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Streets of Laredo

02 Nov 99 - 04:06 AM (#130785)
Subject: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

Are there any Old Blind Dogs fans out there? The song Pills of White Mercury from their album Tall Tails appears that it might be the progenitor of the Streets of Laredo, Locke Hospital, The Young Sailor Cut Down in His Prime and The Halls of the High School all of which are on the DT. Is there any way of getting the Old Blind Dogs version on the digitrad? It sure is a fabulous version.


02 Nov 99 - 04:13 AM (#130786)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Llanfair

Don't forget "When I was on Horseback" I'm fascinated by this song, and how it has travelled the world , changing with the times. Any more versions?, and I'd love to see the words to "pills of white mercury" hwyl, Bron.


02 Nov 99 - 04:37 AM (#130791)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

Fromw hat I've been told, the original tune is Irish and predates the Pills of White Mercury version, but I can't remember the name. Maybe somebody out there knows?


02 Nov 99 - 06:16 AM (#130800)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Brakn

It's similar to the Bard of Armagh.

Mick Bracken


02 Nov 99 - 09:09 AM (#130847)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Jeri

"The Unfortunate Rake" is believed to be the original. Oddly enough, there are a bunch of variants in DigiTrad, but TUR is not.

(click here to search for Unfortunate Rake).


02 Nov 99 - 09:59 AM (#130862)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Susan of DT

We numbered thi ssong family DT #350. If you search for #350, ou get 8 hits. Jeri's search yielded 5. Whenwe realize we have a family of songs, we give them a number and try to find all of the songs to number (an imperfect process).


02 Nov 99 - 10:00 AM (#130863)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: dick greenhaus

A bunch of versions of Unfortunate Rake/Streets of Laredo/St. James Infirmary will be in the soon-to-be-released Fall 1999 version of DigiYrad.


02 Nov 99 - 11:33 AM (#130892)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Bruce O.

There is no known early copy of "The Unfortuate Rake". The tune is known from a collection of Irish tunes published by Smollet Holden, c 1805, and it's in 'Crosby's Irish Musical Repository' 1808 (copy on my website).

The earliest copy of the song now known is "The Buck's Elegy", c 1800, and the pills are in it in the line "I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury."


02 Nov 99 - 11:37 AM (#130894)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

I think the Bard of Armagh was the one I was trying to remember. I am not familiar with St. James Infirmary as the same tune as Pills of White Mercury, the version of St. James Infirmary that I know, is a more blusey piece. The group Old Blind Dogs does a version of the Barnyards of Delgaty which also isn't listed on the DT, only refered to in the Song on Courtship. They also do a fiddle piece called Two Pretty Maids that is absolute "chicken skin" music and a number of other songs, the lyrics of which I don't think are listed.


02 Nov 99 - 11:45 AM (#130897)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

It would be interesting to know when white mercury was intially used as a cure for syphilus, as this would also date the song.


02 Nov 99 - 06:11 PM (#131031)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Greg F.

Mercury is cited as a treatment for syphilis in Ephraim Chambers'_Cyclopaedia: Or, An Universal Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences..._ London, 1752(under "Venereal Disease")- and, I believe also in the earlier, 1728 edition as well, but I don't have that edition available- if that's any help. May just make things worse....


02 Nov 99 - 06:18 PM (#131037)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

I'm goin going to try to send the lyrics Pills of White Mercury, should I paste them here or start a new thread?


02 Nov 99 - 11:18 PM (#131160)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Jeri

Metchosin, is the version you have different than this "Pills of White Mercury," which I found per Susan of DT's tip by searching for #350? (This one really does have all the versions.)

I was mistaken when I said it wasn't in there.


03 Nov 99 - 12:11 AM (#131169)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Bruce O.

OED (under 'mercurial') gives a quote from a work of 1716 on the use of 'mercurials' to treat the Great Pox (syphilis).


03 Nov 99 - 12:20 AM (#131173)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Metchosin

Yup, thats it, I posted the same song in the forum from transcribing it from a recording before your notification came up. Looks like the submitter on the DT. had trouble with the word phlegm also.


11 Dec 02 - 07:04 PM (#845572)
Subject: Streets of Laredo
From: Neighmond

The song "Streets of Leredo" has a "sister song" that i have on a record My neighbor sang about 1954 or thereabouts-
As I was roamin the roads and slagyards among the pith heaps of as evening grew nigh...." and on like that. It is vaguely scottish sounding and has many many verses. As I recall the name of the mine is "High Blantyre"


11 Dec 02 - 07:38 PM (#845601)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Neighmond - here's the Blantyre Explosion (click) in the Digital Tradition. I wasn't familiar with it, but it sure does follow the structure of "Streets of Laredo."
-Joe Offer-


12 Dec 02 - 06:09 AM (#845819)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Big Tim

Streets of Laredo/St James Infirmary tune, I had always taken for granted were taken from the Bard of Armagh. Can anyone date the B of A? This is a more interesting song than it first appears because the "Bard" is supposedly Doctor Patrick Donnelly, Catholic Bishop of Dromore, who was deposed under the Penal Laws around 1706. He was imprisoned, escaped and became an outlaw, adopting the guise of a wandering harper, living in a hut on the slopes of Slieve Gullian mountain in South Armagh. A townland there is still called "the doctor's quarters". (Sorry for digression).


12 Dec 02 - 12:17 PM (#845973)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,The O'Meara

The Colorado Irish Pipe Band plays a tune called "Bold Phelim Brady, The Bard of Armagh" and I've heard the song sung that way. Don't know how Patrick Donnely fits in here.


12 Dec 02 - 12:48 PM (#846009)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Amos

This song is NOT on the Mudcat CDs. About 100 others are, though.


A


12 Dec 02 - 01:02 PM (#846028)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,Blackford John

As the saying goes:-


"One night with Venus and a lifetime with Mercury"


13 Dec 02 - 04:35 AM (#846514)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Susan of DT

I just ran a search for #350 and got 26 hits - a few false positives since the search seems to ignore the # sign - but most are variants of this song.


14 Dec 02 - 03:13 AM (#847194)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester

Speaking of other versions, Lanfair, I worked with a climber in the 60's who gave the words:

As I was a climbimg on the the grey slopes of Cloggy
As I was a climbimg on Cloggy one day
I met a young climber clothed all in white linen
Clothed all in white linen and colder than clay

etc

I gues Cloggy is Clogwyn something in Snowdonia


15 Dec 02 - 01:35 AM (#847638)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,ceejay

I have a CD of John Beg O'Flaherty, a Galway singer not heard much at the moment, and on it he is doing a song called 'Bold Robert Emmett'to the same air.


15 Dec 02 - 07:59 PM (#847999)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: The Pooka

Then there was Allan Sherman's version -

As I wandered out on the streets of Miami
I said to mineself, "This is one fancy town",
I called up mine partner and said "Hullo Sammy,
Go pack up your satchel and mosey on down."

etc.


15 Dec 02 - 09:41 PM (#848054)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,Q

The Lineman's Hymn is sung with various verses, some rough, by linemen in the west. here is a "straight" version: Lineman's Hymn
The mistake is made of overestimating tha age of the original (?) song by about 200 years.


16 Dec 02 - 12:01 PM (#848203)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Nerd

Kenny Goldstein once produced an entire LP just of versions of this ballad; Blantyre and Armagh aren't on it, but it does have versions set on American college campuses, lumber camps, the West Indies, etc. The people singing are a combination of professional folksingers (Rosalie Sorrels, Pete Seeger, and i can't remember who else) and academic folklorists who sing (Roger Abrahams, Jan Brunvand, Barre Toelken...and believe it or not Goldstein himself). It's available as a custom CD from Smithsonian Folkways, with extensive notes.


16 Dec 02 - 01:20 PM (#848261)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: masato sakurai

I heard Kenny sing live during his folksong lecture (his tape recorder was in bad condition at that time).
~Masato


19 Jan 07 - 07:36 PM (#1942073)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: brid widder

I was listening to Jonnie Cash sining this tonight & was reminded of a parody... I can't for the life of me remember anything much about it except it made me laugh... does anyone have the words to the parody... or know if it is recorded & if so by whom


19 Jan 07 - 08:28 PM (#1942100)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST

You sure it was Cash?    I once heard a song, too, but can't tell you was it fast or slow. I sure liked it for a minute. I think.


20 Jan 07 - 12:25 AM (#1942209)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Stilly River Sage

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
You see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy, too
We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys
If you get an outfit you can be a cowboy, too."


Smothers Brothers. :)


20 Jan 07 - 06:28 AM (#1942324)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: GUEST,G. O'Mear

There's also an Irish song called 'Bold Robert Emmet,' sung most recently by John Beg O'Flaherty to this tune. I wonder which set of lyrics came first?


20 Jan 07 - 09:07 AM (#1942413)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: artbrooks

I don't think The Streets of Stavenger are in there anywhere.


20 Jan 07 - 11:12 AM (#1942494)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh

Further to Big Tim's digression, the earliest version of "The Bard of Armagh" I've found is from the mid, or late, nineteenth century, and is the work of one A. Ritchie. The words bear a fairly close relationship to the three-verse set collected and arranged by Herbert Hughes and published in "Irish Country Songs" 1n 1909, but are inferior in poetic merit. The air of "Bold Robert Emmet", as given in Colm O'Lochlainn's "Irish Street Ballads", isn't the same as either "The Bard of A" or "Streets of L", tho' there are similarities


20 Jan 07 - 01:55 PM (#1942618)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Jack Campin

The tune was first known as "The Banks of the Devon", after the words Burns wrote for it. He sasy he collected the tune near Inverness, from a woman singing a Gaelic song, "The Brown Dairymaid". That's a Jacobite song about the '45 written by Alasdair MacMaighstir Alasdair, not long after the event. So the tune must have been in circulation in Scotland in the middle of the 18th century, 50 years before there's any trace of it in Ireland. There's nothing very Scottish Highland about it, it's much like several broadside tunes of mixed Anglo-Scottish parentage you find in D'Urfey and Playford's publications of the late 17th century.

There are *many* Scottish and English broadsides of the early 19th century that call for "The Banks of the Devon" as their required tune, i.e. they got it directly or indirectly from Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum". The Irish balladeers would have got it from the same sources.

Mercury treatment for syphilis goes back to the first ten years of the epidemic, it was standard treatment by 1510. There's lots of 18th century doggerel about it.


20 Jan 07 - 02:02 PM (#1942622)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Jim Lad

Lest we forget Eric Bogle's "No Man's Land"


20 Jan 07 - 05:18 PM (#1942781)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Scoville

As they used to say during the . . . one of the world wars: "One night with Venus means a lifetime with Mercury."


09 Jan 19 - 08:27 AM (#3970747)
Subject: RE: Streets of Laredo
From: Lighter

The Longton (Kans.) Gleaner (Dec. 30, 1881), p. 2, prints the earliest documented text, five years after Francis Maynard is said to have written the song. (See the "Live in the Nation?" thread: Maynard's own 1911 text is not identical.)

It would be interesting to know who requested publication in 1881 and why. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (via Wikipedia), the population of Longton in 1880 was 255.

                                 THE DYING COW-BOY
                                              --
                                 (Published by request)

        As I rode down by Tom Sherman’s bar-room,
        Tom Sherman’s bar-room so early one day,
        It was there I spied a once handsome cow-boy,
        He was draped in white linen as though for the grave.

        Chorus.
        Beat the drum lowly, and play the fife slowly,
        Oh! play the dead march as you bear me along.
        Bear me to the graveyard and lay the sword o’er me,
        I am a young ranger, I know I’ve done wrong.

        I see by your outfit that you are a cow-boy;
       These words he said as I went riding by,
        Come sit down by me and hear my sad story;
        I’m shot through the breast and I know I must die.
        
       Go bear this message to my gray-headed mother.
        And drop the news gently to my sister dear.
        But not one word of this place do you mention,
        When they gather around you my story to hear.

        But there is another as dear as my sister,
        Will bitterly weep when she hears I’m gone                  
        But there is another may win her affection,
        I am a young ranger, I know I’ve done wrong.

        Once in my saddle I used to go dashing.
        Once in my saddle I used to look gay;
        I first took to drinking then took to gambling,
        Got into a fight, and now to my grave.

        Go gather around you a crowd of gay cow-boys,
        And tell them the tale of their comrade’s sad fate.
        Tell each and all to take timely warning
        And quit their wild ways before it is too late.

        Go bring to me a cup of cold water,
        To bathe my flushed temples, the poor fellow said.
        But ere I had reached him the spirit had left,
        It had gone to the giver, the cow-boy was dead.

                                 LAST CHORUS.

         We’ll beat the drum lowly, we’ll play the fife slowly,
        We’ll play the dead march as we bear him along,
          We all love our comrade, so brave and so handsome,
        We all love the cow-boy, although he did wrong.