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Songs About U.S. States; Missouri to Oregon, Page 2

 

This is a continuation of Our August, 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.

 

 





New York I'm All For You

1917

 


Music by: Edwin Weber
Lyrics by: Weber
Cover artist: Barbelle

 

The 11th of the original 13 colonies, New York became the 11th state on July 26, 1788. Known as "The Empire State," New York, the state, is often overshadowed by New York, the city and with this song, I'm not helping matters. However, I had several songs related to the city but none for the state alone so forgive me Syracuse, Utica, Buffalo, Mount Vernon and all the other beautiful and wonderful New York locales. Home of many famous Americans as well as the birthplace of four presidents, New York is also the center of the universe for Tin Pan Alley and the American music publishing industry. Her state motto is the simple and elegant "Excelsior ". The state flower is the rose and state bird is the bluebird. Her original status as a colony is reflected in her name which was established in honor of the Duke of York, Her official state song is I Love New York written by Steve Karmen. For more information, visit the New York web site at http://www.state.ny.us/ .

 

Since the inception of Tin Pan Alley, before and beyond, Americans have sung the praises of New York. Though the city seems to get all the attention, we must be reminded that were it not for the state, the city might be called something else. So, in spite of this song's cover indicating it might be about the city, it seems to be broader in scope and as much about the great state as the city, especially when you see the lyrics (use the scorch format or the lyrics link below). The great Eva Tanguay (1878-1947) graces the cover of this song, what a wonderful smile she had! She was one of the silent film era's hottest stars and began her career as a vaudeville entertainer and was a headliner of the caliber of Nora Bayes & W.C. Fields. There was a movie made about her life titled The I Don't care Girl starring Mitzi Gaynor, Oscar Levant, and David Wayne in which three men recount the life of Eva Tanguay. I've never seen the film, but am going to have to find it to learn more about this beautiful star. A terrific march song, the words and music combine to make for a stirring tribute to New York.

 

Edwin Weber, the songwriter who brought us this excellent work has fared less well than the music. I've been unable to find any information about him in my references or on the web.

 

Listen to and see this stirring song

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 



Carolina In The Morning

1922


Music by: Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by: Gus Kahn
Cover artist: Unsigned


"In 1629, King Charles I of England 'erected into a province,' all the land from Albemarle Sound on the north to the St. John's River on the south, which he directed should be called Carolina. The word Carolina is from the word Carolus, the Latin form of Charles." (Quoted from 50states.com, nicknames histories) The 12th of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina achieved statehood as the 12th state on Nov. 21, 1789. Her state motto, "Esse quam videri," translated as "To be, rather than to seem." is one of the most philosophical yet practical state mottos. Perhaps if more of us focused on being who we are rather than trying so hard to be something or someone else the world would be a better place. The Dogwood is her state flower and the state bird is the Cardinal. The state nickname is alternatively The Old North State or the Tar Heel State although it is best known by the latter name. According to the state's history, the Tar Heel nickname originated in the Civil War when a regiment failed to support the North Carolina troops. After the battle the missing troops were told that tar was going to be used on their boot heels to make them stay in place in the next battle. The official state song for North Carolina is The Old North State words by William Gaston, music by Mrs. E. E. Randolph. For more information about North Carolina, see their attractive official state web site at http://www.ncgov.com/ .

 

This song is one of the greatest lasting hits to come from the Tin Pan Alley days. Written by two of the greatest creative talents of the era, the melody and words are known to millions, even today, over 80 years since it was written. A masterpiece of melody and lyrics, I can say little more other than suggest you listen to it and enjoy it. Though I can't say for which Carolina this song was written, for sure it can represent either of the wonderful Carolina's of America.

 

Walter Donaldson (1893 - 1947)
Born in Brooklyn, New York. was one of the most prolific American popular song writers of the twentieth century. He wrote more than 600 songs in his long career. He composed most of his best during the years between the two World Wars, when he collaborated with many of the best known lyricists of his day (among them Gus Kahn, Edgar Leslie, Bud de Sylva, and Johnny Mercer), but he also wrote many of his own lyrics, such as for At Sundown, Little White Lies, and You're Driving Me Crazy.

 

Gus Kahn (1886 - 1941) is one of America's greatest lyricists. Born in Coblenz, Germany, his family came to the USA and settled in Chicago in 1891. He worked mostly in non-music related jobs but persisted in seeking outlets for his song lyrics. His first song was published in 1907 and after that, he concentrated on writing lyrics for vaudeville performers in Chicago first, then in New York in the 1920's. In 1933, he moved to California and focused on writing for movies. The many eminent composers he teamed with over his long career include, Isham Jones, Walter Donaldson (My Buddy) , Egbert Van Alstyne, George Gershwin and Ernie Erdman (Toot -Toot -Tootsie). Many of his songs have become standards with Pretty Baby (1916) being perhaps the most notable. Other standards by Kahn include, Carolina In The Morning (1922), Makin' Whoopee, 1928 and Liza (1928). His movie biography, I'll See You In My Dreams (1951) starring Danny Thomas and Doris Day is an engrossing story that is filled with many of his hits. Kahn died in Beverly Hills in 1941.

 


Hear and see this fabulous hit song

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


 

Let 'Er Go

1907



Music by: Will Wood
Lyrics by: None, piano solo
Cover artist: unknown


The great state of North Dakota is another state we've had no luck in obtaining a specific song with the state's name in it. As a result, we've exercised our poetic license and selected a song of the old wild and woolly west to represent her. A fabulous march by Will Wood, the cover is one of the greatest Western covers we have in our collection and sadly, the cover artists name is lost to us. The music is a typical, yet uncommon march from the period when marches seemed to reign supreme. We've made this a printable (using the Scorch player) score so you pianists out there can play it at home. It's a great one!

 

North Dakota was part of Dakota Territory before both she and her neighbor South Dakota were admitted to the Union on Nov. 2, 1889. Since both were admitted on the same day, each could claim being the 39th or 40th state. Her state motto, Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable could refer both to her association with S. Dakota and the Union as well. Her state bird is the Western Meadowlark and the state flower the Wild Prairie Rose. Known alternatively as the Peace Garden State, Flickertail State and Roughrider State her economy is driven by diversity in both agriculture: Wheat, cattle, barley, sunflowers, milk, sugar beets.
and industry: food processing, machinery, mining, and tourism. The official state song of North Dakota is North Dakota Hymn with lyrics by James W. Foley and music by Dr. C. S. Putnam. For lots more interesting stuff about North Dakota, visit the official state site at http://discovernd.com/ .

 

Will Wood is another of the many "lost" composers from our ParlorSongs era. I'm unable to locate even a mention of him in my references or the net. As always, if someone out there can provide some history on Mr. Wood, please e-mail us.

 


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

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this work)

 



O-HI-O

1920



Music by: Abe Olman
Lyrics by: Jack Yellen
Cover artist: Van Doorn Morgan

 

One of a handful of state name songs to become a popular song hit, OHIO was popularized in 1940 by the Andrews sisters (Bluebird) and the Smoothies (Decca). Interestingly, the catalogers of songs have incorrectly cataloged this song as "Down By The OHIO" and though that line appears in the lyrics, as you can see from the original cover, the song title is correctly; O-HI-O, O-MY-O. First made popular by Van and Schenck (on the cover, the pair at "1 o'clock") in vaudeville and later recorded by Billy Murray and Billy Jones, the song was performed by a number of luminaries of the day. The cover photos are of several of those who performed the song with great success. Among them are Al Jolson (center), Eddie Cantor (top, 12 o'clock) and Ted Lewis (bottom, 6 o'clock). A terrific and catchy tune combined with great lyrics made this song one of popular music's lasting hits. A cameo appearance in the comedy film, 1941 brought it back into the limelight in 1979 for a short while.

 

My birth state and always my home, no matter where I may be, Ohio is truly a beautiful state, as popularized also by the state song, Beautiful Ohio (MIDI) written in 1918 by Mary Earl. One of the earliest non colony states to join the Union, Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory until statehood March 1, 1803 as the 17th state. .Blessed with tremendous natural beauty and wildlife, Ohio's state symbols reflect her natural heritage. The state flower is the beautiful Scarlet Carnation, her state bird is the ubiquitous Cardinal and the state tree is..The Buckeye. Known as the Buckeye state, Ohio's Ohio State University fielded the National Champion college football team in 2002-3 with an undefeated season! Go Bucks! The state of Ohio is the birthplace of more US presidents than any other state with seven presidents to her credit: Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877 {18th},Born: April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881 {19th}, Born: October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio, James Abram Garfield, 1881 {20th}Born: November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893 {23rd}Born: August 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio William McKinley, 1897-1901 {25th}Born: January 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio
William Howard Taft, 1909-1913 {27th} Born: September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923 {29th}Born: November 2, 1865, near Corsica (now Blooming Grove), Ohio. The official Ohio website is at: http://www.state.oh.us/ .

 

Abe Olman (b. Cincinnatti, 1888. d. ?? ) was the composer behind this work. An active member of ASCAP, he became a Director of ASCAP from 1946 to 1956 and was the cofounder of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1968 whose most prestigious award is named after Olman. The Abe Olman award is for excellence in song writing and is also accompanied with a scholarship. He wrote two all-time standards Oh Johnny, Oh! in 1917 with Ed Rose and Down Among The Sheltering Palms with Jack Yellen. Among his many other works are included, Come Back To Wai-Ki-Ki, Along Miami Shore, and several rags including the Red Onion Rag.

 

Jack Yellen (b. 1892, Poland, d. 1991) Jack was brought to the US in 1897 and was a songwriter and reporter for the Buffalo (NY) Courier in his early years. Yellen's best known songs today are probably his 1932 work, Happy Days Are Here Again, used in Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidential campaign and Ain't She Sweet from 1927. Yellen, like many writers of the times, also founded a publishing house with his long time collaborator Milton Ager and Borenstein. After graduating with Honors from the University of Michigan in 1913 Jack went to work for the Buffalo Courier as a sport’s writer. His first collaborator on a song was George L. Cobb with whom Jack wrote a series of Dixie songs including Are You From Dixie?, Alabama Jubilee and All aboard for Dixieland. Besides his individual songs, Yellen was a prolific writer of Broadway scores and his credits in this area include; What's In A Name (1920), Rain Or Shine (1929), You Said It (19310 and Son O' Fun (1941). Yellen also wrote motion picture screen plays and several novelty songs for Sophie Tucker. His chief song writing collaborator was Milton Ager but he also worked with other greats including George L. Cobb, Lew Pollack, Harold Arlen and Sammy Fain.


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

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


In Oklahoma

1908



Music by: Stanley S. Sherman
Lyrics by: Sherman
Cover artist: Unknown

 

Of course everyone would expect Oklahoma, from the stage show of the same name to be a natural for this state's feature. Not so for us as that work is still in copyright so as much as we'd like to, we can't. However, we think we've got a winner here anyway with this wonderful song by a little known composer from way back in '08. A spirited song, it speaks to the great Oklahoma plains and a poor guy so lonesome that he talks to his pony. Well, check out the song using scorch or see the lyrics link below to see the whole story.

 

Formed from Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, Oklahoma became our 46th state on Nov. 16, 1907, only one year before this song was written. A state of vast plains and scenic wilderness, Oklahoma is proud of her Native American heritage. Her state flag honors over 60 groups of Native Americans and their ancestors. With a vibrant economy that is balanced between agriculture and industry, she is much more than most Americans unfamiliar with her would think. Her state bird is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and state flower, mistletoe. With a state tree of the redbud, and a diverse economy that includes cattle, wheat, milk, poultry, cotton, transportation equipment, machinery, electric products, rubber and plastic products and food processing." Known as the Sooner State, her motto is "Labor omnia vincit" (labor conquers all things.) Oklahoma's state song is, guess what?, Oklahoma (50states.com site) with words by Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Richard Rodgers. To learn more about Oklahoma, visit the official state site at: http://www.oklaosf.state.ok.us/.

 

Stanley S. Sherman has been swallowed up by the ravages of time. This song indicates a great deal of talent yet I can find no other songs credited to him nor can I find any biographical information about him. As always, if anyone out there can provide information, please contact us.

 


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

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 




Arrah Go On I'm Gonna Go Back To Oregon

1916



Music by: Bert Grant
Lyrics by: Joe Young, Sam M. Lewis
Cover artist: Barbelle


The Oregon state site says: "Think "Oregon" if you've never been here and you may see images of the Lewis and Clark expedition, pioneer wagon trains, tall trees, logging camps, salmon, and lots of rain. Live here or visit and you'll know that while all of these are part of our state's heritage there's a whole lot more to Oregon in the 21st century. The natural beauty of the "Eden at the end of the Oregon Trail." Oregon became the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859. With awesome topography and beautiful wilderness, Oregon is a nature lover's dream. Her economy is one of the most diverse that includes agricultural element in cattle, vegetables, nursery stock, fruits and nuts, dairy products, wheat and industry that mostly centers around her resources; lumber and wood products, tourism, food processing, paper products, machinery, scientific instruments. Her state bird is the Western Meadowlark and state flower the Oregon Grape. Her motto is "Alis Volat Propiis"
(She Flies With Her Own Wings.) The flag of Oregon is the only state flag with different pictures on each side. The front side includes a heart shaped shield with an eagle on top, surrounded by thirty-three stars. The second side displays a beaver, the state animal. Place your mouse pointer over the flag to see the second side. Her state song is Oregon, My Oregon (50states.com) with words by J.A. Buchanan and music by Henry B. Murtagh For more information, visit the official Oregon state web site at: http://www.oregon.gov/.

 

As we said back in 1999 when we first published this song, "so what does Oregon have to do with the Irish? The lyrics tell a tale of 'Pat McCarty, hale and hearty', an Irishman living in Oregon who hears about New York City and leaves the farm to go to the big city. Once there he finds a young "Mary Ann" and with her discovers big city sticker shock and heads straight back to Oregon. It is a cute song with a good tune and lyrics." I still can't say about the Irish, but I can still say that this song is a wonderful "Irish-Oregon" novelty song that is well worth hearing. Its humor is as fresh today as it was nearly a century ago.

 


Bert Grant Despite a fairly large oeuvre of works, little can be found about the composer Bert Grant. We do know he wrote quite a few popular songs including If I Knock The "L" Out of Kelly (Scorch format), When The Angelus Is Ringing(Scorch format), Arrah, Go On, I'm Gonna Go Back To Oregon (MIDI) and When You're Away and it is a little puzzling that so little can be found either on the net or in our many references about him.

 

Joe Young (b. 1889, New York, N. Y., d. 1939, New York, N. Y. )
Joe Young was most active from 1911 through the late 1930's. Joe began his career working as a singer-songplugger for various music publishers. During WW1, he entertained the U.S. Troops. Starting in 1916, he and co-lyricist Sam M. Lewis worked as a team up until 1930. Among his earliest lyrics (without Lewis) included: Don't Blame It All On Broadway; When The Angelus Was Ringing; Yaaka Hula, Hickey Dula, (MIDI) written with Pete Wendling & Ray Goetz and the great novelty song Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? (MIDI) an Al Jolson favorite. In 1930, Young and Lewis collaborated with composer Harry Warren on an early talking motion picture Spring is Here. It was one of the Young and Lewis team's last projects together. From 1930 on, Young mostly wrote lyrics by himself and continued writing nearly to his death with his last known songs published around 1935. Joe Young is a member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

 

Sam M. Lewis (b. 1885, New York, NY, d. 1959, New York, NY )As with many songwriters, Lewis was a performer first and he sang gigs in nightclubs in New York before songwriting took over his life. Lewis was actively writing from 1912 through the 1930's. From 1916 into the 1930's, his principal collaborator was Joe Young, but he did write with some other well known composers including Walter Donaldson, Ted Fiorito and Harry Warren. Sam Lewis and Joe Young were a powerhouse Tin Pan Alley combination. They collaborated only on lyrics but the list of lasting hits for them is astounding. Among their many hits are; Rockabye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody (Scorch format) 1918 , music by Jean Schwartz sung by Al Jolson in Broadway play 'Sinbad'; Dinah, with music by Harry Akst, from the Broadway show Sinbad starring Al Jolson later, also in Plantation Revue starring Ethel Waters; Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, music by Ray Henderson and I'm Sitting on Top of the World, again with Ray Henderson's music (1926). Sam Lewis is a deserved inductee into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

 



Enjoy this great Oregon novelty song (scorch)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


That completes our third installment of songs with state names or about US States. We only have 13 to go and hope you'll come back to see the final installment 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 and the excellent US state reference site 50states.com. See our resources page for a complete bibliography of other 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.

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