Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song (Brecht/Weill)

DigiTrad:
WIFE OF A SOLDIER


Related threads:
Folklore: Beggars opera vs. Threepenny opera (28)
(origins) Pirate Jenny & Mack the Knife (76)
Music for Pirate Jenny (10)
Lyr Req: Wife of a Soldier (Bertolt Brecht) (25)
Chord Req: Solomon Song (Threepenny Opera) (2)
Lyr Add: Bilbao Song (Weill/Brecht/Mercer) (11)
(origins) Origins: 'from the ancient city of Prague' (9)
Anyone like Kurt Weill, Bert Brecht? (41)
Lyr Add: Youkali (Roger Fernay-Kurt Weill) (3)
Chords Req: Brecht/Weil - Ballad of Millwheel (7)
Lyr Req: Call from the Grave (Brecht/Weill) (12)
Lyr Req: Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib? (Brecht (27)
Chord Req: Mack the Knife chord formations (19)
Lyr Req: Jack the Knife? / Mack the Knife (4)


GUEST,Will Horton 19 May 00 - 01:36 PM
SeanM 19 May 00 - 02:50 PM
Pinetop Slim 19 May 00 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Will Horton 20 May 00 - 02:58 AM
Charlie Baum 21 May 00 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,Mimosa@work 23 May 00 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Will Horton 23 May 00 - 04:51 PM
Pinetop Slim 23 May 00 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Willie Horton 23 May 00 - 11:57 PM
Gary T 24 May 00 - 01:52 AM
GUEST,Mimosa@work 24 May 00 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Will Horton 24 May 00 - 11:40 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 24 May 00 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Will Horton 24 May 00 - 09:22 PM
Mad Tom 09 Feb 03 - 11:54 PM
Charley Noble 19 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM
M.Ted 19 Aug 08 - 03:37 PM
Charley Noble 19 Aug 08 - 08:10 PM
M.Ted 19 Aug 08 - 09:33 PM
Vicar 20 Aug 08 - 06:19 PM
M.Ted 21 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM
Vicar 21 Aug 08 - 07:56 PM
Charley Noble 21 Aug 08 - 09:51 PM
M.Ted 21 Aug 08 - 11:47 PM
GUEST,Tom 13 Oct 08 - 07:59 PM
M.Ted 14 Oct 08 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 14 Oct 08 - 07:28 PM
M.Ted 14 Oct 08 - 08:16 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 17 - 12:46 PM
EBarnacle 28 Dec 17 - 11:58 PM
EBarnacle 03 Jan 18 - 05:56 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Will Horton
Date: 19 May 00 - 01:36 PM

I have love this song since I first heard the Chad Mitchell Trio version, but I have never been able to figure out the chords.

Don't send the ones from the Dave Van Ronk version, they are wrong and he changes the melody to fit them. I bought the Doors songbook, but the chords there don't follow the music on their own record.

Anybody?.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: ALABAMA SONG (Kurt Weill, Berthold Brecht
From: SeanM
Date: 19 May 00 - 02:50 PM

Hokay, cursory search didn't turn up anything via supersearch, so I'll attempt to set down the lyrics from memory. Can't help you on the chords, unfortunately. This is the version from the Doors. Don't know what they changed from other versions.

ALABAMA SONG
(Brecht/Weill)

Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar,
Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why.
Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar,
Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why.
For if we don't find the next whiskey bar,
I tell you we must die, I tell you we must die
I tell you - I tell you - I tell you we must die

Oh moon, so far above us
We now must say goodbye
We've lost our good old Mamas
And now we must have whiskey or you know why!

Oh show us the way to the next little girl
Oh, don't ask why, Oh, don't ask why
Oh show us the way to the next little girl,
Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why.
For if we don't find the next little girl,
I tell you we must die, I tell you we must die
I tell you - I tell you - I tell you we must die

Oh moon, so far above us
We now must say goodbye
We've lost our good old Mamas
And now we must have whiskey or you know why!

My apologies for any errors in the above. It's been a while since I've heard the song, and I'm going off of memory from work.

Anybody got chords?

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:32 PM

Words and music by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht.

Lyrics
VERSE (*whiskey*)
Oh, show *me/us/us* the way to the next *whiskey* bar
Oh, don't ask why
*No/Oh/No*, don't ask why
For we must find *the/our/the* next *whiskey* bar
Or if we don't find *the/our/the* next *whiskey* bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you, I tell you, I tell you we must die

CHORUS (*whiskey*)
Oh, Moon of Alabama,
it's time to say good-bye
We've lost our good ol' mama,
and must have *whiskey*, oh, you know why

CHORUS (*whiskey*)

VERSE (*little dollar*)

CHORUS (*dollar*)
CHORUS (*dollar*)

VERSE (*little girl*)
CHORUS (*little girl*)

Oh, Moon of Alabama
it's time to say auf Wiedersehen
We've lost our good ol' mama
and must have little girl, oh, you know why
You know why
You know why

Trivia
Made famous by The Doors from a song originally written by Kurt Weill and performed by Lotta Lenya. Bowie added and changed various stanzas in his version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Will Horton
Date: 20 May 00 - 02:58 AM

As strange as it might seem, Brecht was the one who wrote the melody to this song. He apparently was the original Bob Dylan, complete with attitude, guitar, leather jacket, and sunglasses, and even cooler because the songs were all in German.

This song was originally written as part of a suite of about six songs that were theatrically performed in about 1923. It was very well received, and so Brecht and Weill came up with the idea of developing it into an opera.

I have a collection of original recordings of Weill's music from all the different times in his career, and there is a cut with Lotte Lenya singing in the original show. It sounds like she is singing with a chorus of Munchkins from Hell--

Only thing I don't know are the chords--somebody must know them!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 21 May 00 - 11:33 PM

Actually, while most of Brecht's songs were in German, this one was in English from the start--it was written as a parody of English-language minstrel songs. So in the middle of "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny," a work in the German language, this songs pops up in foreign language--i.e., English.

--Charlie Baum


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Mimosa@work
Date: 23 May 00 - 12:49 PM

It just happens that 1)I have lots of time at my desk, 2)I have the music to this song in my briefcase "Oh, don't ask why", and 3)I've been meaning to analyze the chords.

In 2: Cm11/ Cm11/"Oh/show us the/way to the/next***"/DM7"Oh don't ask/ why, Oh don't ask/ why"/Fm7"For we must/find the next/***,/For if/we don't find/the next ***, I"/DM7"tell you we must/die! I tell you we must/die! I/tell you, I/tell you, I tell you we must die!"Dm7//B7/

Chorus: ./G#m"Oh"/(starting here there's a steady G chord in the bass, with the treble making up the notes for chord changes)GM"Moon/of"Gmaj7" Ala/ba/ma we"/E7G"now/must say good/bye./We've/lost"C#, E7G, C#/"our good old mam/ma/and must have /*** oh you know/why Oh"GM7"Moon/of"Gmaj7" Ala/ba/ma we"/Eb7G"now/must say good"/(Bass chord changes to Gm)bye./We've/lost" Eb7G, C#/"our good old" /E7G"mam/ma"/ Adim13"and" F#7"must" Adim13"have "F#7 "have" /G13"*** oh you know"/G7"why"/GM//

The *** is where the alternate words for each verse go. In the opera, this is sung by Jenny and her "girls" and the variant words are 1)whisky bar 2) little dollar and 3)pretty boy.

American opera singers usually sing this with a German accent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Will Horton
Date: 23 May 00 - 04:51 PM

Mimosa,

Thanks for the effort, but I am sorry to report that your chords don't work. At least they don't follow the melody. I am curious to know,What music are you using?

The only sheet music version of this I can find, other than the one in "The Doors" songbook, is p.44-47 of the Kurt Weill Berlin to Broadway Songbook. This is the only song in the book without guitar chords. I think that whoever did the piano transcription (which, though I am not a pianist, looks like it is pretty awkward to play) just told them to forget about the guitar chords.

The problem, which you probably know, is that, although there is what amounts to an early music style theorbo part in the bass, which tends to be simply a half note thing that hangs on a C-G-C, there are little tone clusters that alternate on the 2 and 4 beat in the second measure, for instance, the 2 beat has C-Eb-F and the 4 beat has E-F-Ab-C. Cool sounding, to be sure, but nasty to play on the guitar, especially while trying to sing.

The Chad Mitchell Trio version had a really nice, sparse, chord progression featuring a guitar, which seemed like it could be played by one not too acrobatic person.

I think the secret of this is to find a chord progression That uses a different sort of relationship with the melody than the orchestration, which seems too dense to play on a single instrument.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 23 May 00 - 05:35 PM

My knowledge of chords is nil, but song works out on three-string dulcimer tuned E, G#, B and I 'spect any open chord would work as well. I heard Lenya sing Mack the Knife to zither accompaniment and that treatment would work on Alabama, I think. Maybe a slide guitar styling would produce a desired effect?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Willie Horton
Date: 23 May 00 - 11:57 PM

The melody to Alabama is much weirder than that of Mack the Knife--and it is harmonized really differently. The first phrase of the refrain, "Oh, Moon, of Alabama, we now must say goodbye" ends on a C#, which is a note that does not even occur in the Key of G, and normally end a melodic phrase only in the Key of F#.

I am getting closer on the chords, I believe the First section can be played with either a Cm6 or an Am7-5 for 4 measures, then an F#m6 for 4 measures (Am7-5 gives the A note on the bottom that seems to be there in the Chad Mitchell and Doors versions, though it feels a little better with the C on the bottom, which is what the music shows).

The music is very clear in showing the phrase ending on a C major chord, which seemed impossible, but I realized that I had the melody wrong, and the phrase indeed ends on a C. The change from F#m6 to C seems a little jagged though.

The Second part begins as Mimosa shows it, |G/G//Gmaj7/Gmaj7/ but then it seems to go to Em/Em/ and then it needs something with the C# in it, but a C# chord doesn't sound right--and then I am lost!!!!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Gary T
Date: 24 May 00 - 01:52 AM

Will, this is from some quick noodling on the guitar, with the tune coming from memory (haven't actually heard it in years). See if it at least gets close, or helps direct you to an elusive chord.
     Em                                           
Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar,
Dm
Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why.
Em
Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar,
Dm
Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why.
Em
For if we don't find the next whiskey bar,
Dm
I tell you we must die, I tell you we must die
D G
I tell you - I tell you - I tell you we must die
G
Oh moon, so far above us
F#
We now must say goodbye
A
We've lost our good old Mamas
D G
And now we must have whiskey or you know why!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Mimosa@work
Date: 24 May 00 - 10:59 AM

I took that from the Berlin to Broadway book. When I've done music from Mahagonny, It usually seems like even the melodic stuff is angular and dissonant. I don't even attempt to accompany myself on this, because my folk harp doesn't have that kind of chromatic capability, but I would consider a really simple version based on the bass clef along the lines of Gary T's version. It seems to me that Weill's orchestration had a prominent banjo part. I'm not sure how to get hold of it, but that might be easier to analyze and use.

Now I'm getting interested and challenged, I may have to try it out at home on the harp.

Mimosa


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Will Horton
Date: 24 May 00 - 11:40 AM

Thanks Gary--nice chords--the only thing is that it doesn't work with the melody--It is a melody that has atonal jumps in it, or at least jumps that are so complicated harmonically that your ear evens them out into something else.

The banjo part seems to correspond to that part written on the middle line of the arrangement--

The problem here is that this piece was composed by Kurt Weill, who was, at the time, one of the cutting edge composers of the twentieth century, and it uses all of those things like polyphony and polyrhythm, and dissonance and stuff like that I never even really understood---I am sitting and spending way too much time hacking away at this, and every time I feel like I have it, I go back and it isn't right--aagh!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 24 May 00 - 02:51 PM

Hi,

I submit the following chords for the Alabama Song, *they work*(!!!!)and are fairly true to the harmonies that the composer intended.

Each slash mark denotes a measure, and you might want to play two measures of A minor as an intro--there should be an eighth note feel, which for you guitarists, is simply eight downstrokes to the measure with a bit more accent on the 1-2-3-4(maybe just hit the bass note, or a least make it pop a bit more).

There are actually three parts, because the melody changes for the second time of the "Oh, moon of Alabama" part. Some people change the words the second time through, but Brecht and Weill changed the melody!

I leave it to you to fit the words, to the chords, which I have layed out so that it will be easy to know where the measures are. I suppose it is a little bit like the "Uncertainty Principle" you can either know what measure the chord is in or what word it is on, but not both. I have always loved this song, and when I have performed it (which has not been often) people have always really liked it. I have tried to teach it to various bands that I have played with, but it never worked--surprisingly, they did get the chords, but they always had a lot of trouble with that really strident beat.

I hope, when you try to sing and play this, that you just let the lyrics speak for themselves, rather than trying to make your voice sound "decadent" or strained or "German", because the melody, especially in the refrain, is very haunting.

Mimosa, I think this will sound great on your harp,

Aloha,

Ted

Chords for "The Alabama Song"

(A part: "Oh, show us, etc)
||Am/Am/F#m6/Fm#6/
Am/Am/Fm#6/F#m6/
F#m6/F#m6-F#m6-Fm6-C-(pause)D7||

(There is a two measure melody connection here, that goes: || Dadada-Dah,-Dadada-dah-Dadada-Dah-Dadada-Dah-Da Boom Dada da da|| This little bit is two measures, goes down on single notesfrom a D to B by half steps, then bounces back to D, with Dada Da Da on G)) (B part ("Oh, moon, of Alabama, etc)
(Ist time)
||G/Gmaj7/Em/C7-9
Eb7-9/Am7-5/D7/Gmaj7||
(2nd Time)
||Gmaj7/Bm7/Cmaj7/C7(9)/
Eb(G on the bottom)/C9/Am6/Gmaj7||

(Here are "easy" chords--They work, but don' t give you all the nice dissonances that you get in the first one--personally, I would recommend this, except I couldn't live without the F#m6. so I'd replace the G#7)

|Am/Am/G#7/G#7/
Am/Am/G#7/G#7/
G#7/G#7-G#7-G#7-C(pause)D7|
|Dadada-dah, Dadada-dah etc)
||G/Gmaj7/Em/Eb7/A7/Cm/D7/Gmaj7||
||Gmaj7/Bm7/Em/C7/Eb/C9/Am6/Gmaj7||


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Will Horton
Date: 24 May 00 - 09:22 PM

Thanks, I've played through it a couple of times, and it seems to work OK--I am guessing that the C7-9 and the Eb7-9 are the regular C7 chord with the C note on the B string squashed up a fret--I played it with the G in the Bass instead of the C note and it sounds really good. The Am7-5 I played is most of an Am7 with the the index finger on the fourth fret instead of the fifth (got the chords from the Online guitar chord dictionary that is listed in the FAQ)--it took a few times through to get the fingering smooth--I am not sure I got the Eb with the added G right, I am assuming that the G should be on the bottom, and that is a painful chord!!

I haven't tried the easy version yet(who needs an easy version, when we can suffer?) When I went through, the chords actually seem more like the ones that Mimosa came up with than I thought, but I guess I wasn't putting them in the right place, so Mimosa, you did a better job than I thought!!! Sorry about that!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Mad Tom
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 11:54 PM

I was Googling for Alabama Moon tonight and came across these lyrics said to be used by David Bowie (Album: Bowie Rare)
Pasted from: href="http://www.absolutelyric.com/a/view/David%20Bowie/Moon%20of%20Alabama/">http://www.absolutelyric.com/a/view/David%20Bowie/Moon%20of%20Alabama/
------------------------
ALABAMA MOON

Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar
Oh don't ask why
No don't ask why
For we must find the next whiskey bar
Or if we don't find the next whiskey bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
I must have whiskey
Oh you know why

Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
I must have whiskey
Oh you know why

Oh show us the way to the next little dollar
Oh don't ask why
No don't ask why
For we must find the next little dollar
Or if we don't find the next little dollar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
I must have dollar
Oh you know why

Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
I must have dollar
Oh you know why

Oh show us the way to the next little girl
Oh don't ask why
No don't ask why
For we must find the next little girl
Or if we don't find the next little girl
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die
Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say goodbye
We've lost our good old mama
I must have little girl
Oh you know why

Oh moon of Alabama
It's time to say auf Wiedersehen
We've lost our good old mama
I must have little girl
Oh you know why
You know why
You know why
You know why
---------------------
I've not heard this, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.

A few days ago I taped a made-for-TV documentary "Kurt Weill: Songs of September" with a great performance of Alabama Moon by four people. A woman sang one of the verses as "Oh show me the way to the next pretty boy" (or maybe "...little boy"?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM

refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 03:37 PM

Thanks for refreshing this, Charlie, I was looking for those chords a while ago in my own files and couldn't find them(I am sure that they're there, somewhere)

I just played through the chords, and they still seem to work.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 08:10 PM

M. Ted-

Happy to oblige, given that they are your chords to begin with.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 09:33 PM

Now they belong to the ages.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Vicar
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 06:19 PM

I recorded Alabama Song as a solo about three years before the Doors version came out - in its highly truncated, politically emasculated form. They dropped the most important last verse (money) and made the whole thing about SEX. The best performance of Alabama was Lotte Lenya's = she released an excellent double album on Columbia Records around 1957 - right after I had seen her perform the Three Penny Opera in NYC.

      The chording of the Trio's version was meticulously done by Paul Prestopino and David Ander, our two great accompanists. How they ever distilled it (from the operatic score) into three parts so well was a wonder to me. I recently asked Paul to repeat that feat and arrange "The Soldiers' Song" from Threepenny for the Trio. He's going to be working on it.

                                                                                           Joe Frazier
                                                                                             CMT


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM

As a young person, I was blown away by your version of "Alabama Song", and have had an interest bordering on obsession in Brecht and Weill ever since, so thank you for changing my life!

And yes, I loved their arrangement--and try as I might, I never figured out the chords(no one else could, either, including all of the pop/folk/rock people who have recorded since)--I finally bought the piano score, and discovered that the problem was that I never had the melody right!

Anyway, I am eager to hear "The Soldier Song"--it's a song that needs to be done, and I'm surprised that no one has done it before---


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Vicar
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 07:56 PM

I've been wanting the CMT to do the Soldier Song from Threepenny for years. Now that we're back doing concerts - many of which are recent repeats for some people - we need some new material to replace some of   our standards such as "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya".
The Soldier Song, you might recall is sung by three old veterans (how Appropriate!

"Johnny joined up and Jimmy was there and George got a sergeants rating
Don't give your right name - the army don't care - and life is so fascinating!

Let's all go barmy, live off the army, see the world we never saw
If we get feelin down, we wander into town
and if the population should greet us with indignation
We'll chop'm to bits because we like our hamburgers raw!

Johnny drank up til his gut caved in - and jimmy did not drink tea
And George replied with a right to the chin for the army is just a pink tea

Let's all go barmy......

Johnny is missing, Jimmy is dead - and George went crazy shooting
But blood is blood and red is red - AND THE ARMY IS STILL RECRUITING! (drumroll)

Let's all go barmy.....

To quote Bruce Murdoch - "Songs such as these shouldn't have to be sung!"

Tell me more about your love of Brecht/Weill and why they were (are) so important to the Struggle we're still engaged in. The attraction is mutual.

                                                                                                                Joe Frazier


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 09:51 PM

Vicar-

Check the other thread titled "Pirate Jenny and Mack the Knife."

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 11:47 PM

Having grown up in a rust belt city, I was always aware of social and economic divisions, as well as social hypocrisy that kept them in place. And I could see the ways that popular culture was used to keep people from seeing what the system was.

So when I first heard, "Show us the way to the next little dollar, Oh, don't ask why", especially insinuated with the twisted chopsticks melody, I was already a believer. I think that next, I came a cross a copy of Will Holt and Marta Schlamme's "A Kurt Weill Cabaret", which is where I learned about Brecht and Weill and the body of work that that song was drawn from.

I read Threepenny after that, and found the album, and over the years listened to and read what I could. I wasn't anywhere near New York, so even when things were done, I wasn't able to see them (the exceptions, the 1981 Lincoln Center broadcast of "Mahagonny", which for me, was like hitting a jackpot at the casinos, and the American Film Theatre Series, which did both Galileo and Lost in the Stars!))-- It wasn't like now, when you can find anything you want in seconds on the internet.

At any rate, I am a social justice person, and have a history of confronting those that conspicuous violate human decency, so my fighting spirit is always renewed when I find books, albums, the odd video, and more recently, the occasional production of the works of the masters--

I happened to be in London when the Threadneedle Street Theatre did the re-creation of "Happy End"--I knew only the songs in German, from Lenya's recording, plus a couple from Kurt Weill Cabaret, and I almost stood on my chair when I heard them sing, "God Bless Rockefeller, God Bless Henry Ford" in English--I wish I'd known about that one years ago!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 13 Oct 08 - 07:59 PM

Thanks for that everyone. Now heres a question..does anyone know the chords and lyrics to call from the grave? I have a mere tape copy of the tribute album but I've worn out that copy..lol..and I can pull off the melody on my guitar I can never quite get the right chords and I certainly can't get the lyrics.

any1?
See Call from the Grave (click) thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 12:25 AM

Start a separate thread--that way you request will be out there where everyone can see it--chances are better than someone from the wider community who has the chords will know that you're looking, only a couple of people will likely open this thread again.

That said--I haven't got time to do it now, it's late, and I have to get up early, but the lyrics are on the web--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 07:28 PM

That's not the translation of the Soldier's Song that I know. Robyn Archer sings it as "Cannon Song" on "Cabaret Songs" and I think the translation is truer to the original.

The chorus starts

The troops live under the cannon's thunder (Soldaten wohnen be die Kannonen).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 08:16 PM

There are often disagreements about what is an appropriate translation--the lyrics above are from the Mark Blitzstein translation--Weill requested that Blitzstein translate TPO before he died, and Lenya worked with him to some degree. The show had been translated into english in 1933, but was not well received-- the Blitzstein lyrics are the ones that audiences embraced, and the ones that are widely known.

The words could flow more freely, and some of the German language isn't effective street vernacular if translated directly, so some of the imagery was changed a bit. Lines like" the army is just a pink tea" don't strike contemporary audiences as being particularly powerful-but some of the other lines, like "Johnny's missing, Jimmy is dead, andGeorge went crazy shooting, but blood is blood and red is red and the army is still recruiting" couldn't be better.

You pays your money, as the say. I'll have to check out the Robyn Archer version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song (Brecht/Weill)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 12:46 PM

Try this:
ALABAMA SONG (Bowie version)

F7/C
Oh, show me the way
to the next whiskey bar

Cdim/C-B-C   
Oh, don't ask why

Cdim/C-B-C    F#m7/C#
No, don't ask why

F7/C
For we must find
next whiskey bar
Or if we don't find the next whiskey bar


Cdim/C-B-C    F#m7/C#
I tell you we must die

Cdim/C-B-C    F#m7/C#
I tell you we must die

Cdim/C-B-C
I tell you
I tell you       F#m7/C#    D    Ddim
I tell you we must die

    G          G maj
Oh, Moon of Alabama
    Em          Edim
It's time to say goodbye
       A
We've lost
             Cm
our good ol' mama
D
I must have whiskey
             Em
Oh, you know why
    G          G maj
Oh, Moon of Alabama
      Em             Edim
It's time to say goodbye
      Ebdim
We've lost
             Em
our good ol' mama
D
I must have whiskey
             G6
Oh, you know why

Do not confuse this version (which is the Weill/Brecht version) and NOT The Doors. When I hear Bowie play his version (which pretty closely follow Weill), he doesn't chordifie the chorus but spread out the tones on the different instruments. So the chorus, if you you wanna stay close to the original version, still poses a real challenge.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song (Brecht/Weill)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 28 Dec 17 - 11:58 PM

I had the pleasure of chatting with Paul Prestopino today about this song and his part in it. He says they worked from the original Brecht/Weill words and music but never wrote down their actual arrangement. Hearing about this discussion, however, he has said that he will attempt to recreate the arrangement for posting here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Alabama Song (Brecht/Weill)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 05:56 PM

I heard from Paul today. Here's his response:

I’ve been going through the Kurt Weill Alabama Song in my head, and not coming up with anything useful as regards chording.    My suggestion is that your friends (or whoever it was who was trying to play this song) do what Jacob Ander and I did, and consult the original score for ideas on how to play it.    Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but Kurt Weill music is quirky and unique……


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 August 3:06 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.