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#543976 - 09/24/07 06:02 PM harpers ferry  
Joined: Dec 2000
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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my latest historical with a moral smile


harpers ferry
2007 John Voorpostel


he was a treasonous killer,
a visionary martyr and hero
a mad man a terrorist
a misguided fool who persevered so
they could only agree
after he opened the door
that he was the man
who started the civil war


at the gates of shenandoah
where the two rivers meet he came gunning
they took out the armory
so robert e lee came a running
they hanged him at dawn
for what they couldn't ignore
and soon after that
they started the civil war


riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know how much blood would flow
riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know the fight would grow
riding down to harpers ferry
the weight of the south
was too heavy to carry
so both sides rode down on
harpers ferry


it was a jefferson moment
a magnificent picture in nature
they built there a factory
of weapons so peace could endure
when the fighting stopped
with order secured
so was the legend
that started the civil war


riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know how much blood would flow
riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know the fight would grow
riding down to harpers ferry
the weight of the south
was too heavy to carry
so both sides rode down on
harpers ferry


there's sides to the truth,
I don't have to tell you,
what is real
is what is remembered


riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know how much blood would flow
riding down to harpers ferry
they didn't know the fight would grow
riding down to harpers ferry
the weight of the south
was too heavy to carry
so both sides rode down on
harpers ferry



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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#543993 - 09/24/07 07:36 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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PeterJ Offline
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PeterJ  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
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South OrangeCounty, California...
John.
This is a very interesting piece of work. There is some really good imagery, and what I can only assume is historic accuracy. I've never been very good at history, American or otherwise; nevertheless, I couldn't help but be impressed by the line

It was a Jefferson Moment
A magnificent picture in nature

Something about that line grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

I'll give it another read-through, but I could only provide technical comment. Hopefully, you'll get some feedback from folks more familiar with the subject matter who can "verify your facts" and give you their take on your perspective.

As written, I like what you have here. Nice job.


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#544049 - 09/24/07 10:48 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: PeterJ]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Thanks for checking in Peter, much appreciated.

That line refers to Thomas Jefferson's reaction when he first saw the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, which is where Harpers Ferry is located. He is quoted as saying it was "perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.

Here I'm trying to say, It's such a beautiful piece of country, but they put up a facory, and not any old factory, they located an arms manufacturing facility here (Thank you George Washington). One man's beauty is another man's factory...

All part of a greater theme....John Brown and Harpers Ferry are remembered "differently" .... depending on who you speak to








If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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#544054 - 09/24/07 11:11 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Skip Johnson Offline
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Skip Johnson  Offline
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Stoneham (Boston), U.S.A
John,

I particularly appreciate historically based lyrics like this one. I believe one function songwriters serve is to help celebrate and remember the past that would otherwise be forgotten by those who come later.

Any more details of what lies behind this piece? It is enough to whet the appetite, but such a lyric nearly demands more information and discussion. Who exactly is the person described so vividly in the first verse? You've not named him directly, I don't think. Would it damage what you are trying to achieve to be more specific here?

I like this very much. Keep writing.

Skip

P.S. The little bits of legends I hear in various places are great lyric starters for me. I've done several Civil War based lyrics myself, and find that era of our history a particularly fruitful one for ballad weaving and story telling.

#544125 - 09/25/07 04:07 AM Re: harpers ferry [Re: Skip Johnson]  
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PA
Have to pull out history books...John V....Thanks for the refresher... I've always enjoyed this type from you.... smile

one spot..I'm probably reading this wrong...but that first verse
toward the end...is there a word missing...or something? or
do i need to lend you a few dots?... smile smile

hugs...
see ya in a few weeks.. ( I mean here on the board wink )
kk smile

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#544194 - 09/25/07 11:05 AM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Derek Hines Offline
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United States Oregon
Hi John

I love the song great imagery nice hook I wish I didn't have to do this. The man you speak of John Brown was an abolishionist. I see where the lyric is going. And I also understand most will probably be angered by my commentary. So here goes

The Civil war was not exclusively nor was it mainly about slavery. One of the most misunderstood pieces of the civil war. Is that it's roots lie quite close to those of this nation triumphing over England.

The reason or main reason that the southern stats suceeded was because of unfair trade practices. The northern textile mills charged southerners high prices for thier goods and tariffs on textiles brought over from europe. While paying them a pittance for the cotton they harvested.

Few southerners had many slaves except for some larger plantations. While northerners had tons of them used as housekeepers, in textile mills and such. It wasn't even till the second half of the war that the emanciaption proclamation was written. Even then Lincoln promised at first that slaves in the south (where he had no jurisdiction) would be set free. While nothern slaves would not be emancipated. This would later change however it is strong evidence that the war was not strongly about slavery. The abolishment movement was even by Lincoln considered to be extreme.

And lest we forget that Lee was a part of the Union Army before he became a confederate General. Also shall we forget the horrors played out on southern states by northern states? That Atalnta and other major southern cities were literally burned to the ground? And that those who had not even chosen a side had all of their possesions stolen and or burned?

I am not standing here and saying that slavery was a good or ok thing. Though I will dispute the so called facts of most history books.

To make a rather long post shorter. Harpers ferry while an intersting point in history in no way represents the start of the Civil War. Otherwise you have a finely penned lyric here.
Sincerely
Derek Hines

Last edited by Derek Hines; 09/25/07 11:08 AM.

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#544264 - 09/25/07 02:11 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: Derek Hines]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Hiya Skip...I guess I thought the main character was self evident .... John Brown it is... whose "body lies a mouldering in the grave" ... he did what he did, and used violence to achieve his ends, and is remembered as a hero, a fool, a terrorist etc.... exactly as I portrayed him....

But I thought Harper ferry was sufficiently engrained in the consciousness of the American people that everyone would quickly figure it out...

Guess maybe not. smile

Thanks for stopping in...

Ciao


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#544265 - 09/25/07 02:12 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Thanks for the dots Kales.... I guess though it's simply a difference in head tunes smile Thanks for your encouragement and nice words. See ya soon


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#544268 - 09/25/07 02:31 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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Hi Derek...proof in the pudding so to speak about the various viewpoints.

Not in your accurate statements about the causes of the civil war... because we learned that too in Canada. The primarily agricultural south was definitely getting the short end of the economic stick, and policies "dictated" by the North definitely caused harm....

(Not sure about your going further and talking about Sherman's laying waste to the South. By this time it had been a bitter war, and war, by it's nature is cruel and unjust. No question though that Sherman's tactics, and the subsequent age of "The Carpetbaggers" did much to ingrain the feelings the South had for the North...and they resonate through this day...)

Still, before the war, John Brown was perceived differently, depending who you talk to. It was Lincoln who was quoted as calling him a misguided fool (or zealot), while of course others saw him as a hero (who else but zealous abolitionists), a terrorist(ask those who were his hostages, or the families of those who died...and those who sympathised with them) etc


One thing historians apparently agree on though, was that John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry ( actually on a federal army establishment located there, that the then Federal Army general Robert E Lee was sent to recapture), and his subsequent impassionate speech at his trial (widely reported), and his execution, was a catalyst more than a cause....

He became a "rallying point" for debate and inflamed anger, and subsequently for soldiers of the North as they marched to the famous song ......

At least that's how I read it... and meant when I wrote it smile




If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#544285 - 09/25/07 04:08 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Richard G Blum (D) Offline
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Hi John

writing is fine, the debate is finer!

rittman

#544390 - 09/25/07 11:08 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: Richard G Blum (D)]  
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Skip Johnson Offline
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Skip Johnson  Offline
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Stoneham (Boston), U.S.A
John,

I've heard of John Brown the abolitionist, and the song about him. You've filled me in on some details lacking in my general American history education. Thanks!

Skip

#544407 - 09/26/07 12:31 AM Re: harpers ferry [Re: Skip Johnson]  
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ben willis Offline
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Derek has some good points and I agree with them all. I am a newly discovered son of the Confederacy.My sister has been on a geneoligy kick and found papers that prove that my great,great,great grandfather fought for the south and was wounded in the battle at natural bridge, St. Marks, Florida during the last days of the war. He was 17 years old. Your lyric tells a story in the way that is best remembered so I wouldn't worry about precise accuracy unless it is based on a novel or history book. I wrote a song about the first Seminole Indian war and Gen. Andrew Jackson that was taken from a book with the authors permission and they were delighted. My recording of the song is being played to students at Colorado St. Univ. If you like history songs, write them and don't let anybody tell you that they are unpopular. These types of songs will not make us rich but they need to be written. Ben

http://benwillismusic.com

#544452 - 09/26/07 07:19 AM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Derek Hines Offline
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United States Oregon
Heya John

I see what you mean and it's great to see you do understand the history. It's hard to know for sure what starts things boiling. Truth be told it doesn't matter in the end except that wars happen. I agree with been may not need to be accurate if the opinion of the masses identifies with it. And without my study of history from that time I'd have never known the difference. Good job on an awesome lyric
Sincerely
Derek


All the worlds a song and all the people Singers

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#544512 - 09/26/07 01:27 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: Derek Hines]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Hiya Rittster...ya back at work yet? Letterman's not talking cabbie strike so I guess your back to your "shifty" self smile

Thanks for looking in...yeah, always good to have interesting discussions where you can learn things...


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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#544514 - 09/26/07 01:29 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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There ya go Skipper...btw nice to see you posting a few. I know your pastoral duties don't allow a lot of time to "play", and Judy's trials can't have helped. We'll simply enjoy your time here...

Ciao


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#544515 - 09/26/07 01:34 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Hi Ben....man it musta hurt when they planted the Stars n Bars when they discovered you smile

It's good to know your roots, and there's pride I think in knowing your lineage..and the accomplishments of your ancestors...it's actually the basis of what the west called "ancestor worship" when they derided what the Japanese saw as living by the ideals and examples of exemplary ancestors...not to say we should go as far as "worship", but we all need 'close" heroes....

And thanks for giving me your experience in "marketing" these kinds of songs...

Ciao


BTW, you mentiond "Stonewall"..... did you know he was one of the confederate generals who captured Harpers Ferry when the South took it...I guess they were after the munitions, and needed the geography to safeguard their rear as they advanced....



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#544516 - 09/26/07 01:35 PM Re: harpers ferry [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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Glad you spurred on this little discussion Derek...


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard

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