Wikipedia says that, before it morphed into a swing, Dixieland and bluegrass standard, The Washington and Lee Swing was one of the most well known — and widely borrowed — football marches ever written. Schools and colleges from Tulane to Slippery Rock to Gonzaga to Iowa State copied it (sometimes with attribution). It was written in 1910 by Mark W. Sheafe, Clarence A. (Tod) Robbins, and Thornton W. Allen. It has been recorded by virtually every important jazz and swing musician, including Glenn Miller (with Tex Beneke on vocals), Louis Armstrong, Kay Kyser, Hal Kemp and the Dukes of Dixieland. Here’s Louis playing it with the Dukes of Dixieland.
In another style here is the version of Byron Berline, (American fiddle player), and his band.
And for a spirited version here are the Dixie Boys playing at the Gunpowder Factory, Barcarena, Portugal. The factory has been decommissioned in case you’re wondering. It’s now a cultural centre with gallery, museum, craft shops, live music etc.
I recently heard Kim Rushworth singing the parody “I got the legs from some old table, I got the arms from some old chair…..” to the tune, and my friend Bill Liddy tells me that last Saturday night at the Victorian Jazz Club, Peter Hooper’s wonderful Royal Garden Jazz Band played the tune as their opening number, and the following evening it was played by One More George at the Williamstown Jazz Club.Comparisons between Washington and Lee Swing and Zacatecas March have included allegations that Washington and Lee Swing was heavily influenced by (or even originally outright borrowed from) that earlier Mexican march, which was written in 1891 by Genaro Codino, and is the anthem of the State of Zacatecas in Mexico. It is also considered as the second national anthem of Mexico.
What do you think?
I don’t agree – but then I didn’t think that Men at Work had copied Kookaburra Sits on an Old Gum Tree, so who am I to judge?
BUT I do have a sneaking suspicion about that Rudy Vallee hit from the 1930s – Betty Co-Ed.
And thank you Bill for the idea for this post.