Texas and Southwestern Lore Page: 193
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Songs of the Open Range
peared in print, but my chief work has been to preserve the
melodies. I have secured these directly from the cowboys,
by visiting ranches, attending dances, and riding on round-
ups in the western states where people still dance all night
to the tune of the fiddle. One summer I taught on a ranch
in Montana, out twenty-five miles from Malta. The school
children and their mothers were especially helpful in secur-
ing melodies. The first year after I graduated from Baylor
University I taught in Arizona. I spent week-ends on ranches
and after school closed stayed and rode on the spring round-
up. I spent two years in Kansas City teaching in the city
schools, getting my material in shape for publication. Friends
at the stock yards helped me get songs from any one who
chanced in that knew melodies I did not have. I now have
seventy-three distinct melodies, and there are any number
of variations. Some twenty-five or thirty of what, in my
judgment, are the best and most characteristic songs both
as to words and melodies will appear in my book, Songs of the
The folk songs of other nations are more varied and polish-
ed than are these of the cowboys. In other countries the
ballads and folk songs are the result of centuries of growth;
in America the cowboy came and went in less than a cen-
tury. Nevertheless, despite imperfect meter and other crudi-
ties, many of the songs are beautiful and ring with the
sincerity of the cowboy's country.
TIHE GRASS OF UNCLE SAM
One of the most characteristic ballads that I have is "The
Grass of Uncle Sam."' Here, true to form, the stranger gets
the bucking horse.
1"The Grass of Uncle Sam," with music and five stanzas of eight
lines each, is to be found in Cattle Ranch to College, by Russell Double-
day (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1899, pp. 269-271). The opening
stanza runs thus:
Now, people of the Eastern towns,
It's little that you know
About the Western prairies
Where the beef you eat does grow;
Where the horses they run wild
With the mountain sheep and ram;
And the cowboy sleeps contented
On the grass of Uncle Sam.-Editor.
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texas and Southwestern Lore, book, 1927; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67662/m1/195/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.