Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boer War Song - Goodbye Dolly Gray

Sheet music cover

Popular during the Spanish-American War of 1898, Goodbye Dolly Gray became a quick favourite among British and colonial troops, including the New Zealanders, with the onset of the Boer War, 1899-1902. The reference to the troops' blue uniforms in the lyrics reveals the American antecedents of the song. With the advent of World War I, Goodbye Dolly Gray once again became a popular refrain.

The song may be heard at First World War.com, with a version sung by Canadian singer Harry MacDonough in 1901 here.

Goodbye Dolly Gray

I have come to say goodbye, Dolly Gray,
It's no use to ask me why, Dolly Gray,
There's a murmur in the air, you can hear it everywhere,
It's the time to do and dare, Dolly Gray.

So if you hear the sound of feet, Dolly Gray,
Sounding through the village street, Dolly Gray,
It's the tramp of soldiers' true in their uniforms so blue,
I must say goodbye to you, Dolly Gray.

Goodbye Dolly I must leave you, though it breaks my heart to go,
Something tells me I am needed at the front to fight the foe,
See - the boys in blue are marching and I can no longer stay,
Hark - I hear the bugle calling, goodbye Dolly Gray.

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