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Texas Rangers

I have a new album out! Here are some details about the song "Texas Rangers" the fifth track from the new release Trade Songs: American West. 


My great-grandmother, Mildred Sullivan, was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1908. She died in 2009. She saw the west just after the close of the frontier, and even saw some of what it was like before the end of the frontier. In 1915 she and her family moved briefly to Clovis, New Mexico walking behind a covered wagon through the dusty Texas flats. They were worried about Pancho Villa, and my great-grandmother said there was a sense of lawlessness out there. That frontier may not have been so closed. Her brother, Rufus, was a Texas Ranger around Amarillo.

I heard a version of this song recorded by The Cartwright Brothers. Their version is haunting with just a singer accompanied by a single fiddle. I like story songs, and this one has an action packed story with an complexity in the main character. A lot of these kind of songs are boastful about how brave the main character is, but this one demonstrates how scared he is, and how terrible he thought the whole experience was. I haven’t heard many songs with a story like this before.

The famed cowboy singer Jules Verne Allen was a Texas Ranger for a brief time.


Texas Rangers - Lyrics

Come, all you Texas rangers, wherever you may be,

I’ll tell you of some troubles that happened unto me.

My name is nothing extra, so that I will not tell,

And here’s to all you rangers, I’m sure I wish you well.

Twas the age of seventeen I joined the jolly band,

We marched from San Antonio down to the Rio Grande.

Our captain he informed us, perhaps he thought it right,

“Before we reach the station, you’ll surely have to fight.”

And when the bugle sounded, our captain gave command.

“To arms, to arms,” he shouted, “and by your horses stand.”

I saw the smoke ascending, it seemed to reach the sky;

And then the thought it struck me first was, my time had come to die.

The enemy was coming, I heard them give the yell;

My feelings at that moment, no tongue can ever tell.

I heard the pounding hoof beats, the bullets round me flew,

And all my strength it left me, and all my courage too.

We fought for nine many hours before the strife was o’er.

The like of dead and wounded I never saw before.

And when the sun was rising, the enemy had fled,

So we loaded up our rifles and counted up our dead.

And all of us were wounded, our noble captain slain,

The sun was shining sadly across the bloody plain;

And seventeen brave rangers as ever roamed the West

Were buried by their comrades with bullets in their breast.

And now my song is ended; I guess I’ve sung enough;

The life of a ranger I’m sure is very tough.

If you're in this condition I know you'd like to roam

But I advise you by experience you'd better stay at home

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