Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are They Going To Hang My Papa?

You may remember that our friend and music historian, Gary Eller, discovered an original music score of Are They Going To Hang My Papa? at Lawson's E-Mu-Zeum. Gary recorded it utilizing that nice throaty voice of John Larsen, the melodic Michelle Groves (Henrieta Haywood vocals), and the old time piano sound of Sean Rogers.

Other than the one that Gary found at the E-Mu-Zeum, I had not seen another original of the sheet music anywhere else...until recently on eBay. I hope Gary and I or some of our other friends weren't bidding against each other. I was lucky enough to come out a winner on this one. Since eBay adopted a policy of keeping everyone's ID private, you never can tell who you are biding against. Took some of the fun out it as I made a lot of friendly contacts with folks having similar historical interests and we would even give each other a break now and then on the bidding. Probably why eBay went to hidden identities as they wouldn't want anybody getting too friendly and not driving up those profits.

From Gary's Annotated Bibliography of Early Idaho Songs:
Are They Going to Hang My Papa? (Owen Spendthrift, 1907). Sheet music cover sheet and lyrics are found on page 115 of the book “Sagebrush Post Offices” by Mildretta Adams (1986). The original sheet music is in the EMU Museum in Grandview. The cover shows a photograph of Big Bill Haywood’s daughter “little Henrietta”, who was born when Haywood was mining in Silver City in 1897 and formulating ideas for the radical Western Federation of Miners union. Adams states that this “sob” song was written and prominently posted all over Boise to arouse sympathy for Haywood during his trial for the assassination of former Governor Frank Steunenberg.

The size of the sheet music is larger than my scanner so the edges are cut off a bit in the above scan. The pages are in pretty decent shape and you see a nice close-up of Henrietta. We can see the child manipulation and attempt to pull at your heartstrings! Works for me, because if I keep looking at darling little Henrietta I might start feeling sorry for Haywood. But I am reminded of Frank Steunenberg's children and how they felt seeing the bloody and mangled body of their father. Many children, caught in the middle of labor violence, lost parents and family members and a bit of their childhood innocence...just like little Henrietta.

Listen to Are They Going To Hang My Papa? along with Dynamite Harry and Farewell SteunenbergIn 1907, marchers sang this song in the streets of New York. See 20,000 Parade for Accused Miners

What The Heck Is An Emu-Z-Um Anyway?

To pick up a recording of Are They Going To Hang My Papa?, Dynamite Harry, Farewell Steunenberg and many others, get your copy of the book and CD, Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails.

Songs! Songs! Songs! by the author of The Torch of Reason (Words and music, regular sheet music size). Click on the "page 479" to view the full page ad that includes Are They Going To Hang My Papa?. Frederick Forrest Berry, the author of Torch of Reason, wrote the lyrics for Are They Going To Hang My Papa? using the pseudonym Owen Spendthrift. Thanks Gary for this link that came from one of your contacts.
--Courtesy of Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint, ID.

Addendum: Here is a copy of the same ad from the back of The Torch of Reason (p. 479) that I found at Internet Archive, a online book site I prefer over Google books. I notice my original of Are They Going To Hang My Papa? was quite a bit more expensive than advertised. The price you pay I guess for 100+ years of wear and tear.

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