Thursday, December 1, 2011

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The Moon Shines on the Moonshine

Preparations for our move continue. As I go through cabinets and drawers deciding what to take and what to jettison, I stumble upon across occasional little gems. I broke out into a smile when I found nearly hundred year old sheet music for The Moon Shines on the Moonshine.

Published in 1920, the song was already a popular tune as sung by Vaudeville comedian Bert Williams — an African-American who, in one of the bizzare twists of minstrelsy, regularly performed in blackface. He wasn’t the only one. But he was the only one WC Fields is said to have called “the funniest man I ever saw.”

Lyrics by Francis de Witt — just slightly different from the recording — follow.

The Moon Shines on the Moonshine

The mahogany is dusty,
All the pipes are very rusty,
And the good, old-fashioned musty
Doesn't musty anymore.

All the stuff's got bum and bummer,
from the middle of the Summer.
Now the bar is on the hummer,
and "For Rent" is on the door.

How sad and still tonight,
by the old distillery,
And how the cob-webs cob,
in the old machinery!

But in the mountain tops,
far from the eyes of cops,
Oh how the moon shines on
the moonshine, so merrily!
How sad and merrily!

Goodness me, how misery doubles,
Ain't one thing to use for bubbles,
For to drive away your troubles,
Now the tide has gone and went.

Days and nights are getting bleaker,
shivering for an old-time sneaker,
Even water's getting weaker,
'Bout one tenth of one per cent.

How sad and still tonight,
by the old distillery,
And how the mourners mourn,
Bt the Lager Brewery!

So, mister, if you please,
Don't let nobody sneeze,
Up where the moon shines
On the moonshine, so still-ily
How sad and still-ily!

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