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happy? - Aug 8 (to St. Helena)

Abby Sale 08 Aug 05 - 09:44 AM
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Subject: happy? - Aug 8 (to St. Helena)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 09:44 AM

Napoleon sent to St. Helena, 8/8/1815 (arr 8/17,)
He dies there 5/5/1821

        Remember your dear father;
        In Saint Helena his body it lies low,
        And if ever you follow after,
        Beware of the Bonnie Bunch of Roses-O.

                        "The Bonnie Bunch of Roses"

        Bony he is gone from the wars of all fighting
        He is gone to the place he never took delight in,
        Oh there he may sit down and tell the scenes he has seen, ah!
        While forlorn he doth mourn on the isle of St. Helena.

                "Buonaparte on St. Helena," Forget Me Not Songster; 1835.

I haven't yet read Norm Cohen's undoubtedly excellent paper on them but The Forget Me Not (sometimes Forget-Me-Not) series was an interesting production. Much like Rise Up Singing, a collection of mostly traditional songs but also much other stuff. No tunes & only very rare attributions, however. Copyright was hard to enforce then. These were "popular" songs and ballads and it was expected that most people knew the tunes. They were cheaply printed and circulated in the 1000s throughout (mainly) northeastern US. Many source singers in turn got their material there! It was in its 1847 edition that I believe Ephraim Braley of Hudson, Maine read "Canadee-i-o" the sea/love song (much as sung by Nic Jones). Braley was a local "bard" but pretty wimpy as a lumberman (sure and it's a sad thing when singer/songwriters are driven out to actually work.) Perhaps mainly as a satire, he wrote "Canaday I. O." stealing the known tune & meter but doing a whole new set of words. The latter song went instantly into tradition, spreading with lightening speed through out the US.

The song's general idea - of labor protest of the severe working conditions in Maine lumbering - caught on so strongly it was "processed" with amazing speed to Michigan lumberjacks, Pennsylvania coal miners, Mexico-trail cowboys and "Buffalo Skinners," becoming "the great American ballad" in a scant 40 years.

[Well, I guess this has little to do with Napoleon or August 8th. I've been tracking "Canadee-i-o" for so many decades I kind of got carried away.]

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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