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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Ballad Of Francis Powers (There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere): Red River Dave (Dave McEnery) [1960]

Francis Gary Powers was the U-2 spy plane pilot whom everyone remembers from history because his plane was shot down by the Soviets on the eve of a U.S.-Russian summit in Paris. Powers' capture caused a huge international incident which led to Khrushchev canceling his participation in the Paris meetings. This ballad, which uses as its subtitle the name of the famous World War II song, celebrates Powers as an American hero while deriding "Godless Russia." This track is emblematic of the intense patriotic emotions that Powers' imprisonment generated in America. Note: It wasn't until well after the Cold War ended that it became known that Powers was hardly the only pilot who had been shot down during this period. In fact, during the '50s and '60s over 160 U.S. airmen were shot down over Communist territory and subsequently classified as killed or missing in action.

David McEnery was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1914 and obtained his nickname because he enjoyed singing the song Red River Valley in high school. It was during this time that the teenager appeared regularly on KABC radio. At age 16 he dropped out of school, left San Antonio and rode the rails. He supported himself by working as a migrant farmer and by singing in restaurants. Eventually a radio station in Virginia hired him as a singing cowboy. In 1937 Dave wrote one of his first topical songs, a genre he would excel at, about missing pilot Amelia Earhart (Amelia Earhart's Last Flight). Dave and his group, The Swift Cowboys recorded for Decca, Savoy and other labels. During World War II the singer served as an infantryman for two years. After getting out of the service he tried his hand at acting and appeared in several B-westerns. When he returned to San Antonio in 1952, he hosted a television program for seven years. At this point Dave retired from music to sell real estate. In 1974, after his wife of 35 years was killed in a fire, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Dave eventually returned to San Antonio where he died in 2002.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Ballad Of Francis Powers (There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere): Red River Dave (Dave McEnery) [1960]

In a lonesome prison cell in darkest Russia
There's a flier, Francis Powers is his name
He was captured on a mission for his country
And he'll never see Old Glory wave again.

When the clouds are hangin' high above the Kremlin
And the moonbeams many happy memories bring
There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
That's the song the Russian jailers hear him sing.

In a lonesome prison cell in godless Russia
Where no Bible ever speaks His precious name
There's the boy who flew the U2 for his country
To make sure that no Pearl Harbor comes again.

When the clouds are hangin' high above the Kremlin
And the moonbeams many happy memories bring
There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Waving o'er the land of heroes brave and true.

When the clouds are hangin' high above the Kremlin
And the moonbeams many happy memories bring
There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
That's the song the Russian jailers hear him sing.

Red River Dave (Dave McEnery) [1960]
Ballad Of Francis Powers (There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere)
(McEnery-Roberts-Darnell)
Savoy 3020

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