Big Chief put his war-paint on and kissed his squaw goodbye;
Threw away his pipe of peace and went to do or die.
He said, “Uncle Sammy feeds me, gives me all I get,
Now that Uncle Sammy needs me, Big Chief no forget.
Big Chief’s on his way to Berlin, just to do his share
Big chief’s goin’ to make ’em squawk
When he hits ’em with is tomahawk.
Big Chief’s goin’ to scalp the kaiser, take away his gun.
Oh! Oh! He have heap much fun;
Goodbye Herman, no more German,
Big Chief Kill-a-Hun.
That’s from 1918, and is just one of the forgotten songs you can find in the online World War One Sheet Music collection at http://dl.lib.brown.edu/sheetmusic/ww1/ The site has .pdfs of the actual sheet music, so those with more melodious voices than mine could easily get together a programme of obscure WW1 songs to delight their friends with.
It’s worth taking a look at the lyrics that P.G.Wodehouse wrote for the show The Girl Behind the Gun, and you can discover some interesting early Irving Berlin songs, too.
Today I’ve been looking at ethnic stereotypes, though. Try this one:
Alexander Cooper was a coloured trooper
With his regiment he marched away.
Bands were gaily playing,
Coloured folks were swaying
On Emancipation Day.
From the crowd, Dinah Lee so proud
Hollered to her sweetie good and loud: –
Goodbye honey boy,
Dressed up in that uniform
You fill my heart with joy.
You ain’t born for mopin’
Boy, you sure can laugh,
But they left that window open,
And they caught you in the draft.