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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Robert Slotta <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 7 Mar 2004 23:27:37 -0500
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Fellow Twain Enthusiasts~

Well, as Twain once said, "We often feel sad in the presence of music
without words; and often more than that in the presence of music without
music."  For he was a song-singing, whiskey-drinking, breakdown-dancing
rapscallion himself.  But that didn't stop him from contributing to the art
of music/lyrics:

1.  BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC (Brought to date) by Mark Twain.  Printed in
"MT Social Critic" by Foner page 278, & also "On the Poetry of MT" by Scott
page 128 (corrected some of Foner's mistakes), & reprinted in others, too.
It is a timeless piece about America, and starts out:

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
      His lust is marching on.

2. Chapter 16 of Tramp Abroad & "The Lorelei."

3. The time when Twain himself actually sang in public April 14th 1907 in
his speech "Educating Theatre-Goers."  (MT's Speeches, 1910, pages 71-73).

4. How about a song Twain found amusing, don't know the title but as Twain
explains on page 41 of Letters from the Earth "In the Sandwich Islands in
1866 a buxom royal princess died.  Occupying a place of distinguished honor
at her funeral were thirty-six splendidly built young native men.  In a
laudatory song which celebrated the various merits, achievements and
accomplishments of the late princess those thirty-six stallions were called
her HAREM, and the song said it had been her pride and boast that she kept
the whole of them busy..."

5. There are many Twain related songs/renditions.  Not surprisingly, there
is no bibliography of such material.  For the record (pun intended) here are
a few examples:

"Huckleberry Finn"--Medley Fox-Trot ,for dancing  Conway's Band, Patrick
Conway, Conductor
         "               "    -- Fox Trot,  Band (unidentified)

"Huckleberry Finn" (Hess, Lewis & Young)  Tenor Solo Orchestra Accompaniment
sung by Sam Ash
         "             "            "           "             "         Duet
with Orchestra by Van & Schenck
         "             "            "           "              "        Male
Voices with Orchestra Premier Quartet

"Mark Twain" by Jerome Kern (Portrait for Orchestra) as done by Andre
Kostelanetz & his orchestra (2 record set).  It's a symphonic essay.
Although it tries to describe Twain and his career in four episodes, the
records have FIVE, ending with " Mark In Eruption".

"Mississippi Suite (A Tone Journey)" includes "Huckleberry Finn"-"Old Creole
Days" and "Mardis Gras  by Ferdie Groffe, as done by Paul Whiteman & his
concert orchestra.

Also some old player piano rolls are Twain related music.

6.  Let's not forget the great rock n roll classic "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.  I
like the live version best, played at maximum volume, of course.

7. Other recent songs titled "Mark Twain" were done by The Animals, & Harry
Belafonte (1954, think this was the first stereo version of a song dedicated
to Twain, but this may not be accurate).

8. FYI  there is absolutely no primary evidence Mark Twain ever owned or
played the guitar.  The piano & accordion, yes.  The guitar, NO! (& a great
deal of evidence exists that contradicts such a notion).  In fact, the only
reference to Twain playing a guitar was made by a very old man well after
Twain died and that old man's memory was highly subject to fault (recalling
the 1860's in the 1920's).  Of course, bogus claims go wherever the masses
are looking & where the masses spend good money, so it is a perpetual thing
with Twain.  Any guitar(s) allegedly once owned by Twain should be very
carefully scrutinized from the alleged chain of ownership all the way to the
actual guitar itself, and at least one expert in Twain memorabilia should be
made part of that process.  The deliberate exclusion of Twain memorabilia
specialists to inspect such a guitar(s) should raise grave concerns over the
authenticity of such a guitar(s).

NEW TOPIC---The Best For Last-- Saw Hal Holbrook's show in Cleveland the
other day (Friday, March 5th).  Like fine wine he gets better as time flows,
even though any rational person would have thought he was at the top of his
game many, many years ago.  The hair is longer, so are the eyebrows, less
makeup (as Mark Dawidziak has cleverly pointed out he has been doing Mark
Twain longer than Sam Clemens did!).  Indeed he actually looked like an
antique genuine photograph of Twain but in real life, and acting & saying
pure Twain as we can only imagine Twain really behaved, and addressing
current issues. Needless to say, he brought down the house, BIG TIME!  Go
see Holbrook if you can, he is terrific!


Bob (coming soon)
Admirable Books
3528 Mark Twain Drive
Hilliard, OH 43026