sixties Sets in Order square dance magazine ran a series called Americana by Terry Golden.

Each month he would take a folk song and research its origins. One of these songs was Windy Bill. There is an archive of Sets in Order here

Good luck in finding Windy Bill though 'cos they don't have the indices searchable.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Bill
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 06:10 PM

http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/cowboy-songs/011166.HTM


    [Note from Joe Offer: for the most part, traditionalmusic.co.uk is a mirror of the Digital Tradition]


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