I’m back where my writing career began–the Red River Valley. I’m with my mother in Kemp, Oklahoma–right across from Denison, Texas–helping with chores around the place and using the time to get ready for the concert Jed Marum and I are doing in Houston this weekend for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I love this part of South Oklahoma and North Texas, so full of a rich but troubled history. For example, did you know that Doc Holiday set up shop in Denison for a year or so? And that Col. Douglas Cooper’s 1st Regiment of Choctaw & Chickasaw Rifles were mustered not 2 miles from my mother’s house? Good ole boys with their craziness are still in the local news. I also thought of this song I wrote that Jed has promised he will help me finish for my next CD and decided to publish it. You can take a look at my novel, Red River Fever at this link: It is available in print and ebook versions.
Red River Fever by Rickey E. Pittman
On the edge of the Indian nations,
Once a violent no man’s land,
Spirits move along the river’s banks,
Ghosts of lost and desperate men.
Whores and Comancheros
Wanted men and half-breeds,
Jayhawkers, scalpers, and outlaws,
They once made this valley bleed.
Hidden by the thickets,
Logjams, quicksand, and floods,
They killed and thieved and raged,
Until the river flowed with blood.
And the river whispered secrets
Into their souls each night,
Dark and cruel and bloody things,
And they listened with delight.
Infected with a fever that
Boiled their blood and brains
The demons of the valley
Made men violent and insane.
The demons only set them free,
When the river’s work was done,
The fever’s only cure was death,
By rope or knife or gun.
Red River fever’s gone they say,
But still the blood-red waters flow
And whispers yet its secrets,
To the dark and lost in soul.