Santa Fe Trail


Jon says, “Bellamy again and what a song! ‘She had smiles like acres of sunflowers’ – lovely.” Is this our first cowboy song? I will point you to Mainly Norfolk for info on the Bellamy version, which only differs in the order of the verses. I also note from this Mudcat thread it’s one of the most copyrighted and stolen songs in America. I have to agree with Jon that the words to this are great, but it certainly has the sophistication of a ‘writer’, as James Grafton Rogers was and that puts it into the same league as the Kiplings, but prehaps more Henry Lawson’s Bush girl from September. I also note that the tune was composed by an organist John H. Gower, at least according to Mudcat. This link should take you to a letter written by JGR, to a Katie Lee on the subject of this and Dolores, which he also wrote. Said missive is quoted in her book 10,000 Goddam Cattle : A History Of The American Cowboy In Song, Story And Verse. A few minutes with Wiki about the actual trail is also worthwhile, just for the scale of the geography. It brings home the wide open spaces and the epic quest for the mysterious, elusive girl with the aforementioned smile. Lovely indeed.

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27 Responses to “Santa Fe Trail”

  1. musikboy says:

    I signed up to the rss feed.I really like it . Thanks!

  2. muzza says:

    What a delight……what poetry………….a great song. Loved the YoHos……Jon can certainly hold a note. We need a glossary for the song: What’s a “Quirt”?
    Try “this link” from Simon’s notes above……..You’ll find wonderful, colourful descriptive writing, documenting a real cowboy’s lifestyle. Forget the immaculate hygiene of the filmstar cowboy….and on pages 25 & 26 you’ll find a host of phrases that YOU WILL try on your friends..”He was so skinny he could slip through a flute without playing a note!”………..

  3. muzza says:

    Ok,Ok…Quirt is a small stock whip…thanks WikiP

  4. muzza says:

    Glossary: (Schooner: covered wagon)(Quirt:whip)(towhead:Blonde) (arroyos:steep- walled,stream channel)(Pinto:Horse with white patches) (Swale:small depression in the ground)…..and the tune similar to “I’m bound for Botany Bay”

  5. LadyD says:

    I agree Muzza. There’s something delightful about the Yo-ho’s.
    A nice ‘loud’ track to wake up to and I always enjoy the concertina accompaniment.

  6. Simon says:

    Good work on the glossary Muzza… The movie is playing in my head right now!

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    I’m not a great lover of most cowboy songs, but can’t help but be reminded of one of Clint Eastwood’s first outings in the tv series Rawhide and the opening song track:

    ‘Keep them moving, moving, moving, Though they’re disapproving, Keep those dawgies moving, Rawhide.’

    Hahahahaha! And yes, fabulously sustained YoHo, Jon!

  8. Neil says:

    Clint Eastwood you say Jane?

  9. Jane Ramsden says:


  10. Jane Ramsden says:


    And you may get this post several times as the Submit button appears not to be working!

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    3rd time lucky!

  12. Diana says:

    After hearing the first 30 seconds of this on i Tunes I had to have this song. Jon sings it beautifully. It gets played on my i pod regularly. I recollect reading somewhere that the Sante Fe, New Mexico trail was first undertaken in the 1820’s. I just wonder what it is like now, and whether there are any sunflowers remaining to this day. I have always had a sneaking regard for all those old cowboys who helped put America on the map.

  13. muzza(S.E.England) says:

    Delightful song/singer…………great to hear it again….and to reiterate all of my 2010 comments………missed out on another look at Clint Eastwood, Neil…..he’s been rounded up!…………….
    and Jane……………..
    I did so love the jolly red hat…..and now what…….
    I feel like singing “The salley Gardens”….
    ‘She bade me take life easy as the grass grows on the weirs..
    but I being young and foolish am now reduced to EARS!
    I presume that is an ear……….I hope I haven’t put my foot in it …again!

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: That is indeed an ear. Unbelievably, I have the pair. I would not welcome your foot in either, thankee. Otherwise I’d be shouting ‘Ya-ho!’ The reason for profiling the one is the earring. T’is a Ted! Hahahahahahaha!

  15. nev perry says:

    Love it! Love it! Love it! What a song! Great performance and all credit to Jon for his beautifully done rendition

  16. muzza(S.E.England) says:

    @Jane…………….aha…… I see the ted……..which I hadn’t realised afore…all is forgiven!

  17. Reinhard says:

    Mudcat says that Bellowhead’s Broadside reached #16 in the UK charts. Congratulations!

  18. Simon says:

    Hi Reinhard… It’s true and I’ve just added a post to that effect. Unfortunately the intenet connection, or Word Press, or both are being very slow this morning, so I distracted myself with a long, rambling email to Jane R whilst the machinary ground away sluggishly in the background. Anyway it’s finally consented to let me through!!

  19. Diana says:

    Great song today – loved it last year and my opinion has not changed.

    As for Bellowhead – my son texted me late yesterday evening to tell me Bellowhead had reached No. 16 in the charts and I know that they deserve their success.

  20. Jane Ramsden says:

    Long rambling email? I’ve just one thing to say to thee, Skyman… Servelan! Hahahaha! (Fromn Blakes 7, for those that remember!)

    For some reason I thought her name was Séverin(e), so had to Google that to see where I got it from, if anywhere. Apparently Séverine won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971 for Monaco, performing “Un banc, un arbre, une rue” (A bench, a tree, a street) which was also recorded in English as “Chance In Time”, in German as “Mach die Augen zu (und wünsch dir einen Traum)” and Italian as “Il posto”! The original French version made #9 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1971, whereas the English version did not chart. The song charted highly in most other European markets. Séverine had further success in France and Germany, but never again on an international scale.

    Nope, I don’t remember her at all! Nothing like Servelan; and pop, not folk! But she makes Mumford look folky by comparison!

  21. Jane Ramsden says:

    Fromn? Doh!

  22. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Oh……….it is a delight to come to this site every day …………….haven’t had a good ‘YoHo’ for 364 days!!!!

  23. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    and here I am again…wonder if I’ll make another year!…still haven’t sent in my entry for Islington Folk Trad2Mad competition…closes 31st Oct…can’t make my mind up ref which song to sing!

  24. Linda says:

    Here’s a suggestion for you …The Song Goes On by Mick Ryan featured on Cyril Tawney’s CD The Song Goes On…..

  25. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Gotta look it up on Youtube

  26. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Right….got me schooner and quirt….just got to catch the damn pinto and I’ll be off…..YooooooHoooooo!… which way is Watford!

  27. Old Muzza(NWSurrey-UK) says:

    YaaaaHooooooo…keep on janglin’……….that blonde should be a lil ole lady by now
    Naaaaah……that is the beauty of being in a folk song or captured on film… never age!

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