The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #124302   Message #2744914
Posted By: Severn
13-Oct-09 - 10:02 AM
Thread Name: Songs to the John Brown/Battle Hymn tune
Subject: RE: Songs to the John·Brown/Battle·Hymn tune
I do some songs to this tune. One is a Civil War song from the Weatern theater of war song that Sandy Paton recorded Frank Proffitt singing (Folkways FA 2360) entitled "Old Abe". In it is the quintessential verse that, plugged into the war of your choice/experience, expresses the sentiments of many a soldier in an occupying army as well as anything I've ever heard:

Old Abe, he freed the colored man, glory hallelu
Old Abe, he freed the colored man, glory hallelu
I wish to my Lord that he would free me too
Then I'd go marching home....

The aforementioned Oscar Brand, in the course of the 2 CD reissue of four of the five military song LPs that he released for Elektra (Collectors' Choice Music CCM 679)covering each service branch (There was a second Air Force LP), sings three songs to that tune, with only the Marines lacking one, "We Ain't Going To Sea No More", "Glory Flying Regulations" and "The Paratrooper's Song". Occaisionally, when I sing "Ain't Going To Sea", I do a repeat on the last chorus while telling the audience to follow closely, usually....

Holy Jesus, what a helluva way to die,
Teacher hit me with a ruler
Jesus puts his money in the First National Bank
For the union makes us strong.

....but with the occaisional substitution as the mood suits me, just to remind folks how many songs they grew up with or sing that use the tune. After I've sung it, I've had several guys later sing me "The Paratrooper's Song", which they managed to learn back in their Boy Scout days, so it's amazing how these songs get spread around.

As befits the folk process, each succeeding generation of kids I've been around all sing "Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Burning Of The School" but with different variations of the words with each kid.