Who knew the Andrews Sisters were Greek-American from Minnesota?

12 Nov

They certainly looked Greek.

The_Andrews_Sisters_1952

And my — and probably everyone’s — favorite song: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.  Is it distressing or heroic and valiant that such a peppy song was popular at such a dark time?  They toured extensively wherever there was American military during WWII and entertained men who were almost certain to face horrendous violence and brutal, mass death.  The soldiers, sailors and marines adored them.  And I don’t think the men in the video are actors, but real draftees.

Sometimes I miss America.  I don’t mean New York; I always miss New York.  But sometimes I miss for-real America, like the real thing.

AmericanFlag.jpg

I’ve become obsessed with this video partly because I can’t forgive myself for being as musically illiterate as I am and I’m desperately trying to understand what “eight to the bar” means.  Until recently I was obsessed with trying to understand what syncopation means — after finally understanding what chromaticism and melisma are, because they’re so crucial to the music of our parts.  But otherwise…I have a very musically literate best friend who explains it all to me and it just goes way over my head.  I rarely feel so stupid.

Lyrics below for those who haven’t heard the song twenty million times and didn’t wear out the vinyl in a month like I did when I first bought it :)

He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way.
He had a boogie style that no one else could play.
He was the top man at his craft,
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft.
He’s in the army now, a blowin’ reveille.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.
They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam.
It really brought him down because he couldn’t jam.
The captain seemed to understand,
Because the next day the cap’ went out and drafted a band.
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.
A-Too-li-toot-li-ada, tootli-a-da, toot
He blows it eight to the bar in boogie rhythm.
He can’t blow a note unless a bass and guitar
Is playin’ with him.
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.
He was some boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.
And when he played boogie woogie bugle
He was busy as a busy bee.
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight to the bar.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.
Too-li-toot-li-ada, tootli-a-da, toot toot
He blows it eight to the bar
He can’t blow a note unless a bass and guitar
Isn’t with him.
Ha ha ha ha the company jump when he plays reveille,
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of company B.
He puts the boys to sleep with boogie every night,
And wakes ’em up the same way in the early bright.
They clap their hands and stamp their feet,
because they know how it goes when someone gives him a beat.
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of company B.
Ta ta ta ta-da, ta ta ta-da ta-da
And the company jumps when he plays reveille.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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