When it started getting close to the end of the year, I started thinking about what tunes I had to include in my daily fiddle tune series. AND, Listen to the Mockingbird is one of those tunes that needed to be a part of the series.
When I was a teen, it was one of those tunes that I would play at every show we did as the Wickam Family Band. And, I have probably only played it 5 times in the last fifteen years. But, I expect that since I just played it tonight, I will be playing it more frequently in the future.
Thanks to Brent Hawley for Joining me tonight. Brent is a great guitarist, and it’s always fun to have him join me for music.
If this were a regular year, this would be the end of Fiddle Tune a Day, but it’s not. See you tomorrow.
Listen to the Mocking Bird according to Wikipedia
“Listen to the Mocking Bird” (1855) is an American folk song of the mid-19th century. Its lyrics were composed by Septimus Winner under the pseudonym “Alice Hawthorne”, and its music was by Richard Milburn.
It relates the story of a singer dreaming of his sweetheart, now dead and buried, and a mockingbird, whose song the couple once enjoyed, now singing over her grave. Yet the melody is moderately lively.
“Listen to the Mocking Bird” was one of the most popular ballads of the era and sold more than twenty million copies of sheet music. It was popular during the American Civil War and was used as marching music. Abraham Lincolnwas especially fond of it, saying, “It is as sincere as the laughter of a little girl at play.”
The song’s melody was reprised by Louis Prima & Keely Smith for their 1956 version of the song, with new lyrics, entitled “Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby”. Its verse was the instrumental introduction to a number of the early short films by The Three Stooges, rendered in a comical manner with birds chirping in the background. The first Stooges short to employ this theme was 1935’s Pardon My Scotch; in later shorts the song was replaced with “Three Blind Mice”. An updated version of the song was heard during the first part of The Three Stooges film. In it it uses a comical chorus with birds chirping.
“Listen to the Mocking Bird” was parodied in the television series, The Flintstones, as a swinging jazz tune called “Listen to the Rocking Bird”.
In the movie The Alamo (2004), Davy Crockett plays “Listen to the Mocking Bird” on his fiddle to a crowd, although the song was not composed until 1855, 19 years after the Battle of the Alamo where Crockett died.