The Dan Lee Get Down Boogie
Mimeographed Blowing in the Wind (thanks to Tilly Garnett)

“My earliest memory is of John Bailey teaching “Sloop John B” to a bunch of us sitting in a circle.” – Anonymous

“Here are the words to Louie the Rat, written, as it turns out, by a friend of my father’s. I regret to say that I don’t know the person’s name. My best guess is that the only people left in this world who sing this song are the students of East Hill School.” – John Bailey

Louie the Rat

There once was a mug named Louie the Rat.
His heart was black and his face was flat.
He robbed for a living and he killed for fun,
Son of a gun-totin’ son of a gun.

CHORUS: Louie the rat, he robbed for a living.
Louis the Rat, he killed for fun. 
Louis the Rat, he robbed for a living.
Son of a gun-totin’ son of a gun.

He went to the bar and got pretty well oiled.
The whiskey made his red blood boil.
He reached for his gat for to test his draw
And shot John Dillinger’s mother-in-law.


The gang all thought that he’d gone too far.
They planted a bomb in his brand-new car.
And when he got in and stepped on the gas
The buggy blew up, and he breathed his last.


(first three lines in a minor key)
The name of his moll was Helen Glory.
She started crying when she heard the story.
She moaned out this when she got the news…
“That was a darn good car to lose.”


Blowing jug music

“I did the music appreciation room that worked very well until someone broke into the school over a weekend and stole most of the records.” – Bill Mutch

“I just received in a trade two music CDs by Kira (Harriet) Van Deusen. They are two very different musical creations. One, as part of Allegra Trio, is a fusion among classical, gypsy and jazz vectors. The other is a mostly solo set of improvisations around various spiritual quest traditions. It’s a real deep exploration. Who’d have though this of her? You can get more info from her web site I urge you to take a listen.” – Bill Mutch

A letter from John Bailey predicting greatness for Julie Gibbons!

Caleb Rossiter and John Bailey’s band

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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  1. Wow! I was surprised to see that letter from John about me posted. Pretty cool. Thanks!
    I have to laugh at the lyrics of “Louie the Rat!” As a music teacher now we can’t sing songs about guns and bombs. It’s too close to home with all the terrorism, violence school shootings and more. But we sang about shootings ( “Whiskey in a jar”) bombs and torturing animals ( “ The Cat Came Back”) even killing teachers (Maxwell Silver Hammer”)!

    We also weren’t afraid to sing about God (“This Little Light of Mine”).
    I also remember John encouraging us to make our own verses- I still play my verse from “ Obladi Oblada” about Wrigley Spearmint Gum! And to create our own harmonies to songs which did wonders to develop my ear.
    Outside of the sing a Kong’s and vocal group, I remember having a little vocal group for a time- I think it was Buffy Kahn, Erin Chapman and I. We called ourselves “Wind, Rain and Fire”! I was Wind! We sang all kinds of vocal improvisational stuff!