October 13, 2009

The song, Take Back Your Gold, 1897

(Click image to enlarge)
"Take Back Your Gold"
by The Bell Sisters

I had some luck finding a record made of the 1897 song, Take Back Your Gold, the song sung by Soap Gang members, Bowers, Triplett, Foster, and Jackson as they huddled in fear on the upper floor of the Burkhard Hotel, prisoners of the vigilante committee and temporarily appointed U. S. Deputy Marshal J. M. Tanner, as a hungry mob outside threatened to storm the hotel and string up the gang in Skagway, Alaska a few days after Soapy had been shot dead.

The record is a 7 " 45 RPM sung by the Bell Sisters for the 1953 Paramount film, Those Redheads From Seattle, a Klondike gold rush based musical.


Take it back, Take it back
Please take back your gold

Take back your gold
For gold can never buy me
Take back your bribe
And promise you’ll be true

Give me the love
The love that you deny me
Make me your wife
That’s all I ask of you

I saw youth and maiden
On a lonely city street
And thought them lovers
At their meeting place

Until, as I drew near
I heard the girl’s sad voice entreat
The one who heeded
Not her tear-stained fate (and we quote)

Take it back, take it back, Jack
For gold can never buy me
Take it back, take it back, take it back
Promise you’ll be true

Give me the love that you deny me
Don’t falter, gonna lead you to the altar
So take it back, take it back, take it back, Jack
Take back your gold

(Click image to enlarge)
1897 music sheet cover
courtesy of Jean A. Murray

I do not believe the song was meant to be played at the tempo performed by the Bell Sisters. The words by Louis W. Pritzkow and music by Monroe H. Rosenfeld were no doubt meant to be a solemn if not sad song. In her book, Music of the Alaska-Klondike Gold Rush: Songs and History, author Jean Murray writes,

Billed as a Soubrette Extraordinaire, Klondike Kate Rockwell swished on stage at the Savoy for her opening night dressed in lace and a huge Lillian Russell hat, heavy with ostrich plumes. She so wowed the miners as she sang "Take Back Your Gold" that they threw nuggets to her on the stage while cheering for more.

Kitt sang ["Take Back Your Gold"] in her low, throaty way. Each line was accompanied by an impassioned gesture—the outstretched arm, the hand pressed to bosom, the finger to cheek, the tearful eye. Poor girl...handsome swain...a love that's lost...

"Make me your wife, that's all I ask of you-hoo," she sang, backed by a soulful humming male quartet in soup-strainers and sideburns...she was the most appetizing cupcake the Yukon had ever seen" (Klondike Kate, by Ellis Lucia, 1962, 67).

Jean also has a wonderful CD of period music from her book that you can order. However it does not contain the song, Take Back Your Gold.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Jeff. Just came across this song in Jack London's novel, A DAUGHTER OF THE SNOWS.


Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith