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COUNTRY MUSIC

And the Library of Congress

All the Stubblefields of that family were folk singers and inveterate raconteurs. They knew literally hundreds of songs. Traveling miners, cowboys, sheepmen, and peddlers coming through would stay for a while at the ranch and exchange songs with the boys. One of the boys would say, "Write that one down fer me." After the long hours of work, the canyon ranch house was often jumping at night with the ring of banjos, guitars, fiddles, accordions, or whatever instruments the travelers happened to be carrying, and the happy singing voices.

Many of these songs sung at the Horse Creek ranch were later recorded for the Archives of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress, by Blaine Stubblefield, Mickel's oldest son, while he was Washington D.C.'s Editor of Aviation Magazine, a publication of McGraw-Hill. Blaine prevailed upon his father, Mickel, to sit for many days at his old Corona portable typewriter and peck out hundreds of the old songs.

Three of these songs by Mickel are reproduced in the book Our Singing Country, the second volume of American Ballads and Folk Songs by John A. Lomax, Honorary Consultant and Curator of the Archives of American Folk Songs of the Library of Congress, and Allan Lomax, Assistant in charge of the Archive of American Folk Songs of the Library of Congress, with Ruth Crawford Seeger, music editor.

The Stubblefield family proudly possesses one of these books given by Blaine as a birthday gift to his father, Mickel, on April 28, 1942. On the fly leaf of this book is a tribute ot Mickel, from Mr. Allan Lomax in his own handwriting which says:

"Greetings to Mickel Stubblefield, one of the singing pioneers, who have helped to preserve the songs of this country and those brought from other countries. Your contributions have come to the Library of Congress through your son, Blaine Stubblefield, three of whose pieces are included in this book."

Actually, it was five songs from the Stubblefields that were published in the book, Mr. Lomax meant three were Mickel's. The other two were Newell's. The three songs in the book sung by Mickel were: "Brennan on the Moor," an Irish ballad; "Way Out in Idaho," a work song sung to the same tune as "The State of Arkansas"; and "Hard Times in the Country," a work song. The other songs in the book, Blaine had learned from Mickel's younger brother Newell: "The Low Down Low," a sea chanty and "If He'd be a Buckaroo," a cowboy ballad.

Thus the music from Horse Creek ranch put the songs of the Wallowa County pioneers representing Western Americana into the Library of Congress as well as being published in the book, Our Singing Country, for as long as our country shall exist. There are five songs altogether in the Lomax book including the bawdy ones, and many more recorded by Blaine in the audio archives of the Library of Congress.