Want to take home a Tacoma girl, a Tacoma pearl? At first glance it seems Phil Baxter did, although his lyrics to a 1930’s song about our lovely Tacoma ladies were nearly lost for good.
Baxter, an American songwriter, singer and band leader who lived from 1896 to 1972, played “Tacoma Girl” at a number of ballroom events while in town, but not long after no one seemed to know more than a line or two from the tune.
Decades later, when the “Piccolo Pete” and “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas” writer passed away, his longtime friend Cliff Halliburton penned a “tenderly written” tribute. Cliff then sent these lyrics to The Tacoma News Tribune in 1973:
I wanna take home a Tacoma girl,
I wanna take home a Tacoma pearl.
I wanna girl when I ask her for kisses
She’ll say, ‘Just wait until I’m the Missus.’
I’m through with my roamin’ —
I’m settling’ down.
I’m makin’ my home in Tacoma town.
I wanna take home a pair of eyes,
I wanna take home a paradise…
I wanna take home a Tacoma girl!
Cliff also shared that Baxter wasn’t writing from personal experience seeking out a Tacoma girl. Rather, the song was dedicated to Cliff’s wife, who had grown up in Tacoma. The song was penned while Baxter and his band were touring our area.
Though a recording of “Tacoma Girl” isn’t readily available, you’re welcome to check out 1929’s “I Ain’t Got No Gal Now.”
Know anything more about “Tacoma Girl” or Phil Baxter’s time here? We’re all ears. Please share in a comment below.
Images via Ebay, with special thanks to Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room.