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THIS IS AMERICA - Songs About American States - 2004-09-12


Broadcast: September 13, 2004

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VOICE ONE:

Almost every state in America has an official song. However, songwriters have written many beautiful, un-official songs to describe the state they love best.

I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Steve Ember. We play songs about American states on our report today on the VOA Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.

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VOICE ONE:

One of the most famous songs about an American state is from the broadway musical play "Oklahoma!" Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote it in nineteen-forty-three. The play is about farmers and cowboys living in a territory in the American west in the early nineteen-hundreds. At the end of the play, they celebrate when their territory becomes a state. Here, Nelson Eddy sings "Oklahoma."

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VOICE TWO:

Texas is America's second largest state in land area. It is famous for oil wells, cattle, and cowboys. Many people believe that everything is bigger, better, and brighter in Texas. Songwriters have written more songs about Texas than about any other state. Bob Wills sings one of them here. It is called "Deep In The Heart of Texas."

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VOICE ONE:

Many people think America's southern states have a special beauty and history. And there are more songs about southern states than about states in any other part of the country. One of the most beautiful is about the state of Georgia. It is called "Georgia On My Mind." Hoagy Carmichael wrote it. Ray Charles made it famous.

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VOICE TWO:

In the early nineteen-seventies, John Denver wrote and performed many popular songs. Two were about the states he liked best. Both have tall mountains. One state is West Virginia, which is actually in the eastern part of the country.

John Denver said West Virginia is so beautiful that it is "almost heaven." Here he sings "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

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VOICE ONE:

John Denver also loved the western state of Colorado, because of the Rocky Mountains there. He sings about a young man who discovers the mountains of Colorado. The experience changes his life. The song is called "Rocky Mountain High."

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VOICE TWO:

Many people love the states in the northeastern United States. This is the area called New England. These states are especially beautiful in autumn when the leaves on the trees change from green...to yellow...red...and orange. They also are beautiful in winter when the land is covered with snow.

Here Billie Holiday sings about the beauty of one New England state in the song, "Moonlight in Vermont":

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VOICE ONE:

Some people love the state of New York best. Of course, many people want to live in the nation's biggest and most exciting city, New York. Yet others love the rest of the state, too, better than any other place. Carmen McRae sings about this in the song, "New York State of Mind."

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VOICE TWO:

We do not want to forget America's middle western states, even though there are not as many songs about them. There is one popular song about the middle western state of Indiana. It is called "Back Home Again In Indiana." Errol Garner plays it.

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VOICE ONE:

This program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced and directed by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week for another report about life in the United States on the VOA Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.

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