Tell Me a Story, Sing Me a Song

[ Texas ]

Tell Me a Story, Sing Me a Song

A Texas Chronicle

By William A. Owens

Musical transcriptions by Jessie Ann Owens and David Skuse

The folksongs of Texas in the 1930s and 1940s, as collected by by the author in his travels.



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6 x 9 | 338 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-78056-9

Texas, the 1930s—the years of the Great Depression. It was the Texas of great men: Dobie, Bedichek, Webb, the young Américo Paredes. And it was the Texas of May McCord and "Cocky" Thompson, the Reverend I. B. Loud, the Cajun Marcelle Comeaux, the black man they called "Grey Ghost," and all the other extraordinary "ordinary" people whom William A. Owens met in his travels.

"Up and down and sideways" across Texas, Owens traveled. His goal: to learn for himself what the diverse peoples of the state "believed in, yearned for, laughed at, fought over, as revealed in story and song." Tell me a story, sing me a song brings together both the songs he gathered—many accompanied by music—and Owens' warm reminiscences of his travels in the Texas of the Thirties and early Forties.

1. A Third Beginning
2. Anglo-American to Anglo-Texan
3. Ballad Linkings
4. Anglo-Saxon Samplings
5. Violence from the Scottish Border to the Mexican Border
6. With Love and Sorrow Mixed Among
7. And Laughter Unsubdued
8. Cowboy Laments
9. Play-Party Songs and Dances
10. Cajun French: Lappings Over from Louisiana
11. Texas-Mexican Songs
12. Texas-German Songs
13. Texas-Czech Songs
14. Texas-Italian Songs
15. Texas-Swedish Songs
16. Anglo-Texan Spirituals
17. Afro-American Spirituals
18. Afro-American Secular Songs
19. Coda

For many years William A. Owens was professor of English at Columbia University. Tell me a story, sing me a song is the third volume of his autobiographical writings, following This Stubborn Soil and A Season of Weathering.

"The life of William Owens as he tells it appeals by its rugged qualities of mind and narrative prose. In the present instalment, two new sources of interest are added which I particularly valuethe life of the mingled populations of the southwest and their remarkable stories and songs. The book is a classic, like This Stubborn Soil, because it enshrines a time and place unsurpassably."
—Jacques Barzun

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