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Lyr Req: Are They Going to Hang My Papa?

Rapparee 23 Aug 16 - 12:53 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 16 - 05:55 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 16 - 08:59 PM
Rapparee 23 Aug 16 - 09:13 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 16 - 11:19 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 16 - 01:20 AM
Rapparee 24 Aug 16 - 09:00 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 12:53 PM

Back in 1907 or so, Idaho tried Big Bill Haywood and others for blowing up Frank Stauenberg, an ex-governor. The trial brought in big name lawyers, like Clarence Darrow. Haywood and crew were eventually found not guilty (a guy named Harry Orchard made the bomb).

Anyway, I learned of a song associated with the Haywood trial called Are They Going to Hang My Poppa? I understand that the sheet music is very scarce and I can't find the lyrics on the Web.

Can you?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 05:55 PM

The lyrics were apparently printed in a book called "Sagebrush Post Offices: A History of the Owyhee Country" by Mildretta Hamilton Adams (Pocatello: Idaho State University Press, 1986), on page 116.

Since the book is still under copyright, complete images aren't viewable online; Google only gives you "snippets." But WorldCat.org might show you where you can find it in a library near you, if you enter your Zip Code.

The snippet tells me that the poem is attributed to "Owen Spendthrift."

I might be able to pull together some lyrics, but I don't have time right now.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ARE THEY GOING TO HANG MY PAPA?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 08:59 PM

ARE THEY GOING TO HANG MY PAPA?
By "Owen Spendthrift"

"Comrades, can you tell me what flag it is that waves—"
The speaker thus addressed a motley crowd—
"Where law protects the millionaire, to be obeyed by slaves?"
Rose a murmur then in chorus long and loud.
The meeting was assembled; the miners were all there.
Many protest resolutions had been read.
Through that tempest of confusion came a child with golden hair,
And, sobbing, thus so pleadingly she said:

CHORUS. "Are they going to hang my papa? He's innocent, I know.
He never could do any wrong, he is so good and true.
It surely will kill dear mamma, and break my heart in two.
Are they going to hang my papa?" pleads this babe with eyes of blue.

Tearful with emotion he raised one bony hand
O'er the pleading child, the speaker gaunt and tall,
So silent In his movement, like a spirit in command,
Till the calm of death spread o'er that crowded hall.
"Arouse, ye slaves! Awaken! What will your answer be?
Are we union men to suffer every wrong?
If they murder honest Haywood, they will have to murder me!" —
Then rang a voice above that mighty throng: (Chorus)

The words were also published in:

The Labor World, Duluth, Minn., Saturday, May 18, 1907, page 4.

The Washington Post, Washington, DC, Tuesday, April 30, 1907, page 4.


There is some interesting information in:

A blog called Idaho Meanderings

Annotated Bibliography of Early Idaho Songs

A research paper called Treemonisha, or Der Freischütz Upside Down: A Musical Ancestry Quest by Marcello Piras, in "Current Research in Jazz."

The last paper says that "Owen Spendthrift" was the nom de plume of Frederick Forrest Berry, a poet, writer, and pamphletist from St. Louis, MO. He apparently had a connection to Scott Joplin, having written lyrics to go with a tune Joplin composed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 09:13 PM

Thank you! I spent several hours before asking and would have spent more but I'm hobbled up with a knee replacement just now. I can get the lyrics from the places cited and when I do I'll put them here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 11:19 PM

Rapparee: I already posted the lyrics. I believe they are complete.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 16 - 01:20 AM

Jim Dixon strikes again. Gee, Jim, you sure are good at this.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Are they going to hang my poppa?
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 Aug 16 - 09:00 AM

Sorry, Jim. I'm on some WHEEEEEEEEEEEE! meds and they sometimes affect my otherwise razor-sharp reasoning.

Again, thank you.


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