Gary Eller has been collecting songs about Idaho people, places and events and, along with his bluegrass group, Bona Fide, performing and recording selected ones. Gary has kindly shared several songs related to the Haywood trial with us.
Gary Eller writes:
I wrote this song with John Larsen of Givens Hot Springs about a year ago, in anticipation of the centennial of the trial. John was president of the Owyhee County Historical Society for many years and a fine regional historian as well as musician. Legend has it that "Big Bill" Haywood was inspired to radical unionism while working in Silver City Mines. This song appears on the CD, Ballads of Owyhee Country, issued by the Owyhee County Historical Society last April. The attached track was recorded live by Bona Fide (the band I'm in) and Friends at a concert in the Old Territorial Pen in Boise last October. So that venue adds an element of authenticity too.
John and I wrote this song to tell a more complete historical version of the Harry Orchard story, performed in a style that might be more appealing to a broader audience than the Utah Phillips version [on the Phillips and Rosalie Sorrels CD, The Long Memory]. Time will tell if we succeeded.
The Song: Dynamite Harry (Click to play; right-click to download).
Gary Eller writes:
[This is a song] John Larsen wrote called "Farewell to Steunenberg." John tried to capture a turn-of-the-century style while giving tribute to the major character in this drama who sometimes seems to be lost in the hoopla about Haywood, Orchard, Borah, Hawley and Darrow.
The Song: Farewell to Steunenberg (Click to play; right-click to download).
For more on Bona Fide, visit their website. For more on Gary Eller's Idaho Song Collecting project, visit the project website. Eller thanks the Idaho Humanities Council for its support of this project, and the EmuZeum of Grandview, Idaho for permission to photograph the sheet music for "Are They Going to Hang My Papa."