Recorded January 8, 1915
Since the beginnings of the hostilities in Europe, America has taken a stand of neutrality and non-involvement. Various groups from different sides of the political spectrum such as labor unions, socialists, members of the Old Right, and pacifist groups publicly oppose participation in the war. Powerful leaders such as Andrew Carnige and Henry Ford financially have backed the Peace Movement. President Wilson promises to guarantee neutrality and keep the US out of the war. However the US is still shipping war goods to Britian and France – half the rifles in the British Army are American-made. Most of the steel used in the French armaments industry is American, along with half the French TNT. Still, the overwhelming majority of Americans wish to avoid this global conflict.
Alfred Bryan is a Canadian lyricist and arranger in New York and has written lyrics for many Broadway shows. Working with composer Al Piantodosi, he wrote an anti-war song in late 1914 – “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” subtitled “A Mother’s Plea for Peace.” It is told from the standpoint of a mother as she contemplated her dotage without the son who should have been there to support and succor her. It was recorded and published on January 8, 1915 by Morton Harvey, a popular vaudeville singer who was the first ever to record a blues song, the “Memphis Blues” by W.C. Handy which he recorded on October 2, 1914.