Young Ladies and Gentlemen:
When the Tradition Company and I first talked about this record, we made up our minds right then to make a list of some very well known songs that had been recorded before, but never all on one long playing recording. Then we decided to put in also some songs that weren't so well known. This way we felt we would be pretty sure of giving you some of your favorites and at the same time letting you hear some others that might grow to be favorites.
We hope you like what we have recorded for, you and that your whole family will listen and perhaps sing along with you and me. Singing together is part of living together and we like the idea very much. I have a young lady and two young gentlemen of my own and they sometimes allow me to sing with them. I must say we make a very happy sound.
The few words I have to say about each song are just to give you some idea where they came from and why I like them well enough to share them with you.
Bless you! Happy listening and singing.
BILLY BOY: This is probably the best known American version of this old English song. There are Irish and Scottish versions too. This recording is pretty close to the way my own mother and father sang it to me when I was quite young.
MY BONNY LIES OVER THE OCEAN: Here is an old song that is so well known singers have almost stopped singing it. I think it's a lovely song and I haven't stopped singing it, nor will I.
S.M.I.L.E: You may have sung this song in school or at parties or camp. I know of a lot of grown up people who sing it together to remind themselves that it really "isn't any trouble just to S.M.I.L.E." Sometimes grown-ups forget that.
TREE IN THE HOLE: This is just one of many ways to sing this song. We hope you like the way we do it and have fun with it.
I HAD A LITTLE ROOSTER: There are several versions of this nice little song, some of them much longer because you can add names of animals as you wish until it's a very long song indeed. You've heard other songs much like this one, haven't you?
ONE MAN WENT TO MOW: This is very old and comes from England. It's a counting song and you could make it into a much longer song by counting higher.
"SING," SAID THE MOTHER: I don't know of any song I like more than this one. If you will listen carefully, you will notice that the mother mentioned in each verse is teaching her' family, just like your mother teaches you the very first import. ant things you learn.
THE OLD WOMAN AND THE PIG: Here we have a rather odd little song that isn't very serious and is a great deal of fun to sing. Try it.
A HOLE IN THE BUCKET: You can sing this old English ditty as an "answer back song," one singer being Georgie and the other Liza, or just as I sing it, or for that matter any way you like. I don't mind.
FROGGY WENT A'COURTING: This is a very old song which has many versions. My mother taught me this one. Several books that I know of have versions of it. You might ask at your local library if they have one. There are a number of good song books around and a song book is a nice thing to have.
0 SUZANNA: I'm sure you all have heard this one before. It's a real American song and a fine one. Many people in other countries know it too and sing it with great pleasure.
JACK WAS EVERY INCH A SAILOR: The words of the verses of this fine, happy tune were composed by me. The original version is old and is sung in England and Canada. Newfound. land, Canada has a version of its own.
THE LITTLE BLACK BULL: An old American song and an unusual one. I'm not sure exactly where or when it started, but I do know that our early pioneers sang it as they were building the American West.
THREE FISHERMEN: This was an old English nonsense- song, and I'm very fond of it. I've changed it around just a bit to make it easier to sing. It uses names that have good interesting sounds to them and can be divided into syllables for singing purposes. I'm very interested in names and enjoy collecting unusual ones.
O, DEAR, WHAT CAN THE MATTER BE: Here we have a good example of a song from the British Isles that came to America unchanged. Most often, when folk songs move around the world among people, they get changed a bit. Not this one. It's still being sung almost exactly as it always has been. I like it and have known it and sung it all my life.
I WISH I WAS: I'm sure most of us are happy to be just what we are, as nature made us, but sometimes it's fun to imagine ourselves as something else. You may have heard this song before. If you have, you will notice I have added some things to imagine.
I HAD A HORSE: Mr. Carl Sandburg, the American poet and singer, has a version of this foolish, little ditty in his fine book The American Song Bag. I've made a few changes here and there-folksong singers do that, you know.
MR. RABBIT: This wonderful, little song came from our Negro brothers. It's old and it's great fun to sing. Perhaps you could learn it by heart and sing it to your friends.
KEEMO KIMO: Sometimes folk songs don't make any sense at all and don't mean to. Here's a good example of that type of song. See how fast you can sing it.
THE NOBLE DUKE OF YORK: Here's an old song British young people have been singing for many, many years. It's a sort of satire. (Ask your mother or father what satire means, or perhaps you know?)
GOOD BYE, MY LOVER, GOOD BYE: Most of you have heard and sung this one, I'm sure. So sing it again with me.
TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STAR: When I was very young, (some time ago) my father and I used to lie on the lawn of our Pennsylvania farm house on warm summer nights and look up at the stars. My father told me the names of some of the groups of stars and of the planets we could see I used to wonder about the stars, and now at thirty-nine years of age, I still do.