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happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)

Abby Sale 04 Nov 05 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Mrr 04 Nov 05 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Nov 05 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Mrr 04 Nov 05 - 11:01 AM
Abby Sale 04 Nov 05 - 01:59 PM
Paul Burke 05 Nov 05 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Joe_F 05 Nov 05 - 04:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Nov 05 - 05:25 PM
Fergie 05 Nov 05 - 09:19 PM
Fergie 05 Nov 05 - 09:30 PM
Abby Sale 06 Nov 05 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 06 Nov 05 - 11:11 AM
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Subject: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 09:24 AM


The first wagon train arrived in California 11/4/1841
(left Independence, Missouri on May 1, 1841)

        One morning they climbed up a very high hill,
        And with wonder looked down into old Placerville;
        Ike shouted and said, as he cast his eyes down,
        "Sweet Betsy, my darling, we've got to Hangtown."
                [Hangtown is now within Placerville, CA., N.E. of Sacramento. Lots of history to it.]

                "Sweet Betsy From Pike" by John A. Stone ("Old Put"), 1858.

A favorite California immigrant song of the 1850's. Carl Sandburg writes: "It has the stuff of a realistic novel. It is droll and don't-care, bleary and leering, as slippery and lackadaisical as some of the comic characters of Shakespeare."

It's one of those songs that is (or was) so familiar that no one thought about the words – just the cute little doggie. Yet if you read the whole thing, it would never be allowed in schools today (that is, if they had music classes anymore). It would probably be banned on any of a dozen counts of racial/religious prejudice and stereotyping, sex, violence, drunkenness, infidelity, etc, etc. Great song, really!

ALSO: – Actually, there's a whole bunch in the File for today, but...
Mischief Night (Guy eve: 11/4 – go burn something.)

        So then they put poor Guy to death
        For ages to remember,
        And now they kill him every year
        In dreary, dark November;
        That is, his effigy, I mean
        For truth is strange and steady,
        They cannot put poor Guy to death
        For he is dead already.

                "Guy Fawkes," DigTrad filename[ GUY-FAWKE
                Gunpowder Plot discovered= 11/5/1605

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 09:36 AM

Nov 4 1979 was also the beginning of the Islamic fundamentals versus the USA "war" - the taking over of the Tehran embassy. Don't let the Bushites convince anybody that it started 9/11/01!


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 10:46 AM

Abby,

As I'm sure you know, the great story songs, the ballads, like this one, the songs I love most from the history of the USA, are ones that so many today would pooh pooh as not worthy of consideration or of being heard and sung. It saddens me, and makes me feel a bit personally diminished. It is strange that perceptions and value judgments are, seemingly, so much at the mercy of mere whim and uneducated stabs in the dark, no matter how well intentioned, and even sometimes actually accurate that various valid portions of the P.C. reasoning might be.

As usual in this forum, you have made a very good point---and also one that will probably be overlooked, in the short run, by ones who ought to hear you! We can always hope that the wonder of the historical panorama will once again be seen as valuable as the new generations live long enough themselves to accrue their own historical past. That happening will give them a basis for re-evaluating their askance view of the study of certain things historical.

Towards the end of my tenure singing folk songs, I used to put together a workshop (to be done with others) of just the great songs from our repertories that we felt, at least, hesitant to sing precisely because they had become questionable simply because of changing current attitudes---and the passing of time. Indeed, I usually had to put the songs in historical context with a spoken introduction (and/or a tale or a pertinent bit of jokelore) to hopefully ensure a more accepting audience.

I'd enjoy meeting you some day. (By the way, it may be strange for me to ask, and maybe I'm too dense to discern, but are you male or female? Your name doesn't give that info away ;-)

All the best,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 11:01 AM

Just found out that in Iran, Nov. 4th is "national anti-global arrogance day" - I like the holiday idea, although the reasons leave something to be desired.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 01:59 PM

Art:

Thanks for the positive thoughts. And of course I agree with all you said about ballads/history. Old Put must have been quite a character - to be able to give the nasty _reality_ of the 49ers and keep it in such a comic format that "Sweet Betsy From Pike" can still be sung in very PC venues (that is the full song) today and people still laugh.

I still hope to return to Chicago one day.

but are you male or female?

:-) If one should look through my posts over the last 17 years (here, there & everywhere) one would find only a small handful of clues. I'm not sure of the reason... Perhaps because I'm clueless. Perhaps because I'm married. Of course, it's no secret.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 05:55 AM

Yes, Abby is male or female. Probably.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 04:12 PM

I have gathered, over the years, that he has a wife, and not in Massachusetts, either.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Live and learn. Die and forget it all. :||


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 05:25 PM

Put's Golden Songster of 1858 has 31 songs by John A. Stone, including "Sweet Betsey." This little book should be required reading in any history course covering the westward migration to California.
Unfortunately, this book (and his other songsters, one of temperance songs) are long out of print, and very rare. Not only does the book have songs, but includes comic stories that show the humor and mind-set of the ordinary people of that time.
Not all the songs are about the California bound, but "Parting Friends" expresses the sadness of parting with friends and family (not the Southern Uplands and shape note song).

OK. some of the jokes are terrible-
"Pete, I hear that some Yankee down East hab invented a machine for taking the noise out ob thunder."
"Well, Bill, I guess it's so, case I habn't heard any dis winter."


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Fergie
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 09:19 PM

And its also the day that Spencer decided to give up roving.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Fergie
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 09:30 PM

SPENCER THE ROVER

These words were compos-ed by Spencer the Rover
Who traveled Great Britain and most parts of Wales
He had been so reduc-ed, which caused great confusion
And that was the reason he went on the roam

In Yorkshire, near Rotherham, he hath been on his rambles
Being weary of traveling, he sat down to rest
At the foot of yon mountain there runs a clear fountain
With bread and cold water he himself did refresh

It tasted more sweeter than the gold he had wasted
More sweeter than honey and gaveth more content
But the thoughts of his babies, lamenting their father
Brought tears to his eyes which made him lament

The night fast approaching, to the woods he resorted
With woodbine and ivy his bed for to make
There he dream-ed about sighing, lamenting and crying
Go home to your family and wandering forsake

On the fourth of november, I've a reason to remember
When first he arriv-ed home to his family and wife
They stood so surpris-ed, when first he arriv-ed
To behold such a stranger once more in their sight

His children came around him with their prittle prattling stories
With their prittle prattling stories to drive care away
Now they are united, like birds of one feather
Like bees in one hive, contented they'll stay

So now he is a living in his cottage contented
With woodbine and roses growing all around his door
He's as happy as those who have thousands of riches
Contented he'll stay and go a rambling no more


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 10:55 AM

Q: I agree. Many of them and a wealth of other material and good comment are in         Irwin Silber (ed.), Songs Of the Great American West 1967.

You can get the photo reprint of Put's for about $40. I just had a look at ABEbooks.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 4 (First wagon train)
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 11:11 AM

Joe, Thanks!

Now I know...


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