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Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'

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Artful Codger 24 Oct 06 - 09:40 PM
Joe Offer 25 Oct 06 - 02:59 AM
Artful Codger 25 Oct 06 - 06:42 AM
Lighter 25 Oct 06 - 10:04 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 06 - 01:18 PM
Artful Codger 25 Oct 06 - 03:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 06 - 05:07 PM
Artful Codger 25 Oct 06 - 05:15 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 09:40 PM

In compiling Songs of the Cowboys, Jack Thorp included only "complete" songs, though sometimes he'd have to combine material from several sources to arrive at one. Among his papers there must be many incomplete songs and fragments. Has anyone here found and copied such songs from his papers?

I'm particularly seeking songs which have not otherwise been widely-disseminated in other popular collections.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 02:59 AM

Well, this page (click) says that Jack Thorp's papers are in Santa Fe - but apparently not available online. Hey, Santa Fe is a wonderful place to visit....
Here's what's in the collection:
    Collection consists of the papers of Nathan Howard "Jack" Thorp. The bulk of the collection consists of undated cowboy songs, poems, riddles, and short stories. Included are New Mexican folk songs and documents pertaining to New Mexico saints and feast days. Also within the collection is a letter concerning editing of Thorp’s manuscripts (1936).
I don't have the Fifes' book on Songs of the Cowboys. What does the Fife book have, that the Thorp book does not?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 06:42 AM

The Fifes' book concentrates on the songs that were included in Thorp's editions. They have not extended the song set except with other versions and parodies.

According to the 2005 book Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys (Mark L. Gardner, ed.), there are three primary repositories of Thorp's manuscript materials:
* The Frey Angélico Chávez Library, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe NM
* The New Mexico State Records and Archives, Santa Fe NM
* The Huntington Library, San Marino CA
I think Gardner said the Huntington collection was the largest of the three.

As for visiting Santa Fe, that might be rather fun, if someone'd be willing to put me up - I could sing for my board. Otherwise, it wouldn't be worth the bother, as I can find lots of authentic but relatively obscure texts right where I am. Thorp's materials are intriguing mainly because he was one of the first collectors, and went directly to the cowboys. The lack of tunes is a blessing in a way; most authentic cowboy songs consist of lively texts set to incomparably dull music.

WARNING: The Gardner book is not a complete reissue of either of the original Thorp editions, but rather a subselection of fourteen songs, augmented with three unset poems by Thorp. The real focus of this edition is the accompanying CD, on which Gardner and Rex Rideout perform the songs in styles prevalent at the time (as far as can be reconstructed) using period instruments. Oddly, Gardner neglected to specify the sources for the tunes they selected; instead he mentions just a few representative sources in general comments in the introduction.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 10:04 AM

Most of the songs in Thorp's expanded 1921 "Songs of the Cowboys" appear to have been lifted from Lomax's 1910 "Cowboy Songs."
Lomax seems to have incorporated all of Thorp's 1908 edition in his book, and Thorp regarded turnabout as fair play.

I can post the song titles from 1908 if anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 01:18 PM

The Fifes' book has caused some confusion in book lists and bibliographies; sometimes listed under Thorp, sometimes Fife and Fife.
The spine reads "Songs of the Cowboys," Thorp and Fife. The jacket cover reads "Songs of the Cowboys, The First Printed Collection of Cowboy Songs Collected at the Turn of the Century by N. Howard ("Jack") Thorp News Print Shop, Estancia, New Mexico, 1908." Separated below a line- "Variants, Commentary, Notes and Lexicon by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife. Music Editor Naunie Gardner."
The title page reads "Songs of the Cowboys" by N. Howard ("Jack") Thorp. Variants, Commentary,.... by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publisher New York, 1966.

The book includes a facsimile copy of Thorp's 1908 book, with songs composed by Thorp marked in MS by Thorp. These are "Little Joe, the Wrangler," "Chopo," "The Pecos River Queen," "Cowboys New Years Dance," and "Speckles."
Variants include songs not easily found elsewhere (examples in next paragraph), and the book is worth having for these alone.

Looking at just one of the songs, "Cow Boy's Lament," Commentary and Notes are extensive; pp. 148-190.
Variant texts known to the Fifes are listed, with significant variant verses quoted. Music for five variants is given. Texts of seldom heard variants are included, e. g., full text and music for "I Once Was a Carman in the Big Mountain Con," sung in the mines of Butte...about 1905 (Western Folklore Quarterly), texts of "Old Time Gambler's Song," Gordon 1720 from singing by Terrell McKay, "The Wild Lumberjack," and others, some untitled.
In other words, the book does include songs which have not been widely disseminated, but not from Thorp files.

Bibliography on "Cow Boy's Lament" covers some eight pages, and includes manuscript collections, recordings and discussions, dated from 1872? (Dodge City Journal) to time of publication.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 03:42 PM

The Fifes' additional material relates to these same songs, directly or as parodies or take-offs. I'm seeking unrelated songs.

Per Gardner, Lomax lifted from Songs of the Cowboys without acknowledging he had done so; in fact, Lomax said the songs had appeared "never before in print" and (spuriously) contended he hadn't seen a copy of Thorp's book until after the publication of his own collection. Thorp returned the favor in kind by failing to cite Lomax when incorporating material from Lomax's book.

A separate issue was Thorp's own failure to state his authorship of several texts in the original edition, notably, "Little Joe, the Wrangler". Consequently, they were republished by Lomax and others without attribution. Thorp was unable to successfully sue for royalties later, when various folks recorded these unattributed works. Lomax did properly credit Thorp in a later edition.

To reiterate my request: Has anyone found and copied incomplete songs which Thorp collected but never published? Also welcome would be songs he published later in various newspapers and magazines; he continued collecting throughout his life.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 05:07 PM

The Works Progress Administration collections include , under Cultural History, New Mexico, manuscript contributions by Thorp. These include No. 164, Stories, and Nos. 172, 176, "Cowland." Another item of interest in the collection is No. 167, Western Songs and Verses, which I believe contains Thorp's(?) "On the Frisco River" and possibly other contributions. An elibrary copy is available in the Libraries of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Excluded from 'Songs of the Cowboys'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 05:15 PM

Thanks much, Q!


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