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Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic

DigiTrad:
INFLUENZA


Related threads:
BS: flu - to jab or not to jab? (96)
Lyr Req: Memphis Flu (Elder Curry) (11)
Mexican Corrido about the 1918 Influenza (16)
BS: Influenza Britain (31)
INFLUENZA (30)


Abby Sale 22 Dec 99 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,karres@pipers-hut.com 13 Jan 04 - 04:31 PM
Rustic Rebel 14 Jan 04 - 04:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jan 04 - 04:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM
mg 14 Jan 04 - 06:38 PM
Gorgeous Gary 14 Jan 04 - 07:52 PM
Celtaddict 14 Jan 04 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,karres@pipers-hut.com 15 Jan 04 - 02:07 PM
Celtaddict 15 Jan 04 - 10:18 PM
Mrs.Duck 16 Jan 04 - 11:38 AM
mg 16 Jan 04 - 11:56 AM
Celtaddict 16 Jan 04 - 12:45 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Jan 04 - 07:01 PM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 09 - 08:44 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 09 - 09:04 PM
MartinRyan 24 Nov 09 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 24 Nov 09 - 07:09 AM
Dead Horse 24 Nov 09 - 07:21 AM
Marion 24 Nov 09 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,bradleygarder 24 Jun 11 - 06:30 AM
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Subject: ADD: Influenza
From: Abby Sale
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 11:04 AM

At the LC Lomax collection, Lomax Home Page here there's a song called "Influenza" as follows: (If I format right, it's Joe Offer's fault.)

INFLUENZA

In nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an' women sure was dyin',
From de disease what de doctors called de flu.
People was dyin' ev'ywhere; death was creepin' th'ough de air,
For de groans of de sick sure was sad.

Chorus:

It was God's almighty hand; he was judgin' this old land;
North an' South; East an' West could be seen,
Yes, he killed de rich an' poor, an' he's goin' to kill more
If you don't turn away from your sins.

In Memphis, Tennessee, doctors said it soon would be,
In a few days influenza will (we'LL?) control.
But God showed that He was head, an' He put de doctor to bed,
And the nurse they broke down with de same.

Chorus:

Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees;
'Tis a fever ev'ybody sure does dread;
Puts a pain in ev'y bone, a few days an' you are gone
To a place in de groun' called de grave.

Chorus:
^^

Tune basically "Jesus Christ" ("Jesse James") and may be hearable by copying the link, pnm://lcweb.loc.gov/data/ammem/afcss39/3552b3.ra directly in the RealAudio Location line. (I don't think it will be clickable but here it is, if it is: Click here ) Sung by Ace Johnson, Clemens state farm, Brazoria, Texas, April 16, 1939.

So, a question. There was always death from flu, especially in the under health-cared South. But this song seems to speak of the great pandemic of 1919, not 1929. Far as I know, US flu death were at an extreme low about 1929.

Another one of those oddities. There's plenty of (blues) songs about TB but oddly rare on the flu. I mean the Spanish (ie, originating in China) Flu that killed some 22,000,000 people.

Have a nice day.


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Subject: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: GUEST,karres@pipers-hut.com
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 04:31 PM

Hi,

In the Mid-90's I visited the North Texas Irish Festival. I heard a song there that has recently come back to haunt me. Unfortunately I don't remember more than a few words of the choraus and the general melody and theme. What I do remember went something like:

The Great Flu Pandemic it swept the whole world wide
20 million of them got it and they died, died died
Whether standing in the trenches or lying in their beds
20 million of them got it and they're dead


Ok, whoever the band was would sing a verse then the chorus and then vamp a bit on a recognizable deathe-associated tune, like taps or the death march or whatever.

Does anyone have all the words for this song?

Dean...K...


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Subject: Influenza ^^^
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 04:11 PM

I have done a small search haven't come up with the right song I don't think but found this....

Influenza

Influenza

In nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an' women sure was dyin',
From de disease what de doctors called de flu.
People was dyin' ev'ywhere; death was creepin' th'ough de air,
For de groans of de sick sure was sad.

Cho:    It was God's almighty hand; he was judgin' this old land;

North an' South; East an' West could be seen,

Yes, he killed de rich an' poor, an' he's goin' to kill more

If you don't turn away from your sins.

In Memphis, Tennessee, doctors said it soon would be,
In a few days influenza will (we'LL?) control.
But God showed that He was head, an' He put de doctor to bed,
And the nurse they broke down with de same.

Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees;
'Tis a fever ev'ybody sure does dread;
Puts a pain in ev'y bone, a few days an' you are gone
To a place in de groun' called de grave.


Tune basically "Jesus Christ" ("Jesse James") and may be hearable by copying th
e link,
pnm://lcweb.loc.gov/data/ammem/afcss39/3552b3.ra directly in the RealAudio
Sung by Ace Johnson, Clemens state farm, Brazoria, Texas, April 16, 1939.

So, a question. There was always death from flu, especially in the under health-
cared
South. But this song seems to speak of the great pandemic of 1919, not 1929. Fa
r as
I know, US flu deaths were at an extreme low about 1929.

Another one of those oddities. There's plenty of (blues) songs about TB but oddl
y
rare on the flu. I mean the Spanish (ie, originating in China) Flu that killed s
ome
22,000,000 people.


I have learned alot about the flu while searching for you!
Rustic

    (exact copy of Digital Tradition entry.)
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 04:57 PM

If the line was:

In the year nineteen nineteen, men and women sure were dyin'

It'd near enough rhyme, as well as being factually true.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM

... you could force it to fit the tune "In the year 2525"... :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: mg
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 06:38 PM

Didn't Marion just write one? mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 07:52 PM

D'oh! This thread popped up a couple days too late...I was down at a filk con in Atlanta last weekend and there was a guy there who sings the song I think Dean's looking for. Tho' I think I have an e-mail lurking around, so I can still see if I can scrounge it up.

I remember the chorus as:

"It was the great pandemic and it swept the whole world wide
Caught soldiers and civilians and they died, died, died
Whether standing in the trenches or lying in their beds
20 million of them got it and they're dead, dead, dead"

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: Celtaddict
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 11:45 PM

The song, "Flu Pandemic" is sung and recorded by the Flying Fish Sailors, and is on their one CD. (They have several cassettes.) Probably written by Greg Henkel, a truly sick and hysterical songwriter who also plays fiddle as if he is taking hostages. I have the CD at home and will be glad to post information and words when I get there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: GUEST,karres@pipers-hut.com
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 02:07 PM

Celtaddict has it bang on! After seeing the name "The Flying Fish Sailors" I remembered that's who it was. I visited their web site and saw other tune titles I had forgotten about like, "Mow Johnny, mow" and others.

If you can send me the lyrics that would be great but now that I know who they are I'll pay them for an album.

Thanks,
Dean...K...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: Celtaddict
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 10:18 PM

Here are the lyrics exactly as they appear in the CD notes of Loch Ness Monster; punctuation is Greg's. Check out their other stuff. They have some wild modern-day shanties. (The moving shanty: Haul, U-Haul, Haul. The morning shanty: Cuppa Joe, gimme cuppa Joe.) In concert I have heard them do Loch Ness Monster as it is recorded, then as rap, then as calypso. I tried to put in a clicky but the website is not currently responding; the address is

www.flyingfishsailors.com

They also list a phone # (713) 318-5178.

Flupandemic

Greg Henkel

It was the Flupandemic
And it swept the whole world wide
It caught soldiers and civilians
And they died, died, died!
Whether they're lying in the trenches
Or lying in their beds
Twenty million of them got it
And they're dead, dead, dead!

There was a soldier on the battleground in 1917
He turned there to his buddy
with his face a ghastly green
He said "We made it both through Paeschendale,
the Somme, and Flanders too
But now my number's up my lad
for I've gone and caught the flu"

chorus

Well a nurse was in the hospital
when Tommy was brought in
When he sneezed she caught a face full
that was flying in the wind
She wrote a letter home to England
to tell them of her plight
But the letter never got there
'cause the Postman too had died

chorus

From the meadowlands of Somerset
and o'er the bounding main
To the shores of old Americay
they sung the same refrain
Mother, fathers, uncles and aunts
as well as the odd nephew
Brothers and sisters and bosses and lovers
were all got by the flu

chorus

Well a farmer out in China
watched his family dropping down
And a businessman in Cairo
hit the street without a sound
And an eager little Bolshevik in old Sevastapol
couldn't keep up his grinnin' at Lenin
as Comrade Virus took its toll

chorus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 11:38 AM

My Auntie Molly died of it in 1919.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: mg
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 11:56 AM

And my grandfather in 1918 I think in Tacoma, Washington. mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: Celtaddict
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 12:45 PM

I am sorry for the loss of your family members, among those many. It is a fascinating thing, that so many of the old nursery rhymes even are about hideous events in history. A modern day (relatively) Ring Around a Rosy. When something is too dreadful to think seriously about, what do we do? We give it to the children to play with.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song about the Flu Pandemic of 1900's
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 07:01 PM

While maybe not the worst plague ever ... (?)

From R.S. Bray, Armies of Pesitlence, Barnes & Noble Books, 1996, ISBN 0-7607-1915-2:

The pandemic of influenza which struck the world in 1918-19:

… an attack rate of about 40-50% of the population and a death rate of between 0.5 and 1.2% of cases
… killed about 22,000,000 people world-wide.
… the USA suffered a mortality of about 0.5% of its population, that is about 500,000.
… the UK lost about 200,000
…Samoa, wihtout previous experience of the disease, lost 25% of its population
… Influenza wiped out whole Esquimo (sic) villages.
… India … lost 12,000,000
In confined communities such as aboard ship passenger liners bound for Australia from the UK there was an attack rate of anything from 4% ro 43%. Attack rates could also be higher for the younger age groups as they were unprotected by previous experience of the disease.

Then there's plague, malaria, yellow fever, smallpox, typhus, cholera, ... polio ... and aids. No shortage of song material, but the "bugs" seem to be holding their own. With the exception of smallpox(??) they all still cause far too many deaths.

John


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Subject: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 08:44 PM

It just occurred to me that I have never heard of any song about the 1919 flu pandemic. Or for that matter any novel, poem or painting. It killed more people than the preceding war and seems to have left no cultural trace at all. (Whereas the cholera epidemic of the 1830s left quite a few songs).

Anybody know of anything, from anywhere in any language?


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 09:04 PM

Hope you don't mind my moving you over here, Jack. This thread needed refreshing, and I think there should be more songs than the ones we've found already.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 03:27 AM

Somewhat off-thread, I know, but each outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle in 20th C. Ireland produced at least one song on the topic.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:09 AM

It wasnt just the people who died who suffered there were many that survived who had awful lives.
When I bought my house in 1966 from an old chap I thought he was a batchelor.
. In 1970 he told me that it was his Golden Wedding Aniversary and that his wife had had Spanish flu 6 weeks after they had married in 1920.The flu had affected her brain and that she had been in the local mental hospital ever since. Annie was still there in 1984.
Just a small matter of 64 years on a Ward.


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: Dead Horse
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:21 AM

Hows about "Badamoosel frob Arbadeers"
Think about it :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: Marion
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 11:03 AM

Hi Jack.

As MG mentioned above, I have a Spanish Flu song based on a woman's memoirs. The lyrics and MP3 are on my website here: Cecilia Delory

Cheers, Marion


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Subject: RE: Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic
From: GUEST,bradleygarder
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 06:30 AM

I seem to be a bit late to the conversation, but I feel I should note that Blind Willie Johnson's song about the 1919 flu is rather incredible. Called "Jesus Coming Soon"


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