August 6, 2012 8:37 PM

I have been looking for songs about Omaha lately and have found there aren't many. So I wrote one.

I mean, there are a few, but they all seem so general. Omaha, somewhere in middle America? You might as well write a song called "I don't know shit about Omaha."

The lyrics to this song are from a poem about Omaha published in Harper's Magazine in September, 1869, back when Omaha was the terminus of the western half of the transcontinental railroad and a pretty lawless town.

posted by Bunny Ultramod (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Quite wonderful. Love the idea of pulling lyrics from a poem from 1869. Good job, man.

Add the waltz tag! Precious few waltzes around these days!

Any chance you could post the lyrics here? Not that your enunciation isn't good, but it'd be great to see them laid out.

Love that break/middle section, that's absolutely lovely. Great how it's like something just blew in and sucked out a whole area of sound, leaving some skeletal frame to carry on for awhile until the rest of the sound blew back in again.

My one negative critique would be that the ultra-sudden stop at the end just doesn't feel right for this song. Feels like an artificial idea: something a little more like grains of sand blowing away (sonically, I mean) for the ending would've been more appropriate. The abruptness of that ending just feels wrong and dissatisfying to me here.

This is almost certainly my favorite thing you've posted to MeFiMu.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Waltz tag added. Thanks for your commends, flapjax. It's an early version of the orchestration; I agree it could use a stronger end.

Here are the lyrics:

Hast ever been in Omaha,
Where rolls the dark Missouri down,
And four strong horses scarce can draw
An empty wagon through the town?
Where sand is blown from every mound
To fill the eyes and ears and throat-
Where all the steamers are aground
And all the shanties are afloat?
Where whisky shops the livelong night
Are vending their poison juice:
Where men are often very tight,
And women deemed a trifle loose?
Where taverns have an anxious guest
For every corner, shelf and crack;
With half the people going west,
And all the others going back?
Where theaters are all the run
And bloody scalpers come to trade;
Where everything is overdone
And everybody underpaid?
If not, take heed to what I say:
You'll find it just as I have found it;
And if it lies upon your way,
For God's sake, reader, go around it!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:23 AM on August 18, 2012

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