The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117836   Message #2541228
Posted By: Jim Carroll
17-Jan-09 - 08:49 AM
Thread Name: Origins/Info: Tail Toddle
Subject: RE: Tail Toddle
Little Robyn,
Faint hearts never won fair ladies - here goes:
Tail Toddle was one of the singing exercises used by the Critics Group to practice and develop breath control and articulation in singing, the aim being to be able to sing a verse and two choruses in one breath – very few of the group managed it.
The best explanation I heard of it was a story told by MacColl of when he was performing at a concert in Scotland. He went backstage to find a be-kilted Hamish Henderson towering over a diminutive blue rinse American lady who had obviously asked for an explanation of 'Tail Toddle'.
He boomed, "Madam, a tail is the female pudenda and toddling is the motion backward and forward. So there you have it" (demonstrating with his hips), "in and out, in and out, backward and forward".
The lady disappeared, never to be seen again.
A rough translation from memory:

Tail toddle, tail toddle,
Tammy gars (1) my tail toddle,
But and ben (2) and diddle-doddle (3)
Tammy gars my tail toddle.

Jessie Lack she gi'ed a plack (4)
Helen Wallace gi'ed a bottle
Quoth (5) the bride, "It's ower-little (6)
For to mend a broken dottle (7)

Oor guid-wife (8) went o'wer to Fiffe,
Just to buy a coal-riddle.
Lang e'er she'd come back again,
Tammy'd gar'd my tail toddle

1 Makes
2 Up and down
3 To wag from side to side with great energy
4 A copper coin worth one third of a penny – possibly a plack-pie – a pie costing a plack.
5 Said
6 Very little
7 Plug, stopper - probably a euphemism for a hymen.
8 Mistress of the house

Jim Carroll