Cole Porter: Don’t fence me in

I always thought this was a cowboy song, knowing the version Roy Rogers sang sitting on his trusty horse, Trigger. But in fact the very singable Don’t fence me in was written in 1932 by the urbane jazz great Cole Porter. It’s not a “typical” Porter song – it uses a poem by an unknown Montana writer named Robert Fletcher – but it does have some of the playful language Cole Porter is known for: “let me straddle my old saddle” and “let me wander over yonder”. (Song history: Wikipedia.)

David Byrne (1990 for Red Hot + Blue)

Roy Rogers and Trigger (first recording 1944, in Hollywood Canteen)

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (1944)

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in.

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies.
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hovels and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in.

song of the week :-) englisch lernen mit liedern

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Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

4 thoughts on “Cole Porter: Don’t fence me in”

  1. Hi Anne,

    Nice little song-along there, wonder if it’d go down well with my Tuesday p.m. class …
    They’re a very businessy bunch but it might be good for them.

  2. Hi Joan,
    Why not? You can even get them involved in a discussion about how they define freedom in the various areas of their life, business, personal, family…
    CU :)

  3. Yeh! Anne – what a great way to start the day. This would be wonderful for a class! And all those different jazzy versions! Thanks for sharing and making me bop in my slippers!
    Shonah :-)

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