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Origins: I Ride An Old Paint

DigiTrad:
GOODBYE, OLD PAINT
I RIDE AN OLD PAINT


Related threads:
I ride an old paint - houlighan? fiery & snuffy? (35)
Old Paint: What's a hoolian? (60)
Hoolian??????? (44)
old paint and goodbye old paint lyrics (3)
Lyr Req: Goodbye Old Paint (6)
Song Title please ?-I Ride an Old Paint (21)
(origins) Help: houlihan? - Old Paint (77)
Lyr Req: Riding Old Paint and Leading Old Ball (22)
Lyr Add: Rebel Soldier (cf. Old Paint) (17)


02 Nov 98 - 10:34 AM
Ralph 02 Nov 98 - 11:06 AM
Brack& 03 Nov 98 - 05:27 AM
Alice 03 Nov 98 - 10:25 AM
Barry Finn 03 Nov 98 - 09:06 PM
rich r 03 Nov 98 - 10:12 PM
BSeed 04 Nov 98 - 02:44 AM
Alice 04 Nov 98 - 01:00 PM
Ralph 05 Nov 98 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,bob 22 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM
maeve 22 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM
Brian Peters 22 Feb 08 - 12:08 PM
Mark Ross 22 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Sheila 22 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM
Amos 22 Feb 08 - 01:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Feb 08 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Sheila 22 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Feb 08 - 02:41 PM
Amos 22 Feb 08 - 02:57 PM
Slag 22 Feb 08 - 04:43 PM
Sorcha 22 Feb 08 - 05:27 PM
Artful Codger 23 Feb 08 - 01:03 AM
iancarterb 23 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM
open mike 23 Feb 08 - 02:28 AM
Amos 23 Feb 08 - 03:03 AM
open mike 23 Feb 08 - 03:19 AM
Slag 23 Feb 08 - 04:48 PM
Roberto 24 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM
Roberto 24 Feb 08 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,Guest, David Jones 24 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM
Jeri 24 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,Guest, David Jones 24 Feb 08 - 09:06 PM
Slag 24 Feb 08 - 10:45 PM
GUEST 25 Feb 08 - 05:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 08 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,lefthanded guitar 25 Feb 08 - 05:42 PM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 06:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM
johnross 25 Feb 08 - 09:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Feb 08 - 11:09 PM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 11:19 PM
GUEST 13 Sep 09 - 01:04 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 09 - 01:15 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 09 - 03:04 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 09 - 03:49 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 09 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Sep 09 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Sep 09 - 04:45 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 09 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Sep 09 - 05:43 AM
Lighter 13 Sep 09 - 10:49 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 09 - 04:31 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 09 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Gary Cundiff 13 Sep 09 - 07:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 09 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Sep 09 - 10:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM
GUEST 14 Sep 09 - 12:14 AM
Barry Finn 14 Sep 09 - 01:41 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 09 - 02:27 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 14 Sep 09 - 05:30 AM
MissouriMud 14 Sep 09 - 11:25 AM
Artful Codger 14 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 09 - 07:23 PM
Mysha 28 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM
Alice 28 Nov 09 - 10:37 PM
Alice 28 Nov 09 - 10:43 PM
Alice 28 Nov 09 - 10:45 PM
Alice 28 Nov 09 - 10:55 PM
Alice 28 Nov 09 - 11:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 09 - 02:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 09 - 02:47 PM
ard mhacha 29 Nov 09 - 04:59 PM
Alice 29 Nov 09 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Nov 09 - 06:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 09 - 08:54 PM
Lighter 30 Nov 09 - 07:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 10 - 09:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 10 - 09:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 10 - 09:51 PM
Lighter 19 Aug 10 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,CWS 15 Nov 10 - 03:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Nov 10 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,brandy 04 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jul 11 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Guest 19 Jan 12 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,santahimself 16 Jan 13 - 01:40 AM
GUEST 14 Apr 15 - 10:25 PM
Lighter 15 Apr 15 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Apr 15 - 12:49 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Apr 15 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Apr 15 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Apr 15 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,John Kidder 15 Jul 15 - 09:56 AM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM
Lighter 13 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM
Amos 13 Oct 17 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 18 - 12:28 AM
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Subject: I Ride An Old Paint
From:
Date: 02 Nov 98 - 10:34 AM

Can anyone translate the cowboy lingo of "I Ride An Old Paint?" ((What's a "dan" - Hoolihan? etc?) thanks


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Ralph
Date: 02 Nov 98 - 11:06 AM

Hi there, Hoolihan is a party, Dan is the name of the horse. "I'm riding old paint, and I'm leading old Dan. Off to Montina to through a Hoolian"

Or something like that. FYI The old cowboys might have more than one horse. A standard string (like on a roundup) might be a 12 horses. then when you are traveling, you need another horse to carry your camp gear. Sometimes it took weeks to get from place to place. So you had to carry your grub. Of course you could shoot a deer or something like that. But people still like bacon and coffee. Hard to shoot a bacon tree.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Brack&
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 05:27 AM

If you type Hoolian in the filter,go back 90 days and then hit refresh thread, you'll come up with more.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 10:25 AM

And of course it's Montana (not Montina...I'm sure Ralph didn't mean that).

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Barry Finn
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 09:06 PM

Alice, I think Ralph was stuck between a rock & a hard place. You choose "I'm going to Montana to a throw the Hoolian-a". I'm sure he meant to slight none. Barry


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: rich r
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 10:12 PM

While "Paint" can be interpreted as a horse's name, more broadly it refers to a type of horse. A paint horse typically has a base color with splashes of white. A related name ''pinto" is derived from a Spanish word that means spotted or blothched with colors. Jim Bob Tinsley lists several other names for this kind of horse, Indian Pony, circus horse, skewball, calico horse and piebald. The last one was restricted to those with black as the background color. Tinsley also says the word "hoolihan" refers to bulldogging which bacame a regular rodeo sport aaround 1900. So the song could mean that the cowboy got on his paint horse and headed to Montana to take part in cowboy skills sports. There is a similar word "hoo-ley-ann" that is a roping term used for a quick thow with a small loop. Tinsley adds that hoolihan also means to "hell around in town or 'paint it red'". In some collected versions the cowboy leads "an old dam" which could be 'Old Dan's mother. Get out Old Dan's mother?

rich r


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: BSeed
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 02:44 AM

I was under the impression that the "old dan" was a pack mule: I don't know if I read that somewhere or simply interpreted it that way. It makes sense to me--it's clearly not the name of an animal but a kind of animal. --seed


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 01:00 PM

To complicate this more... there are other related songs, one called "Old Paint" (I have an old © 1934 cowboy song book with this) and also "Leavin Cheyenne". Old Paint and Dan are the names of the horses ( I've found, sometimes Dan changed to Fan) although paint refers to a type of horse's markings, as rich described. Many versions I have found capitalize Paint and Dan as proper nouns (names). Whether Old Paint is the name OR the horse is just an old paint, depends on whether you are singing "I ride an old paint" or "I'm ridin Old Paint".

In the song "Old Paint", the lyrics are simply, "Good bye, Old Paint, I'm leavin Cheyenne, I'm off to Montan', good bye, Old Paint," etc.

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Ralph
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 03:14 PM

Somebody needs a spelling ckecker. (Blush) Montana I'll write it a hundred times.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,bob
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM

can someone post the right lyrics without any spelling mistakes


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: maeve
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM

DigiTrad link is already at the top of this page. Good song.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 12:08 PM

Anyone heard Jeff Davis' version? Terrific!


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Mark Ross
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM

A Hoolihan is a loop thrown backwards, clockwise, with minimal twirling, for catching your horse without scaring the other animals.
"I lead an old DAM(a mare)".

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM

This is the melody I learned for this song:
Key of C
Time:3/4

My horses ain't hungry, they won't eat your hay"
C/ECC/AGG/ACC/E-C/ECC/AGG/ACD/C.

The refrain:"Goodbye old paint, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne"
A/G-A/C-AA/GED/C--

It's very different from the midi in the Digitrad.
Any explanations?

Thanks.

Sheila


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 01:57 PM

The big explanation is that these are two different songs. One is "I Ride an Old Paint" and the other is "Goodbye, Old Paint",

A


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 02:39 PM

Amos is correct, there are two songs. See previous threads.

Mark Ross repeats the mistake- two words confused:

Hoolihan- a celebration, a big event; see Help-Hoolihan Old Paint, linked at top.

Hooley-ann (hooliann)- The rope maneuver. Several spellings.

This has been gone over before. See
Thread 4070: Hoolihan

Guest bob, nuthin' wrong - spellin' jest fine.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM

Oh. Thanks Amos. Still, the melody is different.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 02:41 PM

Ignore my abortive link- All threads linked at top of page.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 02:57 PM

I guess "Old Dam" makes sense, semantically, but I have sung this for decades as "...leadin' Old Dan", so I feel I am stuck with it. :D


A


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Slag
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 04:43 PM

Old Dan (the Devil) was often the sturborn pack mule. I believe the mules outnumbered the horses in the Old West.   When broke to the saddle they could out run a horse ( though not out-turn ) and their endurance was better than a horse and more sure-footed. As someone posted above, if somebody was traveling to new digs your grub and gear had to travel on several animals and if you well off enough to own a wagon (which was a rough go where no roads existed) you still had to have a team and alternate animals.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Sorcha
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 05:27 PM

Dan....sometimes alternate spelling for 'dun'....a colour.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 01:03 AM

To avoid propagating yet more misinformation, it would be better to discontinue this thread and revive one of the older ones, where more reliable information on the history and terminology of this song has already been posted, rather extensively.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: iancarterb
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM

For the express purpose of propogating yet more misinformation, I offer this version which evolved from years of commuting up a long hill at the end of the trip TO work (I was thankful for the downhill to the ferry at the day's end).

I ride an old bike, I eat tofu and bran.
I'm a crusty old geezer by the name of Bannerman.
My hair is unruly, I scoff at the law.
I sleep in a shed on a bag full of straw.
Ride around, dodgin' doggies, I ride up hills slow,
But I'm wiry and I'm pithy, and I'm rarin' to go.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: open mike
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 02:28 AM

in the song "Cool Water" the singer says "keep a movin' Dan..."
is he (she) singin' to a horse or mule then?!


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 03:03 AM

Well, he could be singing to a mule, a horse, a neighbor or his wife. Possibly his male tackle. I dunno. More data required.

A


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: open mike
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 03:19 AM

here is the cool water thread...
http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=1332


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Slag
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 04:48 PM

"... Old Dan and I with throats burned dry..."
"Keep a movin' Dan, doncha listen to him, Dan. He's the devil, not a man and he spreads the burning sand with water..."

I've got to believe, in this case, Dan is his pack animal. Of course the mirage of water on the horizon is the Devil's lie, tempting the thirsting to run toward it.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Roberto
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM

Brian Peters writes about a Jeff Davies recording of I Ride An Old Paint: on which album, LP or CD? Thanks. R


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Roberto
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 03:26 AM

Sorry, Jeff Davis, not Jeff Davies. R


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Guest, David Jones
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM

"Ride An Old Paint" and "Goodbye Old Paint" are both fabulous songs. For the ultimate version of 'Goodbye Old Paint ' get the only CD ever made by the late, great Tom Gibney. Can probably be got from Folk Legacy. I think Burl Ives was the first I ever heard sing "Ride An Old Paint".

David Jones


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Jeri
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM

David, I can't find it at Folk Legacy. Camsco may have the CD, and it's available from CD Babay


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Guest, David Jones
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 09:06 PM

Thanks Jeri, come to think of it, Camsco does have the Tom Gibney CD.
David Jones


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Slag
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 10:45 PM

I may be far afield but did the Sons of the Pioneers do a fairly early version?


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:16 PM

I have been singing this song for years, without knowing what half of it means.

I am preferring to think the "lead an old Dan" is an old burro, just sorta makes sense. I'm not arguing about the hoolihan.

But what are the coolies and the draw??? (where the fire and the water is)


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:36 PM

I always thought of it of a man with a cloak flaring out behind him(like Batman) astride a tin of Dulux Brilliant White Emulsion that was streaking through the stars of the galaxy like a rocket.

has anyone entertained similar thoughts?


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,lefthanded guitar
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:42 PM

Ah...no. But that doesn't mean you are wrong there wld.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:51 PM

They water in the coolies, they water in the draw....

These are terrain features; it means that dogies will run around anywhere they can to get water while on the trail. A draw is a widening rift between higher hills or mesas (cf "Ghost Riders" riding down a cloudy draw). I always thought a cooly was a corruption of an Irish word meaning a small dry creekbed or some such, but I cannot find any reference for it now.


A


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM

Usually spelled coulee- Canadian French, a small stream or ravine, often dry in thedry season.
From the French word couler, to flow. Brought into the western and northern states by trappers and mountain men and later picked up by cowboys who drove herds to the Dakotas and western Canada.


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: johnross
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:08 PM

Coulee is indeed a ravine or a gultch. Grand Coulee was a large one on the Columbia River in Washington State where the Grand Coulee Dam was placed--and about which Woody Guthrie wrote at least one song.

"Fiery and snuffy" are lightning and thunder.

The whole thing makes some kind of sense as a night herding song. During the great cattle drives, two cowboys would slowly ride around the herd all night (one in each direction) to guard against rustlers and coyotes. To keep from spooking the somewhat nervous cattle, each cowboy would sing continuosly but quietly. And because that's what they knew, the cowboys would make up songs about being cowboys: "I ride an old paint, I lead an old dan, I'm goin' to Montana to throw the houlihan" and so forth.

I'm finding two versions of the third verse: is it "Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song; One went to Denver and the other went wrong." or "Old Bill Jones had a daughter and a son; one went ..."?


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:09 PM

Understanding these songs, I guess, depends on where one was raised. We used to sing this song, and other western songs in school, and I can't remember ever not knowing the meaning of the words. School mates included some from the farms,ranches and sheep ranges.

Of course, Old Dan is ambiguous; I tend to think of him as a pack animal, as mentioned above.
He could be a horse, donkey or mule, but I doubt that a burro, Equus asinus (under BLM management, there is an adoption program), a small creature originally from Africa and brought by the Spaniards, could have been of much use. They were ideal for small farmers, prospectors, vendors in town selling piñon wood, etc. because of their hardiness.
I bought one for 50 cents when I was in grade school- my parents were most upset when I brought it home.

Some people call a small donkey a burro, but as a New Mexican, I object!


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:19 PM

I've always envisioned Dan as a pack horse. They were sloggers, and weight bearers, a different sort of steed altogether than a good cutting horse or cow-pony.

Thanks for the clarification on coulee--something I had once known and plumb fergot! :D

A


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Subject: RE: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 01:04 AM

In Montana (the northwest) the word is houihan -- in the Southwest, esp AZ, it is Hooley-ann. It is a loop used when roping horses - I have seen it thrown many times. The rope is not swung around and around 0 that would scare the horses - it is usually swung once and thrown and a good cowboy doesn't miss.

I Coulee and a draw is about the same thing.

From my great-grandfather, I learned to sing "I'm ridin' Old Paint, I'm leadin' Old Dan . . and Dan was a pack horse.

This song is about going to Montana to rope wild horses - yet some confuse it with gathering cattle. The word houlihan is the key word. That loop is for horses.

"Little dogies" has been added to this song -- it doesn't belong in it. Prob confused with another song.


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Subject: RE: I ride an old paint
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 01:15 AM

Firey and snuffy means they are spooky and will easily stampede - because they are wild


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Subject: ADD Version: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 03:04 AM

I don't really like the version that's in the Digital Tradition. The phrase "I'm leadin' old Dan" really bothers me, and I haven't found it in any other version. What I sing is a composite of what I've found in a variety of songbooks:

I RIDE AN OLD PAINT

I ride an old Paint, I lead an old Dan
I'm goin' to Montana for to throw the hoolian.
They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.

CHORUS:
Ride around, little dogies, ride around them slow,
For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.

Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song,
One went to Denver, and the other went wrong.
His wife, she died in a poolroom fight
But still he keeps singing from morning to night:
CHORUS

Oh, when I die, take my saddle from the wall
Put it on my pony, lead him out of his stall;
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.
CHORUS

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

    I Ride an Old Paint

    DESCRIPTION: "I ride an old paint, I lead an old Dan/dam... Ride around, little dogies, ride around 'em slow...." Verses on various topics: The cowboy's travels, the strayed children of Old Bill Jones, the cowboy's hopes for his funeral
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
    KEYWORDS: cowboy horse rambling funeral children
    FOUND IN: US(SW)
    REFERENCES (9 citations):
    Larkin, pp. 33-35, "I Ride an Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lomax-FSUSA 63(B), "Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Sandburg, pp. 12-13, "I Ride an Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Scott-BoA, pp. 260-261, "I Ride an Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 857-858, "I Ride an Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Tinsley, pp. 126-129, "I Ride an Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    PSeeger-AFB, p. 25, "I Ride An Old Paint" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 106, "I Ride An Old Paint" (1 text)
    DT, RIDEPNT*

    Roud #915
    RECORDINGS:
    Almanac Singers, "I Ride an Old Paint" (General 5020B, 1941; on Almanac01, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
    Harry Jackson, "I Ride an Old Paint" (on HJackson1)
    Tex Ritter, "A-Ridin' Old Paint" (Conqueror 8144, 1933; on BackSaddle)
    Pete Seeger, "I Ride an Old Paint" (on PeteSeeger17)

    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Goodbye, Old Paint"
    File: LxU063B

    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: ADD Version: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 03:49 AM

Here's the version from Sandburg's American Songbag


I RIDE AN OLD PAINT

I ride an old Paint, I lead an old Dan
I'm goin' to Montan' for to throw the hoolian.
They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.
    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.

Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song,
One went to Denver and the other went wrong.
His wife she died in a poolroom fight,
Still he sings from mornin' till night:
    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.

Oh, when I die, take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on my pony, lead him out of his stall.
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the West,
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.
    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.


Source: Carl Sandburg, American Songbag (1927), pp. 12-13


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Subject: ADD Version: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 03:58 AM

I thought I'd also post the version from Pete Seeger's American Favorite Ballads, since the Bill Jones family history is significantly different:

I RIDE AN OLD PAINT

I ride an old Paint, and I lead an old Dan
I'm goin' to Montana to throw the hoolian.
They feed 'em in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.

    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are raring to go.

Old Bill Jones had a daughters and a son,
Son went to college and the daughter went wrong.
His wife got killed in a poolroom fight,
Still he keeps singing from morning till night:
    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.

When I die, take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on to my pony, lead him out of his stall.
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west,
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.
    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around them slow,
    For the fiery and snuffy are rarin' to go.


Source: Pete Seeger American Favorite Ballads (1961), page 25
This same version is also in Fred & Irwin Silver's Folksinger's Wordbook (1973), p. 106.


I checked Larkin, Lomax, and Scott, which are essentially the same as the Sandburg version. I found nothing different enough to bother posting, and nothing earlier than Sandburg (1927). Seeger says Sandburg got his version from Larkin, but I think Seeger may be wrong because Larkin's book was published in 1931.

One thing: in Ballad of America (1966), pp. 260-261, John Anthony Scott has the first line as:
    I ride an old paint, I lead an old dam.
Same in Larkin, pp. 33-35, "I Ride an Old Paint"


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 04:29 AM

I've always used the "son" one - I am sure I got it from Carl S's book....I like the humor of that line.

For the closing I have also used, "together we'll ranble the the land we love the best." No idea where that came from - just the way I've known it.

Burl Ives - Song In America p.210 has,

"Lead out my pony, lead him out of his stall,
Tie my bones to the saddle, turn his face toward the West."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

I don't like the flow of Seegar's " Put it on to my pony, lead him out of his stall," awkward like a finger pickin lick hic-cough...


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 04:45 AM

The song is conspicuously "absent" out of several hundred various songs from Lomax and Lomax revised 1938 (1910) Cowboy Songs and other frontier ballads

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: ADD Version: Old Paint
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 04:55 AM

I noticed that, too, Garg. I thought "I Ride an Old Paint" and "Goodbye, Old Paint" were two different songs, but then I came across a combination - from the Lomaxes, 1934.


OLD PAINT

My foot in the stirrup, my pony won't stan',
I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne, I'm off for Montan'.

Chorus:
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne,
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.*

I'm a-ridin' old Paint, I'm a-leadin' old Fan,
Good-by, little Annie, I'm off for Cheyenne.

Old Paint's a good pony, he paces when he can,
Good morning, young lady, my hosses won't stand.

Oh, hitch up your hosses and feed 'em some hay,
And seat yourself by me, as long as you stay.

My hosses ain't hungry, they'll not eat your hay,
My wagon is loaded and rolling away.

I am a-riding old Paint, I am a-leading old Dan,
I'm goin' to Montan' for to throw the hoolihan.

They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.

Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song:
One went to Denver, and the other went wrong.

His wife she died in a pool-room fight,
And still he sings from morning to night.

Oh, when I die, take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on my pony, lead him from the stall.

Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west,
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.


*To be repeated until one thinks of more words or the waltz stops.


Notes:
    Boothe Merrill, a friend of college days, gave me this song in 1910, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we were attending the great Frontier Days celebration.

Source: John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), page 383-385.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 05:43 AM

That is a wonderful reference source - never used it before - and the music score prints well.

The words are there - and so is the meter - but the melody/tune - is not the one I associate with either song. (the DT is closer)

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 10:49 AM

If the song is about roping horses, then "Doney" (the mount's name)is right and not "dogies."


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 04:31 PM

Sandburg- I lead an old Dan
Larkin- I lead an old dam

Sandburg- hoolian
Larkin- houlihan

Sandburg says he obtained the song from Larkin and Lynn Riggs (writer and playright;'Linn', a mistake in Sandburg). Larkin was a frequent visitor to Santa Fe, and Lynn Riggs lived there for several years, the latter as a member of the artist-writer 'colony' there. Lynn Riggs was the son of a cattleman, part Indian, and knew the range as a boy. Sandburg was not part of the group, but he was a visitor. He could easily have obtained the song before Larkin published her book in 1931.

I agree that 'I lead an old Dan (or an old dam)' is better than 'leadin'. 'Leadin' is often sung, why I don't know.

...two daughters and a son (Gargoyle) I like better than 'song,' but it doesn't rhyme with 'wrong'.

And who was this 'buckaroo' that gave the song to Larkin and Riggs in Santa Fe? ("heading for the Border, .... Tucson or El Paso," many miles apart, as Sandburg writes)? I would guess that he was more than just a wandering cowboy- I would guess that he was Lynn Riggs himself!.


Larkin published "houlihan;" I wonder if that isn't a misprint - however, the Santa Fe 'Colony' was noted for throwing the houlihan, their partys known far and wide, attracting members of the Taos 'Colony' like D. H. Lawrence and others in the Mabel Dodge Luhan coterie! It could have been used by Linn Riggs and picked up by Larkin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM

A few years ago, standing in a checkout line, I was singing I Ride an Old Paint, and smoothly shifted gears (pardon the pun) and started singing:

I drive an old Pinto, gone long in the tooth
Known by every mechanic from here to Duluth

And a new song was born.

I was driving a baby blue Pinto station wagon at the time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:13 PM

Does anyone have access to-
Lynn Riggs, 1932, editor, "Cowboy Songs, Folk Songs and Ballads"?

Some of Lynn Riggs poetry of the West appears in collections; one from Univ. New Mexico Press, 1950.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Gary Cundiff
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 07:21 PM

From Lynn Riggs "Cowboy Songs, Folk Songs and Ballads from Green Grow The Lilacs" 1932:

OLD PAINT

My feet are in the stirrups, my bridle's in my hand,
Good-bye, my little dony - my pony won't stand.

CHORUS
Good-bye, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.
Good-bye, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.
I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne, I'm off for Montan',
Good-bye, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne,
Good-bye, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.

Old Paint's a good pony, he paces when he can.
Good-bye, my little Annie - my pony won't stand.

(CHORUS)

My horses ain't hungry - they won't eat your hay.
My wagon is loaded and a-rollin' on its way.

(CHORUS again, repeating its last line.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for posting his version of "Goodbye, Old Paint," but not the book and not the poem "I Ride an Old Paint."

The collection is listed among his publications in "The Lynn Riggs Memorial," website of the Lynn Riggs Memorial, Claremore, Oklahoma:
Riggs Memorial

I don't know the contents of the collection; some of his publications are very scarce and this seems to be one of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 10:52 PM

Bill Jones only had one daughter and one son.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM

hg, that would tighten it up a bit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 12:14 AM

To: hg

Re: your verse...and TWO

The rendering I know is...

Bill Jones had A daughter...he also had A son...

Somewhere between, Carl S, Lomax, Ives and New Mexico...(or drunken confusion).... it was picked up my me in the late 1960's ...but it fits a horse pace better.

There is a lead step on a horse...and the other three...just follow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 01:41 AM

Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
    Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
    Good-bye, my little Dony, my pony won't stand.

    (Refrain sung after every verse:)

    Old Paint, old Paint, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne.
    Good-bye, old Paint, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne.
    Old Paint's a good pony, she paces when she can.

    In the middle of the ocean, there grows a green tree,
    But I'll never prove false to the girl that loves me.

    Oh, we spread down the blanket on the green, grassy ground,
    And the horses and cattle were a-grazing all 'round.

    Oh, the last time I saw her, it was late in the fall,
    She was riding old Paint, and a-leadin' old Ball.

    Old Paint had a colt down on the Rio Grande,
    And the colt couldn't pace and they named it Cheyenne.

    For my feet's in the stirrups, my bridle's in my hand,
    Good-bye my little dony, my pony won't stand.

    Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
    Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
    Good-bye, my little Dony, my pony won't stand.

From this Old Paint thread

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 02:27 AM

Barry, I think that's a fairly common version of "Goodbye, Old Paint." Notice that it doesn't have anything in common with "I Ride an Old Paint" except the horse, Old Paint.
The Lomax version is a blending of the two songs.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 05:30 AM

I can only echo the enthusiasm for the superb Jeff Davis version.
Has anyone heard the same song by 'Cowboy Nation'?...the lead singer has one of the deepest voices I've heard...check out also their version of 'The Alamo'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: MissouriMud
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 11:25 AM

I thought doney was a reference to a woman (from the Spanish dona)not a horse.

I am very familiar a number of versions of Good Bye Old Paint and I Ride an Old Paint but I always have persistent questions- including:

1. Often the first verse of Good Bye Old Paint has three lines in it, repeating the first line (For example Fare well fair ladies I'm leaving Cheyenne, Fare well fair Ladies I'm leaving Cheyenne, Good Bye my little doney my poney wont stand) - while the subsequent verses only have two lines. Its almost like an introductiry line to the song that is never repeated again. I have heard this on some very old recordings. Any logical explanation or is that just the way it is?

2. I'm not quite sure where and when the "my horses aint hungry" verses entered the picture - Ive always figured they are floating verses that may have come from Wagoners Lad and got tagged on to to either of the Paint songs because they had the right rhythm and sounded cowboyish.   Is there any indication that they were really part of the songs back when real cowboys may have sung them in a night herding or other setting (I dont know if Good Bye Old Paint was a night herding song) - it is certainly conceivable as cowboys tended to borrow verses from all over and tried to make their songs last as long as possible so there is an incredible amount of "cross pollenization" of verses in their songs. However, the fact that versions that use the My horses aint hungry lines sometimes use the tune of the Wagoners Lad for the tune to the Old Paint song they are wonder.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM

Only a handful of cowboy songs that I've seen have introductory bits that are never repeated (for example, "Doney Gal"). Far more commonly, printed texts just omit obvious repetitions beyond the first or second verse. This can lead some folks to interpret the printed text too literally.

"Tune" is a protean concept in the world of cowboy songs. I've seen tunes to this song which only have two lines or which repeat one line of each couplet or which use an invariant third line. Nor can we say for certain whether singers were consistent about their repetitions. Cowboys often sang a set of words to any tune they knew that would match them--or that they improvised to fit. Some would half-sing, half-recite; the less gifted might just use the words as a recitation. Things weren't as set as we imagine them nowadays.

When I sing it, I combine two separate (but still related) tunes, one with just two lines, the other with an invariant third line--helps avoid monotony and allows others to join in at the end.

This song is one which must've had tons of verses over the years, many of them floating. Lacking a clear narrative line, it just begs for improvisation and borrowing. Some versions provide a little more context for the "horses ain't hungry" couplet. Consider these from Tinsley:

With my feet in the stirrups, my bridle in my hand;
Good-bye, Little Annie, I'm off for Cheyenne.
...
Oh hitch up your horses and feed 'em some hay,
And seat yourself by me so long as you stay.

My horses ain't hungry, they'll not eat your hay;
My wagon is loaded and rolling away.


But this is getting a bit far afield from "I Ride an Old Paint", which seems to be a relatively late offshoot of GOP set in a single form with only minor variation in either wording or tune. Maybe one of the GOP threads would be a better choice to continue such digressions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:23 PM

About half the rank, bad attitude, dun colored horses I ever met were named "Dan". Just thought I'd toss that in.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Mysha
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM

Hi,

Having learned this one before being taught English, I hear it as:
"I'm leaving ol' Den".
I didn't know the two daughters version, but if Bill Jones lived close enough to Denver that one of his daughters would go there leaving home, that would sort of fit, I guess, except:
I don't know about cowboy history; would it make sense for a cowboy, or maybe a former farmer, to travel from Denver to Montana to go work with horses?

Other than that:
* I don't think he's travelling to Montana to party. If his target was for partying, I would expect it to be a specific city or town.
* I agree the "they" are horses, not dogies. Cows, after all, have tails that are mostly skin; their tails wouldn't get all matted. Horses, however, have tails that are mostly made of hair. Their tails would indeed get matted on a long and hard journey, unless taken good care of.
If their backs also get raw, does that mean "they" are the horses that carried the riders and packs? Or would that fit for wagon horses as well (assuming those two verses started their live together)?

And then: When did pool rooms start? (Pool rooms with fighting, to be precise?)

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:37 PM

Hi, Mysha,

No one here refers to Denver as 'Den'.

The horse's name is Dan. "I'm leading old Dan."

Yes, the backs of the horses were raw.

Cowboys liked to have a good time, too! Hard work deserved time off, but regarding "houlihan"...

To "throw a houlihan" is a kind of rope throw.

(From numerous descriptions on the 'net, including some Montana sources):

The houlihan is swung counter clock wise, opposite a traditional loop, and opened at the throw with the flick of an agile wrist. It was not an easy throw and required years of practice to perfect.
www.montanasilversmiths.com/page-thehoulihan.aspx

To throw the houlihan ... And I'm a-goin' to Montana to throw the houlihan. ... *The houlihan is a one-swing flip shot at a calf traveling in front of you from left to right. With the calf at about 90 degrees to your horse, throw as the calf passes your horse's ears.
www.ramshornstudio.com/trail_rides.htm

When your horse is moving from your left to right, you will want to throw a houlihan shot. The houlihan shot is basically a right hand man throwing a left hand loop.

Coulee is a very, very common term in Montana, as they are part of the geography... as are draws. They do not always have a creek running through them. I usually think of coulees as dry coulees, but sometimes they do have a creek (stream of water) often pronounced "crick".

I'll look for some images to link.

Hope that helps.



Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:43 PM

Also, dogies are not dogs... they are young cattle, usually a motherless calf. It is pronounced with a long "o", not like doggie with a short "o".

I should have said the backs of the cattle are raw.. (not the horses).

Cattle do have tails that get matted.



Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:45 PM

From an online dictionary:

In Western Words Ramon F. Adams gives one possible etymology for dogie, whose origin is unknown. During the 1880s, when a series of harsh winters left large numbers of orphaned calves, the little calves, weaned too early, were unable to digest coarse range grass, and their swollen bellies "very much resembled a batch of sourdough carried in a sack." Such a calf was referred to as dough-guts. The term, altered to dogie according to Adams, "has been used ever since throughout cattleland to refer to a pot-gutted orphan calf." Another possibility is that dogie is an alteration of Spanish dogal, "lariat."


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:55 PM

Here is an illustration of a houlihan shot (rope throw).

A houlihan roper, sculpture, (read the description).


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 11:17 PM

photo, digging for dinosaur fossils in a Montana coulee

Coulees are grooves dug in the landscape. They can be very deep or relatively shallow, with or without water. A draw is usually describing a shallow geographic feature, like a coulee, but not usually as deep as one would think of a coulee, more like a depression in the terrain where a stream would course. In Montana, we have an area called the Missouri Breaks. The landscape is broken into ravines, coulees, gullies, draws... a wilderness area that is rugged terrain.
photo, click here


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 02:36 PM

Hooley-ann, hoolian and houlihan must be the most discussed words in mudcat.
Originally the rope-throw was hooley-ann or houlian. The rodeo term (and party term) was houlihan.
Alice shows how terms change as original meanings or applications are changed, at least in her region (Montana), and perhaps houlihan is becoming the word applied for the rope throw generally.

Here are definitions with source given.
hoolihan the act of leaping forward and alighting on the horns of a steer in order to knock the steer down. Jules Verne Allen, 1933, Cowboy Lore; Ramon F. Adams, 1944, Western Words.
Adams adds: "Also to throw a big time in town- to paint the town red."

hooley-ann (hoolian) a roping term, the throw used to to rope horses (and also to catch calves out of a bunch). [The loop is first thrown backward, it is a backhand loop but the rider rolls his wrist and the loop rolls over and flattens out]. Adams says the loop could be thrown thirty feet; it "is a fast loop and is strictly a head catch, being especially used to catch horses in a corral." Ramon F. Adams, 1936, Cowboy Lingo and Western Words, 1944.
It is thrown "with a rather small loop and has the additional virtue of landing with the honda sliding down the rope, taking up the slack as it goes (W. M. French, 1940, Ropes and Roping, Cattleman, XXVI, No. 12, 17-30; quoted in Adams).   

Dogie. From dogal, the vaquero term for a motherless calf. Donald Chavez y Gilbert, Cowboys - Vaqueros, Origins of the first American Cowboys. Chapter 9, Vaquero/Cowboy Lingo.
Cowboys vaqueros
An invaluable source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 02:47 PM

Vaquero/Cowboy Lingo is now chapter 11 in Chavez y Gilbert; the material has been revised.

honda from Spanish hondo, cowboy term for "the hole or slip ring end of the rope used to catch the animal." Cowboys - Vaqueros
In Spanish, hondo is a deep place like a deep arroyo.

Sorry for the extra italics, but no charge.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 04:59 PM

My favourite version sung by the great Woody Guthrie,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcHYOlGbe7Y


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Alice
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 05:15 PM

This documentary film might be of interest to fans of this song.

Title HOULIHAN
Cowboys and Buckaroos of Montana and Wyoming
part of a series of documentary DVDs on cowboys which includes THE REMUDA, Nevada and Oregon Buckaroos and Cowboys and TAPADERO, California vaqueros.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 06:30 PM

Sorry, but the last time I checked there was no credible evidence that "dogal" was ever used in Mexican or any other kind of Spanish to mean "dogie."

The supposed derivation seems to be based on nothing but a superficial resemblance between the two words and a connection with ropes. This is undoubtedly coincidental

What is required is some Spanish examples of "dogal" that plainly mean "dogie."

When I looked into this a few years ago, I came up with nothing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:54 PM

Can't find in written citations except that of Chavez y Gilbert, but "dogal" for a stray calf is used by Hispanic cowboys in New Mexico. Chavez y Gilbert is reporting usage. It also means a nose halter. These usages may be local; elsewhere it means a neck halter or a hangman's noose. In a common phrase, it means to be in a tight spot.
I don't know the truth of it, but I tend to stick with Chavez.

Ramon F. Adams says that there has, "in recent years, been some controversy over its origin."


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 07:56 PM

Q, with all due respect. I believe that the writer is merely asserting an origin, not "reporting usage."

Will cheerfully apopologize if I'm wrong.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 09:10 PM

Dogal is in use by Hispanic cowboys in New Mexico. I can't find written verification, but I have heard it used as Chavez y Gilbert states.

The Spanish usage with regard to animals is as a halter, but an old usage is for a slip-knot or lasso- ".....se forma un lazo para atar las caballerias por el cuello." Diccionario de la Lengua Española, Real Academia Española.
Colonial Spanish has largely disappeared in New Mexico, but it was predominant among Hispanics in northern New Mexico until about WW2, when there were many changes to New Mexican Hispanic lifestyles.

A dogie, or motherless calf, was lassoed and branded by whoever found it. It is not a big step from dogal, defined as a lasso, to dogal, a motherless calf caught by a "new owner."


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 09:45 PM

Dale Jarman also derives dogie from dogal ("....presents the most convincing etymology"). Vocabulario Vaquero-Cowboy Talk, 2004, Robert N. Smead, Univ. Oklakoma Press.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 09:51 PM

Owen Wister derived the term dogie from doga, meaning "trifling stock." This also from Smead; I don't have the citation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 10:21 PM

I don't doubt your personal experience, Q, but is there even a single written citation from a 19th or even early 20th Century source to back up the etymological claims? I've learned not to take any such claim like on faith because there's too great a likelihood of wishful thinking.

Vocabulario Vaquero admits that no real citations exist and has to resort to a string of undocumented maybes to account for the change in meaning.

It would only take a couple of 19th Century Southwestern examples to cinch the case, or even one if it's early enough and clear enough. An earlier ex. from Spain might even do it. But with none at all, the etymology is pure speculation.

Not that I endorse it, but a derivation from English "doggie" makes at least as much sense. A doggie isn't a calf, but a rope, knot, or halter isn't either. And the only sound difference between "doggie" and "dogie" is a minor change in the central vowel.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,CWS
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 03:30 PM

Many of the responses seem to assume that there is a "right" version of this song (and, of course, it happens to be the one the responder knows). Cowboy songs, like all ballads, were transmitted orally, with changes that came from mishearing, misremembering and deliberately modifying the version heard. It may very well be "I ride an old paint," but it might have been "I'm ride'n Old Paint," and it is likely that it was "I'm leading old Dan." This makes sense, and "I lead an old dan" does not. I prefer "I'm" in all three clauses (including "I'm goin' to Montana") because the parallelism makes the best sense. The explanation that "hoolihan" was roping technique is backed up by authorities on cowboy jargon. If one doesn't know that, one might think that it refers to going on a "bender"--but that would be a reason to go to a city, not a state. ("Hooligan," which has nothing to do with this discussion, didn't come from Russia, but was borrowed into Russian from English according to the "Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology," but it is said to be of unknown origin by Hoad. I like the idea that "fiery" and "snuffy" refer to the emotional state of the cattle. Again, it makes sense out of nonsense. We expect even the language of Shakespeare's plays to make sense, and scholars do assume that errors were made by transcribers and editors, and they do change the text.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 08:54 PM

"I Ride an Old Paint," as noted in posts above, seems to be a young offshoot of "Goodbye, Old Paint."
The two original printings are in Sandburg (1927) and Larkin (1931); Sandburg has "throw the hoolian." Larkin has "throw the hoolihan," possibly a mistake. Sandburg says "This arrangement is from a song made known by Margaret Larkin......and by Lynn Riggs, poet and playwright.....," so the source is the same.
Sandburg says "this song came to them in Santa Fe from a buckaroo who was last heart of as heading for the Border with friends in both Tucson and El Paso."
I think that "buckaroo" was Riggs, and Sandburg's remark was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Riggs, who, incidentally, was raised on his family's cattle ranch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,brandy
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM

When I was growing up long ago and working cattle a bit to hoolihan a cow or steer that was unruly meant to reach down ,grab its tail and try to topple it. May only have been a local meaning though. (ND and MT)


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 01:26 PM

Thanks, Brandy. Usage sometimes departs from the explanations given in Adams, "Western Words," and other glossaries.
Larkin and Sandburg, who were the first to print the song, already differed (hoolian and hoolihan); both, I think guessing at the anon. composer's words (Lynn Riggs?).

Your definition is close to Adams for 'hoolihan,' which is to leap forward and alight on the horns of a steer in bulldogging and to knock it down (now barred at most rodeos).
Doing it by the tail is new to me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:12 PM

I came to this site because I was trying to figure out the meaning of "the fiery and snuffy are raring to go." After looking over the various posts and thinking about what seems logical to me, this is the conclusion I reached.

An old Paint refers to a pinto type horse, and an old Dan could be a dun but is definitely a pack horse or mule, since it is being led. The hoolihan or hoolian is a rope throw since going to Montana to rope wild horses certainly makes sense in context of a cowboy's life. "They" then refers to the wild horses. The dogies are being enjoined to ride around the wild horses slow so as not to spook them when they are being rounded up, because they are "fiery and snuffy" and liable to stampede (only one contributor I saw came up with this as a solution or indeed said anything at all about what this meant - sounds good to me).


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,santahimself
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 01:40 AM

the hoolihan (spell it as you will) was the th
.
rown rope.
"Fiery" & "snuffy" were branding tools.

This is from my memory of Art
Thieme explaining and singing
the song.
I hope somebody can find a recording o f Art, perhaps from a cassette made by Peter Steinberg @ the No Exit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 15 - 10:25 PM

Funny. I always thought of Old Dan as being his favourite horse, but he was riding an old pinto because Dan was tired.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 07:11 AM

Dan is also the horse (or is it a mule?) featured in Bob Nolan's scary-as-hell "Cool Water" (1936).


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 12:49 PM

Stephen Wade's excellent book _The Beautiful Music All Around Us_ has a whole chapter on "Old Paint," and describes at length what we know about how Jess Morris heard it from Charley Willis in the 1800s.

Morris sings it at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyhbVO8cQI


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 12:52 PM

My ol' Dad, who, in his youth was a working cowboy, told me that the line was "They're firey and snuffy" . Works for me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 01:13 PM

Someone asked why the first verse has AAB lyrics. My understanding is that it's because so many people have been deriving the song ultimately from a particular recording by Jess Morris, and Morris learned the song from a black guy who apparently used AAB lyrics, and a "mixed approach," using stanzas with different rhyme schemes in the same song, such as AAB stanzas with AB stanzas, or AAB stanzas with AAAB stanzas, was downright ordinary among folk musicians born before about 1900. It was the people who made the books who would often artificially "straighten" that "mixed approach" out.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 01:17 PM

"rhyme schemes" Rhyme schemes?! I don't mean rhyme schemes at all, I mean schemes for repetition of lines, so an AAAB would be like this, e.g.:

Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
Farewell, fair ladies, I'm a-leaving Cheyenne,
Goodbye, my little doney, my pony won't stand.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST,John Kidder
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 09:56 AM

Me too, in my youth a working cowboy, the line is "they're firey and snuffy", meaning they're jumpy, ready to run, hard to hold, just keep going 'round them, slow and easy, 'til they settle and bed down.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM

CWS said,
. . . it might have been "I'm ride'n Old Paint," and it is likely that it was "I'm leading old Dan." This makes sense, and "I lead an old dan" does not.

I believe it's just the other way around: "I ride an old paint" "I lead an old dan" makes sense, but "I'm ridin' old Paint" "I'm leadin' old Dan" does not. It's like my saying, years ago, "I drive an old Beetle and I haul stuff with an ancient International," to put it into a (relatively) modern life setting. To fit it to this tune and get rid of the capitalized trade names,
"Well, I drive a German SEE-dan
Fer when I haul, I got a truck
But I'm driving down to Sady's
To get myself a..."

Ohh, ah. . . Well, I'll just let that go.

Anyway, I didn't drive "old Charlie" and haul with "old Bessie," because those personifications are neither necessary nor appropriate to how the respective vehicles fit into my life.

Now, say if the riding pony in the song were specified as "Charlie", then you might be right about likelihood, because Charlie is definitely a name, but, as has been said at various times in this thread, cowboys riding (or leading) horses were not ordinarily dealing with pets, and a mere descriptive reference, such as "paint" (palomino et. al) and "dan" (dun) here seem to be, would look to be much more likely. And if "paint" and "dan" are mere descriptions or categorizations, they shouldn't be capitalized, any more than "sedan" or "truck" would be.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: Amos
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 09:23 AM

I have always thought that "the fiery and the snuffy" referred to two kinds of cow-personalities--the kind that are always heading off on a tangent and uncooperative (fiery) and the kind that lag behind smelling the roses and delaying the herd (the snuffy). I expect this is just ill-informed imagination on my part, though.

I have always sung "two daughters and a song". "One went to Denver, and the other went wrong."

This may just be rampant mondegreenery, though.

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Ride An Old Paint
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 12:28 AM

I have always thought that "the fiery and the snuffy" referred to two kinds of cow-personalities--maybe


http://thepioneerwoman.com/confessions/git-along-little-dogie/


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