Cheer, Boys, Cheer (II)
DESCRIPTION: "Cheer, boys, cheer! No more of idle sorrow, Courage, true hearts, shall bear us on our way." The sailors (soldiers? emigrants?) are urged to be happy as they leave England in search of fortune. They set out for a new land
AUTHOR: Words: Charles Mackay / Music: Henry Russell (1812-1900) (sources: Scott, Winstock)
EARLIEST DATE: 1926 (Scott); 1870s or earlier (see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: patriotic nonballad travel home farming
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Scott-EnglishSB, pp. 86-87, "Cheer! Boys, Cheer!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Winstock, pp. 165-170, "Cheer, boys, cheer!" (1 text, 1 tune)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #290, p. 20, "Cheer Boys, Cheer" (1 reference); also probably #291, p. 20, "Cheer! Boys, Cheer!" (2 references)
NOTES: Although I have not seed the broadsides involved, Edwin Wolf 2nd, American Song Sheets, Slip Ballads, and Political Broadsides 1850-1870, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1963, p. 20, lists two broadsides with the title "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," which are clearly related to this song. This would date the song to the 1870s or earlier. No author is listed.
Henry Russell wrote the tunes to several other pieces in the Index, including "Woodman, Spare That Tree," "A Life on the Ocean Wave," and probably "There's a Good Time Coming."
In an interesting footnote, Charles Dodgson (not yet famous as Lewis Carroll) attended a concert by Russell on February 9, 1857. Dodgson's verdict: "As a singer he does not strike me as anything remarkable. He is an amusing lecturer" (Edward Wakeling, editor, Lewis Carroll's Diaries: The Private Journals of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Volume 3, January 1857 to April 1858, Lewis Carroll Society, 1995, p. 23).
This sees to be a minority opinion. According to Jon W. Finson, The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 113, "Russell (1812-1900) was also British and began his career as a member of 'The Children's OperaCompany' at the Drury Lane Theater. In 1825 he departed for Bologna to study at the conservatory there, since Italian opera was all the rage in London at the time.... [He] emigrated to Canada, settline later in Rocheter, New York, during the 1830s. He stayed in the United States just long enough to take the pulse of American popular song, and before he returned to London in 1842, he produced many early hits. In fact, he was probably the most influential composer of his generation."
His autobiography was entited "Cheer! Boy! Cheer! Memories of Men and Music," and was published in 1895. - RBW
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