The Dodger Song


h1 January 1st, 2021

“The Dodger” was used as a campaign song to belittle Republican James G. Blaine in the 1884 Presidential election between Blaine and Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate. Cleveland had won the support of progressives by his fight against Tammany Hall in New York. The version known today is based on a Library of Congress recording by Mrs. Emma Dusenberry of Mena, Arkansas, who learned it in the 1880s.

Aaron Copland wrote an arrangement for it as part of Old American Songs, a collection of arrangements of folk songs.

I have often been called “Roger Dodger.” Here’s a story about the origin of that phrase: It’s set in the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II:

A squadron of Navy aircraft was returning to base after a wildly successful mission. One pilot in particular was feeling especially cocky. After receiving landing instructions, the pilot signed off his radio message with, “Roger Dodger!”
The next transmission was from an irate-sounding naval officer. He bellowed, “In this man’s Navy, there will be no flippant remarks on the radio!” He went on to say that he was a U.S. Navy Commander and intended to find the offender to personally reprimand him.
The rambunctious pilot acknowledged by saying, “Roger Dodger, you ol’ codger. I’m a Commander too!”

Lyrics:
[D] Oh, the candidate’s a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the candidate’s a dodger, [A] yes, and I’m a dodger [D] too.
He’ll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote,
[A] But look out, boys, he’s a-dodgin’ for your [D] vote.
We’re all a-dodgin’,
Dodgin’, dodgin’, dodgin’,
Oh, we’re all a-dodgin’ [A] out the way through the [D] world.

Oh, the lawyer, he’s a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the lawyer, he’s a dodger, yes, and I’m a dodger, too.
He’ll plead your case and claim you for a friend,
But look out, boys, he’s easy for to bend.
We’re all a-dodgin’,
Dodgin’, dodgin’, dodgin’,
Oh, we’re all a-dodgin’ out the way through the world.

Oh, the merchant, he’s a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the merchant, he’s a dodger, yes, and I’m a dodger, too.
He’ll sell you goods at double the price,
But when you go to pay him you’ll have to pay him twice.
We’re all a-dodgin’,
Dodgin’, dodgin’, dodgin’,
Oh, we’re all a-dodgin’ out the way through the world.

Oh, the general, he’s a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh the general, he’s a dodger, yes, and I’m a dodger, too.
He’ll march you up and he’ll march you down,
But look out, boys, he’ll put you under ground.

We’re all a-dodgin’,
Dodgin’, dodgin’, dodgin’,
Oh, we’re all a-dodgin’ out the way through the world. X2

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