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And again if the weather be there I'll call my hair again. Washington State University presents a wandering ballad singer Barry Tobin with songs that vividly describe the history and folklore of a pioneering country. In the early 1900s a large group of religious pioneers began moving westward. Some drove wagons and some walked the destination was the same the desolate valleys of Utah where they could practice their religion without the interference of the unsympathetic government and the UN sympathetic Midwesterners isolated in Utah the Mormons built up a folklore which was partly brought with them but mostly tailored to suit the problems of settling Zion the chosen land. Their leader Brigham Young was admired by friend and foe alike although not always for the same reasons.
This song which I learned from a Mormon friend tells the outsider's viewpoint on this controversy. Brigham Young is a Mormon and the leader of the roaring Rams and the shepherd of a heap of pretty little sheep and I suppose pretty little lamb. And he lives with five and forty wives in the city of the great salt lake where they would like pretty dogs do and cackle like ducks to a drink. Brigham Brigham Young. It's a miracle he served with this roaring rams his pretty little lambs and his five and number forty five is about 16. Number one is 63 and among such a riot however keeps him quiet is a downright mystery to me. For they clatter and they claw and they jaw jaw jaw. Each one has a different desire. It would aid in of the finest shop in town to supply them with half they require.
Brigham Young. It's a miracle he said with his roaring rams his pretty little lambs in his mind. Brigham Young was a stout man once but now he's bent and I love the state there's no hair on his pate which once wore a covering for his youngest wife won't have white Will and his old one won't take. So in straightening it out they've taken turnabout and they've from his head Brigham Young. It's a miracle he survived with his roaring his pretty little miss his boys they sing all day is girls they all sing songs. I don't mung has it pretty loud for there's music with a Chinese gong and when they advance for a Mormon dance is filled with the greatest surprise for they surely end the night with a Tabernacles bite and scratch one another's eyes.
It's a miracle he survives with his roaring and his pretty little lambs in his fight. There never was a house like Brigham Young's so curious and so queer for his wives. He has a lot of trouble and it gains on him year by year he says. And he bears his fate in a sanctified sort of way but has one life to bury and One Life to marry and a new kid born every day. It's a miracle he says with his pretty little lambs and his fireman. Now if anybody in Brigham Young let him go to the Great Salt Lake and if he has the leisure to examine his pleasure he'll find it's a great mistake. One at a time so says my rhyme is enough for the proudest. So before you have to live lord of forty five live.
Because people wouldn't sell them wagons or because they couldn't afford to buy. Many Mormons walk to Utah pushing little hand carts containing their family's belongings some old folks still alive in Utah I remember running barefoot alongside these carts and helping to push them up the hill. They sang songs like this one. U.S. shores. So it was for many a more native land for sure God's judgments already foresaw must push and must as we march on our way until. When you get there among the rest and you will be blessed and in God's temple be shot in and strive to cleanse the world from sin.
For Bush. And as we march on our way. As you might expect the fewer non-Mormons in early Utah made up plenty of songs about their Mormon friends. One of them uses the tune of the handcart song and it gets pretty sarcastic about the Saints. Oh dear I'm sad I've got the blues. I have lately heard some dreadful news. I really love about the Mormons. Then there are the querist sad in this world who are mad there live in us they called and are in the midst of and is their king.
To him their ties and offerings bring and country is in everything in the midst of a Mormon. There are the queerest sat in this world were men live in a state called Israel in the midst of. These Mormons marry many wives and they're very young then strives to raise the biggest crowd of boys to thrash though a good Gentile. Indeed there are other questions that are in this world who are mad they're living in a state called news or in the midst of. An agree to Brigham BD and BE And when the Avenging Angels rise and the
Gentiles all will run and hide. They are the querist that in this world who are mad they live in a state called disarray in the midst of the game. Everyone coming to you brought along his favorite songs and this one comes from every state in the union. We just throw in the name of the people or state you don't like. Even the Mormons sang this one which poked fun at the large number of babies in Utah. Girls don't you do your fortune it'll be Johnny. The more money is more money.
Don't marry your fortune it'll be. An eight hundred fifty seven you da began to have lots of troubles with the outside world. In the midst of a dramatic church Reformation Utah found itself about to be attacked by the United States Army. Several members of the church had been murdered in various places all over the country. So the Mormons called back their settlements from the outlying districts closed the territory to emigrants and prepared for war. The song was made up by the men of General Daniel Wells who had been assigned the task of holding Echo Canyon against all comers. When Uncle Sam he first sent out his army to destroy us says he the Mormons we will rob they shall no longer annoy us. The force he sent was competent to try and hang for treason. That is I mean it would have been. But don't you know the reason. There's a great commotion in the east about the Mormon
question. The problem is to say the least. Too much for their digestion. As they were go in the Platte singing many lusty did he say and we will do this and we will do that when we get to Salt Lake City. And sure enough when they got there they made the Mormons nervous or that is I mean they would have done but oh they didn't get there. There's a great commotion in the east about the Mormon question. The problem is to say the least too much further just you know. When they got within 200 miles the old boys they were saying it'll be a little while till the Mormons we are slaying will hang each man who has to live with plenty of rope. And that is I mean they would have had but Smith burned it on sand. There's a great commotion in the east about the Mormon question. The problem is to say the
least too much by their digestion. Then they returned with awful tales said the Mormons beat the devil. They ride up the hill and over a rock says past is on the level and if per chance you should one down and surely think the first you know he's on his horse then pushing on ahead sir. There is a great commotion in the east. The Mormon question. The problem is to say the least too much for their digestion. Take my advice you'd better stay at home. You need your money and your rights at home but a chance you need some help. The Mormons will be kinds or help you once and will again. That is if they have a mind. There is a great many in the Mormon question. The problem is to say the least of
their digestion. Into the midst of this explosive atmosphere came a wagon train of emigrants from Missouri and Arkansas the Missourians were mule skinners and they delighted in showing off what they called the gun killed old Joe Smith. By the time the train reached southern Utah feelings had been so aroused that the Mormon militia under the command of John Daly arranged to save the emigrants from an Indian in order to it ambushed them at close range. 120 people were killed some by Indians but most by point blank fire of the militia. The eighteen youngest children were saved and brought up in Mormon homes some of them later testified at the trial of John the least and twenty years later Lee who was an adopted son of Brigham Young was excommunicated from the church and was executed by the army an eight hundred seventy seven on the spot of the massacre. Most of us Sons of Freedom and this song Give ear about a bloody massacre very very soon we'll hear across his eye and mouth some 30 wagons came
surrounded by an Angel Band and Utah bears the blame was on the mountain meadows and this wagon train was being. Served by that would get band on the meadow green the Avenging Angels caught them as they got underway them and corral the wagon train and body and. Then leave the angels later is a word to them did give that and they give up all their guns he sure let them live their guns they gave to Angel lead toward Seder they did go they were then dragged in engine style and blood did flow. They melted down with one accord like wax before a flame. Men and women young and old and you ta bears the blame by order of old Brigham Young this deed was done you see. And the captain of
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The wandering ballad singer
Mormon songs
Producing Organization
Washington State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program takes a look at some of the folk music created by and for the Mormon community.
Series Description
Folk music series hosted by musician Barre Toelken, who collects folk songs and has worked as a dance band musician, a Forest Service employee, and prospector.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Host: Toelken, Barre, 1935-
Producing Organization: Washington State University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-33-16 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:34
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Chicago: “The wandering ballad singer; Mormon songs,” 1960-09-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 4, 2023,
MLA: “The wandering ballad singer; Mormon songs.” 1960-09-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 4, 2023. <>.
APA: The wandering ballad singer; Mormon songs. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from