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With. Welcome to bluegrass and program of time American music. In earlier times when a high school mark a considerable area addition and literacy figures for the American public weren't quite what they are today. Songs often conveyed more
information than newspapers newspapers were published in the big cities and most of the population was rural. Songs of current interest probably supplied many segments of the public with their main source of knowledge about happenings in remote places. Today we're going to listen to three songs about current events at the turn of the century. The songs tell the stories of the great Baltimore Fire the destruction of the battleship Maine and the assassination of President McKinley. About 10 o'clock on a quiet Sunday morning in February 19 0 4 a fire broke out in a dry goods warehouse owned by the Johnnie Hearst company in Baltimore. A strong southwest wind fed the flames so that even the entire city force of twenty four fire engines could not control the conflagration. Thousands of onlookers were on hand that afternoon as the firemen gave up pouring water on buildings and started dynamiting buildings in an attempt to stop the spread of the fire. The fire continued throughout the entire afternoon and by nightfall enveloped many of the city's new skyscrapers. The blaze was even visible as far away as
Washington D.C. even with the help of fire departments from Washington Wilmington and Philadelphia. The blaze did not stop until Monday. In 40 hours the fire burned over one hundred forty acres of commercial land including 300 rather. Thirteen hundred and forty three buildings. Twenty five hundred firms were put out of business. As word of the calamity spread around the country by means such as the song we're about to hear a relief fund of $200000 was raised by public subscription. Remarkably enough the proud people of Baltimore chose not to accept the money and instead returned it to its donors untouched. The version of the Baltimore Fire song by Tom Paley with a new loss of the Ramblers sounds much like the newspaper accounts of the day must of read. There are phrases such as strong men in anguish prayed calling aloud to heaven for aid which smack of the emotionalism on the yellow journalism of the times.
It's a. Great World Book Pvt. Oh man who is playing. I'm in an awful struggle. Both love me. And struggle with. Other members moaning
and being. Hurt. Over a bridge over old gold teeth or claim to be a bookie. Can. Recreate their. Feet.
There is nothing like the law of the land. When William McKinley the twenty fifth president of the United States was assassinated in 1900. The word spread fast. The next song entitled The White House Blues was written about the sad event shortly after it occurred. Earl Taylor in the stony Mountain Boys used the song to show off their considerable talents on a fast paced and slightly in comprehensible rendition. Mr. Taylor's accent is not the most intelligible I've heard but I think you'll be able to hear the last stanza quite clearly its words are Roosevelt in the White House doing his best to McKinley's in the graveyard taking a rest. I think they words reflect a somewhat cynical attitude toward politicians on the part of the songwriter Mr. Taylor himself introduces the selection.
Here's one I got picked out here for a day I will be going to enjoy I just don't want to go to White House Blues. It was a man again. Oh man down. Down. Down. Hard to get mad at you ya gonna take me back and. Force you to.
Accept me and I'm in a panic they can't object to man and man. The Spanish-American War which resulted in the beginnings of American influence in foreign affairs was touched off by one specific event in 1898 the battleship Maine steamed
into Havana Harbor shortly thereafter there came a great explosion which sent the ship to the bottom. A wave of jingoistic sentiment swept over the country typified by the slogan To hell with Spain Remember the Maine. According to the song we're about to hear McKinley's call for volunteers was quite successful. Once the American troops reached Cuba the story was a little bit different. As the song says why are you running Are you afraid to die. The reason I'm running is because I cannot fly. All the blood it was a runnin and I was running to get my feet some exercise had nothing else to do. The instruments the new boss the Ramblers used in this recording of the battleship Maine are a fiddle guitar and banjo. The booming noise you hear at the beginning is Tom Paley's big foot. Look.
At her own. Patients. Are you awake. Can. I get. A. Break. Thank you. Oh yeah. I am one.
Of the worst things you can and the weak one the only one with a wheat wheat one moment. Oh and one or more a week or what.
Plan to get. The battleship Maine performed by the new boss of the Ramblers an interesting sidelight to the story of the sinking of the Maine is that there were reports several years ago that divers had finally determined that the armor plating on the ship was bent outward by the force of the explosion which therefore must have come from inside the ship. The implication is that perhaps the Spaniards hadn't committed the dastardly deed after all. On today's program we've listened to old time American songs of historical interest. On our next program we'll hear a number of songs illustrating how Boy meets girl and old time music.
Bluegrass and mountains
Old time music of historical interest
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on songs that tell stories of historical interest from the turn of the 20th century.
Other Description
Recordings of and talk about a wide variety of old time American music.
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Host: Fidell, S. A. (Sanford A.)
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-36-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:25
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Chicago: “Bluegrass and mountains; Old time music of historical interest,” 1966-10-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 13, 2022,
MLA: “Bluegrass and mountains; Old time music of historical interest.” 1966-10-03. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 13, 2022. <>.
APA: Bluegrass and mountains; Old time music of historical interest. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from