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Lyr Req: Will James (Ian Tyson)

06 Sep 99 - 11:37 PM (#112017)
Subject: Jack Elliot's song about Will James
From: katlaughing

In cleaning up my desk, today, I found a note I made, gawd knows when, to look for Jack Elliot's song about Will James, the cowboy author who illustrated his own books. My note says it was on Jack's first album, I think.

I have a colleciton of Will James' books, starting with one my granddad owned, all bought before he became so popular.

Anyway, I would love to have the words and/or tune to this, if ya'll can help me out.

Thanks very much,


07 Sep 99 - 12:04 AM (#112026)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jack Elliot's song about Will James
From: Frank of Toledo

The song was written by Ian Tyson, and was recorded Ramblin Jack on his Red House "Southcoast" album, was done by the author Ian Tyson and a great version by Don Edwards. I have the lyrics on the Ian Tyson album, will get them together and if you can't find it anywhere else, will send them out to you. The chords are pretty basic three or four chord progression.....Frank

07 Sep 99 - 04:17 AM (#112051)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jack Elliot's song about Will James
From: NSC

Which Jack Elliot are you referring to? The great Jack Elliot of Birtley who died in 1965 ?

His son Pete, who is now in his 70's visited us in May and we are returning his visit next month. If this is the Elliot to which you refer I can ask him for the info.


07 Sep 99 - 01:45 PM (#112157)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jack Elliot's song about Will James
From: katlaughing

Thanks Frank, that would be great.

George, I don't know which one. I probably heard something on NPR and made note of it; just found the note last night and that is all it said. I think Frank has the right one, as it could have been I heard a recording of Jack Elliot performing and just wrote his name. They probably didn't say anything about who wrote it.

Your visit sounds interesting, regardless. Why don't you let us know how it went. And would you please tell me more about the Jack Elliot you are talking about?



07 Sep 99 - 03:15 PM (#112186)
Subject: Lyr Add: WILL JAMES (Ian Tyson)
From: Frank of Toledo

When I was but a small boy, my father bought me many books
'Bout the creatures of the river banks and the sins of old DEA crooks.
But the ones I never left behind with the old forgotten games
Were the tales of wild and windy slopes by the man they call Will James.

The living of the cowboy dreams, or so it seemed to me,
The perfect combination of riding high and being free,
His heroes were his horses, and he drew them clear and true.
On every page they'd come alive and jump straight out at you.

CHORUS: His race towards the sunset was the high and lonesome kind.
Like a coyote always looking back, he left no tracks behind.
So I've memorized these pictures, boys. They're still the very best.
If whiskey was his mistress, his true love was the west.

I remember up on Dead Man Creek, back twenty years or more,
I hired on to breaking colts, which I'd never done before.
A city kid, I asked myself, "Now what would Will James do?"
And you know, it was the damnedest thing, but it kind of got me through.

Repeat chorus

Thar she be, partner.

07 Sep 99 - 04:52 PM (#112235)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jack Elliot's song about Will James
From: katlaughing

she grins widely from ear to ear Thank you, thank you! Those are great lyrics, no wonder I made note of the song!!!

You are a sweetie, Frank! If we finally decide to move out your way, I will bend an elbow with you, my treat, at your favourite watering hole!