Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Santa Fe Trail

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The Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail
(James Grafton Rogers, 1911)

 Say, pard have ye sighted a schooner
A-hittin' the Santa Fe Trail?
They made it here Monday or sooner
With a water keg roped on the rail,
With Daddy and Ma on the mule-seat
And somewhere around on the way
A tow-headed gal on a pony
A-janglin' for old Santa Fe
   Oh -- Ah - Oh --
A-janglin' for old Santa Fe.

I seen her ride down the arroyos
Way back in the Arkansas sand,
With a smile like an acre of sunflowers,
An' her little brown quirt in her hand
She straddled the pinto so airy
And rode like she carried the mail,
And her eyes near set fire to the prairie
'Long side of the Santa Fe Trail
   Oh -- Ah - Oh --
Alongside of the Santa Fe Trail.

Oh, I know a gal down on the border
That I'd ride to El Paso to sight;
I'm acquaint with the high-steppin' order,
And I've sometimes kissed some gals goodnight;
But Lord, they're all ruffles and beadin'
Or afternoon tea by the pail,
Compared to the kind of stampedin'
That I get on the Santa Fe Trail
   Oh -- Ah -- Oh --
That I get on the Santa Fe Trail.

I don't know her narne, and the prairie
When it comes to a gal's pretty wide,
Or shorter from hell to hilary
Than it is on this Santa Fe ride,
But I guess I'll make Cedars by sundown
And campin' may be in a swale,
I'll come on a gall and a pinto
Alongside of the Santa Fe Trail
   Oh -- Ah -- Oh --
Alongside of the Santa Fe Trail.

11/16/1821: William Becknell party reaches Santa Fe, N.M. - 1st use of Santa Fe

"Yo-ho! Yo-ho!" is common - perhaps following Ed McCurdy
In the Peter Bellamy version (also Lisa Null, Finest Kind, etc.) the "Oh -- Ah--
Oh--" becomes "Yo-ho! Yo-ho!", and it and the final line repeat on each verse

Jules Allen recorded the song for Victor in Los Angeles 8 April 1929 under the
title 'Longside the Santa Fe Trail'. With minor variations - for example
'fluffles' and 'when you're huntin' one girl it's some wide' - the lyrics are
basically what is posted above. Jules sings 'Oh-oh oh, oh' for the first 2
stanzas and changes to 'yo-ho oh, oh' for the final two - maybe that's where the
yo-ho originated. Allen's recording was reissued on LP in 1973 on Richard
Weize's Folk Variety label. Weize had the following interesting note:
Although Jules Allen appears not to have known it when he recorded this song and
printed it in his 1933 volume 'Cowboy Lore', it was published in sheet music
with the title 'The Santa Fe Trail' in 1911 by Comet Publishing Co of Denver
Colorado. The words were by James Grafton Rogers, a prominent citizen of
Colorado who had recently celebrated his 90th birthday; the melody and
arrangement were by John H. Gower, a Denver church organist. When a very young
man, Mr Rogers worked on a New York City newspaper and wrote numerous verses and
songs that he hoped would qualify for Broadway shows. Later, he became a
distinguished attorney, served as Dean of the University of Colorado Law School,
and held many other important posts in his home state of Colorado and in the
federal government in Washington DC ...
Allen's recording has been reissued recently on CD in Yazoo's wonderful 2000
series of compilations: Various Artists 'When I Was a Cowboy Vol 1
Download the song in PDF format for printout etc. Download the song in RTF format for editing etc.