Swing Daddy (lyric excerpt)

Published in Verse Afire, the Literary Magazine published by The Ontario Poetry Society, January 2020 

 © Catherine M Thompson 


Daddy was a bass man in a swing band 

In those dirty thirties, dark depression days 

They played dance halls in Hamilton 

Muskoka dance pavilions 

He played that upright at the old Palais 

His bass rode high up on the band car rooftop 

Late one night the wind was blowing fierce 

It threw his case into the ditch 

Smashed that fiddle all to bits 

So Daddy waved goodbye to his career 

The thirties taught Daddy's lot 

Make good with what you've got 

You can do what you have to do 

To see it through if you ... 

Swing, Daddy, swing! Swing, Daddy, swing! 

Play that bass and chase those blues away! 


So Daddy took the reins up on a bread truck 

Delivered to the store that Mama ran 

She'd been out dancing with her pals 

Heard him swing those big dance halls 

He bought a book of matches – love began 

Then Daddy drove the railway locomotives 

All up and down the New York Central line 

While Mama cooked and Mama sewed 

They built up a loving home 

A half a dozen children – strong and fine 

Well, in the end he was a labour leader 

When he was sixty-two, at a railroad union do 

They let him sit in for a set 

Daddy hadn't lost it yet 

He played that bass the way he used to do! 

Well now you've heard the story of our family 

Daddy was a bass man playing in a swing band 

And Daddy we're so glad Mama swung with you 

Swing, Daddy, swing! Swing, Mama, swing! 

Play that bass and chase those blues away!