OKLAHOMA HILLS

(WOODY GUTHRIE/JACK GUTHRIE) (1937)
(as recorded by JACK GUTHRIE, c. 1944)


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Leon (Jack) and I left Oklahoma when we were kids and went to Texas. He loved horses and rode rodeo until he was thrown off a horse and hurt his back. He and Woody teamed up and had a radio show together over KFVD in Los Angeles. In fact I think they used it as their theme song. Leon got a recording contract with Capitol Records and recorded it. He was overseas when it was published and released, and when he came back, Woody sued him for the money he had received. Woody let him know that the money didn't mean anything to him; he just wanted to get his break. They signed a contract, and Leon didn't get any more money until Woody had gotten as much as he did. There is a controversy over who wrote this song, and I really don't know why there should be. It has always been my impression that Woody wrote the words and Leon wrote the music.

Wava Guthrie Blake, letter to Dorothy Horstman, Nov 1, 1973;
reprinted in Dorothy Horstman (ed.), Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy, New York, NY, 1976, p. 343.


Lyrics as recorded by Jack Guthrie for Capitol Records, c. 1944;
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.
© 1945, renewed 1973, Michael H. Goldsen.

Many a month has come and gone
Since I wandered from my home
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.
Many a page of life has turned,
Many a lesson I have learned;
Well, I feel like in those hills I still belong.

CHORUS:
'Way down yonder in the Indian Nation
Ridin' my pony on the reservation,
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.
Now, 'way down yonder in the Indian Nation,
A cowboy's life is my occupation,
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

But as I sit here today,
Many miles I am away
From a place I rode my pony through the draw,
While the oak and blackjack trees
Kiss the playful prairie breeze,
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

CHORUS

Now as I turn life a page
To the land of the great Osage
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born,
While the black oil it rolls and flows
And the snow-white cotton grows
In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

CHORUS


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