Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sweet Violets - Song #11

My long list of songs from Ajawah on the left side of this page is never finished. There are always songs that come to me as I walk along that I have forgotten to add. Today one such tune popped into my head.

We sung this one at the Girls' Camp (you can see why boys would not be into it). "Sweet Violets" is an exemplar of lyrics that mine humor from setting up expectations for "naughty" rhymes but then subverts this by going in a different direction.

I found a site that has the lyrics as well as a short snippet of a Dinah Shore version of the song:

There are also versions of this song that are more bawdy, many from the UK, many on recordings from the 1940s-1960s. Homer and Jethro, Mitch Miller and Gang, etc.

One version spent two months in the Top 40 in 1951, sung by Dinah Shore.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Springhill Mine Disaster - Song #10

We sang a few mining songs at Ajawah, such as Sixteen Tons. Another is today's topic. It's sung in a minor key, befitting the vivid tale of being trapped underground among the dead and the dying.

Looking up the song I found out that U2 has performed the song in concert. Not available on iTunes, and the clips on YouTube have been retracted due to copyright. Would love to hear it.

A few years ago I was in a bookstore in the Uptown area of Minneapolis and found an excellent book on the remainders table about the disaster. Here is the author's website for her book:

My only disappointment is the book didn't tell much of anything about Caleb Rushton, who "stars" in the lyrics of the song with a dramatic line: "there is no water nor hope nor bread, so we'll live on song and hope instead." Poetic license by the songwriters?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tom Paxton

An entry or two back I mentioned Tom Paxton's great song, "I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound." We only sang one other Paxton song, but it was certainly another favorite for many; we even named the camp sailboat after the title, which is "Rambling Boy."

I can't get the following to play, but here is Tom playing this song with Pete Seeger (tying back to yet another recent post):