Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Big Bass Viol, by M.T. Bohannon

My tuba colleague Mike Eastep found this old tune, in his mother's attic I think. He seems to want everyone in the CPO bass section to learn it and perform it. It's called "Bass Song" by M.T. Bohannon, and the lyrics are as follows:

There once lived a man in the town of Missoula,
His name was Augustus Miles.
He was known miles around as a Lalapalousa,
At playing the Big Bass Viol;

And ev'ry night when his work was done,
You'd hear him playing Zum, zum, zum,
And o'er his face there comes a smile,
as he plays this tune on his Big Bass Viol.

Zum, zum, zum, zum, zum, zum,
sounds forth his Big Bass Viol,
Zum, zum, zum, zum, zum, zum,
He plays it all the while,

Theres ne'er a lute nor a harp or flute
with tones so soft or mild,
As the Zum, zum, zum, zum, zum, zum
that he plays on his Big Bass Viol.

(2nd verse)

Augustus Miles played himself into trouble,
For a maid with a roguish eye,
Just gave him a smile and his heart like a bubble,
Went bounding to unknown skies;

And now he goes to serenade,
Beneath the window of this fair maid,
Says he, "Her heart I must beguile
by playing this tune on my Big Bass Viol."



Joe Lewis said...

That is priceless! We should do an arrangement with a double bass solo in the middle and get a recording out... ;-)

Joe Lewis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Speaking of amazing songs.. in case you haven't seen this..

you have to keep watching until about 2minutes and 15 seconds in to get the real good stuff.

Bill said...

I tell you, this internet thing is going to catch on!! Googling the two terms: bohannon
big bass viol

it turns out there are a dozen hits! Including an ebay auction for the sheet music.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

My uncle Edgar Mills, a would be operatic bass baratone, used to sing this piece, the lyrics of which (first verse) I learned.

When suffering from a snotty cold or flu, thus deepening my voice, I'll have a go at the song.


sylvia said...

My father and grandfather sing this. husbands father.
It's a great song for a true bass voice.

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