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Origin: Pro Patria (Cotton Noe)

GUEST,Les B 23 May 00 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Les B 23 May 00 - 09:11 PM
JamesJim 23 May 00 - 09:27 PM
Jacob B 24 May 00 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Les B 24 May 00 - 03:32 PM
Amos 24 May 00 - 04:00 PM
Amos 24 May 00 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Les B 24 May 00 - 05:40 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Dec 10 - 10:22 PM
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Subject: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 23 May 00 - 08:42 PM

While visiting an elderly aunt I ran across a song my uncle dictated to her before he died some years ago. He indicated it came from a 1933 "Whiz Bang Joke Book" and was sung to the tune of Turkey In The Straw. It's an odd, untitled, little piece and I'm wondering if it's missing a verse. It seems like a cross between Tin Pan Alley and Old Timey. Any info on this ??

Jim (or Tim?)Sams had twins and a razor back sow
Five dogs and a mule and an old roan cow
A bone spavined filly and a one-room house
And a little wrinkled mammy just as meek as a mouse

Old Jim raised tobacco and they trafficked in skins
And he had seven sons in addition to the twins
And every mother's son and the little mammy Jude
Smoked a pipe all day, and the twins both chewed

Old Jim kept a digging and he never lost heart
For the dogs hunted rabbits and caught right smart
The bone spavined filly with the mule pulled the plow
And they lived off the givens of the old road cow

Now here my story closes of this little romance
For the seven sons are sleeping in the poppy fields of France
Their daddy grows tobacco and they traffic still in skins
And the little wrinkled mammy had another set of twins

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 23 May 00 - 09:11 PM

Sorry, should be "givens of the old roan cow" !

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: JamesJim
Date: 23 May 00 - 09:27 PM

I don't know the song, but I love the words. I'll keep watching to see if anyone can help you with the lost verse. Jim

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: Jacob B
Date: 24 May 00 - 12:32 PM

I've heard of "Captain Eddie's Whiz Bang", and of how popular a book it was in it's day, but I thought it was from earlier in the century than 1933.

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 24 May 00 - 03:32 PM

Jacob B: Any idea of how old this "Whiz Bang" book might be ? It was merely noted down beside the verses. I'd never heard of the book, nor the song, and I've looked at a lot of old songs. The verse about "the poppy fields of France" is assumably referring to World War I - so the song must have been penned after 1917 or so.

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: Amos
Date: 24 May 00 - 04:00 PM

Here's some history on the magazine but haven't found the particular song:

From Paper.html:

Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, published by W. H. Fawcett. September 1922 Issue (Vol. IV No 37). The great grandfather of the National Lampoon and other humor magazines...remember the line from "Ya Got Trouble" in The Music Man - " he starting to memorize jokes from Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang?" Once considered risqué... this is a mirror of contemporary society in the Roaring Twenties. Showing signs of age (this was not printed on great paper!), but intact and in relatively good condition. REDUCED TO $35.00

And from Language of the Land Project: Literary Journals:

Wilfort H. Fawcett's readers had done their travelling with the military (in the Spanish-American War and World War I) and then returned to a farm or small town afterwards. What Fawcett (1885-1940) thought they would purchase was a different sort of magazine: small, pocket sized, crammed with jokes, short poems, stories, and later, cartoons. The motto for his Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang (1919-c.1942) was "to make it snappy" and that it most certainly was.

Fawcett mimeographed the first issues of his monthly magazine, but after a few months the printing run had risen to 350,000 copies. It was the first magazine to be launched by what later became a very successful publishing company.

The heyday for Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang, named for the sound made by an artillery shell in flight, was in the 1920's. Its novelty, the racy quality of its jokes, and its "explosion of pedigreed bunk," as its cover caption read, found a wide audience. Fawcett and his brothers soon began other magazines which were sold, like Capt Billy's Whiz Bang, on the newsstand rather than by subscription. Among the sixty-three titles originated by Fawcett Publications before World War II were Romantic Stories, True Confessions, Mechanix Illustrated and Amateur Golfer and Spokesman. The latter magazine eventually was published by Virginia Safford.

As Gary Fine pointed out in an unpublished paper (Fine 1983), Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang was the most prominent comic magazine in America during the twenties, occupying a niche similar to that held by Playboy several decades later. Meredith Willson referred to the magazine in his song "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man, a Broadway musical comedy. Citing dangers that will harm young boys, the comedy character (Professor Harold Hill) tells the mothers of River City that if they see their sons hide dime novels in the corncrib or memorize jokes from Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang, these are "tell-tale signs of corruption."

By the mid-twenties Fawcett had become a millionaire, able to indulge his interests in travel, big game hunting, and rifle shooting (he served as captain of the United States Olympic shooting team in 1924). To entertain the many celebrities he had met through the years, Fawcett built a resort on Big Pelican Lake east of Pequot Lakes, calling it Breezy Point Lodge.

When Fawcett died in 1940 Cedric Adams devoted his "In This Corner" column to the man who given him his first job as a writer. As Adams noted, Fawcett's successful career as editor, publisher and resort owner had been a colorful one and it had all begun with Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang (Minneapolis Star Journal, February 8, 1940).

And here's a sample of Captain Billy's Gossip from a 1921 edition:

H. H. Waters, scenario writer, was found clad only in a suit of pajamas, the other morning just outside the Hollywood Hotel. He was unconscious and bleeding profusely. The names of the other picture folk who attended the party have been kept under cover.

There are still a few rumbling in San Francisco regarding Arbuckle and his now famous party. The stories they tell are wonderful to listen to by way of teaching us farmers what strange means certain persons have devised to get a kick out of life. For instance, as my friend Barney Google would say, take this little "roomer": Two of the numerous members of the party decided to entertain their guests--the party was "dragging" as it were. The form of entertainment provided so I am told, was the kind few of us number among our accomplishments. Somehow or other, we have never gotten over that old- fashioned idea that certain ceremonies listed in the regular catalog or otherwise, are not for an audience. Rather, they are for occasions dedicated solely to the gods and ourselves.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The magazine did publish songs such as The Raindrop Song, found here: Doughboy Verse


The Mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,
There's a whispering of wind across the flat,
You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing
The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you just can't help a-figuring--sitting there alone--
About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,
While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit,
You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do--
And you don't take time to figure what you gain or lose--
It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
And every night she offers up a prayer,
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe--
The Mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great, big ugly war,
And her prayer is on the wind across the flat,
And don't you reckon it's her tears, and not the rain,
That's keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

One of the most famous poems composed by a World War I Doughboy, Raindrops... was written by Lt. Wickersham the night before the St. Mihiel Offensive began. The next day, after being severely wounded by artillery fire, he continued leading his platoon despite a great loss of blood. He eventually died on the battlefield, receiving the Medal of Honor for his leadership, posthumously. His poem first appeared in Captain Billy's Whiz Bang.

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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: Amos
Date: 24 May 00 - 04:14 PM

Well, here's another person's memory (Pete Collins of Kentucky) of the song, who attributes it to "a previous Poet Laureate of Kentucky by the name of J. COTTEN NOE":

Tip Sams had twins and a razor-backed sow,
Five dogs and a mule and an old roan cow,
A bone-spavined filly and a one room house
And a little wrinkled Mammy, just as meek as a mouse.
..and the rest is right over here at


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Subject: RE: Help: Looking for info on 'found' song
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 24 May 00 - 05:40 PM

Thanks Amos -- what great info and a nice new site ! This is what I love about Mudcat !!

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Subject: Lyr Add: PRO PATRIA (Cotton Noe)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Dec 10 - 10:22 PM

This poem has been included in several anthologies. This is the oldest source I could find. Only a few words are different from the version that Les B posted.

From The Poet's Pack edited by John G. Niehardt et al. (Chicago: The Bookfellows, 1921), page 101:

Cotton Noe

Tip Sams had twins
  And a razor-backed sow,
Five dogs and a mule
  And an old roan cow;
A bone-spavined filly
  And a one-room house,
And a little wrinkled woman
  Just as meek as a mouse.
Old Tip raised tobacco
  And he trafficked in skins,
For he had seven sons
  In addition to the twins,
And every mother's son,
  And the little mammy, Jude,
Smoked a pipe all day
  And the twins both chewed.
But Tip kept a-digging
  And he never lost heart,
For the dogs hunted rabbits
  And they caught a right smart;
And the bone-spavined filly
  And the mule pulled a plow,
And they lived off the givings
  Of the old roan cow,
And the acorn-fattened farrow
  Of the razor-back sow.
But here a chapter closes
  Of my little romance,
For the seven sons are sleeping
  On the battlefields of France;
But their daddy grows tobacco
  And trafficks still in skins,
And the little wrinkled mammy
  Has another pair of twins.

[Note: in some anthologies, it is given the title TIP SAMS or THE BALLAD OF TIP SAMS, or TIP SAMS OF KENTUCKY. The poem seems to have originated in Kentucky.]

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