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Pee Wee King performs "Bonaparte's Retreat",live video.

Pee Wee King performs "Bonaparte's Retreat",live video.

Bonaparte's Retreat" is the name of two related songs. The original was a wordless melody that existed as various fiddle tunes dating back to at least the late 1800s and probably well before that. In 1950, American country music artist Pee Wee King recorded a modified version of the song, with lyrics added, which he also called "Bonaparte's Retreat". This latter song has been covered by many country artists.

The title of the original "Bonaparte's Retreat" is an apparent reference to Napoleon Bonaparte's disastrous retreat from Russia in 1812, and some earlier British folk songs told of that event.

In 1937, American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, while travelling through Kentucky, recorded violinist William Hamilton Stepp playing "Bonaparte's Retreat". This recording was inducted in 2016 into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.

Bonaparte’s Retreat lyrics

 

Met the girl I love in a town way down in Dixie

Beneath the stars up above

She was the sweetest girl I ever did see

 

So I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms, I

Kissed her while the guitars played

The Bonaparte's Retreat

Guitar

 

All the world was bright as I held her on that night

And I heard her say

Please don't you go away

 

So I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms, I

Kissed her while the bagpipe played

The Bonaparte's Retreat

Bagpipe

 

Well I met the girl I I love in a town way down in Dixie

Beneath the stars up above

She was the sweetest girl I ever did see

 

So I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms, I

Kissed her while the fiddles played

The Bonaparte's Retreat

Fiddle

 

All the world was bright as I held her on that night

And I heard her say

Please don't you go away

 

So I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms, I

Kissed her while everybody played

The Bonaparte's Retreat

Everybody

 

Yes I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms, I

Kissed her while everybody's playin'

The Bonaparte's Retreat

 

Yes I held her in my arms, I told her of her many charms, and I

Kissed her while everybody's playin'




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