Wednesday, September 28, 2016


(Cisco Houston)
I am a roving gambler, I gamble all around
Whenever I meet with a deck of cards I lay my money down.

I've gambled down in Washington, I've gambled over in Spain
I'm on my way to Georgia to gamble my last game.

I had not been in Washington not many more weeks than three
When I fell in love with a pretty little gal, she fell in love with me.

She took me to her parlor, she cooled me with her fan
She whispered low in her mother's ear, "I love that gambling man."

"Oh daughter, Oh dear daughter, how can you treat me so?
To leave your dear old mother, and with a gambler go?"

"Oh mother, Oh dear mother, you know I love you well
But the love I have for this gambling man, no human tongue can tell."

"I hear that train a-coming, it's a-coming 'round the curve
A-whistling and a-blowing and a-straining every nerve"

"Oh mother, Oh dear mother, I'll tell you if I can
If you ever see me back again, it'll be with that gambling man."

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Ballad of Jesse James

The Ballad of Jesse James
Jesse James was a lad that killed many a man
He robbed the Danville train
He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor
He'd a hand, a heart, and a brain

(Poor ) Jesse had a wife, to mourn for his life
And three children, they were so brave
But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave

Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor
He couldn't see a brother suffer pain
And with his brother Frank
he robbed the Springfield bank
And he stopped the Glendale train

It was Robert Ford, the dirty little coward
And I wonder how he feels
For he slept in Jesse's bed and he ate o' Jesse's bread
But he laid Jesse James in his grave
It was with his brother Frank that he robbed the Gallatin Bank
An' carried the money from the town
It was at that very place that they had a little chase
For they shot ol' Captain Sheets to the ground
They went to a crossing, not very far from there
And there they did the same
For the agent on his knees delivered up the keys
To the outlaws, Frank an' Jesse James
It was on a Wednesday night, not a star was in sight
When they robbed the Glendale train
Those people, they did say for many miles away
It was robbed by Frank an' Jesse James
It was on a Saturday night,
When Jesse was at home
Just talking with his family brave
Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night
And laid poor Jesse in his grave
Now, the people held their breath
When they heard of Jesse's death
They wondered how he ever came to die
It was one of his own gang called little Robert Ford
An' he shot Jesse James on the sly

Jesse went to his rest with his hand upon his breast
And there are many who never saw his face
He was born one day in the County of Clay
And he came from a solitary race
This song was made by Billy Gashade
As soon as the news did arrive
He said there's no one man with the law in his hand
Could ever take ol' Jesse James alive

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Into the Holler (by D Shea and Katy Hooper)

This is a song I wrote with my friend Katy Hooper who sings with me on this recording. We were pleased to have the able accompaniment of Diego Torres on the flute. I hope you like it. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Questions, a key language learning technique (for all my students)

For the last few academic years, I have been considering different strategies to stimulate conversation in my classes. One fairly simple method of getting people talking is to propose topics of interest. For each topic, the students are presented with a series of questions to share with a partner or in small groups. 
This idea is not original, it actually dates backs to the Greeks, but more recently, I have been taken by the work of Larry Pitts who teaches English language and culture in Korea. His book has been a valuable resource for me. I do not use all his listed questions, but rather choose a few that I hope the students will appreciate. In future postings here, you will find some of my lists.



What three pieces of advice will you give your children?
Whose advice do you follow more, your parents’ or your friends’ advice?
If you could give the leader of your country some advice, what would it be?
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, what would you
tell your younger self?
Who was the wisest person in your country’s history? 
What kind of advice did that person give?
Where do you go to get good advice?
Now it’s your turn to give some advice:
What are some things students should do to improve their English?
What should I do to make more money?
How can I get more free time?
What should people do when first meeting their boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents?
What should someone do to be happy?

( Adapted from the following source materials:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CLIL students

Welcome to all my CLIL students who want to improve their communication skills, achieve better speaking skills. 
Here are our first questions: 

1) How useful is English to you?
2) How often do you use it?
3) What are your strengths in English?
4) What English speaking countries have your visited?
5) Do you have any strategies for improving your spoken English?

Huddie Ledbetter, great American singer, songwriter and the king of the 12-street guitar

Huddie Ledbetter, as known as Leadbelly, is one of my favorite singers. I am going to include two of his songs in the next few classes. I hope you like them and find them interesting and fun to sing!

biographical data for Huddie Ledbetter

On a Monday (by Huddie Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly)

On a Monday (by Huddie Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly)

On a Monday
I was arrested
And on a Tuesday,
I got locked up in jail
And on a Wednesday
My trial was attested
And on a Thursday
Nobody would go my bail

Yes I'm gone
Aaaalmost most gone (3x)
And I ain't going to be seein' them pretty women no more

Take these stripes
These stripes from off my shoulder
Take these chains
These chains from off-a my leg
Well these stripes,
You know that they don't bother me
But these chains
These chains are killin' me dead

Yes I'm gone…

Now on a Friday
My baby went out walking
And on a Saturday
You know she locked up the door
And on a Sunday
She must have done some talkin'
Cause on a Monday
She had sold all o my clothes.

Yes I'm gone …