March 23, 2016

Dan White's The Ballad of Soapy Smith

Dan White
The Drive-by Troubadour
Photo courtesy of Dan White
(Click image to enlarge)

(Click the above link to hear the song)

ery recently, western singer Dan White, The Drive-by Troubadour, was visiting the historical town of Tombstone, Arizona. By chance, Dan happened to run into a good friend of mine, Stephen Keith, at the Crystal Palace Saloon. They began talking and Dan brought up a song he had written, called The Ballad of Soapy Smith. Stephen, of course, brought up the fact that he and I were friends. Keith later wrote to me with a link to Dan's site and the Ballad.

Within a couple of days, Dan and I were chatting on the phone.

Dan told me that he had seen a commercial for the Soapy Smith episode for Blood Feud, on the American Heroes Channel. This is the episode in which I was hired as a "talking head" (expert). Dan told me that he likes to write and sing about the lesser known old west characters. When he heard the commercial for Blood Feud he thought that Soapy would make a good subject for a ballad. He had never heard of Soapy and liked what little he saw, but unfortunately missed the program. So he went online to Wikipedia. It was a good choice as I am largely responsible for most of the sourced information on that article. He wrote the Ballad, and the rest, as they say... is history.      

A little about Dan (from his website)

"Growing up in San Jose California, music had always been a part of Dan’s life….and performing it as well as writing his own compositions naturally followed. Playing in bands as a young man, the influences of music ranged from Glenn Campbell to The Beach Boys, The Beatles to Jimmy Buffet, Crosby Stills and Nash to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Whether he is sharing western folklore through music and poetry, or a 70’s cover, he takes the listener with him, back in time, to re-live a few moments of their past.

The goal of my music is to preserve our country's western and music heritage. It’s values, stories and legends, and contrast those lessons to the issues we individually and collectively face in these times.

Consistently ranked in the top western singer songwriters in the US by, Dan is an active member of the Western Music Association chapters in WY, ID, MT, UT, CO, AZ and NM, is always interested in sharing his latest composition and insights as he travels thru western states. The venues he performs at are varied from dude ranches to country clubs, neighborhood restaurants to your back yard gathering. Whether it’s a branding party or a family celebration, a poetry gathering or rodeo or a wedding, Dan would like to hear from you and schedule your event."

You can listen to his streaming music and follow his scheduled appearances at

Stephen Keith
A special thanks to good friend Stephen Keith
For informing us of this ballad!
Photo courtesy of Stephan Keith

"… he was not at all inclined to stir up trouble, and by his pleasant address never wanted for friends. Besides, he was one of the most kind-hearted men that ever lived. I will venture that there is scarcely a big city in the country where you couldn’t find some man that could tell you of a good act that Jeff Smith had done him. In his palmy days in Denver and Creede, he gave away money recklessly to almost any applicant. When hard times came to Denver in association with a well-known priest, he organized a score of free-lunch stands, and every sport in town was assessed at what Smith thought a reasonable figure. None of them demurred to giving up, and nobody went hungry during that adverse period."
—R. M. Eddy
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 590.


1792: The Humane Society of Massachusetts is incorporated.
1813: The first raw cotton-to-cloth mill is founded in Waltham, Massachusetts.
1821: The Philadelphia College of Apothecaries establishes the first pharmacy college.
1822: The city of Boston, Massachusetts is incorporated.
1836: The siege of the Alamo begins during the Texas Revolution, in San Antonio, Texas.
1839: The first express service in the U.S. is organized between Boston, Massachusetts and New York City by William F. Harnden.
1847: Mexican General Santa Anna is defeated at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico by U.S. troops under General Zachary Taylor.
1858: The U.S. Senate approves statehood for Kansas.
1861: President Lincoln secretly enters Washington D.C. to take his office after an assassination attempt in Baltimore, Maryland.
1861: Texas is the 7th state to secede from the Union previous to the Civil War.
1870: The state of Mississippi is readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
1874: Walter Winfield patents a game called sphairistike, later known as lawn tennis.
1875: J. Palisa discovers asteroid #143 (named “Adria”).
1877: Mormon Elder John Lee is executed at the site of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, twenty years previous, for his part in the murder of a wagon party heading to California.
1882: An illegal posse, led by Wyatt Earp out for revenge, has a shootout at Iron Spring, Arizona Territory, with men thought to be the “cowboy’s gang” of Curly Bill Brocius. Earp claims he shot and killed Brocius but later reports indicate the “cowboys” were actually miners, each party believing the other was bad. One of the posse members is John O. “Texas Jack” Vermillion, who later becomes a member of the Soapy Smith gang in Denver, Colorado, becoming known as “Shoot-Your-Eye-Out-Jack.”
1883: Two people are killed by Indians at Point of the Mountain, Arizona Territory.
1883: Alabama is the first state to enact an antitrust law.
1886: Charles Hall completes his invention of aluminum.
1889: President Harrison opens Oklahoma for colonization.
1896: The Tootsie Roll is introduced by Leo Hirshfield.
1904: The U.S. acquires control of the Panama Canal for $10,000,000.
1905: The Rotary Club is founded in Chicago, Illinois.
1910: The first radio contest is held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith