Renfro original “Ode to Billy [the Kid]” opens a new short film, “Silver City Dreaming,” promoting Silver City and Grant County, New Mexico, to film producers around the world.
The historically-based “Ode to Billy” helps introduce the storyline of the short film, which quickly becomes a fantasy that has Dorothy of Kansas waking up in the middle of a street in historic downtown Silver City, where she meets up with Billy the Kid and Geronimo and finds herself in a high-speed car chase around the county before waking up on a filmset and discovering she’s fallen off her chair.
A news article last year described the project.
The film was first shown publicly March 2014 at the 60th Anniversary celebration of the famously- and controversially-banned, Red Scare-era movie, Salt of the Earth, filmed in Grant County, NM, based on the famous labor strike that won rights for Mexican-American miners in the early 1950s. Some of the participants in the historic fight, now in their 70s and 80s, attended the screening, participated in a discussion panel, and saw the film for the first time that night. (Salt of the Earth can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.)
The filmmakers’ union in the 50s was unfortunately not sympathetic to Salt of the Earth but now works hard to promote all unions in NM, including filmmaking, for which “Silver City Dreaming” was chosen to precede the Salt of the Earth screening.
The song, “Ode to Billy,” was written when a lawsuit was pending to exhume Billy the Kid’s mother from her Silver City, NM, gravesite to get DNA to prove whether or not Billy was actually buried in his purported grave in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Rumors abound that Billy was never killed by his friend, Sheriff Pat Garret, and lived to be an old man, while another body, or nothing, lies in the grave.
“Ode to Billy” was performed by Greg Renfro on guitar and Charlie Alfero on mandolin. It was recorded on the Settle On In CD in 2008 at Barefoot Studios in Arenas Valley, New Mexico. It can be heard here.
Well, they say he rode from Kansas
along the Chisholm Trail
wound up in Silver City
bussing tables at the Star Hotel
Took a life of thievin’
til one good man lay dead
For a thrill and eighteen dollars
put a bullet right through his head
(CHORUS) Didn’t give a damn about the law
just how quick he could draw
didn’t give a damn what he did
Billy the Kidd
(v2) So he rode to Lincoln County
a range war it was called
Fell in with desperadoes
the wrong side of the law
His future took a tragic turn
when two more men lay dead
Now Billy was a wanted kid
with a bounty on his head
(v3) Well, they caught him in Mesilla
in the middle of the night
Pat Garrett and his posse
swore they’d make things right
Convicted of the killings
and sentenced to hang
But Fate, she had a different plan
for Garrett and his gang
(v4) Now some say Pat shot Billy
took the law in his hand
others claim Billy lived
to be a tired old man
Legends they lie buried
stories often told
some in Silver City
go grave-diggin’ for gold.
CHORUS: Don’t give a damn where he’s hid
rest in peace Billy the Kid
Don’t give a damn where he’s hid
rest in Peace Billy the Kid.