“The Texas Rangers”

Alternate titles: “The Texas Soldier”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1874
Keywords: battle Indians(Am.) warning army Civilwar fight violence war mother sister soldier
Found in: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,NW,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Newf)

Description

The singer has left family and girlfriend to join a troop that finds itself fighting Indians. Many of the whites are killed; the singer describes the fight and what he left behind.

Notes

Laws lists this as a native American ballad, and in its current form, it certainly is. Belden and others, however, note many similarities to British ballads; it is likely an extensive reworking of some earlier piece. - RBW

Digital Tradition notes, "Probably a rewrite of a Civil War song." Bingo; it's almost word-for-word identical to "Come All Ye Southern Soldiers," with only names, places and enemies changed. - PJS

This particular case is rather a conundrum. Paul Stamler supplies this description of "Come All Ye Southern Soldiers," known primarily from collections by Sharp in the North Carolina mountains: "Singer joins the 'jolly band' to fight for the South; their captain warns that before they reach Manassas they'll have to fight. Singer hears the Yankees coming and fears for his life; the battle is bloody and several of his comrades are lost. Singer invokes mothers, sisters, and sweethearts, and warns prospective soldiers that 'I'll tell you by experience you'd better stay at home.'"

That this is recensionally different from "Texas Rangers" is clear; I would normally agree with Paul in splitting the two. Laws, however, explicitly lumps them, and of course Roud does the same. Given how rare "Southern Soldiers" is, I decided to do the same. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Laws A8, "The Texas Rangers" (sample text in NAB, pp. 37-38)
  2. Belden, pp. 336-339, "Texas Rangers" (3 texts plus plus mention of 5 more, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph 177, "The Texas Rangers" (3 texts plus 2 fragments, 2 tunes)
  4. Eddy 130, "Come, All Ye Roving Rangers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Gardner/Chickering 95, "The Texas Rangers" (1 text plus mention of 2 more)
  6. FSCatskills 20, "The Texas Rangers" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  7. Leach-Labrador 105, "Western Ranger" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. McNeil-SFB1, pp.44-46, "Texas Rangers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. BrownII 234, "The Texas Ranger" (2 texts plus mention of 2 more; the "B" text is a Civil War adaption)
  10. Hudson 96, pp. 227-228, "The Texas Cowboy" (1 text)
  11. Fuson, pp. 191-192, "The Roving Ranger" (1 text)
  12. Brewster 73, "The Texas Ranger" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. SharpAp 179, "Come all ye Southern Soldiers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  14. Thomas-Makin', p. 45, (no title) (1 text)
  15. Lomax-FSNA 169, "The Texas Rangers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 134-135, "Texas Rangers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  17. Ohrlin-HBT 53, "The Texas Rangers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  18. LPound-ABS, 73, pp. 163-164, "The Texas Rangers" (1 text)
  19. JHCox 63, "War Song" ( text)
  20. Darling-NAS, pp. 161-162, "The Texas Rangers" (1 text)
  21. Silber-FSWB, p. 274, "Texas Rangers" (1 text)
  22. Saffel-CowboyP, pp. 180-181, "Texas Rangers" (1 text)
  23. DT 363, TEXRANG*
  24. Roud #480
  25. BI, LA08