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Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)

Len 03 Nov 97 - 08:33 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Nov 97 - 08:59 PM
Mug44 03 Nov 97 - 09:14 PM
Dale Rose 03 Nov 97 - 10:02 PM
Mug44 04 Nov 97 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,salnral@aol.com 30 Dec 00 - 04:03 PM
Dale Rose 30 Dec 00 - 04:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Dec 00 - 04:52 PM
Dale Rose 30 Dec 00 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Arkie 31 Dec 00 - 01:36 AM
GUEST,nosweatsoap@yahoo.com 19 Jun 01 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,nosweatsoap@yahoo 19 Jun 01 - 09:24 PM
toadfrog 19 Jun 01 - 09:53 PM
Snuffy 20 Jun 01 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Verne Garrison 02 Apr 05 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,VH 20 Jul 06 - 11:05 PM
Scoville 21 Jul 06 - 09:39 AM
Scoville 21 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Jul 06 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Dale 21 Jul 06 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,atyn 11 Aug 06 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,JP 19 Aug 06 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,John Alcorn 28 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Sep 06 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,EJK 06 Oct 06 - 09:08 PM
Joe_F 06 Oct 06 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,Guest, Susie 03 Nov 06 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,jonny 28 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Jonny 21 Feb 07 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Susie 10 Mar 07 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Carol cooley 23 Mar 07 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Ann Mason 28 Mar 07 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,Guest, anonymous 19 Apr 07 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,Anonymous 19 Apr 07 - 02:06 AM
GUEST,Carolyn 14 Jun 07 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,Bully 04 Oct 07 - 09:39 PM
Arkie 05 Oct 07 - 07:31 PM
Charley Noble 05 Oct 07 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,Chuck Ford 25 Mar 08 - 05:59 PM
Arkie 25 Mar 08 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Kelly B 18 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 08 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,kathy 07 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM
Bullseye Music 05 Nov 08 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,guest: kelly in ca. 31 Dec 08 - 01:30 AM
GUEST 09 Apr 09 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 09 Apr 09 - 06:19 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Apr 09 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Dean Durrant 05 May 09 - 12:04 AM
GUEST,eric 26 Feb 10 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Glenn 28 Apr 10 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 01 Jan 11 - 11:38 PM
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Subject: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Len
Date: 03 Nov 97 - 08:33 PM

I think this song was recorded in the 50's by Phil Harris


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Nov 97 - 08:59 PM

If what you're looking for is The Preacher and the Bear, we had a discussion of the song a while ago. Go up to the top of this page, click on Forum Search, and search for Preacher or for Bear.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Mug44
Date: 03 Nov 97 - 09:14 PM

Thanks for the response. I have heard "The Preacher and the Bear" but that is not the song I am looking for. The song I want starts off as follows...

Elmer Jones arose at dawn Put his hunting britches on Then looked up at his shot-gun on the wall.

It was a record that my parents had on 78 rpm. when I was very young.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ELMER AND THE BEAR
From: Dale Rose
Date: 03 Nov 97 - 10:02 PM

Yes, it is a totally different song. It is frequently done in this area. It is done in more or less talking blues style, so I will not attempt to put it in verses, just narrative.

Now Elmer Jones woke at dawn,
Put his huntin' britches on,
Looked up at the shotgun on the wall.
He decided then and there
To bag himself a hunk of bear
And hang that old bear's hide upon the wall.

Now he ate his breakfast, slopped the hogs,
Kissed his wife, called the dogs,
Picked up his gun and started on his quest.
He crossed the crick and hit the trees,
Threw back his head and sniffed the breeze,
Let out a yell and pounded on his chest.

Now he hunted all the morning through,
But not a bear came into view,
And Elmer's thoughts were on the kitchen range,
Cause he was sick as he could be
Of lamb and chicken fricassee
And he needed a mess of bear meat for a change.

Bear stew! (Laugh)

Now Elmer's mind was in a fog,
And he paused and sat down on a log
To get his faculties back in a groove.
He heard a noise and standing there
Before him was a grizzly bear.
He decided it was time he made his move.

So Elmer's shoulders sprouted wings,
His feet developed inner springs.
To linger longer, he was disinclined.
He ran so fast through muck and mire,
His ankles set his socks on fire,
And still the bear kept comin' on behind.

Yeah!

Now a deer with antlers eight feet wide,
Got in the way of Elmer's stride,
Both of them were heading for the brush.
And Elmer said, "Now listen, son,
If that's as fast as you can run,
Just move it over, this boy's in a rush!"

Now the bear was gainin' inch by inch,
And soon he reached out for the clinch.
Elmer saw the fence around his place.
He ran so fast and jumped so hard
He went sixty feet across the yard
And slammed the kitchen door in the bear's face.

Now the bear was tryin' to get inside
And Elmer sought a place to hide,
And Mrs. Jones began to pull her hair.
She said, "This fuss has gotta stop,
Why don't you just let the matter drop?"
He said, "Honey, go and tell that to the bear!"

She said, "Now listen, you big goon,
How come you think you're Daniel Boone?
Is that the only bear meat you could find?"
He said, "I'm sure that you're aware
That Daniel always kills his bear.
Yeah, but honey, I done brought mine home alive!"

This is transcribed from a recording by Mike Anderson from Central Illinois. He attributes it to Comer "Moon" Mullins of Mountain View, Arkansas. I have heard Moon do it many times, but he makes no claim to authorship. I probably have a personal recording of it somewhere, but I am not even going to make the attempt to try and find his version! Next time I see him, I will ask him what his source was.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 29-Mar-02.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Mug44
Date: 04 Nov 97 - 12:27 AM

Dale Thanks so much. I have never met anyone in all my travels who has ever even heard of that song. It brings back many fond memories of my childhood and I thank you genuinely for that. Mug44


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,salnral@aol.com
Date: 30 Dec 00 - 04:03 PM

Hello: My husband has been looking for the lyrics to Elmer and the Bear for several months now. He thought that Phil Harris sang the song. We got the copy from Dale Rose, 03-Nov-1997. We wondered if you ran across any others and if you found the music anyplace????? The lyrics he remembers were just a little different, but am sure from the same song. So, it might have been from a different singer. Thanks if you can help us.....salnral@aol.com


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Dale Rose
Date: 30 Dec 00 - 04:51 PM

Well, looks like three years have slipped away somehow, and I have seen Moon an uncountable number of times, but I never once thought to ask him about the song!. Like I said, I am sure that I have a home recording of Moon doing the song SOMEWHERE. If you are equipped to handle RA files, I will send Mike Anderson's version to you.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Dec 00 - 04:52 PM

I don't suppose anyone reading this has any ideas about a song called "The Bears have Got my Daddy" dating back to the 1890s. I had a thread about that recently, but it ran into the ground with no results. I found the tune on a tape of an old music box, but no words, and noone seems to have heard of it.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Dale Rose
Date: 30 Dec 00 - 04:54 PM

Nope. I'll look for it. Might even take me less than three years, but do remember not to hold your breath!


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 31 Dec 00 - 01:36 AM

I missed this the first time around, so I am happy to see it revived. Dale has already provided the pertinent information about Comer "Moon" Mullins who is also a National Thumbpicking Guitar Champion and who has a number of recordings available from the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. I think Elmer is on one of those recordings, but will have to check. Everyone whom I heard do the song got it from Comer.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,nosweatsoap@yahoo.com
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:05 PM

Hey Dale, This is Deb (Mullins) Carbone (Moon's ex wife)and I can tell you a little about the origins of Elmer and the Bear. It was harvested by Moon from Ed Myers of Mt. Sterling, Ohio and HE got it from a poem in an old thirties or forties newspapers and it had no name in the article. Moon put it to music. I just happened to be checking out Mud Cat because a friend of mine said I was mentioned and saw the references. I sang Loch Tay and Who will sing for me many years ago.Moon and I did music for several years until our divorce. My band after that was the Dixie Darlin's. I do Living History now with my husband Frank Carbone. We have the No Sweat Soap Factory.I still play and sing and about to come out with a new childrens tape that includes the Kirkcudbright Centipede,also mentioned previously. bye,deb


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,nosweatsoap@yahoo
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:24 PM

One more thing about Elmer and the Bear. In the line that reads "bag himself a hunk of bear" The next line is "at huntin' he had plenty on the ball" Deb (Mullins) Carbone


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: toadfrog
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:53 PM

There are references to "The Bears Have Got My Daddy," under the rubric "Men of Harlech," apparently on the bulletin board of the Musical Box Society of Great Britain I cannot figure out how properly to access that site and find the goodies; maybe someone nearer to Great Britain can.


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:31 AM

You can forget about "The Bears have Got my Daddy" - turns out the song was about a prisoner-of-war in South Africa and was called "The Boers have Got my Daddy"


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Subject: RE: lyrics: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,Verne Garrison
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 09:25 AM

We used to do this song at student union Univ of Ill in 1951-52..Ozzie Osborne (Toluca, IL) did the lyrics; very similar to these, except he would chime in between verses with..."Here comes Elmer, Elmer's got his gun, run bear run." that is until he spots the bear and bear starts to chase him...something like:
"Elmer grabbed his gun and turned around,
but Mr bear just held his ground.
He ran so fast thru muck and mire.....to the end.
Seems...
"while the bear was trying to get inside, Elmer finding a place to hide; and Mrs Jones commenced to pull her hair.
She said listen goon; what makes you think you are Daniel Boone, who's appetite on bear meat used to thrive.......
.....baby home alive....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,VH
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 11:05 PM

who wrote "Elmer and the Bear"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 09:39 AM

Oh, I'm so glad to see this mentioned!

We have the Mike Anderson recording (saw him at a park festival in Ely, Minnesota, in 1989) and it's a lot of fun, and good clawhammer banjo, too.

His liner notes say "anonymous", but I didn't know there was an earlier version so maybe if somebody has a recording of that, it would have a composer's name.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM

Mike Anderson; "Elmer" was on the Morning Town Ride album.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 01:09 PM

Phil Harris did indeed record ELMER AND THE BEAR, as RCA Victor 78 rpm disk #20-3393, probably in 1949. On the flip side was THE MOUNTAINEER AND THE JABBERWOCK. This information is from The Online 78 rpm Discographical Project.

Phil Harris also recorded THE PREACHER AND THE BEAR, RCA Victor 20-2143. Lots of other people did too; I don't know whether Harris was first.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 04:40 PM

I was just about to say the same thing about the Phil Harris recording.

Whether or not it has the same tune as the Mullins/Anderson version is a good question, given what Deb (Mullins} Carbone said on 19 Jun 01 - 09:05 PM about how Comer "Moon" Mullins came to learn it. I suppose that it is possible that the Ed Meyers mentioned there could have heard it from Phil Harris and forgotten it.

As usual, I never think to ask Moon about this when I see him, most recently just a couple of weeks ago. Mike Anderson was also in town just a few months ago. I guess I am going to have to start carrying a card with a list of questions intended for certain people I may run into.

There is a version by Roland Heinrich on Bear Family's album of bear songs celebrating their 30 year anniversary. I have no idea what that one sounds like either. A search of the usual sources for sound clips came up empty.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,atyn
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 11:38 PM

It was good to run across "Elmer and the Bear." Not familiar with any of the aforementioned versions. My dad use to quote this poem to us when we were children and he died when I was 10 was I don't remember the exact prose. I do know that it was a bit different and he used the word.

I have been trying to find the words (halfheartedly) for a long time.

Simply wanted to say thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,JP
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:35 AM

Please allow me the give you my heart felt thanks for the lyrics to Elmer and the Bear. My father use to tell us this same story when we were children too. He passes away and we were left without the lyrics so we can pass this story on to our children and grandchildren. My brother and sisters will be beside themselves when they see this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,John Alcorn
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM

Trying to locate the lyrics to "The Generals Horse" by Phil Harris recorded in the late 40's on a 78 RPM record (RCA or maybe Deca. Any information on the lyrics or where to find a copy of this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 11:50 AM

John Alcorn: If you want information about a different song than the one named in the title of this thread, it's best to start a new thread. (Assuming there isn't already a thread about THE GENERAL'S HORSE. I checked. I couldn't find one.) Then more people will notice your request.

p.s. I did a search of my usual sources, and I couldn't find a mention of any song called THE GENERAL'S HORSE. Are you sure you have the title right?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,EJK
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 09:08 PM

THANKS A MILLION BEEN LOOKING FOR THESE LYRICS SINCE 1953


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: Joe_F
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 09:13 PM

And always remember, you don't have to outrun the bear so long as you can outrun your friends.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,Guest, Susie
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 03:22 PM

Don't know why Deb didn't mention that Moon's version of Elmer and the Bear was on their tape "Over the Garden Wall". Lots of good songs on this one; don't know if it's still in print. S


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear
From: GUEST,jonny
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM

where can i get a copy of this record. I want to give it to my father it would mean a lot to him. Any help would be much appreciated!

-thanks jonny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Jonny
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 03:03 AM

The story is such...My father was a boy and he had this record called "Elmer and the Bear" he loved so much and played endlessly. He brought it in to school for show and tell and it was a huge hit. On his way home running to tell his mom, the record slipped from its sleeve and shattered. I bought a copy of "the preacher and the bear but it seems that that is not the same. Hes 65 now and i would do anything to get my hands on a copy of that origional record. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Susie
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 06:43 PM

I got the tape directly from Deborrah and Moon. You might try any of the music shops at Mountain View-McSpadden's Dulcimer shop might be able to help you. It was a cassette tape and it's been probably 15-20 years ago. S


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Carol cooley
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 06:20 PM

Moon is my uncle and i'm very proud of him. I was raised listening to him singing and picking. When my mama ,his sister was very sick he sent her a tape of songs till he could come see her. Elmer and the Bear was on that tape and i have a copy. That song and others he sang will always be special to me.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ELMER AND THE BEAR
From: GUEST,Ann Mason
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 01:58 AM

It has been a tradition to go camping at Easter time with all of my mother's family for 55+ years and when I was a young girl my Uncle Bill Stringham would recite "Elmer and the Bear" and Aunt Norma (Reynolds, now Christensen) would play her ukulele and we would sing a chorus between each verse. The words he used were a bit different in a few places. He said he got the words from an Anderson who lived in Manti, Utah. (I wondered if he was related to Mike.) Today it is still a favorite at Easter with my children and now my grandchildren will still hear Uncle Bill repeating the words, (although a few more of us have learned it) and Aunt Norma still plays her ukulele and is joined by the guitar, at our campfire sing-alongs. You can compare the word differences:

Elmer Jones awoke at dawn
And put his huntin' britches on
And looked up at his shotgun on the wall.
He made his mind up then and there
To bag himself a hunk of bear.
At hunting he had plenty on the ball.
He milked the cow and slopped the hog,
Kissed his wife and called the dog,
Picked up his gun and started on his quest.
He crossed the creek and hit the trees,
Threw back his head and sniffed the breeze,
Let out a yell and pounded on his chest.

CHORUS: Here comes Elmer. Elmer's got his gun.
Here comes Elmer. Better run, bear, run.

Well, he hunted all the morning through,
And not a bear came into view,
And Elmer's mind was on the kitchen range;
For he was sick as sick could be
Of lamb and chicken fricassee.
He craved a hunk of bear meat for a change.
Poor Elmer's mind was in a fog.
He paused to sit down on a log,
And tried to get his faculties in the groove.
He heard a noise, and standing there
Beside him was a grizzly bear.
He figured it was time to make his move. CHORUS

He grabbed his gun and turned around,
But missed. The bear just stood his ground,
And Elmer said, "It's either me or thou."
That gun just wouldn't go.
He knew that someone had to go.
He said, "Farewell, I'm leaving as of now."
Now Elmer's shoulders sprouted wings.
His feet developed inner springs.
To linger longer he was disinclined.
He flew so fast through muck and mire,
His ankles set his socks afire,
And still that bear kept coming on behind. CHORUS

A deer with antlers eight feet wide
Got in the way of Elmer's stride,
As both of them went heading through the brush,
And Elmer said, "Now listen, son:
If that's as fast as you can run,
Move over, 'cause I'm really in a rush."
That bear kept gaining inch by inch,
And finally reached out for the clinch
Just as Elmer spied the fence around his place.
He jumped the fence and landed hard,
Leaped sixty feet across the yard,
And slammed the kitchen door in bruin's face. CHORUS

Well, the bear was trying to get inside,
And Elmer sought a place to hide,
And Mrs. Jones began to pull her hair.
She said, "This fuss has got to stop.
Why don't you let the matter drop?"
He said, "Why don't you tell that to the bear?"
She said, "Now listen, goon.
How come you think you're Daniel Boone,
Whose appetite on bear meat used to thrive?"
He said, "I'm sure you're well aware
That Dan'el always killed his bear,
But, honey, I done brought this baby home alive!" CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Guest, anonymous
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:35 AM

"Elmer and the Bear" was co-written by Hy Heath and I believe Johnny Marks sometime in the late 1940's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Anonymous
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:06 AM

I made an error in the previous post. "Elmer and the Bear" was co-written by Hy Heath and Johnny Lange. The name Johnny Marks was incorrect. Phil Harris did record it on a 78 record about 1949.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Carolyn
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 11:57 PM

Thanks so much for the 2nd set of lyrics that Ann posted. These are much closer to the ones my mom sang to us when we were kids than the first set. She would entertain us on long car rides with this song and many others. She performed "Elmer and the Bear" when she was a child in the early 1950's at a talent show at the local theater between movies showings on Saturday afternoons. She even won some free movie tickets!! She passed away in January 2006 and this song will always be one of my fondest memories. I wanted to have her record some of the songs she sang for us, but didn't get the chance, so coming across these lyrics was truly wonderful!   Glad to see so many others enjoyed this song, too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Bully
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 09:39 PM

You can listen to a episode of the Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show where the late great Phil sings the Elmer and the Bear song at this page:

http://www.otr.net/?p=phaf

It's in show #13: "Willie is Engaged to Miss O'Connor.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: Arkie
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 07:31 PM

Bully, thanks for posting that information. I have looked over Phil Harris radio shows and wondered if Elmer and the Bear was not in there somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 08:24 PM

Bully-

Thanks for the link.

So if the bear shits in the woods, is he Catholic?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Chuck Ford
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 05:59 PM

I rember hearing Arkie the Arkansas Woodchopper perform this song on the WLS National Barn Dance in the late 1940s. I don't know if Arkie ever recorded it. He had a few variations on the lyrics from what is shown here but it was the same song. If anyone knows of a recording done by Arkie I would like to get a copy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: Arkie
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 06:26 PM

I ran across a website that listed the Dr. Demento shows in which Phil Harris recording of Elmer and the Bear were played.   Here they are if anyone has access to recording of those shows.

        06-17-79, #79-24                01-24-99, #99-04
        10-04-81, #81-40                11-14-99, #99-46
        12-26-82, #82-52                11-05-00, #00-45
        12-09-84, #84-50                11-04-01, #01-44
        10-23-88, #88-43                11-03-02, #02-44
        05-05-91, #91-18                11-07-04, #04-45
        11-07-93, #93-45                11-06-05, #05-45
        01-19-97, #97-03                11-05-06, #06-45
        06-15-97, #97-24


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Kelly B
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM

Thanks everyone for posting all the info on 'Elmer & The Bear'! My dad used to recite this to us during car trips, and it is a fond memory indeed. He recited the lyrics that are the second set posted in this thread. I am thrilled to have a copy of the lyrics, although I could almost remember all of them, since I heard it so much as a child.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 08 - 05:16 PM

I have, somewhere in my stored "items of interest," the original album by Phil Harris which contains "The Preacher and the Bear." Oddly, that was not the #1 song on the album. The one which got all the airplay was "The Thing." "The Persian Kitty" was also on this LP, along with a number of the other "talking blues" style things for which Phil Harris was known. "That's What I Like About the South" was something of a theme song for him.

Most younger people know his voice and may never have seen the man himself. "The Jungle Book" film by Disney contains the song "The Bare Necessities," for instance. He and his wife, the actress Alice Faye, were staples on radio in the 30's, 40's and 50's. He spent several years as a regular on the old Jack Benny Show. He, Bing Crosby and another golfing buddy, whose name escapes me, introduced "Three Fingers" reposado 100% agave tequila to the US years ago, one of the first really premium tequilas imported from Mexico. And, according to an uncle who once worked with him, he was a really nice guy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,kathy
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM

It's already been said, but it bears repeating - Thank you to everyone who posted such valuable information on Elmer and the Bear. It is much appreciated to those of us who have much sentimental value attached to it. I heard it as a poem and reading it here again brought me a lot of happiness. Thanks again!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: Bullseye Music
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 12:47 PM

Elmer and the Bear was written (copyrighted) in 1949 by my husband's grandfather, Johnny Lange and his co-writer, Hy Heath. Johnny was a prolific writer; his music appeared in over 70 films and his song, Mule Train, was a megahit for Frankie Laine and the subject of a film created by Walt Disney.

There is a fun (and fairly accurate) amateur version of Elmer and the Bear on YouTube, though the song is credited to Phil Harris, not Johnny Lange and Hy Heath. I'm sure that the person who posted it on YouTube associates the song with Phil Harris and does not know who wrote it. Johnny had a longstanding professional relationship with Phil Harris and it's likely that Harris recorded the song. I am looking in the archives to see if there is an old cassette available. I am in the process of putting much more information on my website (www.bulls-eyemusic.com) and will post the lyrics to all songs as I can get to it. It's great to know people are still talking about this old song!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,guest: kelly in ca.
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:30 AM

Thanks to all of you for your similar versions. I heard it as a little girl by my step-dad and it has been a wonderful tradition to see who could get Bill (my step-dad) to sing it for us. Elmer the Bear has made so many happy memories for our family and I thank you for the lyrics so we will always be able to share our step-dad Bill and his wry sense of humor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 12:06 AM

I posted 2 years ago on this thread. And now thanks to BULLY I have a recording to give my father. I am also planning on doing my own recording of it as a gift for fathers day. Thank you so much.

-Jonathan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 06:19 PM

This is the "other" bear song recorded by Phil Harris and Jerry Reed, among many others and in different variations. I first heard it sung by Randy Sparks (who later formed "The New Christy Minstrels") at a hotel night club in Fresno, CA, in about 1959-60. Randy was doing his one-man act as a traveling troubadour at the time. He was (and is) a very entertaining guy, as I recall.

THE PREACHER AND THE BEAR
As recorded by Phil Harris
Writer: Arzonia (Joe Arizona)

[Bb] Now a preacher went out walkin'
Was [Eb] on one Sunday [Bb] morn'
It was against his religion
But he [C] took his gun a-[F] long
He [Bb] shot himself some mighty fine quail
And [Eb] one little "measly" [Bb] hare
But [Eb] on his way [Bb] returnin' home
He met a [F] great big grizzly [Bb] bear;

NARRATION: (In [Bb])
Well, the bear got down in the middle of the road
On all fours like a great big toad
And looked that preacher right square in the eye
And the preacher looked at him and said: "Bye-bye."
Started down the road and took out to run
The bear right after that preacher did come
Run and they run for about a mile
Then they both sat down and rested awhile
The preacher got up - started again
The bear he started out with more vim
They ran and they ran til he spotted a tree
Said: "Up on the limb is the place for me."
The bear got close - made a grab for him
Preacher leaps up and he made the limb
Pulled himself up and turns about
Cast his eyes to the skies and [F] he did [Bb] shout;

Refrain:
"[Bb] Oh, Lawd, you delivered [Eb] Daniel from the lion's [Bb] den
Also delivered Jonah from the [C] belly of the whale and [F] then
The [Bb] Hebrew children from the fiery furnace
So the [Eb] good book do [Bb] declare
Yes! [Eb] Lord, if you can't [Bb] help me,
For goodness [F] sake don't help that [Bb] bear."

NARRATION:
Just about then the limb let go
And the preacher came tumblin' down
Reached in his pocket, pulled his razor out
Just before he hit the ground
He hit the ground with an awful bang
It was a terrible sight
The preacher and the bear, with a razor in his hair
Just a-cuttin' left and right
Well, they rolled around on the ground
The preacher was up and then he was down
The bear let out an awful moan
It looked like the preacher was holdin' his own
"Lord, if I get out of here alive
That Good Book I will abide
I'll never sin on Sabbath day
And Sunday come, I'll pray and pray."
To the heavens, he did glance
Said; "Lord, just gimme one more chance."
Then his suspenders gave away
And he knocked that bear ten feet away
Then the preacher got up and made a bound
To the tree where he'd be safe and sound
Pulled himself up and turned about
Cast his eyes to the skies and he did shout:

Refrain:

............................................................

In one version, the last talking verse is slightly changed and is followed by a slightly modified refrain:

Verse (partial)
Then, they rolled into the river,
T'was three times in and out.
He cast his eyes to the skies above
and then he began to shout:

Refrain:
"[Bb] Oh, Lawd, you delivered [Eb] Daniel from the lion's [Bb] den
Also delivered Jonah from the [C] belly of the whale and [F] then
And Oh, Lord, it may not seem like much from away up there;
But the hardest job I ever done was baptizin' that bear.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 12:39 AM

THE PREACHER AND THE BEAR is already in our DT here, and it has previously been posted in discussion threads here, here, here, and here. At least one of those versions contains the "baptizin'" verse.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Dean Durrant
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:04 AM

This has been a tradition of my family ( My Mothers family to Go Easter camping in the Southern Utah deserts somewhere different almost each year for 50 years I learned this from my Uncle Bill Stringham I am now 56 years old and I say this At my Durrant Family reunions and also at my wife's Messick reunions but I will always defer to my Uncle Bill Stringham at the Stringham reunions. Here is the way I learned it:

Well, Elmer Jones awoke at dawn
And put his huntin' britches on
And looked up at the shotgun on the wall.
He made his mind up then and there
To bag himself a hunk of bear.
At hunting he had plenty on the ball.
He milked the cow and slopped the hogs
Kissed his wife and called the dogs,
Picked up his gun and started on his quest.
He crossed the creek and hit the trees,
Threw back his head and sniffed the breeze,
Let out a yell and pounded on his chest.

CHORUS: Here comes Elmer. Elmer's got his gun.
Here comes Elmer. Better run, bear, run.

Well, he hunted all the morning through,
And not a bear came into view,
And Elmer's mind was on the kitchen range;
For he was sick as sick could be
Of lamb and chicken fricassee.
He craved a hunk of bear meat for a change.
Poor Elmer's mind was in a fog.
He paused to sit down on a log,
And tried to get his faculties in the groove.
He heard a noise, and standing there
Beside him was a grizzly bear.
He figured it was time to make a move. CHORUS

He grabbed his gun and turned around, shot
But missed. The bear just stood his ground,
And Elmer said, "It's either me or thou."
That gun just wouldn't go.
He knew that someone had to go.
He said, "Farewell, I'm leaving as of now."
Now Elmer's shoulders sprouted wings.
His feet developed inner springs.
To linger longer he was disinclined.
He flew so fast through muck and mire,
His ankles set his socks afire,
And still that bear kept coming on behind. CHORUS

A deer with antlers eight feet wide
Got in the way of Elmer's stride,
As both of them went heading through the brush,
And Elmer said, "Now listen, son:
If that's as fast as you can run,
Move over, 'cause I'm really in a rush."
That bear kept gaining inch by inch,
And finally reached out for the clinch
Just as Elmer spied the fence around his place.
He jumped the fence and landed hard,
Leaped sixty feet across the yard,
And slammed the kitchen door in bruin's face. CHORUS

Well, the bear was trying to get inside,
And Elmer sought a place to hide,
And Mrs. Jones began to pull her hair.
She said, "This fuss has got to stop.
Why don't you let the matter drop?"
He said, "Why don't you tell that to the bear?"
She said, "Now listen, goon.
How come you think you're Daniel Boone,
Whose appetite on bear meat used to thrive?"
He said, "I'm sure you're well aware
That Dan'el always killed his bear,
But, honey, I done brought this baby home alive!" CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,eric
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 01:24 PM

My grandfather used to recite the lyrics to this as well as THE MOUNTAINEER AND THE JABBERWOCK, he didn't know who wrote it, and he never sang it so I was never sure if it was a song or a poem. It is interesting to see so many other people that have a history with this piece. It has been good to find and I have listened to a couple of the recordings the best is probably the link posted by Bully, the Dr. Demento version is much harder to hear and understand.
As for the mountaineer and the jabberwock I now have it on 45 on the reverse of "the thing"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST,Glenn
Date: 28 Apr 10 - 09:45 AM

As young boys in the early 1950', my cousin and I listened to Phil Harris' Elmer and the Bear played on a grank-up Victrola with a bamboo needle until we nearly wore the groves off the disk. After "hiding" for more than 50 years, the original 78 resurfaced when my cousin was sorting through some of his mothers stuff and we now have digitized copies of both Elmer and the Bear and The Mountaineer and the Jaberwock. The find included a couple of Spike Jones originals and a Gene Autry disk with his famous recording of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. These too are now digitized for posterity..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elmer and the Bear (from Phil Harris)
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 11:38 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgjENj4h25E


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