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Tune Req: Unhappy Bella

Artful Codger 29 Sep 08 - 08:49 PM
Charley Noble 29 Sep 08 - 08:58 PM
Gurney 30 Sep 08 - 05:36 PM
Artful Codger 30 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM
Charley Noble 30 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM
Artful Codger 30 Sep 08 - 08:20 PM
Barbara 30 Sep 08 - 10:45 PM
Artful Codger 01 Oct 08 - 12:05 AM
Gurney 01 Oct 08 - 01:22 AM
Gurney 01 Oct 08 - 01:28 AM
Artful Codger 20 Dec 08 - 06:53 AM
Joe_F 20 Dec 08 - 09:10 PM
Artful Codger 21 Dec 08 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 08:49 PM

In "Down and Out in Paris and London" (1933), George Orwell supplied the text of "Unhappy Bella", a song he said was sung repeatedly over the course of two days by a pair of tramps, William and Fred, ex-fishermen from Norfolk. It begins:

Bella was young and Bella was fair
With bright blue eyes and golden hair;
O, unhappy Bella!
Her step was light and her heart was gay,
But she had no sense, and one fine day
She got herself put in the family way
By a wicked, heartless, cruel deceiver.

Orwell supplied four more verses, which can easily be found online.

Does anyone know the "original" tune or additional history? The song was set for a Broadway show "Love Songs" (1990's?)--I'm not interested in that tune. The lyrics also appear in several rugby songbooks; what tune does the rugby crowd use?

Thanks in advance...


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 08:58 PM

No, but it was one of the ditties Oscar Brand recorded IN HIS BARRACK ROOM BALLADS, and the lyrics are in the Oak publication (where's my brain?) THE PANIC IS ON!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 05:36 PM

The dots, and words, are also in Jerry Silverman's '62 Outrageous Songs.'

I fumbled my way through them enough to learn the song, once.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM

Charlie: Could you whip up an ABC of the tune Brand sings? Do the liner notes indicate it's provenance, or whether it's his own?

Gurney: The Silverman is out of print and pricey to get. Is the tune there worth the bother? Does he mention where it comes from? Could you send me a scan if I PM'd my addy?

Tnx


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM

Gurney-

I believe we're talking about the same Oak publication.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 08:20 PM

Charlie: If so, then you would have that printed tune as well, no?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Barbara
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 10:45 PM

I have that song in a copy of some bawdy song book of Oscar Brand, an Oak Publication. I think, however, the book I have -- somewhere -- is called Roll Me Over In the Clover. Has a purple and white paperback cover 8 x 10 or so, with a woodcut of a couple demo-ing the title, and is sorted into bawdy and in the back, really awful ones.
If no one else ponies up the tune, I will have a shot at it in a couple days. I've sung this one of and on for years.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 12:05 AM

Hah, I actually have that one: the collection is titled just Roll Me Over, compiled by Harry Babad. The credits on that version of the song read "New words & music by Oscar Brand. © Copyright 1950 Oscar Brand, New York.

However, the words are hardly new, simply altered in spots (not by much) with a verse missing. A case of tweaking for the sake of copyright, apparently (grrrasswipe). But no matter, since the text seems to demand a lighter treatment, so guess I'll concoct my own.

Thanks to all!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 01:22 AM

Charlie, dunno about the 'same', but the Silverman book is published by Oak, certainly. It has a picture of an early-victorian-looking young lady at the 'Bella' page, carrying a wooden bucket on her head, with a horn? beaker hooked onto the side of it.
In F, credits say only "As sung by John Pearse." 5 verses.

Codger, I've never attempted to send an attachment, let alone a graphic, and I will have to set up an old computer because my scanner only works on Windows98, but all is possible in time. PM me this weekend if someone doesn't beat me to it. I am in NZ.

I used to have a program that printed music paper, but it seems to have gone.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 01:28 AM

Codger, the Chord run is:

Dm A7 Dm A7 Dm A7 Dm A7
F A7 Dm.
F C A7, Dm A7,
Dm C Bb A7
Dm [C][Bb] A7 Dm.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:53 AM

I ended up writing my own oddly chromatic tune--came to me as I was waking up one morning.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Joe_F
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:10 PM

It's on Brand's _Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads_, Vol. III. Here is the tune in solfa (scale -- minor -- is LTDRMFSltdrmfs; . means continuation for a beat):

mltdt.rdtlr.
Ml.dt.rdtld..
m..rmrdl....
mm.mmrdr.rr.r
td.ddtlt.tt..
ltdtdrdrmr
drm.mm.mm.mrmrdl.........

I imagine that Brand got the words from Orwell, but that the tune is Brand's. N.B. He expands the last line (refrain) to "a mean and wicked, heartless, cruel deceiver".


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unhappy Bella
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 10:11 AM

Yes, Joe, that tune is Brand's, according to the book Roll Me Over, which includes both words and music. The lyrics are also so close to Orwell's that I'm sure Orwell was Brand's source.


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