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American Music Goes To War, World War One in American Song Part 3: Page 2


Don't Cry Frenchy
1919
Music by: Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by: Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young
Cover artist: Barbelle

It is a sad fact of war and occupation that whenever an Army conquered a foe, they also often conquered the women of the country they were posted to. Lonesomeness, fate, love, many things bring them together but it is usually inevitable that they must part. Leaving behind a love is undoubtedly one of the most difficult things to do. Of course, there are some hard hearted soldiers and sailors who have no qualms about leaving but this song is from a viewpoint of someone who is sorry to depart and hopes that they can soon be together again, forever. As he says good-bye to his new found love he promises; "Sometime Frenchy, sometime, We'll hear wedding bells chime. Oh! Please don't cry." Oh, the pain of it all. Of course, we all wonder how many promises like that were made and how many were fulfilled. It makes for a wonderful ballad and story though, so let's just enjoy it.

Walter Donaldson (b. Brooklyn, NY, 1891, d. Santa Monica, Ca., 1947) Started his musical career as a song plugger and actually was fired for writing songs on company time while he was supposed to be promoting the publisher's songs! His first published song was Just Try To Picture Me Back Home In Tennessee in 1915. Though at the time, he had never seen Tennessee, state and city songs served him well with such hit titles as, Carolina in the Morning, Kansas City Kitty and Lazy Louisiana Moon. One of his greatest hits post W.W.I was 1919's How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm (the next featured song this month). During the war, he was an entertainer posted at Camp Upton, now the site of Brookhaven National Labs in Suffolk County, NY. At Upton he met Irving Berlin and after the war, went to work for Berlin's publishing house, Waterson, Berlin & Snyder. Thereafter followed a long string of hits, among them Jolson's famous My Mammy in 1921. Later, Donalson collaborated with the great lyricist Gus Kahn for many hits including Yes Sir, That's My Baby written for Eddie Cantor. During his first year with Kahn they released four, million selling titles. Donaldson continued to pump out hit after hit well into the 30's. In 1930, he went to Hollywood and wrote a number of hits for the likes of Ethel Merman, Rudy Valee and Guy Lombardo. He wrote a number of works for films up till ill heath forced him to retire in 1944.

Hear this sad parting song. (Scorch)

MIDI version

How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm
1918
Music by: Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by: Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young
Cover artist: Barbelle

The same team that brought us Don't Cry Frenchy, Don't Cry, brought us one of the most memorable and entertaining songs from the post war period. Revived in W.W.II, this song has been a lasting hit from the golden age of song. With a brisk ragtime-like tune and catchy lyrics, there is no way this song could escape popularity.

This song, though a novelty song, addresses a reality of life that was not only faced by individual soldiers, but to our country as well. Prior to the war, though we were involved in a number of conflicts, our country was quite isolated and as we saw in part one of our series, we tried to stay out of the war. The war changed this country and our fighting men in ways that would never allow us to go back to the "old days." The sentiment here is that once your world opens up, it will never be the same. Once the boy sees the lights and sights of Paris, how can you ever expect them to want to go back to hauling hay bales. Though the mother believes all will return to normal now that the war is over, the sage old dad knows better. Mom says; "Now that all is peaceful and calm, The boys will soon be back on the farm." To which papa Ruben says; "How 'ya gonna keep 'em away from Broadway, jazzin' around, and paintin' the town?". Simply great lyrics and a tune that won't quit..be sure you have your Scorch plug-in installed to really fully enjoy this one!

Hear this great old tune (scorch)

MIDI version

Down The Lane And
Home Again

1919
Music by: M.K. Jerome
Lyrics by: Edgar Leslie & Bert Kalmar
Cover artist: Barbelle

Here we have a nice ballad that simply states what probably millions of people were thinking; thank God, our prayers are answered, the boys are coming home. A very pleasant song with a nice melody and sentimental thoughts, I am sure this song was a hit for many folks with loved ones coming home. This is one to just sit back and enjoy.

M.K Jerome also wrote last months Just A Baby's Prayer At Twilight as well as a number of other songs that were hits over the years. The majority of his works were for films and he received an Oscar for his score writing for Hollywood Canteen in 1944.

Hear this song (scorch)

MIDI version

Good-Bye France
1918
Music by: Irving Berlin (Sergeant)
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: Barbelle

You may recall in our first installment of this series we featured a song, Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France. It seems only appropriate as we come to the close of this series that we end on a similar note. A very upbeat song by the great Irving Berlin (see our November, 1998 tribute to Berlin for more of his works)

This song sparkles with the usual Berlin mastery of melody and lyrics. Each month, as I work on these songs there is always one that sticks in my mind to the point of madness. This month, it is this song that has captivated my every waking hour. As great as it is, I am looking forward to working on next month so I can replace it with another. With no further ado about it, I just suggest you listen to it and enjoy it as I have.

Hear this great W.W.I song(scorch)

MIDI version

In Flanders Fields
1916
Music by: Henry E. Sachs
Lyrics by: Lt. Col. John McCrea
Cover artist: unknown

I cannot complete a feature such as this without acknowledging the millions of men and women who have never come home, no matter which side they fought for. I have said in several places in this series that the war changed America in many ways. Our lives, our society, government and personal beliefs were profoundly impacted. So too was our music. Much of the innocence of days gone by was gone from our music and though we still had many years of great music, the styles and patterns were changing. This song is a very, very serious one that could be described more as an art song, even a classical song than a "tin pan alley" product. It had to be. The words to this song have deep meaning and the subject is serious. Let the sacrifice these men and women who gave their lives have meaning and be remembered. We cannot forget the legacy of war and the millions who never return home. At the same time, we cannot forget the reasons and principles for which they died and if we do, we are betraying them. Listen to this one carefully, and study the words for they are an important lesson for us all.

The song was written for the Poem by Lt. Col. McCrea (1872-1918), a doctor and teacher, from Canada who served in both the South African War and the First World War. The poem was first published in England's "Punch" magazine in December, 1915. Within months, this poem came to symbolize the sacrifices of all who were fighting in the First World War. Today, the poem continues to be a part of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada and other countries. Col. McCrae died of pneumonia and meningitis on January 28, 1918

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky The larks,
still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow In Flanders fields

Unfortunately, I can find no information on the composer, Henry E. Sachs. In my opinion, his work is a masterpiece in that it so closely conveys the very emotions that McCrea's poem conveys. I find this song quite moving and each time I listen, I can hear the emotion of the poem and the admonition of those who were left behind. We should never forget the sacrifices all veterans of war make for us.

Hear this great W.W.I song (scorch)

MIDI version


Now that you have seen our featured songs, be sure to read our Essay On World War One Music, Part Three for more information about W.W.I music, how it affected our lives and the war and how it helped the war effort. See more covers and hear a few more songs there too including the classic Salvation Rose and Salvation Lassie.

We hope you have enjoyed this month's feature and our series on W.W.I music. We appreciate your interest in our efforts to bring you the best American popular music history site on the web. Be sure to tell your friends and family about us. If you have suggestions for themes or issues you would like to see in the future, please contact us. We will see you back next month for a new feature about transportation theme music. You won't want to miss it so stay tuned! Have a great month.

To see the other songs featured this month again, go back to part A.



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