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Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge

GUEST 02 Jun 12 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jun 12 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Pat Blackman 02 Jun 12 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jun 12 - 03:52 PM
Charley Noble 03 Jun 12 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jun 12 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jun 12 - 10:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 12 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jun 12 - 11:16 AM
Charley Noble 03 Jun 12 - 02:01 PM
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Subject: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 12 - 12:01 PM

This week at Murder Ballad Monday, we take on Two Soldiers (and say goodbye to Doc.)

Two Soldiers - How do we remember war's fallen dead in song? Pat brings us an excellent discussion today (Memorial Day in the U.S.) of "Two Soldiers," a song from the American Civil War, and a reflection on how such songs of death in battle appear to trace a trajectory distinct from murder ballads in the collective imagination.

A contrast with the "Battle of Harlaw" brings us performances by the Battlefield Band and the Corries, while "Two Soldiers" brings us Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Bob Dylan, Loman Cansler, and Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard.

Postlude: Remembering Doc - It's a hard, sad day. Please share in our tribute to Doc Watson at Murder Ballad Monday, and add your comments and memories to our post.

I wish the wars were all over... - In a week of memorials both expected and unexpected, Pat brings home our discussion of "Two Soldiers" with the striking harmonies of The Lonesome Sisters' "Blue Eyed Boston Boy," and adds a fitting coda in Tim Eriksen's "I Wish the Wars Were All Over."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 12 - 12:26 PM

See our discussion:

thread.cfm?threadid=104302#2135599


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Pat Blackman
Date: 02 Jun 12 - 12:37 PM

Lighter, thanks; yes I checked it out while I was researching the song.

I can't always find copies of every version people reference in these threads, and we try to boil it down to essentials and present it in as concise and organized a fashion as possible.

Also I included a link to the discussion here of "I Wish the Wars Were All Over" in that last post. Most helpful.

-Pat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 12 - 03:52 PM

There are a handful of unsentimental trad songs from the Civil War.

I always recommend "The Battle of Shiloh's Hill" and "The Battle of Pea Ridge." Don't overlook "The Rebel Soldier."

They seem to tell it like it was, from the worm's-eye view. Interestingly, all three are reb songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 09:10 AM

I seem to remember another one like that, Lighter, collected by Frank Warner titled "The Battle of Bull Run." It was just a fragment with the line:

"Stripped to the pants we did advance at the Battle of Bull Run."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 09:54 AM

Charley, I posted this in 2003:

"The Warners also recorded this stanza from one of their outstanding informants, John Galusha of New York State. He was a Civil War veteran.

"This day will be remembered by America's noble sons.
If it hadn't been for Irishmen, what would our Union have done?
'Twas hand to hand we fought 'em, all in the broiling sun,
When, stripped to the pants, we did advance at the Battle of Bull Run.

"...Nobody has discovered any further verses. Or have they?"

I've never been able to connect it clearly to any Civil War broadside. There may never have been more than one stanza.

Oscar Brand wrote three or four more stanzas. I memorized the whole thing from his radio show in the mid '60s, but have forgotten most of it. Brand's version does not seem to be online or anywhere else.

Maybe I should recompose it from memory and become a "folksong creator."

In fact, I'll do it right now. Back soon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 10:34 AM

First stanza as above.

McDowell was our commander, a general through and through,
With infantry and cavalry, all of us true blue.
The people how they cheered us as we marched from Washington;
But stripped to the pants, we did advance at the battle of Bull Run.

The Stone Bridge was their standing place, and still we did advance.
We marched across the open field, everything left to chance.
The rebs will never forget us, and the wonderful race we run,
When, stripped to the pants, we did advance at the battle of Bull Run.

So here's to old McDowell, he fought among the best.
And here's to the Yankee infantry, the cavalry and the rest.
And don't you forget the Irishmen and the wonderful deeds we done,
When, stripped to the pants, we did advance at the battle of Bull Run.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 10:36 AM

From the New York Herald (New York, New York) on July 22, 1861:

"...the men of the Sixty-ninth stripped to the skin, except pants, and pitched into the fight regardless of fatigue or personal safety." (That being the Sixty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, of the Irish Brigade.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 11:16 AM

Neat!

The praise of unsuccessful army commander Irvin McDowell instead of the 69th's Col. Corcoran or Co. K's even more famous Capt. T. F. Meagher is the tipoff that Brand's lyrics didn't come from anyone who'd been there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Two Soldiers / The Last Fierce Charge
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 02:01 PM

Lighter and McGrath-

Got to love how Mudcat works!

Really nice update.

We really should share a round some day soon.

Charley Noble


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