>I need some help. After spending many hours in the library and countless more 
>searching the internet, I've decided to ask my friends for help.
>That tune is known in America as "the Streets of Laredo". Someone here claims 
>copyright to those words and the familiar melody (also used for the Bard of 

>The ancestor of this song is "The Unfortunate Rake". I have been trying to 
>find a citation for that song, and for the melody. My research indicates that 
>it was published as a broadside in London in 1790, but I can't find any copy 
>of that.


The "UR" is the classin "wandering folksong" with hundreds of versions.  Of
those, a true folk process exists carying the Rake from 1790 Ireland,
picking up the trademark military funeral as it became the Soldiers Lament
and finally passing New Orleans and cowbow country.  It has all these in
the serious cycle and hundreds of parodies and travesties - still being
writen regularly.

The classic record on it (if you want to research that much, but really
everyone should have this one) is the Smithsonian/Folkways record called
_The Unfortunate Rake_.

But your research so far is not bad.  Although it is generally thought to
be well-documented (the text, that is) there is no record of any 1790
version.  If your search included the mandatory look at the Bodley  online,
you likely didn't find any reference at all.

Lomax does include a version in the 1910 _Cowboy Songs_ and also includes a
prison version and a "St James Hospital."

Reading from the record notes (Ken Goldstein) the oldest found published
text of any member of thr UR cycle is as late as 1909.  It had been
collected in County Cork in 1848 and the singer _claimed_ to have learned
it in Dublin in 1790.  That's where the 1790 date arises.  This was only a
single chorus, however.

Nevertheless, he refers to several English & Irish 19th-century broadsides
with complete texts - including the military funeral.  (One of these is the
first cut on the record and the full text is in the notes.)  Sung here &
elsewhere by AL Lloyd.

It includes 20 versions and refers you to several articles inclluding
Keneth Lodewick, _"The Unfortunate Rake" and His Descendents_, Western
Folklore, vol XIV, 1955, pp 144-161.

You can often date a text by how explicitly it shows the cause of death as
syphallis (or other VD) and it's always a pleasure to hear one of the rare
"pills of white mercury" verses.  Even in the shot cowboy there is a faint
trace of this in the fact that he is still wearing the hospital white gown
(in the middle of the street) and asking for the military funeral in

I really wouldn't worry about copyright on this one.  Here's some titles of
it I have on records - many from the "UR" record.

Bad Girl's Lament
Cowboy's Lament
Lumberjack's Lament
Saint James Hospital Blues
Saint James Infirmany
The Streets of Laredo
The Trooper Cut Down in His Prime
Young Sailor Cut Down in His Prime
The Streets of Laredo
The Bard of Armagh
Young Sailor Cut Down in His Prime
Noo I'm a Young Man Cut Down in My Prime
One Morning in May
Bright Summer Morning
Girl in the Dilger Case
My Jewel, My Joy 
Saint James Hospital
Gambler's Blues
I Once Was a Carman in the Big Mt Con
Lineman's Hymn
Wild Lumberjack
Sun Valley Song
Ballad of Bloody Thursday
Streets of Hamtrack
Professor's Lament
Ballad of Sherman Wu

Entries from "The Ballad Index" (copyright)

NAME: Unfortunate Rake, The
DESCRIPTION: The singer meets a young man/woman wrapped in flannel. The
   young person says that he/she is dying, originally of syphilis but in
   some versions of wounds or unspecified disease. The young person requests
   an elaborate military funeral.
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: disease death dying funeral lament whore
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 108, "The Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime" (1
   text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 217, "Young Man Cut Down In His Prime (St. James Hospital)"
   (1 text)
A. L. Lloyd, "St. James's Hospital" (on Lloyd2, Lloyd3)
cf. "The Streets of Laredo" [Laws B1] (tune & meter, plot) and references
cf. "The Bad Girl's Lament (St. James' Hospital; The Young Girl Cut Down in
   her Prime) [Laws Q26] (tune & meter, plot)


NAME: Streets of Laredo, The [Laws B1]
DESCRIPTION: (The singer meets a young cowboy "all dressed in white linen
   and cold as the clay.") The cowboy has been shot (or given a venereal
   disease?) and is dying. He regrets his carousing, gives instructions for
   his burial, and dies.
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: cowboy death lament burial dying funeral disease violence murder
REFERENCES (18 citations):
Laws B1, "The Cowboy's Lament (The Dying Cowboy)"
Randolph 182, "The Cowboy's Lament" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Eddy 124, "The Dying Cowboy" (3 texts, none of which refer to "The Streets
   of Laredo" and which might be mixed with other versions of this song)
Friedman, p. 424, "The Cowboy's Lament (The Streets of Laredo)" (2 texts,
   the second being a lumberjack text that might derive from one of the
   other versions)
PBB 111, "The Cowboy's Lament" (1 text)
Lomax-FSUSA 59, "The Streets of Laredo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sandburg, p. 263, "As I Walked Out in the Streets of Laredo" (1 text, 1
Thorp/Fife XIII, pp. 148-190 (29-30), "Cow Boy's Lament" (22 texts, 7
   though not all are really part of this piece -- the "H" text, from
   Minnesota, is in a Scandinavian tongue; "K" looks like it comes from the
   "Tarpaulin Jacket" family; "L" is "The Wild and Wicked Youth"; "M" is
   "Jack Combs"; "N" is "St. James Infirmary"; many of the other texts are
Fife-Cowboy/West 119, "The Streets of Laredo" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 200, "The Dying Cowboy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 859-860, "The Cowboy's Lament" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 242, "The Dying Cowboy" (1 text)
JHCox 53, "The Dying Cowboy" (5 texts)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 41, "The Streets Of Laredo" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H680, p. 141, "The Cowboy of Loreto" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 77, pp. 170-171, "The Dying Cowboy" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 115, "The Streets Of Laredo" (1 text)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Tom Sherman's Barroom" (on NLCR06, NLCR11)
cf. "The Unfortunate Rake" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Sailor Cut Down in His Prime" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Bad Girl's Lament (St. James' Hospital; The Young Girl Cut Down in
   her Prime) [Laws Q26] (tune & meter, plot)
cf. "Jack Combs" (tune & meter, lyrics)
cf. "The Dying Outlaw" (tune & meter)
cf. "My Home's in Montana" (tune, floating lyrics)
cf. "My Friends and Relations" (tune, floating lyrics)
cf. "The Mowing Machine" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Bard of Armagh" (tune & meter)
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW,So,SE,Ro,NE) Canada(Mar) Ireland
My Home's in Montana
The Young Cowboy
Tom Sherman's Barroom
Tom Sherwin's Barroom
NOTES: One of the large group of ballads ("The Bard of Armagh," "Saint
   Hospital," "The Streets of Laredo") ultimately derived from "The
   Unfortunate Rake." All use the same tune and metre, and all involve a
   person dying as a result of a wild life, but the nature of the tragedy
   varies according to local circumstances.
Thorp/Fife studied 150 versions of this text, and determined that 39 were
   set in "The Streets of Laredo" or similar; 37 took place at Tom Sherman's
   Barroom or similar, 25 used other words starting with LA (Lafferty,
   London, Laden, etc.), 31 (not all of them variants of this exact song)
   used miscellaneous places, and 18 were not localized. - RBW
File: LB01

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                  I am Abby Sale - in Orlando, Florida
                        Boycott South Carolina!
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