…don’t forget the robin

No stretch as to where this mind is at the beginning of another Memorial Day Weekend. Why it’s in England via Australia, of course. And it’s not the only time (eh, Rolf Harris?) that it has taken an Aussie to revive the British public’s interest in English folk music…actually British and beyond, because who amongst us doesn’t associate ENGLISH with “Country Garden”?

Born in Melbourne in1882, George Percy Aldridge Grainger was a composer, arranger and pianist who, to this day is most generally associated with his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune “Country Gardens” (collected by Cecil Sharp and arranged by Grainger).

Landing in London in 1901, he established himself first as a society pianist and then as concert performer, composer and traditional folk music collector.  But then in 1914, at the start of the Great War, the Australian who shed light on one of the most quintessential English tunes moved to America and ended up taking his U.S. citizenship, after serving as a band member in the U.S. Army, in 1918.

Born in Washington State and not to be confused with Jimmy Rogers the Country singer, Jimmie Rodgers grew up in a musical household and served in the United States Air Force in Korea.  After being discharged he became a contestant on Arthur Godfrey’s radio talent show.  And RCA was waiting to sign him up.  You might remember his debut hit in 1957, “Honeycomb” followed by a number of other single hits on the Billboard Charts.    

But in the UK no Jimmie Rodgers song ever topped today’s selection, which reached Number 5 in the chart in June 1962.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Saturday 26 May

English Country Garden

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow

In an English country garden?

I’ll tell you now of some that I know

And those I miss you’ll surely pardon

Daffodils, Heart’s Ease and Flox

Meadowsweet and Lady Smocks

Gentian, Lupine and tall Hollyhocks

Roses, Foxgloves, Snowdrops, Forget-Me-Nots

In an English country garden

(In an English country garden)

 How many insects come here and go

Through our English country garden?

I’ll tell you now of some that I know

And those I miss you’ll surely pardon

Fireflies, moths and bees

Spiders climbing in the trees

Butterflies that sway on the cool gentle breeze

There are snakes, ants that sting

And creeping things

In an English country garden

(In an English country garden)

 How many songbirds fly to and fro

Through our English country garden?

I’ll tell you now of some that I know

And those I miss you’ll surely pardon

Bobolink, Cuckoo and Quail

Tanager and Cardinal

Bluebird, Lark, Thrush and Nightingale

There is joy in the spring

When the birds begin to sing

In an English country garden

(In an English country garden)

Robin (Robin, robin)

Don’t forget the Robin (Don’t forget the robin)

Robin (Robin, robin)

Don’t forget the robin…

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