Peggy Lee / Johnny Mercer: The Freedom Train (Berlin) - Performed September 12, 1947 - Lyrics





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Uploaded on Jul 13, 2010

At 1:36 the singers identify themselves in this order: "Johnny Mercer, Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, Margaret Whiting, the Pipers and the Weston Band" (i.e., the Pied Pipers & Paul Weston's Orchestra). Benny Goodman comes in with his clarinet at 2:05. This recording was made on September 12, 1947. (More information and pictures here: http://www.lincoln-highway-museum.org... )

From the CD, "Peggy Lee: The Lost 40s and 50s Capitol Masters."

From Wikipedia: The 1947--1949 Freedom Train was proposed by Attorney General Tom C. Clark as a way to reawaken Americans to their taken-for-granted principles of liberty in the post-war years. The idea soon got the approval of President Harry S. Truman and everything else fell into place. Top Marines were selected to attend to the train and its famous documents; the Marine contingent was led by Col. Robert F. Scott. The train carried the original versions of the United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on its tour of more than 300 cities in all 48 states. As Alaska and Hawaii did not gain statehood until 1959, this train toured all of the US States that existed at the time. It was the first train to visit all 48 contiguous states (the 1936 Rexall Train had come close, but missed Nevada). (More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_... )

Berlin started writing this song on Tuesday, May 22, 1947, and completed it that following weekend. On the Tuesday following the weekend, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters recorded it, just in time for the recording to be sent to Attorney General Clark who then okayed its release at the inauguration of the Freedom Train in Philadelphia. More details, including Berlin's correspondence with a high-school student who had written to him about the work, here:


This song is a train song, it's a song about a train
Not the Atchison, Topeka, not the Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Nor the one that leaves at midnight for the state of Alabam'
This song is a train song where the engineer is Uncle Sam

Here comes the Freedom Train
You better hurry down
Just like a Paul Revere
It's comin' into your home town

Inside the freedom train
You'll find a precious freight
Those words of liberty
The documents that made us great

You can shout your anger from a steeple
You can shoot the system full of holes
You can always question "We the People"
You can get your answer at the polls

That's how it's always been
And how it will remain
So long as all of us
Keep riding on the Freedom Train

[2nd bridge:]
You can write the President a letter
You can even tell him to his face
If you think that you can do it better
Get the votes and you can take his place

[3rd bridge:]
You can hate the laws that you're obeying
You can shout your anger to the crowd
We may disagree with what you're saying
But we'll fight to let you say it loud
Peggy Lee, Brenda Lee, Morgana King, Damita Jo: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list...


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