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[personal profile] kjn
On November 19th 1915, Joe Hill was murdered by the State of Utah for the crime of filking.

While listening through a few more of Joe Hill's songs and trying to decide on this year's Joe Hill filk, I decided to read a bit on the history of Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay, and promptly fell down a rabbit hole of high-class St. Louis bordellos, early ragtime music, and minstrel shows. Given the continuing discussion about appropriation and racism within science fiction my choice became simple: just write the history of the song, but there was no way to include it all.


A smart and stylish song is due
In St. Louis by Mama Lou
And she shall sing it with her crew
Of brothel girls of ev'ry hue
On piano Tom Turpin plays
Babe Connors she owns the place
But they are of the wrong race
They should our culture not disgrace

Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay
It is a song so gay
Deserves a better fate
We can appropriate
We make it better known
We put it in our show
The lyrics we will hone
Pretend it's not a loan

A smart and stylish girl you see,
Belle of good society
In vaudeville with minstrelsy
Yet as white as white can be!
I'll sing this song with great success
With the public and the press
Thanks to dancing and my dress
Where it's from you'll never guess

Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay…

We sell the song to England's shores
As music hall it simply scores
Goes to Paris and to Rome
Around the world it roams and roams
Some wobbly wrote a text so wretched
Of workers who their master shred
Far better then a children's show
With nonsense words that we all know

Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay…


My previously posted Joe Hill filks: 2014, 2015, 2016.
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