Shabby Sunday: Best Loved Songs of the American People by Denes Agay – 1975


Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.

Today’s Shabby Share is:

Best Loved Songs of the American People



Description: A words-and-music cavalcade of popular melodies from ‘Yankee Doodle” to “The Impossible Dream.” Easy piano arrangements, guitar chords, and historical notes for nearly 200 ballads, spirituals, folk and show tunes.

My thoughts on this book…

This songbook is one that I grew up with from a very young child. My grandfather loved to sing and had many songbooks on the shelves. I still have our original hardcover (first edition) from 1975 which you can see pictured here.



The arrangement and selections in this book make this one of the best songbooks I’ve seen. From the American Revolution to Broadway–included are songs from colonial and revolutionary days, pioneer ballads, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, and show tunes. It’s divided up into five sections with an introductory page for each time period and also includes pages of interesting historical data and facts about the artists.


The sheet music is very easy to play along to and the guitar chords are also shared. The additional verses (lyrics) are included with each score and there are even some neat illustrations included with some of the songs.


Best Loved Songs of the American People is brimming with close to 200 songs. A few of my personal favorites are “Red River Valley”, “God Bless America”, “Oh! Susanna”, “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic”, and my most treasured song of all titled “The Boll Weevil Song”.


My grandfathers favorite adaptation of “The Boll Weevil Song” was by Brook Benton. This is one I remember him singing as a child and it really sparked my interest in learning more about Brook Benton and his music. I’ve included it below for those interested.

Overall, this is a five star book and one I won’t part with. There are so many wonderful songs to share with children in this collection and it’s just a nice book to have on hand. You can find new editions of this book and also the original online.

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (March 18, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385000049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385000048

Brook Benton – The Boll Weevil Song


Let me tell ya a story about a boll weevil
Now, some of you may not know, but a boll weevil is an insect
And he’s found mostly where cotton grows
Now, where he comes from, hmm, nobody really knows
But this is the way the story goes

The farmer said to the boll weevil “I see you’re on the square”
Boll weevil said to the farmer “Say yep! My whole darn family’s here”
(We gotta have a home, gotta have a home)

The farmer said to the boll weevil “Say, why do you pick my farm?”
The weevil just laughed at the farmer ‘n’ said
“We ain’t gonna do ya much harm”
(“We’re looking for a home”)

And the boll weevil spotted a lightning bug
He said “Hey, I’d like to make a trade with you
But, ya see if I was a lightning bug, I’d search the whole night through”
(“Searchin’ for a home, I’d have me plenty of home”)

And the boll weevil called the farmer, ‘n’ he said
“Ya better sell your old machines
‘Cause when I’m through with your cotton, heh
You can’t even buy gasoline.”
(I’m gonna stake me a home, gotta have a home)

And the boll weevil said to the farmer, said
“Farmer, I’d like to wish you well.”
Farmer said to the boll weevil, “Yeah, an’ I wish that you were in shit”
(Lookin’ for a home, lookin’ for a home)
(Ahh, you have a home all right, you have a home)
(A real hot home, ahh)

Thanks for visiting Shabby Sunday! Do you have any favorite classic songs you’d like to share or do you have any favorite songbooks? Please feel free to comment below or participate in Shabby Sunday if you’d like to! ❤

15 thoughts on “Shabby Sunday: Best Loved Songs of the American People by Denes Agay – 1975

  1. stephanie haddad

    I, for some reason, don’t remember GP singing this song by I do remember him singing and dancing all the time. I’m happy that you treasure his books. They all were a way of life in our house, not just for GP but for GM too. Nice post! 🙂🦋🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David R. Dowdy

    This is an interesting book and subject. I constantly tell people the world has become much smaller in the last ten years. I think our music is a reflection of that.

    When you think about the music from not that long ago, it seems quaint compared to music today. New music contains lyrics that are akin to shouting. We still have subtlety in today’s music, but on a higher, less innocent, level.

    Mind you, I’m not complaining. We are more inclusive, I hope, and more open to external feelings than ever before and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, I sure wish rock ballads and good soul music would make a comeback. I’m not holding my breath, LOL.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great points, David! I just recently had this conversation and I was thinking about how music today isn’t the same. For me I don’t have as many new favorites and tend to favorite all the old stuff even some of the old singers like Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. I’m sure that comes down to liking the true familiar songs versus new unfamiliar songs too though because surely it isn’t fair to say that the old music is in fact better, although I catch myself saying it all the time haha. 💖 Interesting thoughts. I may do a future post on this subject because my grandfather had some opinions about new music too. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Shabby Sunday 3/25/18 – Didi Oviatt

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