The Colonial Williamsburg Governor's Musick | In Freedom We're Born

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In Freedom We're Born

by The Colonial Williamsburg Governor's Musick

These are popular liberty songs of the American Revolution sung in taverns, in homes, and on the street. We hope to inspire a greater appreciation of the people caught up in the struggle for independence.
Genre: Country: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. An American Parody On "Rule Britannia"
4:10 $0.99
2. A Song, to the Tune of "Last Sunday Morning We Sail'd from Cork"
1:43 $0.99
3. A Song to the Tune of "Heart of Oak"
3:35 $0.99
4. Address to the Ladies
2:05 $0.99
5. Fish and Tea
2:20 $0.99
6. The Roast Beef of Old England
2:41 $0.99
7. A New Song, to the Plaintive Tune of "Hosier's Ghost"
2:34 $0.99
8. An Extempore Song
2:09 $0.99
9. A Song On Liberty to the Tune of "The British Grenadiers"
1:58 $0.99
10. A Junto Song
1:36 $0.99
11. Whilst Happy in My Native Land
2:21 $0.99
12. Yankee Doodle
2:00 $0.99
13. An American Song, to the Tune of "The Watery God"
2:48 $0.99
14. Bunker Hill (A Sapphick Ode)
3:26 $0.99
15. A Song, to the Tune of "The Echoing Horn"
2:19 $0.99
16. Two Quick Steps and a Dance Medley: Quick Steps / Brandywine Quick Step / Successful Campaign
2:55 $0.99
17. The Banks of the Dee / Parody On "The Banks of the Dee"
4:34 $0.99
18. Chester
2:02 $0.99
19. Two Washington Marches
2:33 $0.99
20. An Ode
1:55 $0.99
21. A Toast
2:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Music
Music is often an important chronicler of historical events, particularly in times of war. In America, music has played this role from the American Revolution to Vietnam and beyond. Songs have a way of allowing us to take a closer look, not just at the “facts and figures” of a time in history but also at the many expressions of emotions felt by ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The music of the American Revolution, however, has been largely ignored and neglected simply because the words and the music of songs often were not published together.
The colonists’ musical tastes were wedded to England and its ready source of published music. Relatively little music was ever published in colonial America, but as political situations arose, new “songs” would appear in colonial newspapers. Essentially, these compositions were new lyrics set to familiar (or not so familiar) English melodies. Fourteen of the liberty songs included in this recording were published as lyrics in the Virginia Gazette between 1768 and 1782. The exact date and edition of the Gazette is noted with the listing for each song.
How familiar the colonists were with these songs is subject to debate. Some historians even feel that the words were largely propaganda tools and probably rarely sung, with the exception, perhaps, of John Dickinson’s “Liberty Song,” set to the tune of “Heart of Oak.” Between 1768 and 1775, the Virginia Gazette printed four different versions of lyrics set to this tune.
Evidence of the singing of liberty songs in Virginia is available in the journal of Philip Vickers Fithian, tutor to the Robert Carter family. His entry dated January 18, 1774, describes a ball he attended at a neighboring plantation in the Northern Neck of Virginia: “But all did not join in the Dance for there were parties in Rooms made up, some at Cards; some drinking for Pleasure; some toasting the Sons of america; some singing ‘Liberty Songs’ as they call’d them, in which six, eight, ten or more would put their Heads near together and roar, & for the most part as unharmonious as an affronted.” (Fithian did not say what was “affronted.”)
A few days later, Fithian described a dinner at the Carters’ home: “Dined with us Colonel Frank L. Lee, & Colonel Harrison of Maryland . . . . There are great Professions of Liberty here expressed in Songs Toasts, &c. Yesterday News came of the Arrival of Ships with Tea; into Boston, New-york, Philadelphia. & of the New-Yorkers burning the House of his Excellency Governor Tryon. for having said that, if orders concerning the Tea had been transmitted to him he would have landed it tho’ under the mouths of the Cannon!—Gentlemen here in general applaud & honour our Northern Colonies for so manly, & patriotic Resistance!—”
The singing of liberty songs, however, was not limited to Virginia. Richard Peters, secretary to the Board of War, felt strongly that patriotic songs had an important influence on the attitudes and performance of the Continental forces in times of great hardship.
It is our hope that listening to this music may inspire a greater appreciation of the people caught up in the struggle for independence and help us all to ponder anew the sacrifices of individuals in the cause of liberty.
Jane F. Hanson

Notes on the Music
1. An American Parody on “Rule Britannia” (4:08)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Pinkney), Dec. 1, 1774
Original Tune: Thomas Augustine Arne (1710–1778), Alfred: A Masque (London, [1785?]), first performed in 1740
Originally published in Philadelphia on Oct. 19, 1774, one week after the first Continental Congress had adjourned. Congress had called for the non-importation of any British goods after Dec. 1, 1774.

2. A Song, to the Tune of “Last Sunday Morning We Sail’d from Cork” (1:40)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Pinkney), Jan. 12, 1775
Original Tune: “Last Sunday Morning We Sailed from Cork” (Anonymous)
This song begins, “LORD SHIPLEY is a man of sense,/Lord CHATHAM’S acted brave.” Shipley was one of the few clerical peers to oppose Lord North’s actions against the colonies. Chatham was a member of Parliament who proposed to remove British troops from Boston. His proposal was defeated on Jan. 20, 1775.

3. A Song to the Tune of “Heart of Oak” (3:34)
Words: John Dickinson (1732–1808)
Published: Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), July 21, 1768; Aug. 11, 1774
Original Tune: “Heart of Oak” (1759) by William Boyce (1711–1779)
The first popular American liberty song was written in response to the Townshend Duties, a number of revenue-raising acts imposed on the colonies by England in 1767. The song’s first printing occurred in Philadelphia on July 7, 1768.

4. Address to the Ladies (2:04)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser, Feb. 23, 1782
Original Tune: “The Jolly Miller of the Dee” from Thomas A. Arne, Love in a Village: A Pasticcio Comic Opera (1761)
Though published in Virginia after the Revolution, this song was a popular rallying cry to the ladies before and during the war to forego the purchase of British millinery goods.

5. Fish and Tea (2:20)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), July 15, 1775
Original Tune: “The Ballad of King John and the Abbot of Canterbury” in Thomas D’Urfey, ed., Wit and Mirth; or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, IV (1719–1720)
This song refers to the tax on tea and the New England Restraining Act (Mar. 30, 1775), which barred New England fishermen from the North Atlantic fisheries.

6. The Roast Beef of Old England (2:39)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), Nov. 17, 1774
Original Tune: “The Roast Beef of Old England” (1727) by Richard Leveridge (1670/71–1758)
Written in England before the Parliamentary elections of 1774, when the Whigs, who were sympathetic to the colonies’ complaints, were hoping to win a majority over the more conservative Tories.

7. A New Song, to the Plaintive Tune of “Hosier’s Ghost” (2:32)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), Jan. 20, 1774
Original Tune: “Hosier’s Ghost or Sailor’s Complaint” in John Walsh, The British Musical Miscellany, IV (London, 1734)
Written in response to the Boston Tea Party, which occurred on Dec. 16, 1773.

8. An Extempore Song (2:05)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Pinkney), July 27, 1775
Original Tune: “The Sailor’s Ballad” from Johann C. Pepusch (1667–1752), Perseus and Andromeda(?)
The chorus sung here is from the original song. It was not included in the printed text, but it fits the original format of the piece.

9. A Song on Liberty to the Tune of “The British Grenadiers” (1:59)
Words: Dr. Joseph Warren (1741–1775)
Published: Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), Jan. 6, 1774
Original Tune: Traditional. This arrangement, from an early English edition, appears in Vera Brodsky Lawrence, Music for Patriots, Politicians, and Presidents: Harmonies and Discords of the First Hundred Years (New York, 1975), p. 36.
These words, originally written in 1770, were printed in colonial papers in 1774 as a response to the Boston Tea Party. Dr. Warren, an original member of Boston’s Sons of Liberty, was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

10. A Junto Song (1:35)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Pinkney), Aug. 17, 1775
Original Tune: “There Was A Jovial Beggar” in Thomas D’Urfey, ed., Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, III (1719)
A junto is “a body of men who have joined for a common purpose, especially of a political character.”

11. Whilst Happy in My Native Land” (2:19)
Words: M. P. Andrews, playwright
Published: Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), July 1, 1775
Music: F. H. Barthélemon (1741–1808), The Election (1774)

12. Yankee Doodle (1:59)
Words: Edward Bangs
Original Tune: Traditional
Of the many versions of this popular song, this one, written in 1775 by Harvard sophomore Edward Bangs, has become the best known. It lacks the familiar first verse, “Yankee Doodle went to town . . . ,” which was apparently added later.

13. An American Song, to the tune of “The Watery God” (2:45)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), Nov. 22, 1776
Original Tune: “The Watery God Great Neptune Lay” by John Lee(?)
The original song was written to celebrate Lord Hawks’s victory over Conflans in 1759. The version published in the Virginia Gazette chronicles the British occupation in Boston and the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
14. Bunker Hill. A Sapphick Ode (3:24)
Words: Nathaniel Niles
Music: Composed by Andre Law (1749–1821)
New England preacher Nathaniel Niles wrote these powerful words to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill. Andrew Law, a fellow New Englander, was a composer and hymn writer.

15. A Song, to the Tune of “The Echoing Horn” (2:17)
Words: Anonymous
Published: Virginia Gazette (Pinkney), June 15, 1775
Original Tune: “The Echoing Horn” from Thomas Augustine Arne, Thomas and Sally, or, The Sailor’s Return: A Dramatic Pastoral (London, ca. 1784), originally performed ca. 1760
The original tune holds a special place in Williamsburg history. On one August evening in 1768, Governor Botetourt, out for a leisurely stroll, joined Anne Blair and her friends in singing “The Echoing Horn” on the steps of her Williamsburg home.

16. Two Quick Steps and a Dance (2:54)
“Quick Steps” by Raynor Taylor (1747–1825) printed in Lawrence, Music for Patriots, Politicians, and Presidents, p. 89; “Brandywine Quick Step” (Anonymous); “Successful Campaign” (Anonymous)
A quick step is a march of the light infantry. Raynor Taylor emigrated to the United States in 1792. His march was probably published in Philadelphia in the early nineteenth century. “Successful Campaign” is a dance tune published in Thompson’s Twenty-Four Country Dances for the Year 1769 (London, 1769). George Washington danced to this tune to open a 1781 ball in Newport, Rhode Island, given to honor the arrival of the French army.

17. The Banks of the Dee and Parody on “The Banks of the Dee” (4:34)
Words: “Banks of the Dee” by John Tait(?); “Parody on “The Banks of the Dee” by Oliver Arnold(?)
Original Tune: Adapted from “Langolee”
This is a good example of a song being used for multiple purposes. The original version by John Tait relates the feelings of a Scottish woman whose lover, Jamie, has gone to “fight the proud rebels” in the colonies. The parody is the American response, written by a relative of the famous traitor Benedict Arnold.

18. Chester (1:59)
Music and words: The Singing Master’s Assistant (1778) by William Billings (1746–1800)
William Billings, a tanner by trade, was a self-taught musician. He wrote a great deal of sacred music, primarily in four-part harmony for New England church choirs, known then as “singing schools.” Although “Chester” became one of the best-known songs of the Revolution, particularly in New England, there is no evidence the piece was known or sung in Virginia.

19. Two Washington Marches (2:31)
Words and Music: Anonymous, included in Lawrence, Music for Patriots, Politicians, and Presidents, pp. 67, 88–89
Much music was written and dedicated to George Washington during and after the Revolution. These two marches, both published after the war, are good examples of popular keyboard music written to be played on the new pianofortes as well as on harpsichords.

20. An Ode (1:53)
Words: W. P.(?) from Buckingham Co., Va.
Published: Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), Aug. 24, 1776
Original Tune: “God Save the King” from Thesaurus Musicus (1744)
There were many different poems and texts set to this tune in America during and after the war. One version, printed in 1784 in a New York newspaper for Washington’s birthday, had this editorial preface, “I shall ask one question of my fellow citizens—After the Almighty Author of our existence and happiness to whom, as a people, are we under the greatest obligations? I know you will answer to Washington.”

21. A Toast (2:04)
Music and Words: Francis Hopkinson (1737–1791)
Francis Hopkinson, who claimed to be the first native-born American composer to publish a song—“My Days Have Been so Wondrous Free” (1756)—is best known as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a lawyer, judge, gifted writer of prose and poetry, an inventor, and an artist.

About the Performers
Jennifer Edenborn (vocals, violin) became interested in traditional fiddle styles as a student at the College of William and Mary. In addition to performing frequently on baroque violin and viola with the Governor’s Musick, she is a tavern balladeer and a member of A Man and Two Women.
David Gardner (vocals, violin), a tavern balladeer at Colonial Williamsburg, also works as a historical interpreter at Jamestown Settlement. He plays viola in addition to violin, has performed with the Richmond Chamber Players, and is a member of the Virginia Company.
Jane Hanson (vocals) has spent the greater part of her career at Colonial Williamsburg combining her love of history and music. As a member of the Governor’s Musick, her repertoire includes music of Handel, Telemann, Mozart, and Vivaldi, and she enjoys music of a more popular vein as well.
Thomas Marshall (keyboards, bodhran) has performed throughout America and Europe on historical keyboard instruments and is widely regarded as an accomplished performer on organ, harpsichord, and pianoforte. He is a member of the Governor’s Musick.
Wayne Moss (viola da gamba) began his musical career as a cellist. He earned a degree in performance on viola da gamba from Oberlin College and has been a member of the Governor’s Musick since 1988. He has programmed many of the group’s performances at the Governor’s Palace.
Barry Trott (vocals, mandolin) has been researching and performing the music of colonial America since 1984. He is a tavern balladeer and has been a guest artist with the Governor’s Musick.
Paul Vrooman (vocals), a native of Williamsburg, grew up hearing his father, Tayler, singing eighteenth-century songs in the colonial taverns. A balladeer himself for almost twenty years, he is also a member of A Man and Two Women with his wife, Jennifer Edenborn, and colleague Susan Faia.
Herbert Watson (vocals, German flute) joined the music staff at Colonial Williamsburg in 1968. He is a featured arranger in Foundation publications, including A Rollick of Recorders, and a member of the Governor’s Musick.
John Watson (vocals) is the instrument conservator at Colonial Williamsburg. In addition to maintaining, and sometimes restoring, the Foundation’s large collection of antique instruments, he has built reproduction keyboard instruments, including the harpsichord and square pianoforte used in this recording.
Cliff Williams (vocals, baroque guitar) has been a tavern balladeer since 1975. In that role, he has researched and performed much of the popular music repertoire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Williams, who also plays lute and recorder, has appeared in many of the Foundation’s Capitol Concerts. He is a founding member of the Virginia Company, has extensive experience as an opera singer both in Europe and the United States, and has worked with Leonard Bernstein and Raymond Leppard.

About the Instruments
Harpsichord John Watson, 1995 (after single manual Jacob Kirckman, ca. 1760s)
Pianoforte John Watson, 1993 (Johann Zumpe, 1766)
Mandolin Lynn Trott, 1995 (after Neapolitan style of 1750s)
Baroque Guitar Barry Trott, 1993
Violin Peter Wamsley (1715–1751), undated
Violin Unknown (early nineteenth century)
Flute Robert Gilliam-Turner, 1987 (after T. Staneby, Jr., mid-eighteenth century)
Viola da Gamba George Wilson, 1975 (after Barak Norman, ca. 1700)

About the Recording
In Freedom We’re Born: Songs from the American Revolution was recorded using digital technology on location. The sound of this recording most nearly re-creates the ambience of a small tavern or public meeting place. The compact disc release will most closely re-create the sound of the master recording.

For The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Executive Producer Richard McCluney
Production Manager Michael C. Durling
Musical Direction Jane Hanson
Art Direction Helen Mageras
Photography Tom Green
Notes Jane Hanson

For Noble Creek Production Services, Inc.
Producer/Engineer Michael Puckett
Production Manager Joanne Puckett
Assistant Engineer Jorin Hood

All income from the sales of this recording is used for the purposes of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which operates the Historic Area, and to carry forward its educational programs. Colonial Williamsburg welcomes private contributions. Friends interested in discussing gifts to the Foundation are invited to contact the Director of Development, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Post Office Box 1776, Williamsburg, Virginia 23176-1776.

© 2009 by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation



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