Monday, April 28, 2008

Taps - Song #13

I don't believe the number 13 is unlucky, but since some people do I thought I would post "Taps" as my 13th song. Virtually everyone is familiar with it, even if he or she never attended summer camp:

At Camp Ajawah, the bugler would play this every night at 10 pm to signal lights out, no more talking, everyone should go to sleep. Hearing it echo across Lake Linwood and through the pines was a lovely way to end the day.

At Girls' Camp, it was also part of the medley of songs that ended each evening's campfire, where we all held hands and sung. One camper famously misconstrued the following lyrics:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

She thought the song began "Dave is done..." because that was (and is) the Camp Director's first name. It works.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

U2's version of "Springhill Mine Disaster"

Since I am in Toronto tonight I was thinking of the Canadian songs we sing at camp. One I blogged about last month is the Springhill Mine Disaster. At the time, the clip of U2 performing this song was unavailable. Lo and behold, it is now up and running. Great stuff. Check it out at:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Camp Songs That Annoy

In a comment to my previous post, Kendra reminds me of two songs we sang at Girls' Camp and not at Boys'. I also thought of a couple others and added them as well.

I will have to confess - not all camp songs are beloved. Most people have one or two - or more - that just rubs them the wrong way. Perhaps through overuse; or inane lyrics; or melodic melody. One man's meat is another man's poison.

One song that I never cared for is one I just added: The Bubblegum Song. It combines inane lyrics and melodic monotony. Just looking at the always useful forums at leads to some interesting origins for this one, though. One discussion mentions its use as a Bazooka Bubblegum jingle year ago; and another traces it back to Dean Martin to George Gershwin to Latin American marches from a century ago and longer:

Who knew?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mr Rabbit - Song #12

Where does the time go? I have not posted for a while, but will try to get back on a more regular basis. Now, let me talk about a simple song that our Camp Director, Dave, taught us one summer. I believe it was something they used to sing at Ajawah a while back but had long disappeared from the "playlist" before Dave revived it.

While putting together the Ajawah iMix (link on the left side of this page), I found a raucous version by Paul Westerberg of Replacements fame. Since he grew up in St. Louis Park, a Twin Cities suburb which many campers have called home, I wonder if he learned it from someone who went to Ajawah. Or was it a more prevalent song in various youth groups, families, etc?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another Camp's Song

My friend Dan recently emailed me about his experiences at a Boy Scout Camp in Virginia. Here is the song unique to their camp:

" Our particular camp was Camp Bowman. Theme song was "The Yellow Rope of Bowman" sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas". It spoke of the yellow rope we used for everything onsite. Whenever I hear Yellow Rose, which isn't often, I always remember the song and those days at camp.

Oh, the yellow rope of Bowman
Is good enough for me.
And when it's very dark out
The rope you'll always see.
And when you tie a square knot
Your work will always shine.
The yellow rope of Bowman
Will melt in turpentine."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Source of this blog's title

Many summer camps have their own song, consisting of unique lyrics set to a familiar tune. We have one at Camp Ajawah. I borrowed the first three words of the lyrics for the title of this blog, as it encapsulates exactly what this is all about - people singing together for pleasure rather than for performance.

So, to the tune of the Army's official song (, "The Army Goes Rolling Along," here is the Ajawah Rouser:

When we sing, when we shout
We all know what we're about
And we'll sing you a chorus or two (three, four)
You can bet we have the snap
that will put us on the map
There no reason why we should feel blue

For it's hi hi hee, Camp Ajawah for me
Shout out your praises loud and strong (Ajawah!)
With all our pep
We'll make the others step
And we'll march at the head of the throng (keep on marching!)
And we'll march at the head of the throng

On the land, in the lake
Everywhere we take the cake
In whatever we're doing we shine (shine, shine)
If you want to shine with us
fall in line without a fuss
pull your belt in and straighten your spine


We're a bunch of husky lads
We'll be better than our dads
and our mothers will feel mighty proud (proud, proud)
We don't brag, we don't boast
We're just telling you the truth
Come on fellows, sing this chorus loud


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another commercial use of a camp song

I worked at Discovery Networks for many years and was recently sent this link to a promo spot for Discovery Channel's new branding campaign:

The new tag line is awful: "The World is Just Awesome." Like, totally, dude.

But the use of the song variously known as "I Love the Mountains," "I Love the Flowers," or "Boom-de-a-da" (spelled numerous ways) as the basis for what the experts sing in this spot amused me. Nothing fantastic, but mildly funny - and I am always happy to keep songs like this in the public's ears...