maandag 19 augustus 2013

Border Affair (1936) / Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (1956)

"Spanish is the Loving Tongue" is a song based on the poem "A Border Affair" written by Charles Badger Clark in 1907. Clark was a cowboy poet who lived throughout the American West, and was named the Poet Laureate of South Dakota in 1937. The poem was set to music in 1925 by Billy Simon.

Poem ("A Border Affair") by Charles Badger Clark, was first printed in Pacific Monthly, June, 1907.

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Following the initial 1907 publication, in 1915 the poem was published in Sun and Saddle Leather

Here's the 1917 edition:

On page 26:

And in 1919 the poem was published in Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp
Collected by John A Lomax

Here's that edition:

On page 67

And in 1921 the poem was published in Songs of the Cowboys

In this edition "A Border Affair" is credited to the singing of Orville Cox a Taos Cowboy

On page 10

Billy Simon wrote the melody around 1925 about the time he also "fixed up" one for Gail Gardner's "Sierry Petes".
Twenty or thirty years later someone added a bridge, which is how it stands today--a more beautiful song, maybe, but certainly not cowboy style.

Bill Simon, a cowboy singer from Prescott, "spotted Clark's poetic love story and concluded it should make a good song. Bill thereupon composed an engaging melody, and before long, dude ranch entertainers and radio performers throughout the Southwest were singing [it].... Said Bill Simon, who until recently never received any credit in print for his contribution to the music of the West: `I can neither read nor write music. I just somehow worked out "Spanish Is the Lovin' Tongue" as I rode the range, trying to fit the words in a melody I was striving for. After I got it to the point where it suited me, I started singing it around the campfires and it seemed to catch on. One night Dorothy Youmans (sister of composer Vincent Youmans) heard me sing it and was quite taken with it. Later she wrote out the music for me and played it on the piano down at Castle Hot Springs while I sang. Well, it sure sounded good.'"

John I. White writes in Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975) that he first heard the song in Wickenburg, Arizona, in 1933. Not knowing where the tune came from, he wrote to Badger Clark for permission to use the song on the network radio program "Death Valley Days," where John sang as "The Lonesome Cowboy," (this text appears on pp. 130-31 in Git Along, Little Dogies).
John noted that Bill Simon recorded his own arrangement of the song for an LP issued in 1972 by the Arizona Friends of Folklore at Northern Arizona U, Cowboy Songs, 2 (AFF 33-2). Bill's tune there differed from the one John wrote down in 1933.

As we see the ORIGINAL poem was called "A Border Affair". It's about a white guy meeting a Mexican girl. In the original poem the reason for his leaving was "she was Mex and I was white". This was changed at some point to the non-politically charged "wanted for a gambling fight".
All the versions following Tex Fletcher's 1936 version omitted the "She was Mex and I was white" line.
I think Bob Miller might be responsible for the omission of that line ( he rewrote the lyrics a bit for his 1934 "Famous Folio Full of Original Cowboy Songs") --SEE FURTHER ON

(o) Tex Fletcher 1936 (as "The Border Affair")

Recorded November 16, 1936
Decca Recording Studio, Pythian Temple, 135 West 70th St., New York City –
Tex Fletcher (Tex Fletcher [vcl/gt])
Matrix 61417
Released on Decca 5300 and Melotone 45011

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Listen here: The Border Affair

Or to a sample here:

(c) Texas Jim Robertson 1941 (as "The Border Affair")
30 June 1941 Victor Studio, New York City – Texas Jim Robertson (Texas Jim Robertson [vcl], Ken Binford [gt], Johnny Cali [gt/banjo], Gene Traxler [bass], Frank Novak [fiddle/clarinet], Jack Shilkret [piano], Chas Magnante [accordion] + vocal quartet)
Matrix BS-066163-1
Released on RCA Victor 27552
Written (?) by Bob Miller and Vasca Suede

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Listen here:

(c) Milt Okun and Ellen Stekert 1956 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Milton Okun - RLP 12-634

Listen to a sample here:

(c) Glenn Yarbrough 1957 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Listen here:

(c) Richard Dyer-Bennett 1958 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Gateway Singers 1959  (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")                                                  

(c) Pete Seeger 1960 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue" (IN A MEDLEY)

Listen here (after 1 minute in the soundfile below)

(c) Chad Mitchell Trio 1963 (as "Adios Mi Corazon")

Listen to a sample here:

(c) Ronnie Gilbert 1963 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Listen here:

(c) Ian & Sylvia 1963 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Listen here:

(c) Limeliters 1963 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

Listen to a sample here:

(c) Crew Cuts 1963 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

(c) Hootenanny Singers 1964 (with Björn Ulvaeus) (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Marianne Faithfull 1965 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Listen here:

(c) Paul Clayton 1965 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Country Gentlemen 1968 (as "Border Incident")

Listen here:

(c) Bob Dylan 1970 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Bob Dylan 1973 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Judy Collins 1976 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Emmylou Harris 1981 (as "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue")

Listen here:

(c) Liam Clancy 1982 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

(c) Michael Martin Murphey 1989.

 After a few decades Michael Martin Murphey was the first artist to restore the original lyric-line "she was Mex(ican) and I was white"

Listen here:

(c) The Blackeyed Susans 1991 (as "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue")

In 1990 the Texas Tornadoes sang sort of an answer-record (written by Butch Hancock)

Spanish Is The Loving Tongue BUT "She Never Spoke Spanish To Me":

And to close this topic here's a beautiful version from 2012 by Mason Willams and Deborah Henson-Conant and her Electrical Harp

zondag 4 augustus 2013

Cowboy's Lament 1927 / Dying Cowboy (1927) / Streets of Laredo 1929

"Streets of Laredo" (Roud 23650), also known as the "Cowboy's Lament", is a famous American cowboy ballad in which a dying cowboy tells his story to a living one. Derived from the English folk song  "The Unfortunate Lad" , or "Unfortunate Rake" , it has become a folk music standard, and as such has been performed, recorded and adapted numerous times, with many variations. The title refers to the city of Laredo, Texas.

The first recorded version shares a melody with the British sea-song "Spanish Ladies".

Around 1941 Burl Ives set the lyrics of "Cowboy's Lament" to a tune that shares the melody with The Bard of Armagh. (SEE FURTHER BELOW)

“The Cowboy’s Lament” (also known as “Streets of Laredo”) is most often cited as "traditional," and it also has been credited to various authors. Today, most accept that, in 1876, Francis Henry Maynard (1853-1926) wrote an early version of the song, The Dying Cowboy.

In 1911 the lyrics of Maynard's version were published in the book "Rhymes of the Range and Trail"

In the book "Songs of the Cowboys" Jack Thorpe credits Troy Hale, Battle Creek, Nebraska, and says, "I first heard it sung in a bar-room at Wisner, Nebraska, about 1886

And in the book Folk-Songs of the South (1925) there are various versions

The first recorded version of "Cowboy's Lament" seems to be by Ewen Hail.
Recorded in New York, NY Thursday, March 31, 1927
Ewen Hail, v; acc. Bert Hirsch, f; Carson Robison, g
Matrix E-22204*/05
Released on Vocalion 5146, Supertone S2043 and Brunswick 141:

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This version has not yet the familiar tune we know from later versions.

Listen here:

The next version part of the songcluster  is also a bit different in melody but shares floating lyrics.

(c) Holland Puckett 1927 (as "Dying Cowboy")
This artist’s real name may be Hartsell Watson.
Holland Puckett, v; acc. own h-1/g.
Recorded in Richmond, IN c. April 1927
Matrix 12786
The Dying Cowboy
Released on various labels:

Gennett 6271 (as by Holland Puckett)

Here's the A-side

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Silvertone 5065, 25065, 8152 (as by Holland Puckett)

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Herwin 75557
Supertone 9253 as by Si Puckett.
Herwin 75557 as by Robert Howell.

Champion 15428 (as by Harvey Watson) (SEE PIC BELOW)

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Listen here to Holland Puckett / Harvey Watson's version from April 1927

(c) Vernon Dalhart 1927 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded July 12, 1927
Vernon Dalhart: vocals and harmonica
Carson Robison: guitar
Released on various labels: Banner 0531, Broadway 4099, Cameo 0131 and 8219, Conqueror 7467 and 7724, Jewel 5784 and 20048, Oriole 1783 and 8048, Pathe 32282, Perfect 12361, Regal 8922 and 9017 and 10017, Romeo 599 and 5048

(c) Harry "Mac" McClintock 1928
Recorded Marc 1, 1928
Released on Victor 21761

"Mac"* - Cowboy's Lament /Good0Bye Old Paint (Shellac) at Discogs

Victor matrix PBVE-42042. Cowboy's lament / Mac [i.e., Harry K. McClintock] - Discography of American Historical Recordings

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(c) The Arkansas Woodchopper (1928)  (as "The Dying Cowboy')
Recorded December 6, 1928 in Dallas, TX
Released on Columbia 15463-D

Columbia matrix W147586. The dying cowboy / Arkie the Arkansas Woodchopper - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Listen here:

The Dying Cowboy : The Arkansas Woodchopper : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

(c) Vernon Dalhart 1929 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded January 22, 1929
Released on various labels

Columbia matrix 147875. The cowboy's lament / Vernon Dalhart - Discography of American Historical Recordings

In Canada on Sterling 283013: listen here:

(c) Bradley Kincaid 1929 (as "In the Streets of Laredo")
Recorded on January 28, 1929 in Richmond, Indiana.
Released on Gennett 6790 and Supertone 9404

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Listen here:

(c) Jules Allen (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded April 8, 1929
Released on Victor 40178 (and Montgomery Ward M-4099)

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Listen here:

Or to a sample :

(c) Dick Devall 1929 (as "Tom Sherman's Barroom")
            ------>  (another variant of "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded October 13, 1929 in Dallas TX.

Listen here:

(c) Ken Maynard 1930 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded in Los Angeles on April 14, 1930.
Original issue Columbia 2310D

Listen here:

(c) Bud Kelly 1932 (This artist’s real name is believed to be Rex Kelly or Buck Nation).
Recorded January/February 1932 in Grafton WI
Released on Broadway 8323.

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(c) The Ranch Boys 1934 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded October 19, 1934 in Chicago, IL.
Released on Decca 5061

Listen here:

(c) Burl Ives 1941 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Burl Ives version from 1941 may be the first version with the familiar tune:

Released on Okeh album K-3

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Listen here:

But that familiar tune in Burl Ives' version shares a melody with The Bard of Armagh

Here's a version by John McCormack in 1920.

All the following versions below, follow the "Bard Of Armagh" tune.
Over the years that version is best known under the title "Streets Of Laredo" and is one of the most famous cowboy-songs.

(c) Tom Glazer 1943 (as "Cowboy's Lament")
Recorded 1943
Released on 3-disc-album "America's Favorite Songs"
Label:  Disc 607

Listen to sample:

(c) Rex Allen 1955 (as "I'm a Young Cowboy")

(c) Ed McCurdy 1956 ("Cowboy's Lament")

Listen to a sample:

(c) Pete Seeger 1956 (as "Streets of Laredo")

Listen to a sample on the next link:

(c) Pete Seeger 1958 (as "Ballad of Sherman Wu")

The lyrics of Pete Seeger's "Ballad of Sherman Wu" are patterned after "Streets of Laredo'" and is set to the same tune. The song presages the American Civil Rights Movement and recounts the refusal of Northwestern University's Psi Upsilon fraternity to accept Sherman Wu because of his Chinese heritage. The song deliberately echoes "Streets of Laredo", beginning.

Listen to a sample on the next link:

(c) Roy Rogers & Dale Evans 1958

(c) Marty Robbins 1959 (as "Streets Of Laredo")

(c) Tex Ritter 1959 (as "Streets of Laredo")

(c) Jim Reeves 1961 (as "Streets of Laredo")

(c) Joan Baez (1960's) (as "Streets of Laredo")
On album "Very Early Joan" (with never previously released performances recorded during Baez concert tours 1961-1963)

(c) Kingston Trio 1962 (as "Laredo")

(c) Waylon Jennings 1964
Live at JD's

(c) Johnny Cash 1965 (as "Streets of Laredo")

(c) Hank Williams Jr 1965 (as "Streets of Laredo")

(c) in the movie "Bang The Drum Slowly" 1973 (with Robert de Niro)

The song plays a prominent role in the book and film Bang the Drum Slowly, in which a version of "Streets of Laredo" is sung. The words from the title replace the words "beat the drum slowly" from the lyrics of "Streets of Laredo". This in turn is the phrase used in the song "Bang the Drum Slowly" on the album Red Dirt Girl by Emmylou Harris.

(c) John Cale 1981 (as "Streets of Laredo")

Listen here:

(c) Prefab Sprout 2001 (as "Streets of Laredo)

And on the next link are also a lot of covers:

And song # 204 to # 210 on the next link:

This "Dying Cowboy" variation is NOT TO BE CONFUSED with another "Dying Cowboy" 
SEE: ----Joop's Musical Flowers: The Ocean Buried (1839) / The Ocean Burial (1850) / Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie (1907) / The Dying Cowboy (1910) / Oh Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie (1927) / O Bury Me Not In The Deep Deep Sea (1937)

And like "Cowboy's Lament" or "Streets of Laredo" there is another song that was derived from the English folk song "Unfortunate Rake": "Gamber's Blues" or "St James Infirmary"