This was a comment I posted here on Teaching in Albq back in the late Spring of '08 - so the reference to the Alibi article is not right. I am doing more research on the song for this current post. -cc

Reading the [current] Alibi and seeing the concern from folks in the community about the impersonal city moniker of "Q" (I agree with them) made me remember and want to tell about a song Becca and I used to teach our 3rd grade classes: "A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E" recorded by Johnny Lee Wills.

It's a fun song to sing with its swing rhythm and refrain, and anyone who learns the song learns to spell Albuquerque!

This of course is a song steeped in Anglo Culcha - Okie to be exact, and steeped in the whole infatuation thing with outsiders for NM back in the twentieth century. I just googled Johnny Lee Wills and found out he is Bob Wills's (of Texas Playboys) bro. He stayed in Tulsa and kept the country swing tradition alive there after his bro Bob moved the Playboys to CA in 1940.

As far as the tune goes, this fabulous resource from UNM for songs about Burque talks about the song published in one of their collections, though there is no link to recording. They do mention that Asleep at the Wheel recorded it, too, and I am going to look for any online link to that. The tune, of course, is integral to the teaching :) . This UNM link also credits the creators of the song: "Lyrics: Herb Hendler in 1951 Music: Ralph Flanagan."

A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E Lyrics by Herb Hendler, Music by Ralph Flanagan © 1951

Gotta go, gotta go back to New Mexico,
where my true love waits for me.
Gotta get on the tracks
cause I'm on my way back
To A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E.

Albuquerque, Albuquerque here I come
on the Chi-LA express.
Gotta letter in my heart for my sweetest gal
and that letter in my heart says yes.

I'm the one, I'm the one, I'm the one she loves best
cause she gotta lotta mail from me
I'm the one guy she knew, who knew how to spell

I remember one of our students, Curtis, just dearly loving this song. Becca had her own song repertoire she brought to our classroom, which included another song from this vintage, 'Gonna Mail Myself to You,' and the all-time fave amongst the kids of "Going to the State Fair."

I have to pay tribute to my cooperating teachers, here, Patty Evans and Franny Dever. I did my student teaching with them at Corrales Elementary in '86. Franny and Patty both had their guitars in the room, but many times just sang folk songs a capella, some of which they had learned from our beloved local band Bayou Seco. My sagging song chart was a hallmark of my teaching - including the stand-by's learned from Franny and Patty (thru Bayou Seco) 'Papa's on the Housetop,' 'Waltzing with Bears,' and 'Daddy, What's a Train.' At the end of a day, gathering to sing in the whole group area was the way to go!

Wonder if anyone has a "song in classroom" anecdote ?

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Replies to This Discussion

Here is the link to Asleep at the Wheel's recording of Albuquerque.
You can also sing it to the mickey mouse song: ALB - UQU - ERQUE. I like how UQU comes out as a measure by itself.
Wow - thanks for sharing this very cool way, Ian.


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