Posts Tagged With: song


Goethe said:  One should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.

Music is all around us, rowers still chant and call their strokes, campers sing around the fire, auctioneers and street vendors, sing to sell their wares, mothers sing to their children, father’s too. Protestors sing on the picket lines.  Music comforts the sick and weary and inspires writers, and thinkers and all of us to grander effort, or to lighten our mood. Music wafts through stores and elevators, and one is never far from television and radio. And, music for the most part is poetry.

I’ve been rummaging around in folk anthologies about working people’s songs.

Most of us can remember Sixteen Tons,  Eight Hours, The Old Chisholm Trail.

I got caught up in the music and forgot they were real men working real jobs and suffering exploitation by the “company.”  I knew Sixteen Tons was about back-breaking work at a low pay-day after day where the coal miner was unable to get out of the trap of indebtedness. Employers knew how to set up that invisible net to keep them in that trap.

And, of course, I’m familiar with the happy sounds of Ty Yi Yippy, Yippy, Yea… of the Old Chisholm Trail .  Somehow I didn’t hear the other verses of the song that  make the exploitation clear. The boss can fire you on a whim and dock your pay if he sees fit and they always did.

A-ropeing and a-tying and a-branding all day,

I’m working mighty hard for mighty little pay,

I went to the boss to draw my roll,

He had me figured out ten dollars in the hole.

The boss says to me, “I’ll fire you,

Not only you but the whole damn crew.”

We organized a union and it’s going mighty strong,

The boss minds his business and we all get along.”

The song, Eight Hours was a rallying song from the late nineteenth century when people worked from sun-up to sun-set, the whole year, no vacations, time off, no cushion against illness. Unions made things better, but young people today, don’t recognize what they owe to unions and in some ways, our current middle class is working very hard for low wages, often both parents and not getting ahead. I see some similarities.

The song says:

We mean to make things over, we are tired of toil for naught,

With but bare enough to live upon and never and hour for thought.

We want to feel the sunshine and we want to sell the flowers,

We are sure that God has will’d it, and we mean to have eight hours.

We’re summoning our forces from the shipyard , shop and mill,

Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what we will.

Carpenters won an 8-hour day in 1890, but it took decades before the majority of workers won a shorter work day.

For me it was a repeat education and a reminder of what we owe unions and a treatise on the power of the people when they are maligned.

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My son Ken and his wife, Laurie stopped in with their two little dachshunds for  an hour to play in the snow. They went out and threw snowballs and watched the dogs discover  “cold white stuff.” We had a brew and a chat.  A nice interlude. Even nicer because Ken has not lived in this county since he graduated from Bret Harte High School in 1979. I really like the idea that my kids live close enough to casually stop by.  All but one Kristanne, who will stay in Las Vegas, at least until her son graduates high school.

I spent part of the day going through old picture albums and travel scrapbooks, with some Christmas carols playing, and  a cuppa warm cider for my trip down memory lane.

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On my machine, I have “scrapbooks” too. I found this one of  lighting the tree from 2011.

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And this one of Laurie and Kristanne sharing a glass of wine.  Kristanne and Virginia and their families will be missing this year, so we’ve planned a get together that everyone can attend in January.

Even when you are retired, weekends are special. It is easier to relax and enjoy the season. Boy, am I getting to rocking chair age? Or what?  Hey, I’m, lovin’ every minute of it.


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We all sang it and jumped rope to it when we were kids. Well, sometimes I forget what generation I’m in. But, surely we’ve all HEARD the song.

“All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel,
the monkey stopped to pull up his sock.
Pop! goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,
a penny for a needle.
That’s the way the money goes.
Pop! goes the weasel.

I knew what a weasel was since we had chickens and weasels are as clever as foxes at breaking into the chicken coop. My dad would point out their tracks and curse them vehemently.

There are many verses sung in various parts of the world. The song actually originated in London in 1852. Most of the verses were sort of ribald tales of “where the money goes…as in carousing, gambling, drinking, and worse..”

As it turns out, the rollicking little song isn’t about a chicken eating weasel either. The usual chorus in London was,
Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes-
Pop! goes the weasel.

The Eagle was a well known London music hall where drinks were sold. The weasel was a tool used by hatters, often pawned on Saturday night. Pop was a slang term for hock.

Hmmm! Now I know Pop goes the weasel wasn’t an American jump rope song, nor a simple fun rhyme that was easy to make up verses to match it.  It was an adult fun ditty.  And,  now you know too.

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I am sooooo tired of the campaign, the calls, the negative ads, and all that rush, rush stuff. This song from the 1960’s is a message song that was remade for today:

Check it out.

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“I Was Born In A Small Town…” I don’t know the rest of the words to the song, but in my case, the words are true. I’m sure there is a deep seated reason that our family migrated away from old familiar places to settle in a small town. We are considered rural by the U.S. Census.
Then, every once in awhile, some incident reminds me of why I love to live in a place like Murphys.
When Richard Olson goes to the local bank, his dog Chico comes with him. Richard does his banking, but Chico steps up to the counter at El Dorado Savings and is handed a dog biscuit and then he patiently sits while his master finishes his paperwork.
You can see he and Chico riding around town in a bright red Jeep.
Yep! That’s just one of the reasons I love living in Murphys. You’ll also note the lack of long lines in the bank on a Friday.
If you discover you’ve forgotten your checkbook at the grocery store? They’ll put a note in the cash register that you’ll be back to pay later. If you’ve been sick, your doctor is likely to call you after a couple days and ask how you are doing.
In small towns you get personal service and most of the business people know you by name.
I’m still humming…”I was born in a small town..” Its a great place to be.
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