I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

 

Something for the weekend.  The incomparable Johnny Cash singing the hymn I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Christmas Bells on which the hymn is based  in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, and this knowledge makes the lyrics even more poignant:

 I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

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Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving

Something for the weekend.  A reminder from the late, great Johnny Cash that we all have so much to thank God for when we sit down with our families during the coming week. Perhaps we should also recall these words from Theodore Roosevelt in his final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1908:

For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfil its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.

Published in: on November 19, 2022 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Would You Rather Be a Colonel with an Eagle on Your Shoulder or a Private with a Chicken On Your Knee?

 

Something for the weekend.   Would You Rather Be a Colonel with an Eagle on Your Shoulder or a Private with a Chicken On Your Knee?  The American involvement in World War I produced an immense amount of music, much of it ephemeral.  Thus it was with this briefly very popular tune, before it fell into deep obscurity, which claimed that privates had more fun in the Army than colonels, a tell tale sign that the lyricist, Archie Gottler, did not serve as a private in the Army.  “Chicken” was 1918 slang for a young lady, a term that would later be shortened to “Chick”.

Published in: on October 15, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Would You Rather Be a Colonel with an Eagle on Your Shoulder or a Private with a Chicken On Your Knee?  
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Conquest of Paradise

 

Something for the weekend.  The song Conquest of Paradise from the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), which retold the story of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of a New World:

At two o’clock in the morning the land was discovered, at two leagues’ distance; they took in sail and remained under the square-sail lying to till day, which was Friday, when they found themselves near a small island, one of the Lucayos, called in the Indian language Guanahani. Presently they descried people, naked, and the Admiral landed in the boat, which was armed, along with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Yanez his brother, captain of the Nina. The Admiral bore the royal standard, and the two captains each a banner of the Green Cross, which all the ships had carried; this contained the initials of the names of the King and Queen each side of the cross, and a crown over each letter Arrived on shore, they saw trees very green many streams of water, and diverse sorts of fruits. (more…)

Published in: on October 8, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Conquest of Paradise  
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K-K-K-K-Katy

Something for the weekend.  KK-K-K-Katy, one of the more popular songs of 1918.  Our times do not have a monopoly on silly music. Kids were still singing this in the Sixties when I was growing up.

 

 

Published in: on October 1, 2022 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on K-K-K-K-Katy  
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August 23, 1864: Secret Cabinet Memo

We are Coming Father Abraham, written by Stephen Foster in 1862.  Few songs better conveyed Northern determination to win the War.  However, by August 1864 that determination seemed to be wearing thin.

 

With the War stalled both East and West Union morale was faltering.  On August 22, 1864 Lincoln received a letter from Republican party chairman Henry J. Raymond suggesting that Lincoln offer peace terms to Jefferson Davis on the sole term of acknowledgement of the supremacy of the Constitution with slavery to be dealt with at a later date.   Lincoln’s morale remained unshaken, but he was a veteran politician and could read the political tea leaves as well as any political prognosticator.  That he read defeat in the tea leaves is demonstrated by what has become known as The Blind Memorandum.  Lincoln sealed this document and on August 23, 1864 asked his cabinet officers to sign it unread.  They complied.  Here is the text:

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.

A. Lincoln (more…)

Published in: on August 23, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on August 23, 1864: Secret Cabinet Memo  
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Kokomo

 

Something for the weekend.  Kokomo (1988) I have never been a fan of The Beach Boys, except for this song, which seems made for hot August days.

Published in: on August 6, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Kokomo  
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Army of the Free

Something for the weekend.  Army of the Free, one of the more rousing of the Civil War songs.  Sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring the music of the Civil War to modern audiences.

And here is another rendition:

 

(more…)

Published in: on July 23, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Army of the Free  
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The Minstrel Boy

 

Something for the weekend.  The Minstrel Boy.  The patriotic Irish song was written by Thomas Moore in honor of his friends killed in the Irish rising of 1798.  The video above is from the incredibly good movie Rough Riders, with some of the Rough Riders singing the song before charging up Kettle Hill on July 1, 1896.

The song is sung just after the death of Captain Bucky O’Neill who, the son of Irish immigrants, had made The Minstrel Boy the song of his company.

Theodore Roosevelt describes the death of O’Neill:

“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover – a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, ‘The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.’ As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.”

Bucky O’Neill is portrayed in the film by Sam Elliot who gives his usual fine performance. (more…)

Published in: on July 9, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Minstrel Boy  
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The Eagle Inside Belongs to US!

 

Something for the weekend.  The Egg song from the musical 1776. (more…)

Published in: on June 25, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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