Book Notes – January 29, 2020

Book Notes – January 29, 2020

‘Abilene Forever’ one of many songs about Abilene

The other day I was having lunch with a group of ladies after speaking to their club, and one of the women at our table said her grandmother or great-grandmother used to sing a song she learned in elementary school here.

The song was “Abilene Forever” and it was written and taught – mandated – to the children by “Professor” J.C. Watts, who taught in Abilene from 1909-1917. The woman knew the song by heart because it had been passed down to her from three or four generations.

But, she said, she’s never seen it in any history or book about Abilene.

“Actually,” I said, “Joe Specht wrote about it in his book ‘Abilene in Song: The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean,’” published in 2017.

It wasn’t in the first volume he wrote, called “The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean: Abilene in Song” (2006). He learned about Professor Watts after the first book was published, so when he asked Texas Star to publish a revised edition, that was one of several dozen new entries.

The song starts like this:

“Abilene forever, Abilene forever,

“Beautiful city with prairie dog holes”

It goes on to discuss Indian heads, butter cups and china blooms.

Obviously, it made a lasting impression on his students. And you can read about that song, and the many other songs that are about Abilene or mention Abilene, in Joe’s book, which also includes a CD by Abilene pharmacist/songwriter Greg Young of five of the songs.

“Abilene Forever” is not on the CD, but if you would like to hear it, you might ask Jan Woodward to sing it to you.

The book and CD were $20, but now you can get the set for just $12, autographed by Joe and Greg, exclusively at Texas Star Trading.