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DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)

DigiTrad:
THE REGULAR ARMY, OH


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Joe Offer 14 Oct 04 - 04:48 PM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 04 - 04:55 PM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 04 - 05:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Oct 04 - 05:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Oct 04 - 06:04 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 06:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Oct 04 - 07:52 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM
masato sakurai 14 Oct 04 - 08:15 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 08:30 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 08:37 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 08:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Oct 04 - 09:52 PM
Lighter 14 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Keith A o Hertford 15 Oct 04 - 03:41 AM
Lighter 26 Oct 15 - 08:10 PM
Rapparee 26 Oct 15 - 09:55 PM
GUEST 02 Aug 17 - 10:28 PM
Rapparee 02 Aug 17 - 11:52 PM
Rapparee 03 Aug 17 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Aug 17 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Todd 21 Sep 17 - 07:16 PM
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Subject: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 04:48 PM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

Search for other DTStudy threads


The Regular Army, O was performed by Harrigan and Hart, Words by Edward Harrigan. Music Adapted and Arranged by Dave Braham, published in 1874.

The version in the Digital Tradition is, as stated, from Loesser's Humor in American Song. There is sheet music at the Levy Sheet Music Collection. The Harrigan version is different from the DT version. It could be that a traditional version predates the Harrigan-Hart version.
-Joe Offer-

Here are the lyrics from the Digital Tradition:


THE REGULAR ARMY, OH
(Harrington and Hart)

Three years ago, this very day, I went to Govner's Isle
To stand ferinst the cannon in true military style,
Thirteen American Dollars each month we surely get,
To carry a gun and a bayonet with a military step.

cho: There's Sergeant John McCafferty and Corp'ral Donahue
They make us march up to the crack in gallant Company Q;
The drums they roll, upon my soul, for that's the way we go
Forty miles a day on beans and hay in the Regular Army, Oh.

We had our choice of going to the army or to jail,
Or it's up the Hudson River with a cop to take a sail;
So we puckered up our courage and with bravery we did go
And we cursed the day we marched away with the Regular Army, Oh!

The captain's name was Murphy, of "dacint French descint"
Sure he knew all the holy words in the Hebrew testament;
And when he said to Hogan: "Just move your feet a foot,"
Sure, Hogan jumped a half a mile on Sergeant Riley's boot.

The best of all the officers is Second Lieutenant McDuff;
Of smoking cigarettes and sleep he never got enough.
Says the captain, "All we want of you is to go to Reveille,
And we'll let the first sergeant run the company."

There's corns upon me feet, me boy, and bunions on me toes,
And lugging a gun in the red hot sun puts freckles on me nose
And if you want a furlough to the captain you do go,
And he says, "Go to bed and wait till you're dead in the Regular
Army, Oh"

We went to Arizona for to fight the Indians there;
We were nearly caught bald-headed but they didn't get our hair
We lay among the ditches in the dirty yellow mud,
And we never saw an onion, a turnip or a spud.

We were captured by the Indians and brought ferinst the chafe
Says he, "We'll have an Irish stew," the dirty Indian thafe.
On the telegraphic wire we skipped to Mexico,
And we blessed the day we marched away from the Regular Army, Oh!

Note: A post-Civil-War Music hall comment on the professional, or
all-volunteer Army that replaced the citizen's Grand Army of
the Republic at the end of the war. It proved to be a home to
many Irish immigrants. The song was picked up by the army,
and was a popular army song in the late 1800s. RG

From Humor in American Song, Loesser
@America @Irish @army @bitching
filename[ REGARMY
TUNE FILE: REGARMY
CLICK TO PLAY
RG
Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Regular Army-O, The

DESCRIPTION: The volunteer joined the army three years ago, and has been suffering every since under "Sergeant John McCafferty and Corporal Donahue" as well as "forty miles a day on beans and hay." Captured by Indians, the soldiers at last escape army life
AUTHOR: Harrington and Hart?
EARLIEST DATE: 1942
KEYWORDS: soldier army warning abuse
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Lomax-FSNA 177, "The Regular Army-O" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, REGARMY*

Roud #4747
File: LoF177

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The lyrics in the Digital Tradition match the Loesser book almost exactly, except that the DT misidentifies the songwriter as Harrington (Loesser says Harrigan).


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 04:55 PM

Anybody with eagle eyes who's willing to transcribe the sheet music from Levy?


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Subject: ADD Version: The Regular Army, Oh!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 05:20 PM

This is from Sound Off (E.A. Dolph, 1942). Alan Lomax included the Dolph version in The Folk Songs of North America (Alan Lomax, 1960), but changed a few spellings and left out a couple of verses

The Regular Army, Oh!

Three years ago this very day I went to Governor's Isle
To stand ferinst the cannon in true military style,
Thirteen American dollars each month we'd surely get
To carry a gun and bayonet with a military step.

CHORUS:
There's Sergeant John McCafferty and Corporal Donahue,
They make us march up to the crack in gallant company Q,
The drums they roll, upon my soul, for that's the way we go,
Forty miles a day on beans and hay, in the Regular Army-oh.

We had our choice of going to the army or the jail,
Or it's up the Hudson River with a copper take a sail,
So we puckered up our courage and with bravery did go,
And we cursed the day we marched away with the Regular Army-o.
CHORUS

When we went out to Fort Hobo they run us in the mill,
And there they made us take a bath, 'twas sure against our will,
With three full meals within our belts, each day we had our fill,
And we sat upon the dump cart and watched the terriers drill.
CHORUS

The captain's name was Murphy, of "dacint French descint"
Sure he knew all the holy words in the Hebrew testament;
And when he said to Hogan: "Just move your feet a foot,"
Sure, Hogan jumped a half a mile on Sergeant Riley's boot.
CHORUS

The best of all the officers is Second Lieutenant McDuff;
Of smoking cigarettes and sleep he never got enough.
Says the captain, "All we want of you is to go to Reveille,
And we'll let the first sergeant run the company."
CHORUS

There's corns upon me feet, me boys, and bunions on me toes,
And lugging a gun in the red-hot sun puts freckles on me nose,
And if you want a furlough, to the captain you do go.
He says, 'Go to bed and wait till you're dead in the Regular Army-oh.'
CHORUS

We went to Arizona for to fight the Indians there,
We were nearly caught bald-headed, but they didn't get our hair,
We lay among the ditches in the dirty yellow mud,
And we never saw an on-i-on, a turnip, or a spud.
CHORUS

We were captured by the Indians and brought ferninst the chafe.
Says he, 'We'll have an Irish stew,' the dirty Indian thafe!
[But] On the telegraphic wire we skipped to Mexico,
And we blessed the day we marched away from the Regular Army-oh! CHORUS


Here are the notes from Dolph:
    Here is another song which, like "The Wide Missouri," is reminiscent of the frontier and the days of the covered wagon. In 1874 a version of it appeared in sheet-music form with words by Ed Harrigan and music adapted and arranged by Braham. But it has been sung in different forms, for the soldier on the frontier adopted it, changed it when he felt inclined, and made it his own. The younger generation in the army does not know it, but to the older officers and those on the retired list it will recall many pleasant memories. An old war correspondent who was with General Miles in the Sioux campaigns of the seventies tells of hearing the general sing this stanza:
      We're marching off for Sitting Bull,
      And this is the way we go;
      Forty miles a day on beans and hay
      In the Regular Army, Oh!

So, I guess that means the Harrigan-Braham song was first, or was it?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 05:54 PM

O!
Ed Harrigan (lyrics) and Dave Braham (music) followed the original up with "Salvation Army Oh!" in 1882, in the play "The McSorleys," published by Wm. A. Pond, NY. Sheet music at American Memory.
There are four verses.

John Braham published "Army So Grand" in 1874 , G. D. Russell, Boston. Braham wrote the music, W. Cavanagh the words. It starts out-
I'm a gay vivandiere, Yes a gay vivandiere,
and the pet of the Army so grand.

This was the same year as "Regular Army O!" by Harrigan and Dave Braham (relared?)

Looks like there may be all sorts of follow-ups to the original.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 06:04 PM

I put "Regular Army O!" on Adobe, and I think I can read it. If no one does it before me, I will transcribe it this evening.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 06:22 PM

Proof of the song's popularity lies in the fact that Robert Gordon received a number of very similar texts from old soldiers (mostly officers, it seems) when he was writing his song column for "Adventure" magazine the 1920s.

There is (or was twenty-five years ago!) a small broadside of the Harrigan lyrics, without the tune, in the Music Division of the New York Public Library.

Interestingly enough, the melody is well-known in Irish music circles under various titles including "From Galway to Dublin." Francis O'Neill published it a century ago as "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine." The Clancy Bros. & Tommy Makem used to sing "Mick McGuire" to the same tune.

Dolph's text differs from the original. With a stanza or two silently omitted, it also appears in Alan Lomax's "Folk Songs of North America." B.A. Botkin is more faithful to his source in the earlier "A Treasury of Western Folklore."

The original text and tune are reprinted in Richard Lingenfelter & Richard Dwyer's "Songs of the American West."

The reference escapes me now, but one period book about the frontier army quotes a topical verse of folk composition sung by General Crook's column in 1876. Will post if I can dig it out of the attic.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 07:52 PM

The text in Lingenfelter and Dwyer is not the original; the melody is very close but has minor changes to suit the slightly changed words. The Irish dialect of the original has been dropped in the California Minstrels version.
In the first verse Governer's Isle becomes Gov'nor's Isle, causing a change in a couple of notes; in the second verse, Arizony becomes Arizona and Injins becomes Indians.

I am working on the Levy text but it will take a while.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM

That Braham merely "adapted and arranged" the music seems to indicate its traditional provenance.

As for the words, it's surprising that the Harrigan (1874) version mentions pay of $17 a month, whereas the presumably secondary "Dolph" words specify $13.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:15 PM

A broadside is at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

regular army o! [title] (California Minstrels' version).


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:30 PM

Good work, Masato. The Bodleian's date of "c.1860" is almost certainly way too early. The British cataloguers may have assumed it was a Civil War song.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:37 PM

From "Indian War Battles" (http://1-14th.com/IndianPvtJordan.html) extract from diary of Pvt. William Jordan, Co. C, 14th Infantry.


August 15 [1876]. This proved another hard day's march over a mountainous country. Guard [Grouard] reports numerous Indian trails, evidence that the redskins (the body that massacred Gen. Custer's command) have divided. ... Marched 22 miles. We had a wag of a fellow in my company named James Radcliff, who enlivened the march by his comic songs and remarks. Today he composed a song while marching, which ran something like this:

We went with Crook to the Rose Bud
To fight the Indians there;
We came near being baldheaded,
but they did not get our hair.
We lay upon the ground,
in the dirty yellow mud,
And we never saw an onion,
A Turnip nor a spud.
And there was Corp. O'Donahue
and Sergt. "The-Devil-Knows-Who,
They made us march and toe the mark
in gallant Company Q.
And the drums would roll upon my Soul,
and this is the way we'd go:
Forty miles a day on beans and hay,
In the regular army O.
The entire column would join in the chorus of this song, thus diverting our minds from the hardships of the march.


This is NOT the passage I mentioned previously. So now, to the attic.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:51 PM

More trivia: At least part of the song is sung in the B-Western "Oh, Susannah!" (1951).


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 09:52 PM

Lyr. Add: REGULAR ARMY O!
Words Ed. Harrigan; Music adapt. arr. David Braham,
Harrigan and Hart.

Three years ago, this very day,
We went to Governer's Isle;
For to stand forminst the cannon
In the military style.
Seventeen American dollars
Each month we'd surely get
For to carry a gun and baynetts
With a regimental step.
We had our choice of going to the army or to jail;
Or it's up the Hudson River,
With a "copper" take a sail,
Oh we peckered up our courage,
With bravery we did go,
Oh we cursed the day we went away
Wid the Regular Army O!

Chorus:
There was Sergeant John McCaffery
And Captain Donahue,
Oh they make us march and toe the mark
In gallant Company "Q."
Oh the drums would roll upon my soul
This is the style we'd go
Forty miles a day, on beans and hay,
In the Regular Army O!

We went to Arizony
For to fight the Injins there;
We came near being made bald-headed
But they never got our hair.
We lay among the ditches, in the yellow dirty mud,
And we never saw an onion, a turnip or a spud.
Oh we were taken prisoners, conveyed forminst the Chefe
Oh he said we'd make an Irish stew, the dirty Indian thafe.
On the telegraph wire, we walked to Mexico,
We bless the day we slipped away
From the Regular Army O!

We've been dry as army herring,
And as hungry as a Turk;
Oh the boys along the street cry out,
"Soger, would you work?"
We'd skip into the Navy,
For to plow the raging sea
But cold water sure we wouldn't endure,
'Twould never agree wid me
We'll join the politicians
Then we'll know we'll be well fed;
Oh we'll sleep no more upon the ground
But in a feather bed.
And if a war it should break out
They call on us to go,
We'll git Italian substitutes
For the Regular Army O!

We've corns upon our heels, my boys
And bunions on our toes
From lugging a gun in the red hot sun
Puts freckles on our nose.
England has her Grenadiers
France has her Zoo-zoos.
The U. S. A. never changes, they say
But continually wears the blues.
When we are out on parade
We must have our muskets bright
Or they'll slap us in the guard house
To pass away the night.
And when we want a furlough
To the Colonel we must go;
He says go to bed and wait till you're dead,
In the Regular Army O!

W. A. Pond and Co., NY, 1874.
Levy sheet music, linked above by Joe. Some of the words are hard to read; corrections appreciated.

A fifth verse was added in 1890 by Charles King, "Campaigning with Crook," pp. 158-159, Harpers, NY.

But 'twas out upon the Yellowstone we had the damndest time;
Faix, we made the trip wid Rosebud George, six months without a dime.
Some eighteen hundred miles we went through hunger, mud and rain,
Wid backs all bare, and rations rare, no chance for grass or grain;
Wid bunkies starvin by our side, no rations was the rule;
Shure 'twas ate your boots and saddles, you brutes, but feed the packer and mule.
But you know full well that in your fights no soldier lad was slow,
And it wasn't the packer that won ye a star in the regular army, O!

From Lingenfelter and Dwyer, 1968, "Songs of the American West," p. 281.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM

That's the passage I was thinking of, Q.

The only corrections I would make to your transcription are "forninst," "bagnette," "puckered" and "Chafe."

"Bagnet" or "bagonet," as it usually appeared, was an uneducated form of "bayonet."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 03:41 AM

The chorus is used in one of the John Ford, John Wayne cavalry film.
(trivial observation I know)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Oct 15 - 08:10 PM

"The Shelby Beacon" of Ellwood, Pa. (Apr. 27, 1917) prints the following:

A Marching Verse for Co. A, Shelby Volunteers

There is Captain Hicks of Company A,
And his Lieutenants two;
They will make you march
As stiff as starch
Before they're done with you.
The drums will roll,
Upon me soul,
And this is the way you'll go,
Forty miles a day
On beans and hay
In the regular army, oh.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Oct 15 - 09:55 PM

Don Rickey, in "Forty Miles A Day On Beans And Hay," (p 189ff in the paperback edition) notes how "The Regular Army, O" was modified by the soldiers to reflect the different campaigns.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 10:28 PM

The (presumably) traditional tune was obviously adapted (from a "traditional" tune - also used for the song "Mr. mcGuire, Sit Down")by Edward Harrigan's father-in-law David Braham, a prolific composer of music for popular songs and musical conductor at Harrigan's theatre. Several other of Harrigans songs have adapted "traditional" melodies. The original "Regular Army O" was performed as a song/sketch. The sketch portion is long lost but it would seem to have been sung by some of the male members of Harrigan's Theatre Comique troup - each performer taking a verse in turn and all joining in on the chorus. Attached is a link to a picture of the songs original performers James Bradley, Edward Harrigan, Tony Hart and two others whose names escape me at the moment. The print is an exact copy of the original photograph which I have somewhere.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/harrigan73/1231514117/


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 11:52 PM

Do you mean the song "Mick Maguire"?

Mick McGuire
Traditional

Oh, me name is Mick McGuire and I'll quickly tell to you
Of a young girl I admired called Katy Donahue
She was fair and fat and forty and believe me when I say
That whenever I came in at the door you could hear her mammy say:

"Johnny, get up from the fire, get up and give the man a sate
Can't you see it's Mr McGuire and he's courting your sister Kate
Ah, you know very well he owns a farm a wee bit out of the town
Arragh, get up out of that, you impudent brat, and let Mr McGuire sit down"

Diddle e dowdle-owdle-owdle diddle e dowdle-owdle-ow
Diddle e dowdle-owdle-owdle diddle e dowdle-owdle-ow
"Ah, you know very well he owns that farm a wee bit out of the town
Arragh, get up out of that, you impudent brat, and let Mr McGuire sit down"
Now, the first time that I met her was at a dance at Tarmagee
And I very kindly asked her if she'd dance a step with me
Then I asked if I could see her home if I'd be going her way
And whenever I come in at the door you could hear her mammy say:

Or are you referring to another one?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Aug 17 - 09:44 AM

Answered my own question -- yes, it is.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Aug 17 - 10:43 AM

The melody is a slight variation of a march best known as "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine." (It also has other, apparently later, titles.)

The tune under that title was in print in the U.S. by 1843:

http://tunearch.org/wiki/Bonaparte_Crossing_the_Rhine_(2)

(Thanks to the underappreciated "Traditional Tune Index.")


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Regular Army, O (Harrigan & Braham)
From: GUEST,Todd
Date: 21 Sep 17 - 07:16 PM

Anyone know the name of the tune Mick plays between the verses and at the end. It sounds so familiar but I just can't place it.


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