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Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'

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THE WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY


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M.Ted 09 Jul 02 - 01:51 PM
M.Ted 09 Jul 02 - 01:53 PM
M.Ted 09 Jul 02 - 11:20 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Dec 10 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,tom strong 07 Jul 12 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Stim 08 Jul 12 - 03:04 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 08 Jul 12 - 06:16 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 08 Jul 12 - 06:37 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 08 Jul 12 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Stim 08 Jul 12 - 08:15 PM
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Subject: There's a Red Light on the Track for Boozer Brown
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 01:51 PM

Anyone know this song? My father used to sing it, years ago, but has forgotten the tune and lyrics and source--any clues will be appreciated--


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: There
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 01:53 PM

Sorry about that--don't quite know what happened--Joe, or clones, can you put the song title in the threads name for me?
All fixed, Ted. Intriguing song title. Know any more of it? This page (click) makes mention of the song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Req: There's a Red Light on the Track for Boozer..
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 11:20 PM

Thanks, Joe! The one line is all I can muster--as I recall, it is about a drunken driver racing trying to beat the train to the crossing--


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOOZER BROWN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 10:04 PM

From the Resident Handbook of Saint Michael's College, University of Toronto:


BOOZER BROWN*

There's a red light on the track for Boozer Brown, Boozer Brown;
There's a red light on the track for Boozer Brown;
There's a red light on the track,
'Twill be there when we come back;
There's a red light on the track for Boozer Brown.

CHORUS: As we go marching, and the band begins to play,
Hear the people shouting, "SMC is sure to win today";
Singing tra-li-a-li-a-li-a-li-a-li-a-li-ay;
Singing tra-li-a-li-a-li-a-li-ay;
Singing tra-li-a-li-ay, singing tra-li-a-liay;
Singing tra-li-a-li-a-li-a-li-ay.


* Boozer Brown is the name of SMC's annual 'Students vs. Alumni' homecoming football game. The contest is named for Bud (Boozer) Brown who helped SMC win its first inter-collegiate football title in 1930. Bud earned his nickname by hiding his liquor (which was illegal in those days) in an old telephone box.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: GUEST,tom strong
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 06:06 PM

at SMC, it was in the school newspaper that boozer Brown was adopted as the school song after the registrar father brown adopted some unpopular measure. the story dates back to the early '60's


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 03:04 PM

This song appears on page 355 in Sandburg's "American Songbag" as "Bolsum Brown":

BOLSUM BROWN
Who he was, this Bolsum Brown, and who she was, the Sister Mary referred to, we do not know. And nobody cares. But the song passes the time among the people who work for a living.

There's a red light on the track for Bolsum Brown
For Bolsum Brown, for Bolsum Brown.
There's a red light on the track,
and it'll be there when he comes back,
There's a red light on the track for Bolsum Brown.

Hop along, Sister Mary, hop along,
Hop along, hop along.
There's a red light on the track,
And it'll be there when he comes back.
There's a red light on the track for Bolsum Brown.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 06:16 PM

Ballad Index entry, gives Sandburg's verson as the earliest reference - 1927. But in this book A Game That Forged Rivals (about a football match between two New England teams), there is a reference to the first line being sung:

Apparently, still buoyed by their "victory" over Leominster, the Fitchburg team returned from Gardner by train, "in a merry mood, humming, 'There's a red light on the track for Boozer Brown"[54]

The [54] footnote gives the source as Fitchburg High School Yearbook for the Academic Year 1898-1899.


This suggests that the song was around at least in 1898 and also suggests that the U.Toronto story quoted by Jim above is a later (incorrect) attributed origin for the song if that 1930 date is true.

I still can't find out where it came from.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 06:37 PM

This book Minstrels of the Yukon (1948), has a snippet (all I can see), that names a bar called Boozer Brown and has the note:

The finale every evening had, by popular demand, to be a little number entitled "Boozer Brown" or "There's A Headlight on the Track" and the audience joined in on this. It was a nonsense jingle, and it is hard to realize..."

(This is from the search results and is more informative than the detailed result page).


The song also appears in the index of a later book Music of the Alaska-Klondike Gold Rush (1999).


It may be that the songs originated there or possibly was just popular. It would be nice if anyone had access to those two books.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 06:38 PM

The bar appears to have been in Dawson,btw.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boozer Brown: 'There's a red light on...'
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 08:15 PM

The lyrics that Sandburg collected seem to be fragments, which would suggest that the song was very old at the time of publication.

Given that a red light or lantern on the track signals a train to stop, one imagines that "Boozer Brown" was a railroad signalman who stepped off for some amusing purpose or other, leaving the train to wait.


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