Sunday, April 10, 2011

Viviandiere's Song (For Adah)


This is the vivandiere song I was telling you about- I was going to make a video for you, and maybe I will later, so you can get the tune.

I first heard this song last Saturday at the senior center. We were talking about the anniversary of the war, and one of the guys there, Peter, who is originally from Georgia, started singing old songs about it. Then of course we started up on the topic of old songs, etc.

I don't actually know the origins of this one- one of the guys sang it, and told me his father used to, too- I loved it, so I asked him to write it down for me. It is certainly referring to the Civil War, whether or not it was written during it. Whitey claims that someone in his family wrote it during the war but that it became popular "in town" (which, in this case, was apparently in Culpeper, Virginia, not too far from the area where you live). This is one of those stories that you don't know whether or not you should believe, but you really want to because the song is awesome and the guy is 102 years old and really, at that point, isn't it just more fun to believe them? XP

One can deduce that 'the great blue sea' refers to the Union army, and the narrator seems to be a woman talking about being able to join the army in some form, so... it isn't *for sure* a vivandiere song, but I'd say it's safe to conjecture. I'm not gonna lie, I loved the whole thing. It made me feel like one of those ethnomusicologists collecting songs with a grammophone in the Appalachians like John Cohen or Frances Densmore something. XP

These are the words as he wrote them out for me-

The Great Blue Sea

My love is gone!
With the beat of the drum
To join up in the cavalry.
How I wish to ride!
With a horse's stride
To be meetin' with the Great Blue Sea!

While the drum still beats
We can use more feet
Besides such great beauty-
"If the wool is grey,
Even skirts", they say,
Help with drainin' out the Great Blue Sea!

Well I'm glad to say
That we donned our grey,
My one true love, my horse, and me.
When we all ride out
Give a Rebel shout
To that bully of a Great Blue Sea!

My fate I'll meet
On my own four feet
Go a-marchin' to the "one-two-three!"
To help my love
May he rise above
Swimmin' safely through the Great Blue Sea!

After all they've done
With their Yankee guns
I guess that we'll just have to see...
Since they're both from hell
It may be hard to tell
'Tween the Devil and the Great Blue Sea!

So yeah. I dunno. I'd use it, it's awesome. And trust me, it's catchy as all tarnation. I was gardening afterwards and it was stuck in my head, great work beat. XP

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