Philip Tedro, "Hi Jolly,"Immortalized in Ballad byRandySparks

by HCSStaff

Several years ago, Hellenic Communication Service received permission from Greek American Review publisher Peter Makris to reproduce an immensely interesting article about the exploration of the American southwest by Greek pioneers in the 1800's, a well-written work by noted historian Steve Frangos. Titled "Philip Tedro: A GreekLegend of theAmerican West," the article's appearance on HCS was fortuitous for a number of reasons, not least of which has been the continuing interest in the topic demonstrated by readers of HCS, but also for the article's value as an historical resource to researchers using the Internet.

But there were serendipitous outcomes from the posting of the article. Last year, the Assistant Town Manager of a town in Arizona, Quartzsite, contacted us at HCS, wishing for assistance in generating support for the Philip Tedro memorial site. Ms. Taft was hoping to submit an application for the historic cemetery to be enrolled in the register of state and national historic landmarks; she was inviting additional comment from the public in support of the application. We posted her request on HCS ( and suggested that she ask the original author of the article to write a letter to the application review committee.

Eventually the Assistant TownManager was able to reach Mr. Frangos and ask him to compose a letter of support. He did so. Several months later, Ms.Taft emailed HCS to inform us that the application had been approved, to our delight, thanks in no small part to the eloquent contribution of the historian. Red more at the URL

The same Internet search for information on Philip Tedro that had led the town's assistant manager to HCS has also led the orignal author of the ballad cited in the Tedro article to our site. An email reached us--just today--from the attorney of RandySparks, who has graciously granted permission to reprint the lyrics of the song he composed and recorded in 1963 with The New Christy Minstrels. The attorney kindly noted several inaccuracies in the original citation of the song and furnished the copyrighted version of the lyrics (below). Mr.Sparks has also emended several historical refernces in his song for current performances, as his attorney has explained:

Mr. Sparks, who is passionate about historical accuracy in his music, realized there were two glaring historical errors in this song, and they have been corrected in the concert performances today. In the first verse, the reference to "Mr. Blaine" (a 19th Century Secretary of State, Congressman, Senator and Presidential candidate) is corrected to "Mr. Beale." Mr. Sparks also discovered that the town of Tucumcari, NM, had not yet been established by the time of Hi Jolly's death, so the name "Tuba City" -- a well-established Arizona settlement of that era -- is now used.

This legendary musical group is again performing throughout the country. with as many as six of the original ten performers from the 1963 recording members. For more information about the group or their schedule listed below, visit the URL Their performance schedule brings them to many regions of the country over the next couple of months:

December 20-22, 2007--Ruidoso, New Mexico
January 14, 2008--Palm Desert,California
January 16, 2008--Quartzsite, Arizona
January 22, 2008--Yuma, Arizona
January 23, 2008--Apache Junction, Arizona
January 24, 2008--Sun CityWest,Arizona
January 25, 2008--Tucson, Arizona
January 26, 2008--Gilbert, Arizona
January 27, 2008--Casa Grande,Arizona
January 29, 2008--NorthScottsdale,Arizona
February 8-9, 2008--PalmBeach Gardens,Florida
March 15, 2008--Irvington, New York

The Ballad of Hi Jolly


Hi Jolly, hey Jolly
Twenty miles today by golly
Twenty more before the morning light
High Jolly Yeah, I gotta be on my way
I told my gal I'd be home Sunday night.


Hi Jolly was a camel driver long time ago
Followed Mr. Blaine* a way out west
Didn't mind the burnin' sand in that God-forsaken land
But he didn't mind the pretty gals the best

They got pretty gals in Albuquerque, least that's what I've heard
Pretty gals in Tucumcari*, too
Now, Honey, I ain't blind, but I don't pay 'em any mind
I'm savin' all my lovin' just for you

Old timers out in Arizona tell you that it's true
You can see Hi Jolly's ghost a-travelin' still
When that desert moon is bright he comes ridin' through the night
Leadin' four-and-twenty camels 'cross the hill

Words and music by Randy Sparks, (c) 1963 Cherrybell Music Publishing Company. Used with permission.

(Posting date 26 November 2007)

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