Old Folks at Home

 

A Controversy?
Over Florida's State Song?

What do you think?

 

Florida's state song becomes a duet of 'Folks' and 'Sawgrass'
Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau from the Palm Beach Post online.      By DARA KAM

Thursday, April 24, 2008

TALLAHASSEE — The Senate signed off on two state tunes Thursday, naming Old Folks at Home the state song and Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky the state anthem.

The dueling tunes were a compromise agreed to by Sen. Tony Hill, who has toiled for a year to do away with Stephen Foster's Old Folks at Home - originally adopted by lawmakers in 1935 - because its lyrics glorifying slavery and reminiscing about "darkies" on the plantation are considered offensive.

Listen to the songs
Audio
Old Folks At Home
AudioFlorida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky
 

Hill spearheaded the move to replace the song after Gov. Charlie Crist refused to have it played at his inauguration.

Hill's original bill would have named Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky, selected in an online contest and written by a Broward County music teacher, the official state song.

But some GOP House and Senate leaders resisted dropping the old song because they believe it represents a part of Florida history.

The deal: Keep the old song, do away with the odious lyrics and name the new song the official state anthem.

Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, solicited new lyrics from Stephen Foster historians and persuaded Hill to go along with the deal because, without it, Hill's bill (SB 1558) would not have passed.

Crist said he isn't happy with the double melodies but, out of deference to Hill he'll likely sign the bill, which the Senate backed unanimously.

"My preference would be just to replace the darn thing," he said.

Following are the two versions or our current state song. If you feel moved to change something keep in mind that our governor's email address can be found with a simple Google search.

The Swanee River
(Old Folks at Home)
Written by Stephen C. Foster

Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.

Chorus

All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!

2nd verse

All round de little farm I wandered
When I was young,
Den many happy days I squandered,
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I;
Oh, take me to my kind old mudder!
Dere let me live and die.

3rd Verse

One little hut among de bushes,
One dat I love
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see de bees a-humming
All round de comb?
When will I hear de banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home?

 

Stephen C. Foster, one of America's Best-loved musical storytellers, wrote "The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" in 1851.

Here’s the revised version of the song we use today:

"Old Folks at Home"

Way down upon the Suwannee River,
Far, far away,
There’s where my heart is turning ever,
There’s where the old folks stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for my childhood station,
And for the old folks at home.

Chorus
All the world is sad and dreary
Everywhere I roam.
O dear ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

2nd verse
All ‘round the little farm I wander’d,
When I was young;
Then many happy days I squander’d,
Many the songs I sung.
When I was playing with my brother,
Happy was I.
Oh, take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.

3rd verse
One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love.
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see the bees a humming,
All ‘round the comb?
When shall I hear the banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home.

Revised lyrics, adopted by the Center for American Music, Stephen Foster Memorial, at the University of Pittsburg.