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Lyr Add: Gandy Dancer's Ball (Howard, Weston)

Related thread:
What is a 'Jimmy John'? (Gandydancer's Ball) (58)


Gene 28 Sep 98 - 08:08 PM
rich r 29 Sep 98 - 10:01 PM
Dale Rose 30 Sep 98 - 07:43 PM
open mike 14 Jan 10 - 02:37 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 22 - 12:25 AM
rich-joy 20 Nov 22 - 07:33 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: GANDY DANCERS' BALL (Weston/Howard)
From: Gene
Date: 28 Sep 98 - 08:08 PM

Someone emailed me about this old song.

GANDY DANCERS' BALL
As recorded by: Frankie Laine
Writers: Weston and Howard

CHORUS
Oh, they dance on the ceilin'
And they dance on the wall
At the Gandy Dancers' Ball
Hey! Swing around, swing around, swing around the Jimmy-John
Swing around, swing around, the Jimmy, Jimmy-John
Swing around, swing around, swing around the Jimmy-John
Swing your pretty girl around the Jimmy, Jimmy John

A Gandy Dancer is a railroad man
And his work is never done
With his pick and his shovel and his willin' hand
He makes the Railroad run
There's Mackinaw Mac and Toledo Jack
And the boys from Idaho
And the Frisco Kid and Saginaw Sid
And good old Cotton-Eyed Joe

CHORUS

The boys will gather at the great affair
The Gandy Dancers' Ball
A kissin' their ladies with perfumed hair
And a-prancin' 'round the hall
They got the biggest band in all the land
And the rhythm rocks the room
And they holler out with a mighty shout
When the big bass drum goes (*BOOM*)

CHORUS

The Railroads bring 'em to the great affair
The Gandy Dancers' Ball
And every line is represented there
The big ones and the samll
There's the M.K.T. and the old S.P.
And the Lehigh valley too
The C. & J., the Sante Fe
Southern and the [Soo?]

CHORUS

They dance all day and they dance all night
They all dance til the broad daylight
At the Gandy Dancers' Ball

SOURCE:
Frankie Laine-Command Performance/Columbia CL 625


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Gandy Dancers' Ball
From: rich r
Date: 29 Sep 98 - 10:01 PM

I've never seen this song before, but "Soo" is certainly a valid name for a railroad. The Soo Line operated in the upper midwest. I had an uncle from Fond du Lac WI that worked for the Soo for over 25 years.

rich r


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: The Gandy Dancers' Ball
From: Dale Rose
Date: 30 Sep 98 - 07:43 PM

I saw this explained by Utah Phillips somewhere along the line. The laborers on the railroads were called Gandy dancers because they used shovels made by the Gandy company. To lift the rails so that the rock could be tamped under them, the laborer would get out on the end of the shovel and use the shovel as a lever to lift the rail, hence, Gandy dancing. At least that's the way I remember it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GANDY DANCER'S BALL (Howard, Weston)
From: open mike
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 02:37 AM

GANDY DANCER'S BALL
There has been some discussion about the song Gandy dancer's Ball
In this thread
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=126099&messages=27
And this one
http://www.mudcat.org/detail.cfm?messages__Message_ID=2126987
But, I thought it deserved a thread of it's own.
(neither of those threads show up in a "lyrics and knowledge" search)
See this article for info about the history of the term
(I had heard that there was a sport or skill developed by RR workers where they balance and did a dance on the handle of a shovel that had the scoop end wedged under a rail For fun and competition … not for work)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandy_dancer
there is a link to Utah Phillips' Moose Turd Pie in the Wikipedia article above.

GANDY DANCER'S BALL By Paul Mason Howard / Paul Weston. Recorded
by the Weavers, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Frankie Laine in 1952.

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The Gandy Dancer is a railroad man
And his work is never done
With his pick and his shovel and his willing hands
He makes the railroad run
There's Mackinaw Mack and Toledo Jack
And the boys from Idaho
And the Frisco kid and Saginaw Sid
And good old Cotton-eyed Joe

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The boys will gather at the great affair
The Gandy Dancer's ball
A-kissin' their ladies with perfumed hair
And prancin' round the hall
They got the biggest band in all the land
And the rhythm rocks the room
And they holler out with a mighty shout
When the big bass drum goes boom

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The railroads bring `em to the great affair
The Gandy Dancer's ball
An' every line is represented there
The big ones and the small
There's the MKT and the old SP
And the Lee High Valley too
The C and J and the Santa Fe
The Southern and the Sioux

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

They danced all day
And they danced all night
They all danced till the broad daylight
At the Gandy Dancer's ball

(Swing around, swing around
Swing around, swing around
The Jimmy John)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Gandy Dancer's Ball (Howard, Weston)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 22 - 12:25 AM

Paul Mason Howard wrote those lyrics when he was living with my family in Hermosa Beach, California in the early 1950s. In the evenings he would play the melody on his famous zither right after dinner. He also wrote "Shrimp Boats" in our home in Playa Del Rey when we all lived there. BURR MIDDLETON
       Actor, Singer, Writer, Musician.
       November 13, 2022
       amcher.99@gmail.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Gandy Dancer's Ball (Howard, Weston)
From: rich-joy
Date: 20 Nov 22 - 07:33 PM

Putting the term "Gandy Dancing" into YouTube's search brings up quite a few clips. These are just two :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8vRp78u6T8
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1O2X890tig
Some with song lyrics too.

R-J


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