Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More L'Amour

A few more words on the song from the previous post, known variously as "Viva L'Amour" or "Vive La Compagnie." When I first learned the song at age 9 - and for a few summers after - I thought the phrase was "Viva La Moore," because the Camp Director was (and still is) Dave Moore. Naturally, I thought it was an homage to him.

Here are the lyrics as Camp Ajawah knows them - you can see that while they differ quite a bit from the 1844 version posted earlier, one begat the other:

Let every good fellow now join in this song,

Vive la compagnie!

Success to each other and pass it along,

Vive la compagnie!


Vive la, vive la, vive l'amour

Vive la, vive la, vive l'amour

Vive l'amour, vive l'amour,

Vive la compagnie!

A friend on your left and a friend on your right,

Vive la compagnie!

In love and good fellowship let us unite,

Vive la compagnie!


Now wider and wider our circle expands,

Vive la compagnie!

We sing to our comrades in far away lands,

Vive la compagnie!


That's it. A lively song of comradeship, easy to learn, easy to sing. I will end with an amusing clip of the song being sung:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Viva L'Amour - Song #28

I was looking up the origins of the song we knew as Viva L'Amour at boys' camp and found that it's more often titled Vive La Compagnie. Oddly enough, it appears to be a British song and sung often in America, but no trace of it ever having been French. Well, only the chorus is in that language, so maybe that does make sense.

Here is an old version of the lyrics, quite different from the one most Boy Scouts know:

Published by F. D. Benteen, Baltimore, 1844.

Let Bacchus to Venus libations pour forth, Vive la compagnie!
And let us make use of our time while it lasts. Vive la compagnie!

CHORUS: Vive la, vive la, vive l'amour!
Vive la, vive la, vive l'amour!
Vive l'amour, vive l'amour,
Vive la compagnie!

Let ev'ry old bachelor fill up his glass, Vive la compagnie!
And drink to the health of his favorite lass. Vive la compagnie! CHORUS

Let ev'ry married man drink to his wife, Vive la compagnie!
The friend of his bosom and comfort of life. Vive la compagnie! CHORUS

Come fill up your glasses—I'll give you a toast, Vive la compagnie!
Here's a health to our friend—our kind worthy host. Vive la compagnie! CHORUS

Since all with good humor, I've toasted so free, Vive la compagnie!
I hope it will please you to drink now with me. Vive la compagnie! CHORUS

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Castle

A little follow up to my last post:

1 - The original sheet music is available on UCLA's database of American Popular Music:

2 - The song has its origins in African American vaudeville at the turn of the century. It was part of a show called "In Dahomey" in 1900. As is often the case with summer camp songs, there is terrific information at mudcat.org. Here is the link to a discussion about "My Castle on the Nile."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Castle on the Nile - Song #27

I crosschecked the lists of songs at the links below and found perhaps a dozen that were missing from my long list on the left side of this page. There are a few I did not add, as they have been added to the tradition since my last summer at Camp Ajawah, so I do not feel "qualified" to comment on them. But check out:


You will find links there to register for summer 2010 girls' sessions and boys' sessions for kids from 8-15. Sign up soon!

I added a song that I have not thought of in years -- but was able to pluck from the depths of my gray matter. My Castle On The Nile is the title. A search for video did turn up someone singing it with hand motions similar to those used at Ajawah:

The melody is close enough for rock and roll... or camp music. The lyrics:

I'm gonna build my castle on the Nile,
So I can live in elegant style.
Inlaid diamonds on the floor
A bamboo butler at my door.
I'm gonna marry prince Alaboo,
My blood will change from red to blue,
Entertaining royalty all the while,
In my castle, castle, castle on the river Nile
....the river Nile.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Meatball video

A while back I posted about the song known as One Meatball or The Little Man. Still have not found any performances with the melody we used at camp. Most are the bluesy take that was a hit for the Andrews Sisters. Anyway, I came across this yesterday, a short film from the 1940s that was a precursor to the modern music video:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

McNamara's Band - Song #26

Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all. I thought I had already posted an entry or two on McNamara's band, but it looks like I haven't. So I will go with the Irish theme of today's holiday and write about a song I always liked a lot. At Camp Ajawah -- boys' camp only -- this was a song we never sang so often that it got tiresome, nor was it one that would go forgotten for ages. It's a short song -- also a plus -- and has a fun part where we would divide the Mess Hall into two parts, one singing "da da da da" and the other responding "boom boom!"

Wikipedia has a good summary of the song's origins - it's not an old folk song, it's was composed for commercial purposes and was a hit for Bing Crosby in the 1940's.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

More James James Morrison Morrison

Further research on the subject of my last post confirms that it was indeed Chad Mitchell who set A A Milne's poem "Disobedience" to music. His trio, by the way, was where in 1965 John Denver got his start. He replaced Chad, who left to go solo. Oddly enough, the group dropped "Chad" but not "Mitchell" from its name.

A few years later, there were no original members left in the trio, so the name became Denver, Boise, and Johnson. Michael Johnson later went on to have a few pop hits in the 1980s, including "Bluer than Blue,) which is very much soft rock AC radio cheese - but I always loved it anyway. He sings the catchy melody convincingly:

Denver and the original trio performed a few times together in 1987. The Chad Mitchell trio still performs. Based in Seattle, they played for President Obama in DC last year. They were first to record "Blowing in the Wind," but their label objected to the lyrics, so Peter Paul & Mary's version was released first and the rest is history.

Here is a link to the CMT's website: http://www.chadmitchelltrio.com/

Unfortunately, JJMM is not on iTunes at all, by anyone. So if you want the original, buy through the trio's website. On Lala (a great music site), the only version I found is this one:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What do Winnie the Pooh and The Doors have in common? - Song #25

The answer: James Morrison. You probably know that Jim Morrison was lead singer and songwriter for The Doors, but did you know that Winnie the Pooh's creator, A. A. Milne, wrote a poem titled "James James Morrison Morrison"? Actually, I just learned that's not correct - the title of the poem is "Disobedience." He wrote it in 1924 as part of the book "When We Were Young." It's a fun inversion of the usual mother/child relationship and very British


James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George DuPree
Took great care of his mother though he was only three
James James said to his mother:
"Mother," he said, said he
"You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me.
Don't ever go down to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."

James James Morrison's mother put on her golden gown
James James Morrison's mother, she drove to the end of the town
James James Morrison's mother
She said to herself, said she
"Well, I can get down to the end of the town
And be back in time for tea.
Well, I can get down to the end of the town
And be back in time for tea."
King John put up a notice: "Lost, stolen or strayed,
James James Morrison's mother,
She seems to have been mislaid
Wandering vaguely all about quite of her own accord
She tried to get down to the end of the town--
Forty shillings reward.
She tried to get down to the end of the town--
Forty shillings reward.

James James Morrison Morrison, commonly known as "Jim"
Said to his other relations not to go blaming him
For James James said to his mother
"Mother", he said, said he
"Don't ever go down to the end of the town,
If you don't go down with me.
You must never go down to the end of the town,
If you don't go down with me."

Now James James Morrison's mother,
She hasn't been heard of since,
King John sent down to give his regrets,
And so did the queen and the prince,
King John, somebody told me,
Said to a man he knew,
"If people go down to the end of the town,
Well what can anyone do?
If people go down to the end of the town,
Well what can anyone do?"

I am not sure who set the words to music, but looks like it may be Chad Mitchell, who recorded the song with his folk trio in the early 1960s.