Music playlist for Billings, Montana,
in the 1880s
1. Music: CROW SOCIAL SONG (Traditional Crow Music, Track 1)
Performers: The Night Hawk Singers: Cedric Walks Over Ice, Louis Walks Over Ice, Victor Singer, Carson Trixie Walks Over Ice, Myron Crooked Arm, and Greely Not Afraid.
Reference: The Crow participated in the July 4, 1886, festivities in Billings. Crow dancing and singing cited in two of Parmly's letters, July, 1886.
2. Music: YANKEE DOODLE (Military Music, Track 2)
Performers: The New Fort Keogh Military Band, organized and directed by Ken Boggio.
Reference: The program for the 1883 Northern Pacific Gold Spike Celebration at Gold Creek, Montana, lists this tune. It was originally played by a 26-piece military band from Fort Keogh, Miles City. Frederick, Julia and Fritz were at this event.
3. Music: ART THOU WEARY, ART THOU LANGUID (Church Hymn, Track 3)
Performers: First Congregation Church Choir, Billings, Montana, conducted by Paul Halpin.
Reference: Played at Parmly Billings' funeral in May, 1888 at Woodstock. Sheet Music:
Hymnal from the archives of the Marsh-Billings-RockefellerNationalHistoricalPark.
4. Music: I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD (Popular Song, Track 4)
Performers: Carol, Nancy, Willard, and Tim Firch, Roberta Doser, Stephen Buck, and
im Cockey, Vocals; Nancy Firch; Piano.
Reference: One of the most popular of all songs in the late 19th Century.
5. Music: BELLA MIA (Italian Dance Band, Track 5)
Performers: Peter Sacchi, accordian; Mary LaMonica, violin; David Duke, guitar; and
Ed Pierson, mandolin.
Reference: The Italian band was "highly regarded in Billings," in 1885, according to reports in the Billings Weekly Gazette.
6. Music: HOME SWEET HOME (WALTZ and TWO STEP) (Dance Music, Track 6)
Performers: Willard Firch, fiddle; Carol Firch, guitar; Nancy Firch, piano; and Tim Firch, bass.
Reference: "Home, Sweet Home" by Henry Bishop, with a text by John Howard Payne, was
introduced onstage in the melodrama Clari, or the Maid of Milan (1823), and became perhaps
the most popular song of the Nineteenth Century.
7. Music: WHOOPEE, TI YI YO, GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES (Cowboy Song, Track 7)
Performers: Dennis "Happy Pappy" McNiven and his son, John McNiven, vocals.
Reference: Parmly participated in a cattle drive and worked on a ranch. Cowboy night-rider songs were sung at night to soothe the cattle. Cowboys would indicate a turn by yodeling to each other.