Archive for April 17th, 2013

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North Pond Hermit Music Connection

April 17, 2013

Music and art document history

Maine musician Stanley Keach has taken the opportunity to document a bit of history that unfolded this past week in Rome, Maine by writing a song about the North Pond Hermit. Along with the text you can see the video (at the bottom) that was created of Stanley and Barefoot Dan Simons singing the song.

I remember while growing up my sister and I would march around the house singing Battle of New Orleans of 1814. I was curious about that song so I searched and sure enough there was a YouTube with the song. It was written by Jimmy Driftwood and sung by Johnny Horton. The video is filled with images, many of them paintings, depicting the battle. How do you, music and art teachers, incorporate the teaching of history into your lessons that mark an event and/or a time period?

WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS
Twenty-seven years ago, he went into the woods.
He didn’t really have a plan.  Guess he did it ‘cause he could.
He was only 19.  Didn’t know he’d stay that long.
He came to think of the woods of Maine as the place that he belonged.

YOU AND I WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SLEEP OUTSIDE WHEN IT’S 25 BELOW —
AND YOU FEEL IT FROM YOUR FOREHEAD RIGHT DOWN TO YOUR ACHING TOES.
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.
NO, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.

Nobody ever saw him ‘cause he only moved at night.
He knew how to hide his tracks and stay down out of sight.
His campsite hidden well beneath a canopy of trees.
They say that he committed a thousand burglaries.

YOU AND I WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ALONE AS A DECADE COMES AND GOES —
WHEN THE ICE STORM RAGES, AND THE FROZEN NORTH WIND BLOWS —
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.
NO, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.

He’d slip into an empty camp through a window or a door.
He just took what he needed to survive and nothing more.
He never built a fire.  He was afraid it would be seen.
How he kept alive in winter is a mystery to me.

YOU AND I WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.
WE DRIVE AROUND AND GO TO JOBS AND STAY HOME WHEN IT SNOWS.
WE’RE LOSING TOUCH WITH NATURE, AND WE DON’T KNOW HOW IT FLOWS.
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.
NO, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NORTH POND HERMIT KNOWS.

Words & Music © 2013 by Stan Keach

A little more info from Stan on “The Battle of New Orleans” — Jimmy Driftwood got the tune for the song from an old fiddle tune, “The Eighth of January,” a commemorative tune written to celebrate Andrew Jackson’s victory in New Orleans, which occurred on January 8th.  Here’s a link to a version of that fiddle tune: Eighth of January – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxva-itzRQY.

When Jackson was running for President in 1828, his campaign train would stop at depots, and, before or after Jackson gave a speech, a fiddler would play “The Eighth of January,” and “Rachel,” a tune written in honor of Jackson’s wife.  Here’s a link to “Rachel”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wks6mA50560

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