Mudcat Café message #2072365 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19122   Message #2072365
Posted By: GUEST,Art Thieme
09-Jun-07 - 05:23 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (different versions)
Subject: Lyr Add: BARBARA ALLEN (from Art Thieme)
This is pretty much the way the words go to the version of B.A. I got from Del Bray (or Dave Bray) in our cheapo hotel room across from the train station in Cheyenne, Wyoming (1962) School chum, Mike Sideman, and I were doing the Guthrie/Kerouac thing---my first trip to the west coast by car. Our hotel had a workingman's bar on the street level, and that is where we met Del Bray who was a beat up retired cowboy. I'd had my guitar in the bar and he said he had picked in his youth. The jukebox was on LOUD so we got a 6-pack and went to our hotel room to swap some songs. At one point I asked him if he knew any story songs.   Del sang this and I wrote it down in shorthand on a scrap of paper and stashed it in my guitar case. I never thought about it being a unique form of this song--and I didn't think to ask him where it came from or if he had written it. (I was 20 years old and 2 beers put me to sleep back then.) A couple of years later, I found those song notations folded up in the case. The tune is just the way I remembered it after the fact. But I remember really liking the Medicine Bow reference---and especially the "Made all the boys ride saddle sore" line.

Also, I realized later that the "marker rocks" put on the pretty shallow graves out west were to try to keep coyotes and wolves from digging up a dead body.

We had getting back the road on our minds, and the next morning we headed west. I never did hear of or from Del (Dave?) Bray again.

Mike and I wound up in San Francisco and then in Monterrey and Salinas, California. John Steinbeck was important to me then,   still is---so we sought out those places he wrote about. Big Sur and Henry Miller territory as well. Never did find Tom Joad though! But Canary Row was there in Monterrey, and so was what was left of Doc's (Ed Ricketts') marine biology specimens lab. There was a John Steinbeck motion picture theater on the street, ten antique shops and places to buy taffy. It was pretty sad. Still, it was THE AMAZING OCEAN----the end of the country---the dropping off place. (I loved the coast--and when Carol and I were married in '67, we migrated to Oregon's coast to live for a while.)

After California, Mike and I, eventually, left the car in El Paso, Texas, and took a bus 2400 miles (round trip for $24.00--a penny a mile) to Mexico City and back. But that's another story...

I called Del's song "Cowboy's Barbara Allen". Here it is pretty much the way I first did it...

Near Medicine Bow where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin',
Made all the boys ride saddle sore,
And her name was Barbara Allen,
And her name was Barbara Allen.

Was in the merry moth of May,
The green buds they were swellin',
Young Billy/Jimmy come to the western range,
Come a-courtin' Barbara Allen,
Come a-courtin' Barbara Allen.

'Twas in the merry moth of June,
Green leaves they was bloomin',
Young Billy on his death bed lay,
Just for lovin' Barbara Allen,
Just for lovin' Barbara Allen.

We sent a message out to her,
To the place where she was dug in,
Sayin', "Come and see young Bill today,
For I think that he is dying,
I think that he's a-dyin'."

Slowly, slowly she got up,
Slowly she went to him,
And when she pulled the blanket back
Said, "Bill, I guess you're dying,
Bill, I guess you're dying."

"Yes, I'm sick, I'm very sick.
I never will get better,
Until I get the love of you,
The love of Barbara Allen,
The love of Barbara Allen."

She went walkin' back through the brush,
She heard the cattle moanin',
And every moan they seemed to say,
Hard hearted Barbara Allen,
Hard hearted Barbara Allen.

Father, oh, father, go dig my grave,
Dig it deep and narrow,
Young Billy died for me today,
I'm gonna die for him tomorrow,
Gonna die for him tomorrow."

We burried her in the old church yard,
Bill, his grave was nigh her,
And from his grave grew a red, red rose,
And from hers grew a brier,
And from hers grew a brier.

They tangled round the marker rocks,
They could not grow no higher,
And there they tied a true love knot,
The rose and the thorny brier,
The rose and the thorny brier.

In Medicine Bow where I was born,
The was a fair maid dwellin',
Made all the boys ride saddle sore,
And her name was Barbara Allen,
And her name was Barbara Allen.

(Art Thieme for Del Bray)