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Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing (MacDonald

DigiTrad:
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM EATING?
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM PURRING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING?
YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM SINGING


Related threads:
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep from Purring? (Wellings) (38)
Copyright - Doris Plenn's verse-Keep from Singing (10)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep from Fishing? (7)
My life flows on with endless song (4)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep From Singing - more verses (21)
(origins) song history - How Can I Keep From Singing (52)
Lyr Add: How Can I Keep From Drinking? (parody) (6)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep From Singing (7)
(origins) How can I keep from Singing (32)
Lyr Add: How Can I Keep from Moving? (26)


Auxiris 06 Dec 99 - 05:03 AM
Liz the Squeak 06 Dec 99 - 05:27 AM
06 Dec 99 - 05:51 AM
Auxiris 06 Dec 99 - 09:28 AM
Jeri 06 Dec 99 - 10:28 AM
Sandy Paton 06 Dec 99 - 03:14 PM
Auxiris 07 Dec 99 - 03:59 AM
harpgirl 07 Dec 99 - 08:56 AM
Sandy Paton 07 Dec 99 - 01:22 PM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 99 - 08:20 PM
Sandy Paton 07 Dec 99 - 10:07 PM
Mary in Kentucky 07 Dec 99 - 10:14 PM
Auxiris 08 Dec 99 - 04:21 AM
Sandy Paton 08 Dec 99 - 12:12 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Dec 99 - 12:21 PM
WyoWoman 08 Dec 99 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,celtaddict 18 Apr 03 - 03:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 03 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 08 Jul 05 - 12:06 PM
Snuffy 08 Jul 05 - 08:53 PM
Ron Davies 15 Jun 08 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,Jim Coon 10 Jan 10 - 07:01 PM
Charley Noble 11 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM SINGING (MacDonald
From: Auxiris
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 05:03 AM

I had sent the text of the following song to the people who take care of this site about three years ago, but I think it got lost in the shuffle. The author had already kindly given permission for its inclusion, so I am sending it directly:

YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM SINGING
Lyrics, Gordon MacDonald, Jr. Tune: How Can I Keep From Singing?

My life flows on, but something's wrong--I'm caught in consternation;
Whenever I begin to sing there's rising agitation.
My singing voice was not my choice, Fate brought it sweetly winging,
Since Fate's to blame, I now proclaim: you can't keep me from singing!

My voice is hoarse, but then, of course, a sweet smooth voice is boring.
And if a song be sad or long, I pep it up by roaring!
To sing on pitch is something which was not in my upbringing;
To sing off-key sounds fine to me, you can't keep me from singing!

If I sing just right I can incite a peaceful group to riot
Or offer me a handsome fee if only I'll be quiet!
But I don't bargain with a mob, though tar and feathers they're bringing,
Put down that noose and turn me loose you can't keep me from singing!

The birds have fled my neighborhood, their tiny eardrums shattered;
My neighbours, too, have said, "Adieu!", but it hasn't really mattered.
My daily mail brings threats of death and curses coarse and stinging,
I heed them not they're a tin-eared lot and they can't keep me from singing!

Each living thing its song must sing, life sings to life in chorus;
Our song brings courage when we do not know what lies before us.
Our songs of freedom, love and hope down through the ages ringing--
Cold Death defy and that is why you can't keep me from singing!

(Dedicated to those of us who cannot sing but do anyway.)
^^
©1779. No rights reserved. Lyrics may be reproduced on the side of a building, on novelty toilet paper or on any reasonably flat surface in between without compensation to the author; just sing the bloody song and get on with it. Not responsible for


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 05:27 AM

Absolutely fabulous, if only I could remember how the beginning of the tune went, and the middle, and could work the blue clicky I'd be home and well, singing!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From:
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 05:51 AM

copyright 1779?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Auxiris
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 09:28 AM

Yes, 1779; I know it's odd, but Gordon told me, "Any old date will do, since I don't mind who sings it". Liz, I'm sorry I don't know exactly where you can hear the tune; perhaps someone else who sees this will have an idea. I only know that the original tune (How Can I keep From Singing) is a Quaker hymn. Too bad I can't just ring you and sing the tune to you over the phone!

best, Auxiris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 10:28 AM

The original song is HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING. There's a blue "click to play" thingie down at the bottom.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 03:14 PM

Sorry to shatter a popular myth, but this isn't a Quaker hymn after all. The myth arose out of a misunderstanding. The hymn appears in a number of standard hymnals, but without the defiant last verse. Pete Seeger learned the song from Doris Troutman Plenn, who lived, until her death a few years ago, here in Sharon, CT, where we got to know her. (We also live in Sharon.) Although Doris was reluctant to talk about it, we all know that she wrote the "Tyrants tramble" verse with the glorious final lines:

In prison cell and dungeon vile,
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

This reference to "friends" brought about the misunderstanding. Quaker meetings, I'm told, are traditionally silent.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Auxiris
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 03:59 AM

Well, it was a pretty myth, while it lasted. I should think that Quakers would be proud to have such a song attributed to them! Thanks very much for the info, Sandy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: harpgirl
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 08:56 AM

...Sandy, I'm sure tyrants are supposed to "tremble"!!!love and kisses...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 01:22 PM

They ought to, even when I'm typing them up. But Joe Offer only fixed the one big typo for me. I forgot to mention the "trambling" to him. Still, one out of two ain't bad.

Sandy (world's worst proof-reader)


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Subject: Quaker hymns
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 08:20 PM

Darn! Sandy's going to fire me from my proofreading job. I'm the one who's supposed to make him appear to be perfect....
I guess I have to point out another error made by the estimable Mr. Paton. Traditional Quaker meetings begin in silence, but people speak when they are inspired to say something. Interesting concept - don't say something until you have something to say. Hymn-singing is not usually a part of a traditional Quaker meeting, but some meetings have singing sessions before the actual meeting begins. Click for interesting stuff.
My friend Claudia has a Quaker hymnal, which has mostly hymns that come from the U.S. "folk scare" tradition. Of course, it has Sydney Carter's song about George Fox, and a couple of other Carter songs. As I recall, it does not have any songs that you would actually call "Quaker" songs. I believe it also has "How Can I Keep from Singing."
Other Quakers meet in congregations, just like most other churches - they have songs and sermons and all the usual stuff.
-Joe Offer, feeling guilty about proving Sandy wrong-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 10:07 PM

Doris Plenn was not a Quaker. She learned the hymn she later re-wrote as an Episcopalian. You will note that I hedged my bets in my earlier post by saying "I'm told" that Quaker meetings are traditionally silent (until someone is moved to speak, that is). The contemporary songs recently compiled into a modern Quaker "hymnal" (including the Sydney Carter contributions) would be likely to include "How Can I Keep from Singing" as a powerful song popularized by contemporary "folk" singers, along with similar songs of "spirit" and social awareness. To call it "a Quaker hymn" is to suggest that the later "adoption of an adaptation" by a group replaces the actual origin, which it surely does not. Boy, I must have made my position as clear as mud, as my mother used to say.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 10:14 PM

...beware, thread creep ahead:

"How Can I Keep From Singing" is the title of Pete Seeger's autobiography.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Auxiris
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 04:21 AM

I'm beginning to feel as if I might have made an enormous gaff in submitting this parody of an admittedly glorious song, though I find Gordon's parody version, dedicated as he says, "to those of us who cannot sing but do anyway" to be splendid in its own way. I also find that the last verse:

Each living thing its song must sing, life sings to life in chorus; Our song brings courage when we do not know what lies before us. Our songs of freedom, love and hope down through the ages ringing-- Cold Death defy and that is why you can't keep me from singing!

is indeed very much in the spirit of the original song.

cheers, Auxiris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 12:12 PM

Hey, I loved the parody, and I agree with you about the last verse. Shucks, I think Doris Plenn (she's the woman who taught the song to Pete Seeger) would have liked it, too.

I think what I was trying to get across in my earlier post could be illustrated by this: when I was singing with a group of German acquaintances, they all knew "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," but that doesn't make it a "German hymn," does it?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 12:21 PM

We have two other parodies of the hymn already. Check 'em out-- search for HOWCANI*


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: WyoWoman
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 01:19 PM

I laughed loudly at the parody and sent it to the friend who taught me the original "How Can I Keep from Singing," which we both agree is one of our favorite songs. (She's my favorite duet partner.)

I hope we never get too serious and self-important to appreciate a good parody.

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: GUEST,celtaddict
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:53 PM

If a parody "damages" a song, or a person, that song or person no doubt deserved it.
"How Can I Keep from Singing" is a magnificent song, and strong enough for any number of parodies. And we "leather-headed songsters" need a positive anthem of our own! The gentle bane of my existence has been to be born with a love of the song and the voice of an audience.
I heard this first at a mighty sing on the Burren and was exultant to find it at the 'Cat!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:18 PM

That's a lovely parody. And one thing it's gotbtta parodies often dont - it'd still be a great song, and funny song, if you didn't know it was a parodynand had never heard the original.

And the last verse would be an excellent extra verse for the original.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 08 Jul 05 - 12:06 PM

Surely, for the sake of the rhyme, that should be "The daily mail brings threats of *jail*".

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: You're never too old to do something stupid. :||


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Jul 05 - 08:53 PM

I (ab-)use various other tunes in performing this: for verses 1, 2 and 5 I use approximately the "real" tune; for v3 I use Row On followed by Watching the White Wheat/Bugeilo'r Gwenith Gwyn; and verse 4 starts with the tune of Linden Lea followed by When All Men Sing, with "you'll not keep me from singing" reverting back to the "real" tune in each case.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Ron Davies
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 08:35 PM

It is a wonderful song--a parody which can easily stand with the original, as Kevin has pointed out.   And perfect for our gathering last night celebrating the life of Dick Rodgers. Several people asked me who had written it. It's good to know who it is. Does anybody know anything else about Gordon McDonald. Is he a Scot? Has he written other songs? If anybody wanted to get in touch with him--though I gather it wouldn't be necessary for the purposes of publishing this song--how could that be done?

I think somebody wants to use it as a heading for an article about Dick Rodgers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing (MacDonald
From: GUEST,Jim Coon
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 07:01 PM

Gordan McDonald, the author of the parody, lives in Detroit Michigan where sometimes attends the Detroit FOlklore Society and some times the Paint Creek Folklore Society. I have heard him perform this song many times and it is always a hit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing (MacDonald
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

What "keys" does he sing it in?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, resident in Brooklyn this week


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