Songs Of The Cowboys - online songbook

Traditional Cowboy & Western Songs - lyrics collection

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or preservation of folk-song are: a communal unity of interest or occupation, and a certain degree of isolation from the larger world of affairs, and from continuous contact with printed sources. These are the conditions which produced the cowhoy songs — probably our largest body of native folk-songs, ex­cept, of course, the folk-songs of negro source or inspiration. (The songs of the American Indians are available only in translation.)
Cowboy songs are, generally speaking, of two types; first, songs transmitted by purely oral tradi­tion; and, second, songs originally printed, clipped from a local newspaper or magazine, fitted to a fa­miliar air, and so handed down from one cowboy to another, becoming genuine tolk-songs in theprocess. During the transition a certain amount of reshap­ing often takes place. Verses may be added or left out, or the wording altered — these changes usu­ally tending toward a greater simplicity and direct­ness and a more graphic cowboy lingo. An inter­esting recent example of such a reshaping through oral transmission is furnished by Badger Clark's "The Glory Trail," sung among the cowboys in southern Arizona under the title of "High-Chin Bob."
The differences between the two versions may be noted by referring to the original in Mr. Clark's Sun and Saddle Leather. Obviously some one found the song somewhere in print, adapted it to a familiar tune, and passed it on. This is the history of a number of the songs. Again, others have been built upon well-known airs; " The Cowboy's Dream" is sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the

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