I. Patriotic Music
"All Quiet Along The Potomac"
(words: Ethel Lynn Beers;
music: W.H. Goodwin, 1863)
I especially like the version sung by a group known as The Union Confederacy from the 1960s.
During the first days of the war, a familiar War Department announcement as it appeared in the nation’s newspapers was: ‘All quiet along the Potomac.’ One day, in September 1861, to the announcement was appended the words, “A picket shot.” This brief newspaper report was, supposedly, the inspiration for this song which was written by Mrs. Ethel Lynn Beers of Goshen, New York. It was printed in Harper’s Weekly, November 30, 1861, under the title of “The Picket Guard.”
– Irving Silber, Songs of the Civil War, 1960/1995
"Tenting on the Old Campground" (words and music by Walter Kittredge, 1864)
The song is too familiar to need much description. It was popular among soldiers and civilians on both sides of the Civil War because its common theme is "wishing for the war to cease." It's also a very good song to sing. I have a few recordings of this song and especially like the version by the Gettysburg College Choir in the 1960s.
Walter Kittredge's song, like so many other popular songs of the Union, penetrated the front lines and was sung with equal depth of feeling by Southern soldiers as well as Yankees.. Surprisingly enough, however, no Southern publishers seems to have bothered to print it, despite its evident popular appeal.
– Irving Silber, Songs of the Civil War, 1960/1995
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (words and music: Louis Lambert/
Patrick S. Gilmore, 1863)
I always liked the brisk tempo of this Civil War song, published 150 years ago in 1863, which fits the words extremely well. -- Roger
Louis Lambert was a pseudonym for Patrick S. Gilmore, bandmaster of the Union Army attached to General Butler's command in New Orleans. In later years, Gilmore confirmed his use of a pen name...Soldiers in both armies sang and identified with "Johnny," while singers, bands and professional song writers added verses to and also parodied the original.
-– Irving Silber, Songs of the Civil War, 1960/1995
II. Folk Music
"Blowin' in the Wind" (words and music by Bob Dylan, 1962)
Even though Bob Dylan wrote this song, the recording I remember best was by Peter, Paul and Mary which was No. 1 for a few weeks in 1963. It evokes that time of searching for peace and freedom in the 1960s. -- Roger
III. Religious Music
"I'm On My Way To Zion" (Shaker song, 1851)
"May I Softly Walk" (Shaker song, 1869)
I heard this song on an old LP album from 1961, sung by Charles Thompson and The Shaker Singers, which is now available on a 2 CD set I edited, Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers. It was also sung to me by Eldress Bertha Lindsay at Canterbury, New Hampshire in 1972. Four years later, I arranged this song for a high school chorus. It was sung by a solo quartet on a new CD, Celestial Praises - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals. --Roger
IV. Popular Music
"Cool, Cool, Considerate Men" (words and music by Sherman Edwards
from Broadway musical, 1776)
These lyrics still apply today:
To the right,
Ever to the right,
Never to the left,
Forever to the right.
Till we know that we can win
And if we cannot win,
Why bother to begin.
"Good Little Girls" (Go to Heaven!)
(words: Sammy Cahn; music: Vernon Duke, 1952)
From the musical revue, "Two's Company, with a lot of words to sing.
"I Wanna Be Around" (some words by Sadie Vimmerstedt;
words and music by Johnny Mercer, 1959)
I remember this memorable song sung so persuasively by the terrific, Tony Bennett, who had a hit with it fifty years ago in 1963. -- Roger
V. Classical Music
"Variations of a Shaker Marching Tune" (music by Roger Lee Hall, 1971)
Tune is from the 1843 music instruction book by Isaac N. Youngs, New Lebanon, NY -- Gail
VI. Film Music
"Call Me Irresponsible" from PAPA'S DELICATE CONDITION
(words: Sammy Cahn; music: James Van Heusen, 1963)
"High Hopes" from A HOLE IN THE HEAD (words: Sammy Cahn;
music: James Van Heusen, 1959) - For the centennial of Sammy Cahn's birth
YouTube (John F. Kennedy's campaign song, 1960)
These two Oscar-winning songs are favorites by a popular and very successful songwriting team. I was pleased to produce a CD titled, "It's Magic," featuring these two songs and some lesser known songs by Sammy Cahn. -- Roger
Main Theme from CASABLANCA (music by Max Steiner, 1942)
"Main Title Music" from THE CARDINAL (music by Jerome Moross, 1963)
YouTube ("Stay With Me" - sung by Frank Sinatra)
The marvelous, majestic main title music by Moross is appropriate to the story of an Irish priest who ultimately becomes a Cardinal. It is also the theme for the very beautiful song, "Stay With Me," superbly sung by the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. When I first heard this song I had tears rolling down my cheeks, not from sadness but from its positive expression of life and faith. This song deserves to be better known. -- Roger
"Lullaby" from THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
(words: Davis Grubb; music by Walter Schumann, 1955)
A hypnotic song sung by Kitty White, a voiceover for the little girl, Pearl, in the film's story when the girl and her brother, John, are in a rowboat drifting down the river at night. The black & white cinematography by Stanley Cortez is as exquisite as the beautiful song with music by Walter Schumann, who was born 100 years ago. He deserves to be better known. -- Roger
"We're in the Money" (words: Al Dubin; music: Harry Warren)
From GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 and sung by Ginger Rogers in the opening scene of the movie. I would like those words of the title to be true. -- Gail