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4th of July is a dandy day for all of us

By Dian Vujovich

I love the 4th of July. I love what it stands for. I love the parades, celebrations, fireworks, picnics and all of the hoopla surrounding it. I also love all the songs relating to this Independence Day.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, I spent my summers on Cape Cod. The 4th of July on the Cape was then and still is a big deal. A really big deal.

Visitors and residents in towns all along the Cape from Falmouth to Chatham and right on out to Provincetown would come out for an array of festivities whether it was watching their town’s local parade, enjoying bandstand programs, a baseball game, evening fireworks or heading to their favorite saloons.

I’ve got to admit, saloon celebrations then were a blast on the Cape. About mid-afternoon, proprietors typically hired folk-singers to entertain the revelers and lead them in song. Songs that everyone knew all the words to got belted out louder and louder as the drinks flowed and the afternoon turned into evening.

One of the popular entertainers around at that time was a guy named John Morgan. He was a summer fixture on the Cape and had a serious 4th of July following. Get to the bar he was playing at and you were guaranteed both a good time and singing till your throat was horse.

Songs like “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” always got the crowd going but it was “Yankee Doodle” that brought the rafters down.

George M. Cohan wrote the song for a musical that opened on Broadway 107 years ago, “Little Johnny Jones”. The play was about a jockey and a racehorse named Yankee Doodle.

I’m going to guess not many remember that but what many may recall is James Cagney singing the song in the 1942 movie, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. His performance resonated so much with audiences it became a hit back then and even today as we celebrate this 4th of July.

So in the spirit of this day, John Morgan where ever he may be, 4th of July celebrations everywhere and the fact that Wall Street sometimes seems as much like a horse race as it does anything else, what follows are the chorus lyrics of that song. Sing it out loud I’ll bet you’ll smile.

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
A Yankee Doodle, do or die
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the Fourth of July

I’ve got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart
She’s my Yankee Doodle joy
Yankee Doodle came to London
Just to ride the ponies
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy”

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