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Origins: Old Chisholm Trail

DigiTrad:
OLD CHIZZUM (CHISHOLM) TRAIL


Related threads:
Happy Chisholm Trail Day (Oct. 23) (13)
happy? - July 3 ("Chisholm Trail") (1)


Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 04 - 09:25 PM
Lighter 19 Feb 04 - 09:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 04 - 09:57 PM
Joe Offer 19 Feb 04 - 09:58 PM
Charley Noble 19 Feb 04 - 10:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 04 - 10:47 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 04 - 11:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 04 - 11:28 PM
Lighter 20 Feb 04 - 12:23 AM
Lighter 20 Feb 04 - 11:01 AM
Jim McLean 20 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Feb 04 - 01:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Feb 04 - 01:28 PM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 04 - 03:52 PM
Jim McLean 20 Feb 04 - 04:54 PM
Rapparee 20 Feb 04 - 05:12 PM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Feb 04 - 07:04 PM
Walking Eagle 20 Feb 04 - 09:36 PM
Walking Eagle 20 Feb 04 - 09:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Feb 04 - 11:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Feb 04 - 11:36 PM
Walking Eagle 21 Feb 04 - 12:16 AM
Abby Sale 21 Feb 04 - 11:23 AM
Abby Sale 21 Feb 04 - 01:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 04 - 01:57 PM
Rex 21 Feb 04 - 03:31 PM
Abby Sale 22 Feb 04 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Lighter 23 Jul 08 - 11:41 AM
Mark Ross 23 Jul 08 - 12:05 PM
llareggyb (inactive) 17 Sep 08 - 04:17 AM
Charley Noble 17 Sep 08 - 11:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Aug 14 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 13 Aug 14 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,DrWord 13 Aug 14 - 07:19 PM
Lighter 13 Aug 14 - 07:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Aug 14 - 09:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Aug 14 - 03:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Aug 14 - 03:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Aug 14 - 06:56 PM
Lighter 14 Aug 14 - 07:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Aug 14 - 01:40 PM
Lighter 15 Aug 14 - 04:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Aug 14 - 08:10 PM
Lighter 15 Aug 14 - 08:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Aug 14 - 01:39 PM
Lighter 16 Aug 14 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Jason Hill 18 Aug 14 - 09:34 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 14 - 12:28 PM
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Lighter 19 Aug 14 - 09:54 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 09:25 PM

The DT has the Jules Allen version. There is no thread with this title, although it is said that if all the verses were collected, they would cover the Trail twice over.
The Chisholm Trail was named for Jesse Chisholm, a Scot-Cherokee, who had a trading post about two hundred miles from Wichita, KS. According to The Handbook of Texas, O. W. Wheeler in 1867 bought 2400 cattle in San Antonio, and planned to drive them north to winter. These were the first cattle on what became the Trail. At the Canadian River, his party saw wagon tracks and followed them. They had been made by Jesse Chisholm's supply wagons. At first, the Trail existed from the Red River north. Eventually, Texas cowmen applied the name to the entire route from the Rio Grande River north to central Kansas. Actually many of the cattle started out from the large spreads in northern Mexico. The name first appeared in print in 1870 in the Kansas Daily Commonwealth. The Trail came to the end of its life in 1884, when quarantine and fences stopped the traffic.

Lyr. Add.: THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
Fife and Fife, text A

Oh come along boys and listen to my tale,
I'll tell you of my troubles on the ol' Chis'm trail.

Cho:
Come a-ti yi youpy ya youpy yah,
Come a-ti yi youpy yay.

On a ten-dollar horse and a forty-dollar saddle,
I was ridin', and a-punchin' Texas cattle.

We lef' ol' Texas October twenty-third,
Drivin' up trail with a 2 U herd.

I'm up in the mornin' afore daylight,
An' afore I sleep the moon shines bright.

It's bacon and beans most every day,
I'd as soon be eatin' prairie hay.

Old Ben Bolt was a blamed good boss,
But he'd go to see the girls on a sore-backed hoss.

Old Ben Bolt was a mighty good man,
And you'd know there was whisky wherever he'd land.

I woke up one mornin' on the Chisholm trail,
With a rope in my hand and a cow by the tail.

Last night on guard, an' the leader broke the ranks,
I hit my horse down the shoulders an' spurred him in the flanks.

Oh, its cloudy in the west and a-lookin' like rain,
An' my damned ol' slicker's in the wagon again.

Oh the wind commenced to blow and the rain began to fall,
And it looked by grab that we was gonna lose 'em all.

I jumped in the saddle an' I grabbed a-holt the horn,
The best damned cowpuncher ever was born.

I was on my best horse, an' a-goin' on the run,
The quickest shootin' cowboy that ever pulled a gun.

No chaps, no slicker, and it's pourin' down rain,
An' I swear, by God, I'll never nightherd again.

I herded and I hollered, and I done pretty well,
Till the boss said, "Boys, just let 'em go to hell."

I'm goin' to the ranch to draw my money,
Goin' into town to see my Honey.

I went to the boss to draw my roll,
He had me figgered out nine dollars in the hole.

So I'll sell my outfit as fast as I can,
And I won't punch cows for no damn man.

So I sold old Baldy and I hung up my saddle,
And I bid farewell to the longhorn cattle.

Fife and Fife, Cowboy and Western Songs, 1969 (1982), pp. 210-213.

Lyr. Add: THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
Powder River Jack Lee

Oh come along boys and listen to my tale,
I'll tell you 'bout my trouble on the old Chisholm trail.

Cho:
Cum a ti I ippy, i ippy aye-
Cum a ti i ippy, i ippy aye,
Cum a ti yi ippy ippy aye.

I rode up the trail on April twenty-third,
Oh I rode up the trail with the Bar Ten herd.

We rode intuh Abiline and hits 'er on the fly,
Oh, we bedded down the cattle on the hill close by--
A beef in the herd and the boss says kill it
And I shot 'im in the rump with the handle of the skillet.

I jumped on my broncho and I raked him down hees flank,
Oh he started intuh pitchin' and I landed on the bank.
Well I leaps to mah saddle and I gives a little yell,
Oh the leaders broke the country and the cattle went to hell (or heaven).

Oh I rides with ma slicker and I rides all day
And I packed along a bottle for to pass the time away.
With my feet in the stirrups and my hand on the horn
I'm the best damned cowboy that ever was born.

We'll round up these cattle, boys, the weather's getting cold,
And the onery sons of mavericks are gettin' hard to hold.
We'll trail 'em up to Kansas an' we'll bunch 'em on the pens,
And that'll be the last of the old Bar Tens.

It's cloudy in the west and she looks like rain,
And my danged ole slicker's in the wagon again;
The gale starts a-blowin' and the rain begins to fall,
Oh it looks, by gosh, like we're a-goin to lose 'em all.

Ah'm goin' to hang up my spurs and my chaps and my saddle,
Never more will I ride around the longhorn cattle.
Says I, old boss, will yuh gimmie my roll--
Oh the boss had me figgered ten dollars in the hole.

Oh, I know a gal who's a-goin' tuh leave her mother,
All the angels up in heaven couldn't stir up sech another;
She rides on a pinto an d she work on the drags,
With her petticoats a floppin' like a pair of saddle bags.

Oh I'm out night herdin' by the lone Squaw Butte,
When I run my sights on a lone cy-ute (coyote);
He's a hellin' and a yellin'- as he drifts by
I snakes out my lassoo and I loops him on the fly.

No chaps, no slicker, and she pours down rain,
An' I swears to my hoss I'll never ride night herd again;
Oh I'll head back south and I'll marry me a squaw
And live all my life on the sandy Washitaw.

Oh the shorthorns rattle and the longhorns battle,
Nevah had sech a ride around the locoed cattle;
I'll trade my outfit as soon as I can,
And I won't punch cows for no damned man.

It's long 'fore daylight they start in to feed,
The steers all a-draggin' with the pointers in the lead;
They head on north where the grass grows green,
And now for the biscuits, and the bacon and the beans.

The herd stampedes- I'm a-ridin' on a run,
I'm the quickest shootest cowboy that ever drew a gun;
Well we rounded 'em up an' run 'em in the pens,
And that was the last of the old Bar Tens.

Oh Abilene city is a damn fine town,
We'll likker up and twirl them heifers all aroun';
Then back once more with mah bridle and mah hoss,
For old John Chisholm is a damned fine boss.

Oh I met a feller up a long steep hill,
There never was a feller like Buffalo Bill;
He rodd a green rough who'd pitch and buck,
And he then came down for to share our chuck.

Old Scandalous John is the trail herd boss,
And he yells his orders from a raw-boned hoss;
He says, "cow boys yore too damned slow,"
We spool our beds and away we go.

I never hankered fer to plow or hoe,
And punchin' steers is all I know;
With my knees in the saddle an' a hangin' to the sky,
Herdin' doggies up in heaven in the sweet by and by.

"slow drag, tune uke G C E A. "It was always sung on the range with a slow, deliberate drawl, the singer keeping time to the motion of the horse."
"As the longhorns were strung out over the prairies in a wedge-shaped formation that covered miles and miles, with the pointers far off in the lead and the chuck wagons rolling northward in advance, it was sure a scene that never can be recalled --- Onward to Pease River and come thirty days crossing the Red River at Doan's Trading Post, which was the most dangerous river of all. Jayhawkers and bad redskins levying tribute. Across the Injun Nation- into dry Kansas with freak sandstorms and unholy heat. Ever onward, day by day, into Cheyenne town. Get all the news which we had missed for months. No money and no booze for the boys. Onward again- and the Black Hills far off to the east and the Big Horn ranges of Wyoming to the west...."
Gee, it almost would make you think Lee had made the trip.

"Cowboy Songs," copyrighted 1938 by Powder River Jack Lee, pp. 48-49, The McKee Printing Co., Butte, Montana. Spellings not changed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 09:56 PM

A song long overdue for extended DT treatment. Most all of Fife & Fife's stanzas appeared first - in rather different order and with some verbal differences - in Lomax's 1910 "Cowboy Songs" - the ultimate source, it would seem, for most recorded versions.

As I recall, N. Jack Thorp's 1921 text is identical to Lomax except for being one or two stanzas short.

Jack Lee may have been a song pirate and a fake cowboy, but the text above is one of the most innovative and authentic *sounding* non-bawdy versions collected. He deserves some credit for that.

In his own book of cowboy songs, "The Hell-Bound Train," Arkansas puncher Glenn Ohrlin has a few good words for Lee as well.

Rather surprisingly, Ohrlin offers no version of this song. Sandburg has one under the unique title of "The Lone Star Trail," and Larkin offers a two texts a couple of years later - one of them with an unusual tune and verse structure.

Lomax and Lomax 1934 give many additional stanzas and three or four tunes.

Randolph-Legman prints a couple of bawdy versions (with some surprising song-history), as do Ed Cray and Guy Logsdon.

Additional couplets, clean and otherwise, undoubtedly remain to be corraled. 'Catters, take it away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 09:57 PM

Added notes from The Handbook of Texas. Herds were never pushed except in emergencies (e. g, to find water). When trailing was perfected, 2500 cattle could be handled by a trail boss, a horse wrangler, a cook and ten cowboys.
In later drives, the ranchers turned the job over to contractors. Very large groups were broken into manageable herds of 2500-3000.

The Trail was defined only at river crossings, the herds were spread out over the prairie so that they could feed adequately. It was not unknown for cattle to gain weight during a drive.
Peak use of the Trail was only for about ten years.

Only anecdotal evidence exists of the song before 1900. Its first appearance is in Lomax, 1910, Cowboy Songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 09:58 PM

There are four entries in the Traditional Ballad Index:

Chisholm Trail (I), The

DESCRIPTION: Stories of the troubles of a cowboy watching the herds. Characterized by the chorus, "Come-a ti yi yippy, yippy yea, yippy yea, Come-a ti yi yippy, yippy yea, yippy yea." Dozens of verses, printable and unprintable, cover all parts of the cowboy life
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1910
KEYWORDS: cowboy work
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (14 citations):
Randolph 179, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 217, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, though one suspects it's composite since it's 29 stanzas long!)
Sandburg, pp. 266-267, "The Lone Star Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 136-138, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 78, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (2 texts, 1 tune, the "B" text being "Eleven Slash Slash Eleven")
Lomax-FSUSA 57, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Lomax-ABFS pp. 376-379, "The Old Chizzum Trail" (1 long text (compiled from many sources), 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 188, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 851-852, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 76, pp. 167-170, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text)
Arnett, p. 125, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 108, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 long text, probably composite)
Saffel-CowboyP, p. 184-186, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (1 text)
DT, CHISHLM*

Roud #3438
RECORDINGS:
Jules Allen, "Chisolm Trail" (Victor V-40167, 1929; Montgomery Ward M-4463, 1933)
The Cartwright Brothers, "On The Old Chisolm Trail" (Columbia 15346-D, 1929)
Edward L. Crain, "The Old Chisolm Trail" (Crown 3275, 1932)
Girls of the Golden West, "Old Chisolm Trail" (Bluebird B-5718, 1934)
Tex Hardin, "The Old Chisolm Trail" (Champion 16552, 1933)
Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock "The Old Chisholm Trail" (Victor 21421, 1928; on AuthCowboys, BackSaddle)
Patt Patterson & his Champion Rep Riders, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (Perfect 164/Banner 32091 [as Patt Patterson & Lois Dexter], 1931)
Sain Family, "The Texas Trail" (Montgomery Ward M-7187, 1937)
Jack Weston, "The Texas Trail" (Van Dyke 84292, n.d.; on MakeMe)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Chisholm Trail (II)" (tune & meter)
cf. "Eleven Slash Slash Eleven" (tune & meter)
Notes: It should be noted that there is no clear distinction between the "clean" and "dirty" versions of this song (the latter being "Chisholm Trail (II)"); a particular singer could make it as raunchy as desired.
E. A. Brininstool wrote a poem, "The Chisholm Trail." It is unrelated -- a reminiscence of cowboy days. - RBW
File: R179

Chisholm Trail (II), The

DESCRIPTION: This is a virtually endless sexual adventure of a cowboy punching the "goddam" herd. Versions of this ballad vary greatly, including laments for having contracted venereal disease from either the minister's or the Old Man's daughter.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: bawdy cowboy humorous sex disease
FOUND IN: Australia US(Ro,So,SW)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Cray, pp. 186-192, "The Chisholm Trail" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Randolph-Legman I, pp. 199-205, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
DT, (CHISHLM -- a combination of clean and dirty versions)

Roud #3438
RECORDINGS:
Cowboy Rodgers, "Old Chisholm Trail" (Varsity 5044, c. 1940)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Gonna Tie My Pecker to My Leg"
cf. "The Chisholm Trail (I)" (tune & meter)
Notes: Annotator G. Legman in Randolph-Legman I lumps "Chisholm Trail" with "Gonna Tie My Pecker to My Leg" versions. - EC
It should be noted that there is no clear distinction between the "clean" and "dirty" versions of this song; a particular singer could make it as raunchy as desired. - RBW
File: EM186

Eleven Slash Slash Eleven

DESCRIPTION: A song of the cowboy's life: Finding himself in jail, but released by the sheriff (a former cowboy), going to town and "mak[ing] the tenderfoot dance"; playing cards with a crooked gambler. The conclusion: "You'll find every dirty cuss exactly the same."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1928
KEYWORDS: cowboy work gambling rambling cards prison
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Fife-Cowboy/West 78, "The Old Chisholm Trail" (2 texts, 1 tune; this is the "B" text)
Roud #3438
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Chisholm Trail (I)" (tune & meter)
Notes: Since, as it has been remarked, the song "The Old Chisholm Trail" is longer than the trail itself, it is possible that this is simply a version of that piece (Roud lumps them). However, except for its tune and the cowboy theme, it lacks the distinctive features of the earlier song. I have therefore (tentatively) listed them separately. - RBW
File: FCW078

Gonna Tie My Pecker to My Leg

DESCRIPTION: Usually short fragments of "The Chisholm Trail" distinguished by the unique chorus which gives this variant its title.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: bawdy
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW,So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Cray, pp. 192-194, "Gonna Tie My Pecker to My Leg" (3 texts)
Randolph-Legman I, pp. 203-204, "The Old Chisholm Trail"
DT, (CHISHLM)

Roud #3438
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Chisholm Trail (II)"
Notes: Versions are lumped with the similar "Old Chisholm Trail" in Randolph-Legman I. - EC
File: EM192

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


    Compare this song with Leadbelly's When I Was a Cowboy. There certainly seems to be a connection.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 10:02 PM

I still have a 78 rpm album of Tony Kraber singing his version of this old song; his album was titled THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL. Tony was also an actor in NYC's progressive off-broadway theatre productions, and was racked over by the McCarthy Senate Committee on Unamerican Activities. One of his relatives maintains an interesting website.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONG OF THE ELEVEN SLASH SLASH ELEVEN
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 10:47 PM

Lyr. Add: SONG OF THE ELEVEN SLASH SLASH ELEVEN
(C. B.Ruggles, last 4-5 stanzas)

It's round in your cavy, and it's rope out your hack
And strap your old kack well fast upon your back.

Cho.
Singing hi-yi-yuppy, yuppy, hi-yuppy-yea, (2x)

Your foot in your stirrup and your hand on the horn,
You're the best dammed cowboy that ever was born.

You land in the saddle and you give a loud yell
For the longhorn cattle have got to take the hill.

You round up a bunch of dogies and take down the trail,
But the very first thing you land in jail.

But the sheriff's an old puncher and he fixes out your bail,
For it's a damned poor country with a cowboy in jail.

So you round in your foreman and you hit him for your roll,
For you're going to town and act a little bold.

You strap on your chaps, your spurs, and your gun,
For you're going to go to town and have a little fun.

You ride a big bronc that will buck and prance
And you pull out your gun and make the tenderfoot dance.

You go into the gambling house a-looking kinder funny,
For you got every pocket just chock full of money.

You play cards with the gambler who's got a marked pack,
And you walk back to the ranch with the saddle on your back.

Now I've punched cattle from Texas to Maine-
And known some cowboys by their right name.

No matter, though, whatever they claim,
You'll find every dirty cuss exactly the same.

So dig in your spurs and peel your eyes to heaven,
But never overlook a calf with Eleven Slash Slash Eleven.

Implication of last two verses- watch out for cow thieves, no matter who the rider is on your range.
cavy, from caballada, a bunch of horses (your saddle horses)
hack, your saddle horse
Kack, saddle; from kiak, a box used to carry things on a pack horse.

Ruggles was a rancher, who caried his brand, the Eleven Slash Slash Eleven, from a ranch in Oregon to one in New Mexico.

From J. Frank Dobie, 1928, "More Ballads and Songs of the Frontier Folk," in "Follow De Drinkin' Gou'd," Pub. Texas Folklore Soc. No. VIII, pp. 155-180.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 11:13 PM

Brown FCBCNCF V. III, p 248

THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
  1. Come along, boys, and listen to my tale,
    I'll tell you of my troubles on the old Chisholm trail.

    Refrain:
    Come ti yi youpy youpy ya youpy ya,
    Come ti yi youpy youpy ya.

  2. I started up the trail October twenty-third,
    I started up the trail with the 2-U herd.

  3. Oh, a ten dollar hoss and a forty dollar saddle,
    And I'm goin' to punchin' Texas cattle.

  4. I wake up in the morning on the old Chisholm trail,
    Rope in my hand and a cow by the tail.

  5. I'm up in the mornin' afore daylight,
    And afore I sleep the moon shines bright.

    Old Ben Bolt was a blamed good boss
    But he'd go to see the girls on a sore-backed hoss


  6. Old Ben Bolt was a fine old man,
    And you'd know there was whiskey wherever he'd land.

  7. My hoss throwed me off at the creek called Mud;
    My hoss throwed me off 'round the 2-U herd.

  8. Last time he was going 'cross the level,
    A-kicking up his heels and a-running like the devil.

  9. It's cloudy in the west, a-looking like rain,
    And my danmed old slicker's in the wagon again.

  10. Crippled my hoss, I don't know how,
    Ropin' at the horns of a 2-U cow.

  11. We hit Caldwell and we hit her on the fly,
    We bedded down the cattle on the hill close by.

  12. No chaps, no slicker, and it's pouring down rain;
    And I swear, by all, I'll never night-herd again.

  13. Feet in the stirrups and a seat in the saddle,
    I hung and rattled with them long-horned cattle.

  14. Last night I was on guard and the leader broke ranks
    I hit my horse on the shoulders and I spurred him in the flanks.

  15. The wind commenced to blow, and the rain began to fall
    It looked, by grab, like we was goin' to lose 'em all.

  16. I jumped in the saddle and grabbed holt the horn,
    Best blamed cowpuncher ever was born.

  17. I popped my foot in the stirrup and gave a little yell;
    The tail cattle broke and the leaders went to hell.

  18. I don't give a danm if they never do stop,
    I'll ride as long as an eight-day clock.

  19. Foot in the stirrup and hand on the horn,
    I'm the best damned cowboy that ever was born.

  20. I herded and I hollered, and I done very well,
    Till the boss said, 'Boys, just let 'em go to hell.'

  21. There's a stray in the herd and the boss said kill it,
    So I shot him in the rump with the handle of the skillet.

  22. We rounded 'em up, and we put 'em on the cars,
    And that was the last of the old Two-Bars.

  23. Oh, it's bacon and beans most every day;
    I'd as soon be eatin' prairie hay.

  24. I'm on my best horse and I'm going at a run,
    I'm the quickest shooting cowboy that ever pulled a gun.

  25. I went to the boss to draw my roll,
    To come back to Texas, dad-burn my soul.

  26. I went to the boss to draw my roll;
    He had it figgered out I was nine dollars in the hole.

  27. I'll sell my outfit just as soon as I can
    I won't punch cattle for no damned man.

  28. Goin' back to town to draw my money,
    Goin' back home to see my honey.

  29. With my knees in the saddle and my seat in the sky,
    I'll quit punching cows in the sweet by and by.


From The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore Volume III (Folk Songs), #217

Notes: The cowboy classic, sung probably wherever cattle are driven over the plains to market. See CS 28-37. Randolph (OFS II 174-5) has found it in Arkansas. Neely and Spargo (TSSI 184-5) report a song with the same refrain but a widely different text from Illinois.
'The Old Chisholm Trail.'
From the John Burch Blaylock Collection.
    Duplicate posts combined. This poster and I posted the Brown lyrics at the same time, and there was no need to leave both messages up. Lomax Cowboy Songs (1916) has almost the same text, but with one additional verse (as Lighter says below). I placed the additional Lomax verse in its appropriate location, in italics.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 11:28 PM

I don't think Jack Lee knew who Chisholm was. He refers to a John Chisholm, but the only fairly big cattleman of the 80s with a similar name was John Simpson Chisum, who was involved in the Lincoln County War in New Mexico; he owned the South Spring Ranch and also had some holdings, I believe, in West Texas. Jesse Chisholm, after whom the Trail was named, was not a cattleman.
His remarks about Buffalo Bill also are nonsense but might have sounded OK to the dude ranch people he sang to.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 12:23 AM

The text printed in the Brown Collection & posted by GUEST is precisely that in Lomax 1910, less one stanza.

Worth mentioning: the single tune in Lomax 1910 is not the one most commonly sung today. It is rather the more monotonous chant-like modal (or minor - I can never figure this stuff out) tune used, for example, by John Lomax, Jr., on his 1950s Folkways recording of Texas songs. (It's more readily available on the '90s Smithsonian-Folkways CD, "Cowboy Songs on Folkways," edited by Guy Logsdon.)

Unless I am very much mistaken, the stanzas sung by Harry McClintock and Jules Allen (and printed in Allen's 1920's book, "Cowboy Lore") are also from - or identical to - some of those in Lomax 1910. Both of these singers use the more common major melody, however.

R. W. Gordon received a handful of independent versions from correspondents in the 1920s. Will post when I can dig them out.

The earliest printings of bawdy versions were in the 1920s. Jerry Silverman has an especially crapulous but almost certainly authentic one in "The Dirty Song Book" (1982). Oscar Brand recorded at least three semi-bowdlerized and partially rewritten bawdy texts.

A common bawdy chorus is the ingeniously parodic, "Come an' tie my root around a tree, around a tree."

A ribald version sung by F-4 pilots in the Vietnam War includes,

             I'd rather be a peckerless man
             Than to fly this bent-up garbage can.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 11:01 AM

And furthermore -

Buffalo Bill is just as wildly out of place in Lead Belly's "When I Was a Cowboy" (alias "Leadbelly's [sic] Chisholm Trail" in the Lomaxes' "Cowboy Songs" of 1938). Jesse James also makes an appearance in the printed text.

The printed version also contains the verse,

    Come all you cowboys, don't you want to go...
    To see the rangers on the range of the buffalo?

But when Lead Belly recorded the song, he clearly sang,

    To see the *Lone Ranger* on the range of the buffalo.

Another example of L & L's editorial license.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Jim McLean
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Every time I hear that song I think on 'One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready so go man go'. Anyone else hear the resemblance?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 01:15 PM

Looking up a bit on Jessee Chisholm, he had two main stores. One was in present-day Wichita, where the Twin Lakes Shopping Center is now. The other was in Indian Territories, southwest of what is now Oklahoma City.
His main trade was with the U. S. Army and the Indian Nations.
(In the 1870s, the Civilized Tribes administered the best school in the Territories area; later the fledgling Nation was destroyed by incoming white settlers).

Other mis-readings of history in Jack Lee's discussion of his version are the references to Jayhawkers (that hawks back to the Civil War troubles) and to Indians levying tribute. Of course some cattle were lost to prairie wanderers, but never to a worrysome extent.

Seldom mentioned is Joseph G. McCoy, the cattle buyer who caused the extension of the Trail from Wichita to Abilene in 1867, where he built stockyards (pens) into which the cattle were driven. The Kansas University Heritage website says he received 35,000 cattle the first year. Between 1867-1872, three million cattle were driven to Abilene.
Chisholm Trail

McCoy wrote an excellent history of the cattle trade, which can be found on line. Joseph G. McCoy, "Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest," published in Kansas City, 1874. He discusses the entire region from Santa Fe and the Rio Grande area in the west, Colorado-Wyoming, the problems of cattlemen, the cowboys and the dance halls, bad characters, to the raillines in Kansas and the establishment of concerns like Armour. A wonderful book which should be bought. The online text is complete and excellently presented: Cattle Trade


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 01:28 PM

Jim, that 'go, man. go' says that you are younger than I am. When I was a kid, it was 'and four to go.' I think that expression came from England, but not sure. It is found in some fairly old references from New England as well. It would have been known on the Chisholm Trail.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHISHOLM'S FURROW by Steve Cormier
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 03:52 PM

Old friend Steve Cormier, himself a working cowboy in days past out of Alma, Kansas, wrote a song he calls "Chisholm's Furrow" recounting Jesse Chisholm sticking a plow tyne in the ground in Texas and actually blazing that trail with the plow to show the best way to Wichita. I gather that is talked about there in Southern Kansas from Wichita on down through Winfield (Highway 10 I think) and on through Ar-Kansas City to Oklahoma and beyond. (15 years ago Ark City, as it is often called, had the worlds worst Mexican restaurant.) I used to take the old U.S. 10 south out of Wichita just for the dusty, un-kept-up 2-lane feel of the road that was actually said to be following this grand ol' historic trail. And in Wellington, Kansas, where you turned left at a stop light/sign to go the last leg to Winfield, you had to go past The Chisholm Trail Drive-in Theater. I took a photo of the place----and then, the next year when I was out that way to play Winfield, it was gone. Now I can't find the photo--- Below I will post the song...

CHISHOLM'S FURROW
by Steve Cormier (as sung for me in February of 1983)

A thousand miles of furrow, a thousand miles of heat,
Little to be thankful for 'cept you ain't bruisin the feet,
From Texas up to Kansas he plowed the furrow staight,
To Wichita, the prairie Princess, as if it was the Pearly Gates.


Chorus)
And Chisholm plowed the furrow north to bring the cattle in,
A dream of comfort and success shared by the women and the men.

The men will try to cheat you and the women'll try their con,
Rowdy Joe and Rowdy Kate and others on the run,
Stay away from Delano---the Earps and the hookers and the city jail,
If you don't walk right on Douglass Street you'll wish again for the trail.

A million hooves to railhead, meat and bone and hide,
Black man-Cherokee's cattle trail became three miles wide,
But now your fame is distant and no one knows your name,
All that's left of your legacy is a chamber of commerce plack with your name.

chorus)
And Chisholm plowed the furrow north to bring the cattle in,
A dream of comfort and success shared by the women and the men.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Jim McLean
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 04:54 PM

Q, I meant all the Presley songs!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 05:12 PM

I long ago heard one verse as

Woke up this mornin' on the old Chisholm Trail
Cock in my hand and cow by the tail...

and now I have a difficult time singing it otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM

Was this song in the 1908 edition (2 years before Lomax) of Thorp's book?? And what about the plow story?? Where from and is it historically correct?

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 07:04 PM

Not in Thorp's 1908 book. Lomax 1910 was its first appearance, 30 couplets and chorus, without any comments. Caldwell is the only town mentioned (on the present KS-OK border). 'Ar-kansas City" is east of there; the herds would have been spread at least that wide through that area (to make sure all of them found sufficient grass.

The plow story is fiction, I'm told. Why would he do it? The route Depended on water conditions and grass, no one was looking for a straight route. In the 1860s, the area was well-known. Not sure just when he established his stores (Chouteau, farther east, was another local entrepreneur.

Jesse Chisholm was not black- he was Scots-Cherokee- at the time, some Cherokee were slave holders, they took their slaves with them when they were kicked out of the South.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 09:36 PM

Whew! What good work! For those interested, the music is available on the Digital Trad Mirror.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 09:58 PM

I know this seems stupid, but I got the printed music by typing in Ballad Of Frankie Silver in the Lyrics and Knowledge Search, clicking in the DT BOX ONLY. The next page should give the threads and messages. If it doesn't, make sure that your pull down is set on Mudcat. Click on the thread by Dicho. Scroll down his first message and click on the blue clickie that says HERE. You should be able to figure out the rest. There probably is an easier way to get to this point, but I don't know it. I would appreciate it if someone would share if they know a better way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 11:30 PM

Walking Eagle, used to know a nerd called Dicho, but he got killed off.
I will give you two links-
General Index to Digital Tradition Mirror: Index Digital Tradition

Sheet music, Old Chisholm Trail (if no mistakes!) Old Chizzum


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 11:36 PM

I got the sheet music anyway. Try the index again. It's a great website.
Index numachi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 12:16 AM

Thanks Q! I knew there had to ba an easier way! Now I've put it in my Favorites file


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Abby Sale
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 11:23 AM

(Robert Gordon was the first head of the Folk Song Archive - 1928-1932 and an extraordinary collector of field material. "Inferno" was not a separate effort but simply the bawdy material deleted from his other manuscripts.)

Reproduction of the following is only permitted with full attribution to:

The Robert W. Gordon "Inferno" Collection in the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress "Adventure" MSS

From Charles E. Roe, Hudson, Massachusetts, August 25. 1930       #3781


THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL

Looking for a job, and I went broke flat.
Got a job riding on the Double O flat.

Signs pinned up on the bunk-house door,
"Punchers allowed at a quarter after four."

"Round up and saddle up some old pitching hoss,
If you can't ride him, you're fired by the boss."

As I come a-riding 'cross the OO range,
I was thinking of my sweetheart that I left on the ranch.

I rode on with the old man's daughter,
Guess I said a few words what I hadn't oughter.

I told her that I'd love her like I loved my life,
I asked her how she'd like to a cowpuncher's wife.

Said she'd like it fine, but I better see her dad,
For he got the dough, and it might make him mad.

I went to the old man, as all lovers oughter,
I says, "Old Man, I'm in love with your daughter."

He grins and he points to the Double O roan,
That's piled every puncher that ever rode alone.

Says, "If you can ride that hoss, and not pull leather,
You and my daughter can throw you things together."

Went to the hoss, and slammed on my saddle,
Best damn rider that ever punched cattle.

All the punchers yelled, as all punchers oughter,
For they knew I was riding for the Old Man's daughter.

Jumped in the saddle and gave a little yell,
What's going to happen is damned hard to tell.

Spurred him on the shoulder. and hit him with my quirt,
Gave four jumps, and rolled me in the dirt.

Went to the Old Man to have a little chat,
Hit him in the face with my old felt hat.

Went to the girl, and offered her a quarter,
Says she, "Go to Hell! I'm a cow-puncher's daughter!"

════════════════════════════════════

    THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL      (Page 2)

Offered her a dollar, and she took it in her hand,
Punched me in the belly, says, "Well, I'll be damned!."

Threw my arms around her and laid her an the grass,
To show her the wiggle of a cow-puncher's ----.

The hair on her belly was a strawberry brown,
The crabs on her m----- were jumping up and down.

Took my old jockey to the watering trough,
Washed him and I scrubbed him till his head fell off.

In about nine days, when I looked for to see,
Chancres on my p----- were big as a pea.

She found it out, and called me a kid,
Told me to remember her, and by God, I did!

Wrote her a letter, don't think I lied,
Said, I'm leaving Texas, fast as I can ride.

Know a little Injun, damn' pretty squaw,
Guess I'll go and see her, for I leave for Arkansas.

Going to leave Texas, going to head for home,
All on account of the Double-O roan,

Sheep man a-steeling of the Double-O grass,
Boss says, "Shoot him, but not in the ----."

So we pulled out our guns and we got him on the fly,
Crawled in the weeds, and I guess he's going to die.

Chased a bunch of hosses thru the G-- d----- sheep,
The scatterment they made, made the sheep men weep.

Camped over night at the A bar B's,
Got so damn' cold, I thought I would freeze.

Raining hard and muddy as Hell,
Trailing thru the gumbo sure is Hell!

Hit Belle Fourche, and went on a spree,
Sheriff come a running, and he picked on me.

Looked me up in his lousy old Jail.
Boss said he'd be damned if he went my bail.


═══════════════════════════════════════════════════════════

August 25. 1930

THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL    (Page 3)

Just because I worked for him wa'n't no sign
That a cow-poke's boss had got to pay his fine.

Met a girl and thought I'd seen her before,
Tried her, and I found she was a G-- d----- whore.

Went to make a date as a cowpuncher oughter,
Found out the girl was that damn' sheriff's daughter.

Sheriff on my trail, left town on the run,
If he catches up, have to use my gun.

Left Belle Fourche, and left her on the lope,
To keep my neck from wearing out a scratchy old rope.

Going to leave Montana, and marry my squaw,
Going to settle down in Arkansas.


"Additional verses from Slim Guyer, Montana."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Abby Sale
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 01:20 PM

Lighter, by some surprising song-history, are you referring to his descriptions of elements that are sadistic / woman-hating / violent, etc?

Also look up "The Great Wheel" (aka The Great Fucking Machine) for even more of this. I think Legman is one of the very few to strongly point out this obvious element of certain songs. It makes one wonder where humor (90% of bawdy song) leaves off and plain sadism kicks in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 01:57 PM

Thanks, Abby Sale. The version from the Gordon Collection is "all of a piece" when compared with the fragments in Randolph-Legman under the titles "Old Chisholm Trail" and "That'll Do, Young Man."
(I wonder if the latter is some form was the precursor song ?)

These songs were made up and sung by men who worked in jobs (cattle, sheep, logging, shipping, military service, etc.) or held in confinement where women were few and usually contacted in the saloons and brothels at the end of a long period of abstinance (well, from women, anyway) on the job or in jail. As Legman also noted, there is a strong element of inventive boasting in the songs and stories. The songs thrived in a men-only atmosphere.

Strong emphasis on male superiority, yes, but sadism? In the word, but seldom in practice.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Rex
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 03:31 PM

As Q says this song doesn't appear in Thorp's 1908 Songs of the Cowboys but it does show up in his much expanded 1921 printing. He has some comments on each song in the book but for this entry he says the origins of this song are unknown.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
From: Abby Sale
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 05:27 PM

Q: I don't have any statistics on cowboy sadism so I'm not making any strong statements, here...just opines.

When you rread songs like "The Great Wheel" or the Randolph/Legman version of "Chisholm," the sadistic/violent elements are so strog they can't be ignored. I wouldn't suggest this implies any kind of physical action or desire but these are heavy items. Very different, to my thinking than boasting or gleeful smut (no matter how "naughty.") Surely there is your element of inventive boasting in most songs - I'm only taking of a small percentage. But to me (and even to Legman) they do stand out.

Further, a huge number of bawdy songs are transmitted by females - even teen & sub-teen ones. This seems to be true in Appalachia (per Legman & Cray), Scotland (per Douglas & Henderson) and modern Harrierness (per several). My impression (unverified) is that females are more likely to transmit bawdy ballads & men bawdy songs.

The main part that makes me laugh that I completely agree with you is the ludicrous notion that sailors, cowboys, loggers, soldiers, etc sang things like they just couldn't wait to get home and hold their sweetheart's hand and have another cup of tea (as it were.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Chisholm Trail
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 11:41 AM

Refresh.

Does anybody still sing this except (with the major tune) as a hokey "kids' song"? Any unpublished versions (clean or otherwise)?

Jim McLean, you're right! The intro to "Rock Around the Clock" (isn't that what you quoted) sounds very much like the now-usual "OCT" tune!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 12:05 PM

I remember one bawdy version with the chorus
"Gonna tie my pecker to a tree, to a tree..............


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Chisholm Trail
From: llareggyb (inactive)
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 04:17 AM

...and I thought there were *only* 33 verses! My version is from a book titled something like "1,000 Folksongs" and a couple of verses are obviously "cleaned up". I'm sure of this as other songs in the book that I know well (e.g. The Foggy Foggy Dew) have also been bowdlerized.

For Verse 7 in the Frank C. Brown Collection version quoted above, my book has a better rhyme:

   My horse threw me off, just like I was a bird,
   He throwed me off near the 2-U herd.

But like a bird???? Please! Surely that must have been originally:

   My horse threw me off, just like I was a turd,
   He throwed me off near the 2-U herd.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 11:06 PM

Tony Kraber's verses followed this traditional one and were something like what I've posted:

I went to the boss to draw my roll,
He figgered me out nine dollars in the hole...

Well, I gathered up the hands and we held a meeting;
We all took a vote and the boss took a beating...

Now we've got a union and we do very well,
We've got decent wages and the boss can go to hell...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 04:04 PM

Lyr. Add: THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
Myra Hull, KS Hist. Quart., 1939

Oh come along boys, and listen to my tale,
I'll tell you all my troubles on the ol' Chis'm Trail

Chorus-
Come a-ti yi youpy ya youpy yay,
Come a-ti yi youpy youypy yay.

On a ten-dollar horse and a forty dollar saddle,
I was ridi', and a-punchin' Texas cattle.

We left ol' Texas October twenty-third,
Drivin' up trail with a 2 U herd.

I'm up in the mornin' afore daylight,
An' afore I sleep the moon shines bright.

It's bacon and beans most every day,
I'd as soon be eatin' prairie hay.

Old Ben Bolt was a blamed good boss,
But he'd go to see the girls on a sore-backed hoss

Old Ben Bolt was a mighty good man,
And you'd know there was whiskey wherever he'd land.

I woke up one mornin' on the Chisholm Trail,
With a rope in my hand and a cow by the tail.

Last night on guard, an' the leader broke the ranks,
I hit my horse down the shoulders an' spurred him in the flanks.

Oh, it's cloudy in the west, and a-lookin' like rain,
And my damned ol' slicker's in the wagon again.

Oh the wind commenced to blow and the rain began to fall,
An' it looked by grab that we was gonna lose 'em all.

I jumped in the saddle an' I grabbed a-holt the horn,
The best damned cowpuncher ever was born.

I was on my best horse, aan' a-goin' on the run,
The quickest-shootin' cowboy that ever pulled a gun.

No chaps, no slicker, and it's pourin' down rain,
An' I swear, by God, I'll never nightherd again.

I herded and I hollered, and I done pretty well,
Till the boss said, "Boys, just let 'em go to Hell."

I'm goin' to the ranch to draw my money,
Goin' into town to see my Honey.

I went to the boss to draw my roll,
He figgered me out nine dollars in the hole.

So I'll sell my outfit as fast as I can,
And I won't punch cows for no damn man.

So I sold old Baldy and I hung up my saddle,
And I bid farewell to the longhorn cattle.

Text A. An old Kansas text. Myra E. Hull, "Cowboy Ballads," The Kansas Historical Qquarterly vol. VIII, no. 1, Feb. 1939, p. 39.

The Chisholm Trail stretched from west Texas to Abilene, KS.

Cattle drives from Texas to Kansas took place from about 1866 to the mid-1880s, at which time, the railroads had extended to Texas localities.
It was estimated that in 1866, some 260,000 cattle crossed the Red River.

The herd, some 2000-3000 cattle, was driven by about 12 men, under a Trail Boss ($125/mo.), a cook (cocinero) at $60/mo., and 9-10 drovers and wranglers ($30-dollar men).
The Trail Boss set the route, and knew good rest stops for the night, with water and grass.
A well-tended herd brought good prices at the pens at the railroad.
The wrangler(s) were generally less-experienced hands, they cared for the remuda (herd of horses, with about 10 horses/man.
The cook not only prepared meals, but was in charge of the wagon, which carried the coffee, bacon, beans, and flour, perhaps molasses, a water barrel, and rudimentary tools and medical supplies. Little meat was carried, since they had the cattle and sometimes bison, etc. could be hunted on the route.
Charles Goodnight is credited with the "invention" of the chuck wagon, which was usually drawn by mules.

Above note from the Texas Almanac, online.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Chisholm Trail
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 04:22 PM

That of course would be Charlie Goodnight of "The Goodnight Loving Trail" who chose a different route.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Chisholm Trail
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 07:19 PM

thanks for the LyrAdd, Q.   Our old 78--don't recall who--used about a third of these verses...

keep on pickin
dennis


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 07:54 PM

First published at length in "Cowboy Songs," by John A. Lomax, 1910. Lengthened further by John and Alan in 1938.

I have a lot of material on this song, which I hope to publish at some point - the good Lord willin' an' the river don't rise.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 09:04 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 03:36 PM

In several references, the song's origins are traced back to a fragment from c. 1640s; from Bishop Percy Folio Manuscript; "A dainty ducke."

A dainty ducke I Chanced to meete;
shee wondered what I would doe,
& courteously shee did me greete,
As an honest woman shold doe.

I asked her if she wold drinke;
shee wondered &c.
she answered me with sober winke,
as an honest &c
I tooke....

From Vance Randolph, 1992, "Roll Me In Your Arms," no 44, The Rogue, p. 189. Univ. Arkansas Press.

This would suggest that the 'unprintable versions came first.

From the Folger Shakespeare Library (about 1670):

"Knaves Will Be Knaves"
I went to the Alehouse as an honest woman shoo'd,
And a knave follow'd after, as ypu know knaves woo'd.
Knaves will be knaves in every degree,
I'le tell you by and by how this knave serv'd me.


I call'd for my pot as an honest woman shoo's
And the knave drank it up, as you know knaves woo'd
Knaves will be knaves, &c.

I went into my bed as an honest woman shoo'd
And the knave crept into't, as you know knaves woo'd
Knaves will be knaves, &c.

I prov'd with childe as an honest woman shoo'd
And the knave ran away, as you know knaves woo'd
Knaves will be knaves in every degree
And thus I have told you how this knave serv'd me.


pp. 189-190.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 03:38 PM

Verse 2, Knaves-
shoo'd


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 06:56 PM

Matthew Sabatella and Rambling String Band have their lyrics for "Old Chisholm Trail" on line.

They have a few verses I have commonly heard, but may not be in those posted so far.

Stray in the herd and the boss said to kill it,
So I shot him in the rump with the handle of a skillet.

My hoss throwed me off at the creek called Mud,
My boss throwed me off round the 2 U herd.

Last time I saw him he was going 'cross the level,
A-kicking up his heels and a-runnin' like the devil.

The wind commenced to blow and the rain began to fall,
Hit looked, by grab, that we were goin' to lose them all.

I popped my foot in the stirrup and gave a little yell,
The tail cattle broke and the leaders went as well [went to hell]

Feet in the stirrups and seat in the saddle,
I hung and rattled with them longhorn cattle.

I don't give a damn if they never do stop,
I'll ride as long as an eight-day clock.

We rounded 'em up and put 'em on the cars,
QAnd that was the last of the old Two Bars.

Goin' to the boss to get my money,
Goin' back south to see my honey.

With my hand on the horn and my seat in the sky,
I'll quit herding cows in the sweet by and by.

http://www.balladofamerica.com/music/indexes/songs/oldchisholmtrail/


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 07:00 PM

Looks like baloney to me.

No version of "Chisholm Trail" has "Knave" words, though one certainly could, in theory.

I thought Legman suggested that "A Dainty Ducke" is the ultimate progenitor of Brand's "A Guy is Guy."

That at least seems plausible, based on the repeated "honest woman" and the apparent direction of the plot.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 01:40 PM

I don't believe there is genetic relationship between the old verses and "Old Chisholm Trail", either.
Most of the mentions give no reference, and seem to be copied from some previous source, never cited.

A very simple rhyme of two lines, doesn't take a genius to re-invent it for his ditty.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 04:45 PM

I wonder how many people who sing bawdy versions (apparently the only ones still in significantly oral tradition)realize they're offshoots of "The Old Chisholm Trail."

I wonder how many have even heard of the original song.

The bawdy lyrics always go to the tune we learned in school. Lomax, however, printed three or four different tunes to the (mostly) clean words. I've seen a couple of others since.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 08:10 PM

Larkin printed two quite different tunes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 08:39 PM

IIRC, Jack Lee used another.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 01:39 PM

Abby Sale posted one of the bawdy versions from the Gordon Inferno MSS.

An extended version with some 40 verses, collected in Montana also from the Gordon MSS., 3781, was printed in Guy Logsdon's book, "The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing." It has the usual exaggerations, from the description of the girl, through the action, the cowboy suffering from clap, and on to further "adventures."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 03:25 PM

Much of the Gordon version appears to be idiosyncratic.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: GUEST,Jason Hill
Date: 18 Aug 14 - 09:34 AM

A verse I don't think anyone has mentioned yet:
I fucked her standing, I fucked her lying
If she'd had wings I'd have fucked her flying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 14 - 12:28 PM

There are a thousand and one bawdy verses (or it just seems like there are that many). Most not worth mentioning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 14 - 09:29 AM

Try again ...

'The [Old] Chisholm Trail' was one of the first radio ballads pre-dating even Ewan MacColl's.

http://research.culturalequity.org/home-radio.jsp

Lomax also chose the music for and performed in two subsequent folk song ballad opera broadcasts scripted by his wife, Elizabeth Lyttleton Harold: 'The Martins and the Coys' and 'The Chisholm Trail.'

The former is available on CD from Amazon. The latter is available here:

http://research.culturalequity.org/get-radio-detailed-show.do?showId=9

Enjoy!!

CJB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Chisholm Trail
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Aug 14 - 09:54 AM

I remember John A. Lomax singing "Buffalo Skinners" on a Library of Congress disk.

John Lomax, Jr., does a good job of "Chisholm Trail" (with *two* uncommon tunes) on the Folkways album of "The Tex-i-an Boys."

Except for the hammy alternation of tunes, I'd say that Jr.'s rendition of the song is the most realistic I've heard.

There's even one note in the refrain I don't think he quite manages to hit right.


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