That Les Green song: Two Brothers

Tomorrow would have been Dad’s 88th birthday.

LesGreenThere is this Civil War song called Two Brothers. I woke up from a nap several months ago thinking about it. Here’s someone’s reflection on the song.

Here are the lyrics, written by Irving Gordon, who may or may not have written “Who’s On First” for Abbott and Costello. And here’s the sheet music.

This version by Georgianna Askoff is appropriately plaintive, whereas Anna Coogan and Joy Mills are a bit too festive for my taste. It was popularized by The Lettermen, though I never heard their version, the B-side to Allentown Jail, until much later.

And I was thinking about it because my father, Les Green, used to perform it. His version seems the most authentic. I can still hear his guitar as he sang: “All on a beautiful” – he’d pick out so, so, si, la, ti -“morning”, with “morn” on a four-note melisma. Wish you could have heard it.

If memory serves – and it so often does not – he sang it far less at the point my sister Leslie and I performed with him as the Green Family Singers, mostly because it was really a solo piece for him. You see it listed on his early playlist.

This is the 15th anniversary of Dad’s death; I scarcely can believe it. Obviously, even my subconscious still thinks about him.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “That Les Green song: Two Brothers”

  1. So glad you posted Roger…knew you would…nice job. Yes, so hard to believe it’s 15 years ago today that Dad transitioned. I miss him more than ever. He was an amazing man, and we are blessed to carry on his DNA. Love you, brother.

  2. Roger, having good memories of your father, what a gift. Music is not a genetic trait to be passed down; it is a habit practiced in the home, with the family. Your love of music? An inheritance. I wish i could have heard your dad sing!

    Had to note the setting, the UU Church, that old bastion of all things social justice, great. And the review? “High, wide, and handsome”? Cringeworthy, but a good reminder of how far SOME journalism has come!!! Amy

  3. That is why youknow so much about all modern music. Your father was an amazing man, and I am glad. that you wrote about him.
    Have a great week, Roger.
    Wil,ABCW Team

  4. Just came across this and it took me way back oo 1960 .. Les Greene was such a great person. H was the director of The Interracial Center on Carroll st. in Binghamton.

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