Tag Archives: singing

Best Songs For Young Kids – “You’re A Grand Old Flag”

grand old flagFeeling patriotic?

Almost anyone can sing the chorus to this popular patriotic song that dates back to 1906.  But did you know it was originally written with the title – You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  Created by a popular composer of that era, George M. Cohan, this particular song was the first to sell over a million copies of sheet music as part of a musical revue called “George Washington, Jr.”.  Perhaps that makes it one of the first chart-topping hits of American history.

Here’s an animated video of the version that most folks recognize and enjoy.

But what about the original “Grand Old Flag?”  Why was the title “You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  The story is told that George M. Cohan found himself seated next to a veteran of the battle of Gettysburg from the civil war one day. The soldier had a worn and torn, but carefully folded American flag.  When Cohan asked about it, the vet replied – “Ah, she’s a grand old rag” and that became the original title of the song.   As time went on, many performers and groups objected to calling the flag a rag.  After several years, Cohan relented to popular sentiment and the song became “Grand Old Flag”.

If you look at the complete lyrics, there are some odd lines and references in the song.  It seems that the writer slipped the titles and lyrics to other patriotic or popular songs into this piece of music.  It was a clever way of sharing some of other songs that he used in his George Washington musical, such as “Yankee Doodle” or “I Wish I Were In Dixie” (Way down south in the land of cotton). And the lyrics “should auld acquaintance be forgot” is clearly from the old time classic “Auld Lang Syne”.

When this song is sung by kids or for kids, most people use the chorus only.  That’s probably because the two original verses have language that seems a bit outdated  to modern ears.  It would be hard to find anyone today that might say: “by gum!”, “I’m no cranky hanky panky” or” I’m a dead square, honest Yankee”.  Still, with all that said, the chorus of the song is a patriotic gem.  It’s easy to sing and shares powerful feelings of what it means to love and cherish your country and treasure one of it’s most honored symbols.

When I recorded a version of this song, I used old timey instruments. I played the spoons as the rhythm and had an old-fashioned jaw harp as well.  I remembered my uncles who had served in the 2nd world war using really simple instruments like this and how the song made them feel proud of their service to the USA.

Here are the most popular version of the lyrics from the chorus:

You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

——————

Daria’s Children’s song version of You’re A Grand Old Flag (complete with spoons and a jaw harp) at:

ITunes

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024XD1SY/ref=dm_dp_trk6

Amazon mp3

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024XD1SY/ref=dm_dp_trk6

Lyrics:

http://www.dariamusic.com/grandoldflag.php

Downloadable lyric sheet:

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/songs/Grand%20Old%20Flag%20Songbook.pdf

George M. Cohan was a prolific songwriter as well as a playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. You can find out more about him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M._Cohan

Complete Lyrics to You’re A Grand Old Flag

By George M. Cohan

Verse 1

There’s a feeling comes a-stealing,

And it sets my brain a-reeling,

When I’m listening to the music of a military band.

Any tune like “Yankee Doodle”

Simply sets me off my noodle,

It’s that patriotic something that no one can understand.

“Way down south in the land of cotton”

Melody untiring,

Ain’t that inspiring?

Hurrah, Hurrah, We’ll join the jubilee!

And that’s going some, for the Yankees by gum!

Red, white and blue, I am for you!

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!

Verse 2

I’m no cranky hanky panky,

I’m a dead square, honest Yankee,

And I’m mighty proud of that old flag

That flies for Uncle Sam.

Though I don’t believe in raving

Ev’ry time I see it waving,

There’s a chill runs up my back that makes me glad I’m what I am.

Here’s a land with a million soldiers,

That’s if we should need ‘em,

We’ll fight for freedom!

Hurrah! Hurrah! For every Yankee tar

And old G. A. R.

Ev’ry stripe, ev’ry star.

Red, white and blue,

Hats off to you

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!

Chorus

You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

You can hear a 1906 recording of the complete song – sung by Billy Murray here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_a_Grand_Old_Flag

Version of the entire song performed by the United States Air Force Band

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_a_Grand_Old_Flag

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Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Do your ears hang low?  Have you checked lately?

This is one of those wonderfully funny songs that draw a smile from babies, toddler, moms, dads and grandparents alike!  It’s often listed as a kids song, a folk song, a summer camp song, a scout song and also as a song that is accompanied by hand motions and all of these are true!

While it’s related in lyrics and melody to the famous fiddle tune “Turkey In The Straw”, no one really knows who wrote it and the song has certainly been handed down to so many people that a variety of different versions have survived.  You can look below for a version that I like to sing and also one that Wikipedia lists as alternate lyrics.

How do you do the hand movements?  They are really easy.  Check out the link below to see the guitar chords and hand movements explained.  Or download the free sheet music.  Or download my free mp3 of this song from that great kids song resource – Kiddiddles.

So, go ahead.  Get silly.  And let your kids see you getting silly! Challenge them to learn the hand movements – they will probably master them before you!  Just one warning here – it may not be a good idea to sing this song while you have a cold. Have you guessed why?  If not, check verse five below and get ready to catch some run-away appendages!

Hear Daria’s version on Kiddiddles here:
http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/d104.html

Do Your Ears Hang Low?
On Itunes

Do Your Ears Hang Low?
On Amazon mp3

Do Your Ears Hang Low Lyrics, Sheet Music and Misc.
Printable lyric Sheet
Free Sheet Music For Piano
Hand Motions

More Silly Songs from Daria’s website:
http://www.dariamusic.com/sillysongs.php

 

DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW?
Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow ?
Can you throw them over your shoulder?
Like a continental soldier?
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears flip flop?
Can you use them for a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip flop?

Do your ears hang high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they’re wet
Do they stiffen when they’re dry?
Can you semaphore your neighbor
With a minimum of labor?
Do your ears hang high?

Do your ears hang wide?
Do they flap from side to side?
Do they wave in the breeze
With the slightest little sneeze?
Can you soar above the nation?
With a feeling of elation?
Do your ears hang wide?

Do your ears fall off?
Does it happen when you cough?
Do they lie there on the ground?
Or bounce around at every sound?
Can you stick them in your pocket
Like a little Davey Crockett?
Do your ears fall off?

Wikipedia lists this as another set of verses:
Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ‘em in a knot?
Can you tie ‘em in a bow?
Can you throw ‘em o’er your shoulder
Like a regimental (or continental) soldier
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears stand high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they’re dry?
Can you semaphore your neighbor
With a minimum of labor?
Do your ears stand high?

Do your ears flip-flop?
Can you use them as a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip-flop?

Do your ears stick out?
Can you waggle them about?
Can you flap them up and down
As you fly around the town?
Can you shut them up for sure
When you hear an awful bore?
Do your ears stick out?

Magdalena, Hagdalena …And Her Many Aliases!

Do you recognize this very silly song?

When I recorded my first children’s music CD many moons ago, I included a hysterical little summer camp song called “Magdalena Hagdalena”.  I learned the song from my sister-in-law who had sung it during her girls scout years in the Philadelphia area.  Little did I know that as I took that song around, I would find out that good old Magdalena had a host of aliases and lots of rather odd and unusual traits.  In fact, it’s one of the songs that people talk about most, because they’ve always heard a slightly different version.  I just love that aspect of certain folksongs… everyone recognizes the song, but each one has their own twist or lyric change that makes it more personal, memorable or unique for them.

If you haven’t heard Magdalena Hagdalena, it’s a song that folklorists call a “nonesuch”.  You know… something that can’t possibly happen, like the old rhyme that starts…

“One dark night in the middle of the day
Three dead boys came out to play
Back to back
they faced each other”
(Complete rhyme below)

In this case, Magdalena was an interesting character with several hairs on her head, strange dental irregularities and two feet like bathroom mats.  In short, it’s just a silly song that makes you smile with how the sounds in the song fit together and by imagining what the impossible lyrics might really be describing.

The best part of this tongue-twisting tune is the many names that folks have Screen shot 2018-11-05 at 8.35.54 PMcreated for good old Magdalena.  In fact, there were apparently so many that one author named Tedd Arnold collected them in a wildly illustrated book he calls:
Catalina Magdalena Hoopenstiener Wellendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name.

Tedd’s book lists a host of choruses that I had heard for our likable character and some that I had never imagined including:
Madalina Catalina, Whoopastina Wilamina
Oopsy Doopsy Woopsy was her name
Aggalina Maggalina Whoops Now Whoops Now
Ooga Booga Booga was her name
Madalina Catalina, Rupesteena Wanna Donna
Hoko poko poko was her name

The lyrics I learned and recorded can be found in the freebie lyric sheet below.  But, whichever version you are familiar with, it’s nice to share silly songs with your child.  It lets them hear you play with language and also fires up their brain to think out why something might be impossible or ridiculous and still funny at the same time.  If Magdalena, Hagdalena or one of her incarnations is part of your past, you can also talk to them about where you learned it and what other songs are part of your life story and why. Were you at summer camp? Did your parents or siblings teach it to you?  Were you jumping rope or did you sing it on the bus to school to drive the bus driver crazy?  And what were your favorites songs way back when?

Sharing these kinds of seemingly simple experiences helps kids answer important questions about where you come from. Mom (or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa) what were things like when you were my age?   You know, in the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth … along with silly little girls named Magdalena!

Links and Resources

Listen free on Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/track/1DxQ0RXQe1a1gy5mlfrgiZ

Apple Music:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/jadda-jadda-jing-jing-jing!/id474677341

MP3 Download on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B005Y6EVEQ

Magdalena Hagdalena Printable lyric page

Tedd Arnold’s Book:
Catalina Magdalena Hoopenstiener Wellendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name.
http://amzn.com/B000JGWDS

One Dark Night


One dark night in the middle of the day
Three dead boys came out to play

Back to back They faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

If you don’t believe what I’m telling you is true.
Go ask the blind man…he saw it , too!

A Lullabye To Make Your Own

Recently a wonderful website called Mama Lisa’a World posted a great question. She asked if any dads (or granddads) sang lullabyes to their babies? Answers came in from all over the world showing that lullabyes are still alive and well, not only as special moments between mommies and babies but also among dads, siblings, grandparents and anyone else who might want a baby to fall sleep!

So what songs can you sing? Many folks suggested traditional lullabyes from their own country or culture and a few folks; especially dads, seemed to like modern or pop music – songs that they found soothing and held good memories for them.

Are you looking for a simple lullabye to make you own? You can easily take a popular folksong like “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean” and turn it into a great bedtime lullabye. But, why sing about Bonnie? Why not add your child’s name to the song and take it from there. If your child’s name is short, you can sing it with the “my” or add “sweet” to make it fit in. For instance:

My David lies over the ocean
My David lies over the sea
My David lies over the ocean
Oh bring back my David to me

Bring back, etc.

Sweet Sarah lies over the ocean
Sweet Sarah lies over the sea
Sweet Sarah lies over the ocean
Oh bring back Sweet Sarah to me

Bring back, etc.

If your child’s name is longer, you can omit the “my”, shorten the name a bit or get creative and fit it in. For instance:

Anastasia lies over the ocean
Anastasia lies over the sea
Anastasia over the ocean
Oh bring back Anastasia to me

Bring back, etc.

Elias lies over the ocean
Elias lies over the sea
Elias over the ocean
Oh bring back Elias to me

Bring back, etc.

Whether you have a newborn, a toddler or even a slightly older child, there’s something very precious about a parent creating a simple song for their child as a happy way to end a busy day or to make a special bedtime moment.

If you want to get even more creative, you can dive in deeper as well. Using the same tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”, why not try these lyrics but adding your own children’s names, stuffed animals or other special elements that talk about your home and family.

SLEEP WELL
(To The Tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)
New lyrics by Daria A. Marmaluk-Hajioannou

It’s time that you sleep now, my darling
(or put in your child’s name)
It’s time that you sleep now, my dear
It’s time that you sleep now, my darling
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near

Chorus:
Sleep well, sleep well,
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near
Sleep well, sleep well,
And know that your mommy (or daddy or…) is near

Your pony (or teddy bear or special toy) is nearby my darling
Your pony is nearby my dear
Your pony is nearby my darling
Your pony and mommy (or daddy or…) are near

The stars keep their watch from the heavens
The stars in the heavens are clear
The stars keep their watch from the heavens
The stars and your mommy (or daddy or…) are near

You can add children in the house:

Soon your sister Anna will sleep, too
Your sister is nearby my dear
Soon your sister Anna will sleep, too
Your sister and mommy are near

If you like, you can add verses like:

Outside the crickets are chirping
Outside the train, it’s a rumbling
Outside, it’s quiet and peaceful
Outside, I hear cars on the highway

With very little effort, you can create a memorable new song that’s all about your family. And it’s verses can go on long enough to put almost any child to sleep!

So, go ahead, croon a lullabye. No matter how tired you may be at night, the sound of your voice singing to your child will be a memory that will always be treasured!

-Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou

Mama Lisa’s World can be found at:
http://www.mamalisa.com

Daria’s website can be found at:
www.dariamusic.com

Daria’s online songbook (with lots of lyrics) can be found at:
http://www.dariamusic.com/songbook.php

A wonderful site with lots of lyrics for simple songs can be found at:
www.kididdles.com