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The Old Calliope [song lyrics]

   

Song lyrics to The Old Calliope, Lyrics by Mack David, Music by Jerry Livingston. Performed by Dean Martin (and Jerry Lewis) in Sailor Beware

So everyone knows: there’s a contention on the proper pronunciation of “calliope”. I’ve heard circus people (and other performers) say “cal-ee-OPE”, while other people pronounce it “cal-I-o-pea”. In this song, “the old calliope” uses the second pronunciation.

Second note: Technically, Jerry Lewis sings along with Dean Martin, but not very often — and then, clownishly. This is clearly Dean’s song. Although the dancing the two perform is clearly a 50/50 proposition.

My grandpa was a minstrel man
A minstrel man was he
And to tell the truth I guess I’ve got some minstrel blood in me

You can have all the harps in heaven
Blow all the horns here on the ground
But I find I still get my greatest thrill
Every time I hear this sound

I love to hear that old calliope
I love the melody of an old calliope
And when you hear the thrilling harmony
Gather round the minstrel’s show’s in town

It sounds so good
That old calliope
What is more heavenly
Than an old calliope
Here comes the band
Oh what a sight to see
Gather round the minstrel’s show’s in town

Banjos strumming
Folks are humming
Minstrel’s coming
What a show what a show
It’s the finest show I know

It’s coming near (Coming near coming near)
That old calliope
What a sight to see
Oh what a melody
What a melody
Oh the old calliope
Old calliope
So loud and clear
That thrilling harmony
Gather round the minstrel’s show’s in town

There’s the interlocutor
And Mr. Bones so full of life
Who’s that lady you were with last night
Jerry Lewis: That was no lady that was my wife
Ha ha
Ha Ha
Ho ho
Ho ho
What a show what a show what a show

Says the interlocutor
To Mr. Bones so full of pride
Why does a chicken cross the road
Jerry Lewis: Why to get to the other side

I love to hear that old calliope
I love the melody of an old calliope
And when you hear that thrilling harmony
Gather round the minstrel’s show’s in town

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