Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidents, Rulers and Leaders: WhiteHouse Blues

[It's a free file]
[See note at bottom]
As of last month, Barack Obama is once again the 44th President of the United States. Though they may serve more than one term, they each get counted only once in this accounting. And while our remit this week doesn’t specifically limit us to the US of A, this week’s theme stems from the American observance of what used to be celebrated as Geo Washington’s birthday on February 22.

William McKinley, a civil war vet, had been elected to his second term in 1900, but was cut down in his second term, leaving the job to Teddy Roosevelt. Ranked as a middling POTUS, McKinley rated high enough to be immortalized in song in my selection this week.

Charlie Poole and his brother-in-law Posey Rorer were the backbone to a band from North Carolina that went on to make their name recording under the Columbia Records label in the 1920s. The song “White House Blues” deals rather irreverently with the McKinley era – or the end of it:

    Roosevelt in the White House drinking out of a silver cup
    McKinley in the graveyard, he'll never wake up
    He's gone a long, long time

The recording here is getting on to 100 years old (it IS from the last century), but is of remarkably decent quality all things considered: a few scratches on the disc, but still a pleasant listen. Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers in their various incarnations garnered acclaim for the well-known song “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” (David Bromberg., among later others)

A tip of the hat both to, where you can find a collection of Poole’s songs, and to, which is hosting the original of the file linked above.

Note: Darius and I communicate regularly, but not to the extent that we aim to select the same song: at least, you've got two different versions of the same song.

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