CD's to date:
Songs of the West

Four Cords 

I Ride an Old Paint

     I learned "I Ride an Old Paint" after I took part at age 19 in my initial archaeological dig in the summer of 1947. I was part of a crew of students from U.C. Berkeley, all of whom had taken a course in North American archaeology during the spring, and were invited by the course instructor to join a summer dig in California's Sacramento Valley, which we were told was the first U.C. Berkeley archaeological excavation since the beginning of World War II. I was invited to bring my guitar and when in the field played guitar and sang songs almost every evening when requested. Cowboy songs made up most of the songs I sang. Then one night I was requested to sing "I Ride an Old Paint." I was disappointed that it was a song I hadn't yet learned, although I was familiar with it. When I returned home I found the words and melody in a 35 cent book of cowboy songs given to me by my parents when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I learned the song almost immediately after I found the song book in my belongings. Almost immediately minor changes took place in the version I learned. At one time I dropped this version and substituted a version as modified by Woody Guthrie. Sometime in the 1950s I returned to a version more similar to the first one I learned but occasionally arbitrarily substituted one or more of the Guthrie verses for those I usually sang.

I ride an old Paint, lead an old Dan,
Goin' to Montana to throw the hoolihan.
Feed 'em in the coulees, they water in the draw,
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw.

    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around slow,
    The fiery, the snuffy
    Are rarin' to go.

Old Bill Jones had two daughters and a song,
One went to Denver, the other one went wrong,
His wife got killed in a pool room fight,
But still he keeps singing from morning till night.

    Ride around, little dogies,
    Ride around slow,
    The fiery and the snuffy
    Are rarin' to go.

When I die, take my saddle from the wall,
Put it on my pony and lead him from his stall.
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west,
We'll ride the prairie we love the best.