If you’re a regular reader, you are probably aware that I have come to the conclusion that most anthems are dark, mean-spirited affairs. When they’re not calling for the spilling of blood (Ireland, France), they are stomping on other people (like the infamous sixth verse of “God Save the Queen”). It looks like someone in Florida actually sat down and looked at their state song again, and the result is not pretty.
Their state song, “Swanee River”, is another old Tin Pan Alley concoction (yup, like “Danny Boy”) written by someone who had never seen the river, misspelled its name (on maps it’s clearly written Suwanee River) and simply imagined a “darkie” far from home longing for the “de old plantation”.
ll de world am sad and dreary,
Ebry where I roam,
Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home
Like any song that you heard as a child, some people still like “Swanee River”, warts and all, and are pushing for a simple re-write of the lyrics. But as far as keeping it as a state song, I know which way my vote would go. As local blogger Gregory Lewis says, there are better choices – notably something written by a Floridian!
Check what some locals have to say here. Incidentally, I have now introduced anthems as a category all its own. Check the link above.