Liberal Arts Blog — “La Mer”, “Gee Mom I Wanna Go Home,” “Oh Susanna”
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is the Joy of Music Day
Today’s Post: “La Mer”, “Gee Mom I Wanna Go Home,” “Oh Susanna”
The three songs that come to mind when I think of my mother are: La Mer (Charles Trenet, 1945), ‘Gee Mom I Wanna Go Home” (anonymous 1943) and “Oh Susanna” (Stephen Foster, 1845). I associate each with a different period in my mother’s life — “Oh Susanna” with her childhood in Savannah, Georgia, “Gee Mom I Wanna Go Home,” with her years in the US Marines during World War II, and “La Mer” with her years in Paris after the war studying art history at the Louvre on the GI Bill and working for NATO. It is in Paris that she met and married my father, a Romanian refugee. Today, selected lyrics, a few notes and some youtube links, If you like Mr. Bean, you may well love the first video. If not, probably not. Just go the next one.
LA MER — Charles Trenet — up there (almost) with Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose”
1. “La mer qu’on voit danser le long des golfes claires a des reflets charmants, la mer des reflet changeant sous la pluie” (The sea you see dancing Along the bright gulfs Has silvery reflections, the sea: Reflections changing under the rain.)
2. American song writer Jack Lawrence morphed the French ode to the sea into a love song (“Beyond the Sea”) which was a huge hit for Bobby Darin in 1959.
3. The song has been used in countless films and television shows. My favorite by far is from Mr.Bean’s Holiday.
NB: Trenet’s other hits included “Boum!” and “Que reste-t-il de nos amours.”
“GEE MOM I WANNA GO HOME” aka “I don’t like Navy life…”
1. “They say that in the Navy, the biscuits are so fine.”
2. “One jumped off the table and killed a pal of mine.”
3. “I don’t like Navy life, Gee mom I wanna go home.”
NB: The song was clearly the inspiration for Irving Berlin’s “Gee, I wish I was back in the Army” song in the film “White Christmas.” Highly recommended. (last link below)
“OH SUSANNA” — “No American song had sold more than 5,000 copies before; “Oh! Susanna” sold over 100,000.”
1. “I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee// I’m going to Louisiana my true love for to see
2. It rained all night the day I left the weather it was dry // The sun so hot I froze to death, Susanna don’t you cry
3. Oh, Susanna, don’t you cry for me cos’ // I come from Alabama With my banjo on my knee.”
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.