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Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)

DigiTrad:
BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
BRENDAN'S FAIRE ISLE
LONG CHAIN ON
RAZORBACK STEAK
SAINT BRENDAN'S VOYAGE


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Lyr Req: Damn Yankee Lad? / Damyankee Lad (3) (closed)


Celtaddict 11 Nov 05 - 10:48 PM
Peace 12 Nov 05 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 12 Nov 05 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 12 Nov 05 - 12:55 PM
Celtaddict 12 Nov 05 - 01:57 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 05 - 03:12 PM
Arkie 12 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM
Ebbie 12 Nov 05 - 05:20 PM
Nancy King 12 Nov 05 - 06:51 PM
Ebbie 12 Nov 05 - 10:05 PM
Nancy King 13 Nov 05 - 12:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Nov 05 - 01:11 AM
Ebbie 13 Nov 05 - 01:18 AM
Nancy King 13 Nov 05 - 10:32 AM
Barry Finn 13 Nov 05 - 12:32 PM
Nancy King 13 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Vrdpkr 13 Nov 05 - 11:09 PM
Celtaddict 14 Nov 05 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Nov 05 - 12:13 AM
Nancy King 14 Nov 05 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Nov 05 - 12:56 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Nov 05 - 01:25 AM
Jon W. 14 Nov 05 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 14 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Arkie 14 Nov 05 - 01:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 05 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 14 Nov 05 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Arkie 14 Nov 05 - 03:42 PM
Barry Finn 15 Nov 05 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Scotty Macfarlane 23 Aug 08 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 12 - 08:51 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 12 - 08:56 AM
GUEST 03 Jul 12 - 12:16 AM
Ebbie 03 Jul 12 - 02:37 AM
Arkie 03 Jul 12 - 08:55 AM
Nancy King 03 Jul 12 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Walt Urban 18 Aug 13 - 06:27 AM
Megan L 18 Aug 13 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 18 Aug 13 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Kenneth Price 20 Dec 13 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Karen 21 Apr 16 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Howard Hobbs 04 Oct 16 - 11:30 AM
Nancy King 04 Oct 16 - 04:03 PM
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Subject: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Celtaddict
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 10:48 PM

I have heard this song as recorded by Jimmy Driftwood (on his 3-CD set) and by a cowboy singer whose name escapes me. It has a very familiar sounding melody. I do not find it in the DigiTrad. Does anyone have any information about the song?
(And lyrics too of course?)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Peace
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 12:56 AM

http://www.ibiblio.org/folkindex/m02.htm#Maiofar

I can't find words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 05:28 AM

Written by James Morrison aka Jimmy Driftwood from Arkansas, his father Absy was an old time fiddler one of the Morrison Twin Brothers String Band who made a couple of sides in the early days.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 12:55 PM

I've been singing this silly song for many years. Will post the words when I get home tonight.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Celtaddict
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 01:57 PM

Thanks! My brother sent me the MP3 because he thought the melody sounded like an Irish or maybe Scots one but he could not place it, and neither could I; it seems to be one of those that is in the familiar pattern. (And since it came from Bryan it was probably Skip Gorman singing it.) There are so many Irish & Scots songs that acquired cowboy lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 03:12 PM

Re Hootananny's post, Jimmie was the son of Neal Morris, not one of the Morrison twins. Same community, different families.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Arkie
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM

Jimmie's father and mother as well as others in the family were singers and he was exposed to a lot of music in his youth. He also had a passion for collecting songs and tunes and borrowed quite a bit from tradition when he wrote his original songs. I've always thought the melody of Maid of Argenta sounded familiar but never have identified the tune.   Argenta was a former name for North Little Rock.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 05:20 PM

"As I was a-riding the streets of Argenta
I spied a young lady all dressed in magenta..."


That the one? I've heard it sung only by one man- maybe 20 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Nancy King
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 06:51 PM

I transcribed this song from the album "The Wilderness Road and Jimmie Driftwood" over 40 years ago. I hadn't listened to the record in almost that long, but I just dug it out and listened to that one song. I thought maybe I'd misremembered bits of it, but I was pleased to find that my version is pretty darn close. I had typed up the words way back then and still have the same tattered page in my song notebook. Listening to the record cracked me up all over again. I do love this song. I hadn't sung it for many years and revived it just a few years ago. What a hoot!

"Jimmie Driftwood and the Wilderness Road" was recorded in 1958. On the back of the album cover there are some notes written by Mae Kennedy McCord ("Mrs. McCord is a noted folk singer and has been broadcasting over Radio Station WKTO, Springfield, Missouri for the past thirteen years.") She refers to all of the songs on the album, collectively, as "these old ballads" and "these fine old musical antiques," but on the vinyl itself, "The Maid of Argenta" is credited to Jimmie Driftwood. The little annotation for this song says only, "North Little Rock was first called Chamillion, then Huntersville, then Argenta, as silver was thought to be close by. This sweet old ballad is a tale of unrequited love from the Argenta days."

As for the tune, well, maybe it is an old Scottish or Irish one, though it never sounded like anything other than itself to me. But then I am woefully ignorant of traditional Scottish/Irish tunes. There's nothing at all about the tune on the album cover, unless that's what the credit to Jimmie Driftwood means. Anyhow, it seems to fit the song really well -– kind of silly and singsong-y. I'm no good at high-tech things like posting tunes, but if anyone's really interested, PM me and I'll see that you get it one way or another.

So here are the lyrics (and my simple chords):


   (A)
As I was out ridin' on the streets of Argenta,
    (E7)
I spied a fair maiden all dressed in magenta.
      (A)
The riders who knew her all called her Pimenta -–
      (E7)                         (A)
Oh, she was a beautiful dame.

I sprang from my saddle and walked up beside her,
Sayin' "Where can we get some corn whiskey and cider?"
We walked down the street to a place called the Spider,
Where she turned my heart into flame.

I tried to be calm but my heart was so frisky,
I knew I was playin' a game that was risky;
I looked in her eyes and could not drink my whiskey -–
For she was an angel to me.

I cried, "Oh my beautiful maid of Argenta,
All dressed in the splendor of royal magenta,
If you will but promise to be my Pimenta,
My heart yours forever shall be."

I gave her my gold and she gave me her paddle,
We both made a vow as we sat in my saddle,
And then I rode off the wild outlaws to battle,
And left her in old Arkansas.

When I got back home to my rock on the river,
I found she was gone and it made my heart quiver.
I cannot forget and I cannot forgive her,
And I can't get her out of my craw.

Now I've settled down in that place called the Spider,
Where I first fell in love as I sat there beside her,
And all the day long I drink whiskey and cider,
And talk to all manner of men.

I tell 'em if ever I see the Pimenta,
All dressed in the splendor of royal magenta,
I'll hug her right there on the streets of Argenta,
And we'll start all over again.


I confess to hoking this up a bit when I sing it. It seems to cry out for such treatment, and just listening to Jimmie Driftwood confirms that.

Of course I'm not sure how to spell the Maid's name, but Pimenta (as in Pye-MENT-a) seems reasonable. My only qualm about these words concerns the first line of the fifth verse. I could swear the record says "paddle," but what the hell does that refer to? I've sung it that way all these years, because I never could come up with anything that made more sense and still rhymed -- and of course the rhyme is all. When I just listened to it I still couldn't make anything but "paddle" out of it. If anyone else has a better idea, do let me know (though I doubt my poor old brain will brook any changes...).

Hope this helps -- enjoy!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 10:05 PM

Nancy, what fun! I have never seen all the written lyrics. Thank you! It's just as sweet and silly as I remember it to be.

I'll be singin' it at my Friday night music- even if they groan!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Nancy King
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 12:33 AM

Glad you like it, Ebbie!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 01:11 AM

?paddle meaning her hand?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 01:18 AM

Paddle in that sense, given the rest of the phrases seems entirely possible, Q. Part of the charm of the song, I think, lies in its artlessness. And it IS speaking of the vows they made. Looks to me like you have it right, Nancy!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Nancy King
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 10:32 AM

Maybe...

Still seems pretty weird to me, but until somebody comes up with something better....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 12:32 PM

Skip Gorman has this on one of his CD's he does an excellent job of too. Well worth getting.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Nancy King
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM

Hi Barry! It sure was great to see you at the Getaway! Hope you're still feeling good -- and maybe putting on a little weight!

Do us a favor, please, and listen to the Skip Gorman recording. Does it sound like "paddle" in verse 5? If so, that must be what it is, however odd a notion. Thanks!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Vrdpkr
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 11:09 PM

I gave her my gold and I gave her my cattle
We both made a vow as we sat in my saddle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Celtaddict
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:02 AM

Thanks, Guest Vrdpkr (which of course has me curious). I do not have a recording to try to listen for myself.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:13 AM

And Bob Bovee, with his wife Gail Heil, do a fine job on this song as I recall.

It's a good un!

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Nancy King
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:23 AM

Well, Vrdpkr, I don't really think that's it, because it's very clear on the recording that she is giving him something in that part of the phrase: "I gave her my gold and she gave me her _______". I did think of "cattle," (I thought of everything that might possibly rhyme), but somehow I don't think that's it. Try again....

Hey, Art, how 'bout asking Bob Bovee how he thinks it goes?

And Celtaddict, how about that MP3 your brother sent you?

It's a hell of a good song, whatever that phrase really is!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:56 AM

I will be glad to oblige. Will e-mail Mr. Bovee and try to cajole him into looking in here.------But as much as they're on the road, they might not see it until they return home...

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:25 AM

There is a short sound sample of a recording by one Buck Ramsey at  http://www.ranchdance.com/buck_home_about.shtml.

Based on that, I can't say that the tune sounds remotely Scottish or Irish to me; German, more like, if anything. There's no particular need to think that it isn't American, though, whatever stylistic influence(s) there may have been in the background.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Jon W.
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 10:55 AM

The Deseret String Band, AKA the Bunkhouse Orchestra, does a fine version of this with lyrics almost identical to those posted by Nancy King above. The exceptions being these to lines:

I gave her my gold and I gave her my cattle (5th verse)

Now I sit alone in that place called The Spider (7th verse)

These are sung very clearly and I think make enough sense to be trusted.

By the way, Skip Gorman sang with the Deseret String Band at one time, and might be the singer on this recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM

Interesting....   My guess is that Skip Gorman or the Deseret Band or whoever covered it may have been having the same problem we are with the Jimmie Driftwood recording, and just changed it so it made a little more sense. Just a guess. I'm gonna stick with "paddle," because I doubt if my feeble brain would accept any changes after 40 years...

Malcolm, I agree about the tune.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:08 PM

There were and are folk of German and Austrian descent in Stone County and could have had some influence on the tune as they did have contact with Jimmy.

The line in question is:

"I gave her my gold and she gave me her prattle".
from one of Jimmy's songbooks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 02:12 PM

Thanks, Arkie. Do you remember which songbook?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 02:40 PM

WOW! I didn't know there WERE any Jimmie Driftwood songbooks! Thanks, Arkie!

"Prattle," eh? I wonder what that means. Maybe she was just chattering about how swell it all was going to be, when she really had no intention....

I wonder if I can re-train my brain to say "prattle" instead of "paddle" -- probably easier than restructuring the whole line. We shall see.

Ain't Mudcat grand?

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 03:42 PM

Jimmy had a number of booklets with song lyrics and poetry at one time. I am not sure any of them are still available. However, The Jimmy Driftwood Legacy Project has published several songbooks that contain words and chord changes to many of Jimmy's songs.   The Maid of Argenta is in "'The Down in the Arkansas' Jimmy Driftwood Songbook".   The book is available from:

Legacy Project


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:31 PM

Hi Nancy, still on the mend & doing fine, thanks for asking. hope all's well with you & yours. How much would prattle be worth in comparison to cattle to a cowboy on the range? Skip sings 8 verses of this. The CD is called 'Lonesome Prairie Love' out on Rounder. I've found Skip's research in cowboy songs to be pretty much right on & would tend to give him the benfit of the doubt, thought possiive, I also Jimmy wouldn't've minded it stands to reason in MHO that it works better than prattle & for sure much better tha paddle. Could it be tis song is headed for the traditional folk song file? It would be a 1st for Jimmy. Skip Gorman has it this way, maybe a mistype in Jimmy's book?

2nd verse

"I sprang from my saddle & walked up beside her

Said Where can we get some corn whiskey & cider

We walked down the sreet to a place called the Spider

Where she turned my heart into flame"


5th verse

"I gave her my gold, & I gave her my cattle

We both made a vow as we sat in my saddle

And I rode away the wild outlaw to battle

And left her in old Arkansas."


Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta
From: GUEST,Scotty Macfarlane
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 02:16 PM

In the Maid of Argenta the lyric is "prattle" not "paddle". Prattle is small talk or meaningless but polite conversation. And the name is "Parmenta' not "Pimenta". I have an original album from the 50's and grew up listening to these songs. They're great fun it is great to know others are discovering and rediscovering this man's music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 08:51 AM

The word is "cattle", not "paddle". She gave him her cattle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 08:56 AM

The word is "Cattle", not "paddle".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:16 AM

skip gorman recorded this old timey cowboy song


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 02:37 AM

I just listened on Google- again - to Driftwood and there isn't much doubt but that he says ' she gave me her paddle'.

The reason it makes sense to me - just barely!- is when I think back to the old phrase of she 'gave me her hand', as in avowing her love and commitment. I have read of a hand being referred to as a paddle, although it was said of a big man. On the other hand the song protagonist is meant to be unpolished, so a paddle may well be fittin'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: Arkie
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:55 AM

I have listened again to the recording I have by Jimmy and another by Melvin Wrinkle, a local singer who learned the song from Jimmy and who sang "Maid of Argenta" quite often at regular Friday night musicals. I still hear "prattle". However, I have heard the word "paddle" used for hand. With Jimmy and Cleda being gone, and Cleda probably remembered words to Jimmy's songs better than he did, we may never have a definitive interpretation. I have been trying to think of someone else who might be able to provide a reliable opinion. But nothing yet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: Nancy King
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 10:07 AM

Yay! I knew I wasn't crazy! I WAS hearing "paddle," and I'm not the only one! Since Arkie posted (6 1/2 years ago!) that a Jimmy Driftwood songbook says it's "prattle," and since my feeble brain could handle that small difference, and since "prattle" seems to make reasonable sense, I've been singing that in recent years. I just knew it wasn't "I gave her my gold and I gave her my cattle," whatever Skip Gorman may say.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST,Walt Urban
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 06:27 AM

Intro & instrumental ****

As I was a ridin' on the streets of Argenta,
I spied a fair maiden all dressed in magenta.
The riders who knew her all called her Pimenta
Oh, she was a beautiful dame.

I sprang from my saddle and walked up beside her,
Said, "Where can we get some corn whiskey and cider?"
We walked down the street to a place called the Spider,
Where she turned my heart into flame.
****
I tried to be calm but my heart was so frisky,
I knew I was playin' a game that was risky;
I looked in her eyes and could not drink my whiskey -–
For she was an angel to me.

I cried, "Oh my beautiful maid of Argenta,
All dressed in the splendor of royal magenta,
If you will but promise to be my Pimenta,
My heart yours forever shall be."
****
I gave her my gold and she gave me her paddle (paddle; old term for giving one's hand[?])
We both made a vow as we sat in my saddle,
Then I rode away, the wild outlaws to battle
And left her in old Arkansas.

When I got back home to my rock on the river,
I found she was gone and it made my heart quiver.
I cannot forget and I cannot forgive her,
And I can't get her out of my craw.
****
Now I've settled down in that place called the Spider,
Where I fell in love as I sat there beside her,
All the day long I drink whiskey and cider,
And talk to all manner of men.

I tell 'em if ever I see the Pimenta,
All dressed in the splendor of royal magenta,
I'll hug her right there on the streets of Argenta,
And we'll start all over again.
****


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: Megan L
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 07:10 AM

Having listened to it through headphones to block other sounds there is definitely a soft R sound preceded by a soft P sound which would give prattle. Listen for yourselves
Jimmy singing it on youtube


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 09:03 AM

Having just listened to the Jimmy Driftwood recording, I would suggest that the tune for "Maid of Argenta" sounds remarkably like that used by the Red Fox Chasers for their 1931 recording of the Anglo-American song "Two Babes in the Wood" (reissued on Tompkins Square CD "I'm Going Down to North Carolina" - TSQ2219).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST,Kenneth Price
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 07:03 PM

The version on Powder River seems to use the word "title", meaning marriage. Anyway, it makes more sense than "paddle".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 21 Apr 16 - 09:17 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzwAeQsXQl4


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: GUEST,Howard Hobbs
Date: 04 Oct 16 - 11:30 AM

I have always sung "prattle" for that word.

I used to sing our kids to sleep with that song among many others. Our daughter decided that if she ever had a baby girl,she would name her Argenta after the song. My wife resisted that idea for years, but all the same, baby Argenta was born last week. We could call her Argh! for short, but I think we'll make it Jen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Argenta (Jimmie Driftwood)
From: Nancy King
Date: 04 Oct 16 - 04:03 PM

Well, yes, I do think "Jen" would be better. (snerk...)


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