Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day With Johnny Cash

During my youtube-sessions with "johnny+cash"-videos, I came across an outstanding work featuring "Ragged Old Flag" by Johnny Cash. I decided to leave that one for the next U.S. Flag Day. Since my numerous calendar add-ons (U.S. edition) are telling me that today this day has come, here it is:

Ragged Old Flag

By John R. Cash, © 1974 House of Cash, Inc.

I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your old flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."

He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when
Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing Say Can You See.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Pakenham and Jackson tuggin' at its seems.

"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II.
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She was sent where she was by her Uncle Sam.

"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land here she's been abused --
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.

"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

"So we raise her up every morning, take her
down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground and we fold
her up right.
On second thought, I do like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of the Ragged Old Flag."

By John R. Cash, © 1974 House of Cash, Inc.

And here is the youtube-video. Really a great job!

I really love this song. Isn't it like "American history in 3 minutes"? Let me end this post with JC in his own words (hat tip Steven Menke):

There was one [song], "Ragged Old Flag" that I didn’t even have any control over. It came out faster than I could write it down. You’ve heard of people who write song in ten minutes. "ragged Old Flag" was one of those songs.


Anonymous said...

Wow, very nice links, good work. Thank you, Marian!

Don said...

Marian, if you love good gritty American traditional music I suggest you pull up the Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions videos on YouTube. There is too much there to link to from here, but many of the videos are pretty good.

It's all folk and traditional country songs done by Springsteen and a good sized band. In some ways it reminds me of early jazz, being rather more sophisticated than the early Country groups like the Carter Family was.

I'm listening to the Seeger Sessions CD right now - it's good and the video DVD which comes with it even better. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

I love this video with the lyrics of Johnny Cash's song!! I would like to find the photos used in the video on UTUBE. Where can I find them? I am putting together a slideshow for a patriotic choral concert. I'd like to use this song with photos for the opening. Any help is appreciated!