FOG Tune Lyrics: Soldier’s Joy

If you’ve played in a FOG gig before, you’ve observed the designated emcee occasionally introducing a tune by citing its little known lyrics, as a means of adding a little “color commentary” to our performances. We thought it might be of interest to feature some of those lyrics. In honor of Memorial Day, we feature Soldier’s Joy.

Soldier’s Joy” is a fiddle tune, classified as a reel or country dance. It is popular in the American fiddle canon, touted as “an American classic” but traces its origin to Scottish and Irish fiddle traditions. It has been played in Scotland for over 200 years, and Robert Burns used it for the first song of his cantata ‘The Jolly Beggars’. According to documentation at the United States Library of Congress, it is “one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes” and is rated in the top ten most-played old time fiddle tunes. According to the Illinois Humanities Center, the tune dates as early as the 1760s. In spite of its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, the term “soldier’s joy” has a much darker meaning than is portrayed by the tune. This term eventually came to refer to the combination of whiskey, beer, and morphine used by Civil War soldiers.

Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean’
I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turnin’ green

Twenty-five cents for whiskey, twenty-five cents for beer
Twenty-five cents for morphine, get me out of here

Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean’
I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turnin’ green

Chorus:
I’m my momma’s pride and joy (3×)
Sing you a song called the soldier’s joy(1)

(1) Wikipedia contributors. “Soldier’s Joy (fiddle tune).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Feb. 2018. Web. 27 Apr. 2018.