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What songs did Mudcatters learn in school

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bill\sables 06 Mar 99 - 10:07 AM
Ferrara 06 Mar 99 - 10:15 AM
VAT (inactive) 06 Mar 99 - 10:21 AM
06 Mar 99 - 11:01 AM
Peter Fisher 06 Mar 99 - 01:00 PM
Rick Fielding 06 Mar 99 - 01:33 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Mar 99 - 02:25 PM
Sandy Paton 06 Mar 99 - 04:05 PM
catspaw49 06 Mar 99 - 04:28 PM
Helen 06 Mar 99 - 06:30 PM
Jo Taylor 06 Mar 99 - 06:43 PM
Bruce O. 06 Mar 99 - 07:13 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 06 Mar 99 - 07:15 PM
Elizabeth 06 Mar 99 - 07:26 PM
MAG (inactive) 06 Mar 99 - 07:42 PM
Wotcha 06 Mar 99 - 10:07 PM
Wotcha 06 Mar 99 - 10:11 PM
Rosebrook 07 Mar 99 - 01:15 AM
Margo 07 Mar 99 - 07:29 AM
Barbara Shaw 07 Mar 99 - 09:03 AM
sail 07 Mar 99 - 09:12 AM
Penny 07 Mar 99 - 09:40 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Mar 99 - 10:08 AM
Penny 07 Mar 99 - 10:53 AM
Willie-O 07 Mar 99 - 01:44 PM
betty 07 Mar 99 - 03:57 PM
Penny 07 Mar 99 - 05:33 PM
Pete M 07 Mar 99 - 05:49 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Mar 99 - 06:00 PM
John in Brisbane 07 Mar 99 - 08:19 PM
Ferrara 08 Mar 99 - 08:01 AM
Steve Parkes 08 Mar 99 - 08:09 AM
Alan of Australia 08 Mar 99 - 08:09 AM
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Neil Lowe (inactive) 08 Mar 99 - 09:46 AM
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bill\sables 08 Mar 99 - 01:26 PM
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Penny, again 08 Mar 99 - 03:47 PM
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Subject: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: bill\sables
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 10:07 AM

I was just thinking of the songs I learned in school. I went to a school in the North East of England and we were taught songs like Bobby Shafto,Westering Home,Waters of Tyne and other songs from the B.B.C. radio programme "Singing Together". I was wondering if Australians were taught Waltzing Matilda. Or if Americans were taught songs like Cripple Creek


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Ferrara
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 10:15 AM

Not Cripple Creek, no, not where I came from (Washington, DC). But we learned lots of Stephen Foster and stuff like the Quilting Party, Polly Wolly Doodle, Buffalo Gals, dozens and dozens more. I'll try to think of some others. Also, in what was then called Junior High, I learned The Vacant Chair and The Holy City, among others.

Other favorites of mine: The Vesper Hymn, Tulip (a round), White Coral Bells (ditto). I guess these last are more or less art songs, except for The Vacant Chair.

Last night, in fact, at an Open Sing whose theme was "Marching Along," I sang a set of words we learned in school, set to the tune of the Overture to the operetta "Light Cavalry." I always loved it. Never had an excuse to sing it in public before (since I got out of 8th grade, that is.)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: VAT (inactive)
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 10:21 AM

I grew up in WVA, one would think I learned more mountain music than I did. We were taught the usual, Home on the Range, America the Beautiful and every show tune one can think of. We learned absolutely no Applachaian(sp) music in school.

From my grandfather I learned mountain tunes and things like Cripple Creek. I just naturally gravated toward folk music.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From:
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 11:01 AM

In southern California we learned many of the songs of Stephen Foster (it was permitted back then as he was only a year or two in his grave **grin**), sea shanties, gold rush era songs, and Mexican folkdance and songs...La Raspa, La Cucaracha....We had multiculturalism in the late 1940s and we didn't even know it. What if we really could all get along today?--John (not Jon)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Peter Fisher
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 01:00 PM

I can remember learning This Land is Your Land in school (in Connecticut), but only the first two verses, not the more subversive ones that follow, of course. Also, John Brown's Body, but without being taught what it was about. Incidentally, they apparently learn that one also in parts of Eastern Europe; I can recall hearing a group of school children on a train in Czechoslavakia in 1967 singing, in English, "John Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave."

Oh Susanna, Sweet Betsey from Pike, a lot of Burl Ives (Big Rock Candy Mt., The Blue Tail Fly, Old Dan Tucker, etc.), and yes, Stepehen (cringe) Foster.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 01:33 PM

I remember very little music in the schools I attended in Montreal during the 50s and 60s. Two songs that stand out (not because of quality, just repetition) were Do Ye Ken John Peel, and A capital Ship. Thank God for the "Record Lending Library" where I first heard Seeger, Lemon Jefferson, Jimmie Rodgers etc.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 02:25 PM

I hated music class as a kid. But I did enjoy Oh Susannah and the other Stephen foster Stuff. Loved dumb stuff like The King of the Cannibal Island, too- talk about not PC! Now I teach Sail Away Ladies, Cumberland Gap- but am also expected to teach "multicultural music"- which means a smattering of whatever cultures I can figure out to sing. This year we're concentrating on Turkey, which is more melodic to my Western ears than I had expected!


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 04:05 PM

Pansy Pickren, my second grade teacher in Palatka, Putnam County, Florida (we were deeply into alliteration), taught us "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," but I didn't really understand it until a couple of decades ago. She was big on Stephen Foster,too. We sang "Camptown Races," "Old Black Joe" (with tears in our eyes), "Massa's in the Cold, Cold Ground" -- true gems of antebellum south. Pansy's mother, "Miz" Pickren, taught third grade and expanded our repertoire with "Old Dan Tucker," "Polly-Wolly Doodle," "Li'l Liza Jane," and the like, along with "Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground," and "Just Before the Battle, Mother," the only northern songs that slipped in. "Miz" Pickren was heavily into the Civil War, I guess. She'd probably learned all of those songs as a young girl, when they were brand new. I loved her.

Singing duets with Johnny Sims, the Baptist preacher's son, as we walked to school, I learned the new hits from Gene Autrey (Autry?) like "Gold Mine in the Sky." Johnny also taught me all the dirty words he knew, a vocabulary that held up quite well until I was in my teens.

Palatka was a pretty folksy place.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 04:28 PM

We had another thread that touched on this awhile back. I said then that the LAST place I learned songs was in school. My Mom sang all the time and we sang in the car, the kitchen, around the piano; she was an excellent musician with a wide taste range and a beautiful voice. Although she gave me that same love, sadly the voice was not passed on. In church, at family gatherings, singing was not an activity but a natural part.

School, on the other hand........since that last thread I haven't been able to think of anything that was remotely fun in vocal music classes.As others point out, the teacher makes all the difference. Like many of you, I do school programs. Six years ago, I went to an elementary for the first time, where I did the program by classes. It works for me a lot better because more kids get to participate and are closer to the instruments. I generally talk about the thread of folk music in America and focus on one instrument. At the end of the day with the fifth graders I was already impressed with what this teacher had been doing for "the Cause." A little girl asked me while I was talking about guitars (although dulcimer was the focus) if I knew "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts." Taken aback a bit, I said that I think I remember all the words and yes I can play it. The whole group is acting antsy and said they knew it too....AND...only fifth graders got to sing it. The vocal teacher played piano, I played guitar...and we sang it!!! Turns out that several years before, she had played it for a class and they loved the "mystery" and "whodunit" of the thing so much, she let them try it at the spring concert. Now it's tradition. I love going to this place because the kids are all interested and know songs from Ireland, Italy, Africa, and the Appalachians. They know Seeger and Guthrie and Leadbelly ...and Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow. I now only focus on instrument history and contruction and such at that school. What a great place...and I get to go again next month!!! Moreover, what a wonderful teacher!!!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Helen
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 06:30 PM

Hi all,

The primary (elementary?) school music classes for most schools in Australia in the 60's, and possibly still now, to some extent, were based around radio programs broadcast by the Aust. Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). I heard only a few years ago that we owe a lot to Chris Kempster for the Oz folk content. (Chris's name comes up regularly here at Mudcat whenever Henry Lawson, our famous, long-dead bush poet is mentioned because Chris edited/compiled a comprehensive collection of his poems and the various tunes that have been put to these poems.)

We did have to sing what we considered to be *the usual* songs e.g. Lil Liza Jane, some Stephen Foster songs, Jump Down Turn Around Pick a Bale of Cotton, etc but we were treated to a selection of very nice Oz folk songs like Reedy River, and also some good old British and Celtic songs. (Funnily enough, thinking back on the songs we sang, and loking at the ones mentioned in this thread, we tended to sing a lot of southern American songs rather than northern. Wonder why!!)

It depended heavily on people like Chris having the passion for the music, and for passing it on to us, and also having access to the national broadcasting organisation. In Oz then there was a tendency to denigrate anything Oz-tralian as being of lesser cultural value, and as a consequence the publishing & media industries tended to focus on content from Britain, America and Europe before anything Oz was given consideration.

We probably took the radio broadcasts of Oz music for granted then, but it was not something which would have happened without a lot of determination and persuasion by people like Chris Kempster.

As for Stephen Foster, I don't think that you can beat songs like Hard Times - they were good tunes and soul stirring words, and that includes Old Black Joe, which is perhaps not considered PC (politically correct) these days.

Helen


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 06:43 PM

Yes, we did Singing Together too. (Devon, UK, 1960's). I remember some really unusual songs being included. In the third year of primary school (age 7 - 8) we had an excellent teacher who made us ENJOY our music, and taught us to read music, a thing which I shall ever be thankful for. The teaching at grammar school level (age 11 - 18) was not as inspiring, despite having wonderful facilities, virtually any instrument you cared to play, soundproofed practice rooms, recording studio....the teaching was stiff, formal and no fun at all. I'd discovered folk clubs by then but didn't seem to be able to make the two connect!
Jo


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Bruce O.
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 07:13 PM

Well in primary grades in Nebraska it was cowboy and western things like "Home on the Range" and "Git along little Doggies", and we learned how to make flat pennies (when we could afford it) by putting them on the main line UP tracks, but by 7th grade we'd moved to Washington state, and it was "Acres of Clams" and a version of "The Black Ball Line", and we learned that a clam gun was what we used to call a spade. (Black Ball ran all the ferries on Puget Sound at that time, and some of our verses were parodies, built around the accidents the ferries had. The ferries had a knack for smashing up good docks, and trying to pass through log booms being towed by tugs (tugboats) nearly a hundred yards ahead of the boom.)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 07:15 PM

"Never let school get in the way of your education." (Mark Twain)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Elizabeth
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 07:26 PM

In Australia in the 70's I remember singing such gems as Funiculi Funicula (sp?), Snowy River Roll, The Cookie and the Drummer (always loved that one....you know ...the one eye on the pot and the other up the chimney!!) Waltzing Mathilda didn't feature too largely as a school song, although I'm sure we all knew it. One of my earliest memories is of my father singing Click Go the Shears and Little Boxes....I think I was a bit of a rat when it came to bed time!! Cheers, Elizabeth


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 07:42 PM

We didn't learn *Cripple Creek,* but my middle school music teacher, Mrs. Samuels, taught us *Sourwood Mountain* and lots of other good ones. She was also my choir director. she is one of those people I sent a thank you to when I finally grew up around last year or so. She was great.

The folk boom hit my adolescent culture group in the early 60's with a bang, and we used to sit around somebody's house or the church or the Y or wherever and just sing and play all the hoary chestnuts we do at song circles now (4 strong winds, etc.)

and while I'm thinking of "While on a train goin' West," I'd love to hear from Dave Simpson or Bob Matson or Barbnara Fischer or any of my actual friends from High school in S. Jersey (New that is).

Mary Ann


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Wotcha
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 10:07 PM

The common thread about school and songs is the strength of the teacher and flexibility of the curriculum and prevailing culture.

In my London kindergarten kids learned "Oranges and LEmons"; "Fly Away Peter, Fly Away Paul" (not known by many Americans apparently); "Ring Around the Roses" (which in England differs from the American version preserving the Black Death connotation); and "goosey goosey gander."

In the London "prep" school (7-13 years of age) in the 60s we were exposed to the typical (?) English folk songs of the middle class: "Lincolnshire Poacher;" "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh;" "London's Burning"; "John Peel"; and all these songs were supplanted by the advent of the modern Gilbert and Sullivan of the 70s: Messrs Rice and Webber (Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Once we went to "public" school (or secondary school), if anyone bothered to sing it was at enforced chapel practice which sounded more like rugby song practice (then again, I suppose rugby songs had their place in the culture too, usually with a covert beer). We did have a peculiar (Devon) boarding school tradition called the "house shout" where we'd do anything from "On Ikley Moor B'aht"; "Widdecombe Fair" to "Never Weather Beaten Sail" (Thomas Campion's 1600's song). And another peculiar instituion was the school song -- some 19th Century anthem to the memory of all who had trod the halls before (and maybe why some felt that they were living in another era).

Coming to the States, well it was Jodies and marching songs ... but that is another thread. And my kids, well they are learning sea chanteys, Arlo Guthrie cowboy renditions of cowboy songs, and "Ging Gang gooly" from their dad ... since music is not a hot subject in their grade schools and sadly (like most things here) must be learned out of school.

Cheers, Brian


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Wotcha
Date: 06 Mar 99 - 10:11 PM

The common thread about school and songs is the strength of the teacher and flexibility of the curriculum and prevailing culture.

In my London kindergarten kids learned "Oranges and LEmons"; "Fly Away Peter, Fly Away Paul" (not known by many Americans apparently); "Ring Around the Roses" (which in England differs from the American version preserving the Black Death connotation); and "goosey goosey gander."

In the London "prep" school (7-13 years of age) in the 60s we were exposed to the typical (?) English folk songs of the middle class: "Lincolnshire Poacher;" "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh;" "London's Burning"; "John Peel"; and all these songs were supplanted by the advent of the modern Gilbert and Sullivan of the 70s: Messrs Rice and Webber (Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Once we went to "public" school (or secondary school), if anyone bothered to sing it was at enforced chapel practice which sounded more like rugby song practice (then again, I suppose rugby songs had their place in the culture too, usually with a covert beer). We did have a peculiar (Devon) boarding school tradition called the "house shout" where we'd do anything from "On Ikley Moor B'aht"; "Widdecombe Fair" to "Never Weather Beaten Sail" (Thomas Campion's 1600's song). And another peculiar instituion was the school song -- some 19th Century anthem to the memory of all who had trod the halls before (and maybe why some felt that they were living in another era).

Coming to the States, well it was Jodies and marching songs ... but that is another thread. And my kids, well they are learning sea chanteys, Arlo Guthrie cowboy renditions of cowboy songs, and "Ging Gang gooly" from their dad ... since music is not a hot subject in their grade schools and sadly (like most things here) must be learned out of school.

Cheers, Brian


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Rosebrook
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 01:15 AM

My early school memories of singing start with ones that have already been mentioned i.e. Stephen Foster, as well as Erie Canal, and My Granfather's Clock. From junior high, I remember

Up, up with people.
You meet 'em wherever you go.
Up, up with people.
They're the best kind of folks you know.
If more people were for people all people everywhere
There'd be a lot less people to worry about and a lot more people who cared. And..

I could say life was just a bowl of jello
And appear more intelligent and smart
But I'm stuck like a dope with a thing called hope
And I can't get it out of my heart
Not this heart.

High school brought Bach's Te Deum, which I actually can still remember all the words to! I really enjoyed our choir singing that. College brought P.D.Q. Bach's "My bonnie lass she smelleth", which I also remember the words to, I will admit less nobly.

As a weekly volunteer to my children's grade school classes, I hope I brought memorable songs to the kids. Some of their favorites were Raffi's Down By the Bay, On Top of Spaghetti, There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, Crawdad Hole, and Ruth Pelham's We're All a Family Under One Sky. Last week when waiting in the car to pick up my son from Speech Club, a few kids walked past the car. A girl shouted out "Hi Chris' Mom!" and a boy said, "Hey! You sang songs with us in first grade!" I was so touched.

Songs are like the best gift!

Rose


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Margo
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 07:29 AM

I went to grade school in Michigan where I learned my first shanty which also happened to be a drinking song:

I've been to Harlem, I've been to Dover, I've travelled this wide world all over, over, three times over. Drink what you have to drink and turn the glasses over.

Sailing east, sailing west, sailing over the ocean. You better watch out when the boat begins to rock or you'll lose you're girl in the ocean.

Does anyone know this? Does it have more verses?

Margarita


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 09:03 AM

I knew folksongs like Oh Susanna and I've Been Working on the Railroad, but I don't remember ever learning them in school. Music class in school consisted of unknown, simple tunes intended to torture children who are forced to learn sight-singing. (New York and then Connecticut in the late 50's).

I also remember school assemblies where they showed films intended to inspire civic values, and for some reason this one refrain sticks from my grammar school days:

We have a law that makes us proud
And no law can be better
It gives us all the right we need
The right to write a letter.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: sail
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 09:12 AM

Animaterra, was that "The Cannibal King" with the big nose ring... that you learned? That was one of my favorites.

In Tampa, Fla in the mid 50s on, music was my favorite class at Gorrie Elementary. We sang from a small, dark blue book (wish I could find one), songs like Grandfather's Clock, Lil' Liza Jane, Sweet Betsey from Pike, Polly Wolly, Tenting Tonight, Clemintine, etc., America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, etc.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 09:40 AM

Margarita's song about Harlem and Dover was apparently used as a drinking game by Sussex sheep shearers, who wore hats made stiff and waterproof with tar. The idea was to hold the hat by the brim with a horn beaker of beer or cider (that's British alchohol-rich cider) balanced on the crown, and while everyone else sang the first part, the drinker (victim!) attempted to drink it dry in one swallow, and then, at "turn your glasses over," toss the beaker in the air, upturn the hat and catch the falling beaker in it. Though my father remembers his shepherd grandfather, that isn't where I found this, but we've a lot of books (including the Coppers) about Sussex shepherds, a fashionable subject in the thirties, and it could have been in any one. It did not give any more verses. As the penalty for failing the task was to repeat the attempt, more verses may have been lost in the mists of antiquity and alchohol.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 10:08 AM

Sail, our "King of the Cannibal Island" had the unforgettable refrain: "Hokey pokey winky wong, something magoo gagoo gagoog, handaree changaree chingaree chong, the king of the cannibal island!" Not the same as yours, tho my husband remembers the cannibal king with the big brass ring!
Penny, I never knew your version of "I've been to Harlem"- I learned it as a children's singing game from John Langstaff. BTW, do any of you from the UK over the age of 30 remember Langstaff's BBC music program(me)? Something like, "Let's Make Music". He's an American baritone who had a series with the BBC for a few years in the late 50s, or early 60s.
Allison


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 10:53 AM

I think my younger sisters learned it from a BBC program at school, and came home singing it - we lived in Dover at the time. I think the shepherd's version lacked the sailing east part.

My memories of school music are scant. We had a boring teacher, though the choir was good. I really looked forward to another teacher when I changed schools, but she did, too. Oh heart-sinking moment.

My mother taught us, playing the piano, songs out of the News Chronicle Community Song Book. I think my repertoire depended on the key. My party piece was "The Minstrel Boy," which appealed to me for some wholly unhistorical reason, but which did not appeal to said music teacher.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Willie-O
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 01:44 PM

From my elementary school days in Ottawa in the 60's, I seem to remember what was a pretty much American repertoire--all the Stephen Foster and cowboy songs, with a bit of British ("The Maple Leaf Forever", supposedly a Canadian song but actually a celebration of the British Empire's conquest here) and probably "Farewell to Nova Scotia" and "She's Like The Swallow".

No, it wasn't school that got me into folk music. It was a pile of scratchy old records that my parents had acquired when they lived in Newfoundland before I was born--Alan Mills, Ed McCurdy, Omar Blondahl and the like.

But what did I learn in school that was useful later on? That's easy, just one thing:

TYPING!

I mean it. Should have taken some shop classes--I had no idea that I'd end up needing to know how to build things and fix things.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: betty
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 03:57 PM

Wow! Thanks for the information. I teach elementary music and use many folk songs every day. We are rewritting our curriculium right now and can use ideas from all of you until April 3rd. I'm hoping my students have great memories of their school music years. It is interesting how many of the songs mentioned in your letters we still use. I hate the idea of writting a song to teach a concept.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 05:33 PM

The concept of writing a song to teach a concept is appalling! How can you do it? It wouldn't be any good, would it? Songs have to come from a place where national curriculums (curriculi, curricula?) have no dominion, and their jargon carries no meaning. Though Flanders and Swann had something to say about the laws of thermodynamics, I wouldn't mind betting they didn't do it to order.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Pete M
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 05:49 PM

Penny, where did you live in Dover, and what school did you and your sisters go to? I lived in Lorne road until 1964, my Mum still lives there.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 06:00 PM

Bett, I've helped rewrite many a music ed curriculum! Email me if you want to chat about it: aac@monad.net


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 07 Mar 99 - 08:19 PM

Thanks Helen for pointing out Chris Kempster's valuable contribution to Australia's music education - I certainly wasn't aware of this.

One interesting bit of parochialism though, as I understand it each Australian State had its own musical ed curriculum with different songs being broadcast over the ABC Schools programme. To that end the ABC was forced to install separate radio transmitters to serve Regional towns that were scattered along both sides of the Murray River - which separates New South Wales and Victoria. It would never have done to have New South Welsh kids listening to Victorian music.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Ferrara
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 08:01 AM

Sail, we had a little dark blue book too! Are you sure yours didn't contain "The Vesper Hymn"?


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 08:09 AM

There's a parody of "King of the Cannibal Island" called "Queen of the Wriggle-well Island". Persons of a delicate or nervous disposition should skip the next bit. The chorus goes

Hokey pokey wankey fum,
Clap your hands beneath my bum,
That's the way to make me come!
Cries the Queen of the Wriggle-well Islands,

See how it's made me blush! Fortunately, I don't know the verses.
Still, I know what I've been doing wrong now!

That's not one I learned at schhol, by the way. In my primary school years, 1956-61 or thereabouts, we sang mainly from a book of songs collected by Cecil Sharp (both British and Appalachian). However, that didn't put me off, and I was pleasantly surprised in later years to find that many of the songs had a pre-cleaned-up version. The folk revival was going in in the outside world at the same time, which was more of an influence one me, I think

Steve


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 08:09 AM

G'day,
In the fifties I remember learning English songs: D'ye Ken John Peel, The Lincolnshire Poacher, The Ash Grove (still one of my favourites). There was still a feeling in some circles that we were part of Britain. People who had been born in Oz & never set foot outside Oz talked about "going 'home' to the old country". I think the songs we learned in school reflected this. We learnt very few real Aussie songs, I remember Click Go The Shears, & we must have done Matilda but not much else.

In the thirties my mother learned Oh No John but it must have been a clean version (or she didn't understand the references).

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 08:14 AM

Alan, I bought a copy of Banjo Patterson's poems last week. As a good Pom and folkie, I believe in knowing my enemy! The first thing I looked up, of course, was "Waltzing Matilda". I was shocked to find he'd written the wrong words!

Steve


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: AndyG
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 09:07 AM

Ah! Singing Together, from the age of 5 to about 10 I can remember learning the following songs.

Boney was a Warrior
The Saucy Sailor
A-Roving, (Bowdlerised)
The Maid of Islington (?)
The Mermaid
Bound for the Rio Grand
Hearts of Oak
The British Grenadiers
South Australia
The Nightingale
Lincolnshire Poacher
John Peel
Widdecombe Fair
Oh No John (Bowdlerised)
Spanish Ladies
Plus, I'm sure, many rounds and shanties that I can't remember.

(Singing Together was probably the most successful covert action the Folk Revival organised ;-)

AndyG


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 09:23 AM

At my Uncle Jack's house in Brooklyn about 1952 I roomed with my first cousin and classmate, Francis, who was the class clown at that time and has since become a real estate moghul and a confidant of U.S. Senators, etc. [Thank God he still can't sing or I'd never be able to sleep at night!] It was in that room I first saw the words "folk song." They were written on the label of a candy apple red 78rpm recording of "Billy Boy." Although we had folk songs all around us, I don't think anyone in the house knew what a folk song was. My mother still doesn't! Years later, I came across an outstanding version of "Billy Boy" (Lord Randal) from Co. Kerry where Uncle Jack and my mother were born:

"Where have you been all the day, my boy Tommy O?
Where have you been all the day, my bonnie blue-eyed Tom?"
"I've been rolling in the hay with a lassie young and gay
Wasn't she the fine one's lately left her mammy O?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"What age is this young thing, my boy Tommy O?
What age is this young thing, my bonnie blue-eyed Tom?"
"Twice two, twice four, twice seven and eleven more
Wasn't she the fine one's lately left her mammy O?"

Mostly church music (Gregorian chant to hymns) in choirs good, great and awful at various schools as we moved around. In the early 1960s at boarding school in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, during the day we sang some Child Ballads, other folk songs and "The Vicar of Bray." At night we had Buddy Holly and the Crickets, vintage Elvis ("Blue Moon of Kentucky"), the Everlys ("Hey, Doll Baby") and Joe Brown and the Bruvvers ("Henry the VIII").


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Neil Lowe (inactive)
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 09:46 AM

Some of these may not strictly qualify as "folk songs," depending on your definition: "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Tom Dooley," "Oh, Susanna," "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain (When She Comes)," "Greensleeves," are the ones that come most readily to mind.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: SteveF (inactive)
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 10:48 AM

To Margarita and Penny -

I too learned "Turn the Glasses Over" in grade school in New York City. We sang "Drink all the lemonade and turn the glasses over." The song was used as accompaniment for a group dance in which the boys formed an outer circle and the girls an inner circle. We changed partners after each verse. And there was only that one damn verse. I have never heard the song again until today, on the Mudcat forum, although it does turn up in the DT database as [I've been to Harlem.] It is always nice to know one is not alone.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Roger the Zimmer
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 11:40 AM

In my first school in Nechells ,Birmingham,UK in late 1940s we had a Welsh class teacher who taught us the Ash Grove, All through the Night and Land of my Fathers (in English)but also Barb'ra Allen -that always brought tears to my eyes (only Ol' Shep does it nowadays)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: bill\sables
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 01:26 PM

It's great to see so many people remembering old school songs. My music teacher in junior school had a lot of facial hair which I thought at the time was unusual, especially as she was a woman , I Think, But being from the North East of England we all spoke in the "Geordie" accent and so sang songs using the same dialect. The teacher spent most of her time trying knock this nasty habit out of our voices and even the "Geordie" songs like "Water Of Tyne" had to be sung in B.B.C, (British Broadcasting Coperation) english. There were two types of songs learned in my school, the official ones with the teacher and the unofficial ones learned behind the bike shed, I'm not sure if it means anything, but I can only remember the unofficial ones. I havn't heard any comments from Irish mudcatters yet?


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 03:38 PM

Last night, after I'd put out the lights and curled up, my brain volunteered that the shearers version of "I've been to Harlem" actually went "I've been to Portsmouth, I've been to Dover," which is a bit more limited but more sensible for a land-based occupation. Since the Sussex sheep area ran from the west end of the South Downs to the Romney Marshes, Dover was the more exotic end of the range. But at least it gives a variation on that one darned verse.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 03:42 PM

From what I now hear the Year Six classes warbling, Singing Together has sold out to other formsl, Bugsy Malone etc. Though they do seem to introduce the children to the songs of the sixties, which makes a change from Spice Girls.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Penny, again
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 03:47 PM

Pete M., we lived in Castle Avenue, and my sisters went first to Charlton, and then to the Girls' Grammar, with Physics excursions up to the Boys'. I didn't go to school there, having had primary education in a private place in Folkestone, and secondary at Folkestone Tech, but I taught at Aycliffe and Barton Road back in the sixties.


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 05:28 PM

I remember Helen Schneyer singing "I've been to London, I've been to Dover," etc. Thought I had it on one of her recordings, but 'tain't there!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Don Meixner
Date: 08 Mar 99 - 10:45 PM

I learned nearly no songs in school as part of the education process. In 1959 we had a latin teacher, note I said Latin and not latino, who came in played accordion and lead us in songs like "Old Mac Donald" and "Pop Goes The Weasle". I learned the real corpus of my family's oral tradition in the kitchen or on fishing trips. My strict Baptist Mother would teach me songs like Buffalo Gals and show us how to dance the Charleston. My whiskey drinking Dad would take us fishing and we would have to sing "The Old Rugged Cross". Dad's impressive baritone to my brother's and my boy sopranos. The Everlys we wasn't.

At some point we got this funny smelling music teacher who blow this silly whistle and have us sing. I had never heard a pitch pipe before and saw no point in it. If I wanted to sing I'd just do it. This pinhead told my parents I had no concept of pitch and I would never be able to sing so I shouldn't bother trying anymore. This may explain why he is now selling suits and I sing when ever I feel the urge, and sometimes I even get paid for it.

Don


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 12:10 AM

Grade school in Chicago in the l940s was less than musically enlightening. In the 8th Grade Chorus I was told to---"Just move your lips--don't you dare sing."

Took me ages to get the confidence to do it in public--but when I did...

Art


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 01:04 AM

I think it was in 1961 (but not sure, I am sure I was in the 6th grade though) our nun took it upon herself to teach us third world city kids a thing or two about music. She put on some music from different countries (ones we couldn't understand) & asked us if we could tell the mood by the music, then she put on "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" & "Blowing in the Wind" & she made us learn the chorus & sing along with Bob. They transfered her to from Boston to NYC (I hope the Village, she was probably the only nun that cared about us) & it took another 3 years before I went near folk music again. Barry


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 03:32 AM

I've just remembered that we used to sing "I've been to Haarlem..." - with two As. (I was a bright kid, I could read when I was ten!) It's in the Netherlands, which is a lot easier to get to from here. I always used to wonder why the song assumed that passengers would have a daughter along; I hadn't found out about girls in that sense then (I wasn't that bright!).

Steve


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From: BeesWing
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 09:48 AM

I recall practising a musical for MONTHS on end with our harried music teacher Miss Dubois( when she lost control of the class,she usually imprisoned the main offender in the cavity under her upright piano where she could keep an eye on him - it was always a him!) This led to even more disruption especially on the days Miss Dubois wore a short skirt. Anyway, the musical was based on Stevenson"s "KIDNAPPED" We laboured over "...watch Long John, His finger he's crooking, Sneak up behind him when no one is looking..." all in unison, most of the school year only to learn sometime in April that the performance would have to be cancelled. Poor Miss Dubois had suffered a nervous breakdown and the class was left to finish the year off quietly with Miss Dubois' brother...Mr. Dubois, the gym teacher*** ( names have been changed to protect the not so innocent)


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Subject: RE: What did Mudcatters learn in school
From:
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 10:21 PM

Hey, Art, your anecdote about being told not to sing in the eigth grade brought back a memory of Mrs. Miller's 6th grade class. We were in our music period; my best friend, Willard, was in the cloakroom for some infraction or other (he was there quite often as I recall). Mrs. M. sounded her note on the pitch-pipe, and the class began singing. Mrs. Miller rapped the desk and complained that someone was singing off key; from his private domain Willard yelled, "It's John, he's always offkey." Generally, and to this day, that was true...but it was a bum rap because I was not singing that day. Thanks for triggering that memory, Art; and Willard, where are you today?


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