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Origin: Waltzing with Bears

DigiTrad:
WALTZING WITH BEARS


Related threads:
need copyright info - 'Waltzing With Bears' (38)
Contact for Dale Marxsen? (5)
Dancing With Bears? Irish folk tune? (18)
Lyr Req: Dancing with Bears / Waltzing with Bears (17)
Lyr/Chords Req: Waltzing with Bears (20) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
My Uncle Terwilliger Waltzes With Bears [Dr. Seuss and Eugene Poddany] (from The Cat in the Hat Song Book, 1967)


Hummingbird 13 Oct 99 - 08:48 PM
BK 13 Oct 99 - 10:04 PM
_gargoyle 14 Oct 99 - 04:21 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 14 Oct 99 - 01:25 PM
BK 16 Oct 99 - 11:40 AM
Joe Offer 16 Oct 99 - 11:49 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 03 - 02:10 PM
open mike 18 Dec 03 - 03:09 PM
Bill D 18 Dec 03 - 04:25 PM
Joe_F 18 Dec 03 - 06:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM
Joybell 18 Dec 03 - 07:28 PM
Joybell 18 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 07:47 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM
JJ 19 Dec 03 - 08:34 AM
Mr Happy 19 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM
Joe_F 19 Dec 03 - 06:16 PM
Dani 19 Dec 03 - 09:24 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Apr 04 - 11:39 AM
Joe Offer 28 Apr 04 - 01:33 PM
open mike 28 Apr 04 - 02:40 PM
Joe Offer 04 May 04 - 01:29 AM
Dani 04 May 04 - 03:54 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 06 - 11:48 PM
Mo the caller 04 Jan 06 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,music lover 22 Jan 07 - 02:01 AM
oldhippie 22 Jan 07 - 06:48 PM
Songster Bob 22 Jan 07 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 23 Jan 07 - 12:25 AM
Bill D 23 Jan 07 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Two verses by Grian Solomon 28 Dec 07 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Jon Erickson 05 Apr 08 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Julie Kirby 24 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM
oldhippie 24 Dec 08 - 07:15 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 24 Dec 08 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,sandy mackay 29 Apr 10 - 07:05 PM
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Subject: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Hummingbird
Date: 13 Oct 99 - 08:48 PM

Hello again fellow catters. Sorry about the bear questions. This song, as I understand it, has a story that goes along with it that Dr. Suess wrote, or not......? I know the original title is Uncle Terwilliger Waltzes with Bears, but my searches have turned up nothing, I even checked at our school library. Anyone have any knowledge of this story????? The kids were asking about a story. Thanks Hummer.

Click for related thread


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: BK
Date: 13 Oct 99 - 10:04 PM

My source credited the original song to "Dale Marxen" & stated it was published in the "Cat In The Hat Songbook." Whatever that was. Beyond that, like Sgt Schultz, I know Nuuuthinnng!

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 04:21 AM

This link has a short discography/ Waltzing With Bears


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 01:25 PM

My school library actually has the Uncle Terwilliger book. The music notation is included- now I can't remember who wrote/arranged it. It isn't nearly as good a tune as the now better known arrangement- it isn't even in waltz time! No matter how you feel about this song (and Art T. has been notably absent from any discussion of late) it's gotta be a waltz!
And it's one of the most loved songs in tbe school- one of the only ones even the fifth graders will sing in assembly!
Allison


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: BK
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 11:40 AM

We have had many kids - up to early teens - frequently request it at the yearly festival we play. Even when we haven't played since last year...They remembered & enjoyed. In fact, in general I think there's lots of hope for kids to get interested in "folk-style" (whatever that is - clearly "non-comercial") songs, & songs like WWB help to engender the interest. Just because many adults say they're sick of it, (& many are not at all sick of it), doesn't mean it's w/out merit or appeal.

At a family gathering this fall, I had the Baby Taylor (fun to plunk around with, for picnics & such, but not an on-stage sort of instrument) & was pleasantly shocked to realize teenage boys listened attentivly through through songs such as Eric Bogle's "Green Fields Of France" (as I know it; aka "No Man's land," "Flowers Of The Forest," etc..). I was actually off to the side waiting for the food to be ready, just putzing & didn't relize they were listening at all. Would'nt have chosen that song, in particular, for 14 yr olds, but I guess I was wrong.. Once agin.. don't make negative assumptions. (Someday I'll learn!)

So; sing songs you enjoy & have meaning for you - whatever they may be, & positive things can happen.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 11:49 AM

Well, darn it all, anyhow! I think this song has a nice touch of whimsy, and it's fun to sing. I sing for kids a lot, and this is one song that works very well for them. Maybe it gets sung a bit too often, but I still like it. I usually don't sing it unless somebody requests it, though, because I like introduce kids to other good stuff that isn't quite so familiar.
-Joe Offer, who also likes the Unicorn Song-


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:10 PM


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: open mike
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 03:09 PM

i love to sing this song, too!@
I believe my fist introduction to it was
by hearing Roaslie Sorrells singing it.
I remember in Sing Out! magazine there
was mention that Dr. Seuss (Theodore
Geisel) had some sort of law suit
preventing people from recording that
song...that may be why it is difficult
to find. Perahps it was his lawyer, or
"estate" that was limiting this song.
I finally was able to get the
song because a fellow reader offerd
to sing in onto a cassette tape .
this was back before wave files,
e-mail, mp3, mud cat, etc.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:25 PM

but do you even wonder why this thread would be refreshed --with no comment--after 4 years?


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: WALTZING WITH BEARS
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:26 PM

Rumor has it that the copyright office has ruled that David Marxsen's version (Uncle Walter) and the Dr Seuss version (Uncle Terwilliger) are distinct songs. The former (which is more recent) has gone into the folk tradition & has been added to by many hands. Here is a compilation I made some years ago after many singing parties:

Waltzing with Bears amalgamated & annotated

s m f   s          D   t    l    s
My Uncle Walter goes waltzing with bears.                        1
s       r   m f s l       s f m
It's a most unbearable state of affairs.
s       m f   s               D       R    M
Every Saturday night he creeps down the back stairs,
M    F   M    R D    s    m    s   l    t    D
Sneaks out of the house and goes waltzing with bears.

         s          m f s       D   t    l    s
       He goes wa-wa-wa wa-wa-wa waltzing with bears.
         R                D R      M R D    s
       Raggy bears, shaggy bears, baggy bears too.
       s               m   f s            D      R    M
       And there's nothing on earth Uncle Walter won't do
         M F M   R D   s    F M R D   s
       So he can go waltzing, wa-wa-wa waltzing,
         M F M   R D   s                  d
       So he can go waltzing, waltzing with bears.

I went to his room in the middle of the night;                   2
I tip-toed inside and I turned on the light.
But to my dismay he was nowhere in sight:
My Uncle Walter goes waltzing at night.

I bought Uncle Walter a new coat to wear,                        3
But when he comes home it's all covered with hair,
And lately I've noticed several new tears.
I'm sure Uncle Walter's been waltzing with bears.

We told Uncle Walter that he should be good,                     4
And do all the things that we said he should,
But we know that he'd rather be out in the woods.
We're afraid that we'll lose Uncle Walter for good.

We begged and we pleaded, "Oh, please won't you stay?"          5
And managed to keep him home just for a day.
But the bears all barged in and they took him away.
Now he's dancing with pandas and he can't understand us,
But the bears all demand at least once dance a day.

We asked Uncle Walter just how it feels                         6
To be light on your feet and kick up your heels,
And he said, "We will see what the music reveals
Tonight when the bears teach us polkas and reels."

That night, when the moon rose, we crept down the stairs;       7
He took me to dance where the bears have their lairs.
We danced in a bear hug with nary a care.
It all feels like flying, there is no denying,
And now my pajamas are covered with hair.

My Aunt Matilda was mad as could be.                            8
"Walter, that rat, never waltzes with me!"
So she took her fur coat and remodeled it so
Now she can go waltzing, and Walter won't know.

       She goes wa-wa-wa wa-wa-wa waltzing with bears.
       Raggy bears, shaggy bears, baggy bears too.
       And there's nothing on earth Aunt Matilda won't do,
       So she can go...
                Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
       So she can go waltzing, waltzing with bears.

I snuck out the back door and over the wall.                     9
The shadows were long, and I'm not very tall.
Then a bear came right over and offered his paw:
Now Walter and I are the belles of the ball.

Said my neighbor Patrick, "Don't crow without cause --          10
Such a queer choice of partners, it must give us pause."
But we waltzed down the alley with never a word:
Pat wears a fur coat, but a bear is preferred.

My uncle Terwilliger waltzes with bears.                         11
Uncle says it's more fun than just sitting in chairs,
And we're not going to stop it. My uncle declares,
"It keeps my mind off of my worries and cares."

My uncle Walter is missing some wares.                           12
He's been that way all his life, mother declares.
It's not that he's violent or falls down the stairs --
It's just that he waltzes, he waltzes with bears.

Verse 1: On Bob Force and Al d'Ossche, "When the Moon Fell on
California".
Chorus and verses 2-5: Copyright (c) 1986 Dale Marxsen, Tomorrow River
Music, P.O. Box 165, Madison WI 53701.
Verse 6: From Gail Rundlett (live concerts).
Verse 7: From Claudia Rose and Grian MacGregor (on Priscilla Herdman,
"Star Dreamer")
Verse 8: From Lui Collins (live concerts)
Verse 9: By Sara Stockwell.
Verse 10: By Joe Fineman.
Verse 11: Remembered by Youngbear from Dr Seuss.
Verse 12: Supplied by Jeff Keller, 30 September 1998.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM

Could you explain the letters over the words, which aren't chords or notes, Joe?


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

Haven't you heard of The key of 'R'


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM

Now that I look again, sensibly (having banished the Fooles from the room!), I recognise those letters, not as chords, but as the "sol-fa" notation - it's not chords, but the tune. Normally, upper case is the lower octave.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:28 PM

Darn and I'd just worked out the perfect inversion of an "R" chord. Think I'll still use it anyway.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM

Make that an "aarr" chord. The Cornish association where they love this song think it's about my strange great uncle Walter.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:47 PM

Joybell,

were you just "R"'sing around?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM

Sorry, Joybell

Ah - Sing us another round...


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: JJ
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 08:34 AM

"Waltzing With Bears" -- a lovely ditty on the plight of those who love the artist, but cannot understand him...


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Subject: Lyr Add: EATEN BY BEARS (parody WALTZING WITH...)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM

WALTZING WITH BEARS(Parody)
Bob Townshend

My Uncle Walter's not right in the head,
"I want to go waltzing with bears" Walter said,
So he went to the zoo and climbed up on a shed,
Jumped in with the bears and he ended up dead.

Eaten by bears, eaten by bears,
Raggy bears, baggy bears, shaggy bears too,
There's nothing on earth anybody could do
And my Uncle Walter, poor Uncle Walter,
My Uncle Walter got eaten by bears.

He went to the zoo in the middle of the night,
Jumped in the bears' cage and turned on the light.
He started to waltz - they started to bite,
And my Uncle Walter got eaten that night.

We begged and we pleaded "Oh, please won't you stay,"
We managed to keep him alive for a day
But the bears all marched in and they took him away,
Now the bears all demand at least one Walt a day.

My Uncle Walter got eaten by bears,
It's a most unbearable state of affairs,
But he left me a fortune so nobody cares
That poor Uncle Walter got eaten by bears.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 06:16 PM

Right, those letters are the tune in solfa. Unfortunately, in the proportional font favored by this establishment, they did not end up over the syllables they belonged to.

Needless to say, in the Matilda stanza, one breaks into the tune of "Waltzing Matilda" for the extra line.


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Dani
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 09:24 PM

Well, I looked before I asked, but I'm feeling like I've asked before: has anyone ever heard the parody, "Waltzing with Boors"? I think someone from FSGW sang it at a Getaway 3 or 4 years ago.

Anyone remember, or am I making it up?

Dani


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY UNCLE TERWILLIGER WALTZES WITH BEARS
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 11:39 AM

As per Joe Offer's request, I humbly submit:

MY UNCLE TERWILLIGER WALTZES WITH BEARS
Words by Theodore Geisel, music by Eugene Poddany

My Uncle Terwilliger waltzes with bears.
It's a terrible, terrible state of affairs.
Every Saturday night, he creeps down our back stairs,
Sneaks out of our house to go waltzing with bears.

Wa-wa-wa, Wa-wa-wa, waltzing with bears,
With polar bears, honey bears, grizzlies too!
And there's nothing at all that our family can do
To stop! my uncle from Wa-wa-wa, waltzing,
To stop him from Wa-wa-wa, waltzing with bears.

2. My Uncle Terwilliger waltzes with bears.
Uncle says it's more fun than just sitting in chairs.
"And I'm not going to stop it," my uncle declares.
"It keeps my mind off of my worries and cares."

Wa-wa-wa, Wa-wa-wa, waltzing with bears,
With shaggy bears, waggy bears, baggy bears too!
And there's nothing at all that our family can do
To stop! my uncle from Wa-wa-wa, waltzing,
To stop him from Wa-wa-wa, waltzing with bears.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 01:33 PM

Up above, Joe F says he heard that the copyright office ruled "Terwilliger" and "Walter" were two different songs. That's hard to believe. Animaterra will snailmail me the tune to "Terwilliger," and I'll post it as soon as I can. Thanks, Animaterra.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: open mike
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:40 PM

/\___/\
       ( *   * )
           @
          U


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 May 04 - 01:29 AM

Thanks to Animaterra, we have a tune for good old Uncle Terwilliger.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Dani
Date: 04 May 04 - 03:54 PM

REALLY?

No one remembers this but me? In my memory it was a lovely young woman who sang it as she played the harp.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 06 - 11:48 PM


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Subject: RE: Waltzing with Bears, again, sorry.......
From: Mo the caller
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 06:05 AM

I never heard it till a few years ago, it is sung every year at the Bedworth festival by Graham Knights. Is it not so popular in the UK, or maybe I'm too busy dancing to know.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,music lover
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 02:01 AM

I never heard a recording of this song, until just today I did a search on the internet, and it didn't sound as good as I expected.
When I first learned the song from friends, about 40 years ago, they were singing it to the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike," and it sounded great. That is a waltz melody, and it fits this song nicely.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: oldhippie
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 06:48 PM

Has anybody recorded Bob Townshend's parody?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: Songster Bob
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 11:21 PM

"My uncle Walter is missing some wares.                           12
He's been that way all his life, mother declares.
It's not that he's violent or falls down the stairs --
It's just that he waltzes, he waltzes with bears."

Interesting! My verse (with changes) has been picked up by others. In fact, the change from what I originally wrote is incorporated in the parody version by Bob Townshend, it seems.

I originally wrote (actually, just sang, one day while shaving):

"My Uncle Walter's not right in the head;
He's been that way all his life, my mother said.
It's not that he's violent or falls down the stairs --
It's just he goes waltzin, waltzing with bears."

At the time I wrote that, the Uncle Terwilliger song hadn't even been noticed by the folk community. And the Uncle Terwilliger lyrics noted above aren't much like Geisel's original, if I recall those lyrics correctly, so Joe's surprise at the copyright decision (two separate songs) is based on a mistaken idea of the original lyric.

Anyway, it's interesting that my parody verse moved into the "tradition."

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 12:25 AM

Hey, "Guest-music lover," I released a version of the song
"Waltzing With Bears" last year that was recorded with my friend Linda King on a CD titled, "For Kids Of All Ages." You'll find it at www.CDBaby.com, where you should be able to hear the whole song. We had a small group of about fifteen children record with us - not professionals, just kids - and they make the song, well, special. It's listed under the title above and/or by the artist,
"Michael William Harrison and Linda King." Give it a listen and enjoy - you will be under no obligation; but, operators will be standing by to take your order. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 11:34 AM

We here in the Wash DC area (where Songster Bob is also) have heard "Waltzing With Bears" for many years...for years before Mudcat, even. With a large folk community, there weren't many good songs that didn't sneak in here. The sone was sung, shared, parodied (Jon Eberhart's "Waltzing with Whales" and verses added, like Bob's.


--------------------------------------------------------------------
slight drift...

It's amazing how verses can escape and get new attributions and credits.....for instance, in the link above on 18 Dec, 03 by Foolestroupe, it takes you to "The Key of 'R'" in the database, and gives ME as the source. Since updating the database is so tedious, that confusion has stayed for several years, although it is thoroughly corrected in a thread. It is well to do a search of the threads whenever sources are needed...chances are someone has explained the facts... (The "Pirate" song..("you can't be a Pirate with all of your parts") is another example)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,Two verses by Grian Solomon
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 06:22 PM

she wrote the verse
in the middle of the night we crept down the stairs
we went to the place where the bears have their lairs
we danced in a bear hug with nary a care
it all feels like flying,can be no denying
and now my pajamas are covered with hair

she also wrote
we asked uncle walter the way that it feels
to be light on your toes and to kick up your heels
he said you will find what the music reveals
when the bears begin teaching us
polkas and reels.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,Jon Erickson
Date: 05 Apr 08 - 06:18 PM

I learned this song at a concert and John Berquist from N. Minnesota sang me the song over a long distance phone call. I have sung it for almost 20 years. I am currently a resident Mountain Man for a wagon train on the prairie of Colorado and the song has become our standard campfire moment. We add a coyotte howl in the chorus after "...Uncle Walter won't do, Houuuu", and actually get coyottes to howl back.

I have written my own verses I will share for your use or enjoyment.

My Verse
We bought Uncle Walter a teddy one day
And with this new partner we hoped he would stay
But the bears took him out to a dance bright and gay,
And while changing partners he gave it away

CHORUS
(This is the traditional last verse.)
Well we begged and we pleaded, "Oh please won't you stay"
(And tried) Managed to keep him at home for a day
But the bears all barged in and they took him away
Now he's dancing with pandas, And he can't understand us
And the bears all demand at least one waltz a day

(But I wanted a better conclusion to the song, so I wrote:)

We then tried to reason, we tried to explain
"But Walter you have neither claws, coat nor mane
And we really think all of this waltzing's insane
But he married a Grizzly, who's hair was all frizzley,
and he left us all dizzy, as he waltzed to the train

My hope is that some day, I will be at a folk festival and hear one of you sing it to me. That's folk music.

Jon Erickson
Brush, Colorado


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,Julie Kirby
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM

Hi you all...I'm a Terwilliger descendent and am happy to hear that my Uncle Waltz's with Bears. All of us Twigs are decended from one Dutchman in NY in the 1600's. My family waltzed out on the Orgon Trail in 1845. There have been 8 generations of us in OR and 13 since we came to New Amsterdam. If you're interested just search Terwilliger Family in America...There are no Twigs in Holland, it's a New World name...But we Waltz on and on and on and on...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: oldhippie
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 07:15 AM

cute verse, Jon.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 08:00 AM

What fun to hear from a real Twig, Julie! Thanks for posting!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Waltzing with Bears
From: GUEST,sandy mackay
Date: 29 Apr 10 - 07:05 PM

I sure love the "Eaten by Bears" parody. It's wonderful to see the growth of this tune.


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