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KAS Lyr Req: Pogo's Songs (117* d) RE: Lyr Req: Pogo's Songs 03 Feb 02


He really did know this stuff. Except for a few skinnily repackaged early strip collections, Kelly's books are pretty much all out of print (why?! rowrbazzle!), but if you're lucky enough to find any of them used, there are lots of hidden gems -- references to all kinds of songs, snatches sung by characters, and pages devoted to original Carrollian verse.

Kelly collected a bunch (set to music by Norman Monath) in a hardback book called Songs of the Pogo (Simon & Schuster, 1956). It does not include Good King Sauerkraut, but it ends with the first verse of Boston Charlie. The arrangements are simple, for piano and voice. Folk songs and traditional singing get much play in the introductions, and there's plenty of lore attached to each. From the jacket copy:

"This book contains words and music of 30 songs, suitable for as many occasions -- birthdays, clandestine trysts, medical checkups, elevator rides, evenings at the public library, police raids, music-to-pay-last-year's bills by.... It is the intent of this book to make people leave the TV sets of bars and grills to gather, singing once again, about the old family upright, and then soberly to return to the bars and grills and think things over."

There was a record album made of Songs of the Pogo as well, but it's even harder to find than the book. Anyone?

I'm not sure if this is still available, but in 1992, Kelly's widow Selby Daley Kelly published Pogo Files for Pogophiles: A Retrospective on 50 years of Walt Kelly's Classic Comic Strip (Spring Hollow Books, Richfield, MN, ISBN 0-945185-03-0). It includes a chapter called The Swampy Bard: Songs and Poetry, a brief section on the Christmas carol parodies, including a historical overview of Deck Us All With Boston Charlie with several verses, and Kelly's original carol Bright Christmas Land. I think if there were any more of Good King Sauerkraut, we'd see it here, but yeah, it does seem to exist only for the joke. In one strip, Churchy LaFemme (on his way to carol rehearsal) starts to sing it, but doesn't make it past the first line before he's asked to try that other one:

Under Thursday of Crispness,
MacTruloff sanity
Three wench friends
Tudors above
An' the parson up a psaltree.


Ken


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