Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lost Fort Worth Musical Treasures Found in a Heap On The Floor

Several weeks ago I was scrounging around in one of the local antique malls and came across a couple of old pieces of sheet music that have lots of Fort Worth history attached to them.  They were in a bin on the floor.

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Many of you will recognize Fort Worth's famous Euday L. Bowman as the composer of this piece.  Bowman was born in Fort Worth in 1877 and lived here much of his life in the city with his sister Mary Bowman. His most famous composition was the Twelfth Street Rag which was written in 1914 and became very popular with recorded versions by many bands, but it didn't became a big popular hit until after World War II.

Euday Bowman was also a fine musician as well as a composer. He played by invitation in many Fort Worth venues as well as other places including Kansas City. It was there that he wrote several other compositions named after Kansas City streets as well as this piece, named for the city itself. Bowman also wrote the Fort Worth Blues, Shamrock Rag and many others which were popular with the dance and recording bands of the period. 

The Kansas City Blues was written between 1914 and 1917. This particular copy may have come from as early as this period or a little later.  The cover design and color is striking although the sheet itself is very fragile and tattered.  The music itself is intact. Unfortunately, Euday Bowman sold his copyrights very early on to his publisher for only $100 and did not benefit much from the popularity of his works. At the time of his death in 1949 he was working to regain his intellectual property rights. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in North Fort Worth. 

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This is an arrangement of the Yellow Rose of Texas which was originally composed in 1858 and which was apparently specially revised for use during the Texas Centennial in 1935 by Mary Daggett Lake and William J. Marsh. Mary Daggett Lake (1881-1955) is a famous name in Texas history as a descendant of one of the original Fort Worth families and a city activist and historian as well as the composer of several published Texas-themed songs. William J. Marsh (1880-1971) was an equally well known musician and composer who co-authored Texas Our Texas, which became the official Texas state song in 1924.

Printed in red at the bottom of the cover sheet is "Especially Featured by PAUL WHITEMAN AND THE KINGS MEN at the Fort Worth Frontier Centennial, 1936".  On the second page is a copyright notice for Lake and March dated 1936. 

This piece of music is in such good shape that I can't tell whether it is a later facsimile or original.  In any case, it's interesting and Centennial related. Once in a while, it pays to paw through the piles of stuff in antique shops and malls. Doesn't happen often, but it is fun to find old stuff like this..

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!
    Great find.

    Keep it up, we love it.