I'm new to this forum and hope it's OK to jump in. Actually, I found this thread because I was looking for an interpretation of Arlo Guthrie's "Ring-Around-A-Rosy Rag," so my Google search brought up Russ' post, where he offers to explain the origins of Guthrie's lyrics to anyone who's interested. Well, I'm interested!
I would have written to Russ privately, since Guthrie's song is not the topic of this thread, but I couldn't figure out how to do that, so I'm posting away. I suspect that Guthrie's song is a drug song, what with references to going to the park and getting busted, Officer Joe Strange and blowing your mind, but what the heck is the "Ring-Around-A-Rosy Rag"? Help? Lyrics here: http://www.arlo.net/
And, to go back on-topic, the Urban Legend site Snopes.com has a page about the nursery rhyme, "Ring Around the Rosie." They reject the "black plague" interpretation: