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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lighter Side of John Phillips Sousa

I have always thought of John Philip Sousa as a somewhat humorless character, the bearded guy in a military style uniform we see in his pictures. This is the guy who wrote, Hail to the flag of the free, may it wave as our standard forever, as the relatively idealistic and heavy lyrics to Stars and Stripes Forever , his most popular composition. Note his words do not include anything about ducks (attributed to Fred Allen). It’s also my favorite encore to play at band concerts, because it is a fun tune, and if you don’t get a standing ovation, you can be sure your band sucks. If you don’t have your own concert band, you can play Stars and Stripes forever on Activision’s Sousaphone Hero.

In his concert tours, Sousa’s favorite encore was a very funny March, The Roosters Lay Eggs in Kansas ,
written by his close friend Mahew Lake. This sounds like something Carl Stalling might have written for a Warner Brothers cartoon. Carl Fischer Publishing dug this out of their archives for release this year, and my band is playing it.

This tune is a hoot, and the band gets to sing. Here’s the lyrics:

The roosters lay eggs in Kansas
The roosters lay eggs in Kansas
The roosters lay eggs as big as beer kegs
The roosters lay eggs in Kansas

This seems so strange from a man who joined the U. S. Marines at age thirteen, believed his greatest composition was the result of Divine inspiration, and took it upon himself to be America’s Salesman in Europe.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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