Wednesday, December 31, 2008


(Song begins at 1:08)
By John Prine
Rise Up Singing chapter: Mountain Voices, p.149
D - G D / - - A D ://

Paradise was an actual town in Kentucky, demolished because of strip mining operations (pictures, facts), although it seems the actual site wasn't stripped, but is now occupied by a coal-fired electric plant (source). Peabody Coal Co. is also real and is now known as Peabody Energy Corporation. Their website boasts "We are the world's largest coal company".


When I was a child my family would travel
Down to western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwoods old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn

And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay?
Well I'm sorry my son but you're too late in asking
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well they dug for their coal 'til the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester Dam
I'll be halfway to heaven with Paradise waiting
Just five miles away from wherever I am

Back Home Again

By John Denver
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home and Family
Verses: C - F - / G - C - ://
Chorus: F G C - / F G C F / G - C -

Song two of this week's 3-song John Denver cluster.
I'm posting this from the beach on Ko Tao in Thailand. Having fun, doing a little snorkeling. Keep singing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For Baby (For Bobby)

(Song begins at 1:47)
By John Denver
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home and Family, p.108
D G D - / G A D - / G A D Bm / D A D -
G A D - / // G A F#m Em (or D G) / " /
I'm on vacation and still posting! That seems like dedication to me.
Today's video is by John Denver and I don't have all the details because my copy of the Rise Up Singing Songbook isn't with me here on the beach, but I'll replace this text with the pertinent song information soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Au Clair De La Lune

(Song begins at 0:48)
By Charles Fonteyn Manney and J.B. Lully
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.83
G GD GD G / / Am - A D / 1st

Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot
Prête-moi ta plume pour écrire un mot
Ma chandelle est morte, je n'ai plus de feu
Ouvre-moi ta porte, pour l'amour de Dieu

Au clair de la lune Pierrot répondit
«Je n'ai pas de plume, je suis dans mon lit
Va chez la voisine, je crois qu'elle y est
Car dans sa cuisine on bat le briquet»

Au clair de la lune s'en fut Arlequin
Frapper chez la brune, elle répond soudain
«Qui frappe de la sorte?» Il dit à son tour
«Ouvrez votre porte pour le dieu d'amour!»

Au clair de la lune on n'y voit q'un peu
On chercha la plume, on chercha du feu
En cherchant d'la sorte je ne sais c'qu'on trouva
Mais je sais que la porte sur eux se ferma

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bonus: Airline To Heaven

(Chord review at 0:58, song begins at 1:44)
Words by Woody Guthrie, music by Billy Bragg and Wilco
Rise Up Singing chapter: none, it's a bonus
The chords are E and A, alternating in the verses
The chorus is E, A and B.
I apologise for being in too much of a hurry to write out the chord pattern today. You can go here:
or here:
to see others' free chordings for this song.

This is a bonus song to the Rise Up Singing project, in which I record a song from the Rise Up Singing songbook every day. I hope you liked it.

Give Me Oil In My Lamp

(Song begins at 1:19)
No author listed
Rise Up Singing chapter: Gospel, p.93
Verses: C - F - / C - G - / C - F - / C G C -
Chorus: / " / G - CF C / " / G - C -

I think I said everything I needed to say in the video today.
See you tomorrow.


Shake My Sillies Out

By Raffi
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.176
D G D - / A - D - ://

I'm embarrassed at how badly I botched explaining Child Honouring. An official explanation is here on Raffi's website.

Gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out (2x)
And wiggle my waggles away

Gotta clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Jump my jiggles out
Growl my grumpies out
Yawn my sleepies out

Friday, December 26, 2008

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

(Song begins at 1:00)
By Ed McCurdy
Rise Up Singing chapter: Peace, p.161
C - F C / G EmAm DmG C / F C G C / /

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

Traditional English
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.91

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree
D - - - A - D - / D G D A D - - -

First three verses strum an A for calling birds, french hens and turtle doves.

Sorry, I'd love to explain more but I have to run out. Christmas day festivities! I'll write down the chords more dilligently tomorrow. The song itself begins at 1:11 if you want to skip the chatter.

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Douglas Mountain

Song begins at 1:42. On YouTube this'll let you click to skip to it. Not on the blog, though :(
Words: Arnold Sundgaard, Music: Alec Wilder
Rise Up Singing chapter: Lullabies, p.132
C - G C / Dm7 G C - / Dm7 G C EAm
Dm7 G7 C - / G7 - C -
Which are almost the same are Raffi's chords (used in the video):
C Csus C Csus
C - G7 C / Dm7 G7 C - / Dm7 G7 C E7Am
Dm7 G7 C - / G7 - C - (Csus C Csus C)

Snows are a-falling on Douglas Mountain
Snows are a-falling so deep

Snows are a-falling on Douglas Mountain

Putting all the bears to sleep / Putting the bears to sleep

Trimming the wicks on Douglas Mountain
Shining my chimney so bright (Shine IN my chimney so bright?)
Trimming the wicks on Douglas Mountain
So God can bring the night /
So God can bring the night

Rise Up Singing lyrics not in the Raffi Singable Songbook (read: apocryphal):

Cedars are a-growing on Douglas Mountain
Cedars are a growing so high
Cedars are a-growing on Douglas Mountain
Joining the earth to the sky / Joining the earth to the sky

Sun's going down on Douglas Mountain
The night's are so long and so cold
Sun's going down on Douglas Mountain
And I am feeling old / And I am feeling old

It's a peaceful Christmas eve at home here in Bangkok. I hope you're all enjoying yourselves too, wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Dreidel (Dreydl, Dreydel)

A.K.A I have a little Dreidel / Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
Music by S.E. Goldfarb; orig. words: Sam Grossman; addl v. Sam Hinton
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.174
D - - A / - - - D ://

A song for the second day of Chanukah, although let it be noted that it's dark outside my window, so it may be the third day already, as Jewish holidays are reckoned.

Additional verse:
The letters also tell us just who will lose or win
I have a pile of walnuts, I am ready, let's begin!
O, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I wonder who will win
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I am ready let's begin!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Here We Come A-Wassailing (Christmas Carol)

A.K.A. Here We Come A-Wassailing
Traditional English
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.91
D - - - / G D Em A //
DG D DG D / D GA D G / DBm GA D -

I play it with one minor difference:
D - - - / G D Em A //
DG D DG D / DBm GA D G / DBm GA D -

Wassail (from
1. a salutation wishing health to a person, used in England in early times when presenting a cup of drink or when drinking to the person.
2. a festivity or revel with drinking of healths.
3. liquor for drinking and wishing health to others on festive occasions, esp. spiced ale, as on Christmas Eve and Twelfth-night.
4. Archaic. a song sung in wassailing.
verb (used without object)
5. to revel with drinking.
verb (used with object)
6. to drink to the health or success of; toast.

Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green
Here we come a wandering so fair to be seen
Love and Joy come to you, and to you your wassail too
(Alt: and a merry Chistmas too)
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year
And God send you a happy New Year

Our wassail cup is made of the rosemary tree
And so is your beer of the best barley (chorus)
We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door
But we are neighbors' children that you have seen before (chorus)
Call up the butler of this house, put on his golden ring
Let him bring us up a glass of beer, and better we shall sing (chorus)
We have got a little purse of stretching leather skin
We want a little of your money, to line it well within (chorus)
Bring us out a table and spread it with a cloth
Bring us out a mouldy cheese and some of your Christmas loaf (chorus)
God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress too
And all the little children that round the table go (chorus)
Good master and good mistress, while you're sitting by the fire
Pray think of us poor children who are wandering in the mire (chorus)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Seven Joys of Mary (Christmas Carol)

Traditional, A.K.A. Joys Seven
Rise Up Singing chapter: Ballads and Old Songs, p.14
D - A D / / A - D DA / D - A D

It's the 21st! Christmas soon!

The first good joy that Mary had, it was the joy of one
To see the blessed Jesus Christ when he was first her son
When he was first her son, good man, and blessed may he be
Both father, son and Holy Ghost through all eternity

The next good joy that Mary had, it was the joy of two
To see her own son Jesus Christ to make the lame to go

(There's an alternate verse here that says "when he was sent to school". It's good because it rhymes much better with the number two, but I still prefer the other because, as far as we know from the Bible, Jesus didn't go to school. In fact, his lack of education factors in to his story later on in life. He may have gone to carpenter's school, I suppose, but I don't think that counts, since it was probably just learning in the shed out back with Joseph. Anyway. For your information, that's the better rhyme, if you want it.)

The joy of three: to make the blind to see
The joy of four: read the bible o'er
The joy of five: bring the dead alive
The joy of six: upon the crucifix (joy? Really?)
The joy of seven: wear the crown of heaven

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Friendly Beasts (Christmas Carol)

Words: anonymous, with a 12th Century melody
Rise Up Singing chapter: Faith, p.42
D - A D / - G A D / - G A Bm / D - A D

A Christmas carol for you on the 20th of December. Merry Christmas, all.

Jesus our brother strong/kind and good
Was humbly born in a stable rude
And the friendly beasts around him stood
Jesus our brother, strong/kind and good

"I" said the donkey, shaggy and brown
"I carried his mother up hill and down
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town
I" said the donkey, shaggy and brown

"I" said the cow, all white and red
"I gave him my manger for his bed
I gave him my hay to pillow his head
I" said the cow, all white and red

The sheep with the curly horn gave him her wool for his blanket warm, and he wore her coat on Christmas morn. The camel, all yellow and black, over the desert upon her back, brought him a gift from the wise man's pack. The dove, from the rafters high, cooed him to sleep, that he should not cry. They cooed him to sleep, her mate and she. Thus every beast by some good spell, in the stable dark was glad to tell of the gift he gave Immanuel, the gift he gave Immanuel.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kevin Barry

(Song begins at 1:06)
Traditional Irish
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.215
A - - D / E A E A ://

"Reports of his torture in Mountjoy Jail soon circulated but Barry refused to name his comrades. He was given a death sentence but it was widely believed that this sentence would be commuted, and that the British authorities would not dare to execute an eighteen year-old..." source biography and lyrics
Alternate biography

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In My Life

(Song begins at 01:36)
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Rise Up Singing chapter: Time and Changes, p.225
C Em Am C / F Fm C - ://
Am - D - / " ://

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Geronimo's Cadillac

(Song begins at 01:19)
By Charles Quarto and Michael M. Murphey
Rise Up Singing chapter: America, p.2
G D C G / C - G - :// (repeat, repeat, repeat..)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brennan On The Moor

(Song starts at 01:33)
Traditional Irish

Rise Up Singing chapter: Ballads & Old Songs, p.8
I don't like the Rise Up Singing chords, so I'm not even going to write them here. They won't help you do it the way I do it. They'll work, but they won't rock. Probably whoever chorded it for Rise Up Singing had a slightly different melody in mind which fit a little more justly.

Verses: A - D A / / / D - A E
Chorus: A - C#m - / D A E A

These are the lyrics I sing. They come from here
although you'll see I've altered them slightly, of course, because that's the folk process, isn't it? Part of it, anyway. Enjoy.

It's of a fearless highwayman a story now I'll tell:
His name was Willie Brennan, and in Ireland he did dwell;
'Twas on the Limerick mountains he commenced his wild career,
Where many a wealthy gentleman before him shook with fear.

Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor
A brace of loaded pistols he carried night and day,
He never robbed a poor man upon the King's highway;
But what he'd taken from the rich, like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it with the widow in distress.

One night he robbed a packman, his name was [Pedlar] Bawn;
They travelled on together, till day began to dawn;
The pedlar seing his money gone, likewise his watch and chain,
At once encountered Brennan and robbed him back again.

When Brennan saw the pedlar was as good a man as he,
He took him on the highway, his companion for to be;
The pedlar threw away his pack without any delay,
And proved a faithful comrade until his dying day.

One day upon the highway Willie he sat down,
He met the Mayor of Cashel, a mile outside the town;
The Mayor he knew his features, "I think, young man," said he,
"Your name is Willie Brennan, you must come along with me."

As Brennan's wife had gone to town provisions for to buy,
When she saw her Willie, she began to weep and cry;
He says, "Give me that tenpence;" as soon as Willie spoke,
She handed him the blunderbuss from underneath her cloak.

Then with his loaded blunderbuss, the truth I will unfold,
He made the Mayor to tremble, and robbed him of his gold;
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension there,
And with his horse and saddle to the mountains did repair.

Then Brennan being an outlaw upon the mountain high,
Where cavalry and infantry to take him they did try,
He laughed at them with scorn, until at length, it's said,
By a false-hearted young man he was basely betrayed.

In the County Tipperary, in a place they call Clonmore,
Willie Brennan and his comrade that day did suffer sore;
He lay among the ferns which were thick upon the field,
And nine bullet wounds he had received before that he did yield.

Then Brennan and his companion knowing they were betrayed,
He with the mounted cavalry a noble battle made;
He lost his foremost finger, which was shot off by a ball;
So Brennan and his comrade they were taken after all.

So they were taken prisoners, in irons they were bound,
And conveyed to Clonmel jail, strong walls did them surround;
They were tried and both found guilty and the judge made this reply,
"For robbing on the King's highway you're both condemned to die."

Farewell unto my wife, and to my children three,
Likewise my agèd father, may he shed no tears for me,
And to my loving mother, who tore her locks and cried,
Saying, "I wish now Willie Brennan, in your cradle you had died."

They hanged Brennan at the crossroads, in chains he hung and dried,
But still they say that, in the night, some do see him ride
They see him with his blunderbuss, all in the midnight chill
All, along the King's highway rides Willie Brennan still!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Study War No More

A.K.A. Down by the Riverside
Traditional (Black Spiritual)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Peace, p.163
E - - - / B7 - E - ://: A - / E - / B7 - E - ://
Or as in the video:
G - - - / D (D7 if you like) - G - ://: C - / G - / D D7 G - ://

An old and good song. The verses are the slightest bit restrained in a tantalizing way that makes the first bars of the chorus particularly joyful and invigorating, I think. Always better when sung in a group, of course.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The World Turned Upside Down (The Diggers' Song)

By Leon Rosselson
Rise Up Singing chapter: Rich & Poor, p.187
C - Dm - / F - C - / - - Dm - F CG C -

I play the song in a simple 3-chord pattern (1, 4, 5), no minor chords at all. I've played it the Rise Up Singing way too, though, and I can vouch for it. It sounds good.

Here's my way:
1 - 5 - / 4 - 1 - / - - 5 - / 4 5 1 -
or, in letter terms:
E - B - / A - E - / - - B - / A B E -

It's based on historical facts and it's a cool story, but the lyrics themselves, augmented by a quick internet search, can explain it all better than I could for you.

In 1649, to Saint George's Hill
A ragged band they called the diggers came to show the people's will
They defied the landlords, they defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs

The full lyrics are a few different places on the internet, so, as with most songs I do on this V-log, I don't think it's necessary for me to type them all out for you. Forgive me my lassitude on that front.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ten Little Frogs

By L.B. Scott and Virginia Pavelko
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.177
C F / C G / C F / CG C

Also known as Five Green and Speckled Frogs (by me)
or possibly Ten Green and Speckled Frogs

It's a fun song. An good song. Maybe one of my favourites, although a songbook like Rise Up Singing will make one realise that one has more "favourites" than one had previously realised. So let's just say I like it a lot.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Great Storm Is Over

By Bob Franke
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hope, p.116
Verse: D - G D / GA D G D / - - G A / GA Bm G A
Chorus: D - A Bm / D G A - :// (in D)

I have to admit, I'm not really sure what this song is about. I guess that's why it's in the chapter Hope. A lot of hopeful imagery, but no specific subject matter.

Update: A helpful commenter (on youTube) posted this a few months ago:
"basically the song is about the end times. A lot of the imagery is from either the Book of Isaiah or the Book of Revelation. I hadn't gotten the symbolism about the mother in the song representing the Church, though. Neat!"


The thunder and lightning gave voice to the night
The little lame child cried alound in her fright
(alt: "The little small child cried alound in her fright" but that's redundant.)
Hush little baby, a story I'll tell
Of a love that has vanquished the powers of hell

Alleluia, the great storm is over
Lift up your wings and fly

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Johnny I Hardly Knew You

Traditional (Irish)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Peace, p.161
Same tune as: "The Ants Go Marching" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
Em - D - / Em - G B7 / Em D C B7 / EmA CD EmC Em
I play:
" / " / " / " / EmA CD EmD Em

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lord Franklin / Lady Franklin's Lament

Rise Up Singing chapter: Seas & Sailors, p.203
D - Bm - / Em - A - / D - G D - / - A - G D -

In the first verse, third line I play this: / D - G D - G D - /

But you'll figure it out. The website I mention with another, perhaps more traditional, recording of this song, is here:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mary Had A Baby (Christmas)

Rise Up Singing chapter: Spirituals, p.210
E - A E / - - A B7 / 1st / E - B7 E
or in the key of G:
G - C G / - - C D7 / 1st / G - D7 G

Mary had a baby (O, Lord!)
Mary had a baby (O, my Lord!)
Mary had a baby (O, Lord!)
The people keep a-coming but the train done gone

What did she name him? She called the baby Jesus. Where was he born? Born in a stable. Where did they lay him? They laid him in a manger. A star shined (shone) above him, shepherds knelt before him, wise men brought him presents. Herod tried to find him, so they fled away to Egypt and an angel flew above them.
The End.
Merry Christmas!

Up On The Roof

(Song starts at 1:05)
By Gerry Goffin and Carole King
Originally performed by The Drifters
Rise Up Singing chapter: City, p.22
C Am / F - C - :// F - - - / C Am Dm G

I like to add a little fifth on the second line, to make this:
C Am / F G C - :// F - - - / C Am Dm G

And I sing it in G, which makes for this:

G Em / C D G - :// C - - - / G Em Am D

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are too much for me to take
I climb right up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof's the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so

Sunday, December 7, 2008

If I Had A Hammer

By Lee Hays and Pete Seeger
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.215
C Em F G (2x) / C - D - G - - -
C - F G Am - F G / F C F C F C G - C - - -

This song was done today by request from SirCoughsalot on YouTube.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Threefer! Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Today's a three-video day which I've split into different posts. Scroll down for the others.

Traditional (Spiritual)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Freedom, p.62
C - F C / Em Dm CG C

or skip the Em:
C - F C / - Dm CG C

It's December 6th, and that means it's been a full month that I've been recording songs from Rise Up Singing. So, about 30 down, less than 1170 to go! I like a challenge from time time to time. Not all the time. Some days I like to stay in bed

Threefer! Angels From Montgomery

Today's a threefer, but I've split it into separate posts.

By John Prine
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.99
Verse: G C G C / G C D G ://
Chorus: G F C G / / / G C D G

I like John Denver's version a lot. The Yale acappella group "Tangled Up in Blue" is the one I heard performing this.

By the way, FYI:
A capella (Latin spelling)
A cappella (Italian spelling)
Acappella (rock & roll spelling)

If you can lay your hands of the album "Cigars, Acappella, Candy" by all means snap it up. It's a gem, made by the Belmonts after Dion ditched them. And Dion made some good stuff after that split, but nothing as pure and sweet as this album by three fading rockers who loved Doo-Wop.

Threefer! When the Ship Comes In

(Skip ahead three minutes to get straight to the song.)
By Bob Dylan
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.220
(Skip ahead three minutes to get straight to the song.)
By Bob Dylan
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.220
R.U.S. chords:
C Em F C / Am F C - / 1st / C GF C -
Em - F C / Em F C - / " / C F G F C -
Video chords (off
1 - 4 1 / 6m 4 1 - / 1 - 4 1 / 1 5 1 -
3m - 4 1 / 3m 4 1 - / 3m - 4 1 / 1 4 5 - - - 1 - - -

Play around with those chords and sound better to your ear. It's a forgiving tune for accompaniment - you have a lot of options. Usually I play a mix of the two, using the Liam Clancy chords but adding a 3m (minor third) in as the second chord like Rise Up Singing does.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What's That I Hear?

By Phil Ochs
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.220
(in G)
CEm AD / GC D ://
G D / G F / G D / C Em D / /

What's that I hear now, ringing in my ears?
What's that I see now, shining in my eyes?
What's that I feel now, beating in my heart?

I've heard/seen/felt that sound/light/beat before

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Ain't Going Nowhere

By Bob Dylan
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home & Family, p.114
G Am / C G ://

Back in high school, maybe grade 9, the second Bob Dylan album I ever bought was a cassette tape of Greatest Hits, vol. 2. It had this song on it. I listened to that tape a lot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Darlin' Corey

Rise Up Singing chapter: Mountain Voices, p.145
A - - - - - / - D7 A - / - - G - - - / A D7 A -

Wake up, wake up, darlin' Corey!
What makes you sleep so sound?
The revenue officers are comin'
Gonna tear your still-house down

A.K.A. Darling Corey

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bottle of Wine

Words and music by Tom Paxton
Rise Up Singing chapter: City, p.16
Chorus: D - - - / - - A D ://
Verse: D A G D / D A D - ://

Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine
When you gonna let me get sober?
Leave me alone, let me go home
Let me go back and start over

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nova Scotia Farewell

Rise Up Singing chapter: Seas & Sailors, p.204
G - - - / Em - - - / G D - - / Em C Bm Em

I play it just as above. This song kicks, even though I feel like the lyrics to the verses kick just a little less hard than the hard-rocking chorus. "Drear-i", I really like saying that.

A.K.A. Farewell to Nova Scotia

Bonus: Aikendrum (The Scottish One)

Ye Jacobites By Name - Robert Burns (starts at 1:50)
Aikendrum - James Hogg (starts at 4:37)
Em - G D / Em G Em - / G - D - /
Em - G D / Em G Em -

Some links:
Lyrics and to the song here
Footnote (from
"Another song from James Hogg, The Ettrick Shepherd, to celebrate his birthday on 9th December 1770. He used to claim that he shared the same birth-date as our National Bard, Robert Burns! The term Whig was used as a disparaging term for the Covenanters who fought in support of the cause of Presbyterianism in Scotland and against the succession of James VII, King of Scots, The term was later used to describe those who opposed the Jacobites and in the fullness of time, a political party: the Liberals."


From a much-altered Scottish folk song, apparently.
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.166
D G D A7 / D G DA7 D

This appeared in my childhood on yet another Raffi album. But in quickly looking up its origins according to the internet, I found what must be the lyrics to the Scottish song in question, attributed not to a figure lost in the mists of time, as Rise Up Singing suggests, but to James Hogg (1770-1835). On the other hand, I think it likely that, like everyone else those days, he just grabbed an existing tune and maybe even just altered existing lyrics to come up with his politicised version, which may be why Rise Up Singing lists no author.

Links to those lyrics are here:
and here:

The second page names the tune as being the same as "Ye Jacobites By Name", a tune I happen to know, so without being absolutely sure whether the two go together, I think I may just record a mix & match version and see if it works. Check back tomorrow for that

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Going to the Zoo

A.K.A. Mama's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow
Words and music by Tom Paxton
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.169

Verse: D - / A D ://
Chorus: G - / D - / A - / DG D

A kids' song today. Another one I know from Raffi.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Rising of the Moon

Traditional (Irish)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Struggle, p.218
C - G - / F C F C :// 3x

I know it from the Clancy Brothers' album Irish Songs of Rebellion.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

May There Always Be Sunshine

(Song begins at 0:58)
Words (Russian) by Lev Oshanin
English translation by Thomas Botting
Music by Arkadi Ostrovsky
Rise Up Singing chapter: Peace, p.161
D - / - Em / - A / - D

Short & simple today. The travelling* folk singer I mention in the video also showed us sign language signs to the lyrics, which I have NOT forgotten, although I clearly forgot to show them to you in the video. E-mail me if you want to know them. I don't, however, know which sign language they were from.

My remembered pronunciation is wrong, it turns out. The first line is: "Пусть всегда будет солнце" which transliterates roughly as "poost vegda", not "poost voogda". So switch that up mentally or you'll remember it wrong (wrongly?) like I did.

There are several wonderful Russian renditions on YouTube. Here are four of them:
Tri (This one has unrelated English lyrics to the same tune. Worth a listen)

*I've been told before that travelling takes only one 'l', but I just looked it up, suckers, and it turns out my inclination to use two is perfectly acceptable. Just a touch British, that's all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twofer! God Bless the Grass and The Lakes of Ponchetrain

Today is another twofer (a term I learned off the cover of a Doc Watson CD). God Bless the Grass, followed by The Lakes of Ponchetrain (Pontchartrain) by our first guest performer! Check it out below.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds
Rise Up Singing chapter: Ecology, p.35
Am - AmE Am / E - AmE Am
C Am C Am / F Am CD E / Am E Am -

Now video two: guest performer! Sal from Vermont sent this in for me to share with you. I wish I'd made the audio better, but it was in a .ogg file, which I couldn't really figure out what to do with. I'll come back and retrofit this movie when I do, though.

Rise Up Singing chapter: Ballads & Old Songs, p.12
G D C G Em C G - / - - Em D G - C - / / 1st

Sal and I were both introduced to this song by The Be Good Tanyas, from Vancouver, who have, as I mention in the video, a pretty special sound.

P.S. Ponchetrain/Pontchartrain, whatev.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Cat Came Back

Original words and music by Harry S. Miller (some of these verses are later additions)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Funny Songs, p.70
Em D C B7 / / / /

I don't feel terribly comfortable recording when there's someone nearby, and today there was someone nearby. Still, the show must go on.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twofer! Everyday and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Words and music by Ewan MacColl
Rise Up singing chapter: Love, p.123
D A D - / - - F#m G / D Em D - / C - D - / /

Now you'll see if you watch the video that I don't hit all the chords exactly on the beat represented above. But it's no big deal. I think it sounds good the way I do it, and it sounds good if you adhere strictly to the pattern above too. I just come in a little early on some of the chords, I think.

Also, I shouldn't have had the gall to have an opinion on the number of Ewan MacColl's marriages. Clearly it's none of my business.

Words and music by Norman Petty and Charles Hardin
Rise Up Singing chapter: Love, p.123
D - G A / / D - G A (x2)
G - - - / C - - - / F - - - / Bb - A -

Go listen to Buddy Holly and the Crickets' version. I consider it to be definitive. As for the president, I was thinking of Warren G. Harding, and also John Wesley Harding the outlaw, who's name is "Wes Hardin" in Johnny Cash's "Hardin Wouldn't Run". Good song, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Be Kind To Your Parents

Words and music by Harold Rome
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home & Family, p.107

D - A7 - / - - - D / 1st / A7 - D -
G - D - / A E A EmA / D - A7 -
A7 - D - / G - Gm A7 D -

This is low for a lot of people to sing in, so Rise Up Singing recommends that you use a capo to raise the key. I agree. Or you could transpose. I did it in G:

G - D7 - / - - - G / 1st / D7 - G -
C - G - / D A D AmD / G - D7 -
D7 - G - / C - Cm D7 G -

I know this song from Eric Nagler, who is an awesome kids' singer in Canada. He's doing more adult music/storytelling performances these days and relationship counseling, which is what he was trained in before becoming a performer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

House of the Rising Sun

- coll, adap & arr with new words and music by John A. Lomax, Alan Lomax & Georgia Turner
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.101

I don't use the first chord pattern provided, I prefer the alternate one:
Am C D F / Am C E - / 1st / Am E Am E

And that's all there is to it. I didn't talk much in this video because I wasn't alone in the apartment, which makes me uncomfortble about talking to the camera. This is the last Hard Times & Blues song I'll do for a while, since other chapters need some loving too. Maybe a round. Maybe a family song. Sal, a good friend of mine in Vermont, recorded a Rise Up Singing song and sent it to me and I'm going to ask for her permission to post it on here this week too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Words and music by Hank Williams
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.102

R.U.S. chords:
C ↓ C C7 / F C CG C

Those work fine, but I prefer to play it this way. Don't get confused, it's very similar to the R.U.S. chord pattern, it's just been transposed into the key of G:

G ↓D G G7 / C G GD G

Or you could do the same thing but stop at C and walk down to the final G:

G ↓D G G7 / C G GD C↓G

Normally I'd throw that in only on the very last verse, even though I lay it on a bit thick here.
This is my 4th Hard Times and Blues song in a row and my 5th
overall, so soon it's going to be time to move on to fresher pastures. You may or may not see one final H.T&B song from me tomorrow before we switch gears, it'll all depend on what side of the bed I get up on.

Last note: please leave comments if you have anything to say. Bad comments are better than nothing at all, especially if you're a stranger. My ego isn't quite that fragile.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hard Times Come Again No More

Words and music by Stephen C. Foster
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.101
Verse: D - A DG / D DA D - ://
Chorus: D - G D / - - DE A /

I play the chorus a little differently:
D - G D / - - DE A / the first time round, but then
D - G DG / D DA D - / to finish (I'm not clear on why Rise Up Singing has the chorus ending on an A. It sounds wrong to me.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Long Black Veil

Words and music by Marijohn Wilkin & Danny Dill
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.102
D - - - / A - G D ://
G D G D - / / D - G D / G A D -

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Shall Be Released

Words and music by Bob Dylan
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times & Blues, p.102
C - Dm - / Em FG C F ://

I play it like this (with bar chords)
E - F#m - / G#m AB E - ://

Monday, November 17, 2008

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)

Words by Woody Guthrie
Music by Martin Hoffman
Rise Up Singing chapter: Farm & Prairie, p.50
D - G D / / G - D - / - - G D

Here's an article from 1948 about the plane crash that inspired Guthrie's poem (later set to music by Martin Hoffman).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old Time Religion

Rise Up Singing chapter: Spirituals, p.211
G - / D7 G / - C / GD7 G

Here's today's offering, but truth be told, it's not my best effort. I'd check out yesterday's or the day before's if you haven't seen them yet. On the other hand, today's is still better than a kick in the pants. "And that's good enough for me."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No More Auction Block

aka: Many Thousand Gone
Traditional (Spiritual)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Freedom, p.62
D G D -     - - A - / D G D Bm     Em A D -

or, if you like Roman numerals:

I IV I -     - - V - / I IV vi     ii V I - (lower case means minor)

Friday, November 14, 2008

New River Train

(This is a pretty good one)
Traditional (US - last 3 v. Raffi)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.89
D - / - A / D G / A7 D

I put and extra D in the last line, like this: DA7 D (you'll see in the video)

I know this song off of Canadian children's (and adult's) singer Raffi's album More Singable Songs. It's maybe the most rocking song on that album.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worried Man Blues

Traditional (US)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times and Blues, p.105
G - - - / C - - G / - - - - / D - - G

I don't sing all the verses that Rise Up Singing has. Here are the three I leave out.

The train came to the station, 21 coaches long (3x)
The one I love is on that train and gone.

I looked down the track as far as I could see
A little bitty hand was waving after me

If anyone should ask you who made up this song
Tell 'em 'twas I & I sing it all day long

I'm trying to learn the tunes to all the songs in Rise Up Singing from friends, or off recordings I find. If you want to have all the tunes in one place though, one of the editors of Rise Up Singing made teaching CDs, 20 in all, and sells them here for 12$ each:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

R.U.S. Bonus: Follow Me

This bonus song isn't from Rise Up Singing, but I've written down the lyrics in my copy of Rise Up Singing because that's how much I like it.

Words by Dennis Lee
Music by Philip Balsam
Performed on Fraggle Rock by Gobo and Uncle Travelin' Matt


Every day the world begins again
Sunny skies or rain
Come and follow me
C - F / C F / C G -

Every sunrise shows me more and more
So much to explore
Come and follow me

Every morning, every day
Every evening, calling me away
F C F C / F C Am G

While the sun goes 'round I'll still be found
Following the sound
Something's calling me

When the world goes drifting back to bed
Memories in my head
Wonders follow me

Chorus 2X

There but for Fortune

Words and music by Phil Ochs
Rise Up Singing chapter: Rich and Poor, p.186

Rise Up Singing has:
C Fm C Fm / C Am Dm G
C Am F Dm / Em C Dm G     C (Fm C -)

I use:
C Fm C Fm / C Am D(major!) G
C Am Dm G / C Am D(major!) G     C (Fm C -)

I've tried both, they both sound good. I feel like Phil Ochs does this pretty rocking, and I try to rock it when I do it too, because otherwise it just sounds soooo mouuuurnful.

I wrote to Annie Patterson (co-editor of Rise Up Singing) 3 days ago now to ask her if it was ok that I do this, posting chords and all, and she hasn't written back yet, so for now I assume everything's ok. And here's her daily plug:
If you want a serious learning resource, you can buy the complete Rise Up Singing teaching CDs at Annie's website: . So go check it out. Then, once you know all the songs, come back here to YouTube and help me learn them by posting your versions!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Land is a Good Land

There'll be a new president in the United States soon, and even though I'm from Quebec and live in Thailand, that's meaningful to me. So here's a patriotic song. I'm pretty sure it's about the US, even though it doesn't name names, but I like that in the lyrics "my homeland" is nameless. It could be Canada, and if I don't feel comfortable with that, it could be just Quebec, or Thailand, or anywhere. That's an "I love China" T-shirt I'm wearing, by the way, and I really do. Love China.

(Can't see the movie? Click here. )

Words and music by Eric Andersen
Rise Up Singing chapter: America, p.3
F G C Am (2x)/ F G C Am / / F G C -
You'll notice that when I play the song I prefer leaving out some A minors, so it's more like this:
F G C - (2x)/ F G C Am / / F G C -
Also I say "rainbow blades" not "rainbow waves". I think that's what Pete Seeger says, although I my have just imagined it. Either way, I like the word contrast in "rainbow blades" more, so that's what I always go with.

This is day 5 and song 5 for me.
I'm trying to learn and record all 1200 songs in the Rise Up Singing songbook. If you're interested, you should help out and make your own video.
If you just want to know the songs a.s.a.p. though, Annie Patterson (co-editor Rise Up Singing) recorded and sells CDs of these songs here at . So go check it out. You can buy the set, or individual CDs at 12$ each.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pretty Saro

Arr. and adap Jean Ritchie
Rise Up Singing chapter: Mountain Voices, p.149
D Em D A ////
I like to switch the second D for a G:
D Em G A ////
On the video I play it in the key of G, so:
G Am C D ////
It all works.

This is song 4 for me. I'm trying to learn and record all 1200 songs in the Rise Up Singing songbook.
If you're interested, Annie Patterson (co-editor Rise Up Singing) recorded and sells CDs of these songs here at . So go check it out. You can buy the set, or individual CDs at 12$ each. I'm going to keep trying to do it song by song though, free and easy (and slowww).

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Words and music by Bill Staines
Rise Up Singing chapter: Time & Changes, p.226
D - G D / - - A - / D - G D / - A D - ://
D Dmaj G A / / G - A D / G D G D / G A - G - D

My version (in G)
Verse: same as above, transposed to G
G - C D / / C - G - / C G Am Em / C D C↓ G

As you can see, there's a little difference between my version and the book's, but not too much. You can play the song with the same melody either way, so it's just a difference of taste. That, and Rise Up Singing seems to draw out the last line of the chorus more than I do. No big deal. Still, if someone else knows the song more precisely the way Bill Staines does it, please post it up too for comparison.

This is the third song I've recorded from the Rise Up Singing songbook, with the end goal of recording all of them. I'm most interested in the ones that aren't widely known these days, and the problem there is that in most of those cases, I don't know them either. So I'm simultaneously trying hard to dig up recordings, and learn the songs as quickly as I can.

For those who have a little bit of cash and want to bypass this process, Annie Patterson, who co-edited Rise Up Singing, sells her own lovingly-made CDs of these songs here at . I hope if I direct you to her site, she won't feel like I'm trying to undercut her business, which, in all honesty, I wouldn't ever want to do. There you can also find out how you can help get Pete Seeger nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. So check it out. I'm still going on with the project, though. I have a high enough chance of failure and a low enough quality index that I don't think there's much danger of me cutting in on Annie's turf.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hobo's Lullaby

Words and Music by Goebel Reeves
Rise Up Singing chapter: Lullabies, p.133
D G / A D ://
or, as played in the video:
G C / D G ://

This is the second episode in my project of recording all of the songs in the Rise Up Singing songbook, which was conceived, developed and edited by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, illustrated by Kore Loy McWhirter, and given a lovely introduction by Pete Seeger.
I have a well-cherished copy bought by my mother, and I'm a big fan, even though I occasionally find myself frustrated when the chords they give for a song I know don't seem to fit the way I expect them to. I can't really complain. I just switch them up and play them like I feel like. And so should you.

Also, if you know any songs in Rise Up Singing, you should record them yourself and put them on YouTube! It doesn't matter if you can't play an instrument. Rise Up Singing has the chords and lyrics, all you need to do is hum the tune. Or whistle, or anything. The more versions of good folk songs we get on up on the Internet, the richer the slice of musical culture we spread. Otherwise hard-to-find albums from a few decades ago are still not that hard to order online, but that might not be the case 20 years from now, and these songs shouldn't stop getting sung because no one wants to pay to publish them anymore.

ALTHOUGH....... here's an update:
I just found out that Annie Patterson, who co-edited Rise Up Singing, sells her own lovingly made CDs of these songs here at . I hope if I direct you to her site, she won't feel like I'm trying to undercut her business.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Because All Men Are Brothers

Because All Men Are Brothers
Words by Tom Glazer
Melody by J.S. Bach ("Passion Chorale")
Rise Up Singing chapter: Unity, p.238

F Dm G C    Am E Am - /   /
F G F C    F Dm A - / G Am D G    F G C -

This is the first video in my project to learn and record all the songs in the "Rise Up Singing" songbook, so that everyone can learn the tunes and teach the songs. Priority will be given to hard-to-find songs over still popular songs, although exceptions will be made for songs I just happen to like best. I'm not sure if there's trouble with copyright law ahead. Let's hope not.

I just found out that Annie Patterson, who co-edited Rise Up Singing, recorded and sells CDs of these songs here at . So go check it out. You can buy the set, or individual CDs at 12$ each. I'm going to keep trying to do it song by song though, so stay tuned.

Quick addendum: I mention that some of the songs are not on any albums, but now that I think about it, that's probably not true of any of the songs on Rise Up Singing. The ones that are hard to find are mostly just hard to find because the albums they're on are rare these days. And they're all on Annie Patterson's teaching CDs too.