America has been called the great melting pot. She is also a melting pot of many moods—noble and determined as the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic,” pensive and nostalgic as “Tenting Tonight,” “Red River Valley,” or “Home on the Range,” sprightly as “Dixie” or a Stephen Foster jig. She is light hearted as a “Yankee Doodle” or the “Buffalo Gals,” lusty as a mule skinner on the “Erie Canal” and as beautiful and soft as “Aura Lee” and the Valley of the Shenandoah. The moods of America and the songs which interpret them are part of our heritage. Following are comments and background on the selections included in this album:
1. BUFFALO GALS...As early as 1844, traveling minstrel shows were singing this catchy tune. They sang “New York Gals,” or “Lou'siana Gals” or “Cincinnati Gals” depending on where they were. Later versions standardized the song into “Buffalo Gals.”
2. AURA LEE...Love song, song of comfort for weary soldiers, barbershop harmony favorite and (with new words) even a movie theme—such is the history of the beautiful melody, “Aura Lee.”
3. THE ERIE CANAL...In 1825 the Erie Canal was finished, linking the Atlantic seaboard and the Great Lakes. It was 351 miles long, 40 feet wide and just 4 feet deep. Mules and men pulled the ropes that moved the flatboats between Rome and Buffalo, New York and helped open up the West.
4. THE RED RIVER VALLEY...”In the Bright Mohawk Valley,” was a song written in New York. It became popular in the South, and then went west. Simplified and localized, it emerged as the cowboy love song classic, “Red River Valley.”
5. STEPHEN FOSTER MEDLEY...In his short 38-year life, Stephen Collins Foster wrote more than 200 songs. Carried west by settlers and Forty-Niners, and south by minstrel shows and workers, his songs were sung by the whole nation.
6. HOME ON THE RANGE...From the Chisholm Trail to the last roundup, nothing speaks better of the western America cowboy legend than “Home on the Range.” Like many folk songs, its origins are obscure, but it is at least a hundred years old.
7. YANKEE DOODLE...In the fall of 1758, during the French and Indian War, a British army surgeon, Dr. Richard Schukburgh, was encamped near Albany, New York. The soldiers looked so “homegrown” he tabbed them Yankee Doodles. British redcoats later used the song to ridicule the American troops during the Revolutionary War until the Americans themselves picked it up and used it for a marching song.
8. SHENANDOAH...There are many versions of the beautiful “Shenandoah” as there are several Shenandoahs in the United States. The Shenandoah River Valley of Virginia, one of the most luxuriant areas in the country, was the scene of several intensive Civil War campaigns.
9. DIXIE...Daniel Emmett wrote a song as a “walkaround” for the famous Bryant Minstrel show. It was picked up by other minstrel groups and became immediately popular. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the southern soldiers claimed it for their marching song. Emmett, born in the North and with Union sympathies, was dismayed, but the rousing strains of Dixie were immortalized.
10. TENTING ON THE OLD CAMP GROUND...The melancholy strains of this Civil War song carry a universal feeling of those who fight and those who anxiously wait and of all who are “tired of the war...waiting for the dawn of peace.”
11. BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC...In 1861, Julia Ward Howe, visiting Union Army camps, heard the soldiers singing “John Brown's Body.” Deeply moved, she wrote a new set of lyrics to the sturdy melody. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” thus became the marching song of the Union Armies and one of the most inspiring songs in history.
“Heritage,” says the dictionary, is “...the rights, burdens or status resulting from being born in a certain time or place...”
The American Heritage, then, is a shared but very individual commodity. To The Three D's it is, among other things, playing one-night stands at colleges throughout the country, entertaining servicemen throughout the world, rolling up miles by the hundreds of thousands, flying over Kansas cornfields, driving a twisting Idaho mountain road, watching the bay glitter under San Francisco, catching the view and catching your breath when the New England hillside explodes into color in the fall. It is shaking hands with others who believe in America.
It means a warm fire, a wife and kids to come home to after a tough tour. It means deep roots in the high mountain valleys of Utah where they come from and where love of America is basic to their religion and culture.
We think you will enjoy The Three D's musical comment on the American Heritage.