The Ballad of John Banvard

from by Piñataland

/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $0.80 USD

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Click here to order the CD with lovely packaging sent through the fine postal service of the USA.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $9 USD

     

about

John Banvard worked on the Mississippi as a riverboat man for many years in the 1830s. His experiences inspired him to paint a “three-mile long” painting of the Mississippi.

Displaying the painting on rollers that moved the painting in the background while he told tales of life on the Mississippi brought him great fame. He toured his show to Boston and New York and eventually toured Europe and the world with his painting and one man show. He inspired imitators and in fact did more three-mile paintings, including one of the other bank of the Mississippi, one of the Nile, and one of Palestine.

After his world travels he brought back the relics he had collected to New York and opened a museum in Times Square where he competed with Barnum’s museum. Eventually he went bankrupt and retired to South Dakota, where he died in poverty.

No one knows what happened to his paintings.

lyrics

We’re selling off Glen Ada by the pound
Moving west to Watertown to die in South Dakota
Fleeing from the Barnum side
I watch the Mississippi flow. That river that I know so well
I thought it saved me ‘cause it carried me so far

Through my designs the river unwinds
The crank turns as lines form outside
There’s no time to lose so the show moves to Boston
And then New York is mine

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others

But that is not enough for me
My river flows across the sea
I meet with Queen Victoria. London and Paris adore me
And still the audience wants more. There’s imitations by the score
But none of them can touch my paintings of these shores

Through my designs the river unwinds
The crank turns as I play the guide
And now I’ve toured the world
Sketched the Nile and Palestine
And the ol’ Mississp’s brung a million to me

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others

But my museum can’t survive a war that’s waged with ads that lie
That bastard Barnum touts his fakes as artifacts
And all of the sudden I am poor. Investors pounding at my door
The Broadway drags me down and then it’s time to pack

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others

credits

from Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2, released August 8, 2008
David Wechsler—vocals, piano and accordion
Doug Stone—backing vocals
Curtis Eller—banjo
Hannah McLimans—violin
Gerald Menke—pedal steel guitar
Ross Bonadonna—organ
Aaron Zemelko—upright bass
Bill Gerstel—drums

Music and lyrics by David Wechsler

tags

license

all rights reserved