I would venture to say that most Americans are familiar with the folk song, "The Yellow Rose of Texas". If they cannot recall all of the lyrics, there is still a resonant quality about the song.
Traditional American folk song
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" is a traditional American folk song dating back to at least the 1850s. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. This song is the unofficial state song of the State of Texas. It was written by an anonymous songwriter known as J.K.
Historically, the original “Yellow Rose of Texas” was Emily West, a black woman from New York who moved to Texas, and saved the incipient Republic of Texas in 1836. During the Texas War of Independence, the Mexican tyrant/general Santa Anna had abducted West to be his temporary “wife.” On the day of the battle of San Jacinto, West kept Santa Anna amorously distracted in his tent, and the Mexican army was routed. So Emily West is the Texan version of the biblical heroine Judith, who saved the Hebrew nation by seducing an enemy general. In some early versions of the song, the narrator who longs to return to his yellow rose is a black man.
Civil war version
More than 25 years later, the lyrics were changed. "Soldier" replaced "darky." And the first line of the chorus was also changed to read, "She's the sweetest little flower...."
In 1864 General Hood and the Texas Brigade fighting in Tennessee, were defeated. His men retreated in such confusion they thought the war was over. Accordingly, many headed home, and so they added the fourth stanza:
And now I'm going southward, for my heart is full of woe,
I'm going back to Georgia, to see my Uncle Joe.
You may talk about your Beauregard, and sing of Bobbie Lee,
But the gallant Hood of Texas played hell in Tennessee.
Some versions have the third line changed to read, "...and sing of General Lee," - an obvious reference to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
In 1984, country music artists Johnny Lee and Lane Brody recorded a song called "The Yellow Rose," which retained the original melody of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" but with new lyrics, for the title theme to a TV series also entitled The Yellow Rose. It became a Number One country hit that year.
Music is everywhere. Every culture has it. It was always there. It records everything. It's a living history. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, but those who rock remember.
Here at Country Thang Daily, we continue to remember and support our legendary artists who build standards of what we call real country music. Be one with us, let's share countrified spirits!