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Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project

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wysiwyg 17 Feb 01 - 02:24 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 03:34 PM
Hollowfox 17 Feb 01 - 03:46 PM
wysiwyg 17 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM
MMario 17 Feb 01 - 07:10 PM
Dale Rose 17 Feb 01 - 08:58 PM
GUEST, WYSIWYG 17 Feb 01 - 10:48 PM
Dale Rose 17 Feb 01 - 11:06 PM
GUEST, WYSIWYG 17 Feb 01 - 11:16 PM
Dale Rose 17 Feb 01 - 11:38 PM
raredance 18 Feb 01 - 12:05 AM
wysiwyg 06 Mar 01 - 03:21 PM
DonMeixner 06 Mar 01 - 06:23 PM
wysiwyg 21 Aug 01 - 03:59 PM
MMario 21 Aug 01 - 04:10 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Aug 01 - 11:43 PM
IanC 22 Aug 01 - 05:33 AM
MMario 22 Aug 01 - 08:41 AM
IanC 22 Aug 01 - 08:58 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 01 - 10:49 AM
IanC 22 Aug 01 - 10:54 AM
wysiwyg 22 Aug 01 - 11:37 AM
GUEST 22 Aug 01 - 11:46 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 01 - 11:50 AM
IanC 22 Aug 01 - 12:05 PM
wysiwyg 22 Aug 01 - 12:21 PM
IanC 22 Aug 01 - 01:01 PM
wysiwyg 22 Aug 01 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 22 Aug 01 - 09:54 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 01 - 11:51 PM
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Subject: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 02:24 PM

I have the longterm loan of four old songbooks. They are far too fragile to play out of. I have discussed their preservation with two Mudcatters, but it looks like a big project for one or two, and if more people participate it could have some nice applications.

Obvious approaches are scanning, hanging up on a website.... posting lyrics & chords here... someone mentioned recording...

OK, here's what I have:


  • Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee's Songs of the Range (Cowboy Wails of Cattle Trails).
    (C) 1937, Chart Music Pub House, Chicago. 30 songs, foreword, photo layout centerfold. 50 pages.
  • Dale Hunter's (The Yodeling Cowboy) collection of Hill Billy and Cowboy Songs.
    (C) 1934, Chart Music Pub House, Chicago. Blues and Yodel songs. 32 songs, foreword. 50 pages.
  • Marc Williams (The Singing Texan) Collection of favorite Cowboy Songs.
    (C) 1937, Bob Miller Inc. Pub.. 22 songs including "the Famous Song, The Cowboy Prayer." 34 pages.
  • The Big Roundup of Cowboy Songs.
    (C) 1934, Amsco Music Sales Co. 57 songs, foreword. 96 pages.
  • See also related thread, "Help: Barn Dance Songbook Preservation Project."


    People, what are your ideas? Post them here.

    Do you want to volunteer to join the project team? E-mail me.

    (Click HERE to e-mail me.)

    ~Susan


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 03:34 PM

    Sounds like an interesting project, Susan. I'd sure like to see all those songs posted here at Mudcat (perhaps in this very thread), with Noteworthy files (with embedded lyrics) sent to me for submission to the Digital Tradition and Mudcat MIDIs. When you're posting a number of songs on the same theme, it seems they're easiest to find if you keep them all in the same thread.

    -Joe Offer-


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Hollowfox
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 03:46 PM

    I think it depends on just how fragile the books are, and just what type of preservation you're thinking of. Are they too fragile to photocopy or scan? If not, then you've got your copy to play out of. Are there other copies in existence? Try interlibrary loan, you might find another copy in better shape. Would there be a copyright problem hanging these on a website? Are they anywhere else on the Web? For preserving the books themselves, it would depend on the owner's feelings. I'd contact the nearest large museum or archive to see where they send their historic papers, etc. for de-acidification. (I *think* that the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY used to do some of that sort of thing. I don't have a website for them, but their phone number is (607) 547-2533.)Good luck.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM

    Thanks, both of you.

    My interest, personally, is always twofold. In this case:

    1. I want to learn as many songs as I can as easily as I can, and make mine the ones that feel like they can be mine.

    2. I want a good resource never to be wasted, and to make it available to share with as many as possible, as efficiently and easily as possible.

    So we have talked about scanning as a start, and I'll want a copy. Whatever happens after that will happen, if people want to make it happen and can work together to make it so.

    All ideas welcome. I don't think though that they'll be up to me to do or bless... I think a project manager will step forward, and it may be one of the two people I have already spoken to (Mudcatters Amos and cowboypoet). My concern in who will manage this will be just that the materials are handled responsibly and returned to me.

    ~Susan


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: MMario
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:10 PM

    If they can be scanned INTO A COMPUTER - then files could be distributed by e-mail to share the workload of transcribing into say NWC files...

    Since all are from the 30's they (the books themselves) MAY still be under copyright - tho' quite possible the tunes and lyrics are not. Depends on how old the songs included in each are.

    willing to help transcribe if scanned files can be e-mailed


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dale Rose
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 08:58 PM

    I have a copy of the first one, plus several other similar books. Time is at a premium at the moment though, what with other projects still unfinished. I'll put it on my list of things to do, or not do, as the case may be. It IS worthwhile, though, and I'll see what I can come up with.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: GUEST, WYSIWYG
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 10:48 PM

    It would be great if someone could find out who these people WERE. We need LORE.

    And it would be great to know if anyone has anything they recorded.

    I think we need whoever scans these to first transcribe the table of contents to post here, so someone with time to spend can look up stuff and see if any of it is already posted at Mudcat or already hanging up on some website.

    Anyone want to work those angles?

    ~Susan

    (see first post for clickable e-mail to me)


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dale Rose
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:06 PM

    Oh, I know who most of them were. Got a couple of Powder River Jack Lee stories, in fact. Have to look that up. It's a Gail Gardner story, by the way.

    In the WLS book, I know at least a little bit about just about everyone there.

    Recordings are reasonably easy to find for many, but not all of these old recording stars. I'll get back to you with a less than comprehensive list of what is available, though someone like Stewie (and there are others as well) probably has the info better organized than I do.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: GUEST, WYSIWYG
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:16 PM

    Oh Dale, don't do more than makes sense. I mean, if I have just a tip here of an already-well-managed iceberg, I should just xerox and enjoy the books and not worry about the rest of this.

    ~S~


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dale Rose
    Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:38 PM

    Quotation from Warren Miller in the Prescott (Arizona) Daily Courier, who got his information from Gail Gardner:

    Gail Gardner and Curley Fletcher met in Prescott in the 1930s and found they had something important in common: They had both had poems pirated by "Powder River" Jack Lee, a cowboy singer from Montana.

    Lee had made records of Fletcher's "Strawberry Roan" and of Gardner's "Tyin' Knots in the Devil's Tail" and claimed to have written both poems.

    My personal collection of cowboy poetry includes a copy of Jack Lee's book, "The Stampede," published about 1935, which includes Lee's version of "Tyin Knots..." Curley Fletcher told Gail that "that skunk Powder River Jack" was in Phoenix with his wife, performing at a hotel.

    They went down together, found Lee, and roughed him up some. "But," Gail told me, "he didn't own anything but the shirt on his back, and neither of us wanted 'Pretty Kitty Lee' so they let him go."

    Another great source of more modern vintage is The Hell-Bound Train, A Cowboy Songbook, Glenn Ohrlin, University Of Illinois Press, 1973. Glenn is a noted cowboy (the genuine article), rancher, singer, and story teller from Mountain View, Arkansas. Glenn, who knew all three men in the story above, credits Fletcher for Strawberry Roan and Gardner for Sierry Petes/Tyin' Knots, by the way. If you can't buy a used copy of Glenn's book, check your local library. His book was the source I used for Platonia a few weeks back.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: raredance
    Date: 18 Feb 01 - 12:05 AM

    Just an addition to Dale's comments. U of Illinois Press issued an "Illini Books" paperback edition of Ohlin's book in 1989. This version may be a little easier to find for those interested. I don't know if U Illinois Press still sells that edition

    rich r


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 06 Mar 01 - 03:21 PM

    Betcha thought I forgot this project. I didn't. I had several really promising volunteers sign up, too. Thing is, one of the signer-uppers has a PILE of stuff probably more worthy of preservation than this thing-- and I am waiting to hear back from him if he would like to invite my volunteers to help HIM, instead.

    So hang on-- news when I have it.

    ~S~


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: DonMeixner
    Date: 06 Mar 01 - 06:23 PM

    Open them only to the Table of Contents, Itemize the songs there in. Note the publisher and publication date. Fire the list off to the Library of Congress and see if they already have these works and songs avaiable as copies. What do you care which publishing the songs come from as long as they are the same songs from a recent or more recent edition of the book in question.

    This may help to keep your books intact. I'd contact a paper conservator or an expert in Ephemera conservation. This is different from restoration.

    Good Luck

    Don


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 21 Aug 01 - 03:59 PM

    If you are wondering what ever happened to this project, and all the help offers I got, it all got set on the back burner when health, computer, and other problems got in the way, and also I lost touch with one of the mainstays of the planned project.

    However in the meantime I got a scanner and Noteworthy Composer software and can share items from these more easily from right here.

    What I think makes sense now is for me to post a table of contents of the items in the books and people can request them-- I can e-mail a requestor a scan and they can post words and maybe share with me the work of making a Noteworthy tune of it. And I will save it all in folders that can eventually be dumped into a CD I can burn to lend out by mail. Unless someone volunteers a site it can be hung up in, at that point.

    That sound workable?

    ~Susan


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: MMario
    Date: 21 Aug 01 - 04:10 PM

    sounds like what I am doing with Michelle over on "songs and Ballads of Ireland" thread...


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 21 Aug 01 - 11:43 PM

    The first edition of Ohrlin's "Hell-Bound Train" was notable for two floppy vinyl recordings included with it, with songs by John L. White and Glenn Ohrlin. Another good book is "The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing" by Guy Logsdon, which has a good listing of old cowboy songbooks. The story about Gardner and Powder River, told above by Dale Rose, is preserved in Logsdon's book (Also Univ. Illinois Press).


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: IanC
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 05:33 AM

    Susan

    Sorry to appear to be arguing here, but two of your books are still available from the bookshops, so I'm not sure in what way you're hoping to "preserve" them. They are

    "Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee's Songs of the Range (Cowboy Wails of Cattle Trails)" (Chicago, Chart Music, 1937) - available from Alibris $21, Country Bookshop $15.

    Glasmaker, W. J. "The Big Roundup of Cowboy Songs" (1934, Amsco Music Sales Co., 1934) - available from Alibris for $21, Goddwill Books $15.

    The other two don't appear to be available in bookshops but they are still in copyright and other copies will probably exist in libraries (I haven't checked).

    Have you asked the authors (or their heirs) for permission to copy these books?

    MMario - what you're doing is not the same. I checked the book you are working on and it appears to be OK from the copyright point of view. Also there don't appear to be too many copies of it around (though I might be able to find one if I knew what the right title was!)

    Cheers!
    Ian


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: MMario
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 08:41 AM

    Ian - the Correct title according to every page is "Songs and Ballads of Ireland" - but I don't have a publisher or date.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: IanC
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 08:58 AM

    MMario

    That is a running page title and may not be the full title of the book. They are often shortened and rearranged versions of the complete title at the front of the book (which I believe it is in the case of Michelle's book).

    :-)
    Ian


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 10:49 AM

    Susan is partially correct. There are lots of these old songbooks, many from the 1930's and they often went through several printings and name changes. The first Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee, 1934, goes for $100 in good condition, but the later ones are reasonable. The key to value is condition and they must be first edition (not always easy to determine in these cheap printings). I have a list of about 150 cowboy songbooks, and it is very far from complete.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: IanC
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 10:54 AM

    Dicho

    Susan made it clear in her post of 17-Feb-01 - 04:04 PM what she wanted to preserve.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 11:37 AM

    Look, I just wanted to share the SONGS. It isn't about value or profit, it's about the SONGS. Like 99% of Mudcat. You all go ahead and hash it all out. I'll just keep them safe till I can return them to the collector who was kind enough to lend them to me so I could learn and share THE SONGS with others interested in SONGS.

    ~Susan


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: GUEST
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 11:46 AM


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 11:50 AM

    OOPS! I read Susan on IanC's posting of 0533AM and didn't relate Susan to WYSIWYG. Stupid of me, was not yet fully awake. My point only is that for Cowboy songbook collectors, the songbook must be 1st Edition and in very good to fine condition. I should have said IanC was partially correct.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: IanC
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 12:05 PM

    Susan

    I don't have any problems about sharing songs. I was just asking, really, if you were sure of the copyright situation and pointing out that, for 2 of the 4 books anyway, people could quite easily buy them so that it wasn't such a scarce resource as you might be thinking.

    :-)
    Ian


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 12:21 PM

    Ian, are you UK?

    In the US, a couple of copies available equates to many of us as a vanished species. Yes, they can be bought, once, by someone who may or may not have any way of sharing the songs. The songs vanish from the oral tradition when that happens, because not enough of the collectors are performers and not enough venues want that particular sort of song. Not a lot of cowboy singers around these parts, podhuh. *G*

    No, I am not sure of the copyright situation; they were shared by a collector who said they were quite rare and I went from that point, to try to play through the first book, only to find I was risking damaging the value of his material-- collected for its memorabilia value rather than its musical value.

    This seems to me to be a site where people share what they have learned or are learning, rather than wring profit from what they hold. IMO to discuss copyright at Mudcat is, at best, difficult to do credibly.

    ~S~


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: IanC
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:01 PM

    Susan

    Yes, I do live in the UK and perhaps things are different in the US.


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: wysiwyg
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:04 PM

    I think we Mudcatters run into that kind of cultural difference all the time and seldom realize it. I am not yet good at (graceful at) spotting it and trying to address it, but it seemed like something had gone whacko and I hoped that was it!

    I'll take half a whacko, will you take the other half? *G*

    ~Susan


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 09:54 PM

    A couple of quick points while I'm passing through:

    There is quite a significant database of Cowboy MIDIs at one site on the Web - I don't have the URL to hand, but it should be easy(ish) to find. From memory there are no lyrics posted, but in my opinion the music component is the hardest part of the nut to crack.

    I have mused from time to time about creating a site for Australian 'Cowboy' songs. There is no shortage of them available in public archives such as my local State Library. The truth is that I'm an ageing folkie and it's not really my genre, but someone else may be inspired to take up the challenge. Let me know if you need a hand with source materials.

    Regards, John johninbrisbane@lycos.com


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    Subject: RE: Help: Cowboy Songbooks Preservation Project
    From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 22 Aug 01 - 11:51 PM

    John in Brisbane, the only Australian site I have found is crixa.com/muse with something over 100 folk songs but only a few of the cowboy songs. It would be nice to have a site with songs and listing of good books or sources. If you know of some good sites, please start a thread on Australian Cowboy Songs. I hope you, or someone you can bully, will start bringing the Australian material to our attention. Of course our vocabulary would have to be extended. There are several good sites over here for American-Canadian cowboy songs.


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