Will do, Mr. Eckhardt, my thanks.
Can I toss another name your way--Peter Lafarge. He recorded a couple of albums of songs for Folkways that look mighty authentic. Have a look:
Keith & Rusty McNeil, have recorded some great song & narration cd's below are links to a couple I have. There are some songs that can be downloaded and heard in full.
Great answer, Jeff.
My tale is set in 1884 so I assume stuff like "Old Chisum Trail" and "Dan Tucker" might be in circulation. I've ordered a Tex Ritter CD, thanks to a suggestion here, and also a CD by the artist I mentioned previously, Peter Lafarge. I sometimes edit my western novel to Hank Williams, though, of course, he came many years after the fact. Still, there's always been something authentic about ol' Hank. From childhood, I recall Marty Robbins, "20 Gunfighter Ballads", but as to how many of those tunes would pass muster, authenticity-wise...well...
Am I wrong that both "Dan Tucker" and "Old Chisum Trail" would be sung around the campfire in the 1880's? I thought their provenance went back that far. Aren't they both listed in John Lomax's authoritative COWBOY SONGS AND OTHER FRONTIER BALLADS (1910)?
Also: I would discriminate between a work of historical fiction and a straight history book (non-fiction). Obviously, the former doesn't have to as slavishly represent reality as the latter. Those reading a work of fiction understand that it's not representing actual events, even if it is set in a time other than our own (past or future).
My book is fiction, set in a real place and time. I will expend every effort to make the period as authentic as I can, but what my characters do is entirely up to the author (and the tolerance of his audience).
Mainly I'm using the cowboy tunes I've mentioned as background music and mood enhancers as I write and edit this latest draft. Any songs I do mention in the text--"Dan Tucker", "Old Paint", etc.--will be, as far as I can determine, authentic to that time period.
Does that clarify matters?
Jeff, thanks for the kind words.
Matthew Sabatella has recorded three great cd's 'Ballad of America' volume 1 "Over a Wide and Fruitful Land," volume 2 "America Singing" & volume 3 "Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln."
Click on the link below and you will see a list of songs, click on a song and it will open into a new window, where you can hear the song in full by clicking on the play button.
Another vote for Mike Blakely - try to get a copy of his album "West of You". This is a really great album, especially Last Comanche Moon and the Whiskey Trader's Song. His website is www.mikeblakely.com. Horses in my String is also on this album. Not a bad song on the CD. Mike is also an excellent novelist and past president of Western Writers of America.
I also like Dave Stamey, W. C. Jameson, Syd Masters and the Swing Ryders (mostly western swing), and of course, Riders in the Sky.
There was a song called What Was Your Name In The States? that was definitely both 19th century & in the West. I only know the 1st verse & have no idea what the tune was. It goes:
What was your name in the State?
Was it thompson or Johnson or Bates?
Did you murder your wife and fly for your life?
Oh, what was your name in the States?
There may be only one verse, because about the time the guy got thru singing the 1st one everybody else would shoot him.
'What was your name in the States' - Jimmy Driftwood.