Traditional Arr. Dave Guard

& Publication Credit Not Available
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Song Specific Liner Notes

Covers by other artists

Song lyrics

Nick Reynolds (vocal, guitar), Bob Shane (vocal, guitar), Dave Guard (vocal, guitar), Buzz Wheeler (bass):
  Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO (Original Capitol LP record release) T-996 - 1958 -- TRACK TIME: (N/A) Album: THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO - VOL 2 (Capitol Records LP record reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - T/ST-2280 / SM-2280 -- (c)(p) N/A -- TRACK TIME: (2:38) Album: TOM DOOLEY (Capitol LP record re-issue of previously recorded material from THE KINGSTON TRIO) DF-514 - date unknown -- TRACK TIME: (2:26) Album: EARLY AMERICAN HEROS (Pair Records CD record reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - CDL-9417 -- (c)(p) 1984 Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO / . . . FROM THE HUNGRY I (Capitol CD re-issue of previously available tracks from THE KINGSTON TRIO and . . . FROM THE HUNGRY I) CDP 7 96748 2 - 1991 -- TRACK TIME: (2:39) Album: THE GUARD YEARS (Bear Family Records CD re-issue of previously recorded material) BCD 16160 JK - 1997 Album: EARLY AMERICAN HEROS (Pair Records CD record reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - Catalogue# N/A -- (c)(p) date N/A "The Kingsston Trio / . . . From the hungry i" (Collector's Choice Records) June 2001
Nick Reynolds (vocal, guitar), Bob Shane (vocal (solo on spanish verses), guitar), Dave Guard (vocal (solo on translations), guitar), Buck Wheat (bass) 10-6-00:
            Album: STEREO CONCERT (Original Capitol LP record release) ST-1183 - 1959 -- TRACK TIME: (N/A) Album: STEREO CONCERT PLUS (Folk Era Records CD re-issue of previously available tracks from STEREO CONCERT) CDFE2037 - 1989. NOTE: This recording contains some previously unavailable material. Album: THE GUARD YEARS (Bear Family Records CD re-issue of previously recorded material) BCD 16160 JK - 1997 -- TRACK TIME: (2:40)
Song Specific Liner Notes    
Other Notes of Interest  
Posted to the Kingston Trio Place Forum by Fred on 2/8/2000, 11:17 pm , in reply to "Re: Coplas"

. . . I have a copy of BRAVO BIKEL . . . It appears that this LP postdates the KT's version of COPLAS. The liner notes, by Gene Aretsky are dated September, 1959. The English version of the lyrics are:

You asked for green pepper,
I'll give you green pepper;
Let's go to the garden
And I'll pick it for you.

They say your family
Can't stand to see me.
Tell them not to muddy the water,
In the end they'll have to drink it.

The woman who loves two men
Loves them like brothers;
She puts big horns on one
And budding horns on the other.

The mule I used to ride
Is ridden now by my friend.
I don't care
Because I broke her in.

The night I got married
I couldn't sleep at all;
I spent the whole night
Chasing a black cat.

You said it was a black cat
That came in through your balcony;
I've never seen a black cat before
Wearing a hat and trousers.

The Spanish lyrics are:

To the Song lyrics

The liner notes also contain the following: Coplas is a courting song from southern Mexico which was collected by Cynthia Gooding. It has an almost blues form into which thousands of traditional verses have been fitted.

Posted to the Kingston Trio Place Forum by Karin on 2/9/2000, 8:49 am, in reply to "Re: Coplas" . . . I would guess that Bikel may have inspired the KT's version, though, since he was already a 'name' when [the Trio] started performing, and he [has been] named as a definite influence [on the Trio]. The performance dates in the [liner] notes [of BRAVO BIKEL] . . . are 10/12/58, and 4/5/59, and I would venture to say they got the song from him; the arrangement is credited to Bikel.

Editor's Note: The Song "Coplas" was recorded for "The Kingston Trio" Album on Feburary 5, 1958 which was released June 2, 1958. This chronology makes it unlikely that BRAVO BIKEL is the Trio's source of Coplas.

On 3/24/2004 Pete Curry drops the LINER NOTES an e-mail: Hi Jerry: 
The Theodore Bikel & Cynthia Gooding LP, "A Young Man and a Maid," Elektra EKL 109, is dated 1956 per the official Elektra discography. So it is definitely a possible source for "Coplas."
Regards, Pete Curry
. . . and 11/28/2006 Gabe Heler writes in his e-mail to the LINER NOTES: . . . you mention some controversy as to whether Theodore Bikel and Cynthia Gooding's version of Coplas influenced the Trio. I believe this has finally been cleared up definitively, though not in any liner notes. However, if you were to purchase the Box Set CD of "The Guard Years" you will note that there is an additional track included in the Newport Folk Festival '59 performance that was not on the earlier CD release. This track (the third) is in fact Coplas and includes an expanded introduction that goes as follows:
"My two cohorts and I had the privilege of taking a small vacation in Mexico. While we were down there we had the privilege of picking up this next tune as a matter of fact."
"That's not all we picked up"
"In fact we picked it up from two of the most famous mariachis in the business down there: Miss Cynthia Gooding and Theodore Bikel. When you hear the translation of this particular tune, because David, our linguist, gives it somewhat of a literal translation. I think you'll all agree that it's truly a charming little Mexican love song."
"Toque la guitarra andole!"

And then they launch into possibly the most spirited performance of  Coplas available on any of their albums. So there it is, from the horse's mouth!

--Gabe Heller
Covers by other artists    
Cynthia Gooding & Theodore Bikel A Young Man and a Maid [Elektra EKL 109) 1956 (LP)
Theodore Bikel BRAVO BIKEL 1958 (LP)
Cynthia Gooding & Theodore Bikel Folk Song America, Vol 2 [Smithsonian / Folkways] 1991 / 1994 (CD)
Gregg Smith Singers / Texas Boys Chorus World of Folksong 1993 (CD)


Chile verde me pediste. Chile verde te dare.
Vama nos para la huer ta con al la te lo cortare.
(Tell them what it means then)
"You want green peppers?(Si!) I'll give you green peppers.
Come out to the garden." ("Coplas!")

Lai, lai, lai, lai, hum de lai, lai, lai, hum de lai, lai, lai,
lai. Lai, lai, lai, hum de lai, lai, lai, hum de lai, lai, lai

Dice que los de fu casa. Ninguno me puede ver.
Diles que no basta el agua que al cabo lahan do beber.
"Tell your parents not to muddy the water around us." ("Porque?")
"They may have to drink it soon!" ("Coplas!")


La mula que yo mente la monto hoy mi compadre.
Eso a mi no me importa pues yo la mon te primero. ("Oivey!")
"Ah, so! You are surprised I speak your language.
You see, I was educated in your country… at U. C. R. A." ("Coplas!")


La noche que me case. No pudde dormirme un rato.
Por estar toda la noche corriendos detras de un gato. (Meow!)
Me dejiste que fue un gato. Que entro por tu balcon.
Yo no visto gato prieto con sombrero y pantalon!
"On my wedding night, I did not sleep a wink. ("Porque?")I
spent the whole night chasing a cat that had come in over the balcony…. (Meow!)
wearing a sombrero and long pants!" ("Coplas!")


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Last revised: November 28, 2006.