American Ballads and Folk Songs: page - 0500

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American Ballads and Folk Songs
been, I was so pleased with the song that I later took down the words from his dictation, and since that time I have always been willing to sing it myself if sufficiently urged to do so. Later when Mr. John A. Lomax published his collection, Cowboy Songs, I found in it 'Hell in Texas,' which proved to be a different and somewhat longer version of the song I had learned in Pittsburgh. All scholars know that pop­ular ballads grow by accretion. This truth I soon exemplified by adding to the version that I already knew sixteen lines from that found in Cowboy Songs.
"To this hybrid version, Professor Lawrence Powell, of the Uni­versity of Arkansas, obligingly set down the tune in musical notation.
"I wanted to find out as much as I could about the history of the version that I learned more than twenty years ago. As Mr. Alfred C. Boswell is a trained musician, I first consulted him. I located him at Chalet Windspillen, Gstaad, Canton Bern. On receiving my letter, he replied that he remembers the tune of 'Hell in Texas,' but cannot recall the words. He has an impression that he first heard the song sung by Jack Heard or Bill Houston.
"Next I wrote these gentlemen, who still live in Pittsburgh. Bill Houston got the copy he sent to me from Lloyd Smith. None of my friends in Pittsburgh knows the song as 'Hell in Texas'} Jack Heard calls it 'The Devil in Hell,' and Bill Houston 'The Founding of New Mexico.' * Alfred Boswell in his letter says that he does not know who imported this robust song 'into the anemic atmosphere of Western Pennsylvania,' but Bill Houston and Lloyd Smith are able to supply this information. They learned the song from Alexander Milne, Jr., Princeton, *09, who lives in Pittsburgh. He learned it in 1907 at a summer camp in Maine, from a young man named Scott who had been a cowboy in New Mexico and learned the song there.
"If the tune is not exactly the same as that sung by my friends, the fault is mine. ... Of the words, the fifth and sixth lines of the first stanza, the fifth and sixth lines of the second stanza, all of the fifth stanza and the last of the sixth stanza are derived from Mr. Lomax's
* N. Howard Thorp, an old-time range man of New Mexico and compiler of Songs of the Cowboys, prefaces "Hell in Texas'* with the remark that "this song was originally entitled 'The Birth of New Mexico.'"

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III