This is the seventh time I've attended San Francisco's Camp Harmony, and I have to say that this time was a disaster. By my estimate, some 40 people got violently sick from what Dr. Mark Cohen and epidemiologist Dick Holdstock diagnosed as a virus. My boss Debby McClatchy got sick, so I had to do extra duty in the kitchen. Besides all that, we had no power (and no sewers) in half the camp, including the kitchen.
But still, there was good music. For me, the absolute high point was when Sadie Damascus sang this song at the New Year's Eve concert. I was standing next to Lani Herrmann, and watching Lani's response was almost as fun as listening to the song.
Sadie e-mailed me the song because she forgot how to post songs at Mudcat.
Remember that this is Sadie's song (nobody else in the world could come up with a song like this), and all rights are reserved.
Cruelish Sister (Child Ballad #10)
by Sadie Damascus (sung to the tune of "Mademoiselle from Armentieres")
Two sisters lived by the harbor mouth (parlez vous)
Some guy came by to court them both (parlez vous)
He stole their hearts, both one and two;
He stole them better than he knew (rinky dinky, parlez vous)
He took them riding on his horse (parlez vous, etc)
And he fell for the younger one, of course.
He bought the older sister things
But he gave the younger his gold rings.
O, little sister, come with me;
We'll walk the cliffs above the sea.
But as they walked along the edge
She shoved her tumbling off a ledge.
"O sister, help! O, save me, please!
There's rocks and sharks and stormy seas!"
The older sister grinned and said,
"No, I'll only get married when you are dead."
"O , throw me a rope!" she cried in fear.
"You can marry him, and I'll disappear."
"No, I didn't kill you just for that,
But next to you, my butt looks fat."
So the older sister walked away
And the drowned one floated all the day.
I found her lying on the sand.
I took the pretty lady's hand.
I made a backscratcher from it;
I tried to use her, every bit.
I dried her guts, and I tanned her hide
And made a fine saddle for me to ride.
I used every part of the lady fair.
I sold her gown and her underwear;
I had her gold rings melted down,
And that's how I got this here gold crown. (Here I open my mouth wide and point inside)
I made a guitar from various bones
With a nice voice box and a wondrous tone;
I strung it with some of her long dark hair,
And tuned it with pegs from her fingers fair.
(The next four lines are recited, not sung, and do not include "parlez vous" or any chorus***)
I made her feet into vases neat;
I made her toes into dominoes;
I used her head for baking bread;
Her teeth for a rattle to scare the cattle.....
Then I heard of a nearby wedding planned (parlez vous, etc).
I went to crash it and jam with the band.
I left my saddle and horse in the stable
And grabbed a seat at the bride's own table.
But as i turned to remove the guitar
From off my back, it started to swear
and holler, "My sister acts as if
She hadn't pushed me off a cliff!"
And the saddle outside cried, loud and clear,
"You drownded me, but I made it here!"
Then voices from pockets and bags and teeth
Cried, "Give back my boyfriend, you murdering thief!"
So the sister was busted, and she was burned.
The wedding gifts, they were all returned.
I gave all the stuff I made from the sister
Who drowned to the boyfriend, because he missed her.
Now he plays his music from the heart;
He and his love will never part.
He rests his head on her breast again,
And what does he keep his pencils in?
So, maids, don't envy your sister fair:
You can cut the cards---you can learn to share.
You don't have to do your sister in---
You've got one sister; there's lots of men.
***Joe's note: When Sadie sings this part, she chants it like Vaughn Monroe singing the "Duckworth Chant."