The Music of These United States
Songs about US States or with State names.
Just To Meet Her By The Silvery Delaware
Music by: H.H. Johnson
Lyrics by: Fred W. McCann
Cover artist: Unknown
Our song for Pennsylvania requires a bit of geographical knowledge that quite honestly, I did not have before researching this piece and the great state of Pennsylvania. I grew up in Ohio near the Pennsylvania border and she always was defined for me by the city of Erie (on lake Erie) and a fantastic park & lake on the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania called Pymatuning. Pymatuning is a place like no other and is known for an area where the fish are so concentrated that ducks literally walk on the fishes' backs to contend for food thrown by the tourists. Think I'm kidding, before you laugh check it out here http://www.pymatuning.com/Spillway.htm . Well, the other side of Pennsylvania is where the Delaware River flows through gorgeous hill country and wilderness. The Delaware begins in New York and runs along Pennsylvania's eastern border and then along the border of Delaware to Delaware Bay. She is the longest undammed river in the US and runs over 330 miles.
This song speaks to fond memories of the past; of school days in Pennsylvania and a first love from those happy days. Though the song does not carry the state name, the lyrics set the location and mood immediately
That country school in dear old Pennsylvania,
Musically, the song is not memorable. Though it reflects the style and harmonies of the day, it is not particularly unique enough to merit hit status but is an important bit of Americana. The verse seems a little labored and does not flow as well as one might like. The chorus does better and is pleasant and flowing.
Pennsylvania was the 2nd of the original 13 colonies and became the second state of the Union on Dec. 12, 1787. Pennsylvania's nickname is "The Keystone State." That term is an architectural one referring to the middle stone in an arch that holds the others in place. The term seems to have its origin in a Republican victory rally in October 1802, when Pennsylvania was toasted as "the keystone in the federal union." A state of contrasts between wilderness and cosmopolitan sophistication, Pennsylvania offers a great deal of variety to her residents and visitors. Her largest cities Philadelphia and Pittsburgh reflect and may be symbolic of the tremendous diversity in culture and commerce in the state. Blessed with incredible natural beauty she is not only a cradle of our Democracy but a haven for sportsmen and a variety of interesting and unique cultures. Her state bird is the Ruffled Grouse and the state tree, the Eastern Hemlock. The state song is appropriately titled Pennsylvania , by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner. For more information the state website can be found at: http://www.state.pa.us/.
H.H. Johnson, the composer of this work seems to have written at least one other song Cervera and His Flying Squadron. The song credits are very unusual in that both the lyricist, R.K. Beecham and Johnson are titled as "Comrade." The song dates from 1898 and depicts an American Naval squadron. Otherwise, I've found no other information about Johnson. As for his partner in this effort, McCann, I've found even less.
Hear this great Pennsylvania song Printable sheet music (scorch format only)
So Long Rhode Island
Admitted to the Union as the lucky 13th state on May 29, 1790, Rhode
Island is one of the original 13 colonies and is known as "The Ocean
State," no doubt due to her southern border being entirely on the
Atlantic Ocean. Her state flag (seen below) reflects that oceanic and
colonial heritage with it's anchor in the middle surrounded by thirteen
stars. Rhode Island's economy is a mix of agriculture, manufacturing,
ship and boat building and tourism. Fiftieth in terms of land area and
43rd in population she still manages to boast a range of beauty and cosmopolitan
sophistication that perhaps belies her diminuitiveness among states.
Rhode Island's symbols represent the plant, animal and mineral specimens
that distinguish her. They are the Rhode Island Red Hen (bird); Violet
(flower);Red Maple (tree); bowanite (mineral, unique to Rhode Island);
striped bass (fish); and The Quahog (shell), Her motto is perhaps the
most simple yet with deepest meaning of all the states, "Hope."
The official state song is Rhode Island It's for Me, with lyrics
by Charlie Hall
The song we've chosen to represent her is the only one we could find other than the state song with Rhode Island in the title or about her. A vintage World war One song, this work is a fabulous march that speaks of the Rhode Island "loyal sons" going off to fight the Huns. The march that accompanies the patriotic and proud lyrics is one of the better marches to come out of the war. The composer liberally has salted the melody with bugle calls and a snippet of melody from Yankee Doodle Dandy that add interest and familiarity to the tune. The verse is every bit as exciting and interesting as the chorus and overall, the song is in my opinion, one of the best composed but at the same time maybe least known song to come out of the War.
As is unfortunately too often the case, neither Ruddy or Cronson appear on any of my radar screens and I've not found any other works by either of them. Perhaps they wrote this song in a fervor of patriotic pride and never wrote another song. If so, it is our loss for this song shows a great deal of talent and promise that should have been extended. Perhaps they both marched off to war and paid the supreme price. If anyone from Rhode Island can enlighten us about these two men, please do.
Enjoy this definitive Rhode Island song Printable sheet music (scorch format only)
Our entry for South Carolina is perhaps generic, but so too was our song for North Carolina featured in part three of this series. Al Jolson introduced Carolina Mammy in the hit show "Bombo." It is a stereotypical southern "mammy" song that characterized Jolson's style and was quite popular in its day. We've showcased this song before but never published it in the Sibelius Scorch format till now. The happy woman on the cover is none other than the fabulous advertising icon, Aunt Jemima. Born into slavery in 1834, the woman who would become known to millions as Aunt Jemima was really named Nancy Green. She was a warm, friendly woman who also happened to be an excellent cook. For a fascinating biography of this woman and how she happened to become associated with pancakes, see the article at the "Scoop" collectors site about how she became an advertising icon. The music is fantastic as are the lyrics.
Called the Palmetto State and named in honor of England's King Charles I , South Carolina gained admission to the Union on May 23, 1788 as the 8th state. One of the original 13 colonies, she has a long and proud tradition. From the site of Fort Sumpter in Charleston's Harbor to her Revolutionary war battlegrounds( more than any other state!), she is rife with history and natural beauty. With a state bird the Great Carolina Wren, and a state flower the Yellow Jessamine, South Carolina emphasizes its unique natural resources and heritage. The official song for the state of Nebraska is Carolina (50states.com) a quite beautiful melody with words by Henry Timrod and music by Anne Custis Burgess. You can learn much more about South Carolina at their website at http://www.myscgov.com .
Billy James seem to be temporarily lost to us along with all the
other composers so far this month. A search of my library as well as the
Internet returns but this one song. This song was such a hit, it is hard
for me to believe that it could be James' only song. The song's quality
indicates that he should have written many more.
Custer's Soldier Boys
Once again, we were hard pressed to find a song with "Texas" in the title that we could publish (due to copyright constraints) so we had to settle for a work that is representative of the state. At least we have a bona fide Texas city in the title. A grand song of the old west with an even grander cover, San Antonio is a classic with a great melody composed by one of the best with humorous lyrics, also by one of the best. The cover by Starmer captures the authentic style of the old west and the feel of the trail. I think this cover is clearly one of Starmer's most artistic and beautiful covers. The music inside is also a masterpiece; musically well constructed and telling the tale of a cowboy whose best girl took his money and horse and ran off with "Tony" to San Antonio. It is a spirited tune that is well matched to the lyrics and the music changes mood and style based on the lyrics line. It may be subtle but it is the mark of a well collaborated effort.
An independent Republic before statehood, Texas became a state Dec. 29, 1845. Topographically mostly flat, with wide areas of sparse population and few mountainous areas, Texas is the stereotypical cattle drive land often seen in the movies. What she lacks in topographic diversity, she certainly makes up for in climactic and vegetative diversity. From a damp, sultry Gulf climate to bone dry desert or cold plains and lush tropical vegetation to tumbleweed and cactus, Texas has it all. It is not surprising that she is quite rural and her population is primarily centered in only a few major areas, mainly East. Texas offers a great deal of beauty and recreational opportunities for the outdoors oriented visitor. As well, she offers substantial history from the Alamo to the Battleship Texas for those interested in such things. The second largest state in the union, Texas has plenty of room for just about anything. Known as the "Lone Star State" her state symbols, a state flower of the Bluebonnet, the mockingbird, the prickly pear cactus and her simple state motto "Friendship" reflect the state's values and attributes. The state song is Texas, Our Texas by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright. Learn more about this great state's history and attractions at the official Texas website at http://www.state.tx.us/.
Egbert Van Alstyne (b. Chicago, Ill 1882 - d. Chicago, 1951) A musical prodigy, he played the organ at the Methodist Church in Marengo, Illinois when only seven! Schooled in the public school system in Chicago and at Cornell College in Iowa, he won a scholarship to the Chicago Musical College. After graduation, he toured as a pianist and director of stage shows and performed in vaudeville. In 1902 he went to New York and worked as a staff pianist for a publisher in Tin Pan Alley and began to devote himself to writing songs teamed with Harry Williams as his lyricist. The teams first success came in 1903 with the song, Navajo, one of the earliest commercial songs to exploit Indian themes. They wrote two more "Indian Songs"; Cheyenne in 1906 and San Antonio in 1907. In 1905 they produced one of the greatest songs of that early decade, In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree which sold several million copies. For several years, the team cranked out hit after hit and music for two Broadway musicals, A Broken Doll in 1909 and Girlies in 1910.
Harry Williams (b. 1879, Minn. - d. 1922, Calif.) Williams is considered an important early Tin Pan Alley lyricist who collaborated with several of the greatest composers of the time including Neil Moret, Jean Schwartz and most frequently with Egbert Van Alstyne. He also collaborated on several Broadway scores including A Yankee Circus On Mars (1905), Girlies (1910) and A Broken Idol (1909). He began his musical industry career in vaudeville with Van Alstyne and then they began writing songs together. Williams formed his own publishing company and also became a director of silent movies in 1914. Among his most important and lasting hits are; In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree, Goodnight Ladies, It's A Long Way To Tipperary and Mickey. (Essential facts from Kunkle, V. 3, p. 1960)
Listen to this great old "Texas" song (scorch format)
If You Saw What I Saw You'd Go To Utah
Utah joined the Union on Jan. 4, 1896
On a blue field, appears the state seal. In the center of the seal is a beehive, the state emblem, with a sego lily growing on either side. The sego lily stands for peace. The state motto "Industry" means steady effort. A national flag shows that Utah supports the United States. The eagle stands for protection in peace and war. The date 1847 represents the year that Brigham Young led a group of people to the Salt Lake Valley to reestablish in Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, also know as The Mormons. The date 1896 represents the year that Utah gained admission to the Union of the United States..(From50states.com)
Nicknamed the Beehive State, with a state flower of the Sego Lily and a state bird of the California Seagull her symbols are reflective of her resources and heritage. Her primary industries are diverse and include; cattle, dairy products, hay, turkeys, machinery, aerospace, mining, food processing, electric equipment and of course tourism. The state song is Utah...This Is The Place with words by Sam Francis, Gary Francis and music by Gary Francis (link to 50states.com, Utah state song). Learn more about this great state's history at the official Utah website at http://www.utah.gov/main/index.
This song is a novelty song, meant to be in good humor and capitalizing on the supposed early Mormon penchant for bigamy. Today's Utah and Mormon Church officially do not espouse that practice but the image persists. Certainly, this song does not represent all that Utah or the Mormon faith has to offer but it is an excellent example of the novelty song genre. The cover art by DeLappe gives us a whimsical map of the area and is one of only a few examples of cover art by this artist. The music reflects the fun intended by the songs lyrics and it makes for an entertaining combination. The lyrics tell us of a man who heads West and never returns which a later letter to a friend tells why:
The composer of this work is not listed in any of our library resources and a search of the net comes up empty. Again, it seems as though the quality of this work would have resulted in other songs published by him.
Listen to this great old Utah song Printable sheet music (scorch format only)
I'm done with page one, take me to page two to see the rest of the songs..
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