Mudcat Café message #654888 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44499   Message #654888
Posted By: Art Thieme
21-Feb-02 - 05:42 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Nevada Jane (Utah Phillips)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
Kat,

Utah says in his old book o' his songs--1973:

I've been told that I'm wrong about this song. I don't know whether I am or not, since Bill Haywood, who was with the Western Federation Of Miners and was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Workers Of The World (I.W.W>--the Wobblies) never mentioned his wife in his biography except very briefly, so I can't tell if he loved his wife or not.

I do have stories from old timers who tell me about times when Bill Haywood was woking in a mine camp, basically doing a job of de-horning. His wife, Nevada Jane, had been crippled in a fall from her pony, so she couldn't walk.Bill had a house on the edge of town sh he would carry his wife down to the railroad station every morning. She would sit there and talk to the women of the town about what they could do to help organize the town, while Bill was brawling in the bars. He'd come back at the end of the day, pick Nevada Jane up, hang one kid off of each shoulder, and every night you'd see him carrying his wife and kids up to the house.

Most of the songs about labor struggles are full of loud shouting and arm-waving and thunder and rhetoric.It's good for me, every now and then, to try to take a look at the human side of it. right or wrong.

The tune is a variation of Stephen Foster's "Gentle Annie".

Hope this helps...

Good talking to you today, Ms Kat.

Art Thieme