The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Saturday, October 5, 2013

November 22, 1963: "He Was Born to Live," a Video

November 22, 1963, is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's death by assassination.

In August and September Joyce and I worked on an interesting project together, an album of original folk songs which remember and honor JFK as that anniversary approaches. The CD/MP3 was released yesterday and is titled JFK 50: A Memorial Album.

With the help of several friends--Charlie Barnes, Jerry Webb (he owns The Project Room studio), and Joe Pointer--we recorded a series of eight song tracks and four recreated newscasts from 1963. Charlie sings on seven of the songs, Jerry is the guitarist, and Joe Pointer plays harmonica. My wife Joyce sings the last track, a reprise of the fourth song on the album, "The Golden Cup."

All of us involved in the project are seniors who were alive at the time of JFK's assassination. Like most everyone else who was old enough and alive at that time, we remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news.

Nashville producer and two time Grammy winner J. Aaron Brown calls JFK 50 "a folksy blend of songs and narrations that will touch the hearts of all who experienced that tragic day in November of 1963....[It's] a must for history buffs and JFK fans around the world."

Though the lyrics are all original, three of the songs make use of traditional or public domain tunes that you might recognize. The song in the You Tube video below, "He Was Born to Live," is one of those, and the melody, which I'm sure most of you will recognize, goes back to the first decade of the 20th or the last couple of decades of the 19th century.

Most of the new lyrics I wrote for it are not all that new either. A few lines go back to 1969-70 when I used them in a play performed at the community college where I worked at the time.
If you click on the album cover link at the top of the right column, you can sample all the other tunes on the album as well.

Thanks for reading this post and listening to and viewing the video.


  1. All y'all did good work on this, Dan. The vid is very well done and the production on the audio track is superb. Kudos!

    That said: I was at Keesler AFB, Mississippi on that day, sitting in a basic electronics class when an instructor... a Staff Sergeant who was a known joker... stuck his head in our classroom and said "The President's been shot." Our instructor said "That's not funny, Bob (or Jim or Joe... I don't remember)" To which Bob replied "I'm not joking."

    The rest of the day went by fairly quickly. The entire school day was cancelled within an hour, releasing some two thousand troops to march back to their barracks, which we did in silence. When we returned to the barracks and the formation was dismissed we all crowded into day rooms to watch the TV coverage on black and white TVs. The president had been pronounced dead by that time and we were all just stunned into silence. An unforgettable day.

  2. Thanks, Buck. I appreciate the comments. Your note about the school day being cancelled reminded me that all classes were cancelled at EKU on that Monday when JFK was buried. Most everyone watched the ritual on TV. BTW, after Air Force basic training, my son was stationed at Keesler for awhile in the early '80s; getting some training I believe.