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Origin: Red River Valley

DigiTrad:
FORTY BELOW
RED RIVER VALLEY
RED RIVER VALLEY (2)
THEY CALL ME A MACV ADVISOR


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Spanish lyrics to 'Red River Valley'? (30)
(origins) Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic? (104)
(origins) Lyr Req: In the Bright Mohawk Valley (33)
(origins) Lyr Req: Alternate Red River Valley (43)
Lyr Req: Sherman Valley (Bascom L. Lunsford) (6)


Joan M Diez 14 Sep 98 - 06:18 PM
Helen 14 Sep 98 - 07:26 PM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 98 - 07:47 PM
Martin Ryan 16 Sep 98 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Richie 29 Oct 06 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Richie 29 Oct 06 - 10:24 PM
Les in Chorlton 30 Oct 06 - 02:47 AM
sian, west wales 30 Oct 06 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Janine 30 Oct 06 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,thurg 30 Oct 06 - 07:58 AM
sian, west wales 30 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Oct 06 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Richie 30 Oct 06 - 10:10 AM
sian, west wales 30 Oct 06 - 12:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Oct 06 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Richie 30 Oct 06 - 11:07 PM
Genie 23 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM
Genie 23 Aug 09 - 03:53 AM
Stringsinger 23 Aug 09 - 09:47 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Aug 09 - 08:38 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Aug 09 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,oldsbob 15 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM
meself 16 Dec 10 - 11:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 10 - 12:59 PM
meself 16 Dec 10 - 01:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 10 - 02:02 PM
sian, west wales 17 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM
mikesamwild 17 Dec 10 - 07:24 AM
Taconicus 05 Dec 11 - 11:56 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Dec 11 - 04:07 PM
Lighter 05 Dec 11 - 05:51 PM
Taconicus 05 Dec 11 - 06:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Dec 11 - 07:20 PM
Taconicus 05 Dec 11 - 07:51 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Dec 11 - 10:05 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Dec 11 - 10:06 PM
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Subject: S.O.S.! S.O.S! HELP WANTED BADLY!
From: Joan M Diez
Date: 14 Sep 98 - 06:18 PM

PLEASE help me find the lyrics of the traditional country song Red River Valley as well as a sound sample on the www. Not a midi with the music but the song performed by ANYONE. Really important for some research I´m doing. Can´t find the song in Spain, you see,,,THANKS. GOD BLESS.


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Subject: Lyr Add: RED RIVER VALLEY
From: Helen
Date: 14 Sep 98 - 07:26 PM

Hi Joan,

The lyrics and midi file are in the Digital Tradition database. You can search the database by using the blue box on the top right of this page and the main forum page. I searched for [Red River Valley] - use the square brackets for the complete phrase.

I don't know where you will find the sound sample but someone here will probably know.

Regards,
Helen, in Australia

RED RIVER VALLEY

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our path for a while

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Won't you think of the valley you're leaving
Oh how lonely, how sad it will be?
Oh think of the fond heart you're breaking
And the grief you are causing to me

As you go to your home by the ocean
May you never forget those sweet hours
That we spent in the Red River Valley
And the love we exchanged mid the flowers

by James Kerrigen in 1896
@west @love @cowboy
filename[ REDRIVAL
Tune file : REDRIVAL


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Subject: RE: S.O.S.! S.O.S! HELP WANTED BADLY!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 98 - 07:47 PM

Click here for a RealAudio sample from Ed McCurdy. I couldn't find a recording of the entire song on the Web, though. If you can hear this sample and your e-mail takes attachments, I can e-mail you a RealAudio recording of the song. Just click on my name to send me an e-mail.
Joe Offer


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Subject: RE: S.O.S.! S.O.S! HELP WANTED BADLY!
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 16 Sep 98 - 05:34 AM

DT also, of course,contains "The Valley of Jarama" - a Spanish Civil War song based on the Red River Valley. Coincidentally, I heard an Irish variant on "Jarama" recently, for the first time. Must try to track it down.

Regards


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Subject: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 29 Oct 06 - 10:15 PM

Hi,

I am listening to the song, "Bright Sherman Valley" by Doctor Lloyd. The early recordings use that name. Somewhere I have more info on name change to "Red River."

The first published version was a song named "A Lady in Love" in 1889.
Anyone have the lyrics or info?

"A Lady in Love" was printed in a fairly obscure publication: Wehman's Collection of Songs published in New York City 1884-94.

This collection also was the first to print "Lulu Walls" by the Carter family. Anyone have access to that collection?

James Kerrigan's "In the bright Mohawk valley" was written in 1896. Was this a rewrite?

Seems like Fowke's claims about a Canadian origin are not true. Did she have any proof?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 29 Oct 06 - 10:24 PM

Here's one gem from my database-

Red River Valley info:
Mike Seegar Interview with Frank Walker

"There was a thing up my neck of the woods called Mohawk Valley. There was a tune we played called Bright Mohawk Valley. I loved the tune and taught it to Riley Puckett. Riley played it and sang it and we made a record called Bright Mohawk Valley.

We didn't sell many records but it didn't bother me cause I loved the song. I thought it over and figured that maybe it was because the Mohawk River wasn't well known. There was a river in Arkansas named the Red River. So why couldn't I change the Mohawk River to the Red River? Which we did. Riley recorded it over again and it became one of the biggest selling country music records ever made." Frank Walker


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 02:47 AM

Last night, at a concert to commemorate the 70th aniversary of the start of Spanish Civil War, Billy Bragg sang a song to the same tune concerning a valley in Spain. The tradition lives!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: sian, west wales
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 04:18 AM

From "Singing Our History" by Edith Fowke and Alan Mills:

"Another song associated with the first Riel rebellion is 'The Red River Valley.' This is one of the most popular songs on the Canadian prairies but it was long thought to have originated in the United States. American writers claimed it was a Texas adaptation of a popular song, 'In the Bright Mohawk Valley,' which was published in 1896, and that it referred to the Red River that forms the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. However, later research proved that it was known earlier than 1896, and that it was probably sung at the time of the Red River Rebellion. Most versions known today are short and generalized, but the older forms told of an Indian girl lamenting the departure of her white lover, presumably a soldier who came west with Colonel Wolseley."

sian, west wales


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 07:11 AM

Les, That song was probably 'Jarama Valley' about a sad disaster for the Rupublicans. Woody Guthrie recorded a lovely version which appears on one of the Smithsonian Folkways CD's, so it may well be contemporary with the Spanish Civil War. I've heard it sung in Spanish too but I forget by whom. I think the tune has been used for other songs too.
Janine


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 07:58 AM

There was a long and involved discussion of this subject a year ago or so. Must be in the archives somewhere ...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: sian, west wales
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM

Seems that credit is given to Canada for El Valle del Jarama too.

sian


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 08:44 AM

Yes that's the one. A very moving song. I have never haerd Billy Bragg live before he really has a good voice


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 10:10 AM

I realize this song "Red River Valley" has been discussed before.

IMHO Fowkes association of "The Red River Valley" with first Riel rebellion in 1870 comes from an association of the "Red River" name. "In the Bright Mohawk Valley" was changed at some point to "Red River" it wasn't the other way around.

In the quoted passage above from "Our Singing History" no collected examples have been given and no proof is offered.

I mainly wanted info on a song named "A Lady in Love" which was published 1889. If this song is the first "Red River Valley" it would have been exsisted before the Reil rebellion anyway.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: sian, west wales
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 12:56 PM

Well, no, they wouldn't go into specifics as it's a song book which which seems to be aimed at, say, school history lessons and social singers. In the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs there is the additional reference to an essay by Fowke: " 'The Red River Valley Re-Examined', Western Folklore, 23, 163) Presumably the proof is in there. If no one comes up with anything along those lines, try the ethnomusicology/SEM list and the Canadian Folk Music Society (or whatever it's currently called).

I'm not sure I see how "A Lady in Love" published in 1889 predates the Riel rebellion ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 08:34 PM

Richie, see thread 63785: Origins
This has a copy from microfilm of "Lady in Love," posted by John Garst, 04 Mar 06. Note that the LOC apparently lost the copy of Wehman, Oct. 1889 that contains the song.

The hunt for Bright Mohawk Valley also is detailed in that Thread.

Fowke's speculations about the origin of Red River Valley are also contained in that thread. She cited the Red River Rebellion of 1870 as possibly related to the origin. She had no evidence for her speculation.

With the possible exception of a MS in the Piper Coll., Univ. Iowa, with pencil dates 1879 and 1885, of Red River Valley - also discussed in thread 63785- "Lady in Love" seems to be the earliest text extant. I suggest you contact the Univ. Iowa Libraries to see if they will make a copy from the Piper Coll.

(This month I contacted Wichita State Univ. Libraries about a MS of "My Pretty Quadroon" in the O'Bryant Coll- they said costs would be between $15-$30 plus S/H $5. There are several of these MS texts I would like to have, but I would soon end up in the poorhouse if I ordered them all.)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 30 Oct 06 - 11:07 PM

Thanks Q,

John Garst is a reliable researcher. Most of what I wanted was there on that thread. Seems like the Parlor song, "Lady of Love" was spread and rewritten.

For it be in Wehman's collection it was probably in circulation for a while before it was published making it a post Civil War parlor song.

Now if we can find Wehman's source!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM

The link that Sian posted above doesn't work any more.

I seem to recall seeing citations of the song Red River Valley dating back to the 1870s. Maybe my memory is fuzzy, but I am still curious just how old this song is -- both the melody and the lyric variations.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Genie
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 03:53 AM

I don't have my earlier sources handy, but I found this at Wikipedia: Red River Valley

"Edith Fowke offers anecdotal evidence that the song was known in at least five Canadian provinces before 1896 ... [leading] to speculation that the song was composed at the time of the Wolseley Expedition to the northern Red River Valley of 1870 in Manitoba. ..."

and

"The earliest written manuscript of the lyrics, titled "Red River Valley", bears the notations 1879 and 1885 in locations Nemha and Harlan in western Iowa, so it probably dates to at least that era."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 09:47 AM

There is a Red River Valley in Texas. It might have become transplanted by cowboys there.
There's a verse about the "wild chapparal" (not sure how to spell it) but refers to desert-like
plants I think. I would go with the Iowa reference but here's the old problem,
when it first appears in print is not the definitive source of a song's beginnings.

It might even have been an old hymn. It has that kind of a cadence. If you put it
into a six-eight/two-four feel it could go like that.

A song travels far and wide. "The cowboy that loved you so true" shows the Texas
connection.

If it's a real folk song, you may never know the source.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM

Genie, see thread 63785, which has a lot of discussion.

Summarising, the oldest dated is "Lady in Love," 1889, found by John Garst- see his posts on this song. The next is "Bright Mohawk Valley," by Kerrigan, 1896. John Garst did a lot of work to find verification of these early versions.
These are the only reliable dates found.

A pencil copy of "Red River Valley" found in Kansas archives has dates 1879 and 188- penciled in, but nothing has been found to verify it.

Edist Fowke seems to have copied her data from an entry in Spaeth and added speculation. Nothing has been found to support her assertions. Both Garst and myself tried without success to find support for her statement.

Canadians say the Red River Valley is the Red River of the North, partly in Canada.
Western Americans say that it is the Red River that for part of its length separates Texas and Oklahoma; its source is in New Mexico where it is a good trout stream in its upper reaches. This river was well-settled from about 1840 on, earlier than the Canadian Red River, but this settles nothing.

As noted in the thread mentioned, "cowboy" versions start with Sprague and Jules Verne, in the 1920s.

Red River Valley


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 08:38 PM

An incidental observation:- The famous director John Ford liked to use particular folksongs as sort of background leitmotivs for his films: much use of 'Garryowen'e.g. for films about the US Cavalry, & even a western called "My Darling Clementine' with an obvious background motif. 'Red River Valley' makes many appearances on the soundtrack of perhaps his greatest film,'The Grapes of Wrath', a story of dustbowl migrants set on the Oklahoma-California journey so many such took in the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:16 AM

... & for sake of completeness - another in which the leitmotiv song suppled the title of the film, as with 'My Darling Clementine', was, of course, 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon'.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: GUEST,oldsbob
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM

yuanyuan88 says it is a tune every Chinese knows. This puts more doubt on the origin.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: meself
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 11:55 AM

I think you would find every Chinese knows the melody of Auld Lang Syne, too. Another great mystery, of course ....


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 12:59 PM

Melody of "No Place Like Home" a favorite in Japan.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: meself
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 01:33 PM

That proves it!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 02:02 PM

More digression- In 1998, Japan issued a set of stamps illustrating favorite songs. Jingle Bells, and Wild Roses, by Schubert, were on two of them.
Good melodies travel.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: sian, west wales
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM

Well, if you want digression ...

A colleague of mine was examining Royal College of Music students some years ago. A Chinese classical soprano came forward for to sing her exam pieces and, as she had done one unit of work on People's Music of China, she sang a piece 'written by some Workers' Committee for ... ?' which my colleague immediately recognized as a Welsh song. Probably not a great mystery as there were some quite active Welsh missionaries in China before and during the Revolution ...

I imagine there was a lot of "rebranding" of good tunes by the Workers Revolutionary Committee for Public Whatever.

sian


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: mikesamwild
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 07:24 AM

Songs like Jarama got passed around the worldwide workers , socialist and 'peace' movements from the 19th C onwards and I've heard songs based on Red River Valley in many countries.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RED RIVER VALLEY
From: Taconicus
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 11:56 AM

I've been able to obtain a copy of Edwin Piper's original manuscript of the lyrics to Red River Valley from the Edwin Ford Piper Collection of the University of Iowa Libraries with the help of Jacque Roethler, Special Collections Assistant at the University of Iowa in Iowa city (not to be confused with Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa).

The song is of course in the public domain, and since the manuscript is unpublished, the copyright expired 70 years after the death of the author, which would be 2009 since Edwin Piper died in 1939. Accordingly, the manuscript is now in the public domain. I've just posted a copy on the Web, HERE.

Nemaha and Harlan are counties in Nebraska (Edwin Piper was born in Auburn, Nebraska). I believe the notations at the bottom of the manuscript therefore refer to the places and years that those folk song lyrics were collected (Piper was an avid collector of folksongs). If the song was written, as is supposed, shortly after the Red River rebellion (1869-70) in Manitoba, this would mean that these lyrics (as recorded in 1879) must be very close to the original. In any case, this indicates that these lyrics were collected long before the 1896 version by James Kerrigan listed in the Mudcat lyrics (DT) section.

Edwin Piper likely did not collect these himself since he was not born until 1871, so these were probably collected during his childhood by someone he knew and given to him later. Perhaps it was a family member, perhaps his mother or father, who was also interested in folk music and collected them?

I debuted the song at the Hudson Valley Folk Guild this past Saturday, and it was a big hit - no one had heard all those lyrics before. It's one of those "classic American folksongs" (a category in which I include songs from Canada) of which everyone is familiar, but of which practically no one has heard more than a single verse and chorus. I added two words to the lyrics for the performance since the second line of the fourth verse from the manuscript does not scan, nor does it rhyme as the rest of the song does, and therefore I consider it suspect as probably not being the original lyric. I replaced that line (for the performance) with "Don't forget the sweet hours so free." I also sang the chorus after the second and fourth verses only.

The Red River Valley

From the valley they say you are going,
I shall miss your bright eyes and fair smile;
But alas, you take with you the sunshine
That has brightened my pathway awhile.

     Chorus:
     Then consider awhile ere you leave me
     Do not hasten to bid me adieu
     But remember the Red River Valley
     And the heart that has loved you so true.

Do you think of the valley you're leaving,
How lonesome and dreary 'twill be?
Do you think of the heart you have broken
And the sorrow that o'ershadows me?

It is a long time I've been waiting
For the words that you never would say,
But alas, all my hopes they have vanished
For they say you are going away.

When you go to your home by the ocean,
Don't forget the sweet hours so free,
That we spent in the Red River Valley
And be true to your promise to me.

The fair maiden prays for her lover
To the spirit that rules o'er the world
May his pathway be covered with sunshine
Is the prayer of the Red River girl.

Nemaha 1879, Harlan 1885
The Edwin Ford Piper Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa
(The italicized words in the lyrics were added by the author of this post, 2011)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 04:07 PM

The pencil Ms. in the Piper Coll. was noted in a previous post (John Garst also has a copy), but verification of the date of the MS. is still lacking. The copy could have been made at a much later date and is from someone's recollection.
"Lady in Love," with a date of 1889, is the earliest verified dating, but Garst found it in a volume of collected songs, so it probably is older than that date.

The origin is still uncertain.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 05:51 PM

It's a valuable document in the history of the song, but I must agree with Q about the question of the date. "Harlan 1885" alone shows that the manuscript couldn't have been written in 1879.

Just what the two county names and dates mean is a little uncertain. My guess is that the singer told the collector - presumably (though not certainly) a grown-up Edwin Ford Piper - that he or she recalled hearing the song in 1879 and then heard it again in 1885 in different county.

Memory plays tricks (hence the "folk process"). It seems likely, though, that the source singer was recalling fairly accurately a song learned in the mid 1880s, if not a few years earlier.

The text is perfectly lucid, which suggests a reasonably accurate recollection. To me, "consider a while" seems more likely to have become the familiar "come sit down a while" rather than the other way round.


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Subject: Lyr Add: A LADY IN LOVE
From: Taconicus
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 06:23 PM

Thanks, Q and Lighter! A lot of information including many theories can be found at this website, including a listing of the 1889 published lyrics that Q mentions.

   A LADY IN LOVE
   (First published lyrics from Wehman's Collection, dated October 1889)

   Oh, they say from this valley you are going,
   I shall miss your blue eye and bright smile;
   And, alas! it will take all the sunshine
   That has brightened my pathway for awhile.

   Then consider well ere you leave us,
   Do not hasten to bid us adieu,
   But remember the dear little valley,
   And the girl that has loved you so true.

   Do you think of the home you are leaving,
   How sad and how dreary 'twill be?
   Do you think of the heart you are breaking,
   Or the shadow it will cast over me?

   I have waited a long time, my darling,
   For the words that you never would say,
   And at last all my fond hopes have vanished,
   For they tell me you are going away.

It's very interesting seeing how the song has evolved from one version to the next. As Lighter indicates, that it's often possible to figure out which version(s) came before which by studying similarities and differences between the different texts. (Many scholars dealing with manuscripts that are otherwise impossible to date often use that method.) I think it's interesting that the 1889 version seems in many ways to be intermediate between the (previously unpublished) Piper version and later versions. It contains many of the constructions of the Piper lyrics that do not appear in later versions, but also contains some aspects that can be found in later versions but not in the Piper manuscript. I'm not saying that proves the relative dating of the different versions, but it's interesting.

I'm not claiming one thing or another, just making the Piper manuscript available for those who are interested. Based on the totality of the evidence, I suspect the Piper manuscript may record the earliest known version of the lyrics, but I agree we can't know for sure, and the full facts of the song's origin may never be known.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 07:20 PM

Too bad that we have multiple threads on the song and its evolution.
John Garst posted "Lady in Love" in thread 63785, 04 Mar 06, from Wehman's Collections of Songs, # 24, October 1889, p. 17.

Origins R R V Gaelic?

More and more material is being digitized; perhaps it will turn up in one of the papers that google intends to copy (They seem to intend to charge for the "service.").


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Taconicus
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 07:51 PM

Seems as though we have multiple threads about most songs.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 10:05 PM

Perhaps it is time for the person using the Obie alias to come out of the closet. Only Joe and I know but I plead guilty.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Red River Valley
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 10:06 PM

See comments on associated thread.


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