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I Ride An Old Paint

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This is a traditional folk song that the cowboys used to sing when they were herding cattle at night to keep them subdued and also around the campfire at night for entertainment. I have arranged it in a minor key instead of how it is usually done. Hope you like it!

A Paint is a two toned breed of horse.
A Dan is a breed of quarter horse.
A coulee (or coulée) is a deep steep-sided ravine formed by erosion,
Draw - A small natural depression that water drains into; a shallow gully.
Houlihan is a fast overhand rope throw with an open loop used to catch a horse in a corrall.
Dogies are motherless calves.
Fiery and snuffy apparently refer to nervous, skittish cattle that want to break away from the herd.
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I Ride An Old Paint

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.
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Hits: 4909
Comments: 21
Fans: 6
Plays: 334
Downloads: 140
Votes: 5
Uploaded: Jun 16, 2007 - 01:34:54 PM
Last Updated: Jun 16, 2007 - 01:34:54 PM Last Played: Aug 04, 2019 - 05:18:19 AM
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said 4453 days ago (June 16th, 2007)
Are you the last...
...surviving member of "The Sons of the Pioneers"? Nice job. Really like your guitar work in this Tom. (The short slide notes and occasional harmonic pluck lend both depth and texture to fairly simple but beautiful piece.) As a long time fan of your vox I can only say I enjoyed it as usual. A very interesting choice for a trad tune bro.

Be well!
bronco said 4453 days ago (June 17th, 2007)
A Lot of fun
This song was really fun to do! I had it in mind to do ever since Snowdragon invited me to collab on Whoopee Ti Yi Yi. Really back to roots on this one. Solo fingerpicking without any overdubs. Very relaxing to do this kind of stuff. I just love the lyrics on this song. Mysterious cowboy poetry with a sense of history and a longing for immortality. Who could ask for more:?
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
Peter Bauckham said 4453 days ago (June 16th, 2007)
I'm a big fan of traditional folk music so this had immediate appeal. Nice guitar playing and relaxed vocal delivery suit perfectly - thanks for the definitions (i'd have been struggling without them). Personally i'd have prefered a bit more presence on the recording - it does sound (on my computer speakers which aren't especially good) a liitle distant, like you're a long way from the mics - although I can hear the vocals OK. Thanks for sharing.

Check out my latest song called Reality TV MJRF2010
bronco said 4453 days ago (June 17th, 2007)
I think the distance you are hearing is just a little reverb. I get so much varying feedback that it is hard for me to know what to do when mixing. Some people have told me that my voice is too upfront and needs more warmth which they describe as less medium eq and putting the voice further back in the music. You really ought to hook up your computer to a stereo amp and speakers. Even the very best of computer speakers do not cut it in my opinion.

That said I really appreciate the feedback and will probably go for less reverb and more me next time. I just get so many comments that I am playing on a porch that every once in a while I like to vary it up where it is not such a live sound.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
Peter Bauckham said 4452 days ago (June 18th, 2007)
I with you with the quality of computer speakers - I just use them for a quick listen. What I normally do is burn on to CD and listen on my hi-fi which is quite exotic - also I can then listen in the car. It a bit of a pain but well worth the trouble.

Check out my latest song called Reality TV MJRF2010
Peter Bauckham said 4452 days ago (June 18th, 2007)
The comment wasn't meant as a negative - it was just an observation using my set-up. Sorry if it came across as such. Your song is excellent.

Check out my latest song called Reality TV MJRF2010
selters said 4452 days ago (June 17th, 2007)
Great song Tom, been listening to it a lot today. It is very dark, and I like that. The guitarplaying is terrific, it also sounds like you have recorded with your best equipment this time. The sound quality is great. I love it!
Check out my latest song called Going South
bronco said 4452 days ago (June 18th, 2007)

Thanks for listening. The guitar on this one was my little Yari which is a lot easier to fingerpick than my Martin. Not as loud but great for recording this type of stuf.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
jiguma said 4452 days ago (June 17th, 2007)
Thanks Tom
When I was very young, we used to go to the Saturday movies (on a Saturday surprisingly) to see the latest cowboy movie. For a number of years being a cowboy was my occupational goal (I was very young remember). This took me straight back to this period - I must have taken in more of the music than I thought, Great singing and playing Tom - you've done a good job of recording too.
Check out my latest song called Closing Down
bronco said 4452 days ago (June 18th, 2007)
Oh yes, myself as well! I remember that we would go rent horses to ride during the summer at a place not too far from home. I was heartbroken that my parents wouldn't buy me my own horse.

In my pre-teen years, Westerns dominated American TV with about 70% of the programming. Of course I later learned the difference between those shows and the historical reality but it still is a very romantic attraction for me.

Another highlight of my life was working three summers in Yellowstone Park when I was in college. The American West really came to life for me there. There is a magnificent Western museum in Cody, Wyoming that I spent many hours visiting.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
jgurner said 4450 days ago (June 19th, 2007)
The minor key really does this justice. To me, there was always such an air of sadness to the traditional "cowboy" song. This version really brings that out. Great job, Tom.
Check out my latest song called Mr. Moon (Woodstock50)
bronco said 4448 days ago (June 21st, 2007)
Those were my thoughts exactly that it had that mournful quality already so why not take it to the next level. I wish we could do more covers, it is good to get away from my own songs every once in a while.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
said 4450 days ago (June 20th, 2007)
One of my "cowboy" fav's
I still have the LP my Dad had, "Songs Of The West", with the Norman Luboff Choir... This is one of the songs on the LP.

link to "Songs Of The West"

Nice rendition of the old song, Tom.

. - Harold
bronco said 4446 days ago (June 23rd, 2007)
Yes, that is a great album. Some other nice songs on there that could be done also.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
thetiler said 4448 days ago (June 21st, 2007)
Your recordings
seem to be really getting better and better. Your recording here has a nice personal touch. Your fingerpicking is flowing nicely and I'm hearing some harmonics or it seems to be. Very nice! And it a nice flow. The voicing is terrific as well. I can almost feel it is a bronco style when I heard the actual guitar notes, right at the start! So not only are you putting your style in voice but guitar! WAy to go.

Sorry I didn't come to this one early. Thanks for sharing. To me you have a real nice sense of folk-country that I really look forward to hearing at MJ.
Check out my latest song called They Went Underground
thetiler said 4448 days ago (June 21st, 2007)
Great picture too!
really adds to the tune.

When I first joined MJ, I didn't realize what a GREAT addition images are to a tune and I think you know what I am talking about!

Check out my latest song called They Went Underground
bronco said 4439 days ago (June 30th, 2007)
Home on the Range
Yep, those were harmonics. Just the twelth fret open chord as I was playing in an open Dm tuning. I really like this tuning and am trying to write an instrumental in it.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
dwwave said 4423 days ago (July 16th, 2007)
Enjoyed this song and genre!

Sorry for the late post, been tied up, long story,

Dug the slower pace of playing and singing as well

as the info on horse (Born a city kid and now live

in a semi rural area but no horse plains)

Thanks for sharing man!

Check out my latest song called One Half Person
John Stebbe said 4400 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
I heard it different
I have this song in one of my elementary school music books at my school, where I teach music. The book I have comes with a CD which includes a much peppier version of this song. (Once I did a program with the second graders called "Songs Of The Cowboys" so I had to scour my books for workable cowboy songs. And this was one of them.)

But your version, Bronco, is very convincing as an authentic concept and presentation of this song. Your version is mournful and reflective. I imagine that cowboys often had mournful times, being away from home (if they had one) for long periods, and eating questionable vittles while on the trail, and surviving blazing sun and chilling rains, not to mention snow. Your song makes me reflect on all of that.

Aside from all this, you have very good guitar technique, and your voice is just right for this kind of cowboy folk song. You sing in tune, and you have a sincere delivery. I'd say you're a true musician.
Check out my latest song called Midwest States Song
bronco said 4399 days ago (August 9th, 2007)
A New Tradition
Thank you for your comments John! I am very familiar also with the traditional way this song is done. I believe I first heard and sang this song in elementary school also. Then when I first was learning to play guitar in my late teens, this was one of the songs I learned to play. After that were versions by Loudon Wainright III and Michael Martin Murphy that I enjoyed greatly.
At first I was going to do a traditional version but then as I started to relearn the lyrics they struck me in a different way. As you point out the demands of cowboy life must have been tough both physically and mentally. Then the second verse deals with a man whose wife is violently killed and one of his daughters leads a life of ill repute. And then the third verse deals with looking to the future when he dies and what he holds dear in this life.
After all this sank in, I realized I was dealing with a very concise Shakespearean tragedy that looked into a man's soul in three short verses and a chorus. I think it is a magnificent classic of a song that has never been given the appreciation it deserves. I applaud your passing it on to another generation of kids who will perhaps revisit it later on in life as I did and enjoy it even more!
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
sillama said 3580 days ago (November 6th, 2009)
Old Memories Stirred
My grandfather taught us kids to sing this song in the 1950s. He had been a cowboy in Colorado from 1896 to 1918, and learned it there. He told us it was a "bedding-down" song, to soothe the cattle at night, when the cowboys rode around them to protect them from wild animals.

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Name: Tom Bronco
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I love to play guitar. I have been writing songs for many years and have a large catalog by this time. Songwriting is easy. Writing great songs is hard! Born in Louisiana and live in Texas. I grew up on Chuck, Jerry Lee, Elvis, Ricky, Little Richard ... [see more]

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