The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Book Reviews

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" on the piano and lived alone with his even
more ancient mother, and the beautiful Martha Howard, who struggled to cope
with her street-person brother who wandered the cold January streets of Hous-
ton.
Most of the essays contemplate the significance of the ordinary: a boy discov-
ers the power of a good stick-horse, another learns that when the bells of San
Diego toll they mourn for the whole community. Remarkably, Lee Turry con-
vinces me that her house is haunted, but she has pretty well put the ghosts in
their place. Equally remarkably, white Texan C. C. Risenhoover tells of pitching
for a black baseball team in the 1950s.
Ben Ezzell of the Panhandle tells of pulling cotton bolls on his knees during
the Depression and making about a dollar a day. The wisdom that resulted:
"When you've put in a fourteen-hour day in the cotton patch earning a dollar,
you tend to be pretty selective about how you spend it." Richard Stewart's fine
essay is a rich character study of a cantankerous old man who would pull the
switch on humanity if he could but settles instead for a fortified island home in
the Neches River.
State Lines will give those who developed an allergy to essays in school another
chance at appr eciating the wisdom and beauty of the genre.
Stephen F. Austin State University FRANCIS EDWARD ABERNETHY
Szngin' Texas. By Francis Edward Abernethy. Music by Dan Beaty. (Denton: Uni-
versity of North Texas Press, 1994. Pp. 20o8. Song reproductions, black-and-
white photographs. ISBN 0-92939-871-8. $19.95, paper.)
Singin' Texas is a reprint of a work originally issued in 1983 as a special publi-
cation of the Texas Folklore Society. Out of print for several years, it is now of-
fered in a softcover version, but without the original companion audiocassette.
Like the annual publications of the Texas Folklore Society, of which the author
is secretary and editor, this volume is rich in regional lore, historical back-
ground, and personal insight. Abernethy has brought together ninety traditional
songs under such social or thematic categories as the pioneer experience, play
parties, religion, cowboy life, and unrequited love. The selections include the fa-
miliar classics "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "The Chisholm Trail," "The Great
Speckled Bird," and "Cotton Eyed Joe," as well as lesser known but no less tradi-
tional children's game songs and adult ballads. Each section features an intro-
ductory essay on the historical and social context of the music which follows with
piano scores and complete texts. Abernethy provides detailed commentary for
each song and appends a title and first-line index for easy reference.
This is a very personal work. Because Abernethy grew up with these songs, or
got them from someone who did, he writes about sacred harp singing or tradi-
tional ballads with the depth and passion of one who has lived the music. Per-
sonal experience also shaped the choice of music. While there is some
discussion of the ethnic diversity of Texas's musical cultures, the selections in-
cluded here largely represent white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant musical traditions.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed July 10, 2014.