Saturday, April 11, 2009

Funeral Songs

Ok, I admit it's a strange title for my 100th post.

It was inspired by a video sent to me by my Uncle Barney. The video is of his expanded group performing the song Just a Bowl of Butter Beans at the Big Muddy Folk Festival.

The song was a tribute to their friend and former group member, Big Jim. He died last Sept. I attended his funeral because I happened to be in town for my aunt's funeral. I didn't know him well, but I liked him; he was a fixture at my uncle's guitar pickin's, which mean a lot to me.

Tribute Songs
At Big Jim's funeral, they passed around the words to Just a Bowl of Butter Beans and we all sang it. It was the song Big Jim was known for singing at the folk festivals and gatherings he attended. It was his song. I laughed and told my uncle I thought it was great, a great tribute, but please don't sing it at my funeral. I don't want my funeral to have songs with lyrics about puffs of brown gas, thank you.

Heaven Songs
Nor do I want songs sung at my funeral about the next life, as they were at my Aunt's funeral. In fact I want those less. Life is hard, yes, but I believe we need to work to figure out how to make it better and get the most of it that we can, enjoy what we can; not defer for what we hope might come next.

Songs of Life
So that got me to thinking of what the songs of my life are. I certainly don't have songs that I am "known" for like Big Jim. No songs that people will sing in my honor 6 months after I am gone, and probably longer. (That is a lovely thing, is it not?) And I like the idea, as many do, of funerals that celebrate life--who hasn't thought the New Orleans funeral style of celebration and blues wouldn't be lovely? But I don't think my passing will get quite that much notice nor has my life been the overly celebratory kind.

Still I've decided I have a few songs that do pretty much represent the core of me or that would be appropriate tributes to the trials and joys of my life that would be funeral worthy.

Here they are. (BTW, I have at least 6 versions of each of these songs on my iPod.)

#1 I Can't Help Falling in Love With You

#2 St. Louis Blues

#3 It Is Well With My Soul

I'll explain why in forthcoming posts.

In the meantime, for you, allow me to introduce my Uncle Barney & His Friends.
If the video doesn't want to play right for you, go to this link.

Just a Bowl of Butter Beans


  1. I would harm someone for a bowl of butter beans right now. LOL. I've never really thought of songs playing at my funeral. Your #1 song, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" sung by Elvis is a fave of mine.

  2. I enjoyed the video! Like your first song choice too. I wonder if upbeat dance songs would be appropriate at a funeral. Maybe it would be fun to think of everyone kicking their heels and cutting a rug at a funeral. Why not?

  3. I am SO GLAD you posted that video; before I got to the end, I was going to e-mail you and ask you for it! :) And I like the idea of a celebratory funeral - I think it would make everyone feel better to remember the good things because too often we focus on what we could have done...


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