Bring Him Back Dead or Alive
DESCRIPTION: "Gannon killed a man in Texas in the year of forty-five, Bring him back dead or alive!" The sheriff follows. Gannon kills the sheriff, then realizes it is his brother he has killed. He gives up: "If you will hang me quick I'll escape my brother's voice!"
AUTHOR: Paul Kelso (see NOTES)
EARLIEST DATE: 1959
KEYWORDS: homicide brother police crime punishment
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Fife-Cowboy/West 91, "Bring Him Back Dead or Alive" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [230 words]: Paul Kelso, who claims authorship of this song, gave me the following information in February 2012:
"Bring Him Back Dead Or Alive was first collected by Austin Fife in 1959 from me, in my apartment in Denton, Texas, where I was a student at North Texas State. The song was listed in the Fife Collection with myself as source. Mr. Fife later wrote in his Cowboy and Western Songs: a comprehensive anthology, 1969, that I was respondent or source, and that he had never collected or seen the song previously in any other collection.
"The reason for that is that I wrote both lyrics and score. I told Fife that. I also contributed 7-8 other songs on that occasion, some that I had collected versions, and perhaps two others I wrote.
"The song is also attributed to me in the Songs 'Round The Campfire collection from Center stream publishers and I understand that Curley Fletcher recorded it before he died and cited me, although I have not found a specific reference for Fletcher and the song. A website selling sheet music - www.justsheetmusic.com - says author is 'unknown,' but lists 'Paul Kelso' as an alternate title! That is curious.
" I realize we are talking about a recording that took place fifty-two years ago, I am now seventy-five, but I was an active folksinger for decades in Iowa and Texas folk circles and unlikely to forget about a song I performed many times. " - RBW
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