I wish I had written this song. Told from Captain Meriwether Lewis’ viewpoint, this work is the brain child of Greg Keeler, Montana State University English professor and poet extraordinaire. Who said learning history couldn’t be fun? (A production note: All jaws in the control room dropped when the trumpet player, Tommie Anderson, nailed his part on the first take.)
The Louisiana Purchase opened up some doors
to finance those Napoleonic wars
The Deal of the Century, but what will we do with it now?
Oh, the Mississippi drainage ain’t exactly hay,
At least that’s what Thomas Jefferson said one day.
There’s a whole lot of room to trap and chop and plow
And there just might be a Northwest Passage, somewhere up there
But we got to beat the French and British to it
And corner that fur trade, yeah, we gotta do it
So he called me up one fortuitous night
And asked me if I’d try with all of my might.
To put my place in history in the brag,
I said, “You Bet!”, then called on Clark
And together we were ready to make our mark
We’re the Lewis and Clark “Corps of Discovery” Rag.
Well fifteen million bucks seemed fair
For an eight hundred thousand mile square
A tract of land that nearly doubled America’s size
So Tom gave us twenty-five hundred bucks
Pointed up the Missouri and said “Good luck! That’s where this country’s economic future lies.”
Yes, and politics and money followed us most all the way
At the head of the Missouri we found three rivers
We named ‘em after Madison and Gallatin and Jefferson
We boldly go where no one dares
We fight off mosquitoes and grizzly bears
“We’re really somethin’”, though we don’t mean to brag
We made friends with all kind'a tribes
By offering vermillion and beads for bribes
We’re the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery
We’ll open up the West! Wouldn’t it be loverly?
The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Rag!