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Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird

Mad Maudlin 26 May 01 - 03:59 PM
Mad Maudlin 26 May 01 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Ole Bull 26 May 01 - 06:23 PM
Irish sergeant 26 May 01 - 08:29 PM
Mad Maudlin 27 May 01 - 01:02 AM
JenEllen 03 Dec 02 - 03:02 PM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 02 - 04:03 PM
masato sakurai 03 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM
masato sakurai 03 Dec 02 - 08:11 PM
masato sakurai 03 Dec 02 - 08:22 PM
masato sakurai 03 Dec 02 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,Q 03 Dec 02 - 10:26 PM
masato sakurai 04 Dec 02 - 12:17 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Dec 03 - 12:25 AM
Amos 11 Dec 03 - 12:43 AM
Desert Dancer 06 Nov 13 - 10:53 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Nov 13 - 08:27 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Nov 13 - 12:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Nov 13 - 09:27 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 13 - 12:47 PM
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Subject: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: Mad Maudlin
Date: 26 May 01 - 03:59 PM

Hi all,

Does anyone of oyu know when "Listen To The Mockingbird" was written? I've checked severasl sources, and each one has a different year, sigh! (well, almost...)

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: Mad Maudlin
Date: 26 May 01 - 04:00 PM

And I need a spellchecker...dang! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 26 May 01 - 06:23 PM

The first published edition was in Phila. PA 1855; melody by Richard Milburne, written & arranged by Alice Hawthorne which was the pen name of Septimus Winner. "Whistling Dick" Milburne was a street performer, Winner a "prodigious song writer."


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 26 May 01 - 08:29 PM

Indeed he was! In addition to "Listen to the Mockingbird" Septimus Winner also wrote "JOhnny has Gone fro A Soldier", and "Ten Little Indians" There are more but I don't have the list in front of me. The song was quite popular. So much so that it was parodied during the Civil War ("The Siege of Vicksburg") and was later used as the closing theme for the Three Stooges comedy shorts. Kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: Mad Maudlin
Date: 27 May 01 - 01:02 AM

Neil and Ole, thanks for your input! One of my books said that it was written during the Civil War, not before - guess they mixed it up with the parody.

Thanks again,

Nathalie


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Subject: Lyr Add: LISTEN TO THE MOCKING BIRD
From: JenEllen
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:02 PM

LISTEN TO THE MOCKING BIRD
Words, Alice Hawthorne (pseudonym of Septimus Winner). Music, Richard Milburn. 1855.

I'm dreaming now of Hally, sweet Hally, sweet Hally.
I'm dreaming now of Hally,
For the thought of her is one that never dies.
She's sleeping in the valley, the valley, the valley.
She's sleeping in the valley,
And the mocking bird is singing where she lies.

CHORUS: Listen to the mocking bird. Listen to the mocking bird,
The mocking bird still singing o'er her grave.
Listen to the mocking bird. Listen to the mocking bird,
Still singing where the weeping willows wave.

Ah! well I yet remember, remember, remember.
Ah! well I yet remember
When we gathered in the cotton side by side.
'Twas in the mild September, September, September.
'Twas in the mild September,
And when the mocking bird was singing far and wide. CHORUS

When the charms of spring awaken, awaken, awaken,
When the charms of spring awaken,
And the mocking bird is singing on the bough,
I feel like one forsaken, forsaken, forsaken,
I feel like one forsaken,
Since my Hally is no longer with me now. CHORUS
I moved this message here from another thread on the same topic.-Joe Offer-


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Subject: ZDTStudy: Listen To The Mockingbird
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 04:03 PM

Here are the lyrics in the Digital Tradition. I see we're missing a tune and songwriter attribution. Looks like the DT version is a bit different.
-Joe Offer-

LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD

Last night I dreamed of my Halley
Of my Halley, my sweet Halley
Last night I dreamed of my Halley
For the thought of her is one that never dies

She's sleeping now in the valley
In the valley, my sweet Halley
She's sleeping now in the valley
And the Mockingbird is singing where she lies

Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mockingbird is singing oe'er her grave
Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Still singing where the yellow roses grow

How well do I yet remember
I remember, I remember
How well do I yet remember
For the thought of her is one that never dies

It was in that sweet September
In September, I remember
It was in that sweet September
That the Mockingbird was singing far and wide

Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mocking bird still singing oe'er her grave
Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mockingbird still singing in the spring

@love @death @bird
filename[ MCKNBIRD
BL



PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM

This (from the Levy collection) is a rearranged guitar version (not the first edition of the song), but the words & melody are the same as those of the first.

Title: Listen to the Mocking Bird.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Melody by Richard Milburn. Written and Arranged by Alice Hawthorne.
Alice Hawthorne Publication: Philadelphia: Winner & Shuster, 110 North Eighth St., 1856.

The first edition (1855; with piano accompaniment, and quartette chorus) is reproduced in Richard Jackson's Popular Songs of Nineteenth-Century America (Dover, 1976, pp. 110-114).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 08:11 PM

Listen to the mocking bird / melody by Richard Milburn ; written and arranged by Alice Hawthorne" (the same edition; at Ameican Memory) has clearer images.

Listen to the mocking bird, Ethiopian ballad / by Richard Milburn; written and arranged by Alice Hawthorne (1855; also at American Memory) has the same piano arrangement as in the first edition.

I don't think Winner composed "Johnny Has Gone for a Slodier" or "Ten Little Indians". "'Twas at the Siege of Vicksburg" has been posted HERE.


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 08:22 PM

On Winner, see Public Domain Music: The Music of Septimus Winner [many songs with lyrics & midi]. Winner did compose "Ten Little Injuns" (1866), which has a different melody.


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:07 PM

Found this song in Levy.

Title: The Grave of Hally. A Companion to the Popular Song, Listen to the Mocking Bird.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Written and Arranged by C. Everest.
Publication: Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 722 Chestnut St., 1865.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice (solo and satb chorus)
First Line: I have seen again the grave of Hally, sweet Hally, sweet Hally
First Line of Chorus: Yes the mocking bird is sweetly singing
Engraver, Lithographer, Artist: G.F. Swain
Subject: Graves
Subject: Love
Subject: Nature
Subject: Symbols
Subject: Grief
Call No.: Box: 129 Item: 064


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:26 PM

The first edition of "Listen to the Mockingbird" has no reference to Ethiopian melody on the title sheet. All of them came out in the same year, using the same plates apparently but with a more ornate dedication to Dutcher on the first which was simplified to allow addition of the words Ethiopian Melody." The first page of the music of the original as well as those labeled Ethiopian Melody list "Alice Hawthorne" as the author of eighteen songs, some of which are not in the Public Domain List by Tubb. Those not in the PD List are:

The Love of One Fond Heart
Rebecca at the Well
The Days Gone By
Come Gather Round the Hearth
Chimes of the Monastery
My Early Fireside
Song of the Farmer
Cast thy Bread Upon the Waters

The original is reproduced in "Three Centuries of American Music," Vol. 1, "American Solo Songs Through 1865," 1989, G. K. Hall & Co., pp. 102-106.


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:17 AM

Listen to The mocking bird [Real Audio] (Harry Taft, whistler; piano acc; E. Berliner's Gramophone, 1899 April 21), from Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry.

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: LISTEN TO THE GOONEY BIRD (Homer & Jethro
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM

Lyrics of this parody transcribed from the sound file at http://www.geocities.com/u2page5/

LISTEN TO THE GOONEY BIRD
(As sung by Homer & Jethro)

Listen to the gooney bird.
She's an out-o'-tuney bird.
You can always see her standin' on one leg.
Though she is a scrappy bird,
She's an unhappy bird,
'Cause she weighs three pounds an' lays a five-pound egg.

I was feelin' oh so merry
Till I passed a cemetery.
O'er a grave a feller was a-cryin':
--Why did you die? Why did you die? Why did you die?
--Is it your mother?
--Ah, no it ain't my mother.
--Well, then, is it your brother?
--No, it's another.
--Well, then, please tell me who is the guy?
--It's my wife's first husband. Why did you die?

Listen to the gooney bird.
What a crazy gooney bird,
Flyin' backwards all around an' back again!
Though she has a bird's-eye view,
Never looks ahead, it's true,
'Cause she wants to see it where that she has been.

Listen to the gooney bird.
She's a little puny bird.
I sure hope she knows about that house (?) o' mine.
Though she is a dizzy bird,
She's a-gonna be a busy bird,
'Cause she's a-settin' on a poison ivy vine.

[Recorded by Homer & Jethro on "Songs to Tickle Your Funny Bone," 1966.]


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 12:25 AM

Note: A copyright date only indicates that the song was around at that time; not that the copyright holder actually wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Age of 'Listen To The Mockingbird'
From: Amos
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 12:43 AM

Winner was a prolific producer of very schmaltzy stuff including "Down Upon the Rappahannock" and "Jenny, Darling Jenny" both of which are rich with ...sentiment of the highest order. Here is a directory of his works, MIDI and text for your perusal of a winter's evening.

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 10:53 AM

'Listen to the Mockingbird'

By Ted Widmer
The New York Times (Disunion series)
November 5, 2013

The tune, so recognizable, was composed by an African-American street musician named Richard Milburn in 1855, about whom too little is known. The words were written by "Alice Hawthorne," the nom de plume of a lyricist whose real name was Septimus Winner. (Why would anyone refuse to use such a name?)

The result of their collaboration was "Listen to the Mockingbird," an enormous hit of the 19th century ? one historian claims it sold 20 million copies of the sheet music ? and an endlessly mutable song, judging from the number of versions it has inspired.

The mournful lyrics, about a mockingbird singing on a lover's grave, spoke eloquently to Americans in an era when death darkened so many doorsteps. Abraham Lincoln found the song "as sincere as the laughter of a little girl at play." His enemies also liked it. Indeed, the song's lyricist was one of them ? in 1864, Winner wrote a controversial song, "Give Us Back Our Old Commander," that urged Americans to vote for Lincoln's rival for the presidency, George McClellan. It was popular down South, too: in 1863, as the inhabitants of Vicksburg were enduring a grim siege, they made light of their situation by changing the lyrics to "Listen to the Minié Balls."

Since then, the song has repeatedly found new life, often with birds chirping in the background, as our relentlessly upbeat culture tries to make the song happier than it is. On occasion, the song has been twisted into something like slapstick ? but in its original version, the laughter is bitter indeed.

Consider a few examples, presented through the endless bounty of YouTube.

It was recorded onto an Edison cylinder circa 1912, featuring a xylophone.

Nine years later, another version, with birds.

In the 1930s, the classic version most of us know ? as one of several versions of the opening credits for "The Three Stooges."

Then, Louis Armstrong gave it a try in 1952.

In 1960, as the Civil War centennial was beginning, it was covered by none other than Fred Flintstone, who had improbably become a master of scat-singing.

More recently, a version was recorded by everybody's favorite purple dinosaur, Barney.

On Nov. 5 a lilting, lovely new version becomes available, sung by Stuart Freeman and Dolly Parton, as part of an important new collection of Civil War music. "Divided and United," [link to Mudcat thread] compiled by Randall Poster, presents 32 songs in all of their glory (this video has background interviews with the musicians).

The link to the conflict is clear ? the lyrics still speak eloquently of war-torn love, of military misadventure and mostly of loss. But each generation interprets the music anew, and it is a welcome gift to have this and other fresh performances for the 150th anniversary. Some will recognize in another recording on the album, "Aura Lee," the tune that Elvis Presley co-adapted for "Love Me Tender." (In the 1956 film of that name, Presley plays a younger brother of a Confederate soldier.)

To have access to the songs on this soundtrack, as Americans of the 19th century did, gives a fuller appreciation of the war. "I don't believe we can have an army without music," Robert E. Lee remarked after hearing a brass band perform in 1864. Music could be heard everywhere the war was fought. Marching bands accompanied the armies into battle, and played a pivotal role, keeping morale high and dictating the pace of the march. African-Americans conveyed information about the Underground Railroad through songs with private meanings ("Follow the Drinking Gourd" was about the Big Dipper, pointing north).

Americans North and South followed the war through an endless barrage of newly composed music about the war's personalities, and a few songs became timeless. The composer Louis Gottschalk wrote that Southern women liked to make their children sing "Dixie" or "My Maryland," "for the purpose of drawing on themselves the prosecution of the government." After New Orleans, the center of the Southern music industry, was taken in 1862, the Confederacy lost much of its ability to publish sheet music, which played a role in declining morale from that moment forward.

When the war was over, music found new use, as an instrument of reconciliation. Lincoln grasped this, as his famous fondness for "Dixie" made clear. Music can still be divisive between the North and the South ? it was not too many years ago that Lynyrd Skynyrd's anthem, "Sweet Home Alabama," was penned as a riposte to Neil Young's "Southern Man." But mostly, good music just helps bring people together, as our endlessly adaptive culture works out a democracy of its own.

Sources: Steven H. Cornelius, "Music of the Civil War Era"; Christian McWhirter, "Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War"; Stephen Currie, "Music in the Civil War."

Ted Widmer is assistant to the president for special projects at Brown University. He edited, with Clay Risen and George Kalogerakis, a forthcoming volume of selections from the Disunion series, to be published this month.

Visit the link to see a sheet music cover for the song.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:27 PM

The 2013 updated list of Traditional Ballad Index lists the name as Richard Milbourne, which seems to be incorrect. The 1855 sheet music has "Melody by Richard Milburn. Written and arranged by Alice Hawthorne."
The music, "Published by Sep. Winner," was priced at "35 Cts." Heading the actual piano music is a list of 18 songs by "Alice Hawthorne." The vocal score includes notation for a quartette.

(You mention "Drinking Gourd," which seems to be a faux piece written at College Station, Texas. See thread on that song.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 12:37 AM

Not me, Q, Mr. Widmer.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 09:27 AM

I think Ted Widmer of the New York Times has got it all wrong. It's a tender song, but not a bitter one.

Nothing says that 'Hally' was a young woman or was the singer's lover. She could be anybody's aunt or family friend. The singer thinks of a her grave and enjoys the singing of the mockingbird there. Grief has altered to sad fondness.

And when we break into the rollicking chorus, all tragedy is shoved right off the stage. I used to play this, and I know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Listen to the Mocking Bird
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 12:47 PM

Sorry, I should have cited the author of the squib.
I agree, not bitter, but tender.


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