Monday, January 29, 2007

Two More Horse Songs

But first I need to make an apology and a correction on something I said in the first Barbaro post below. I heard one of the treating vets on NPR a little bit later and he said that the owners of Barbaro have spent more money on horses worth far less. They are people who love their horses. I still don't get behind much racing though. These horses that run so fast are mere babies. As three year olds they have already been running flat out with a rider for at least a year. I bring mine along much more slowly. No full weight until they are past three, no regular riding for a lot longer. I'm just not prepared to blow up six or seven horses to find that one magical mount.

I was sickened when I saw Barbaro break down. I knew right then that the horse was not going to be alright. Even under the best circumstances a broken leg is usually a death sentence for a horse. Their lungs won't even work correctly if they are aren't moving.

This one's from Woody Guthrie. He said it was one of the first songs he learned and he knows it's the first one he ever got paid for singing. It seems Woody was knocking around the streets of a little town in Oklahoma when he was a boy, trying to put some money together shining boots and shoes when he heard a man playing a harmonica. Woody talked to him and the man told him if he could sing this song then he would give Woody the harmonica.

Old Stewball

Old Stewball was a racehorse,
And I wish he was mine.
He never drank water,
He'd only drink wine.

His bridle was silver,
And his reins they was gold,
And the wealth on his saddle
Ain't never been told.

Oh the racetrack was crowded,
And Stewball was there,
But the betting was heavy
On the bay and the mare.

As they was running,
'Bout half way around,
The gray mare she stumbled
and fell to the ground.

And away out yonder,
Ahead of them all,
Came a-prancing and a-dancing,
My noble Stewball.

I bet on the gray mare
And I bet on the bay.
If I'd bet on old Stewball
I'd be a free man today.

Oh the hoot owl she hollered,
And the turtle dove moaned.
I'm a poor boy in trouble.
I'm a long way from home.

Old Stewball was a racehorse,
And I wish he were mine.
He never drank water,
He only drank wine.


This one's from Doc Watson

Tennessee Stud

Along about eighteen and forty five
I left Tennessee pretty much alive
I never could have forded on the Arkansas flood
If I hadn't been riding on my Tennessee Stud.
I had a little trouble with my girlfriend's pa
And one of her brothers was a bad outlaw
So I sent her a letter by my Uncle Dud
And off I rode on my Tennessee Stud.

(Chorus)
The Tennessee Stud is long and lean
He's the color of the sun and his eyes are green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
There ain't never been a horse like my Tennessee Stud.

I went down into no man's land
I crossed that river called the Rio Grande
I raced my horse with the Spaniard's foals
And I won myself a pocket full of silver and gold
Me and this gambler we couldn't agree
We got in a fight over Tennessee
He went for his guns and he fell with a thud
And off I rode on my Tennessee Stud.

(Chorus)

I got lonesome as a man can be
Thinking 'bout my girl back in Tennessee
The Tennessee Stud's green eyes turned blue
He was a thinkin' of his sweetheart too
I went back through Arkansas
I whupped her brother then I whupped her pa
I grabbed that girl with the golden hair
And Lord, she was riding her a Tennessee Mare
Stirrup to stirrup and side by side
We crossed them mountains and the valleys wide
We come to Big Muddy and we parted the flood
On a Tennessee Mare and a Tennessee Stud

(Chorus)

There's a pretty little baby on the cabin floor
There's a pretty little filly outside the door
I love that girl with the golden hair
And my Tennessee Stud loves that Tennessee Mare

The Tennessee Stud he's long and lean
He's the color of the sun and his eyes are green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
There ain't never been a horse like my
Tennessee Stud.



Adios Barbaro.

21 Comments:

Anonymous shades of blue said...

Last time I heard Old Stewball was about 35 years ago when I was 12.
Last time I heard Tennessee Stud was when I was 17 and fake ID'd my way into a bar to hear a bluegrass band from West Virginia that I liked.
I forgot these songs even existed.
You must have computer chips in your cranium.

4:26 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

Peter Paul & Mary did a popular cover of Old Stewball, but maybe that was the one you heard 35 years ago. Johnny Cash did a cover of Tennessee Stud back in '91 or so for his "American Recordings" album. So they're still circulating out there in fairly mainstream circles, albeit only on the edges rather than on the radio. It's not as if we're talking about songs that are so obscure that nobody covers them anymore. They just don't get played on the radio. Which makes them like 99.9% of all worthwhile songs out there :-(.

7:52 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the last time i heard "tennessee stud" was emmylou harris backed by the nash ramblers about six or seven years ago. roy acuff did a killer version too. merle travis kicks ass with it. it's a good song.

don't be concerned if the song sounds familiar
don't be concerned if it all seems the same
just be concerned that your politics can kill you
it's all just public domain


guy clark

10:38 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

No way in hell that I can read the words to those two songs this morning. I know both of them pretty much by heart so I know what they say. I am a mush when it comes to animals and I've cried a lot since I heard the news yesterday. Seems every time I hear more about him, the tears start all over again. Jeez, what is wrong with me?

6:33 AM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

Doc Watson has the definitive version of Tennessee Stud in my opinion. The Nash Ramblers have an excellent version also. Guy Clark may have a version of Public Domain but I have not heard it. I think I am correct in saying that Gary P. Nunn (Home with the Armadillo) and Bob Livingston wrote Public Domain while playing in Jerry Jeff Walker's backup band Lost Gonzo Band.

yo soy Horsedooty!

6:46 AM  
Anonymous shades of blue said...

You're right Penguin.
I checked with my sister and sure enough there it was on her old PP&M LP along with Puff and Don't Think Twice.
She still has them, that girl never (I mean never) gets rid of anything.

7:34 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i stand corrected senor dooty.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

hey, I'm not trying to correct anyone or embarrass anyone. It is an easy mistake. These are my contemporaries. I was once sitting in a Denny's in Dallas after flying from the west coast on SWA and not getting to eat lunch. There was no one in this restaurant as it was about 4pm and in walked this red haired guy dressed western. No one came out to take his order and he looked at me and asked if anyone was working. I looked up and ask his name as I thought I knew him. He said his name was Gary Nunn. I offered him a seat at my booth and we had a nice chat about what he was doing and some of the early days of the Texas music scene in Austin, TX. He had very funny stories.

One of the guys I am friendly with is a singer/songwriter named Tommy Alverson and he does a live single show with a guest most every Thursday night at a local barbecue joint. He has had Bob Livingston several times and he is a very interesting guy to listen to. He was the bass player in the Lost Gonzo Band. He too has very interesting stories of the Austin music scene in the very early days.

sorry for the long wordy post I get wound up.

yo soy Horsedooty!

8:24 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

there is no embarassment at the correction. i was factually wrong and grateful for your correction. it's something i both encourage and appreciate. i gets stuff wrong sometimes. Gary P. Nunn wrote some beautiful stuff. "London Homesick Blues" is a true anthem of the "outlaw" country movement. please, if you ever see me mistaken in my attributions or quotations, please, for the sake of truth, correct me. i appreciate it deeply.

9:07 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

p.s. i've been trying to track down the lyrics to a song that jerry jeff did while with the gonzos. i haven't been able to find them anywhere. it's called "goodbye easy street."

when i played with jerry jeff i worked out a killer guitar figure for this song. i never sang it and never really learned the lyrics (it's an intricate enough fingerpicking exercise that it might prove beyond my talents), or if i did learn them, i lost them in the fog and haze. anyway, if anyone in your circle might recall them or be able to point me in the right direction i would appreciate it deeply.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

MB,
I thank you for the correction it is London Homesick Blues not Home with the Armadillo as I stated. Typing without the aid of coffee is always dangerous.

London Homesick Blues was in fact written in London according to the stories I have heard. Michael Martin Murphey was married at the time to an Englishwoman (name I can't remember but the daughter or ex-wife of someone famous)and they all went to London for Christmas that year. Every day Murphey and his wife would go off and do stuff with her family and Nunn would be left alone. Boredom forced him to write that song.

yo soy Horsedooty!

9:53 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

that's cool, i figured it was something that might have come out from guys doing the euro circuit. there were times when the type of music we liked playing wasn't "cool" over here and to make a living we would end up in england/ireland/germany/france.

i decided that i'd get my cowboy hat
and go down to marble arch station
when a texan fancies he'll take his chances
well, chances will be taken that's for sure. . .


pure ass lyrical genius. i love the backstory stuff. mainly because when i write it turns out to be crap. the guys like nunn and clark and townes who can just up and decide to write something and then write something true and beautiful amaze the shit out of me.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

they are poets that is for sure. You mentioned Emily Lou's former backup band the Nash Ramblers. One of the alumni of the Nash Ramblers recently wrote a song that he thought would never get recorded. It was about two people that were in love but never reconciled their undying love. They both drank themselves to death. Not only was it recorded (duet by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss)it went to number 1 and was selected as song of the year. "Whiskey Lullaby" was written mostly by Jon Randal and some part added by Bill Anderson. Jon when he first moved to Nashville he roomed with my friend Brad Davis and his banjo playing brother Greg.

yo soy Horsedooty!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

MB, I loved Easy Street by Jerry Jeff and was a huge Jerry Jeff fan starting with Ridin' High and thereafter. When did you play with him?

Take your money down into town
Gonna get rich in the game.
Come on home,drunk at daybreak
You got no room to complain.

So it's goodbye, goodbye easy street..

Grandpa had him a wanderin' eye,
Musta passed it on down to me,
None of the girls are as pretty as Susan,
but I like some that I see

And it's goodbye...

Bottom of the bottle sure makes you fell good
I like it even better that way,
So grab your hat, make up a song
I hear every word that you say.

And it's godbye, goodbye Easy Street....

Or something like that.

I'll dig the rest of the lyrics up for you.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I always thought Stewball was originally an Irish song. I know Lonnie Donegan did a version in the 50's, before P,P,&M. Roger McGuinn did a version recently.

Someone already mentioned Michael Martin Murphey, so Wildfire might be another fitting tribute song.

2:31 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it might have been irish. there are many songs that have a foot on both sides of the ocean. i once played turkey in the straw for an irish audience and later that night was asked to play the boggy road to midgeville again.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i noticed you are a woody guthrie fan - check out the klezmatics "wonder wheel" (lyrics by woody guthrie) - its new material - put to eastern european folk music - grammy nominated!

http://www.klezmatics.com

8:10 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

thanks for the link anonymous - i've heard a little of their stuff and liked it. i'll give this a listen for sure.

8:57 AM  
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3:52 PM  
Blogger bigdaddy said...

Please help i have been searching for this song forever. Pogo above had these lyrics below as Goodbye Easy Street. they are from a differnet Jerry Jeff song and i am desperate to know which one.


MB, I loved Easy Street by Jerry Jeff and was a huge Jerry Jeff fan starting with Ridin' High and thereafter. When did you play with him?

Take your money down into town
Gonna get rich in the game.
Come on home,drunk at daybreak
You got no room to complain.

So it's goodbye, goodbye easy street..

Grandpa had him a wanderin' eye,
Musta passed it on down to me,
None of the girls are as pretty as Susan,
but I like some that I see

And it's goodbye...

Bottom of the bottle sure makes you fell good
I like it even better that way,
So grab your hat, make up a song
I hear every word that you say.

And it's godbye, goodbye Easy Street....

Or something like that.

I'll dig the rest of the lyrics up for you.

9:22 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

this is by john inman. . . it is the one i was looking for.

Well, the sun went down
on old easy street
she'd been closed down for the winter.
she stopped to take a rest
or maybe push us from the nest
it's just a dance that shadow's do

(chorus)
and it's goodbye, goodbye easy street
once you say goodbye, it is goodbye
and it's goodbye, goodbye easy street
this is goodbye, this is goodbye

at the carnival in the sweet summertime
you get sick from eating too much candy
and the leaves they change
you can even change your train
it's just a dance that shadows do

(chorus)

like a bell that must be rung
or a song that must be sung
or a story that's never ending
she'll hold you to her breast
then she'll put you to the test
it's just a dance that shadows do

(chorus)

10:17 AM  

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