Soldier’s Joy by HC in ’43

I got the recording!  Whoo hoo!  I was thinking that I would go ahead as I usually do and write a post about my dad’s side of the family since I wrote about my mom’s side last week.  But I couldn’t get this catchy little tune out of my head.  And besides, I didn’t want to keep you waiting when I already had access to the songs I mentioned last week.  So I decided to continue from last week’s post.

It really is an amazing recording.  Not that the songs all sound wonderful, or it’s a great recording of the songs.  It’s just such an historic record of my great grandparents playing music.  I recorded just a clip of one of the tracks on my iPhone.  It starts off with one of the Phenice family women (if you are able to identify who it is, please let me know) introducing the music by saying, “June the twelfth nineteen hundred and forty-three (1943) will very likely become a memorable day to all the members of this Phenice family, because for the first time we are to have a phonographic record of our family reunion instead of the usual photographic one.”  I’m so glad that they said the date. 

Since they said the date, I thought I’d find a photo from around the same time.  So I looked in my Phenice folder and found a good photo.  I had posted a version of the photo previously, but in the meantime I have obtained a better quality image.  At least I thought I posted it before!  I just looked again and can’t find it anywhere.  I guess I posted it on Facebook before I actually started this blog over four years ago.  My how time flies!

I had estimated the date of the photo as 1943 based on the age of my uncle Austin Bucklin.  He is the toddler in the front of the photo.  But then when I looked at the photo this time, I realized that Grandma Phenice (my mom’s maternal grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice) was holding a baby.  I looked through my family tree information and found that in 1943 Daisy had a new granddaughter named Linda Phenice.  She’s the one who got this recording to me!  So the photo was taken a few months after March of 1943, which is pretty close to June 12, 1943.

I wonder if the photo was taken on the same day as the songs were recorded?  She says on the recording that it was a Phenice family reunion.  This photo is a Phenice family group.  But in the recording she says that they were making a phonographic record of the family “instead of” a photographic one.  So maybe it was on a different day.  Or maybe she meant to say “as well as” in her statement and she misspoke.  You know how it is when you talk on one of those newfangled recording instruments – you get a little nervous!  Then again, Sylvan Phenice is not in the photo and he was the one that made the record.  He could have taken the photo, but then his wife Mary would have been in the photo.  Oh, well, we know that the sound recording and the photo were taken close to the same time.

The rest of the clip of the recording that I’m sharing this week is a song called “Soldier’s Joy” with Harry Clifton Phenice on the fiddle accompanied by his wife Daisy on the piano.  It’s a very old timey sounding fiddling song.  I looked it up and it originates from around the mid 1700s and has its roots in Scottish fiddling tradition.  There has been some talk that the Phenice family and name may have Scottish origins, so I find that fact fascinating.  The song was associated with the Civil War, too.  HC’s dad Samuel was a soldier in the Civil War, so I wonder if he thought of his dad when he played it.

The song is not only associated with the Civil War, but the term “soldier’s joy” came to refer to the combination of whiskey, beer, and morphine used by Civil War soldiers.  In fact, when talking about it Wikipedia quoted these song lyrics:

Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean’
I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turnin’ green

That kinda made me laugh because Samuel was shot in the leg in the Battle of the Wilderness during the Civil War.   While staying in the hospital, skirmishes around the area kept medicine from being delivered and Samuel ended up getting gangrene.  I hope he got some morphine eventually!  That sounds mighty painful! 

So enough talking about the song.  It’s time to listen to it.  Just click on the link below.  And now I can say that I did my part in making June 12, 1943, a memorable day for this Phenice family!



  • I love this. What a treasure and her accent made me smile.

  • Glynrose Brinson

    Wow! What a treasure! To hear your great grandfather play his violin live. I have tried my hand at the violin and have taken many lessons. I was not a natural, so i turned to the harmonica. I love it and can produce quite a decent sound. This article really interested me as your cousin in the Phonicefamily, who was quite a beauty and very talented according to the article, lived in an area I am quite famaliar with. I attended a boarding school near Eunice Louisiana during my high school years. I played basketball there and we played the teams in all the towns mention in the article: Jennings, Elton, and Welsh. I am still friends with Staggs from that area. As usual your articles are wonderful. You are amazing at what you have found and shared! Thanks for including me in the loop and letting me have the joy of gazing into yesteryear. If only we could go back….

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