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Registered: 12-2016
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"Soldier's Joy"


One of my favorite old time fiddle tunes. I used to play this song a lot although playing it on keyboards is probably not quite as much fun as playing it on a violin. It's one of the earliest drug songs being about the combination of cheap booze and morphine used by Civil War soldiers.

My uncle used to play this song on his violin. It's a lot of fun to play and to listen to.

Here are some of the lyrics of this great version of the tune:

Grasshopper sitting on a sweet potato vine(3x)
along comes a chicken and says you're mine.

I'm a gonna get a drink, don't you want to go(3x)
All for the soldier's joy.

25 cents for the morphine, 15 cents for the beer, 25 cents for the morphine gonna take me away from here.






Last edited by Philer, 10/31/2019, 8:31 pm
10/31/2019, 8:26 pm Link to this post PM Philer Blog
 
Geezess Profile
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Re: "Soldier's Joy"


I first heard Soldier's Joy as per the The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band the week that my friend and I turned 21 (serving life without parole, it seemed) on a NOAA survey ship.

On Will the Circle Be Unbroken it was a instrumental, and an up beat, version, with the tempo much like your posted version.
Great tune. But, at first to me, one with no context. I just figured that a soldier's joy was as melancholy as as a sailor's, so I could relate to the tune.

A few years later, at a local bluegrass fest, I heard the lyrics as someone was teaching the song to his picking buddies, but they still it played up beat, because as you said it has to be great fun to play especially on a fiddle. A point that is actually in the lyrics "bear down on your fiddle, boys, as if it were Saturday night"

But the words shocked me.
It was like seeing the ugly side of a good friend. While that can be something that changed it, it served to made me love it more as I could relate its beginnings. It remains a favorite of mine.

So not to argue about style and or which way is better at all, never the less I think this version needs to shared as it brings me closer to some one legged, PTSS suffering, heroin addicted Civil War vet, fighting on which side being of no matter, that first picked out the tune.



Thanks for his service.

  

Last edited by Geezess, 11/2/2019, 5:31 pm
11/2/2019, 5:09 pm Link to this post PM Geezess Blog
 
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Re: "Soldier's Joy"


So re: "25 cents for the morphine, 15 cents for the beer, 25 cents for the morphine gonna take me away from here."

 ... "In other words, $0.65 in 1865 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $10.24 in 2019, a difference of $9.59 over 154 years."

http://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1865?amount=0.65

So it was lie buying a dime ... $10.00 worth of drugs, then and now.
11/2/2019, 5:44 pm Link to this post PM Geezess Blog
 
Philer Profile
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Re: "Soldier's Joy"


This Gid Tanner version of the song reminds me greatly of the way my uncle used to play the song. He didn't sing any of the lyrics but he played the tune a lot like Gid Tanner. He loved playing it as I did when I used to play it on keyboards. I'll probably try it again. It almost makes me want to buy a violin to see if I can learn to play it on one of them.
11/3/2019, 9:33 pm Link to this post PM Philer Blog
 


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