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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security


When That Hell Bomb Falls: Fred Kirby [1950]

Kirby, who also wrote the seminal Atomic Power, returns to similar religious themes in this Atomic / Korean War song. The song, which echoes the then current political rhetoric of Korea being a battleground for democracy ("Yes, it happened in Korea where our boys are bravely fighting/Fighting for the peaceful way of life/And our democracy...") is more concerned with presenting a straightforward prophesy of destruction ("When that Hell bomb falls/When that Hell bomb falls/There'll be screamin', dyin', prayin'/When that Hell bomb falls").

Television personality and country musician Fredrick Austin Kirby was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1910, one of ten children. His father was a Methodist minister and his mother taught him how to play guitar. Kirby began his radio broadcasting career in the '20s, but it was in 1931 that he achieved what he considered true success by broadcasting on Charlotte's WBT. During the '30s Kirby teamed up with Bob Phillips and then Cliff Carlisle on 'Briarhopper Time' and 'Crazy Barn Dance.' It was on these two programs that the artist displayed the influences of yodeler Jimmie Rodgers. While partnered with Phillips, Kirby worked for a period on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania stations WIP and WFIL. During the late '30s and early '40s Kirby teamed with Don White and appeared on WLW's 'Boone County Jamboree' in Cincinnati, Ohio and WLS's 'National Barn Dance' in Chicago, Illinois. After his partnership with White dissolved, Kirby moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he entertained at World War II bond rallies, earning the nickname 'Victory Cowboy.'

In the mid-'40s, Kirby returned to Charlotte and WBT where he hosted various programs through 1950. Since the '30s, the artist had recorded singles for Bluebird, Decca, Sonora, MGM and Columbia. In 1951 Kirby's television career began at WBTV, also in Charlotte, on 'Junior Rancho,' a children's program. He hosted a number of other shows on the station before retiring in 1976. Kirby passed away in 1996.

When That Hell Bomb Falls: Fred Kirby [1950]

Won't you listen my dear brother
For it's time for us to gather
God is getting' mighty angry
For the sinful things we've done
He gave us all this blessed land
And this I cannot understand
A weapon of destruction
To destroy us everyone

Refrain: When that Hell bomb falls
When that Hell bomb falls
There'll be screaming, dying, praying
When that Hell bomb falls

Yes, it happened in Korea
Where our boys are bravely fighting
Fighting for the peaceful way of life
And our democracy
Have mercy on us Lord I pray
Watch over them both night and day
Keep praying for the whole world
And your help to keep us free


Oh, the fathers and the mothers,
Sisters, wives, and children, brothers
Are still weeping from their losses
In the last war, cold and still
Oh, Lord, please lend a helping hand
We know that You will understand
Save us all these heartaches
If it be Your blessed will

Refrain (Repeat Twice)

Fred Kirby [1950]
When That Hell Bomb Falls
(Fred Kirby)
Columbia 20 740-4



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