[Dixielandjazz] More about "Lily of the Valley" than you ever wanted to read

Dick Baker box2 at twotonbaker.com
Tue Oct 31 14:30:46 PST 2006

Ah, "Lily of the Valley."  As a few of you may know, for many years I've 
researched titles and composer credits for the Stomp Off record 
label.  This tune popped up in recordings by Acker Bilk/Ken Colyer and by 
the Grand Dominion Jazz Band.  I can't speak to the J. Dorsey recording, 
but the trad jazz bands presumably are playing the Barbarin tune.  For what 
it's worth -- and as a glimpse at the kind of sluething one can get into in 
doing research like this, I'll reproduce below the series of notes I made 
several years ago when working on this one.  I'll try to insert some 
explanations of who's saying what, but I apologize that it will have to be 
a bit cryptic; the "speaker" if not otherwise noted is myself:

Baker note to Erdos:  <4-- Our 3rd edition [of the Stomp Off catalog] notes 
         Lissauer says music by Anatole Friedland, words by L. Wolfe 
Gilbert, 1917.  Ewen agrees, but spells it "Anatol."
         Steve Abrams:  In our hymnal it's credited to L. Wolfe Gilbert & 
Anatoloe Friedland.
         Erdos:  But we've determined that this is different tune from the 
Gilbert-Friedland composition.

Then, right after we'd sent 3rd ed. to printer, Steve Abrams sent note saying,
         "I found on Superior-2700 by Frank Welling & John McGhee `Old Time 
         Lilly of the Valley (E. Hanks)
            (Old Time Hymn)
         I don't know the year or composer E. Hanks' first name."

He followed up with photocopy of a page from Record Research (August 1961), 
which seem to be a complete listing for the Superior record company 
compiled by George Kay.  It shows Superior 2700 to have on side B "The 
Lilly of the Valley," E. Hanks.  Shows dates 8/31/31-6/30/32--dates it was 
in print?  Side A was
Hide Me (Sacred Vocal)."

Can one of our more sacred collectors find sheet music with composer and 
verify that it's the same song that's on these CDs? --4>

8/22: Jim Riley sends sheet music to the L. Wolfe Gilbert-Anatol Friedland 
song, confirms that it's not our hymn.

8/28, Matthew Caulfield of Library of Congress:  Only LC card is for the 
Friedland-Gilbert tune.

9/12: Mike Montgomery found a Lily of the Valley in a Homer Rodeheaver 
hymnal.  No composer, but called English melody.  It's not our Lily of the 
Valley, which has, among other things, the melodies we know as "How Dry I 
Am" and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

July 2000 got several different Lilies from the Levy online collection, 
compared them all to our hymn.  Alas, none is what we want:  J. E. Müller 
(1830? 1880?); C. Kinkel (march); S. Smith (Mazourka); H. Maylath 
(nocturne); Carl S. Gungl (schottisch); Wm Frye.

Don Rouse found a The Lily of the Valley midi file at the Cyberhymnal web 
site (http://tch.simplenet.com/htm/l/lilyvall.htm) that he thinks is our 
song, but I don’t think so.  This one says words Charles William Fry, 1881, 
music William Shakespeare Hays, adapted by Fry.

Laundry Fat reports (8/00):
         This is in almost all of our old hymnals, but with a different 
tune than most jazz bands use.  Words are by C. W. Fry, music is ‘arranged 
by Ira D.
Sankey’ in our Gospel Hymns No. 5, pub. 1887.
         ("Happy Day":  The "How Dry I Am" tune, as inserted in "Lily of 
the Valley," is words P. Doddridge, music E. F. Rimbault in Songs of 
Perfect Love (Christian Witness Co. Publishing, 1922).  We think this was 
an "insert"; they often did this with short hymns.  "Must Jesus Bear the 
Cross Alone?" is stuck into many other recordings, in the middle of other 
hymns.  We think they did this with "O Happy Day" and that it was not an 
integral part of "Lily of the Valley.")

Well, I found the Charles W. Fry/William Shakespeare Hays "The Lily of the 
Valley" in Library of Congress Music Collection.  Charles Davis listened to 
the Bilk/Colyer and Grand Dominion recordings, then played the music for 
me, and we figured out that the jazz Lily is definitely based on the 
Fry/Hays Lily, but it’s decidedly jazzed up and the "How Dry I Am" tune is 
interpolated into it.  It would be misleading to simply attribute our tune 
to Fry/Hays without a long explanation, so we’ll leave it as 
is:  "Traditional."

The Lily that jazz bands play is definitely based on the Fry/Hays Lily, but 
within the jazz realm, it appears to qualify as by "traditional."

       Dick Baker - Now in Chattanooga!
             box2 at twotonbaker.com

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