Mudcat Café message #607124 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14070   Message #607124
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
10-Dec-01 - 10:18 AM
Thread Name: Help: houlihan? - Old Paint
Subject: Lyr Add: GOOD-BY, OLD PAINT
Lyr Add:
GOOD-BY, OLD PAINT I

My foot in the stirrup, my pony won't stan',
Good-by old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne,
I'm a-leavin Cheyenne, I'm off for Montan';
Good-by old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne. (1)

I'm a-ridin' old Paint, I'm a-leadin' old Fan;
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.
With my feet in the stirrups, my bridle in my hand;
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne.

Old Paint's a good pony, he paces when he can;
Good-by, little Annie, I'm off for Cheyenne.
Oh, hitch up your horses and feed 'em some hay,
And seat yourself by me as long as you stay.

My hosses ain't hungry, they won't eat your hay;
My wagon is loaded and rollin' away.
I'm a-ridin' old Paint, I'm a-leadin old Dan, (2)
I'm a-goin' to Montan' to throw the hoolihan. (3)

They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.
Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song;
One went to Denver, the other went wrong.

His wife died in a pool-room fight,
And still he sings from morning till night.
I'm a rambler and a gambler and far from my home,
And those that don't like me can leave me alone.

Oh, whiskey and beer, they are nothing to me,
They killed my old Dad, now they can try me.
I'll tell you the truth, not lyin' or jokin',
I'd rather be in jail than to be heart-broken.

Oh, when I die take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on my pony, lead him from the stall,
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west,
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.

As published in Cowboy Songs and other Frontier Ballads, John A. and Alan Lomax, 1910 revised 1938, p. 12-14, with music.
(1) "The final line of each stanza may be repeated ad libidum as a refrain." (2) "Or, with a pack on old Baldy and riding old Dan." (3) "hoolihaning- the act of leaping forward and alighting on the horns of a steer in bulldogging in such a manner as to knock the steer down without having to twist him with a wrestling hold. This practice is barred in practically all ... rodeos. Also to throw a big time in town- to paint the town red." Ramon F. Adams, Western Words, 1944, p. 79. Not to be confused with hooley-ann, a roping term. See posting by RichardW, above, in this thread for a more complete explanation.

In the later American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), changes were made. Two-line, rather than 4-line stanzas were employed. Some stanzas were re-written and others left out. Lomax says Boothe Merrill "gave me this song in 1910, in Cheyenne, Wyoming..." A definite refrain was added.

GOOD-BY, OLD PAINT II

My foot in the stirrup, my pony won't stan',
I'm a-leavin Cheyenne, I'm off for Montan'.
Cho.
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne,
Good-by, old Paint, I'm a-leavin' Cheyenne. (1)

I'm a-ridin' old Paint, I'm a-leadin' old Fan,
Good-by, little Annie, I'm off for Cheyenne.

Old Paint's a good pony, he paces when he can,
Good morning, young lady, my hosses won't stand.

Oh, hitch up your hosses and feed 'em some hay,
And seat yourself by me as long as you stay.

My hosses ain't hungry, they'll not eat your hay,
My wagon is loaded and rolling away.

I am a-riding old Paint, I am a-leading old Dan,
I'm going to Montan' for to throw the hoolihan.

They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.

Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song;
One went to Denver, and the other went wrong.

His wife died in a pool-room fight,
And still he sings from morning to night.

Oh, when I die, take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on my pony, lead him from the stall.

Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west,
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best.

(1) "To be repeated until one thinks of more words or the waltz stops." Boothe Merrill told Lomax that the song "was popular at times in western Oklahoma. For the last dance all other music is stopped, and the revelers, as they dance to a slow waltz time, sing "Good-by, Old Paint." (I have seen this in New Mexico, 1930s).

I RIDE AN OLD PAINT

See posting by Gary T., above, for the words, taken from Cowpie. These are the words published by singer, poet, and song collector Margaret Larkin, 1931, in her book, Singing Cowboy, A Book of Western Songs, p. 34-35. She made no comments, but Carl Sandburg, 1927, in The American Songbag, p. 12-13 said "a song made known by Margaret Larkin of Las Vegas, New Mexico ...and by Linn Riggs... The song came to them at Santa Fe from a buckaroo who was last heard of as heading for the Border..." This tale probably originated with Linn Riggs, a playright and poet, and story teller. Sandburg used the Larkin version, but added "them" to the chorus (Ride around them slow). Sandburg comments on "the rich poetry..." I agree with RichardW, who in his posting says fiery and snuffy refer to horses.
Other singers revised the text, and regional variations sprang up. The song lends itself to the creation of new verses.
I know of no reliable mention of the song before 1910.