The state of Florida is looking for a new state song.
The current (written in 1851 by Stephen Foster, officially adopted by Florida in 1935) state song's official name is “Old Folks at Home,” (lugubrious mp3) but most people know it either for its first line “Way down upon the Swanee River…'' or for its racist lines including “Still longing for the old plantation” and “Oh darkies, how my heart grows weary.”
They had competition for a replacement, and now they are down to three finalists which can be heard at justsingflorida.org. And apparently the public is invited to vote online for the winner. Ballot stuffing anyone?
Here are direct links to the syrupy contenders:
'Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky)' | Music and lyrics by Jan Hinton
'My Florida Home' | Music and lyrics by Christopher Marshall
'Florida, My Home' | Music by Carl Ashley, lyrics by Betsy Dixon
I think the first one is awful, the second one dull, and while the third may be the least bad, I don't much care for it, and it would be hard to sing. I hope I never have to hear any of them again, but I suppose they'll start popping up at graduation.
Do any states have good anthems?
Certainly, Georgia does.
After a courteous interview with an accomplished human resources official at Hitachi in a silicon valley industrial park, a friend asked me in debriefing whether, if hired, I would be singing the corporate anthem every morning precisely at 8:00 a.m. My ethnicity diverges from that of the society which inspires average employees to long for the right to sing about their company. So I thought about the jibe from the acquaintance obliquely for a few days; the HR gent called to advise that evidently I knew more about the job than the materials the veep had left with him; and, no, it would be inconvenient to hire me irrespective of my fealty, a trait of which my resume of prior employment was redolent.
As I trucked off to college I think I learned a lot about who goes to universities, as I looked around and saw which personality types were learning the school songs; indeed, even who became enslaved to the musical director’s sessions of chorale. Childish all, I thought; and consulted the Niles Appalachian song book once more as a touchstone of homely values; though those backwoods folks variously might have liked Stephen Foster to some degree, and his tunes have a halcyon rotundness to the melodies worthy of a scrubbed and washed hillbilly descant, backed up by an upright piano artfully arpeggiating through the long pauses between notes. Young folks roll on the little cabin… well, now their grandchildren’s heirs are facing the Republican law rollout that says only one kind of voter ID will let you vote for your congresspersons and president; different euphemisms for our times, but same peculiar way of figleafing biases.
Keep Swanee River! Its not over till the F.L. (Florida Legislature) sings. Keep the Modern Version of Swanee River.
Top Three Modern Versions
1. Vanilla Mood International Swanee
2. Swanee River Boogie by Albert Ammons (1946) King of Boogie Woogie
3. Swanee River Rock by Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles
2008 Concurrent Resolution to Keep Swanee River the Modern Words
The Foridia State song which is Florida Where the Swagrass Meets the Sky was a very nice melody. I really enjoyed the lyrics of this song. It really repersents the nature of Florida. Mrs.Jan Hinton captured the essence of the State of Florida. I’m very pride I voted for this song and Jan Hinton won. I think it would be nice if an welcome viedo would accompny with the lyrics of this song.It would be very nice. Donetta Thomas