Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On The Banks of the Wabash

Lovecraft alludes to this song in passing in one of his letters (1934), but it was old even in his day. It would be more from his parent's era, but he remembered it.

From Wikipedia...

"On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" was among the best-selling songs of 19th-Century, in terms of sheet music sold. Written and composed by American songwriter Paul Dresser, it was published by Tin Pan Alley firm Howley, Haviland & Co. in October 1897. The lyrics of the song reminisce about life near Dresser's childhood home by the Wabash River in Indiana.

The song remained popular and the Indiana General Assembly adopted the song as the official state song of Indiana on March 14, 1913. The song was the basis for a 1928 film by the same title. Its longtime popularity led to the emergence of several different lyrical versions of the song, including an 1898 anti-war song and a Swedish version that was a number one hit.

The song was composed during a transitory time in musical history when songs first began to be recorded for the phonograph. Wabash was among the first popular songs to be recorded, and Dresser's inability to control the distribution of phonograph cylinders led him and other music companies to petition the United States Congress to expand federal copyright protections over the new technology. Dresser's song was the subject of some controversy after his death in 1905.


Round my Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool.
Oftentimes my thoughts revert to scenes of childhood,
Where I first received my lessons, nature's school.
But one thing there is missing from the picture,
Without her face it seems so incomplete.
I long to see my mother in the doorway,
As she stood there years ago, her boy to greet.

Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of newmown hay.
Through the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.

Many years have passed since I strolled by the river,
Arm in arm, with sweetheart Mary by my side,
It was there I tried to tell her that I loved her,
It was there I begged of her to be my bride.
Long years have passed since I strolled thro' there churchyard.
She's sleeping there, my angel, Mary dear,
I loved her, but she thought I didn't mean it,
Still I'd give my future were she only here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

You can hear the song (original version I presume) on Youtube here >>>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_Kkei933TA


VJESCI said...



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