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Mighty Day (the Galveston one)

DigiTrad:
GALVESTON FLOOD
MIGHTY DAY
WASN'T THAT A MIGHTY STORM


Related threads:
ADD: Wasn't That a Mighty Day When the Needle... (21)
Lyr Req/Add: Wasn't That a Mighty Storm (10)
happy? - Sept 8 (A Mighty Storm) (2)
Lyr Add: Wasn't That a Mighty Day (spiritual) (9)
Galveston Flood (10)
Galveston Flood origins? (8)
Lyr Req: Wasn't That a Mighty Storm (3)


Mrrzy 11 Jun 15 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Gerry 11 Jun 15 - 08:03 PM
Don Firth 11 Jun 15 - 08:38 PM
Deckman 11 Jun 15 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,# 11 Jun 15 - 11:11 PM
Mrrzy 12 Jun 15 - 09:34 PM
BrooklynJay 12 Jun 15 - 10:41 PM
Deckman 12 Jun 15 - 10:43 PM
Don Firth 13 Jun 15 - 04:53 PM
Deckman 13 Jun 15 - 06:08 PM
Mrrzy 13 Jun 15 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 06:36 PM

Hi y'all, Slate has this interesting article about the 1900 Galveston flood that inspired the song about the Galveston flood called Wasn't It A Mighty Day that I had growing up on Bob Gibson's Offbeat Folksongs.

The lyrics are in the trad, but not the Gibson version.

There is no thread named for this song in particular, so I started this one.

There is a thread about a negro spiritual called Mighty Day in which I make a comment about the Galveston song that shows it was before somebody here reminded me about Bob Gibson's Offbeat Folksongs.

There is also a thread about an apparent parody about the mighty day a Needle Hit The Ground.

Bob Gibson's lyrics, as I remember them without relistening to the song (hey, I did a bunch of helful html), are as follows:

MIGHTY DAY

I remember one September,
When storm winds swept the town;
Women and children was dying, god,
And death was all around.

cho: Wasn't that a mighty day,
A mighty day
A mighty day,
Great God, that morning
When the storm winds swept the town!

There was a sea-wall there in Galveston
To keep the waters down,
But the high tide from the ocean, Lord,
Put water in the town. (cho)

The trumpets gave them warning,
"You'd better leave this place!"
But they never meant to leave their homes
Till death was in their face. (cho)

The seas began to rolling,
The ships they could not land;
I heard a Captain crying,
"God, please save this drowning land!" (cho)

The waters, like some river,
Came rushing to and fro;
I saw my father drowning, God,
And I watched my mother go! (cho)


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 08:03 PM

It's not clear what you want this thread to do.

The Chad Mitchell Trio recorded Mighty Day. I think they used more-or-less the same words and tune as Bob Gibson used.

Tom Rush recorded it with many of the same words, but a different tune, and a chorus: Wasn't that a mighty storm/Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning/Wasn't that a mighty storm/Blew all the people all away.


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 08:38 PM

The "Needle" version of "A Mighty Day" was written by Mike and Maggie Molosso, who sang at a Seattle coffeehouse in downtown Seattle called "92 Yesler" (which, strangely enough, was the address of the coffeehouse) during the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. The Needle referred to was the Space Needle, built just before 1962 on the fairgrounds, leaving Seattle with an icon of the city—sort of Seattle's answer to the Eiffel Tower.   Some 605 feet tall, it features observation decks and a restaurant at the top that slowly rotates once an hour, giving diners a 180 degree view of the city, the surrounding mountains, and Puget Sound. Info and pictures HERE.

The song, "A Might Day When the Needle Hit the Ground" dealt with the catastrophe that occurred (purely fictional) when a young lady was running about naked in her apartment on Queen Anne Hill (which you can see—the hill, not the young lady—in the background of the first picture in the article I linked to). Someone on the observation deck of the Space Needle spots her, calls everyone's attention to her, and they all rush to one side of the deck to get a look at her. This overbalances the top of the Space Needle, which topples off, "rolled down Denny Way (which runs along one side of the fairgrounds), cut the viaduct in half, and landed In the bay!" Geographically impossible, but it makes a good story. Couldn't happen, of course, because the Space Needle, constructed to withstand high winds, not to mention the occasional earthquake, is a lot sturdier than that!

Mike and Maggie got a lot of requests for the song during the fair.

A whole lot more than you wanted to know.

I learned the song from Bob Gibson's record—the Galveston version, that is. I sang it a fair amount, especially around the time that Galveston got hit by a similar hurricane in the early 1960s, but with weather satellites and all, there was plenty of advanced warning and they made it through without much damage or loss of life.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Deckman
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 08:48 PM

Don ... I remain in close touch with Maggie. The original recording of that song: "A Mighty Day When The Needle Ht The Ground" still exists. I'm aware that efforts to resolve copywrite issues are being made. Hopefully, in time, this magnificant song that so captured Seattle in 1962 will again become available. CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 11 Jun 15 - 11:11 PM

http://www.jamesdurst.com/lyrics/interunknown/mightyday.htm

Just parking that here until Gerry's 'question' is answered.


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Jun 15 - 09:34 PM

No such thing as more info than I wanted - I thought the thread might garner such nuggets. I also thought people might enjoy reading a new article about an old song - Perhaps I should have titled it Origins?


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 12 Jun 15 - 10:41 PM

The Chad Mitchell Trio did record this song, but their lyrics were a bit different:

Mighty Day

I remember down in Galveston,
When storm winds swept the town,
The high tides from the ocean, Lord,
Put water all around.

Chorus:
Wasn't that a mighty day (a mighty day),
A mighty day (a mighty day),
A mighty day, great God that morning
When the storm winds swept the town.

The winds began to blowin'.
The rains began to fall.
The lightnin' shafts were cracklin', Lord,
And thunder started to roll.

(Chorus)

The trumpets warned the people,
You'd better leave this place.
But they never meant to leave their homes
'Til death was in their face.

The seas began to rollin'.
The ships they could not land,
I heard a captain crying, God,
"Please save a drownin' man."

(Chorus)

The trains they all were loaded
With people leavin' town,
The tracks gave way to the ocean, Lord,
And the trains they went on down.

The waters like some river,
They went a-rushin' to and fro.
I saw my father drownin', Lord,
And I watched my mother go.

(Chorus)

Now death your hands are icy,
You've got them on my knee.
You took away my mother,
Now you're comin' after me.

(Chorus 2X)


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Deckman
Date: 12 Jun 15 - 10:43 PM

Mitzy ... I so appreciate you starting this thread. My reasons are personal and all go back to Bob Gibson. I first met him in about 57 or 58 when he hit Seattle witha brand new banjo and the three chords he knew. He was a very powerful person and I was one of many that fell under his influence for a while. Buddy Don Firth and I ended up in Sausilito, Ca., in 59, about the same tine that Gibson hit the "Anchor Steam House." For a while, we all hung out there together ... great times.

Back to Galveston Flood ... I've not ever heard a better version that what Gibosn did with this song. The power and drive still stirs me.

Who was it that just recently said: "No one would remember that there was a flood in Galveston ... except for the song? Perhaps it was Lomax? ... I dunno.

Again ... thanks for this thread. CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Jun 15 - 04:53 PM

Fall 1959. So Bob and I are sitting there in the big back room of the "No Name Tavern" in Sausalito (the place didn't have a sign other than the big "Anchor Steam Beer" ad painted on the side of the building), drinking a tall and foamy and waiting for whatever weird thing was going to manifest itself by way of entertainment that evening when in walks Bob Gibson! We didn't even know he was in town—and he remembered us from when we all met when he came to Seattle to do a concert in 1958. He and Dick Rosmini (awesome guitarist!!) hung around Seattle for a couple of weeks and jammed with us local dudes—they stayed on Walt Robertson's houseboat while they were here.

A note about the "No Name Tavern:" we saw some weird(!!!) and wonderful stuff there, notably several performances each by Harry the Hipster ("Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?") and Lord Richard Buckley ("hip-semantics" renditions of Shakespeare ["Willie the Shake"], Edgar Allen Poe ["The Bug Bird" (The Raven)], Bible stories ["The Naz"], and many others).

So we're sitting there waiting for whatever weirdness is going to manifest itself that evening when in walks Bob Gibson, who spotted us and came over and joined us. We didn't even know he was in town. He had come to San Francisco mainly to coach two new "folk comedians" were just starting out—the Smothers Brothers. We had just seen them in what was probably their first professional gig—at the Purple Onion.

We sat there guzzling a few beers and chatting. Gibson mentioned that he had just come from the Newport Folk Festival. He mentioned that there was a new girl folk singer who had manifested herself at the festival who was absolutely fantastic, and that we'd be hearing a lot about her in the future. Prophetic words! The girl singer turned out to be Joan Baez.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Jun 15 - 06:08 PM

YES DON ... thanks for the memories. I was asked, not too long ago, to give an example of how, when, or where a folksong ever changed anything? And that question was followed with another: Are folksongs still relevent today? (this happened to be a live radio interview).

I quickly gave two examples. One was "Wasn't That A Mighty Day", as sung by Bob Gibson. The other was Ewin McCall's (sp?) "Go Down You Murders, Go Down."

I've always found it most interesting that "folksongs", being a very personal and intimate kind of expression, are often most closely associated with those singers who popularized them ... as in Bob Gibson's verision of "Mighty Day." For years, none of us would ever think of singing Walt Robertson's version of "Wandering." That was HIS SONG!

And yet these wonderful tales, as told through these wonderful songs, continue to live on and on and on.

I'm amazed that the politicans have not yet become aware of this material and figured out a way to either tax it or deny it! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Mighty Day (the Galveston one)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Jun 15 - 08:49 PM

Cool beans!

-Mrrzy


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