Mudcat Café message #3396000 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #130229   Message #3396000
Posted By: GUEST,Dave Samuelson
27-Aug-12 - 03:12 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Horse Named Bill - Know More??
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Horse Named Bill - Know More??
In the notes to his 1959 Columbia album 'Flat Rock Ballads,' Carl Sandburg claimed he learned 'A Horse Named Bill' from Red Lewis of Sauk Center, Minnesota, adding that the final verse came from George Sterling of San Francisco and "one or two other verses from an Englishman in Italy returning from a cruise in Bombay." Red Lewis was a nickname for novelist Sinclair Lewis, whose acidic novels about Midwestern morals and mediocrity widely circulated during the '20s; Sterling was a flamboyant Bay Area poet who proclaimed himself 'King of Bohemia.' However, this clever nonsense song set to the tune of 'Dixie' was closer in spirit to Sandburg's own "Rutabaga Stories" than anything the dour Lewis or pretentious Sterling ever penned. 'A Horse Named Bill' was almost certainly a Sandburg original. Attributing it to his deceased contemporaries was a private joke that the writer slyly enjoyed.