Music to Understand Revolutionary Times – “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

American Soldier 1776 done  British Soldier 1776 done

 

We have been studying how the words to popular songs give us a glimpse into the daily lives of people who lived long ago.  Here is the most popular song of 1776, Yankee Doodle Dandy.  It was loved by both the British soldiers and the American colonists.  Each side changed the words of the song to suit their own opinion.

Read the British version of the first verse below.  What did the British soldiers plan to do?
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British Verse
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“Yankee Doodle came to town
For to buy a firelock 
We will tar and feather him
And so we will John Hancock.”

Here is the colonists’ version of the first verse.  How did they respond?

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Colonists’ Verse
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“There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion 
A-Giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.”
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New Words:
Firelock: a gun that uses a spark to ignite the gunpowder
Tar and Feather: to smear tar and put feathers on someone as punishment
John Hancock: An American Revolutionary Leader
Captain Washington:  George Washington, American Revolutionary Leader and first US President
Stallion: Male horse
Ignite: light with fire
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Click here to listen to the music .

Add your comments below.

 

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Music to Understand Revolutionary Times – “The Cruel War”

This beautiful melody was written a very long time ago.  It was played during the American Civil War in 1865, and was probably played during the American Revolutionary War in 1776.  Listen to the melody and read the lyrics.  What feelings do you think the author wished to convey?  Please share your thoughts below in the comment box.

Click here to listen

The cruel war is raging
Johnny has to fight
I want to be with him
From morning till night

I’m counting the minutes
The hours and the days,
Oh Lord, stop the cruel war,
For this, my heart prays.

I made my decision,
I will join up too,
Oh Johnny, dear Johnny,
I’ll soon be with you.

We women are fighters,
We can help you win,
Oh Johnny, I’m hoping,
That they’ll take me in.

Repeat first verse

Click here to view the YouTube video sang by Peter, Paul and Mary

Music to Understand Revolutionary Times – “The World Turned Upside Down”

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It is believed that this song was played by the British troops when General Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington on , effectively ending the American Revolutionary War.  Can you imagine the British troops in their bright scarlet uniforms marching to this song?  Why do you think it was appropriate for the British to play this song at this time?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

 Click Here to Listen!

Version 1
If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,
If the mamas sold their babies
To the gypsies for half a crown;
If summer were spring and the other way round,
Then all the world would be upside down.

Version 2
Goody Bull and her daughter together fell out,
Both squabbled and wrangled and made a great rout.
But the cause of the quarrel remains to be told,
Then lend both your ears and a tale I’ll unfold.
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
Then lend both your ears and a tale I’ll unfold.

The old lady, it seems, took a freak in her head,
That her daughter, grown woman, might earn her own bread,
Self-applauding her scheme, she was ready to dance,
But we’re often too sanguine in what we advance.
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
But we’re often too sanguine in what we advance.

For mark the event, thus for fortune we’re cross,
Nor should people reckon without their good host,
The daughter was sulky and wouldn’t come to,
And pray what in this case could the old woman do?
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
And pray what in this case could the old woman do?

Zounds, neighbor, quoth pitt, what the devil’s the matter?
A man cannot rest in his home for your clatter
Alas, cries the daughter, Here’s dainty fine work,
The old woman grows harder than Jew or than Turk
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
The old woman grows harder than Jew or than Turk.

She be damned, says the farmer, and do her he goes
First roars in her ears, then tweaks her old nose,
Hello Goody, what ails you? Wake woman, I say,
I am come to make peace in this desperate fray.
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
I am come to make peace in this desperate fray.

Alas, cries the old woman, And must I comply?
I’d rather submit than the hussy should die.
Pooh, prithee, be quiet, be friends and agree,
You must surely be right if you’re guided by me,
Derry down, down, hey derry down,
You must surely be right if you’re guided by me.

Music to Understand Revolutionary Times – “The Rich Lady Over the Sea”

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Here are the lyrics of a famous song from 1775 called “The Rich Lady Over the Sea”.

Click on the link here and listen to the music.

 

 

Read the words as you listen.

There was a rich lady lived over the sea,
And she was an island queen,
Her daughter lived off in the new country,
With an ocean of water between.
With an ocean of water between.
With an ocean of water between.

The old lady’s pockets were filled with gold,
Yet never contented was she,
So she ordered her daughter to pay her a tax,
Of tuppence a pound on the tea.
Of tuppence a pound on the tea.
Of tuppence a pound on the tea.

Oh mother, dear mother, the daughter replied,
I’ll not do the thing that you ask,
I’m willing to pay fair price on the tea,
But never the tuppenney tax.
But never the tuppenney tax.
But never the tuppenney tax.

You shall, cried the mother, and reddened with rage,
For you’re my own daughter, you see,
And it’s only proper that daughter should pay
Her mother’s a tax on the tea.
Her mother’s a tax on the tea.
Her mother’s a tax on the tea.

She ordered her servant to come up to her,
And to wrap up a package of tea.
And eager for tuppence a pound she put in
Enough for a large family.
Enough for a large family.
Enough for a large family.

The tea was conveyed to her daughter’s own door,
All down by the ocean-side,
But the bouncing girl poured out ever pound
On the dark and the boiling tide.
On the dark and the boiling tide.
On the dark and the boiling tide.

And then she called out to the island queen,
Oh mother, dear mother, called she,
Your tea you may have when ’tis steeped enough,
But never a tax from me!
But never a tax from me!
But never a tax from me!

Write your answer as a Comment below
Based on what you’ve learned from the text, explain how this song helps you understand how the colonists felt about the British Tax on Tea.

View the YouTube Video here