Article Regional Sampler: The Southwest

Texas, Lyrics by Arthur Longbrake and music by Ed Edwards
Texas. Lyrics by Arthur Longbrake and music by Ed Edwards. Select the link to view the sheet music.

Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas

Prior to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) these states (as well as Nevada, Utah, and California, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas) were part of Mexico. That heritage defines the cultural distinctiveness of the American Southwest. The Southwest is home to a large population of Native Americans, including the Hopi, Navajo, Ute and Comanche tribes, which controlled most of this region prior to the arrival of Europeans. In addition, the Southwest has large immigrant populations from Mexico and many parts of Latin America. Southwestern song and music are thus heavily influenced by the confluence of American Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo traditions. Beginning in the 1930s, the Texas recording industry became an important hub for cowboy, "hillbilly," and other popular music.

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  • "Arizona," by Melville Gideon and James Heard (sheet music)
  • "Freighting from Wilcox to Globe," sung by John Abraham Busby. A song from pioneer days in Arizona. (audio)
  • "Buenos días, Paloma Blanca" (Good Morning, White Dove), sung by Ricardo Archuleta of Cerro, New Mexico. Recorded by folklorist Juan Bautista Rael (also a native of New Mexico), September 9, 1940. Mr. Archuleta is a descendant of the first Spanish settlers of New Mexico, who arrived in about 1600. (audio)
  • Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers, performance at the Library of Congress, November 16, 2005. The singer in this ensemble can be seen briefly at the left of the screen, as the camera focused mainly on the dancers. Dancers in this group are from Arizona and New Mexico. Most are students at the University of New Mexico. (webcast)
  • "The Texas Ranger," sung by E. A. Briggs of Medina, Texas. Recorded by John A. and Ruby Lomax, May 5, 1939. (audio)
  • "Yo cuando era niñ o - mi padre querido" (first line), composed and performed by José Suarez. A song about picking cotton with his father in Texas when he was a boy. Recorded by John A. and Ruby Lomax, April 26, 1939. (video: a song illustrated with photographs from Library collections)
  • "Gypsy Davy," an old British ballad performed by Woody Guthrie, who was originally from Okemah, Oklahoma. (audio)
  • "Ain' No More Cane on the Brazos," work song sung by Moses "Clear Rock" Platt. Recorded by John Lomax in Taylor, Texas, May 10, 1939. Stephen F. Austin first began planting sugar cane on the Brazos River in the 1820s. (audio)
  • "Desert Blues," composed and sung by Hattie Ellis. Blues singer and composer Hattie Ellis was a bootlegger convicted for the killing of one of her customers in a fight in Texas. She became known for her singing on the prison"s radio program. Recordings of the radio program were later destroyed, so only four recordings of her exist, made by John A. and Ruby Lomax in 1939. This is the only of her original compositions to survive. (audio)
  • "That Gol Durned Wheel," performed by Frank Goodwyn. A song about an first encounter between cowboys and an early large-wheeled bicycle. (audio)
  • Tom Mauchahty-Ware, Thomas Ware, III and Chester Tieyah, Jr. performing Comanche-Kiowa songs and dances.

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Regional Sampler: The Southwest
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-  Songs and Music
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Regional Sampler: The Southwest. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed January 17, 2017.)

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Regional Sampler: The Southwest. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Regional Sampler: The Southwest. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.