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02 January 2006

George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, et al

George Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)
Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, American (1816 - 1868)

from "At the Circus" starring the Marx Brothers
sung by Groucho
with chorus of Circus Folks, in a swaying train car at night

In properly understanding and interpreting this song, it helps a lot to know that both Groucho and Yip Harburg were obsessive devotees of the comic operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. They thought these odd songs shouldn't be extincted forever just because G&S were dead. Later, on black and white Way-Lo-Def television, Groucho was The Lord High Executioner in "The Mikado."

It was Karaoke Nite at the local sushi joint, I'd knocked back 2 or 3 sakes, and I stood up in front of 200 Asian (not Asian-American) university grad students and interpreted this song for them.

They got "She's Having My Baby," and they grok "Blue Suede Shoes." But I don't think they grokked this one too good.

Most of this transcription is from memory and frequent rehearsals nude in the shower.

Lydia the Tattooed Lady

Music: Harold Arlen
Lyrics: E.Y. (Yip) Harburg

Ah Lydia!
She was the most Glo-o-o-rious Creature
under the Sun

rolled into One

O Lydia O Lydia
Oh have you met Lydia --
Lydia the Tattooed Lady!

She has eyes that men adore so
and a torso
even moreso

Lydia O Lydia
that Encylopydia
Lydia the Queen of Tattooooooooo

on her back is The Battle of Waterloo
beside it The Wreck of the Hesperus too
and Proudly Above
waves the Red White and Blooooooooo
You can learn a lot from Lydia!

Here is Grover Whelan
the Trylon
over on the West Coast
we have Treasure Island
Here's Nijinsky a-doin the Rhhhhhhhumba
Here's her Social Security Nhhhhhhhumba

when her robe is unfurled
she will show you the world
if you stand up and tellherwhere

for a dime you can see
or Pareee
or Washington Crossing the Delaware

la dee da
la doo deeee
doop bee dooo
ooop dee whoo-eeee!

come along and see Buff'lo Bill
and his lassoo
here's a little classic by Mendel
Captain Spaulding Exploring The Amazon
here's Godiva
but with her

when her muscles start relaxin'
comes Andrew Jackson

Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopydia
Lydia The Queen Of Them All
For two bits she will do a mazurka in jazz
with a view of Niagara that nooooooooooooobody has
And on a clear day
you can see Alcatraz!
You can learn a lot from Lydia!

Lydia O Lydia
the encyclopydia
Lydia the Queen of 'em All!
She once knocked a sailor clear out of his seat
the ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat

And Now The Old Boy's
In Command Of The Fleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet

for he went and married Lydia!

I said Lydia
I said Lydia


Anonymous Jim Olson said...

Somewhere in my old hard-drive I have a sound file of me playing Lydia on the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Ohio Theater in downtown Columbus. Four manuals of the most amazing technology the 19teen's could manage, at least for something as frivolous as accompanying silent films. I'll look for it and see if we can get the Vleeptron Ministry of Culture to approve it for posting.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

betcha there are scores of MIDIs but the tune was playing so loud in my head i forgot to look for one, so yeah yeah if you got the .wav or .mp3 or whatchamacallit of you playin it on the Wurlitzer, Vleeptron will be proud to receive and disseminate it to all interested music lovers.

One of the heirs is Rudy Wurlitzer who wrote strange hippy-dippy self-referential novels back in the sixties and the screenplay to "Two-Lane Blacktop," which Esquire called the greatest screenplay of all times, published it, and then the movie was released (James Taylor, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Warren Oates) and six people saw it. Available on DVD or VHS or something. A Road Movie. I have enormous admiration for James Taylor and for Brian Wilson, but perhaps they should have stuck to their music and not strayed into artistic endeavors (acting) for which they were perhaps not very well suited. Neither of them sings in the movie, I don't think.

Of course the old ad for the organs was: "Gee Dad, it's a Wurlitzer!" They also made classic-era (1940s 1950s) juke boxes, as did Rock-o-La.

Trying to impress Amanda Plummer at a Chinese restaurant, Robin Williams sings "Lydia," not at all badly, in "The Fisher King" by Terry Gilliam. A very sweet moment.


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