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Lyr Add: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry

GUEST,Miriam 15 May 05 - 09:17 PM
GUEST 01 Aug 12 - 07:14 PM
Joe Offer 02 Aug 12 - 01:36 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 02 Aug 12 - 09:06 AM
Joe Offer 02 Aug 12 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: ADD: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry
From: GUEST,Miriam
Date: 15 May 05 - 09:17 PM

Am I the only person who remembers "The Ballad of Samuel Mabry"? I heard it in summer camp in 1961 or 1962 and found it a very affecting song. But I haven't been able to find it in a search anywhere on the Web, including this site.

The recording I heard was by a bass-baritone who I had thought was Paul Robeson. So a few years ago, when Robert Sherman had a request show on his radio program "Woody's Children" (then on WQXR, now on WFUV), I requested Robeson singing it. Sherman couldn't find it. So I sent him the lyrics. Sherman wrote back that he had shown the lyric to Robeson's sons and they knew nothing about it.

What I'd like to know is, who wrote it, and who was the Paul Robeson sound-alike who recorded it? (He deserves to be famous in his own right.) Also, if someone knows the lyrics more accurately, I'd like to know.

Here are the lyrics. The words in square brackets are words I'm not sure of.

THE BALLAD OF SAMUEL MABRY
Songwriter: ??

Let me sing you the story of Samuel Mabry,
Negro hero of World War Two;
He fought in [Southern France, fought in Germany] and the Rhineland;
He fought in the Central European campaign.

He won four Bronze Stars and the Victory Medal,
He won the Good Conduct Medal too,
Spent ten painful years in a veterans' hospital
For wounds he received in his country's call.

On the 20th of May in 1960,
He was sitting on a park bench in old New York,
When up stepped a cop by the name of O'Keefe
Who called him a dirty so-and-so.

Then the cop took his club and beat him without pity;
He kicked him and he cursed him as he lay on the ground,
Saying, "We don't want your kind in the parks of this city,
Why don't you go back where you came from."

Samuel Mabry gave his precious youth
Defending the borders of this great land,
But he returned home to the violent outrage,
Another victim of Jim Crow's hand.

From Jacksonville to the beaches of Biloxi,
From New York right down to the Gulf,
The racists run wild with their bombings, beatings, shootings,
And that is the shame of America.

We didn't yield to Hitler's forces,
We didn't yield to his tyranny;
I'll be damned if I'll yield to the racists in this country;
I tell you, my people will be free.

Come all of you people who believe in justice,
Join in the fight to end this crime.
We've lived so long at Jim Crow's mercy;
I don't want the same for a child of mine.


TIA.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 07:14 PM

Bill Macadoo, 1961


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Subject: ADD: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 12 - 01:36 AM

Good call, Guest! It's on the Smithsonian-Folkways album titled Bill McAdoo Sings, Volume II. In the album, the song is titled "Ballad of Sam Mabrey."

Mabrey's notes: "I wrote this song to the tune of a song which I know as Whiskey Nancy. For more information on Samuel get in touch with the New York Post which recently carried a series of articles on him.


THE BALLAD OF SAMUEL MABREY
(Bill McAdoo, 1961)

Let me tell you the story of Samuel Mabrey,
A Negro hero of World War II;
He fought in Northern France, Normandy, and the Rhineland;
He fought in the Central European campaigns.

He won four Bronze Stars and a Victory Medal,
He won a Good Conduct Medal too,
He spent painful years in a veterans' hospital
For wounds he received in his country's cause.

On the 28th of May in 1960,
He was sitting on a park bench in old New York,
When up stepped a cop by the name of O'Keefe,
Who called him a dirty so-and-so.

Then the cop used his club and he beat him without pity;
He kicked him and he cursed him as he lay on the ground.
He said, "We don't need your kind in the parks of this city,
Why don't you go back where you came from."

Samuel Mabrey gave his precious youth
To defend the borders of this great land,
But he came home to the vile outrage,
Another victim of Jim Crow's hand.

From Jacksonville to the beaches of Biloxi,
From New York right down to the Gulf,
The racists run wild with their bombings, beatings, shootings,
And that is the shame of America.

Oh, we didn't yield to Hitler's forces,
We didn't yield to his treachery;
I'll be damned if we'll yield to the racists of this country;
I tell you, my people will be free.

Come all of you people who believe in justice,
Join in the fight to end this crime.
We've lived so long at Jim Crow's mercy;
I don't want the same for a child of mine.


tune: Nancy Whiskey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 02 Aug 12 - 09:06 AM

A compelling story but I can't seem to make the lines scan to the tune I know as Nancy Whisky.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Ballad of Samuel Mabry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 12 - 02:38 PM

Hi, Sandy -
I would say it "loosely" follows the tune of "Nancy Whisky." It's on Spotify, if you want to listen.

-Joe-


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