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Jim Dixon Songs of the 1919 Flu Pandemic (34) Lyr Add: THAT EPIDEMIC RAG (Foran/Williams, 1911) 14 Jul 20


This is actually from 7 years before the 1918-19 pandemic, but interesting nonetheless.

There are several instrumental recordings on YouTube of this ragtime tune, such as this one by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and this one, which seems to be a midi made directly from the sheet music. The only vocal performance I could find was this one—for one voice and ukulele.

Lyrics below are from the sheet music at University of Oregon:


THAT EPIDEMIC RAG
Words by Billy Foran, music by Edna Williams, ©1911.

1. Have you heard about the new disease
That's spreadin' 'round the universe?
It's nothing like the influenza sneeze.
It's not the eppizudy* but it's twice as worse.
Folks are stricken with it ev'rywhere.
The germ is in the atmosphere.
You can fumigate, camphorate, vaccinate, emigrate,
But it's bound to overtake and sting you in the ear.

CHORUS: It's that epidemic rag,
That contagious melody,
That delirious drag,
That makes you dance, makes you prance, in a feverish trance.
It's raging, that raving ragtime.
Oh! Doctor, joyous convulsions of melodious pain,
Oh, spasms of ecstasy, come get me again!
I'm passing away; let me swoon to the tune of that strain. (Oh! Lawdy, come and get me!)
Oh, that epidemic rag!

2. When the symptom of that chronic craze
Once fondles and embraces you,
You're quarantined with joy for sixty days.
No matter where you go, this microbe chases you,
And your eyes begin to shake and roll.
Your heart longs for your turtledove.
It goes pumpin' and bumpin' and thumpin' and jumpin'
And Lawdy, Lawdy, how it makes you spoon and love!

- - -
* Eppizudy = epizootic


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