Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair
1854, Stephen Collins Foster (1826 – 1864) [piano]
Foster's beautiful tribute to his wife, Jane (Jenny) McDowell, shows the composer's love and admiration despite years of marital turmoil and repeated separation. Jeanie was written during one of those separations.
Jenny Lind Polka
1850, Allen Dodworth [Squire's Cornet Band Olio No. 1]
“The Swedish Nightingale” was one of the most eminent and popular sopranos of the 19th Century. She was said to have a “remarkably sympathetic voice of great compass, remarkable purity, breath, endurance and flexibility.” Her operatic début, 1838, in Der Freischütz, was followed by many successful engagements, including Lucia di Lammermoor and Daughter of the Regiment. She left the opera in 1849 and began concertizing to enormous success. Her tour with P.T. Barnum (1850-52) earned her $120,000. Such was her popularity and generosity that a bust of her is in Westminster Abbey, and in 1927, Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse produced a Broadway musical based on her life, called “The Nightingale.” Her most popular encore was “Home, Sweet Home.”
Jenny, Who Lives In The Dell
1866, J. R. Thomas (1829 – 1896) [Stratton Military Band Journal]
With words by George Cooper, the published version of Jenny was dedicated to John Stratton, editor of the journal, music dealer and musical instrument manufacturer. The lyrics tell of a maiden so fair as to rival the fairies.
1848, Francis Buck [Brass Band Journal, 1854]
Respectfully Dedicated to John J. Fry, Esq. (of Richmond, Va.)
Jordan Am A Hard Road Ta Trabel
1853, Daniel Decatur Emmett (1815 – 1904) [4th NH, Manchester Cornet Band Books]
E.P. Christy has been credited with the most familiar set of words to Emmett's song, referring to it as The Other Side of Jordan. It's chorus, though, is probably Emmett's, with the lines “Then pull off yer coat 'n' roll up yer sleeve, Jordan am a hard road ta trabel, I believe.” Though many parody lyrics surfaced, none were more effective than John R. Thompson's Confederate version: Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel. Some believe the first part of this arrangement to be a separate tune entitled Roll Up Your Sleeves, but considering the lyrics to Emmett's song would seem to prove otherwise. The tune's title remains unknown.
Jordan Am A Hard Road Ta Trabbel / Wait For The Wagon
Emmett / Buckley [26th Regt. North Carolina, C.S.A. Band Books]
E.P. Christy has been credited with the most familiar set of words to Emmett's song, referring to it as The Other Side of Jordan. It's chorus, though, is probably Emmett's, with the lines “Then pull off yer coat 'n' roll up yer sleeve, Jordan am a hard road ta trabbel, I believe.” Though many parody lyrics surfaced, none were more effective than John R. Thompson's Confederate version: Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel. In it, he details the many failed campaigns to take the Confederate Capitol.
R. Bishop Buckley’s (1826 – 1867) song was published as: “an Ethiopian Song for the Piano-Forte by George P. Knauff”, but most researchers credit Buckley with its composition. The delightful melody lends itself easily to parody and was used by politicians, propagandists and soldiers, alike.
18--, Mrs. Norton (1808 – 1877) [26th North Carolina, C.S.A. Band Books]
Her full name and title is “The Honorable Mrs. Caroline Elizabeth Sara Sheridan Norton.” She was the daughter of English Playwright, Richard Brinsly Sheridan, who wrote “The School For Scandal.” She was he wife of a Parliament member and sister -in -law to Lord Grantly. Before her marriage, she was already a successful poet having published The Sorrows of Rosalie. Her novel, The Undying One, about the Wandering Jew, went into two editions in 1830. Between novels and ballads for children, she published English Laws for Women in the Nineteenth Century, and A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth's Marriage and Divorce Bill. In her own day, “Juanita” ran into fifty editions, not counting duet arrangements. Some trivia buffs may recall the character Barney Fyffe (Don Knotts) serenading a volatile goat, by playing this tune on the harmonica, on the Andy Griffith Show.
Just Before the Battle, Mother
1862, George F. Root (1820 – 1895) [piano: Root & Cady] [The Leader’s Delight, Deville]
Following the successes of Battle Cry and Tramp! Tramp!, Root directed much of his work to the war effort. This song brought the war home to many parlors to stir the emotions of supporters and to shame retractors. In one line he lashes-out at Northern “Copperheads” for not fully supporting the effort. He even gets in an advertisement for his own Battle Cry in another. Southerners sang this tune without altering any words, proving the universal sentiment. E.P. Christy took the song to England with such great success that the British adopted it as their own. This arrangement states the song as written and then presents a bright polka version that would satisfy any Officer. Officers would forbid soldiers to sing sentimental songs as they had a demoralizing effect on the troops.