Lyr Req: Nevada Jane (Utah Phillips) To Thread - Forum Home

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Lyr Req: Nevada Jane (Utah Phillips)

21 Feb 02 - 01:21 AM (#654450)
Subject: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: katlaughing

Listening to Utah Phillips singing this song, love it, mentioned it to Art Thieme and it sounded like there was a good story behind it, so...how about the lyrics and the story of Big Bill and Nevada Jane? I did a supersearch and didn't come up with but a few references to it.

THANKS!

kat


21 Feb 02 - 10:43 AM (#654640)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: masato sakurai

Nevada Jane

(From Utah Phillips: A Short Jog Through A Long Memory -- The U. Utah Phillips Appreciation and Information site)

~Masato


21 Feb 02 - 11:56 AM (#654699)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: katlaughing

Thanks, Masato! I had completely forgotten about his site. (I was also secretly hoping to entice Art Thieme to maybe share a story or two about Utah and this song; or anyone else who may have stories about it, it is such a touching song.)

Thanks, very much, my friend,

kat


21 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM (#654888)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Art Thieme

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


24 Feb 02 - 07:21 PM (#657049)
Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: NEVADA JANE (Utah Phillips)
From: Jim Dixon

Copied from the above-mentioned web site:

NEVADA JANE
(Copyright 1973, 2000 Bruce Phillips)

Are the linens turned down in folds of glowing white?
Are you lying there alone again tonight?
He's marching with the men through the cold November rain
But you know he'll come back home, Nevada Jane.

CHORUS: Have you seen the way he holds her as though she was a bride,
Children riding on shoulders strong and wide?
She never thought to scold him or even to complain,
And Big Bill always loved Nevada Jane.

And when he stumbles in with blood upon his shirt,
Washing up alone, just to hide the hurt,
He will lie down by your side and wake you with your name.
You'll hold him in your arms, Nevada Jane. CHO.

Nevada Jane went riding. Her pony took a fall.
The doctor said she never would walk again at all.
But Big Bill could lift her lightly. The big hands rough and plain
Would gently carry home Nevada Jane.

The storms of Colorado rained for ten long years.
The mines of old Montana were filled with blood and tears.
Utah, Arizona, California heard the name
Of the man who always loved Nevada Jane. CHO.

Although the ranks are scattered like leaves upon the breeze,
And with them go the memory of harder times than these,
Some things never change, but always stay the same,
Just like the way Bill loved Nevada Jane. CHO.

         G             D7      G                 C
Are the linens turned down in folds of glowing white?
G C D7
Are you lying there alone again tonight?
G D7 G C
He's marching with the men through the cold November rain
G D7 G
But you know he'll come back home, Nevada Jane.
C G
CHO: Have you seen the way he holds her as though she was a bride,
Em D7
Children riding on shoulders strong and wide?
G D7 G C
She never thought to scold him or even to complain,
G D7 G
And Big Bill always loved Nevada Jane.


24 Feb 02 - 10:18 PM (#657141)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: katlaughing

Thank you, Art and Jim and Masato! Now, I'll have to learn it!

Art, I thought maybe you might've had a bit more "insider's info" to add? Didn't know for sure though, if you did.:-) It was great talking with you two, too!

Such a pretty song...

kat


25 Feb 02 - 04:31 PM (#657707)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Art Thieme

Kat,

There's no more info to it that I know of. Masato and I posted the same info---sorry for the redundancy. Put Big Bill Haywood in a search engine. More will surface depending on the nature o' the engine.

Priscilla Herdman does a great rendition of this song.

Art Thieme


27 Feb 02 - 02:07 PM (#659210)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Charlie Baum

WPKN (my favorite radio station in Bridgeport, Conn., which I can only pick up via Internet and RealAudio these days) played "Nevada Jane" this morning-- a version with a long spoken intro by Utah Phillips. He relates as to how he first found the song in Butte, Montana. He was doing union organizing there, and wound up in a Finnish bar in Finntown (the last of Finntown, most of which had been dug away by the mine). There, an older woman there who remembered Bill Haywood, and told him the story over Finlandia vodka of how Bill Haywood would bring his wife downtown at the start of the day to talk to the women of the town--the story quoted above in Art Thieme's post.

Some time later, Utah was driving to a gig in Hopewell Junction, New York [probably the Towne Crier?] with the late Kate Wolf, and started to relate the story of Bill Haywood and Nevada Jane to her. She said, "Stop the car! Here's a pen and a notebook. Sit in the back seat and write." So she drove the rest of the way while he turned the story into a song in the back of the car, and it was ready to try out that evening.

--Charlie Baum


27 Feb 02 - 02:27 PM (#659230)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve)

Charlie,

As Art Thieme notes, "Nevada Jane" is in Utah's songbook published in 1973, so the song dates to sometime before that.

Kate Wolf made her first trip to the East in 1977, so something about Utah's story seems off.

In the book, Utah mentions basing the tune on "Gentle Annie," a Stephen Foster song that he heard sung by Kate McGarrigle.

Maybe he mixed up his Kates.

Jerry


27 Feb 02 - 03:05 PM (#659260)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Charlie Baum

The version I've given you is off of "an album he did with Rosalie Sorrels" (probably "The Long Memory" on Red House records). It's the way he told it, and any inaccuracies are Utah Phillips's. He does specifically mention that it was "Kate Wolf, who died of leukemia," who shared the driving.

--Charlie Baum


27 Feb 02 - 10:05 PM (#659620)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Art Thieme

Put "Big Bill Haywood" through a Google search and there'll be more than you ever wanted to know. Pretty amazing.

Art


27 Feb 02 - 10:13 PM (#659628)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: GUEST,MAG at work

I had thought it was Rosalie Sorrell who told him, "You GOTTA write that story into a song!" -- Let's all double check; which episode of Utah's show is this on? That's where I heard the story --


28 Feb 02 - 02:40 PM (#660081)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve)

I checked on "The Long Memory" CD and there Utah definitely says it was Kate Wolf. But that doesn't make any sense becuase the song is years too old for that to be possible.

Rosalie Sorrels does make sense as a possibility. She and Utah go way back together.

Kate McGarrigle also makes sense as a possibility. As I said, Utah says in his songbook that the tune is "Gentle Annie," which he heard done by Kate McGarrigle. Also, Utah and Kate McGarrigle both lived in Saratoga Springs at the same time, circa 1969.

Jerry


28 Feb 02 - 03:10 PM (#660107)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: GUEST,bear@daaq.net

Hi guys, lurker jumping in here. As I recall from Haywood's autobiography, Nevada Jane went Christian Scientist somewhere along the line, converted the kids, at which point Big Bill bailed out of the relationship and went off to Chicago. This is probably why folks challenged the song on its historical accuracy.

Sarah bear@daaq.net


28 Feb 02 - 03:55 PM (#660139)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: MAG

What happened to Big Bill was that he got framed on a murder charge and the I.W.W put all of its energies into saving his life -- which they did, but pretty much sapped the organization's energy -- which is usually considered the government's point in the whole thing. He spent years in jail. Funny things happen to people when they are desperate. I don't remember that, though it's been years since I did any reading on the Wobs, but Bill wasn't bailed; he was jailed.


28 Feb 02 - 06:26 PM (#660248)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: Art Thieme

ONCE AGAIN<

Do that Google search on his name and it all about the trial etc. etc. etc.

REALLY

Art


25 Sep 04 - 11:07 PM (#1281138)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: & story behind Nevada Jane, please
From: wysiwyg

So? What's next???

~S~