Jefferson and Liberty (1)

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JEFFERSON AND LIBERTY. AKA and see "Gobby-O (The)," "Paul Revere's Ride." New England, Air and Jig. A Minor (most versions): B Minor (Hopkins). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Buarchenal): AABB (Miller & Perron, Welling). The 6/8 time vehicle given here is the air "The Gobby O," an English song whose air was used as a campaign song for Thomas Jefferson, and thence its title. However, the phrase was a powerful campaign slogan, and there are several airs to which various sets of words called "Jefferson and Liberty" have been sung, and the title appears in numerous musicians' manuscripts dating from around 1800 and later. "Jefferson and Liberty" (the 'Gobby-O' version) was first published the Aurora of January 24, 1801, anticipating Jefferson's electoral victory with the optimistic title "A Patriotic Song, for the Glorious Fourth of March, 1801." Paul F. Wells reports that the poem was written by ornithologist/painter Alexander Wilson, who originally intended it to be sung to the Scots tune "Willie was a Wanton Wag" (which sometimes appears in early 19th century American tune books as "Constitution March"). The "Gobby-O" version of "Jefferson and Liberty" also appears in Elias Howe's Musician's Companion, Part 2 (1843). The lyric begins:

The gloomy night before us flies,
The reign of Terror now is o'er;
Its Gags, Inquisitors and Spies,
Its herds of Harpies are no more!
Rejoice! Columbia's Sons, rejoice!
To tyrants never bend the knee,
But join with heart and soul and voice,
For Jefferson and Liberty.

Jefferson began his first term as president in 1801, although Wilson did not publish his song until 1804. Paul Gifford remarks that Edgerton, Michigan, hammered dulcimer player Chet Parker (1891-1975), played the tune in A minor on his dulcimer at a local gig about 1969. When Gifford asked him the name of the tune Parker replied there were two names, of which he could only remember one, "The Old Lady, She Shit in the Haymow," and said it was a song the Civil War soldiers sang:

A rippety shit and away she went
Her ass stuck out like a Canada cent
With every jump she took, she spent
The old lady, she shit in the haymow.

These lyrics have also been set to "Raw Recruit (The)". Welling's version has both 'A' and 'B' parts with 9/8 measures interposed in the regular 6/8 measures. Burchenal prints a New England contra dance of the same title with the tune.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Burchenal (American Country Dances, vol. 1), 1918; p. 29. Hopkins (Amercian Veteran Fifer), 1905; No. 20. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880's; p. 33. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 12. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p 18. Welling (Hartford Tune Book), 1976; p. 9.

Recorded sources: North Star NS0038, "The Village Green: Dance Music of Old Sturbridge Village."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]




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