Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards R.I.P.

I must confess that I loved Ann Richards even before she nailed Bush's daddy's ass to the wall in her speech in '88. I was in Texas to play and hang out with some of the Texas boys and one of their ringleaders said "We need to play for Miss Ann's picnic."

We went and were having a fine old time. Miss Ann was a gracious, and genuine host. Naturally gregarious and a hoot and a half. The best part happened when, by Texas law, we launched into "The Yellow Rose of Texas." After we had finished Miss Ann came up and said "Don't ya'll know the real words to that one?" We said that we thought we had just finished singing the real words. Miss Ann said no, and she told us about a young "high yellow" slave girl named Emily Morgan West (or Emmy Morgan, Emmy West, or Lilly Moore) of legendary beauty who was captured by Santa Ana during the Texas Rebellion. There is no historic documentation or verification for anything in this story, which to a Texan, only makes it that much closer to the truth. Santa Ana fancied himself a lady's man and did his "Napolean of the West" best to woo her. Emily lead him on and around. She was able to smuggle plans and information to Sam Houston before the battle of San Jacinto. In an alternate version Emily kept Santa Ana so enraptured the morning of the battle that his army was left leaderless and was defeated.

For those of you who forget, here's a midi file to
listen to and refresh your memory.

Miss Ann, I have been singing this version ever since that day. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me "the real words."

The Yellow Rose of Texas was a woman fair to see
Though many loved her beauty, she lived in slavery,
When war was fought in Texas and the battles shook our lives
General Santa Anna took Emily as a prize.

She's the sweetest rose of color that Texas ever knew
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew,
You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosa Lee
But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me.

He tried to win her favors, thought himself a dashing man
But his courtship she rejected, and she stole his battle plan;
Then sent it to Sam Houston, for this she found a way
And so the Union Army fought and won the day.


Where the Rio Grande is flowing lived a woman brave and fine
A heroine of the people and honored in her time
The Yellow Rose of Texas has long been laid to rest
But history would be different without the lovely Emily West.


Ann Richards was 73. She was also an immortal spirit. Fare thee well Miss Ann, you've earned your rest, we'll keep on working.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog


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