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Lyr Add: Jesse James II

DigiTrad:
JESSE JAMES
JESSE JAMES (3)
JESSE JAMES (I WONDER WHERE MY POOR OLD JESSE'S GONE)
JESUS CHRIST
JESUS CHRIST (2)
TRUE BALLAD OF JESSE JAMES


Related threads:
Who was Billy Gashade (12)
(origins) Origins: Jesse James I (83)
Lyr Req: Title= A song about Robert Ford (12)
Lyr Add: Jesse James IV (3)
Lyr Add: Jesse James III (6)
Related tune: Jesse James (1)


Joe Offer 02 Aug 04 - 06:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Aug 04 - 08:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Aug 04 - 08:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Aug 04 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: lyrics: Jesse James II
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 06:33 PM

Just to keep us on our toes, the Traditional Ballad Index entry for Jesse James II covers the Digital Tradition Jesse James (3). The Digital Tradition version is from McNeil's Southern Folk Ballads. Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

Jesse James (II) [Laws E2]

DESCRIPTION: The song starts with an account of James's robbery of the Pittsfield bank. The account of the murder is circumstantial and unflattering. James is planning a robbery; he knocks down his wife's picture; Robert Ford shoots him in the back
AUTHOR: Words: Roger Lewis? Music: F. Henri Klickmann?
EARLIEST DATE: 1911
KEYWORDS: outlaw robbery death marriage
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Apr 4, 1882 - Shooting of Jesse James (then in semi-retirement under the name of Howard) by Robert Ford, a relative and a former member of his gang tempted by the $10,000 reward
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So,SE) Canada(Ont)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws E2, "Jesse James II"
Randolph 132, "Jesse James" (of Randolph's 6 texts plus 1 excerpt, Laws considers only Randolph's "B" text and tune to belong to E2, though the excerpt "C" is apparently also part of it)
BrownII 243, "Jesse James" (4 texts plus 3 excerpts and mention of 3 more; of these, only "I" is this song; "A," "B," and probably "G" are "Jesse James (I)")
Hudson 99, pp. 235-237, "Jesse James" (2 texts plus a fragment and mention of 3 more; the "A" text is Laws E2; the "B" text and "C" fragment are Laws E1)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 128-131, "Jesse James" (2 texts, 1 tune, but only the second text, to the tune of Casey Jones, is this ballad; the first text and tune is Jesse James I, Laws E1)
Burt, pp. 192-193, "(Jessey James)" (1 text)
Fife-Cowboy/West 93, "Jesse James" (5 texts, 2 tunes; this is the "D" text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 130-131, "Jesse James" (1 text, 1 tune)
McNeil-SFB1, pp. 60-65, "Jesse James" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fife-Cowboy/West 93, "Jesse James" (5 texts, 2 tunes, of which the "C" text is Laws E2 and the others are distinct)
DT 620, JESSJAM3*

Roud #2241
RECORDINGS:
George Reneau [actually sung by Gene Austin], (Vocalion 14897, 1924; on RoughWays2)
The Vagabonds, "The Death of Jesse James" (Montgomery Ward M-4443, 1934)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Jesse James (I)" [Laws E1] and references there
Notes: Much more even-handed than the commonly-found Jesse James ballad, this song shows James as he really was: A robber whose deeds caused people in their homes to "shake with fright" when they heard of them.
McNeil reports that this piece was copyrighted on April 3, 1911 by Klickmann and Lewis, then on May 15 by Will Rossiter. McNeil believes the Klickman/Lewis claim of authorship to be legitimate; Norm Cohen (more probably in my opinion) thinks they cashed in on an existing piece. The Klickman/Lewis words can be sung to the tune of "Casey Jones," and has been collected with that melody, although that is not the tune indicated in the original sheet music. McNeil gives a third melody as well.
Laws lists the characteristic opening verse/chorus of this song as:
Now people may forget a lot of famous names
But every nook and corner knows of Jesse James.
They used to read about him in their homes at night;
When the wind blew down the chimney they would shake with fright.
However, it appears that the most characteristic first line is "Way down in Missouri lived a bold bad man." - RBW
File: LE02

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD: Jesse James (Fife & Fife)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 08:05 PM

An odd coincidence of melody (Canada) anf lyrics (Gordon MS. Collection) was printed in Fife and Fife, 1969 (1982), "Cowboy and Western Songs, "Text and Melody C."

JESSE JAMES (Fife and Fife C)

Living in Missouri was a bad bold man,
He was known from Seattle down to Birmingham,
From Boston, Massachusetts, right across the states,
Nevada, Colorado, and the Golden Gates.

Chorus:
Some people will forget a lot of famous names,
But every nook and corner knows of Jesse James.
We used to read about him in our homes at night,
When the wind blew down the chimney we would shake with fright.

Jesse said, "Boys, some coin we need,"
Polished up his rifle, got his trusty steed,
Then he galloped over to his brother Frank,
And said, "We're going to make a raid on the Pittsfield bank."

Next morning they arrived in town at ten o'clock;
The cashier at the bank got an awful shock,
While Jesse had him covered with his 'forty-four"
His pals took out a half million "bones" or more.

Jesse one day in his cabin one day all alone,
His wife had left him there to straighten up the home-
Scrubbing out the kitchen when the doorbell rang,
In walked Ford, a member of the outlaw gang.

A picture of Jesse's wife was hanging on the wall,
Jesse says to Ford, "Tonight we make a haul,
The western mail will run through town,"
Went to get his rifle, knocked the picture down.

Jesse says to Ford, "I'll hang it up again."
So he stepped and stood upon a chair,
Then Ford aimed his Forty-four at Jesse's head,
And the news went round the country that Jesse James was dead.

Now we know that Jesse never would have lost his life
If it hadn't been for the picture of his absent wife.
Next week on his tombstone the legend ran,
"If you want to be a bandit, stay a single man."

With music and chords, pp. 258-259. Melody C: FAC I 479, collected by Edith Fowke from Tom Powell, Napanee, Ontario, Canada. Text C: Gordon 3217, Manuscript Collection, Library of Congress (area of collection not stated).
No dates given, but probably late; a humorous version.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Jesse James II
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 08:56 PM

So, Jesse James II is DT (3) is Fife and Fife Melody C text C, which I entered in the JJ thread (moved to this thread). How does the melody compare with Melody C collected in Canada by Fowke? Any idea where Gordon got the version in his MS collection?

It also is "B" in Randolph, collected in Missouri in 1928, perhaps the most straightforward of the cluster (better be careful, you are poaching on the grounds of the academic balladticians).
I like the picture of Jesse with a scrubbrush in hand. I also like the melody Randolph collected with his version B.

Jesse James (Randolph B)

Living in Missouri was a bold bad man,
Known from Seattle down to Birmingham,
From Denver Colorado right across the state,
From Boston Massachusetts to the Golden Gate.

Some people will forget a lot of famous names,
But in every nick an' corner was a Jesse James,
We used to read about him in our home at night,
When the wind blew down the chimney we would shake with fright.

Jesse James said boys, some money we need,
Stepped out an' got his rifle an' his trusty steed,
And then he galloped over for to see his brother Frank,
Says boys, we'll git the money from the Smithfield bank.

Next mornin' when they arrived about ten o'clock,
The cashier of the bank he got an awful shock,
For Jesse had him covered with his forty-four,
And he counted out half-a-million bonds or more.

Jesse he sat at home one day all alone,
His wife had left him there for to straighten out their home,
While scrubbin' out the kitchen the doorbell rang,
An' in stepped the leader of an outlaw gang.

Jesse says tonight before we make our hall
I'll just hang my dear wife's picture on the wall,
But a forty-four bullet went through Jesse's head,
An' the news went round the country that Jesse was dead.

Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 2, #132B. Sung by Mrs Lee Stephens, White Rock, MO, 1928, with music. (The verses also go well with music for verses of Battle of New Orleans)


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Jesse James II
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 02:08 PM

Steming from popular commercial sheet music, Jesse James II doesn't vary much in the "folk" versions. Original sheet music is in the Levy Collection.

JESSE JAMES
Words Roger Lewis, Music F. Henri Klickman

Living in Missouri was a bold, bad man,
Was known from Seattle down to Birmingham;
From Boston, Massachusetts, right across the States,
To Denver, Colorado, and the Golden Gates-
The people will forget a lot of famous names,
But every nook and corner knows of Jesse James.
We used to read about him in our home at night,
When the wind blew down the chimney we would shake with fright.

Chorus:
Jesse James! We used to read about him, Jesse James!
In our home at night; Jesse James! We used to read about him.
When the wind blew down the chimney we would shake with fright.

Jesse said one ev'ning, "Boys, some coin we need,"
He polished up his rifle, got his trusty steed;
And then he galloped over to his brother, Frank,
Said "We've got to get some money from the Pittsfield Bank."
They got in town next morning, it was ten o'clock,
The cashier at the bank he got an awful shock,
While Jesse had him covered with his forty four.
His pals took out a half a million bones or more.

Jesse James! He had the cashier covered, Jesse James!
With his forty four; Jesse James! He had the cashier covered
And his pals took out a half a million bones or more.

Jesse was in his cabin one day all alone,
His wife had left him there to straighten up the home,
Was scrubbing out the kitchen when the doorbell rang,
And in walked Ford, a member of the outlaw gang.
A photograph of Jesse's wife was on the wall,
When Jesse said to Ford, "Tonight we'll make a haul,
At ten o'clock the western mail will come thro' town."
He turned to get his rifle, knocked the picture down.

Jesse James! He turned to get his rifle, Jesse James!
Hanging on the wall; Jesse James! He turned to get his rifle,
Yes he turned to get his rifle hanging on the wall.

Jesse said," I'll hang the picture back up there,"
He stooped and picked it up and stood upon a chair,
And Ford then aimed his forty four at Jesse's head,
And news spread round the country Jesse James was dead.
So next week on his tombstone were some lines that ran,
"If you want to be a bandit stay a single man,
For we know that Jesse never would have lost his life,
If it wasn't for that darn old picture of his wife."

Jesse James! He tried to hang the picture, Jesse James!
Picture of his wife; Jesse James! He tried to hang the picture,
Yes, he tried to hang the picture and he lost his life.

Sheet music, 5 pp., copyright 1911 by F. Henri Klinkmann, transferred to Will Rossiter, Chicago, Illinois. 1911.
http://levysheetmusic.msu.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/display.pl?record=058.019.000&pages=5


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