Rivers of Texas, The (The Brazos River)

DESCRIPTION: The singer lists the various rivers of Texas he has seen, noting that "Down by the Brazos I courted my dear." But now she has left him, and "I never will walk by the Brazos no more."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1942 (Randolph)
KEYWORDS: love courting separation river
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Randolph 201, "The Brazos River" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abernethy-SinginTexas, pp. 41-42, "Down by the Brazos" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 36, #3 (1991), pp, 72-73, "Down by the Brazos" (1 text, 1 tune, from the Scragg Family)

Roud #4764
Irene Carlisle, "The Brazos River" (AAFS-L30, 1942?)
Art Thieme, "Down by the Embarass" (on Thieme02) (on Thieme05)

Down by the Embarras (Illinois version)
The Rivers of Georgia
NOTES [216 words]: Paul Stamler notes that there are "non-Texas" versions of this song (see the alternate titles), though I have never encountered them. I know that at least one modern "folk" composer has created a localized version; I suspect the traditional versions are of similar origin. Though I am not sure which is the original. - RBW
As far as I can tell, the Texas version was first. I also gather someone tried to rewrite it for Nebraska, but they didn't have enough rivers to finish a verse. - PJS
An interesting point about this is that most of the river names are preceded by articles: "We crossed THE broad Pecos"... "down by THE Brazos I courted my dear." But one line reads "Red River runs rusty, the Wichita clear." This is apparently proper Texas usage: It is "Red River," not "The Red River" -- no matter what the context. There are several other Western rivers which are anarthrous (that is, do not take an article): Red River, Tongue River, Wind River, Powder River. (See Helena Huntington Smith, The War On Powder River, University of Nebraska Press, 1966, p. 1.) Why? I dunno -- but there are other nouns in English, or English dialects, which are arbitrarily anarthrous; consider the British versus American usage of the word "hospital" ("in hospital" as opposed to "in the hospital"). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.5
File: R201

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