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Carolina in the Morning — A Musical Exploration

I’ve shared different videos of artists throughout this post to show you the differences each one has given this iconic tune.

Catchy songs always hook me, especially choruses filled with joyous reverie. That’s how “Carolina in the Morning” gets my toes tapping every single time I hear it. While it doesn’t have true roots in North Carolina, it has been adopted by North and South Carolina and definitely deserves mention here at Handmade NC. Written by Gus Kahn, with music by Walter Davidson, “Carolina in the Morning” started showing up in Broadway Musical Revues as early as 1922. I probably first heard this song when Daffy Duck impersonated Danny Kaye on Looney Tunes.
Carolina in the Morning
The song was originally featured in a very risqué Broadway revue called “The Passing Show” and interpretations are varied. However, they mainly left out from the mainstream today as the chorus is the big draw. Adopted by North and South Carolina, this song has been covered by popular artists including Phish, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold, Jimmy Durante, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, and Danny Kaye. Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a rock and roll version. If you’re old enough to have watched the Dick Van Dyke show, you probably remember Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore performing their own version. A Cappella groups around the world favor this tune for their performances.

My favorite rendition is the one by Al Jolson, recorded in 1947, and outselling the original recording done by Van and Schenk by nearly double. I’ve included both renditions and will let you choose your favorite!

Lyrics (part of public domain):
CAROLINA IN THE MORNING

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning
No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her
In the morning,
Where the morning glories
Wind around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more.

Strolling with my girly where the dew is pearly early
In the morning.
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup
At dawning.
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say:
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning!

Where the morning glories
Wind around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more.

Strolling with my girly where the dew is pearly early
In the morning.
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup
At dawning.
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say:
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning!

The video quality isn’t great, but this is a recording of Phish performing “Carolina in the Morning” in Connecticut in 2007.

And again in Greensboro in 2003:

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