"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Music Tuesday: Louis Armstrong, "When The Saints Go Marching In"

Today is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  [Side note, I didn't realize until now that "Mardi Gras" was French for Fat Tuesday, but yeah I see that now in the words.]

To celebrate, I'm going to suspend Blues Tuesday for Music Tuesday so I can play this wonderful piece.  [Actually I think I will change it permanently to Music Tuesday.  Limiting it to just blues doesn't do justice to all the different music I enjoy.]  "When the Saints Go Marching In" is a hymn which morphed into a joyous jazz piece.  It actually started as a funeral march.  I don't think I've ever heard it played as a dirge.  You can read about its impressive history here.

Of course, if I'm going to post this song, it has to be played by the great Louis Armstrong.  I really like that quote by Duke Ellington at the beginning of the video clip.  From everything I've ever read about Armstrong he was a decent man and a good soul, not something you can say about many prominent musicians.  Reading through his Wikipedia bio, it says that as a seventeen year old just married, he adopted a brain damaged three year old boy, a child from a cousin who had suddenly died.  How many seventeen year old men (if you can even call them men by today's standards) would do that?  He took care of that boy the rest of his life.

I was curious about Armstrong's religion, since New Orleans is predominantly Catholic and this has such a Catholic feel.  The Wikipedia bio says this about his religion:

When asked about his religion, Armstrong would answer that he was raised a Baptist, always wore a Star of David, and was friends with the Pope. Armstrong wore the Star of David in honor of the Karnofsky family, who took him in as a child and lent him the money to buy his first cornet. Louis Armstrong was, in fact, baptized as a Catholic at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in New Orleans, and he met popes Pius XII and Paul VI, though there is no evidence that he considered himself Catholic. Armstrong seems to have been tolerant towards various religions, but also found humor in them.

Hope you enjoyed it.  Tomorrow begins our time of penance.


  1. Wow! I had no idea that he adopted a brain damaged child at 17! I recall that he came to Sanremo, the festival of Italian songs, when I was I child. I was very impressed.

  2. I love the idea of a change to "Music Tuesday".

  3. @Antonella - I didn't either until I read it in Wikipedia.

    @Sue - Great. It's official.