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Old 07-19-2019, 09:56 AM
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Old songs that you know


My be-loved be-tolerated flip phone finally died and my kids were unwilling unable to find the two spares I have, though I told them exactly where they are, so I was forced to enter the Teens with a new smart phone. Not retro-cool, but I can add outside ringtones, which I couldn't with Flipper, so I installed the hot line ringtone from the Flint movies, or Austin Powers if you prefer.

The last phone I set it up on I had to construct a MIDI file to do it and that was when I realized it was the first few notes of "My Grandfather's Clock," Henry Clay Work's big hit from 1876 and the source of the name "grandfather clock" for tall, free-standing clocks. Then I realized I was one of the few people left who know the words to that song. Not counting hymns and classical works, what are some old songs you know?
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:09 AM
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Several Stephen Foster songs, plus "There's no place like home."
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:16 AM
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"Me and My Shadow", my Grandmother used to sing it to me when I was a kid.
Also, I had a kid's record player back in the early 1960s and I had a 78 of "There is a Tavern in the Town" that I played until it wore out.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:17 AM
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Camptown Races. Only because of Blazing Saddles.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:31 AM
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Amazing Grace, Yankee Doodle, My Country Tis a Thee, Greensleeves, Camptown Races, Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, God rest you merry, Gentlemen, Jimgle Bells, John Barleycorn, Maple Leaf Rag (1899, hopefully old enough), Mary had a little lamb, Star Spangled Banner actually, Drunkn Sailor, Haul Away Joe, Eliza Lee, Wedding March, Dixie, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Yellow Rose of Texas.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:41 AM
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My brother searches and finds old music and records it with his blue grass group. I've heard my share of old, old songs. I love a lot of them. My favorites are his civil war era songs. So poignant.

(Cool thread, Mikey)

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 07-19-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:47 AM
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“The White Cliffs of Dover”, by Vera Lynn
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:50 AM
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Old Dan Tucker
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:52 AM
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We learned a LOT of folk songs in elementary school music class, and for some reason I remember a lot of the words, 30+ years on.

"Big Rock Candy Mountain" is one I recall. As you can imagine, it describes a place enticing to both hobos and school children.

"The Ballad of John Henry" too.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 07-19-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:57 AM
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Show Me the Way to Go Home is from 1925, maybe old enough. Thank you Jaws & ELP.
I got carried away before, while I know the Maple Leaf Rag well, I don't know the lyrics.

I have no idea how old I's the B'y is, but I learned it sailing on the Clearwater and I think it is over 100. But it is at least 90+.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:01 AM
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'Mairzy Doats' - 1944. (I thought it would be older.) . 'Sloop John B.' - best known as the Beach Boys song, but it was published in 1916, a song from the Bahamas.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:17 AM
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Sumer Is Icumen In, from sometime in the 13th century, is the oldest folk song I can think of that I'd definitely recognise.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:30 AM
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This is a CD list of songs my brother recorded:
1 Soldiers Joy
2 Joe Bowers
3 Polly Wolly doodle
4 Abners Shoes
5 Just before the Battle Mother
6 Old Zip coin
7 The Glendy Burke
8 Jordan's stormy banks
9 Cluck ol' Hen
10 The Johnson Boys
11 Dandy Jim from Caroline
12John Bell of Tennessee
13 The Battle of Pea Ridge
14 Angel Band

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 07-19-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:00 PM
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Lots, I guess, but I'll settle for Any Old Iron. For a reason.

It's an old music hall number. Many were filthy fun for the rowdy working class, with a meaning which is now fairly obscure to a twenty first century listener. This song is hypothesised to be (in part) the story of a failed gay pick-up, but masquerading as a song about a rag and bone man on his rounds. I mean, does this really sound like chatter by a rag and bone man?

Lest we forget the context - homosexuality was very illegal at the time. And NB that this was invariably sung by a man.

Any old iron? Any old iron? [Rhyming slang - Iron hoof = poof]
Any, any, any old iron?
You look neat. Talk about a treat!
You look so dapper from your napper [head] to your feet.
Dressed in style, brand-new tile [hat],
And your father's old green tie on. [this apparently being code, cf San Francisco handkerchief code]
But I wouldn't give you tuppence for your old watch and chain, [shockingly unfashionable; therefore clearly, it turns out, not gay]
Old iron, old iron.

I love the subversion. I really hope the hypothesis is correct.

j

PS - the second link will walk you through Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow as well.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek
(Cool thread, Mikey)
all y'alls, nobody else is permitted to call me that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
This is a CD list of songs my brother recorded:
1 Soldiers Joy
2 Joe Bowers
3 Polly Wolly doodle
4 Abners Shoes
5 Just before the Battle Mother
6 Old Zip coin
7 The Glendy Burke
8 Jordan's stormy banks
9 Cluck ol' Hen
10 The Johnson Boys
11 Dandy Jim from Caroline
12John Bell of Tennessee
13 The Battle of Pea Ridge
14 Angel Band
<sneer> Confederate scum </sneer>

I was at a Fourth of July parade that included some treasonous bastard trash. Totally inappropriate, so I sang the chorus of another of Work's works, Marching Through Georgia.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:53 PM
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I remember finding a stack of old '78s that had been handed down a few generations, and this was maybe the oldest of them - first heard it in the 1960's but obviously much older than that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YGl4fFQl-Q
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:21 PM
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The Sheik of Araby was a Tin-Pan Alley hit from the twenties, which frequently runs through my mind because "Araby" rhymes with the name of the street I live on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofXvX5wtyY8
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:17 PM
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Drunken Sailor
Keep on the Sunny Side
Can the Circle Be Unbroken
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:44 PM
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Die Gedanken sind frei, a song that ought to be a motto for every decent human being, especially in our times.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:05 PM
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Die Gedanken sind frei, a song that ought to be a motto for every decent human being, especially in our times.
Great tune, I first encountered it in our old Unitarian church.

I also know "Sumer is icumen in". Now that's an oldie!
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:20 PM
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all y'alls, nobody else is permitted to call me that.

<sneer> Confederate scum </sneer>

I was at a Fourth of July parade that included some treasonous bastard trash. Totally inappropriate, so I sang the chorus of another of Work's works, Marching Through Georgia.
Oops.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:31 PM
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Just to clarify, I take the American Civil War personally.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:37 PM
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One Hen, Two Ducks

This is known as the Announcer's Test from the 1940's.
Professional announcers would be asked to perform the entire speaking test within a single breath without sounding rushed or out of breath.

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four Limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alverzo's tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic, old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:22 PM
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PzzuEojqai0
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:07 PM
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20th Century:
The Lost Chord (Seated one day at the organ.. the same music book had "My Grandfathers Clock"
The Desert Song (Blue Heaven and you and I...)
And the Beetles

19th Century:
Soldiers of the Queen.
A bit of Gilbert & Sullivan. And a bunch of Aus Folk, but generally in their 1960's - 70's version:

Waltzing Matilda,The Wild Colonial Boy, Click Go the Shears, Botany Bay

Apart from Greensleeves, anything earlier I know would probably be religious.

Last edited by Melbourne; 07-19-2019 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:40 PM
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I grew up watching old Harveytoons with their sing-a-longs on TV, and I remember each and every one of them. F'rinstance, "Shine On, Harvest Moon," "Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine," "Yes, We Have No Bananas," "Shine Little Glowworm, Glimmer, Glimmer," "I Want to Go Back to the Farm," "Oh, Mama, Oh Get That Man For Me," and "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad."

I always liked the way the lyrics were transformed into clever pictures as the little bouncing ball went over them.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:18 AM
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Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill
The Bowery
Daisy Bell (AKA A Bicycle Built for Two)
The Sidewalks of New York
Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight
Hello, Ma Baby
When You and I Were Young, Maggie
Li'l Liza Jane

There are many old songs that everyone knows, such as Yankee Doodle. I don't think the OP is looking for these.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:59 AM
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"Tyin' a Knot in the Devil's Tail."

"Rye Whiskey". (My family didn't drink, but we did play cards, so Dad would often sing the "Jack of Diamonds" verse.)


"Big Rock Candy Mountain". The version we learned in school was severely bowdlerized, compared to the version Dad sang. It was not until the O, Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack came out that I heard a complete version.

"John Henry".

"Casey Jones".

"Erie Canal".

"Oh, Suzannah".

"My Darling Clementine".

I fell in love with the chorus from "There's a Long, Long Trail" in an episode of M*A*S*H. Finally found a complete recording on YouTube a few months ago.

I got "Minstrel Boy" from an episode of Star Trek(TNG or DS9, I forget which), and "Over the Hills and Far Away" from Sharpe.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:52 AM
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"It's Nobody's Fault but Mine" - Blind Willie Johnson, 1927. By an accident of geography, it was recorded in the same metro area that I was raised in and currently live.

ETA: I certainly "know" of older songs than that, but that is one I know all the words to and can do a facsimile of playing.

Last edited by scabpicker; 07-20-2019 at 03:54 AM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:03 AM
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I know some pretty old ones. "The wild rover" , "The keys of Canterbury" and "En Passent Par La Lorraine" come to mind. "Myn Lyking" is probably my oldest, which is a Chaucerian English Christmas carol. I used to know most of "Green grow the rushes-o" but these days I get lost after "four for the gospel makers"
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
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Great tune, I first encountered it in our old Unitarian church.
BTW, here's the lyrics we used in our Unitarian church, as arranged by Pete Seeger:

Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts freely flower
Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts give me power
No scholar can map them
No hunter can trap them
No man can deny
Die gedanken sind frei

further lyrics in the link
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:03 AM
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The Seikilos Epitaph song, 1st century AD. I made a guitar arrangement for it and I sing it in ancient Greek.
Hoson zes, phainou
Meden holos sy lypou
Pros oligon esti to zen
To telos ho khronos apaitei
.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:11 AM
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We had an old player piano when I was growing up. One of the rolls we liked to play was the Tennessee Waltz.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:23 AM
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I know a lot of the traditional songs mentioned, but there's an obscure one that sticks in my mind because I first heard it on an old original cylinder recording. My friend's grandfather had a machine to play these up at his mine in Alaska.

The song is "Hey, Wop", written in 1914 by Irving Berlin. A product of Tin Pan Alley, it was meant to be humorous at the time, and is clearly derogatory by today's standards. Lyrics here.

Last edited by Chefguy; 07-20-2019 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:36 AM
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From doing Living History:

"The Liberty Song" (sung to the tune of "Hearts of Oak")

"The World Turned Upside Down"

"Hail, Columbia!"

"Bonnie Eloise" (aka "The Belle of the Mohawk Vale")

"The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie-Oh"

"The Minstrel Boy"

"The Mermaid"

"Green Grow the Rushes, Oh!"

"Kingdom Comin'"

"Garry Owen"

"The Bonnie Blue Flag"

"Jesus Don't Love You (When You've Got the Clap)"

"The Ball of Ballynoor"

"Blaydon Races"

Lots of others whose melodies I recognize and can play on the fife but don't remember the lyrics to.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:45 AM
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"Hey, Wop", written in 1914 by Irving Berlin. A product of Tin Pan Alley, it was meant to be humorous at the time, and is clearly derogatory by today's standards. Lyrics here.
If you're gonna insult the Italians, you have to make fun of the Irish, too:

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dubl...kennights.html
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:05 PM
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One Hen, Two Ducks

This is known as the Announcer's Test from the 1940's.
Professional announcers would be asked to perform the entire speaking test within a single breath without sounding rushed or out of breath.

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese. . .
I first learned this (I had no idea of its origin) at YMCA camp in the early 1970s as a nightly call-and-response recitation at our campfire, but with the exchange of Don Alverzo's tweezers for Todd Murphy's, the camp director. Thanks for the sweet reminder!
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
BTW, here's the lyrics we used in our Unitarian church, as arranged by Pete Seeger:

Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts freely flower
Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts give me power
No scholar can map them
No hunter can trap them
No man can deny
Die gedanken sind frei

further lyrics in the link
Many thanks, that is very moving! I didn't know Pete Seeger did a transcription, but I'm not surprised though, well, he had a knack for picking good songs. I found his version on youtube. I adore Pete Seeger, but I'm still glad that someone took the axe from him with which he wanted to cut the cable to Bobby Dylan's first electric performance at Newport 1965 .
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:05 PM
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I learned that German song from a TV movie, of all places. It was The Birdmen, from 1971.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:03 PM
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From WWI:

"It's a Long Way to Tipperary"

"Mademoiselle from Armentières"

"Keep the Home Fires Burning"

"Over There"

"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag"

https://www.davisenterprise.com/file...8-1024x242.jpg
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:45 AM
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I know all, or most, of the words to more than half of the songs already listed in this thread, plus many others. My family had a Magnus Chord Organ in the sixties, and we would have group singalongs. The songbooks we had were heavy on Stephen Foster and others from that era, as well as a lot of Tin Pan Alley stuff.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
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I know all, or most, of the words to more than half of the songs already listed in this thread, plus many others. My family had a Magnus Chord Organ in the sixties, and we would have group singalongs. The songbooks we had were heavy on Stephen Foster and others from that era, as well as a lot of Tin Pan Alley stuff.
You had one too? We had a whole box of songbooks for ours.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:49 PM
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We only had the one, that I recall. But it’s the book from which I learned the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s Clouds.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:13 PM
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I’m an admirer of folk songs, old-timey music, vaudeville songs, Irish trad folk, pop music dating back to the 19th century, blues, and jazz. I probably know more old songs by heart then anyone around here except Eve, who isn't around here any more.

Join me in a round of “Betty Co-ed.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VcYU3ISDEyA
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
I’m an admirer of folk songs, old-timey music, vaudeville songs, Irish trad folk, pop music dating back to the 19th century, blues, and jazz. I probably know more old songs by heart then anyone around here except Eve, who isn't around here any more.

Join me in a round of “Betty Co-ed.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VcYU3ISDEyA
Well with an instrument in your name, it fits.

I should know a lot more then I do; helping with a lot of music festivals and events over the years but I don't have the mind to retain them or the voice to sing them.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:00 PM
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Not just an instrument. See also my namesake.

http://www.redhotjazz.com/cliffedwards.html
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:38 PM
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. . . I realized it was the first few notes of "My Grandfather's Clock," Henry Clay Work's big hit from 1876 and the source of the name "grandfather clock" for tall, free-standing clocks. Then I realized I was one of the few people left who know the words to that song. Not counting hymns and classical works, what are some old songs you know?
It was still being taught in public school music classes when I was tot in the 70's. Of course, I'm not sure how many states still have public school music classes, but Virginia still does.

I have studied Irish Sean nós music, so I'm betting there are about 15 songs I know that less than 500 other people in the world know by heart. There is one that I collected versions of, and I may have been the only person ever to have written it down. (Or there could be 100 other copies around, no way to know, really.)
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:39 PM
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I remember my mom singing "My Grandfather's Clock" when I was little. I also remember watching Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin on the moon, so that dates me.

Speaking of which, my song is still the oldest, unless anyone wants to learn to sing in Hurrian (I'd like that!).
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