The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3379   Message #1221628
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
08-Jul-04 - 04:11 PM
Thread Name: Lyr/Tune Req: Off to Philadelphia
Subject: Lyr Add: I'M OFF TO PHILADELPHIA (J. P. Skelly)
Words and music J. P. Skelly

I'm off to Philadelphis,
Among the scenes so gay;
The Glory of America
Is there in good array.
The flags are floating in the air,
Among the high and low;
The nation won its freedom
Just a century ago.

I'm off to Philadelphia.
Harrah! Harrah!
To celebrate our liberty.
Harrah! Harrah!
The drums are beating loud,
And banners wave so proud;
I'm off th Philadelphia.
Harrah! Harrah!

It's there you'll see the "pumpkin pies,"
The "apple sass and "greens,"
The famous "Yankee notions,"
And the pans of "pork and beans!"
Each day you'll meet a stranger,
With a bundle in his hand,
Who wants to see the glory
Of this great and happy land.

From all the world the curious folks
Are here the sights to see;
They sing the songs of freedom's land,
The same as you and me.
They shout the praise of Washington,
With all their might and main,
And everywhere a multitude,
Is rushing for the train.

Linked in a post above by Masato.
The song commemorates the U. S. Centennial, and the great Philadelphia exhibition of that year, 1876.

Printed in New York by E. H. Harding, 1876. Sheet music.

The origin of the song and phrase may lie in the song, "I'm Off for Charleston," pub. in New York by Firth Pond and Co., 1850, composed by William Donaldson; a popular minstrel offering. The British Isles versions of "I'm Off to Philadelphia" all seem to be later than these songs.

I'm off for Charleston, early in the morning,
I'm off for Charleston a little while to stay.
Give my respects to ev'ry pretty yaller gal,
I'm for Charleston before de broke ob day.

American Memory, sheet music at Titles

"I'm Off For California" has a title similar to "I'm Off For Charleston," but the California song (from Turner et al. 1858) has the tune of Oh! Susannah, and bears similarity in its verses to that song. It seems unrelated to "I'm Off to Philadelphia."