I brought up this old discussion because I'm interested in finding the earliest published sheet music for "The Days of '49." One source tells me the earliest mention he has found is 1874.
In fact, I've never seen any sheet music for this song, early sheet music anyway. Songsheets, yes, sheet music, no. Dylan popularized it but is he singing the original melody?
Carl, you must have the same source I have. I have the liner notes for the Folkways LP "Days of '49" which presumably offers the same source (Great Emerson New Popular Songster, 1874). Another book, Songs of the Great American West, compiled and edited by Irwin Silber cites the same source but gives 1872 as its pub date.
I'm supposing that you have used the following website but in case not or in case others haven't.......
It has downloadable mid-19th C songsters, including several California songsters......but alas none seem to include Days of '49. Fools of '49, yes but no Days of '49.
Regarding another supposed gold rush ditty, I would like to know more of the provenance of What Was Your Name in the States? Liner notes for Days of '49 state that the "tune and text can be found in Carl Sandburg's American Songbag....which I don't have Was it merely a song recalling the joke of the period/place or did it coincide with that time and place? Were there more verses?
That's Troy Groves' site. There's been a discussion between Carl and Troy on the Authentic Campaigner forum about this very song : http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?36711-Day-...
About all I can find is in the John Lomax Cowboy songs book from the early 20th.
Notation on page 12-13 http://books.google.com/books?id=aFAQAAAAYAAJ&printsec
There was a sequel to it, in "Songs of the Great American West":
In regards to the Days of 49, there is a virulently racist last verse that is seldom done: the last line of which is "For the country was right and the boys all white In the days of '49.". For the full verse, and sources, here is a link:
The version at the end of episode 3 of Ken Burn's "The West" was done by a friend, Alan Fuller of Placerville, CA., a retired ranger at the James Marshall Gold Rush Discovery Park in Coloma, CA.