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Songs About U.S. States; Alabama to Idaho, Page 2

 

This is a continuation of Our March, 2003 Issue of songs about states or with state names, if you missed page one, check the link at the end of this page or use this link.

 

 




The Connecticut March

1911

 


Music by: William Nassann
Lyrics by: none, piano solo
Cover artist: unsigned

 

One of America's earliest states and known as a center for the insurance industry, Connecticut is a bastion of history that also can boast a beautiful seashore and interior wilderness beauty. As our fifth US State, Connecticut joined a small union on January 9, 1788. Her nickname, "The Constitution State" was adopted in 1959. The origin of the state name is Mohegan for "Long River Place" or "Beside the Long Tidal River" and her state motto is Qui Transtulit Sustinet -- "He Who Transplanted Still Sustains." The Connecticut state flower is the Mountain Laurel and state bird is the ubiquitous Robin. For more information, visit the Connecticut website at http://www.ct.gov/ .

 

Despite Connecticut's beauty and prominence in the Northeast, it's pretty hard to find music with Connecticut in the title (OK, all you Connecticutters will probably flood us with songs, that will be fine.) at least I could not find any. I guess we could have used the state song, Yankee Doodle, (MIDI) but the cover of this one was so stunning and a good march is always invigorating so we chose to use this one. The march starts with a quick bugle call and immediately moves into a fine march melody that is reminiscent of some of E.T. Paulls marches. In fact, the march was picked up by the Paull Pioneer Publishing company and published by them in the same year as this copy (1911) with a cover that superimposed a group of soldiers in front of the Capitol building ( I'm assuming this, but it does look like the dome of the Connecticut State Capitol) shown on this cover we've displayed. With a great melody in every section this is a real toe-tapper and one that deserves the place in the permanent march repertoire that it has earned. Unfortunately, I've been unable to locate any information about Nassan, perhaps a reader in Connecticut can help us out?

 

Listen to and see this New England March Printable score! (scorch format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (No Lyrics for this work)

 


 


Our Delaware

1906



Music by: Will. M.S. Brown
Lyrics by: George B. Hynson
Cover artist: Unsigned


Delaware became a state in 1776, just two months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Delaware is known by the nickname, "The First State" due to the fact that on December 7, 1787, it became the first of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Her state motto, "Liberty and Independence" certainly is based on her early contributions to the liberty and independence of our country. Though folks in Georgia might dispute the claim, Delaware was the first state to be known as the "Peach State" and her state flower, the Peach blossom, reflects that. The state bird is the Blue Hen and the state tree, the American Holly. For more information about Delaware, see their well designed official state web site at http://www.delaware.gov/

 

Well, as luck would have it we actually, accidentally hit on a "real" state song with this one,

the official state song consists of a poem "Our Delaware" containing three verses in honor of each county of the State, written by George B. Hynson; a fourth verse in praise of the State and pledging the loyalties of its citizens, written by Donn Devine; and a musical score composed specifically for the state song by Will M. S. Brown". (from the Delaware site)

 

Our version of the song only has the first three verses plus the chorus of course. If you want to read all four verses and hear another midi of the song, the Delaware site has it at: http://www.state.de.us/gic/facts/history/delasong2.htm . It is a really nice song with a great chorus that is memorable.


Hear and see this Delaware song Printable sheet music! (Scorch format only)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


 


On Miami Shore

1919



Music by: Victor Jacobi
Lyrics by: William Le Baron
Cover artist: unsigned

 

Sorry Florida, this one is another stretch as I could not find a complete song with Florida in the title so we'll have to settle for Miami as representative of your state. Certainly, as you will see, the lyrics do you proud and so too does the music. Florida is not only a mecca for tourism and retirees, but it is one of America's most historic locations. Site of the earliest European settlement on the continent at St. Augustine in 1565, Florida became a US Territory in 1821 and was admitted to the Union in 1825 as the 27th State. Twenty-second in area, you may be surprised to know that Florida is ranked 4th in population. Blessed with tremendous natural beauty and unique wildlife, Florida's state symbols reflect her natural heritage. The state animal is the endangered Florida Panther, her state bird is the Mockingbird and she even has a state beverage, can you guess what it is? Clue, it comes from a fruit that is round and orange (or green) and it sometimes comes as a frozen concentrate. The blossom of the tree those things grow on is, guess what, the state flower. The Florida website is at: http://www.myflorida.com/portal . For the interesting state symbols page, a fun page for kids of all ages, go to http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us/symbols/

 

The official state song for Florida is the Stephen Foster classic, Old Folks at Home, more commonly and improperly known as The Swanee River. Actually, the river is the Suwanee and it runs from Georgia through the Florida panhandle to the Gulf. I felt that even though that song is the state song, it was not as representative of Florida as this Miami song. In fact, I'd bet most of us non Floridians associate the Foster song more with Kentucky than Florida. Not only that, Foster never even visited Florida. On Miami Shore, though not mentioning Florida by name, conveys a real sense of the beauty and tropical spirit of Florida. With a beautifully dreamy melody for the verse, the song speaks to the golden sands, the sky, the waving palms and the sighing waves. The chorus' melody is just as alluring and overall, the song conveys the beauty of Florida and the attraction it has for all of us, especially the romantics among us. I know you'll enjoy this song.


 


Listen to and see this great Florida song (Scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


Georgia Rose

1921



Music by: Harry Rosenthal
Lyrics by: Alex Sullivan, Jimmy Flynn
Cover artist: "JVR"


According to the Georgia state website, Georgia was named to honor King George II of England, who signed the royal charter which established the colony of Georgia in 1732. On January 2, 1788, Georgia ratified the Federal constitution, and thus became the fourth state in the new nation of the United States of America. With a state motto of "Wisdom, Justice & Moderation", Georgia's state bird is the Brown thrasher and the state flower; the Cherokee Rose. Known to most of us as the Peach State, the state crop is the Peanut. If you put your mouse pointer over the front of the State seal (left) you will also see the back of the official seal. For lots more interesting stuff about Georgia, visit the official Georgia site at http://www.state.ga.us/

 

The official state song of Georgia is the wonderful Georgia On My Mind, with music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Stuart Gorrell. None other than Ray Charles performed the song in his inimitable way on the date of its adoption as the state song in 1979. There are many, many songs about Georgia and the one we present here is just one of many. The song is from the production Put and Take, a pretty obscure Broadway production from 1921 for which I can find no further information. It is a melodic and romantic song that is quite impressive and was quite popular at the time. The lyrics are sentimental, touching and well intended for those times. In 1966 the song was revived in a popular recording by Tony Bennett.

 


Hear this great old song (Scorch format)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


In Dear Hawaii

1918



Music by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Lyrics by: Bond
Cover artist: Unknown

 

Hawaii, land of tropical dreams and exotic people, places and traditions. Of course, we've been long interested in Hawaii having done two different features on Hawaiian music. Discovered by Polynesian settlers between the 3rd and 7th centuries A.D. and later by British Captain James Cook in 1778, Hawaii became the 50th and last state of the Union on August 21, 1959. The state flower is the Yellow hibiscus and the state bird, the Hawaiian goose. In our December 1999 feature about Hawaiian music, we featured the official state song, Hawai‘i Pono‘i (MIDI). We also did a feature in December 1998 and have regularly included many of the rich songs with Hawaiian themes or influences throughout our five years of publication. To see the official state site, go to http://www.ehawaiigov.org/main/html/ and to find out more interesting facts, see the state sites facts page at http://www.state.hi.us/dbedt/facts/statefact.html

 

For this feature, I've selected a beautiful song from my favorite composer of the era, Carrie Jacobs Bond, writer of many of America's best loved songs. I've not determined whether she ever visited Hawaii but it seems likely she did or the folks she dedicated the song to, Wilhemina and Vernon Tenny may have been residents. We may never know the provenance of the song but can know that it is a typically expressive Bond work. Bond has captured the romance of Hawaii with her music and lyrics that speak to

"an Isle where skies are blue,
With ocean beach like sands of gold;
Whose waters gleam with rain-bow hue,
And hearts and love are nev-er cold.

Most of Bond's lyrics are as poetic as those lines. In fact, many of her song lyrics were published (by her) in numerous books as poetry without the music. When you combine her depth of thought with her suburb musical skills, you end up with a miniature masterpiece that speaks to the heart and mind as well as entertains.

 


Hear this great old song
Printable! (Scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 




Ida-Ho

1906



Music by: Harry Von Tilzer
Lyrics by: Andrew B. Sterling
Cover artist: Gene Buck


Say Idaho to most anyone outside that state and potatoes come to mind. But beautiful Idaho is much more than that, in spite of what current television commercials by the governor of the great state might indicate. The last of the 50 states to be "discovered" by Europeans in 1805, Idaho was admitted to the Union as the 43rd state on July 3, 1890 by President Benjamin Harrison. Nicknamed The "Gem State," her motto is : "Esto Perpetua" (Let it be perpetual). The Idaho state bird is the Mountain bluebird and as you might expect, she has a state horse, the beautiful Appaloosa. The Syringa was designatedthe state flower of Idaho by the legislature in 1931. It is a branching shrub with clusters of white, fragrant flowers. And, guess what vegetable was designated as the official state vegetable in 2002? For more information, visit the Idaho state web site at: http://www.accessidaho.org/

 

For our final state and song for this month, we've picked a rousing and perhaps now, ribald song from a pair of the masters of Tin Pan Alley. I'm sure that nowadays, not a soul named Ida would want a song sung about her called "Ida-ho" but back in 1906, people spelled words correctly and if you called someone a "ho" back then, they'd suppose you were speaking of a garden implement. Regardless of today's connotatation the song's title might bring, it is a beaut and is a rollicking western song if I ever heard one. You gotta love it and I hope all our fans in Idaho enjoy it in the good natured spirit it is offered. Oh, by the way, the "real" state song of Idaho is Here we Have Idaho, Verses by Albert J. Tompkins, chorus by McKinley Helm and music by Sallie Hume-Douglas. It is a pleasant waltz, you can see the lyrics and hear it at: http://www2.state.id.us/gov/fyi/song/index.htm.


 

Harry Von Tilzer (b. July 8, 1872, Detroit, MI, d. Jan. 10. 1946, New York,
NY nee: Harry Gumm.) Harry, one of five children, was to find a career in music as did his younger brother Albert. When still a child, his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where his father acquired a shoe store. A theatrical company gave performances in the loft above the store, and that's where Harry learned to love show business. His career really started in 1886 when, at age 14, he ran away from home and joined the Cole Brothers Circus. By 1887, he was playing piano, composing songs, and acting in a traveling repertory company. He changed his name at that time. His mother's maiden name was Tilzer, and he 'gussied' it up by adding the 'Von'. Thereafter he would be called Harry Von Tilzer, and later his younger brother Albert would adopt the name also. Harry met Lottie Gilson when the burlesque troupe with which he was working reached Chicago. The popular vaudevillian took an interest, and induced him to go to New York. In 1892, Harry, working as a groom on a trainload of horses, arrived in New York, with just $1.65 in his pocket. He rented a room near the Brooklyn Bridge and became a $15.00 per week saloon pianist. He left New York briefly to work in a traveling medicine show, but returned to again work in saloons and later as a vaudevillian in a 'Dutch' act with George Sidney. At this time, Harry was writing songs, literally hundreds of songs that were never published. He would sell them outright to other entertainers for $2.00 each. But the tide was about to turn for Harry. One of his songs was published, My Old New Hampshire Home, lyric by Andrew B. Sterling. William C. Dunn, owner of a small print shop, purchased it outright for $15.00, and issued it in 1898. It was a hit that sold more than 2 million copies. In 1899, three more of Von Tilzer's songs were published: I'd Leave My Happy Home for You, lyric by Will A. Heelan I Wonder If She's Waiting, lyric by Andrew B. Sterling Where The Sweet Magnolias Grow. The success of My Old New Hampshire Home prompted Maurice Shapiro of Shapiro-Bernstein Music Publishers to make Von Tilzer a partner, and the firm was renamed 'Shapiro, Bernstein and Von Tilzer'. Harry then wrote his next big hit in 1900, A Bird In A Gilded Cage (Sibelius scorch format). In 1902, Von Tilzer quit the partnership and formed his own firm 'Harry Von Tilzer Music Company'.

 

Andrew B. Sterling (b. 1874, New York City, d. 1955, Stamford, CT) is perhaps one of the greatest American popular song writers from the period. His most lasting partnership was with the great Harry Von Tilzer but he wrote numerous songs in collaboration with other composers such as Lange. Lange was a successful song composer for many years and went on to write motion picture scores culminating in his Oscar nominations in 1943 and 1944 for his songs The Woman in the Window and Casanova Brown.

 



Enjoy this great Western song (scorch)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


That completes our first installment of songs with state names or about US States. We still have thirty-eight more to go and hope you'll come back to see them all as we complete the series this year. In the meanwhile we hope you enjoyed this month's feature. Be sure to come back next month for a new and different feature article or just come back anytime to browse our extensive archive of issues and special articles.

Most of the state facts featured this month were taken from each of the state web sites cited for each featured song. See our resources page for a complete bibliography of all resources used to research this and other articles in our series. In text citations in this issue refer to works in the bibliography except where otherwise noted.

If you missed page one, or want to return to it, click here to go to page one



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