Songs Of The Cowboys - online songbook

Traditional Cowboy & Western Songs - lyrics collection

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INTRODUCTION
Sleep" a "derelict" because Ronsard fathered it. In this connection it is interesting to see the crop-ping-up of an old theme, although perfectly un­consciously and with no debt to Villon, in Mr. Thorp's "What's Become of the Punchers We Rode with Long Ago?" This is a case, not of bor­rowing, but of the eternal recurrence of certain old themes.
To test American cowboy songs by the finest flower of English or European balladry, as is some­times done by distinguished folk-lore students who come over here to obtain survivals of their own songs, in the Kentucky mountains and elsewhere, is of course a mistake. Cowboy ballads represent a folk-tradition still in the making — their greatest antiquity is only a little over a half century — and the European ballads are several centuries old, and have the advantage of aliterary tradition even older. Indeed, this tradition is so distinctly literary in origin that, but for the oral use and transmission of the songs, one might hesitate to call them folk-songs 1 But to say, as Mr. Cecil Sharp does, that " The cow­boy has been despoiled of his inheritance of tra­ditional song; he has nothing behind him," is again a mistake. There are various degrees of sophis­tication among the cowboys, as one can see in these songs. James Russell Lowell, when he wrote the "Biglow Papers," was not thereby despoiled of his literary inheritance, nor was John Hay when he wrote "JimBludso," or Charles GodfreyLeland when he wrote the Hans Breitmann Ballads The lack of literary associations in the cowtoy songs is not necessarily an indication of a corresponding lack






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