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Origins: What If the Russians Don't Come? (Hoose)

GUEST 21 Apr 17 - 02:50 PM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 17 - 08:13 PM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 17 - 05:17 PM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 17 - 05:11 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: What If the Russians Don't Come? (Hoose)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 02:50 PM

Phil Hoose went on to be the author of eleven books, one of which, about Claudette Colvin, won the National Book Award. He indeed wrote the song "what if the Russians Don't come, but he did not record it. Charlie King sang it on Feelings of Fire. And yes, it's time to pull it out of the grave. It's a terrific song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What If the Russians Don't Come? (Hoose)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 08:13 PM

Anybody know anything about the songwriter, Phillip Hoose? I found a Wikipedia article on an author named Phillip M. Hoose who now lives in Maine, and another article said he had lived in St. Paul in the 1980s. Same guy?

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD Version: What If the Russians Don't Come?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 05:17 PM

Henry's mysongbook.de has this Scottish version.

WHAT IF THE RUSSIANS DON'T COME?
(Philip Hoos)

Glasgow has a plan for its civil defence
So we'd know where to go when things get tense
My wife sewed directions in my underclothes
I know what to do when the big whistle blows
We held a rehearsal last Saturday night
And all things considered Glasgow did all right
Except for that time when a bus tried to pass
It took us three hours to clean up the glass

But-
What if the Russians don't come
What if they like where they're from
What if they're not in the mood to invade
What if they're tired, or drunk, or afraid
What would we do if their generals just said, this is dumb
What if the Russians don't come

I've heard about Russians since I was a tyke
So here's what I know about what they are like
They don't believe in God, they don't have no fun
They're brainwashed, they're dull, and they all weigh a ton
And in the Olympics whenever we meet
Their women are men, and their judges all cheat
Maybe you shouldn't rely just on me
I've not seen a Russian except on TV

What if the Russians have lives
What if their husbands have wives
Who, if they come home late from work on the bus
They have to make dinner for children who fuss
They may be too tired to come put us under their thumb
What if the Russians don't come

Our leaders said we're behind in the race
We needed those missiles to keep up the pace
If we don't stay up there lap after lap
The Russians will tumble us right off the map
Well, I'm getting slow and sometimes I forget
What I've got against all these folks I ain't met
I can't understand that they'd want World War Three
Could it be they are wondering the same about me

What if the Russians are scared
What if they're quite unprepared
What if poor Ivan's as worried as I am
Worried about Maggie and old Uncle Sam
Why don't we stop before one of us does something dumb
What if the Russians don't come

(as sung by Iain MacKintosh)


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Subject: Origins: What If the Russians Don't Come? (Hoose)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 05:11 PM

I'm working on a database to supplement and explain the Rise Up Singing Songbook. One of the more obscure songs in the book is this one. What with Trump not liking the Russians this week, maybe it's time to resurrect it.

WHAT IF THE RUSSIANS DON'T COME?
(Philip Hoose)

My town has a plan for its civil defense.
We’ll all take Route 70 when it gets tense.
My wife sewed directions in my underclothes,
So I’ll know where to run when the big whistle blows.

We had a rehearsal last Saturday night
And all things considered our town did all right,
Except on the ramp when that truck tried to pass
And it took us three hours to clean up the glass.

CHORUS:
What if the Russians don’t come?
What if they like where they’re from?
What if they’re not in the mood to invade?
What if they’re tired or drunk or afraid?
What would we do if their gen’rals just said, “This is dumb.”
What if the Russians don’t come?

I’ve learned about Russians since I was a tyke
And here’s what I know about what they are like
They don’t believe in God and they never have fun
They’re brain—washed and dull and they all weigh a ton

And in the Olympics whenever we meet
Their women are men and their judges all cheat
But maybe you shouldn’t rely just on me
‘Cause I’ve not seen a Russian except on TV

2nd CHORUS:
What if the Russians have lives?
What if they’re husbands and wives?
If they come home late from work on the bus,
And have to fix dinner for children that fuss,
They might be too tired to come put us under their thumb
What if the Russians don’t come?

The president says we’re behind in the race,
And we need his new missile just to keep pace.
If we don’t stay up with them lap after lap,
The Russians will come blow us right off the map.

Well I may be dumb, but sometimes I forget
What I’ve got against all these folks I ain’t met
I can’t figure out why they want World War III
Could it be they’re wonderin’ the same about me?

3rd CHORUS
What if the Russians are scared?
What if they’re all unprepared?
Maybe that Ivan's as tired as I am?
Tired of worrying about Uncle Sam?
Why don't we stop before one of us does something dumb?
What if the Russians don't come?


©1983 Phillip M. Hoose.

Notes: Phil Hoose, from St. Paul, Minnesota, asks the musical question "What If the Russians Don't Come?" in the following song about East-West Relations. It's available on cassette which also features that soon-to-be country standard "Tonight I Missed Miller Time Again" from Precious Pie Music, 1652 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul MN 55104 (1983 address)

Source: Sing Out! Magazine, Volume 30, Number 4, Oct-Nov-Dec 1984, pp. 68-69

Charlie King recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlRFE9GFiPQ

I'm too lazy to do it now, but I'll transcribe a MIDI on request. joe@mudcat.org


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