Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Mr. Moon

1 - At Girls' Camp we also sang the same tune with altered lyrics: Mr. Sun (not at campfire, of course, but during the day).

Oh Mister Sun, Sun, great big shining sun
won't you please shine down on me
Oh Mister Sun, Sun, great big shining sun
won't you come from behind that tree

There stands (insert name of current Beach Director) with a whistle in hand
Ready for to blow it if you warm the sand
So Sun, Sun, great big shining sun
won't you please shine down on, talk about your shining
won't you please shine down on me

2 - Bob Coltman at did some fine detective work and found the original version - here is the first part:

Smith & Bowman
Boston: Walter Jacobs, 1903.

VERSE 1. Ole Parson Jones was coming home this morn twixt one and two,
When lots of boys that hangs around has nothing else to do
But interfere with people ev'ry evening when it's dark.
Last night they saw the parson coming. One made this remark:
Says, “Yonder comes the parson. Now, let's try to make him run.
He thinks he's brave. We’ll test his nerve. I'll fiah off this gun.”
And when the parson heard the shot, 'twas then he got right scared
And started running up the road and this the way he prayed:

CHORUS 1: Oh, Mister Moon, Moon, silvery moon, kindly come out and shine.
Do Mister Moon, Moon, come out soon. My home I wants to find.
I'm brave, 'tis true, was never known to run,
But the boys behind me with a Gatling gun.
Oh, Mister Moon, Moon, silvery moon, kindly come out and shine.

Read his full post at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mr. Moon - Song #17

In general, songs at Ajawah are either campfire songs (usually slower songs) and mess hall songs (usually rowdier and often involving physical action). A perfect example of the former is Mr. Moon, often sung as the first song at the evening campfire.

Oh Mr Moon, moon, great big silvery moon, won't you please shine down on me
Oh Mr Moon, moon, great big silvery moon, won't you come from behind that tree
There stands a man with a big shot gun
ready for to shoot you if you start to run
So Mr Moon, moon, won't you please shine down on - talk about your shining -
Please shine down on me

Jim Dixon posted the following on a thread at

"This song is oddly hard to track down. It seems like an old pop song, yet I have failed to find any web site that credits an author, or gives any specific information like a date of publication. There are a lot of variants out there. Some even change it to "Mister Sun." It is a popular kids' song, and often appears on lists of camp songs. One version appears on a Barney video. The Delta Delta Delta sorority has adapted it for their purposes. It is popular with barbershop quartets, and I have seen many ads for songbooks that include it, but no actual lyrics."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp: Song #16

How many songs from Camp Ajawah were written by members of the Songwriting Hall of Fame? Well, at least one:

Written for the Civil War in the words of a POW awaiting rescue, it eventual was given words more appropriate for a summer camp:

Tramp Tramp Tramp the scouts are marching
Under smiling skies above (skies above!)
For the red, the white, the blue
We will stay forever true
For the glory of the country that we love

We used it as one of a handful of songs that served to dismiss campers after meals. The song leader would point to whichever table was singing best, indicating that they could leave the Mess Hall. Then the next best table, and so on, down to the last one. This kept the exit from becoming a riot of kids struggling to be first out the door.

The melody also has some pop music fame; it serves as the melody for the introduction to Ray Stevens' Grammy-winning #1 song from 1970, "Everything is Beautiful." George Root's melody was set to Biblically inspired words by a lyricist he knew named C. Herbert Woolston ("Jesus loves the little children") and became a Sunday school favorite for decades.

Military prison to the hiking path to church - a pretty versatile tune...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Atkins and Idol

First, as a follow up to yesterday's post, here is Nicole Atkin's performing "The Way It Is" on David Letterman:

Second, as long as I am on pop music, here's an idea - why not have one episode's theme for American Idol be "summer camp songs"? They would probably never do it, but it sure could be a fun change of pace.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nicole Atkins

OK, so it would be a stretch to really tie this post to summer camp songs, but I think Nicole Atkins is such an amazing new artist that I just want to get word out. Maybe I can claim that repeated exposure to the same songs at summer camp over many summers influences all campers' musical tastes. Maybe I can say that would incline them to like some of the same pop music I like. Or maybe I can just post a link and let you decide for yourself.

Nicole Atkins - Neptune City

My favorites: The Way It Is; Neptune City.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sixteen Tons: Song #15

I suppose I should have made this song the next one (#16), but why wait? This one was a perennial favorite at boys' camp. With the economy struggling now, the line "another day older and deeper in dept" rings a little too true.

This song originated as one of the biggest pop recordings of the 1950s. Here it is in all its glory:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sara the Whale - Song #14

Thanks to Kendra's comments to a previous post, I have added two songs to my list: Sara the Whale and My Aunt Greet. To be honest, when she brought these songs to mind I realized I was never a big fan of either, so maybe my subconscious was (not) telling me something. But Sara is a fun, silly song. A little digging finds a few variations, including it as part of a Horse Named Bill, which appears in Carl Sandburg's landmark book, American Songs.

And it turns out Burl Ives ("Frosty the Snowman") does a version of it called Whale Song. Two other Ajawah songs appear on this particular album: Mr. Rabbit (see an earlier post) and The Goat (aka Bill Grogan's Goat).

Here is the link to it on iTunes:

Burl Ives - Burl Ives Sings Little White Duck (And Other Children's Favorites)