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Lyr Req: When the War Breaks Out in Mexico

SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net 15 Feb 97 - 12:51 PM
Les Benedict 17 Feb 97 - 02:27 AM
SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net 22 Feb 97 - 07:02 PM
rustoliam@aol.com 08 Oct 99 - 10:44 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 05 Aug 11 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,999 05 Aug 11 - 05:39 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Aug 11 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,walt salamon (boston) 02 Jan 12 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 02 Jan 12 - 01:25 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 12 - 07:01 PM
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Subject: Whiskey Hill Singers...When the war breaks...
From: SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net
Date: 15 Feb 97 - 12:51 PM

After Dave Guard left the Kingston Trio he put out one or two albums with a group known as "The Whiskey Hill Singers". Judy Henske was also a member. They had a hilarious song that, in part, included the line "when the war breaks out in Mexico, I gonna go to Montreal. I've got a 42nd cousin up in Canada and it's time I paid a friendly call...". If anyone can provide me with the rest of the lyrics and maybe the chords I would sure appreciate it. Thanks.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN THE WAR BREAKS OUT IN MEXICO
From: Les Benedict
Date: 17 Feb 97 - 02:27 AM

Here's the words off the record - not sure about a few of the lines? The structure sounds like a circle of fifths- i.e. ragtime/vaudeville.

Oh, when the war breaks out in Mexico, I'm a gonna go to Montreal.
I got a 42nd cousin up in Canada, and it's time I paid a friendly ca-a-all.
So I'll pack my grip for the farewell trip, and from the states I'll go-wah-oh.
When the war breaks out in Mexico, I'm a gonna go to Montree—
You'll love it up in Montree—
Climate's nice in Montreal.

Oh, my cousin is a fisherman, like his pa and like his grandpappy.
Oh, if I settle in the states and have me a son, he'll end up a soldier boy like me-wah-he.
So I've changed my tag from Johnny Reb to Jean (Piereally-boo-wah-hoo?).
When the war breaks out in Mexico, I'll be fishin' up in Montree—
Good old peaceful Montree—
Lots of fish in Montreal-aw-al.

Oh, oh, I don't know what we was fightin' about, except it was about too much for me.
But I'll tell you what I was fightin' for, for the last time in my life by gee-wah-hee.
So to keep my health I'm gonna chase myself up to old Montree-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he.
Unless the war breaks out in Canada, then I'll get some bread and cheese
And, pack up my valise and, head for quiet Mexico--believe me honey--head for quiet Mexico-wo-ho.
If they thought our act was tasty in Atlantic City, they will eat us up in Montreal,
That's all!


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Subject: RE: Whiskey Hill Singers...When the war breaks...
From: SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net
Date: 22 Feb 97 - 07:02 PM

Hey Les,

Thank you for those lyrics. I am a happy man.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey Hill Singers...When the war breaks...
From: rustoliam@aol.com
Date: 08 Oct 99 - 10:44 PM

You supplied lyrics to "When the War breaks out in Mexico" by the Whiskey Hill Singers. Any idea where, or if, a copy of that album could be obtained?


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN THE WAR BREAKS OUT IN MEXICO
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 05:30 PM

Let me revive this thread, as I'm going to be doing a version of this song for this year's Princeton Traditional Music Festival—and I'm interested in knowing more about my version.

It appears it's a great example of a sort of "modern oral tradition".

The original song lyrics, by Ernest Breuer and J. Brandon Walsh from 1914 are:


Somebody told Sam Jackson 'bout the War in Mexico.
They said, "Your country needs you now, so grab your gun and go.
Go where the rifles crack and lead each mad attack."
Sam said, "I knew a hero once who got shot in the back,
And after all the folks had read about the charge he led,
They said he was a hero. Ain't it too bad he's dead?
Therefore, I must refuse to help Miss Vera Cruz.
I couldn't go to any war with just one pair of shoes."

Sam Jackson said," my head and heart are very, very brave,
But when I am in battle, my two feet will not behave.
I had a fight one day; my head wanted to stay.
In spite of all my head could do, both my feet ran away.
A soldier on a battlefield can have lots of bad luck,
For when a bullet comes along, he might forget to duck.
So when the bugles blow, and all the soldiers go,
You'll see me going mighty fast, but not to Mexico.

"When the war breaks out in Mexico I'm going to Montreal.
On my forty-second cousin up in Canada I'm going to make a friendly call.
I'd like to be a hero in a suit of blue, but my insurance policy is overdue.

"When the war breaks out in Mexico I'm going to Montreal.
A postal card will reach me up in Canada; I won't be coming home till fall.
'Bout my patriotism, I don't want to brag,
But I'll lean out of a window and I'll wave a flag.
When the war breaks out in Mexico
Some one else can start fighting
Just break the news to father that I'm going to Montreal."


I learned a version, similar to the Whiskey Hill Singers version (credited to different writers) from my old buddy from Toronto, Chick Roberts (anybody know if he's still alive?).

It's almost the same as the lyrics Les Benedict wrote on the earlier forum. The most relevant differences are "I'll change my name from Johnny Reb to "Jean Pierre Lafille" (pronounced La 'fee)

And Chick added a little tag at the end that went:

"I'll miss the grey cup—I'll be fishing out in Acapulco".
Rat-tat-a tat ta. Rat-a-tat-a tata. Rat-a-tat a tat ta ta. "

Chick told me he used to do that song with his old group—the think they were the "Even Dozen Jug Band"—and it included Amos Garrett.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: When the War Breaks Out in Mexico
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 05:39 PM

Pete Daily's Chicagoans on YOUTUBE


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN THE WAR BREAKS OUT IN MEXICO
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Aug 11 - 08:59 PM

The sheet music can be found at the Levy Collection (which doesn't seem to be working right now). I think this layout will make the structure of the song more clear:


WHEN THE WAR BREAKS OUT IN MEXICO I'M GOING TO MONTREAL
Words by J. Brandon Walsh. Music by Ernest Breuer.
Chicago: Will Rossiter, 1914.

1. Somebody told Sam Jackson 'bout the War in Mexico.
They said, "Your country needs you now, so grab your gun and go.
Go where the rifles crack and lead each mad attack."
Sam said, "I knew a hero once who got shot in the back,
And after all the folks had read about the charge he led,
They said he was a hero. Ain't it too bad he's dead?
Therefore, I must refuse to help Miss Vera Cruz.
I couldn't go to any war with just one pair of shoes."

CHORUS 1: "When the war breaks out in Mexico I'm going to Montreal.
On my forty-second cousin up in Canada I'm going to make a friendly call.
I'd like to be a hero in a suit of blue,
But my insurance policy is overdue.
When the war breaks out in Mexico,
Someone else can start fighting. I'm going to Montreal."

2. Sam Jackson said," my head and heart are very, very brave,
But when I am in battle, my two feet will not behave.
I had a fight one day; my head wanted to stay.
In spite of all my head could do, both my feet ran away.
A soldier on a battlefield can have lots of bad luck,
For when a bullet comes along, he might forget to duck.
So when the bugles blow, and all the soldiers go,
You'll see me going mighty fast, but not to Mexico.

CHORUS 2: "When the war breaks out in Mexico I'm going to Montreal.
A postal card will reach me up in Canada; I won't be coming home till fall.
'Bout my patrioticism [sic], I don't want to brag,
But I'll lean out of a window and I'll wave a flag.
When the war breaks out in Mexico
Just break the news to father that I'm going to Montreal."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: When the War Breaks Out in Mexico
From: GUEST,walt salamon (boston)
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:16 AM

myself and three partners while just finishing at b.c. and b.u. were doing a summer sing-a-long gig on cape cod when a guy from colunbia records heard us. make a long story a bit shorter ended up releasing 3-4 epic records 45's. our group was the freewheelers. our favorite tune was "MEXICO' which we did with a bunch of brass-dixie style. our producer didn't like it and buried it. never mixed/never finished. i pull my 2nd/3d generation copy out occationally to smile and remember the good old days!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: When the War Breaks Out in Mexico
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:25 PM

Just a correction to my earlier post. The group Chick Roberts was in with Amos Garrett, who apparently did this song, were "The Dirty Shames" (Not The Even Dozen Jugband).   

And, I'm wondering, Walt Salamon, when you folks (The Freewheelers" did "When the War Breaks Out In Mexico", what lyrics did you use?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: When the War Breaks Out in Mexico
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:01 PM

to larry. we used the whiskey hill lyrics and the music was arranged by mort garson. he did a lot of pop stuff. the end result sounded a lot like a studio group called the village stompers w. lyrics. we also did a dixie version of san francisco bay blues. our sessions were in '64/'65. (epic records-bob morgan producer) we didn't sell many records but we had a few laughs along the way-before we had to go out and get real jobs!!!


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