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Best 'city songs?'

GUEST,Simon Finger 14 Jun 12 - 01:22 PM
pdq 14 Jun 12 - 01:27 PM
Young Buchan 14 Jun 12 - 01:53 PM
Young Buchan 14 Jun 12 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Simon Finger 14 Jun 12 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Simon Finger 14 Jun 12 - 03:27 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 12 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,gillymor 14 Jun 12 - 05:12 PM
greg stephens 14 Jun 12 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Rog Peek 14 Jun 12 - 06:49 PM
Leadfingers 14 Jun 12 - 06:54 PM
Acme 14 Jun 12 - 07:06 PM
Anne Neilson 14 Jun 12 - 07:13 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jun 12 - 07:52 PM
Willie-O 14 Jun 12 - 08:29 PM
GUEST,Max Reiner 14 Jun 12 - 10:07 PM
Snuffy 15 Jun 12 - 09:17 AM
David C. Carter 15 Jun 12 - 09:33 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jun 12 - 10:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jun 12 - 12:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jun 12 - 12:14 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jun 12 - 12:19 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Jun 12 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Songbob 15 Jun 12 - 01:06 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jun 12 - 01:40 PM
Chris_S 15 Jun 12 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Max Reiner 15 Jun 12 - 04:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jun 12 - 05:02 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Jun 12 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Bob Cotman 15 Jun 12 - 05:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jun 12 - 06:10 PM
Ged Fox 16 Jun 12 - 03:41 PM
Ged Fox 16 Jun 12 - 03:49 PM
Genie 16 Jun 12 - 06:20 PM
Genie 16 Jun 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Simon Finger 16 Jun 12 - 09:23 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jun 12 - 08:02 AM
Bert 17 Jun 12 - 12:41 PM
Crowhugger 17 Jun 12 - 12:47 PM
Genie 21 Jun 12 - 08:36 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Jun 12 - 12:37 AM
PHJim 22 Jun 12 - 01:29 AM
Bert 22 Jun 12 - 03:16 PM
Sir Roger de Beverley 23 Jun 12 - 04:31 AM
pavane 23 Jun 12 - 04:56 AM
pavane 23 Jun 12 - 05:26 AM
Jim Dixon 19 May 16 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Tattie Bogle 20 May 16 - 05:06 AM
David C. Carter 20 May 16 - 06:28 AM
mkebenn 20 May 16 - 08:08 AM
Ed T 20 May 16 - 08:31 AM
Ed T 20 May 16 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Roderick a warner 20 May 16 - 09:36 AM
Jim Dixon 31 May 16 - 11:40 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Jul 16 - 07:17 AM
Mr Red 18 Jul 16 - 10:23 AM
Mark Ross 18 Jul 16 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Roger Dunant 18 Jul 16 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jul 16 - 03:11 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jul 16 - 06:32 PM
Mr Red 19 Jul 16 - 04:38 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Jul 16 - 10:24 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Jul 16 - 01:48 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Jul 16 - 02:15 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Jul 16 - 02:48 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Jul 16 - 03:52 AM
Jim Dixon 28 Jul 16 - 08:49 AM
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Subject: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Simon Finger
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 01:22 PM

I teach at a small college in Oregon, and this fall I will be teaching a course on the city in American history. I thought that folk song might be a good way to get at popular attitudes about cities, especially before 1900. So as I build this compilation, I'm looking for suggestions as to what I should include. I'm especially looking for songs that highlight any of the following themes, but would certainly appreciate any advice or suggestions the group may have.

*City contrasted with Country
*City as a place to find work
*the city as a place of fun and frolic
*the city as decadent, dangerous, and morally corrupting
*the "bumpkin" falling prey to the dangerous city
*the "bumpkin" outsmarting the city

Thanks for your help!


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: pdq
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 01:27 PM

"I Ain't Broke, But I'm Badly Bent" was recorded at least three times by Rick Skaggs and tells of the problems of a country boy going to the city.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Young Buchan
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 01:53 PM

Dalesman's Litany (From Hull and Halifax and Hell, Good Lord - deliver me.)


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Young Buchan
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 02:14 PM

Ooops. Sorry. Didn't read the bit about wanting AMERICAN cities. You could try telling them it's Hull, Massachusetts and Halifax, Nova Scotia - but Wibsey Slack may be more of a problem!


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Simon Finger
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 03:26 PM

I have no problem with using English folksongs if they work well enough for the big themes. Thanks for the suggestion!


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Simon Finger
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 03:27 PM

Or, for that matter, other folk traditions, so long as it keeps the theme.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 04:59 PM

Apart from Dalesman's Litany you'll find a host of songs that meet your requirements at www.yorkshirefolksong.net Try for instance the 16th century 'York, York, for my money'. York is so good they named it twice!!!


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:12 PM

"Big Big City" - Moon Mullican (Moon doing Rockabilly, killer)
"Bright Lights, Big City" - Jimmy Reed
"Big City (Turn Me Loose)"- Merle Haggard (not sure if that's the correct title)
"Southbound" - Doc and Merle Watson


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:48 PM

The Rigs of London Town


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Rog Peek
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:49 PM

City Boy - Phil Ochs

Rog


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:54 PM

Streets of Baltimore ?? or is that too Country ?


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLLY MALONE
From: Acme
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 07:06 PM

I have the impression he's looking for older songs. One that occurs to me is "Molly Malone" that takes place in Dublin's "streets wide and narrow."

/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=4015

MOLLY MALONE

In Dublin's fair city where girls are so pretty
Twas there that I first met sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through street broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh"

Alive, alive oh, alive, alive oh,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh"

Now she was a fishmonger and sure twas no wonder
For so were her mother and father before
And they each wheeled their barrows
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh"

She died of a faver and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh"

SRS


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 07:13 PM

For the city as a decadent, corrupting place -- what about Tom Paxton's song about a drug-addicted lassie who takes to prostitution?

"Cindy's Crying" -- gonna be a hooker on Bleecker Street.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 07:52 PM

music and song of Edinburgh


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Willie-O
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 08:29 PM

Look up "St John's Waltz" by Ron Hynes. It doesn't meet any of your listed criteria, but it's a brilliant portrait of the character of what may be the oldest continually inhabited city in North America, long as you consider Newfoundland part of North America. (St John's is perpetually feuding with Quebec City for this title; far as I know no American settlement has a decent claim.)

For a song about no particular city but which does meet your theme interests, look up "Paint Me a Picture" by David Essig. http://www.davidessig.com/rchg.html


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Max Reiner
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 10:07 PM

"I Happen To Like New York" by Cole Porter. The more Brooklynese used in this vocal with piano, the better it sounds. Sing out of tune a bit, too, for schitck.

"I happen to like New York. I happen to to like this town,.
I like the city air, I like to drink of it.
The more I know New York the more I think of it.
...
Last Sunday afternoon I took a trip to Hackensack,
But after I have Hackensack the once over, I took the next train back..."


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Subject: Lyr Add: THEY WON'T KNOW I COME FROM THE COUNTRY
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 09:17 AM

THEY WON'T KNOW I COME FROM THE COUNTRY

I've lived in the country all my life,
And I ain't got a chick nor a wife.
But I be a-goin' to London town next week
For the first time in my life.
I've heard talk about those rogues and thieves
They've got up London town:
When a fellow goes up from the country
Oh, they always takes him down
But they won't know I come from the country, no
Their little game I'll spoil.
I've bought these togs and the tailors say
They're the latest London style.
I've learned to talk like a Cockney
I can say "What ho!, not 'arf!"
But they won't know I comes from the country, no.
[laughter]
That's what makes I laugh
I'll go the Tower of London
That's where the Queen lives, so they say.
And of course I'll go to the Haymarket:
I'm a rare good judge of hay.
I'll see Piccadilly Circus,
For a circus show's all right
And I'll see those lovely performances
They have there every night.
But they won't know I come from the country, no
When for a stroll I go,
I'll wear my hat on the side like this
And I'll swing my stick like so
If a policeman says "Move on, there"
I shall say "What ho!, not 'arf!"
But they won't know I comes from the country, no.
[laughter]
That's what makes I laugh
Sung by Tom Smith on the Veteran cassette Many a Good Horseman


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: David C. Carter
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 09:33 AM

"Lou Marsh"

Phil Ochs


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 10:39 AM

"Just Blew In from the Windy City"

from film Calamity Jane?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 12:13 PM

Up to the Rigs of London Town is a good one about the naive outsider putting one over on the city types

Mountains of Mourne - not really a folksong but a good one about the country boy looking at the city.

The Rocky Road to Dublin tells about a country lad being stolen from in Dublin and set about by yobs in Liverpool.

Ralph McTell's Streets of London - great song about down and outs in London.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 12:14 PM

Harvey Andrews I am a city dweller me -about being young and loving the exhilaration of living in a city


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 12:19 PM

One of the classic "bumpkin coming to grief in the big city" songs is "The Overgate", about Dundee - look it up (there are many versions of it). Is there an American version of it?

Lots more in my Embro, Embro pages as well.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 12:56 PM

The Dundee Weaver, otoh, is about the provincial woman coming to grief in Glasgow. Cf Jock Hawk's Adventures In Glasgow.

'Ralph McTell's Streets of London - great song about down and outs in London.' Agreed ~~ but never understood why he had to sing it in an approximation of a Bronx accent. I asked him once, but he genuinely didn't seem to know what I meant!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 01:06 PM

Okay;

The Hayseed
Fatal Glass of Beer
Just Tell Them That You Saw Me (1892 -- Paul Dresser)
Country Girl, City Girl (Carter Family)
Sioux City Sue
Seeing the Elephant
Wish I Had Stayed In the Wagon Yard
I Was Right, I Was Wrong All Along
Arrival of the Greenhorn
Zebra Dun

Just to list a few. I got most of these from the DT, by searching for "city," though some were not in the database, but are in threads.

If I hadn't done it on paper, back before computers, I could send my term paper on the same subject from my MA studies. I'm not sure I could even find it now. 30 years of detritus have accumulated, I fear.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 01:40 PM

One of the more popular themes in balladry of earlier centuries is the country bumpkin in town. There are hundreds of examples. Check out the Bodleian Library broadside website.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Chris_S
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 02:03 PM

Al Stewart's "Soho [Needless To Say]" is a wonderful piece of story telling from Al's time in a particularly sleazy part of London. Richard Thompson's Down Where the Drunkards Roll is an insight into life amongst the down and outs.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Max Reiner
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 04:43 PM

"They said get back Honky Cat.
Livin in the city ain't where it's at.

And--

"I'll take the city!
Farewell to old Jackson Heights now.
I'll spend my nights where
the lights are brighter than day."


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 05:02 PM

Dirty Old Town - song about being in young and in love and seeing lyricism and beauty in the urban landscape that is the backdrop to your own private love story.

Another Ewan MacColl song Sweet Thames Flow Softly - all the areas of London along the Thames River become part a romantic incantation, a love song from a man to woman. It also charts the progress of the love story by a metaphor about the tides of the river.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 05:08 PM

And of course Ewan's title, Sweet Thames Flow Softly, taken from Edmund Spenser's Prothalamion [1596], another poem relating a journey up the Thames from the [then] countryside into the heart of London, sets his fine song in an ancient city of ancient tradition.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Bob Cotman
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 05:10 PM

In the Heart of the City That Has No Heart (early pop hit)
The Knickerbocker Line
Poor Little Joe
Wal, I Swan (Joshua Ebenezer Frye)


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 06:10 PM

Don't think Ralph McT had been to the Bronx at that point in his career. Like a lot of us of that period - I suppose his guitar masters were American. Its an odd thing if you sing irish songs all night - you end up talking with a brogue, and I think the same thing goes for American songs.

Probably if you sang Noel Coward songs all night - you'd end up talking posh.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Ged Fox
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 03:41 PM

"Pop Goes the Weasel"


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Ged Fox
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 03:49 PM

Oops! there are, of course many versions of "Pop goes the weasel"

I was thinking of the verse,

"Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel."


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Genie
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 06:20 PM

Detroit City ("...
The home folks think I'm big in Detroit City.
From the letters that I write, they think I'm fine.
But by day I make the cars and by night I make the bars,
If only they could read between the lines.

I wanta go home ... ")


----

Up On The Roof (Carole King & Gerry Goffin)

(...
When I come home feelin' tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet.
I get away from the bustling crowds
And all that rat race noise down in the street.

...

Right smack down in the middle of town
I found a paradise that's trouble-proof,
So if this world starts getting you down
there's room enough for two up on the roof.
... "

--------------

Thank God I'm a Country Boy! (John Denver)

---------
Summer In the City (Lovin' Spoonful)

-------
The Old Home Place

Country Boy (Johnny Cash)

I'm Just a Country Boy


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Genie
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 07:03 PM

DK which, if any, of these songs fit well with your themes, Simon, but here are a few that deal with the attractions and challenges of city life or the contrast between the city and country.

New York Girls

Aragon Mill (Si Kahn)

My Sweet Wyoming Home (Bill Staines)

("There's shows in all the cities, but cities turn your heart to clay.
It takes all a man can muster just to try and get away.
The songs I'm used to hearing ain't the kind the jukebox plays
And I'm headed home to my sweet Wyoming home.")

I'm Goin' Back (To Where I Come From)

and in a similar vein:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Allentown (Billy Joel)

Then there's "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds - which was inspired by Daly City, California.

And, of course, Lieber & Stoller's "Kansas City"

("I'm goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come!
They got a funky way of lovin' there and I'm gonna get me some!
...)


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Simon Finger
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 09:23 PM

Thanks everyone, for many many fantastic suggestions. Even if I don't end up assigning all of them, I'll at least enjoy the research! I'll post my final list when I finish it up.

One other thing; I also posted elsewhere about this, but can anyone point me to recorded versions of Axon ballads? I'm looking for the version of "Owd Ned's a Rare Strong Chap" from Axon 45, which differs markedly from the versions I've seen elsewhere.

In any case, thanks again!


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 08:02 AM

The version on the Bodl site printed by Harkness -Harding B11(3218) is pratically the same as the Bebbington version in Axon. There's a Yorkshire version 'Wensleydale Lad' on our Yorkshire Garland site. There are other quite different versions printed by Bebbington/Pearson under the title 'Johnny Green's Description of the Manchester Old Church'


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Bert
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 12:41 PM

Buttons and Bows.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Crowhugger
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 12:47 PM

Fitting the larger theme but neither American nor folk, how about the Canadian parlour song, "Oh, What a Difference Since the Hydro Came"?


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Genie
Date: 21 Jun 12 - 08:36 PM

Bert, "Buttons & Bows" is an excellent suggestion.

And I just learned that Woody Guthrie's poem "My New York City" has been set to music and recorded recently:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLqLT8H4t-c&feature=share


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Jun 12 - 12:37 AM

Point of interest re Buttons & Bows ~~ do you remember that in its original performance, in film The Paleface [1948], Bob Hope sang it to his own concertina accompt? ~ one of those American concertinas with about 151-fold bellows!

~M~


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUST DREAMIN' (Fred Eaglesmith)
From: PHJim
Date: 22 Jun 12 - 01:29 AM

I'm Just Dreamin' by Fred Eaglesmith is about a country boy who falls for a city girl, who goes back to the city.


JUST DREAMIN'
As recorded by Fred Eaglesmith on “There Ain't No Easy Road” (1991)

1. Maybe I should call her up.
Even if she laughs at me,
At least I would get to hear her voice.
Maybe I could calm her down.
She'd ask me to come around
To pick her up and take her out someplace—
But I'm just dreamin'.

CHORUS: She says she's had enough
Of cowboy boots an' pickup trucks,
Enough of checkered shirts and dark-blue eyes,
Goin' back to bein' a rich man's wife.
I'm just dreamin'.

2. Should 'a' never took up with her.
Should 'a' never had a girl
Who didn't know hay from straw.
But when I fell into her eyes,
It was like I felt paradise,
And I fin'ly figured out what heaven was.
But I'm just dreamin'.

CHORUS

3. Ev'ry time there's dust out on the road,
I look up and I hope
That she's comin' back to me.
Even though I already know
She's gone for good—she told me so—
I always think it just might be.
Well, I'm just dreamin'.

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Bert
Date: 22 Jun 12 - 03:16 PM

MtheGM, yes I remember seeing Paleface when it first came out. When I saw it again recently, it was amazing how many of the gags had been copied in movies since.

I saw a movie on Netflix a few weeks ago which was a complete rip off of the story, where the girl shot all the bad guys and the hero thought that he had done it. Can't remember the name of it though.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 23 Jun 12 - 04:31 AM

I don't know how "deep" you want to get but several of Leon Rosselson's songs deal with cities and and the dehumanising effect they can have. In his songbook "bringing the news from nowhere" he has a section entitled "deserts of stone" with seven songs in of that ilk.

R


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: pavane
Date: 23 Jun 12 - 04:56 AM

Nottamun Town?
UK folk song also collected in USA
Not sure it falls into your categories though.

The Ploughboy and the Cockney Tim Hart & Maddy Prior (Later of Steeleye Span)- Summer Solstice 1968
Country bumpkin vs city dweller

I was going to suggest Sweet Thames flow softly, but someone else got there first.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE KNOWING MACCARONI OUTWITTED
From: pavane
Date: 23 Jun 12 - 05:26 AM

As well as being a song about the city as a decadent and morally corrupting place, this song is interesting in that it explains the words of "Yankee Doodle"

"Stuck a feather in his cap: And called it macaroni".

A Maccaroni was a term used around 1800 for a man who followed the latest fashions.

The "Knowing Maccaroni" was seemingly overcharged by the prostitute he chose : Mrs(!) Susan.

I don't suppose this song has been sung for nearly 200 years - and quite rightly.


THE KNOWING MACCARONI OUTWITTED
[c. 1780-1812]

You beaux of London city, likewise St. Jame's park
Give ear unto my ditty, tis of a frolicksome spark
It is one of our dear brothers that lately was betrayed
It was by Mrs. Susan the lady's waiting maid.

His hair being oil'd and powder'd, hung dangling to his waist
No fop could be e'er go fine, his cloaths embroidered with lace
With snuff-box in his pocket as I [d]o you suppose
As large as any turnip, for to perfume his nose.

He stept to Mrs. Susan, to whom his fancy led
A guinea he would give to gain her maidenhead.
Get you to Covent Garden, to Fleet Street or the Strand,
And there for half the money you may have one at your command.

Tune: Beaux of London City, Adderbury version


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Subject: Lyr Add: I LIKE IT IN DULUTH (John Berquist)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 May 16 - 04:00 PM

This song has a pleasant, catchy jug-band-like sound.

You can hear the recording from which I transcribed this in this podcast. Skip to 1:17 if you don't want to hear the interview.


I LIKE IT IN DULUTH
Written by John Berquist
As recorded by The Moose Wallow Ramblers on "The Moose Wallow Ramblers" (1976) – with John Berquist, lead singer.

I been all around the world; I even been to the tropical isle
Where the native girls in long dark curls wear nothin' but a smile,
And I been across the ocean in a dugout canoe.
I flew to Ontonagon in a B-52,
And to tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.

We get summer ev'ry year for two weeks in July.
The rest of the time, it's cold and freezin'; the snow falls from the sky,
But where else in this entire nation
Can you find cheaper refrigeration?
To tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.

You can have Bemidji and the rusty dusty Range,
Babbitt and Aurora, all the way to Coleraine;
And you can have those cities,
Minneapolis and Saint Paul,
'Cause, to tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.

I got a girl in Morgan Park and one up on the Heights,
And a sweet little chickie in Fond du Lac I see on Wednesday nights,
And a big ol' mama out in Eloise(?).
Lord, she knows just what to squeeze!
And to tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.

I been all around the world; I even been to the tropical isle
Where the native girls in long dark curls wear nothin' but a smile,
And I been across the ocean in a birch-bark canoe.
I flew to Ontonagon in my B-52,
But to tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.
Yes, indeed I do!
And to tell you the truth, I like it in Duluth.

- - -
"Ontonagon" is somewhat ambiguous; he might be trying to say "Okanagan" but that's much farther away than Ontonagon—and the initial "O" is pronounced differently. (Actually, it sounds like "Onctonagon" or "Octonagon," but I am unable to locate a place that matches that pronunciation.)

I have also failed to locate any place called "Eloise" that's near Duluth.

There is another recording by Father Hennepin.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ERIN GO BRAGH
From: GUEST,Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 May 16 - 05:06 AM

No-one yet, I think has mentioned Erin Go Bragh: all about a Highlander who rocks up in Edinburgh but gets mistaken, because of his accent, for an Irishman!

See:
Ma name's Duncan Campbell fae the shire o Argyll
A've traivellt this country for mony's the mile
A've traivellt thro Irelan, Scotlan an aa
An the name A go under's bauld Erin-go-Bragh

Ae nicht in Auld Reekie A walked doun the street
Whan a saucy big polis A chanced for tae meet
He glowert in ma face an he gied me some jaw
Sayin whan cam ye owre, bauld Erin-go-Bragh?

Well, A am not a Pat tho in Irelan A've been
Nor am A a Paddy tho Irelan A've seen
But were A a Paddy, that's nothin at aa
For thair's mony's a bauld hero in Erin-go-Bragh

Well A know ye're a Pat by the cut o yer hair
Bit ye aa turn tae Scotsmen as sune as ye're here
Ye left yer ain countrie for brakin the law
An we're seizin aa stragglers fae Erin-go-Bragh

An were A a Pat an ye knew it wis true
Or wis A the devil, then whit's that tae you?
Were it no for the stick that ye haud in yer paw
A'd show ye a game played in Erin-go-Bragh

An a lump o blackthorn that A held in ma fist
Aroun his big bodie A made it tae twist
An the blude fae his napper A quickly did draw
An paid him stock-an-interest for Erin-go-Bragh

Bit the people cam roun like a flock o wild geese
Sayin catch that daft rascal he's killt the police
An for every freen A had A'm shair he had twa
It wis terrible hard times for Erin-go-Bragh

Bit A cam tae a wee boat that sails in the Forth
An A packed up ma gear an A steered for the North
Fareweill tae Auld Reekie, yer polis an aa
An the devil gang wi ye says Erin-go-Bragh

Sae come aa ye young people, whairever ye're from
A don't give a damn tae whit place ye belang
A come fae Argyll in the Heilans sae braw
Bit A ne'er took it ill bein caad Erin-go-Bragh


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: David C. Carter
Date: 20 May 16 - 06:28 AM

Summer in the city.

John Sebastian,I believe


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: mkebenn
Date: 20 May 16 - 08:08 AM

The House of the Rising Sun

Billy edd's Jackson Mike


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Ed T
Date: 20 May 16 - 08:31 AM

Likely The Streets of New York misses a few of the points, but it provides a common experience?

Streets of New York 


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Ed T
Date: 20 May 16 - 08:53 AM

Baltimore?


Baltimore 


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Roderick a warner
Date: 20 May 16 - 09:36 AM

Contrasting views: 'The Apple Stretching,' by Grace Jones.
'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City,' by Bobby 'Blue' Bland.


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Subject: Lyr Add: YORK, YORK, FOR MY MONEY
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 16 - 11:40 PM

This song was mentioned by Steve Gardham above.

From The Roxburghe Ballads, Part 1 (London: 1774), page 1 (with spelling modernized):

YORK, YORK, FOR MY MONEY

1. As I came thorough the north country,
The fashions of the world to see,
I sought for merry company,
    To go to the city of London:
And when to the city of York I came,
I found good company in the same,
As well-disposed to every game,
    As if it had been at London.

[CHORUS] York, York, for my money,
Of all the cities that ever I see,
For merry pastime and company,
    Except the city of London.

2. And in that city what saw I then?
Knights, squires, and gentlemen,
A-shooting went for matches ten,
    As if it had been at London.
And they shot for twenty pounds a bow,
Besides great cheer they did bestow,
I never saw a gallanter show,
    Except I had been at London.

3. These matches, you shall understand,
The earl of Essex took in hand,
Against the good earl of Cumberland,
    As if it had been at London.
And agreed these matches all shall be
For pastime and good company
At the city of York full merrily,
    As if it had been at London."

4. In York there dwells an alderman, which
Delights in shooting very much,
I never heard of any such
    In all the city of London.
His name is Maltby, merry and wise
At any pastime you can devise,
But in shooting all his pleasures lies;
    The like was never in London.

5. This Maltby, for the city's sake,
To shoot, himself, did undertake,
At any good match the earls would make,
    As well as they do at London.
And he brought to the field, with him,
One Speck, an archer proper and trim,
And Smith, that shoot about the pin,
    As if it had been at London.

6. Then came from Cumberland archers three,
Best bowmen in the north country,
I will tell you their names what they may be,
    Well known to the city of London.
Wamsley many a man doth know,
And Bolton, how he draweth his bow,
And Radcliffe's shooting long ago
    Well known to the city of London.

7. And the noble earl of Essex came
To the field himself, to see the same,
Which shall be had for ever in fame,
    As soon as I come at London.
For he showed himself so diligent there
To make a mark and keep it fair,
It is worthy memory to declare
    Through all the city of London.

8. And then was shooting out of cry,
The scantling at a handful nigh,
And yet the wind was very high,
    As it is sometimes at London.
They clapped the clouts so on the fags,
There was such betting and such brags,
And galloping up and down with nags,
    As if it had been at London.

9. And never an archer gave regard
To half a bow, nor half a yard,
I never see matches go more hard
    About the city of London.
For fairer play was never played,
Nor fairer lays was never laid,
And a week together they kept this trade,
    As if it had been at London.

10. The mayor of York, with his company,
Were all in the fields, I warrant ye,
To see good rule kept orderly,
    As if had been at London.
Which was a dutiful sight to see,
The mayor and alderman there to be
For the setting forth of archery,
    As well as they do at London.

11. And there was neither fault nor fray,
Nor any disorder any way,
But every man did pitch and pay,
    As if it had been at London.
As soon as every match was done,
Every man was paid that won,
And merrily up and down did run,
    As if it had been at London.

12. And never a man that went abroad
But thought his money well bestowed;
And money laid on heap and load,
    As if it had been at London.
And gentlemen there so frank and free,
As a mint at York again should be,
Like shooting did I never see,
    Except I had been at London.

13. At York were ambassadors three,
Of Russia, lords of high degree,
This shooting they desired to see,
    As if it had been at London:
And one desired to draw a bow,
The force and strength thereof to know,
And for his delight he drew it so
    As seldom seen in London.

14. And they did marvel very much
There could be any archer such,
To shoot so far the clout to touch,
    Which is no news to London.
And they might well consider than
An English shaft will kill a man,
As hath been proved where and when,
    And chronicled since in London.

15. The earl of Cumberland's archers won
Two matches clear, ere all was done,
And I made haste apace to run
    To carry these news to London;
And Wamsley did the upshot win,
With both his shafts so near the pin
You could scant have put three fingers in,
    As if it had been at London.

16. I pass not for my money it cost,
Though some I spent, and some I lost,
I wanted neither sod nor roast,
    As if it had been at London.
For there was plenty of every thing,
Red and fallow deer for a king,
I never saw so merry shooting
    Since first I came from London.

17. God save the city of York therefore,
That had such noble friends in store
And such good aldermen; send them more,
    And the like good luck at London;
For it is not little joy to see
When lords and aldermen so agree,
With such according communality,
    God send us the like at London.

18. God save the good earl of Cumberland,
His praise in golden lines shall stand,
That maintains archery through the land,
    As well as they do at London.
Whose noble mind so courteously
Acquaints himself with the communality,
To the glory of his nobility,
    I will carry the praise to London.

19. And tell the good earl of Essex thus,
As he is now young and prosperous,
To use such properties virtuous
    Deserves great praise in London:
For it is no little joy to see
When noble youths so gracious be
To give their good wills to their country,
    As well as they do at London.

20. Farewell good city of York to thee,
Tell alderman Maltby this from me.
In print shall this good shooting be
    As soon as I come at London.
And many a song will I bestow
On all the musicians that I know,
To sing the praises, where they go,
    Of the city of York in London.

21. God save our queen and keep our peace,
That our good shooting may increase;
And praying to god let us not cease,
    As well at York, as at London.
That all our country round about
May have archers good to hit the clout,
Which England cannot be without,
    No more than York and London.

22. God grant that once her majesty
Would come her city of York to see,
For the comfort great of that country,
    As well as she doth to London.
Nothing shall be thought too dear
To see her highness' person there,
With such obedient love and fear
    As ever she had in London.

[from York, by W.E. i.e. William Elderton.]


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Subject: Lyr Add: BIG CITY (Merle Haggard)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 07:17 AM

This was mentioned by gillymor above on 14 Jun 2012:

BIG CITY
As recorded by Merle Haggard on "Big City" (1981)

I'm tired of this dirty old city,
And tired of too much work and never enough play;
And I'm tired of these dirty old sidewalks.
Think I'll walk off my steady job today.

CHORUS: Turn me loose; set me free somewhere in the middle of Montana.
Give me all I've got comin' to me.
And keep your retirement and your so-called Social Security.
Big city, turn me loose and set me free.

Been workin' ev'ry day since I was twenty.
Haven't got a thing to show for anything I've done.
There's folks who never work and they've got plenty.
Think it's time some guys like me had some fun.

So—CHORUS
Hey, big city, turn me loose and set me free.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 10:23 AM

Tamaranui, Tamaranui, Taaaaamaranui on the Main Trunk Line.
Tamaranui by Peter Cape. 50/60s ish.

Tamaranui was the logical halt on the route from Wellington to Aukland, in the days when the Limited Express had no diner car. Limited referred to the fact that it only stopped in stations!

City is a rather nebulous term in NZ but if it has a population of 20,000 or a full time fire brigade - it was classed as a city.

"The Day the Pub Burned Down" mentions Wapakiwi town. Location unspecified, actual existence doubtful.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 10:51 AM

GEORGIE ON THE IRT, a parody of ENGINE 143, Georgie being a commuter on the subway loses his head in the crush;

"The very last words that Georgie cried was 'Screw the IRT".

Recorded by Dave Van Ronk, written by Lawrence Block.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: GUEST,Roger Dunant
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 03:03 PM

Dirty Old Town?


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 03:11 PM

This is about the best we can do at the moment.

'I'm City till I die, I'm City till I die,
I know I am, I feel I am, I'm City till I die.'

Sung with double gusto when the owners tried to change the name from Hull City to Hull Tigers.

We are just about to embark on our biennial visit to the Premier League.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jul 16 - 06:32 PM

Auckland. Taumaranui.

I've been to Taumaranui on the Main Trunk Line when it was still one of the more important stops (you got there in the wee small hours no matter which way you were going on the Limited). But no way was it ever a city.


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Jul 16 - 04:38 AM

I was told that Tamarunui (correct spelling, I now realise) had the largest Pharmacy in NZ because it served a large rural community also.
I guess it looses the bet on the fire brigade vote, and with a population of 4360 (down from 6540) it is not looking good for city status. Even the Rail Station was dropped from the Express Trains' schedule in 2009. Lower hut qualified and their population was 20,000 ish!
As the song says, You wind up there at Midnight and there's cinders in yer mouth. Cinders in yer mouth, mate, and cinders in yer eye
For those not familiar, the journey took 12 hours and still takes about 11. Well worth the experience, if only for the Raurimu spiral, and the narrow high bridges (in an earthquake region).


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Subject: Lyr Add: CITY BOY (Phil Ochs)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Jul 16 - 10:24 PM

This was mentioned by Rog Peek on 14 Jun 2012:

CITY BOY
As recorded by Phil Ochs on "A Toast to Those Who Are Gone" (1987)

I'm just a city boy, born and bred.
It's a city life I've led.
My pasture was a street.
I've never climbed a tree.
Ah, but that's all right with me,
'Cause I'm a city boy.

I'm just a city boy, born and raised.
From these rooftops I have gazed,
Where the grass was made of steel.
I've never plowed a field.
Till the pavement starts to peel,
I'll be a city boy.

I'm just a city boy, born and grown.
That's all I've ever known.
Where the lights would greet the dawn,
There's a factory for a farm.
Sure the city has its charm,
When you're a city boy—
When you're a city boy.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ST. JOHN'S WALTZ (Ron Hynes)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Jul 16 - 01:48 AM

Willie-O mentioned this back on 14-Jun-2012:


ST. JOHN'S WALTZ
Written by Ron Hynes
As sung by The Newman Sound Men's Choir featuring Ron Hynes, on "The Green and Salty Days" (2010)

Well, the harbour lights are gleamin' and the evenin's still and dark,
The seagulls are dreamin' seagull dreams on Amherst Rock,
And the mist is slowly driftin' as the storefront lights go dim,
And the moon is gently liftin' and the last ship's comin' in.
Ev'ry sailor's got a story; some are true; some are false,
But they're always wrecked and they're up on the deck and dancin' the St. John's Waltz.

And, we've had our share of history; we've seen nations come here and go.
We've seen battles rage over land and stage five hundred years or more,
For glory or for freedom, for country or for king,
For money or fame, but there are no names upon the graves where men lie sleepin'.
And all the nine-to-fives survive one more day with a good sigh and a good dose of salts,
You'll find them parkin' their cars, and packin' the bars, and dancin' the St. John's Waltz.

My heart is on the highway and I'm so long goin' off to sea.
All the planes fill the skyway, and the trains run swift and free.
Leave the wayward free to wander; leave the restless free to roam.
If it's rocks in the bay, if it's old cliché, you'll find your way back home.
But don't question, don't inquire what's been gained, what's been lost.
Here in a world of romance, don't miss out on the chance to be dancin' the St. John's Waltz.


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Subject: Lyr Add: PAINT ME A PICTURE (David Essig)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Jul 16 - 02:15 AM

This song was mentioned by Willie-O on 14-Jun-2012:


PAINT ME A PICTURE
As recorded by David Essig on "High Ground" (1974)

CHORUS: And I said: "Paint me a picture of the old homestead,
Of the country church out where my parents lie.
Paint me a picture of the house where we once lived,
'Cause it stands like a mansion on the hillside."

Well, I was just a farmer's son
Who left the fields like ev'ryone
Durin' that year when they finished school.
I hit the city and I looked for work
With a 4-H emblem on my shirt.
No one was gonna take me for a fool.

I won and I lost a hundred jobs.
Seems no matter what I got,
Just no kind o' work that suited me;
And before I knew it, the years had passed.
I saw my face in the window glass:
Just another wino on the street. CHORUS

One day when I was on the street,
Beggin' quarters so a boy could eat,
I just got a quart of cheap chablis.
I saw a man with a box of chalk,
Drawin' on the gray sidewalk,
And a little sign that read: "Donations, please."

Well, the old man looked up from the street.
Somethin' weird come over me.
Oh, I could swear it's someone I once knew.
As it turned out, we were high-school chums.
Now here we were: just drunken bums.
Ain't it sweet what twenty years can do? CHORUS

We went 'n' we drank that jug o' wine
An' talked about the good ol' times.
Heads were full o' booze an' memory;
And the old man said: "I gotta go,"
But I grabbed his sleeve an' whispered low:
"Before you leave, one thing please do for me." CHORUS


[Note: 2 albums originally released as LP's--"Redbird Country" (1973) and "High Ground" (1974)--have been re-released as one CD.]


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Subject: Lyr Add: I HAPPEN TO LIKE NEW YORK (Cole Porter)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Jul 16 - 02:48 AM

This song was mentioned by Max Reiner on 14 Jun 2012:


I HAPPEN TO LIKE NEW YORK
Written by Cole Porter for the musical "New Yorkers," 1930.
As recorded by Bolcom and Morris on "Night and Day: The Cole Porter Album" 1991.

I happen to like New York.
I happen to like this town.
I like the city air; I like to drink of it.
The more I know New York, the more I think of it.
I like the sight and the sound and even the stink of it.
I happen to like New York.

I like to go to Battery Park
And watch those liners booming in.
I often ask myself why should it be
That they should come so far from across the sea.
I suppose it's because they all agree with me:
They happen to like New York.

Last Sunday afternoon,
I took a trip to Hackensack,
But after I gave Hackensack the once-over,
I took the next train back.

I happen to like New York.
I happen to love this burg,
And when I have to give the world a last farewell,
And the undertaker starts to ring my fun'ral bell,
I don't want to go heaven, don't want to go to hell.
I happen to like New York.
I happen to like New York.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUST BLEW IN FROM THE WINDY CITY
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Jul 16 - 03:52 AM

MGM-Lion mentioned this on 15 Jun 2012:


JUST BLEW IN FROM THE WINDY CITY
Words by Paul Francis Webster, music by Sammy Fain.
As sung by Doris Day in the film "Calamity Jane" 1953.

I just blew in from the Windy City.
The Windy City is mighty pretty,
But they ain't got what we got, no sirree.
They've got shacks up to seven stories.
Never see any morning glories,
But a step from our doorway, we got 'em for free.

They've got those minstrel shows,
Pretty ladies in the big chapeaus,
Private lawns, public parks—
For the sake of civic virtue,
They've got fountains there that squirt you.

I just blew in from the Windy City.
The Windy City is mighty pretty,
But they ain't got what we got, I'm tellin' you, boys.
We got more life in Deadwood City than in all of Illinoise.

On the street was a dancin' feller
All dressed up in a suit of yeller,
And the dance that he did there went somethin' like this.

[dance]

You should 'a' seen me a-winder shoppin',
A-winder shoppin' with eyes a-poppin'
At the sights that you see there, yes sirree.
Press a bell and a moment later
Up you go in an elevator
Just as fast as a polecat a-climbin' a tree.

I heard claim hundreds came
To a thing they call a baseball game.
Cigar stores, revolving doors,
Men wear sideburns, and they oughter,
'Cause a haircut costs a quarter.

I just blew in from the Windy City.
The Windy City is mighty pretty,
But they ain't got what we got, I'm tellin' ya, boys.
I ain't a-swappin' half of Deadwood for the whole of Illinoise.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OH! WHAT A DIFFERENCE SINCE THE HYDRO...
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Jul 16 - 08:49 AM

Crowhugger mentioned this on 17-Jun-2012:


OH! WHAT A DIFFERENCE SINCE THE HYDRO CAME
Words and music by Claud L. Graves, ©1912.

1. Strolling though the park, strolling after dark,
While the moon is peeping o'er the hilltops,
Strolling with the girl who has a mortgage on your heart,
Who pierced it through with Cupid's little dart,
In the fragrant breeze, there beneath the trees,
Someone whispers, "Dearie, how I love you!"
Then to be a tease, her hand you gently squeeze.
Oh! what joy, what bliss, to fold her in your arms and kiss!

CHORUS: But oh! what a diff'rence since the hydro came!
Cosy little corners don't look just the same.
Ev'rywhere a light now is shining bright.
Oh, oh, oh! can't tell day from night,
And when you go a-strolling with your lady love,
Don't forget the hydro shining bright above.
You daresn't try to kiss her; the hydro is to blame.
So, oh! what a diff'rence since the hydro came!

2. Now our lovers true don't know what to do.
Seems as though their spooning days are ended.
Cosy corners of the past no longer seem a lark,
For there's no chance of spooning in the dark.
It is strange but true: ev'ryone feels blue,
And their hearts will never be contented.
Hydro light's to blame, and it just seems a shame.
Think of joys you miss; there used to be a chance to kiss. CHORUS

[I found two recordings on Spotify: by Mary Lou Fallis, on "Primadonna on a Moose" (1997) and by Russell Braun on "Le Souvenir: Canadian Songs for Parlour and Stage" (2012).]


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY NEW YORK CITY (Woody Guthrie)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Jul 16 - 04:19 PM

This was mentioned by Genie on 21 Jun 2012:


MY NEW YORK CITY
Words by Woody Guthrie
As recorded by Mike + Ruthy on "The NYC EP" (2012)

1. I am riding on this western train on this gray and rainy day.
I am looking out my window at a sight so fair to see.
I've walked and rode in rain and sun through Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens,
Seen her billion jillion faces that are New York town to me.

CHORUS: I ride my subway train from here to heaven,
Ride my ferry boat on my muddy river,
Walk our beach sand and our blades of green grass.
My New York City is the town where I found you.

2. I can see our black roof housetop shining yonder in the rain.
I can see our concrete highway running yonder in the sun,
And I see your face there a-shinin' where our kids play in the streets,
And a billion jillion windows that are New York town to me.

3. No matter where this train rolls, I look out my window glass.
Your eyes shine in my tree leaves and my billion that(?) I pass,
And I'd give my fame and fortune up to hold your hand today,
And go a billion jillion places that are New York town to me.


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Subject: Lyr Add: A MILLION MILES TO THE CITY (Tom T. Hall)
From: GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy
Date: 29 Jul 16 - 05:15 PM

A MILLION MILES TO THE CITY by Tom T. Hall.

1. Yeah, I remember it now, we were kids back then livin' down on the farm.
We were told that the city could only bring us harm.
"How far is the city?" somebody said, and "Oh, that's a great big town."
Barbara said, "Why, it's a million miles," and the story got around.

CHORUS: It's a million miles to the city
From the hills and valleys we know.
It's a million miles to the city
And someday we all want to go.

2. There was a town nearby, but a town is a town, and a city...well, that's something else.
Our daddy had been to a city but he never was much help.
"Why the buildings are taller than oak trees." Ah, but we knew better than that.
Ain't nobody could climb that high; the cities were wide and flat. CHORUS

3. Well now time has passed and we have grown and traveled far and wide.
The cities have changed the kids we were; we see it in each other's eyes.
But I'd love to go back to those hills again, to the boy I used to be,
Where the leaves and the wind and the whippoorwills were part of the land like me. CHORUS TWICE


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Subject: RE: Best 'city songs?'
From: Archivist
Date: 30 Jul 16 - 09:02 AM

Wonderful copenhagen st summer 1993

swansea town st autumn 1975


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