Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.


"In this wild wood will I range,
Listen, listen, dear,
Nor sigh for towns so fine, to change,
This forest, forest drear:
Toil and danger I'll despise,
Never, never weary,
And while love is in thine eyes,
Ever, ever cheery.

"Ah! what to me were cities gay,
Listen, listen, dear,
If from me thou wert away,
Alas! Alas! how drear,
O, still o'er sea, o'er land I'll rove,
Never, never weary,
And follow on where leads my love,
Ever, ever cheery."

~ "Ever, Ever Cheery!" from "The Indian Princess" (1808)

As I've remarked previously, it has been my interest for a long time now to explore and sift through early American culture from about 1600 to 1850, and in all its various facets, particularly with a mind toward bringing to light works and items that are relatively rare or are known only to a few. Well, it was my good fortune the other day to discover a joint recording which contains two very early American musicals, namely, "John Bray: The Indian Princess (1808); Raynor Taylor: The Ethiop (1814)" by the Federal Music Society Opera Company (New World Records --and which if you go to via the link given is available as an inexpensive download.)

The first of the two musicals, "The Indian Princess" (1808), is based on a text by James Nelson Barker with music by John Bray (1782-1822), and recreates the story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. The second, "The Ethiop," is by William Dimond with score by Raynor Taylor (1747-1825), and concerns intrigue and goings on at the court of Haroun Al-Raschid.

With a few very notable exceptions, like William Billings, Francis Hopkinson, Andrew Law, most formal composers of nascent America were transplanted Europeans, like Bray and Taylor; who sang liberty and the new nation, while bringing the latest theater and church fashions from home; so that in this music we sometimes hear echoing strains of such as Handel, Mozart and Beethoven. Yet most musicals such as were produced in that day were unlike opera in that, as the liner notes (.pdf, and which includes the lyrics and synopses) explain, "upper-caste characters have speaking roles exclusively. Only the comic characters sing arias. Music in the main plot is assigned to dignified choruses or instrumental interludes." The combined result of these factors and ingredients listening to Bray and Taylor's works now is charming, novel and amusing; made all the more so by imagining them being performed in this country in the youthful days of the Republic. Of the two, I like Bray's work better, but for antiquaries and adventurous seekers of the unusual both are definitely worth a listen -- though do follow the liner notes so that you have a more clear idea of what is taking place and being sung.

Other related albums, depending on how interested you might be in early American music, are (and not counting fife and drum music which I have not included):

  • "Early American Roots" by Hesperus
  • "Colonial America" by Hesperus
  • "America Sings, Volume I: The Founding Years"
  • "The Flowering of Vocal Music in America: 1767-1823"
  • "Music of the American Revolution: The Birth of Liberty" (New World Records)
  • "Music of the Federal Era" (New World Records)
  • "George Washington: Music for the First President" by David Hildebrand & Ginger Hildebrand

    And, of course, two other favorites we again made mention of not long ago.

  • "Ballads of the American Revolution: 1767-1781" by Wallace House
  • "Ballads of the War of 1812: 1791-1836" by Wallace House

    For further inquiring, see "New World Records" -- and where I obtained the liner notes for the Bray-Taylor album, and, of course, Smithsonian-Folkways, and at which latter you can also find church hymns, spirituals (white and negro), Native American music, minstrels, sea shanties, work songs, dance music, folk tunes, Latin music, and more from America's early, and not so early, years.



    ["Drop Dead Gorgeous" live/tv and "Ready to Go" by Republica]

    Later Note. Because the above live tv version of "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is no longer posted at YouTube, here’s the conventional video of that song at: ["Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous"]


    I think we tend sometimes to forget -- they were originally Ted Healy's Three Stooges, and that it is only in more recent times that we ascribe to them an independence that is and never was really theirs.



    "...Wherefore I have laboured to bring forward, and make clearly manifest, the utterly ill-conditioned carcass of this miserable little fox [Song of Songs 2:15; Luke 13:32.] For there will not now be need of many words to overturn their system of doctrine, when it has been made manifest to all. It is as when, on a beast hiding itself in a wood, and by rushing forth from it is in the habit of destroying multitudes, one who beats round the wood and thoroughly explores it, so as to compel the animal to break cover, does not strive to capture it, seeing that it is truly a ferocious beast; but those present can then watch and avoid its assaults, and can cast darts at it from all sides, and wound it, and finally slay that destructive brute. So, in our case, since we have brought their hidden mysteries, which they keep in silence among themselves, to the light, it will not now be necessary to use many words in destroying their system of opinions. For it is now in your power, and in the power of all your associates, to familiarize yourselves with what has been said, to overthrow their wicked and undigested doctrines, and to set forth doctrines agreeable to the truth. Since then the case is so, I shall, according to promise, and as my ability serves, labour to overthrow them, by refuting them all in the following book. Even to give an account of them is a tedious affair, as you see. But I shall furnish means for overthrowing them, by meeting all their opinions in the order in which they have been described, that I may not only expose the wild beast to view, but may inflict wounds upon it from every side."
    ~ St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book I, ch. 31.

    "In the first book, which immediately precedes this, exposing 'knowledge falsely so called' [1 Timothy 6:20], I showed you, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons; and I carefully noticed the passages which they garble from the Scriptures, with the view of adapting them to their own fictions. Moreover, I minutely narrated the manner in which, by means of numbers, and by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, they boldly endeavour to establish [what they regard as] truth. I have also related how they think and teach that creation at large was formed after the image of their invisible Pleroma, and what they hold respecting the Demiurge, declaring at the same time the doctrine of Simon Magus of Samaria, their progenitor, and of all those who succeeded him. I mentioned, too, the multitude of those Gnostics who are sprung from him, and noticed the points of difference between them, their several doctrines, and the order of their succession, while I set forth all those heresies which have been originated by them. I showed, moreover, that all these heretics, taking their rise from Simon, have introduced impious and irreligious doctrines into this life; and I explained the nature of their 'redemption,' and their method of initiating those who are rendered 'perfect,' along with their invocations and their mysteries. I proved also that there is one God, the Creator, and that He is not the fruit of any defect, nor is there anything either above Him, or after Him. In the present book, I shall establish those points which fit in with my design, so far as time permits, and overthrow, by means of lengthened treatment under distinct heads, their whole system; for which reason, since it is an exposure and subversion of their opinions, I have so entitled the composition of this work. For it is fitting, by a plain revelation and overthrow of their conjunctions, to put an end to these hidden alliances, and to Bythus himself, and thus to obtain a demonstration that he never existed at any previous time, nor now has any existence..."
    ~ Against Heresies, Book II, Preface.


    After...and Before


    Later Note. In passing it's worth remarking, I look up to Chuck Berry as a music teacher, and who taught me, from listening to and watching him, to understand aspects of rhythm better and more clearly; including how rhythm is somewhat and not unlike a happy companion to the soul; and which you can recognize when good music is playing; just as you might recognize a welcome friend coming to greet you. So much is this so that, oddly or not oddly enough, whenever I think of rhythm, most of the time I think of Chuck Berry also -- which may sound strange in its way, but is true fact nonetheless. (I had wanted to have said or mentioned this a long time ago, but lacked what I thought was a suitable context. However, with the posting of the above, now seemed a good occasion as any.)


    For the possible benefit of any who still might be perplexed or confused on the subject of religion and spirit people, here are a few points remembering.

    1. For Christians, Christ is and is of the truth. Now we understand truth and truthfulness to connote honesty and rationality (Logos.) Therefore, if a person, including a spirit person (no matter how puissant, awe inspiring, forbidding, hope giving, and wonderful, etc.) is not fundamentally and the vast majority of the time honest and rational then they cannot really be of the truth; and hence are not Christian.

    2. The most any spirit person can really do to hurt you in immediate circumstances is to harm you physically. Yes, they do use psychological warfare as well, but a rational and scientific person is capable of seeing a psychological attack as simply a refined form of physical assault, and that can consequently, and for practical purposes, be cognitively analyzed, understood and dealt with the same way (as a physical attack is, say, philosophically, militarily, medically.)

    3. The greater and worst evil comes from autocratic and criminal spirit people; they have both the most elaborate and sophisticated means to effect great evil; and, as history and religion have shown, the greatest motive for bringing evil about. While we would by no means say regular flesh-and-blood people are entirely absolved of their own moral responsibility, in the larger preponderance of cases of the worst crime experience will show that spirit people are to blame. Those then who expend the greater share of their wrath and ire on regular people, but who ignore the guilt of spirit people, are either feeble minded, cowards, and or hypocrites; and who are ready to forfeit their humanity and God given capacity to think in exchange for the thralldom of bullying spirit people.

    4. No spirit person who can assail you with violence is superior to Right Reason and morals, and as long as you are reasonably moral and rational, you are as worthy, good and important as any such spirit person, including "Satan" himself or someone pretending to be "God."