Before the Flood

"It Takes a Little Rain with the Sunshine" by Harry Carroll. New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., 1913.

The Mid-Atlantic United States has been hit with a series of furious rainstorms this summer, and this gray day in Washington is no exception. We hope that instead of walking between raindrops and dodging cupcake-sized hail, you, gentle reader,  choose to stay inside, cuddle up by the Steinway and sing a few songs –  just like we might do in the Music Division. And what better number to sing away your legally-required fifteen-minute break time than Harry Carroll’s “It Takes a Little Rain with the Sunshine, ” one of  numerous wet wonders from the Historic Sheet Music, 1800-1922 collection in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.  The tune was popularized by one Baby Violet of the Stroud Trio. According to an article in the New York Clipper, circa 1914-1915, the six-year old sweetheart also “talked” numbers such as “Smother Me With Kisses and Kill Me With Love” and “He’s a Devil in His Home Town.” Thank goodness for modern child labor laws.

The more discriminating among you may opt instead for Samuel Barber‘s adaptation of James Joyce’s poem “Rain has Fallen.”  Or, perhaps, like a teenager using an copy of The New York Review of Books to hide an Archie and Veronica comic book, you may announce to your colleagues, ” I am going to study Barber’s setting of Joyce; please hold my calls, Dorothy,” all the while intending to channel Baby Violet. But however you spend the day singing in the rain, please stay warm and dry.

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