Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Go! You Packers Go!"

Eric Karll's marvelous fight song "Go! You Packers Go!", written for the Packers in 1931, has been re-recorded for a 21st-century audience. Green Bay-based Madera Music, under the name "Curly's Curmudgeon Band", has recorded a brand-new recording of the gridiron classic for its 80th birthday.

"Go! You Packers Go!" is now available from Amazon and iTunes.

I'm not a huge fan of the B-side, a lo-fi cover by James Kocian, but the primary recording is wonderful. It begins with a instrumental rendition of the song performed by a nine-piece band, and then repeats the entire song with Karll's vocals. They get bonus points for the original lyric "On, you blue and gold to glory/Win this game the same old story".

Eric Karll was a jingle writer in Milwaukee when he composed the fight song, the first for a pro football team (preceding Washington's "Hail to the Redskins" by at least six years). His lyrics were snappy:
Hail, hail, the gang's all here to yell for you,
And keep you going in your winning ways,
Hail, hail, the gang's all here to tell you too,
That win or lose, we'll always sing your praises Packers;

Go, you Packers, go and get 'em,
Go, you fighting fools upset 'em,
Smash their line with all your might,
A touchdown, Packers,
Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight!
On, you Blue and Gold, to glory,
Win this game the same old story,
Fight, you Packers,
Fight, and bring the bacon home to Old Green Bay.
First printings of the sheet music featured the 1930 World Championship team, and a rare picture of Curly Lambeau in uniform.

1930 was the second and final year of the small circular numbers; by 1931 the Packers had returned to plain blue jerseys.

The song itself takes up the next three pages.

On the back, Green Bay's famous Lumberjack Band.

Later printings, such as this one from the mid-1950s, featured an arial photo of City Stadium on the cover.

This is only the second commercial recording of "Go! You Packers Go!" of which I am aware. The first was on a 1961 album called National Football League Marching Songs. "Officially sanctioned by the NFL" (according to the cover), the album featured conductor/composer Bernie Green conducting a group with the impressive-sounding name of the "National Football League Marching Band".

The album featured the fight song for thirteen of the league's fourteen teams, rounded out with "Hooray for Mr. Football." The expansion Minnesota Vikings, then in their freshman season, weren't included in the fun; the album was recorded in July of 1960, after the Minnesota franchise was awarded but before it had been given a name, much less a fight song.

Each track is introduced by a star player. "Go! You Packers Go!" was the fifth track on side two, and featured an introduction by none other than Bart Starr.

Although the album is long since out of print (and largely forgotten, as is "the National Football League Marching Band"), it turns up on eBay every now and then, both in original LP and bootleg CD formats. All fourteen tracks are also available on the blog of Jersey City's independent community radio station WFMU.

Wikipedia claims that Lawrence Welk also recorded a version of the song (and owned the rights at one point), but I haven't been able to locate it. As much as I would love that to be true, I'm inclined to believe that's yet another example of Wikipediac nonsense.

Go download it, buy the CD and support Curly's Curmudgeon Band. Show them how much we love our Packers' rich history. Maybe next we could convince them to record a version of the 1936 Milwaukee Brewer anthem, "Our Team's Leading the Hit Parade".

Then play it loud and yell for the Packers, keep them going in their winning ways!

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