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Robert Schmertz - songs and information?

DigiTrad:
MONONGAHELA SAL
QUEEN ANNE FRONT


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Queen Anne Front (Robert Schmertz) (17)
Lyr Req: You Should Read Your Gideon Bible (15)
Lyr Req/Add: Rapidan River / Never Touch Water (13)
Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament (from Burl Ives) (17)
Lyr/Tune Req: Monongahela Sal (Robert Schmertz) (29)


GUEST 20 Aug 08 - 03:08 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 08 - 03:17 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 08 - 03:36 PM
georgeward 21 Aug 08 - 01:42 AM
Art Thieme 21 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Burgh 11 Dec 09 - 03:15 PM
autoharper 12 Dec 09 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,aschmertz 14 Jan 10 - 06:34 PM
autoharper 14 Jan 10 - 08:59 PM
Joe Offer 14 Jan 10 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,hedgerow 29 Apr 10 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,cjriley42 13 Oct 10 - 03:03 PM
Joe Offer 13 Oct 10 - 06:11 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Oct 10 - 08:29 PM
LadyJean 14 Oct 10 - 08:00 PM
LadyJean 15 Oct 10 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Bill Kerr 17 Jul 11 - 08:59 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jul 11 - 10:27 PM
GUEST 04 Apr 12 - 09:40 PM
GUEST 23 Nov 12 - 07:47 PM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 12 - 07:35 PM
LadyJean 04 Dec 12 - 08:28 PM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 16 - 03:10 AM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 16 - 05:22 AM
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Joe Offer 07 Dec 16 - 05:29 AM
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Subject: RE: Old Allegheny and Monongahela
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 03:08 PM

does anyone know if the (two, to my knowledge) robert schmertz albums have been re-released? i have an LP of the second, but not the first.

paul


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Subject: RE: Old Allegheny and Monongahela
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 03:17 PM

Hi, Paul - I just came across one of them yesterday, when I was looking for a recording of "Never Touch Water," which was written by Schmertz. Smithsonian/Folkways has Sing Oh! The City Oh!: Songs of Early Pittsburgh. If you prefer MP3, you can download at many of the usual sources - most cheaply at emusic.com. You can download the liner notes for free at Smithsonian Global Sound.

What's the name of the second album, and what label was it on? Did it have "Never Touch Water"?

-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Req: Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM

Another thread (click) made mention of Robert Schmertz, who apparently came from Pittsburgh and wrote a number of good songs in the traditional style. One I saw mention of was "Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord." Can anybody post lyrics to Schmertz songs other than those linked above, and tell us more about Schmertz?
-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: Noah Found Grace (Robt. Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 03:36 PM

Well, I searched, I really did - but this came up only the third time I looked.
    Thread #3715   Message #577513
    Posted By: masato sakurai
    22-Oct-01 - 03:28 PM
    Thread Name: Lyr Req: 'Old Man Noah'
    Subject: Lyr Add: NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD

    This seems to be the one.

    NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD
    (Words and Music by Robert Schmertz, 1951)

    The Lord looked down from His window in the sky,
    Said, "I created man but I don't remember why.
    Nothing but fighting since creation day.
    I'll send a little water and wash 'em all away."
    The Lord came down to look around a spell,
    And there was Mister Noah behaving mighty well,
    And that is the reason, the Scriptures record,
    That Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

    (Chorus)
    Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,
    Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,
    Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,
    And he landed high and dry.

    The Lord said, "Noah, there's gonna be a flood.
    There's gonna be some water and there's gonna be some mud.
    So take off your hat, Noah. Take off your coat.
    Get Ham, Shem, and Japheth and build yourself a boat."
    Noah said, "Lord, I don't believe I could."
    The Lord said, "Noah, get some sturdy gopher wood.
    Never know what you can do till you try.
    Build it fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high."

    Noah said, "There she is. There she is, Lord."
    The Lord said, "Noah, it's time to get aboard.
    Take of each creature a he and a she.
    And, of course, Missus Noah and your whole family."
    Noah said, "Lord, it's getting mighty dark."
    The Lord said, "Noah, get these creatures on the ark."
    Noah said, "Lord, it's beginning to pour."
    The Lord said, "Noah, hurry up and shut the door."

    The ark rose up on the bosom of the deep,
    And after forty days, Mister Noah took a peek,
    Said, "We're not moving, Lord. Where are we at?"
    The Lord said, "You're sitting right on Mount Ararat."
    Noah said, "Lord, it's getting mighty dry."
    The Lord said, "Noah, see my rainbow in the sky.
    Take all your creatures and people the earth.
    But be sure you aren't more trouble than you're worth."

    ~Masato


    You'll find a great YouTube recording of this song here (click). A note posted below the video says this:
      Robert Schmertz - he was an architect and professor in Pittsburgh who died in '75. He wrote a lot of folksongs that were picked up by Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Statler Brothers and more. I think the Oak Ridge Boys' rendition might be the best-known of the interpretations. (it appears that the note was posted by a grandson of Schmertz)


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: georgeward
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 01:42 AM

To the list of Schmertz's songs, add the one that begins "In 1763 George Washington came to th Ohio". Title might be "The Forks of the Ohio" or something similar.

I believe "The Locktender's Lament" that Burl Ives recorded is Schmertz also. Sure sounds like him. [ "Oh, I'm the locktender at lock number ten / I whistle and sing every now and again."]

There's more about Bob Schmertz online, though not enough. And some links in the Queen Anne Front thread linked at the head of this one.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM

Be sure to check Smithsonian Folkways Records for CDs of albums by Vivien Richman---another fine folksinger and a keeper of the songs of Robert Schmertz's Pittsburgh.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST,Burgh
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 03:15 PM

The Pittsburgh based band the NewLanders (www.newlanders.com) have recorded Monongahela Sal on their record "Where the Allegheny Flows".


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: autoharper
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 10:43 AM

I still perform Bob's "Queen Anne Front", and did so in Pittsburgh in July. Has anyone identified the actual location of the house in this song which was "over on the old north side" built on the hill that "sloped down to the river from River Avenue" where later "wooden shacks across the tracks spoiled great-grandma's lovely view"?


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST,aschmertz
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 06:34 PM

My understanding from family stories (I'm a granddaughter) is that there was no singular house that he wrote about - it was just a fable about urban decay. Our family was in Squirrel Hill, not in the North Side,so there was nothing autobiographical about it.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: autoharper
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 08:59 PM

Dear Ms. Schmertz,
Thanks a million for posting here.
-Adam Miller


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 09:57 PM

My octogenarian folkie friend, Mrs. Lev, just loves "Never Touch Water". She had us all singing it last Friday night.
I'd sure like to know more about Robert Schmertz. Seems like he must have been a very creative person.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST,hedgerow
Date: 29 Apr 10 - 08:45 PM

Hi, I found this forum via google. Does anyone know if Mr. Schmertz collaborated with Morton Rosenthal ? Also did he write a waltz "Nile Song" ?
I tried submiting a question to the Robert Schmertz website to no avail !
Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks!


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST,cjriley42
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 03:03 PM

I was an architecture student at Carnegie Tech (Carnegie Mellon) when Bob still taught. An incredible character who loved to let the ash grow very long on the cigarette dangling from his ample lip as he reviewed a drawing. The but bobbed up and down until it inevitably dropped onto the drawing. Then, to the student's dismay, casually brushed the ashes across the drawing, up and over the top.

He was in the first graduating class from the school of architecture and wrote many of CIT's songs: Fight for the Glory of Carnegie and,I believe, the alma mater.

I still have a very warped, signed copy of "Songs for Architects and Their Girlfriends" that I treasure.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:11 PM

CJ, I really appreciated your post, but now I'll spend the rest of my life looking for a copy of Songs for Architects and Their Girlfriends. Luckily, I found a copy of it online, for all to see.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 08:29 PM

Joe, many thanx for discovering the site. It's a treasure.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: LadyJean
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 08:00 PM

One of his daughters in law sold me my house. Try the Pittsburgh History Center. They will, certainly, have his songbook and may have something on record. Also try Calliope House, the Pittsburgh folk music society. They may be able to help. Or call directory assistance and ask for Schmertz in Pittsburgh. There aren't that many of them. The daughter in law works for Howard Hanna. The real estate situation being what it is, she may have some time on her hands.

By the way, she's a great real estate lady. She kept the new kitten for three days while I moved, and it isn't her fault that my house totaly sucks.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: LadyJean
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 12:23 AM

Sorry, I meant the Heinz History Center. I think they have the book and they may have recordings.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST,Bill Kerr
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:59 PM

I posted this in two places hoping someone might find it useful:

I was cleaning up some of my deceased father's things and found a copy of Bob Schmertz album, Ladies Beware of an Architect. I enjoyed it as a kid but now would like to get it to someone who'd appreciate it and pass on the music. If you'd like it, just email me at bkerr(at)dom(dot)edu and I'll send it your way.
Bill Kerr


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 10:27 PM

Thanks, Bill.
I sent you an e-mail requesting the LP.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 09:40 PM

I grew up listening to all the old songs (Mom put on at my nap time as a kid)..Heard Bob and Vivian et al in concert...My brother recorded/converted our old album to tape...somewhere....Locktender is Schmertz all the way...and don't forget the 'bonnie wee squirrel who lives in a tree'!


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 12 - 07:47 PM

I have a lovely copy of A PICTURE BOOK OF SONGS & BALLADS, with pages and transcriptions beautifully enhanced by Robert Schmertz' illustrations. Printed 1976, a jovial colorful compendium of Schmertz favorites prefaced by a brief biography and photo of this talented musician/artist. This book is offered for sale and all details will be supplied to interested party(ies).

Thank you, Judy in New York State


    Book purchased by Joe Offer. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 07:35 PM

There used to be a terrific Website on Robert Schmertz, www.robertschmertz.com. It was operated by Ann Shear, who describes herself as "Designer, Webmaster, and Supergroupie." The Website is gone, and appears to be available only at archive.org.

I think I'll copy and post some of the Website, to make sure it doesn't get lost. Ann, if you come across this, I hope you don't mind. If it's a problem, contact me, joe@mudcat.org


    Introduction

    I was raised on the songs of Robert Watson Schmertz. Many others of my baby boomer generation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania can say the same. Bob cut a wide swath through the town, collecting friends and fellow artists wherever he went.

    In the early 1950's my father was head of the architecture department at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and a colleague of Bob Schmertz. Our family lived in faculty housing across Forbes Avenue from the C.I.T. campus and our first floor apartment was a gathering place for fellow professors at the end of many a day. Bob never went anywhere without his banjo and when he stopped in to visit my parents my brothers and I always waylaid him in the house's large common vestibule. He would sit with us on the long oak bench and begin to play his repertoire of children's songs. The banjo echoed up the stairwell and the two Pekruhn kids on the second floor (another architect family) would run down to join the chorus until the grown-ups dragged Bob away with them for martinis, cigarettes, and boring faculty politics.

    The annual Schmertz Christmas parties were legendary. Bob on the banjo, his own family members, fellow musicians and friends joined the inevitable musical extravaganza. And all the kids came along with their parents to be underfoot and under piano and generally adding to the raucous atmosphere.

    I have no doubt that those other Schmertz-inoculated boomer babies did the same thing as my brothers and I when we went out into the world; we carried with us cassettes copied from our parents' overplayed Schmertz albums, scratchy pops and clicks with the addition of the tape recorder's hiss. I presume that those fellow Schmertz-o-holics have passed along Bob's music to their own children, singing Angus MacFergus and Quack Quack Paddle-Oh as bedtime lullabies.

    The topics of Bob's songs and poems encompass his varied passions: architecture, history, river lore, religious subjects, creatures great and small … all seen through his unique prism reflecting the comedy and tragedy of the human condition.

    Now that we are in the 21st century and a fifth generation is appearing on the horizon, it seems a shame that only the original group of people who bought his albums and Songbook can enjoy and pass along Bob Schmertz's joy of music and his talent with words.

    Ann Shear
    Designer, Webmaster, and Supergroupie


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 08:28 PM

Hello Bill Kerr. Marian Kerr was a classmate of mine at Ellis, and a friend.

Somebody put the lyrics to Schmertz's song about the Ohio Company on the mudcat. It's a beautiful song.


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Subject: ADD: Lord, Lord I got some singing to do(Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 03:10 AM


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:22 AM

The robertschmertzcom Website is no longer online, but I found an archive of the Website at Archive.org. I think I'd better post the songs from that Website.

Songs

  1   Monongahela Sal

  2   Lock Number Ten

  3   Lorenzo Il Magnifico

  4   The Palazzo Massimi

  5   Hyacinth Harry

  6   Nellie of Meadow Farm

  7   The Rambling River Line

  8   José (Hozay) the Horse

  9   The Forks of the Ohio

10   Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee

11   Christmas Song for Gretchen

12   The Lonely Grenadier

13   Cousin Athalia

14   Mon Petit Lapin

15   Never Touch Water

16   The Knight of Small Renown

17   Lord, Lord, I've Got Some Singing To Do!

18   Gideon Bible

19   My Baby Eskimo

20   Forty-Nine Angels

21   The Queen Anne Front (and the Mary Ann Behind)


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Subject: ADD: Monongahela Sal (Robt. Schmertz)^^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:24 AM

I happened to participate in the experience that led to “Monongahela Sal.” Bob and I traveled from Pittsburgh to the American Institute of Architects convention at Cincinnati on the steamer “Jason,” the last and most powerful of the stern-wheelers. The social life of these towboats centers in the pilot house where, for four days, we listened to the Captain and crew gossip of river affairs. Reference was frequently made to various river pilots, their exploits, bizarre habits and dress. It was a painful wrench to leave the boat and its fascinating crew to sit on hard convention seats in a city hotel. The thought of the legendary river personalities and the charm of those few days on the Ohio simmered in Bob’s mind to finally become this melodramatic ditty.

Charles M. Stotz 1949

MONONGAHELA SAL
(Robert Schmertz)

She was born in an old Monessen Alley
And her ma and her pa, they called her “Sal”.
She grew up to be the pride of the Valley,
A typical Monongahela gal.

She wandered one day by the river
Where she watched the “Jason” steaming by,
And her heart gave a leap and a quiver
When she caught the handsome pilot’s roving eye.

His name, so they say, was Mote Stanley
And he wore a fancy sportin’ coat.
He was tall dark and handsome and manly
And the best durn pilot ever steered a boat.

CHORUS 1
Roll on Monongahela, Roll on to the O-hi-o
Roll on past Aliquippi, down to the Mississippi
Clear to the Gulf of Mexico

Then Mote gave a toot of his whistle
And the “Jason” churned the water at her stern,
And Sal, steppin’ light as a thistle,
Reached up and took Mote Stanley’s hand in her’n.

It was love, careless love on the river,
It was love careless love by the shore;
But I know that the Lord will forgive her
’Cause she never knew what love was like before.

He swore that he always would love her
As they locked through the old Emsworth dam.
But that night overboard he did shove her
And then Mote Stanley took it on the lam!

CHORUS 2
Roll on Monongahela,
And lap the waters gently at Dra-vo.
Where they’re back to makin’ barges at much more normal charges
Than the LST’s they made some years ago!

Now, no one could say that Sal was sickly;
She didn’t even take time out to bawl.
She just high-tailed right down to Sewickley
Slappin’ out a fast Australian crawl.

Then Sal hit the grit at Rochester
Where the “Jason” was a-steaming close to shore.
From a yard bull who tried to arrest her
She up and swiped a great big forty-four.

She raised up that big shootin’ iron
And she banged six shots right into Mote.
And when she had fin’lly ceased firin’
She’d sure messed up that fancy sportin’ coat!

CHORUS 3
Roll on Monongahela,
Where the catfish and carp left long ago.
You used to be so pewer, but now you’re just a sewer -
Messin’ up the Gulf of Mexico!

Then Sal to the judges said “Good Mornin’!”
And the jury foreman said “Not guilty, gal!”
So let all you pilots take warnin’
Don’t mess around Monongahela Sal!


Recorded also by:


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Subject: ADD: Lock Number Ten (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:29 AM

LOCK NUMBER TEN
(Robert Schmertz)

Oh, I’m the lock tender at Lock Number Ten;
I whistle and sing ev’ry now and again.
I’ll sing you a ditty about how and when
I saw a young mermaid at Lock Number Ten.

’Twas night as the moon shone on Lock Number Ten
I heard a “Halloo!” and I heard it again,
And there gleaming whitely upon the lock wall
Saw a young mermaid her flipper and all!

Oh, a lock tender’s lot can be lonesome at times,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay
But probably not many see it that way,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay!

“'Tis government property, Madam!” I said;
She showed me a paper which drippingly read
“All rights and all priviledges, Lizzie, my dear!”
Signed General Muskrat, the chief engineer.

I said to her, “Lizzie, you might catch your death!”
She said to me, “Guv’nor, I’m catching me breath.
I’ve swum from the Thames to the Mongahaylee
To find pretty Jackie, my husband to be!”

Oh, a lock tender’s lot can be lonesome at times,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay.
But probably not if he whistles and rhymes,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay!

“I met pretty Jackie at Tilbury Docks
And sat at the bowsprit a-mending his socks.
He said that he loved me and he’d marry me -
His name is Jack Swabbie, the U.S. Navee!”

And then I said, “Lizzie, young Jack is my son -
I’m sorry to tell you his fam’ly’s begun
And I’m the grandfather of triplets, you see;
He married Miss Catfish from Lock Number Three!”

Oh, a lock tender’s lot can be joyous and free,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lee -
But probably not on the Mongahaylee
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lee!

Then sadly, oh, sadly she gazed upon me
And said to me, “Guv’nor, oh, how can it be?”
Then slipped to the water so despondently
And flippered her way down the Mongahaylee.


Recorded also by:

  • Burl Ives
    “Songs For and About Men” (The Locktender’s Lament), 1956 - DECCA #DL 8125
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNDoVG8ueVE
  • Dear Friends
    “Roll on Monongahela: River Songs from Pennsylvania and Beyond”, 1995 - Thomas Studio

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Subject: ADD: Lorenzo il Magnifico (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:30 AM

LORENZO IL MAGNIFICO
(Robert Schmertz)

Oh, Lorenzo Il Magnifico, he was the Duke of Florence.
He dearly loved his hi-de-ho for ho-hum had abhorrence,
Abhorrence, abhorrence, for ho-hum had abhorrence.
And so to be specifico, he really was terrifico -
That hyperglandular so-and-so,
Lorenzo Il Magnifico!

Lorenzo Il Magnifico, Il Duce de Firenza
He loved to do the heel-and-toe to a dissolute cadenza,
Cadenza cadenza, a dissolute cadenza;
A cinque-cento samba to a viola da gamba,
To a dissolute lute and a piccolo
Danced ’Renzo Il Magnifico!

Lorenzo Il Magnifico was very fond of culture;
To men like Michaelangelo he was a culture vulture,
A vulture, a vulture, he was a culture vulture.
He strove with mighty relish-oh Firenza to embellish-oh
That fabulous impresario
Lorenzo Il Magnifico!

Lorenzo Il Magnificio was quite a politician;
The Palazzo del Consiglio looked on him with suspicion,
Suspicion, suspicion, looked on him with suspicion.
’Tis said he rented slot machines to both the Guelphs and Ghibellines,
That rackety Medici so-and-so
Lorenzo Il Magnificio!

Lorenzo trod so proudly the Piazza del Signori,
On Sundays passed the plate at Sant’ Maria del Fiore,
Fiore, Fiore, Maria del Fiore;
With unction sanctimonious, he really was felonious,
That hypocritical so-and-so
Lorenzo Il Magnifico!

Lorenzo Il Magnifico was on his death bed lying.
He cried, “Salvonarola, oh, I know that I am dying,
Am dying, am dying, I know that I am dying!”
The monk said, “Son, confessio!” Lorenzo said, “Oh, bless you no;
I’ll soon be running things down below!”
Said ’Renzo Il Magnifico!


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Subject: ADD:The Palazzo Massimi (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:34 AM

Page not found at archive.org. Anybody have lyrics to this song?


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Subject: ADD: Hyacinth Harry (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:36 AM

HYACINTH HARRY
(Robert Schmertz)

There’s a man in town you soon will hear about -
He’ll soon be all the rage without a doubt -
I’m gonna let you in the know, he’s a garden gigolo,
A man the ladies just can’t do without -
At a nightclub or a beach club he’s a lout -
But a garden’s where he knows his way about -
When he gets amongst the plants
He’s the slickest thing in pants
And soon you’ll hear those garden mamas shout!

He’s Hyacinth Harry, old Hyacinth Harry
We’ve gotta have Harry the garden gigolo -
You’ve heard about Mary, who was so contrary,
It was Harry made her garden grow -
He’ll trim your hedge he’ll mow your lawn,
How that Harry carries on -
He’s a bear amongst the shrubs -
Heaven’s gift to the Garden Clubs!
He’s Harry, old Hyacinth Harry
And he’s got those garden mamas on the go -
Each Susie and Carrie’s just nuts about Harry,
With his hey-di-hey-di hi-di ho-di hoe!


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Subject: ADD: Nellie of Meadow Farm(Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:38 AM

Not available at archive.org. Anybody have it?


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Subject: ADD: The Rambling River Line (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:39 AM

Not available at archive.org. Anybody have it?


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Subject: ADD:José (Hozay) the Horse (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:40 AM

Not available at archive.org. Anybody have it?


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Subject: ADD: The Forks of the Ohio(Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:42 AM

Robert Dinwiddie, the Governor of Virginia dispatched young George Washington, then about 21 years old, to St. Pierre at Fort Le Boeuf where he was to deliver a letter to the commander of the French forces, requesting him to withdraw from the area.
The fact that the trading interests of the Ohio Company were being seriously threatened by the French traders in the west moved Dinwiddie to action. In 1750 and 1751, the Ohio Company sent Christopher Gist out to make a clandestine survey of the country, as far as the falls of the Ohio River. This was followed by Washington’s mission to Lake Erie with Dinwiddie’s letter which complained of French encroachment in British territory, expressing surprise that the French should build forts and make settlements on the Ohio River.
Washington visited with Queen Aliquippa, ruler of the six Indian nations, in an effort to ease troubled relations between them. Of this visit, Washington wrote, “I made her a Present of a Matchcoat and a Bottle of Rum which latter was thought much the best Present of the Two.”
With Christopher Gist, young George traveled to Fort Le Boeuf - but the French stood their ground and the mission was unsuccessful. Bob Schmertz’s song, filled with unexpected internal rhymes, retells this colorful story.

Vivien Richman


THE FORKS OF THE OHIO
(Robert Schmertz)

In seventeen fifty-three, George Washington came to the O-hi-o.
A year past twenty and he had plenty of old “git up and go”
He didn’t seem to mind the Indians or the ice and snow
As he just came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.
He just came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.

Lord Dinwiddie the royal Governor of Vir-gin-i-ay,
Said, “George, you better go west a month or so, see what the Frenchmen say.
Just tell ‘em that the King don’t want ‘em and they had better go!”
So George came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o!
George came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o!

Queen Aliquippa was the Indian skipper of a tribe down Logstown way,
And George thought he’d better win this lady Indian and without delay.
So he took her a coat, a jug of whiskey and he stayed a day or so -
Then he came back a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.
He came back a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.

He met a trapper whose name was Christopher Gist the hist’ries say,
Who looked mighty dapper in a coonskin capper and a buckskin negligee.
George said “Christopher let’s get traveling - Erie’s where we’ll go!”
So they both went a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
From the Forks of the O-hi-o.
They both went a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
From the Forks of the O-hi-o.

Then George and Christopher kept on travelin’ clear to Fort Le Boeuf,
George said, “We’ll state ‘em an ultimatum!” but the Frenchmen called their bluff!
When George said, “Gentlemen, vite tout suite!” Le commandant said, “Non!”
So they came back a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
From the Forks of the O-hi-o.
They came back a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
From the Forks of the O-hi-o.

They came back down to the wide Allegheny and they built themselves a raft.
But Christopher he didn’t quite get the gist of her for he thought fore was aft!
So George fell smack into the water while the wintry winds did blow,
And George came a-swimmin’ and a-sneezin’ and a-coughin’
Through the Forks of the O-hi-o.
George came a-swimmin’ and a-sneezin’ and a-coughin’
Through the Forks of the O-hi-o.

Now if you go a-ridin’ or a-walkin’ on a Sunday afternoon,
A stroll by the river is good for the liver and you might try this tune
On the very spot where George came traveling many years ago,
As George came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.
George came a-lookin’ and a-ridin’ and a-walkin’
To the Forks of the O-hi-o.


Recorded also by:

  • Dear Friends
    “Roll on Monongahela: River Songs from Pennsylvania and Beyond”, 1995 - Thomas Studio


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Subject: ADD: Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee (Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:45 AM

ANGUS MacFERGUS MacTAVISH DUNDEE
(Robert Schmertz)

I know a wee squirrel who lives in an oak.
He loves a good lunch and he loves a good joke.
There’s a wee bit of scotch in his family tree;
He’s Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.

Of chestnuts and acorns he’s gathered a store,
Although he has plenty, he gathers still more
For he has them for breakfast and luncheon and tea,
Young Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
Young Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.

His brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts
Quite often will gather and have a fine dance.
And they leap through the air with hilarious glee
With Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
With Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.

Once while they were dancing a hunter came by
And all of those dancers the hunter did spy!
And he lifted his rifle and aimed carefull-ee
At Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
At Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.

The rifle went off with a terrible blast
But Angus MacFergus was faster than fast -
And the bullet went deep in that poor old oak tree,
But it never touched Angus MacFergus Dundee,
It never touched Angus MacFergus Dundee.

The hunter looked ’round and the squirrels were gone,
Of all of those dancers there wasn’t a one -
They were all safely hid in that friendly oak tree;
With Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
With Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.

I often imagine that I’d like to be
A bonnie wee squirrel and live in a tree;
Pay no rent and no taxes and get my lunch free
Like Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee,
Like Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee.


Recorded also by:

  • Burl Ives
    "Capt. Burl Ives’ Ark" (The Squirrel), 1958 - DECCA #DL 8587


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Subject: ADD:Christmas Song for Gretchen (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:50 AM

CHRISTMAS SONG FOR GRETCHEN
(Robert Schmertz)

Sleep my baby in your sweet manger,
Sleep my child in your trundle bed.
The new born lamb needs to fear no danger,
For three small angels watch overhead.
And three Wise Men are on their way,
And it will soon be Christmas day.

Sleep my baby for when you waken,
There’ll be wonderful things to see -
A bright new star from the heavens taken,
Shining high on your Christmas tree,
And shining treasures hung below,
Just as they were long, long ago.

Sleep my baby, for on the morrow,
There’ll be wonderful things to do.
The ox, the lamb and the wee small burro,
Will be coming to play with you.
And they are blessed for blessed He them,
When he was born in Bethlehem.


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Subject: ADD: The Lonely Grenadier (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:53 AM

The lives of these hardy people who fought and labored in the early days of Pittsburgh and Fort Pitt were certainly not untouched by poetry, loneliness and romance. Again, Bob Schmertz, touching his hand to the new Fort Pitt which was built on the ruins of Fort Duquesne by General Forbes in 1759, gives us a strangely haunting love song. The five bastions of the Fort, the Grenadier, Ohio, Monongahela, Flag and Music bastion give structure to his ballad; his delicate melody and poetry lend a truly enchanted quality to this moment from our past.
Vivien Richman


THE LONELY GRENADIER
(Robert Schmertz)

The Fort has bastions five, the Grenadier is one.
It towers above the drawbridge moat
Toward the morning sun.
Upon the rampart high, a sentry stands alone,
Looks toward the England he’ll not see
Before his life is done.

REFRAIN:
Oh, lonely Grenadier, oh come and walk with me,
And see the tender burgeoning of each young leafy tree
New planted in the garden of the King’s Artillery.

Ohio bastion’s two, Monongahela’s three,
They guard the merging rivers flowing
Swiftly to the sea -
There is no gallant ship a-sail for London Town
So walk with me at sunset gun
And watch the flag go down.

REFRAIN:
Oh, lonely Grenadier, oh come and walk with me
Where columbine and marigold invite the vagrant bee
Philand’ring in the garden of the King’s Artillery.

The Flag is bastion four, the one called Music’s five
Each Battlement trumpet sound
Come echoing alive
The lonely sentry stands touched red by evening sun
And I would hold him in my arms
Before his life is done.

REFRAIN:
Oh, lonely Grenadier, oh come and walk with me
For we have yet a little time to gather, like the bee,
Sweet honey in the garden of the King’s Artillery.


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Subject: ADD: Cousin Athalia (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:57 AM

COUSIN ATHALIA
(Robert Schmertz)

Way down under in far-off Australia
Where summertime comes when it’s winter up here,
I’ve a kangaroo cousin, my cousin Athalia,
And I hear from her twice, maybe three times a year.
My kangaroo cousin has such a nice fam’ly
And a husband she won at a Kangaroo Hop.
They had a quite recent vest pocket addition
Who looks like his ma but behaves like his pop.
From far-off Australia she phoned the glad news:
When she reversed the charges, I couldn’t refuse!

They named him Fitzpatrick Fitzwilliam Fitzsimmons
And it seems he’s turned into a terrible grouch.
He won’t drink his prune juice, won’t eat his persimmons
And refuses to leave the marsupial pouch.
He yips at his sisters, he yaps at his brothers,
He yells at his ma and he jeers at his pop.
He’s getting too big for Athalia’s vest pocket
And poor dear Athalia is ready to drop!
From far-off Australia Athalia made moan
And reversed it again on the overseas phone.

They speak to him sweetly, they speak to him gently:
“Fitzpatrick Fitzwilliam, please come out and play.”
But he sneers, “Heh, heh, heh!” when they threaten to spank him
“Cause he knows they can’t reach his ta-rah-boom-de-ay!
They tempt him with popsicles, tricycles, bicycles,
Whimsical articles, chocolate fudge,
Hick’ry nuts, hazelnuts, butternuts, coconuts -
He just says, “Nuts!” and refuses to budge.
Oh, cousin Athalia, don’t telephone me
Or I’ll owe all my dough to the A.T. and T!

I wrote to Athalia in far off Australia,
Suggesting they both try the clinical couch.
But with all the psychiatrist’s paraphernalia
He refuses to leave the marsupial pouch.
News pictures from Melbourne and Brisbane and Sydney
Depict young Fitzpatrick projecting his snoot.
He’s hamming it up just above her left kidney
And putting the stretch in Athalia’s best suit.
Athalia just phoned, wanted charges reversed:
I didn’t accept, so I don’t know the worst!


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Subject: ADD: Mon Petit Lapin (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 05:59 AM

Not available at archive.org.
Luckily, I found it in the album notes at Smithsonian/Folkways.
http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/folkways/FW05258.pdf

Surely there must have been fine French chefs at Fort Duquesne ••• and this fellow, one of Bob Schmertz's "people", skillfully coaxed a little rabbit into a gourmet's rabbit stew for his commander.

MON PETIT LAPIN
(Robert Schmertz)

When Frenchmen lived at Fort Duquesne,
They lived as Frenchmen are inclined,
And in this valley trans-montaigne,
They sang, and they wined and they dined.

So here's a peu petite chanson
Of the Cuisiniere Militaire,
How he cooked at Fort Duquesne
In this valley trans-montaigne,
Un Grand Artiste Culinaire!

He will now prepare pour vous,
Un tres bon pot-a-feu, rabbit stew!

Mon Petit Lapin!
Dans la grande Cuisine, entrez, voulez-vous!
Mon Petit Lapin!
I have merveilleux plans for you!
Pour mon Capitaine,
Je l'arrange un melange entre nous!
Il exclame, Je t'adore!
Quelle affaire, quel amour!"
Mon petit, petit, joli lapin!

La-la-la -- pomme de terre!
La-la-la -- Haricot vert!
Celerie, les radis,
Garni just like in old Paris!

La-la-la -- beaucoup de vin!
"Fortunaire" jeune lapin!
Just a touch of garlic!
Un grand triomphe gastronomique!

Pour mon Capitaine,
Je l'arrange un melange entre nous!
Il exclame, "Je t'adore!
Quelle affaire, quel amour!"
Mon Petit, Petit, Joli Lapin!


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Subject: ADD: Never Touch Water(Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:00 AM

Not available at archive.org. Here's this:
Thread #112482   Message #2407264
Posted By: Joe Offer
07-Aug-08 - 12:15 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Rapidan River / Never Touch Water
Subject: ADD: Never Touch Water (Robert Schmertz)

George, you're the man!

Never Touch Water
(Robert Schmertz)

The Rapidan River runs right past my door,
My wooden veranda hangs over the shore.
I see so much water spring, summer and fall,
I never touch water, touch water at all.

Now water's all right under bridges and boats,
'Twas never intended for delicate throats;
But I can still sing fal de ral, de ral ral,
For I never touch water, touch water at all!

The Rapidan River runs Rapidan Mill,
And Rapidan Mill grinds the corn for the still,
A swig of my jug makes me seven feet tall,
And I never touch water, touch water at all.

The Rapidan River runs right by my door,
My wooden veranda hangs over the shore,
And I sit all alone singing fal de ral ral,
And I never touch water, touch water at all.

I know an old Bishop who's past eighty-five,
I said to him, "Bishop, you certainly thrive!"
He swore by Saint Christopher, Peter and Paul
He never touched water, touched water at all.

I know an old fellow who took several swipes,
The water was wet and it rusted his pipes;
Though he was a singer, he can't sing at all,
He can't even sing fal de ral, de ral ral!

My mother with liquor has nothing to do,
In fact she's a staunch Double UCTU,
But when hard cider time comes along in the fall,
She'll never touch water, touch water at all!


by Robert Schmertz, ©1959 (renewed) by Appleseed Music

from The Collected Reprints From Sing Out! [volume 1-6 (the pink one), page 44]

tune available on request

joe@mudcat.org


Double UCTU: Women's Christian Temperance Union


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Subject: ADD: The Knight of Small Renown (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:01 AM

THE KNIGHT OF SMALL RENOWN
(Robert Schmertz)

He was a Knight of small renown,
Who journeyed to the wars,
It was eventide as he rode along,
And he sang beneath the stars;
He sang a very merry thing,
He sang with right good cheer,
He sang of fighting, fame and love,
His steed lent charm’ed ear (he did),
His steed lent charm’ed ear.
Sing, “Fa la la, fa la la, fa la lah”,
His steed lent charm-ed ear.

The warbling Knight on list’ning steed,
Made leisurely advance,
The moon caressed his armour-plate,
And shimmered on his lance;
A maiden in an oriel,
Did hear the roundelay -
Looked down upon the warbling Knight,
And loved him straight away (he did),
She loved him straight away.
Oh, fa la la, fa la la, fa la lah -
She loved him straight away.

The Knight looked up, the moon shone pale,
Upon the lady’s face,
“Odds wounds!” cried he, “The wars can wait!”
The wise steed slacked his pace;
A wooing and a quick escape,
And then the nuptial knot,
And thus the Knight did meet his fate,
Much sooner than he thought (he did),
Much sooner than he thought.
Oh, fa la la, fa la la, fa la lah -
Much sooner than he thought.

And so the twain did settle down,
And it was fair to see,
The castle filled with little knights,
And ladies soon to be -
The moon-touched lance lay cob-web-wove,
The armour rusted quite,
The steed became a carry-all,
For every little knight (he did),
For every little knight.
Oh, fa la la, fa la la, fa la lah -
For every little knight.

And lo, the maid grew matronly,
And oh, the Knight grew stout,
And Autumn winds brought creaking joints,
And twinges of the gout.
Alas, poor Knight of small renown!
But when he saw the stars,
He softly sang, and in his dreams
He journeyed to the wars (he did)
He journeyed to the wars.
Oh, fa la la, fa la la, fa la lah -
He journeyed to the wars.


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Subject: ADD: Lord, Lord, I've Got Some Singing To Do
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:04 AM

LORD, LORD, I'VE GOT SOME SINGING TO DO
(Robert Schmertz)

The Lord made all the world in just six days,
And on the seventh day we sing his praise,
For land so green, for sky so blue,
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do!

CHORUS:
Oh a-Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do,
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do,
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do,
Don’t take me Lord, too soon!

I’ll sing about the moon, the queen of night,
Who touches all the world with silver light,
And lights my way the whole night through
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do!

CHORUS

I’ll sing about the sun, my friend the sun,
Who says, “Get up, get up! The day’s begun!”
And warms my soul the whole day through,
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do!

CHORUS

I’ll sing about the rain, the gentle rain,
Who falls upon the mountain and the plain,
And weeps for me the dark day through,
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do!

CHORUS

I’ll sing about the wind, that brings to me,
The songs of those I love, where they may be,
For Lord, I know they’re singing too -
Lord, Lord, I’ve got some singing to do!

CHORUS



Another song from Robert Schmertz that has enjoyed some popularity is "Lord, I Got Some Singing to Do." It appears in Volume 8 #1 of Sing Out! Magazine, and in the blue (second volume) Reprints book.

LORD, LORD, I'VE GOT SOME SINGING TO DO
(Robert Schmertz)

CHORUS
Lord, Lord I've got some singing to do (3x)
Don't take me, Lord, too soon.

The Lord made all the world in just six days,
And on the seventh day we sing His praise.
For land so green and sky so blue,
Lord, Lord I've got some singing to do.

I'll sing about the moon, the Queen of night,
Who touches all the world with a silver light,
And lights my way the whole night through,
Lord, Lord I got some singing to do.

I'll sing about the sun, my friend, the sun,
Who says 'Get up, get up, the day's begun,"
And warms my way the whole day through,
Lord, Lord I've got some singing to do.

I'll sing about the rain, the gentle rain,
Who falls upon the mountain and the plain,
And weeps for me the dark day through,
Lord, Lord I've got some singing to do.

I'll sing about the wind who brings to me
The songs of those I love, where they may be,
For, Lord, I know they're singing too,
Lord, Lord I've got some singing to do.

words and music by Robert Schmertz
@1954 Carl Fischer. Inc. NY, NY.

Title song of the Folkways album by the Folksmiths, We've Got Some Singing to Do

This transcription is from The Collected Reprints from Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Volumes 7-12, 1964-1973. Slightly different lyrics appear on Page 153 of the Rise Up Singing Songbook.

Joe Hickerson/Folksmiths recording: In the chorus, Hickerson sings, "Don't call me Lord, too soon.


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Subject: ADD: Gideon Bible (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:07 AM

GIDEON BIBLE
(Robert Schmertz)

When the shades of night are falling
And you’re in a small hotel,
If you hear temptation calling
Do not phone or ring the bell.
While the shades of night still darken
Do not think of girls and booze,
To your conscience you should harken
And this will help you choose:

CHORUS:
You should read your Gideon Bible,
You should read your Gideon Bible,
Read Genesis and Exodus and Chronicles and Kings.
Deuteronomy and Numbers
Will lead you to your slumbers
And Matthew, Mark and Luke and John
Will fold you in their wings.

You should read how Father Adam
And our Mother Eve were bored.
They bit the serpent’s apple
Antagonized the Lord.
So he drove them from the Garden
Of Eden in disgrace
And that is how they started
Our crazy human race!

You should read how Captain Joshua
Blew the horn at Jericho.
Those walls of sin came tumbling in -
His soul was white as snow.
You should read how little David
Slew Goliath with a rock:
He didn’t use a slingshot -
It was wrapped up in a sock!

You should read how Brothers Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego
Came through the fiery furnace
With just a rosy glow.
You should read how Brother Daniel
Was thrown in the lion’s den:
When he said he was Kiwanis
They threw him out again!

You should read how young Delilah
Barbered poor old Samson’s hair;
He used to be a hippy
But now he’s just a square.
You should read how young Salome
Fin’lly dropped her seventh veil:
She’d been wearing a Bikini
And parts of her were pale!

You should read how Father Noah
Parked the ark on Ararat.
He lowered away the gangway
And then he hollered “Scat!”
You should read how Brother Jonah
Did nauseate the whale
For Jonah came from Harvard
And the whale, he came from Yale!

You should read how Father Moses
On Sinai found the word,
He found the Ten Commandments
Dictated by the Lord.
And when you read those “Shalt Nots”
And think of what they said,
Just close your Gideon Bible
And stagger off to bed!


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Subject: ADD: My Baby Eskimo (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:09 AM

MY BABY ESKIMO
(Robert Schmertz)

Oh, I’ve been looking for a sweetie far and wide.
I’ve met a lot of mamas hot on ev’ry side
But an ice-cold mama stole my heart away,
Ice-cold mama from the Northern Bay.
They tell me that the brown-skinned gals away down South
Will make you lose your dignity,
But it took a pretty baby from way up North
To make a happy fool of me!
I’m going back to my baby Eskimo.
I’m breakin’ track to the land of ice and snow.

Eskimo babies ain’t hard to handle,
You just get ‘em chewin’ on a tallow candle,
Sittin’ in an igloo makin’ goo-goo eyes!
When they get cold, that’s the time to grab a-hold.
They’re very bold, so I’ve been told!
Eskimos don’t think lovin’s harmful,
An Eskimo baby is a darn big armful;
You get her and fur, yes sir, up at the Pole!


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Subject: ADD: Forty-Nine Angels (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:11 AM

FORTY-NINE ANGELS
(Robert Schmertz)

Forty-nine angels looking down,
Seven all around a golden crown;
Seven with a harp and seven with a horn
Play for the Baby newly born,
Play for the Baby newly born.

Forty-nine angels looking down,
Seven weaving linen for a gown;
Seven to embroider, seven to adorn
A dress for the Baby newly born,
A dress for the Baby newly born.

And where are the rest of the forty-nine?
One takes a star, makes it brightly shine;
Two tell the news over Galilee;
Three show the way to the Wise Men three;
And little Forty-nine this blessed morn
Sings for the Baby newly born,
Sings for the Baby newly born.


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Subject: ADD:The Queen Anne Front (and the Mary Ann Behind)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 06:14 AM

Marcia Davenport brought Pittsburgh’s North Side to literary life, featuring the one-time glory of the Victorian residences, without quite completing the architectural or social cycle. Bob carries the whole movement to its realistic conclusion in the song “The Queen Anne Front and the Mary Ann Behind” - a complete commentary on the housing problem. He probably remembered an experience he had had when we were seeking a building to rent for permanent quarters of the Pittsburgh Architectural Club. Bob applied at a pretentious building on the North Side that displayed a “for sale” sign. The door was answered by a rather over-decorated middle-aged woman who showed him up the old circular marble stair and through lavishly upholstered bed rooms. She was uncertain of what Bob was after and Bob gradually became aware that this was not exactly what he was looking for. Years later this, like so many events of his life, blossomed into song.
Charles M. Stotz 1949



THE QUEEN ANNE FRONT (AND THE MARY ANN BEHIND)
(Robert Schmertz)

When Great Grandfather was a gay young blade
And great Grandmother was his bride,
They found a lot, a very pretty spot,
‘Twas over on the old North Side.
It sloped down to the river
From River Avenue.
Great Grandma said that it would give her
Such a lovely view.
They took a look in “Godey’s Ladies’ Book”
To see what they could find.
And they found a house, a jolly little house,
With a Queen Anne front and a Mary Ann behind.

Great Grandfather was a handy man
Who never wasted any time -
He found a crew who knew just what to do
With white pine, common brick and lime -
He said “We’ll build a big veranda
Where Aunt Amanda can perch,
And I’ll sit there on Sunday morning
When everybody else has gone to church” -
The neighbors said, “He’s crazy in the head,
He’s surely lost his mind!”
But he built that house, that jolly little house
With a Queen Anne front and a Mary Ann behind.

When Great Grandpaw at last was laid away
With Great Grandmother by his side
Dear Aunt Amanda said “My land,
A vacant house I can’t abide
I’ll start a lady’s seminary
Make it very select
It will be very necessary
That all my girls be circumspect!”
As you may guess it was a great success
And her girls were so refined
In that self-same house, that jolly little house
With the Queen Anne front and the Mary Ann behind.

When Aunt Amanda’s work at last was done
And she had gone to her reward
Appeared a sign which bore the line
Announcing simply “Room and Board”
The old house soon was filled with roomers
Of every degree,
Red flannel underwear and bloomers
Were hanging out for everyone to see -
The old front stoop had started in to droop
And the house looked so resigned
That self-same house, that jolly little house
With the Queen Anne front and the Mary Ann behind.

The poor old house got looking worse and worse
And so did River Avenue
And wooden shacks across the tracks
Spoiled Great Grandma’s lovely view.
When several very pretty ladies
Moved in there one day
They were such charming Sues and Sadies
But a wagon came and took them all away -
There was one old dame said, “It’s a dirty shame,
My girls are so refined!”
But they closed that house, that jolly little house,
With the Queen Anne Front and the Mary Ann behind!


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 10:17 AM

The song is missing the inevitable next step - gentrification, where yuppies tear out half the walls and replace the painting above the mantel with a flat-screen TV. Then they paint it either all white or all beige.

The Onion recently had an article describing what happens to the local businesses: "Gentrified neighborhood consists entirely of cheese shops."

That makes sense. All you have to do with cheese is open the package and eat it. (Just like potato chips.) So while you are working long hours to pay for the renovation, your kids can just feed themselves.


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Subject: RE: Robert Schmertz - songs and information?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Dec 16 - 06:10 PM

There's an interesting article about Schmertz on the BAAHA Website (Ben Avon [PA] Area Historical Association):

    BAAHA Links: Robert Schmertz

    by John Warren

    This article is the second in a series spotlighting websites which focus on local history, and thus might be interesting to readers of this newsletter.

    Try to imagine this scene from many years ago. It’s a cool and quiet Sunday evening in Ben Avon. At 6941 Perrysville Avenue, two school-age children – a girl and a boy – have completed their after-dinner chores. Somewhat reluctantly, they head upstairs to get ready for bed. It’s a school night, after all.

    As they reach the top of the stairs, however, the doorbell rings. The children turn around and peer down to the front door, as their parents open it and greet the visitors. Two men step into the hall, each carrying an instrument case. Recognizing the visitors, the children race to their rooms, jump into their pajamas, and hustle down to sit on the first floor landing. Maybe it is a school night, but this is a special occasion!

    By that time, their mom has brought out refreshments and their dad has fetched his violin. One visitor lifts an accordion out of its case, and the other begins to tune a banjo. Soon the house is filled with music.

    About 80 years have passed, but for Marjorie Todd Simonds, a lifelong resident of this community, the memories of evenings like that remain vivid. Her eyes sparkle as she describes how the two men made a point of visiting with her and her brother Jack, telling them stories and singing songs just for them.

    The man with the accordion was Charles M. Stotz (1898 – 1985), an architect and historian whose impact on historical sites in Western Pennsylvania will be described in a future article. This time around, however, he appears in association with the man with the banjo, who was Robert W. Schmertz (1898 – 1975).

    John and Marguerite Todd got to know Bob Schmertz through their good friend, Charlie Stotz. Todd and Stotz were active members of the local Cornell University alumni organization.

    Schmertz taught for 35 years in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Tech (now CMU) and also maintained a substantial private practice. Folks who are familiar with the Ligonier area have probably seen a church that he designed – St. Michael’s of the Valley, Rector, PA.

    Within architectural circles, and well beyond, he was known for composing and playing songs, many of them associated with Pittsburgh. But many years passed before he could be persuaded to record any of his music, and that only happened when three dozen of his friends passed the hat to cover the cost of a recording session and the pressing of 300 copies of a 78 rpm album.

    The year was 1949, and a nationwide revival of folk music was underway, led by Pete Seeger and his fellow Weavers. When nationally known folk singers came through Pittsburgh, they would visit with local friends and get to know Bob Schmertz, either in person or through the album. Soon they were including his songs in their concert performances.

    Burl Ives recorded Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord. So did Tennessee Ernie Ford and (many years later) the Statler Brothers. Ives, who recorded several albums of children’s songs, included Angus MacFergus MacTavish Dundee on one of them.

    Most significantly, Pete Seeger recorded Monongahela Sal and sang it and other Schmertz songs all across the country, identifying the songwriter when he introduced each song.

    One memorable concert took place in the early Sixties, when Seeger appeared with the American Wind Symphony, performing from their floating stage, tied up along the Allegheny River side of Point State Park. The highlight of the evening came when Seeger asked Schmertz to join him on the stage to sing Monongahela Sal and several other songs.

    The widespread interest in his music led Schmertz to assemble several friends and two of his children to record albums in 1955, 1959, and 1960. The 1959 album is a collection of the songs that Schmertz wrote to celebrate Pittsburgh’s 200th birthday. They feature such people as George Washington, Christopher Gist, General Forbes, and Queen Alliquippa. This album has now been reissued as a CD by Smithsonian Folkways.

    To learn more about the albums, and the man who wrote the songs, you can visit the following website that is a tribute to Robert Schmertz. The creator was Ann Shear, whose father was the head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Tech in the early Fifties. If you read her introduction to the site, you will be struck by the similarity of her memories to those of Marjorie Simonds.

    201011_Robert_Schmertz

    Photo courtesy of www.robertschmertz.com

     

    The music of Bob Schmertz can still be heard in the Pittsburgh area. Larry Berger includes Schmertz songs on his ‘Saturday Light Brigade’ program, www.slbradio.org, which is broadcast from a studio in the Children’s Museum.
    A group of local musicians, The Newlanders, hopes to soon issue a CD of the Schmertz songs that they perform in concerts. You will find details on that project on the ‘News’ page at their website www.newlanders.com.

    Ann Shear’s tribute website includes the lyrics of 21 of the songs, some with notes by Charlie Stotz on how they came to be written. On the site’s ‘Miscellany’ page is a collection of articles about Bob Schmertz and some of his friends and collaborators. One highlight from that page is ‘The Biggest Living Room in Town’ by Gretchen Haller, which describes Schmertz’s final concert in April 1975, a few weeks before his death. From the concluding paragraph of Gretchen’s article:

    Since I grew up with Bob Schmertz’s music, I hope you’ll pardon my prejudice. He and his banjo have been frequent visitors to my father’s house and I feel I should thank him for many things. It is through him that I discovered folk music, a bit of architecture and local history, and the artistry of grand old men.

    It is clear that Gretchen Haller, like Ann Shear and Marjorie Simonds, had special memories to treasure. And, one suspects there are many, many more.

    As you may know, each issue of the newsletter is posted and available to you at http://www.benavon.com/BAAHA/ our BAAHA website. Thanks to Jeff Cieslak (our webmaster), you can read the newsletter online as an HTML page or display it as a PDF file. The PDF version of the newsletter can also be printed or downloaded. Share it with family and friends, and convince them to join in supporting BAAHA!

    For these ‘BAAHA Links’ articles, the plan is to collect them on a separate page of the website. Within each article, the links (like the one in the preceding paragraph) will be clickable, so that you can read the text and then visit the website it describes.


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