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Stewball - Peter, Paul and Mary
* Audio file gathered from willc's personal music library

Stewball - Peter, Paul and Mary  (6/8 - Capo 6th Fret)

Suggested Picking Pattern:

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  Root Bass

Introduction: [D  Dsus4  D ]  Em   A   [D  G  A  ]

                 [D  Dsus4   D   ]            Em
Oh Stewball was a racehorse, and I wish he were mine.
               A                      [D  G A  ]
He never drank water, he always drank wine.

               [D  Dsus4   D   ]      Em
His bridle was silver, his mane it was gold.
                     A                     [D  G A  ]
And the worth of his saddle has never been told.

                       [D  Dsus4   D   ]         Em
Oh the fairgrounds were crowded, and Stewball was there
                    A                        [D  G A  ]
But the betting was heavy on the bay and the mare.

           [D  Dsus4   D   ]      Em
And a-way up yonder, ahead of them all,
                      A                    [D  G A  ]
Came a-prancing and a-dancing my noble stewball.

           [D  Dsus4   D   ]          Em
I bet on the grey mare, I bet on the bay
                      A                            [D  G A  ]
If I'd have bet on old Stewball, I'd be a free man today.

                    [D  Dsus4   D   ]           Em
Oh the hoot owl, she hollers, and the turtle dove moans.
                  A                            [D  G A  ]
I'm a poor boy in trouble, I'm a long way from home.

                 [D  Dsus4   D   ]           Em
Oh Stewball was a racehorse, and I wish he were mine.
               A                      [D  G A  ]
He never drank water, he always drank wine.
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Song Info  Stewball - Peter, Paul and Mary
Stewball - Peter, Paul and Mary
Stewball really was a racehorse

Fact is always stranger, and infinitely more interesting, than fiction. And facts involving animals are no exception.

Many of us have heard the song, “Old Stewball Was A Racehorse.” But did you know there really was a racehorse named Stewball? This horse spawned a legend that has endured for more than two centuries.

Actually, the horse’s name might have been Sku-Ball or Squ-Ball, but evolved into Stewball. The name may be a reference to its color. According to the Irish Piebald & Skewbald Association, a Skewbald horse has patches of color on its head, legs, and belly over a white coat, what we in America call a Paint or Pinto horse.

It seems in the late 18th Century this Skewbald horse, owned by Arthur Marvell, is placed in a mismatched horse race in Kildare, Ireland, against a thoroughbred grey mare named Miss Portly, owned by Sir Ralph Gore. The upset win by 11-year-old Sku-Ball undoubtedly strikes a serious blow to Gore’s pride and wallet and ultimately launches the legend.

So incredible is the win that within a few short years the event is immortalized in song. A ballad appears in print in England in 1822 and finds it way to America in an 1829 songbook. “Sing Out!” Magazine reports the song is then adopted as a Negro slave song, but “Stewball” has many variations in several languages. It is resurrected as a folk song when Peter, Paul, and Mary record their version in 1963.


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Song Stats  Stewball - Peter, Paul and Mary
Adder: Bill Charrette [ willc ]
Date: 6/14/2015
Updated: 4/9/2019
Tab By: willc
Rated: (2) Hot! Popular!
Views: 481
pdf Hits: 236
Genre: Traditional
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