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Are there any unbowdlerized collections?

Bert 18 May 09 - 06:28 AM
GUEST 18 May 09 - 06:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 May 09 - 06:38 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 06:44 AM
GUEST 18 May 09 - 06:45 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 07:04 AM
Charley Noble 18 May 09 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 May 09 - 09:46 AM
greg stephens 18 May 09 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 18 May 09 - 10:34 AM
Steve Gardham 18 May 09 - 03:56 PM
Folkiedave 18 May 09 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Lighter 18 May 09 - 05:52 PM
Rapparee 18 May 09 - 06:03 PM
Emma B 18 May 09 - 06:24 PM
JohnInKansas 19 May 09 - 06:37 AM
Micca 19 May 09 - 07:06 AM
Diva 19 May 09 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 May 09 - 12:59 PM
Art Thieme 19 May 09 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 19 May 09 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 May 09 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 20 May 09 - 03:34 PM
Joe Offer 20 May 09 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 20 May 09 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 20 May 09 - 04:54 PM
Bill D 20 May 09 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 May 09 - 09:27 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 May 09 - 09:56 AM
Diva 21 May 09 - 10:39 AM
Charley Noble 21 May 09 - 08:53 PM
Bill D 21 May 09 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 May 09 - 12:02 PM
JohnInKansas 22 May 09 - 07:48 PM
JohnInKansas 22 May 09 - 08:14 PM
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Subject: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:28 AM

I'm not saying that the bowdlerized versions should not exist because they are the versions that schoolkids learn.

But I'm grown up (more or less) now and I would like to learn more of the original versions.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:32 AM

What are you refering to? Can you give an example?


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:38 AM

they are the versions that schoolkids learn.

A lot of the stuff we used to sing as schoolkids would put even the most un-bowdlerised folk song to shame. I'm sure the same is true of today's schoolkids. I wonder why adults feel the need to dumb these things down for people who aren't dumb in the slightest?


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:44 AM

GUEST, 'The Cornish Nightingale' for one.

You're right there Suibhne, but that is in the playground. I was thinking about the music class.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:45 AM

Do you mean this sort of thing?


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:04 AM

That's perfect GUEST. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:59 AM

Bert-

John Mehlberg has posted here time to time. He used to maintain a website of bawdy songs, many with MP3 sound files, and it's possible he still does. He had a collection which numbered in the hundreds.

Try a search here for "Bawdy songs."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 May 09 - 09:46 AM

It is unsafe to assume that a gross or dirty version is the original. It could be a parody that came later.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 May 09 - 09:58 AM

Bert: you specifically ask re the Cornish Nightingale. Now, assuming you mean the"as she sings in the valley below" song, that first appeared in print (I believe) in S Baring-Gould's "Songs of the West Country". And the said collector made extensive notes of song words in his note books that he didn't feel able to put in print at the time. So maybe if you had a bit of a nose-around with google you will find some Baring Gould authorities (eg people at the Wren Trust in Devon). And they will maybe help.
I should mention in passing that I come from a long line of Cornish miners. And my grandfather knew that song, and he certainly didn't get it from the Baring Gould book. But if he knew any rude bits, alas he never sung them to me!


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:34 AM

Sabine Barring-Gould recorded verbatim, apparently. But published as you would expect a Victorian vicar to.

His collection in Exeter (Uni I think) is accessable to bona fide researchers. If you join the tradsong forum (e-mail type thingy) and ask the question, you will get just about all the answers you can cope with.

I seem to remember Martin Graebe is an expert on the collector.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 09 - 03:56 PM

The Sweet Nightingle has ever been a pretty pretty song originally from the operetta, Thomas and Sally, and didn't need any bowdlerising.

Baring Gould didn't always take songs down verbatim and on occasions he used poet's licence. He was however effectively the first in the field with no precedents to show him what to do. He didn't alter songs in publication because he was a reverend, it was because he was taking the songs from poor working people and dressing them up for the rich middle classes. A lot of what he altered wasn't particularly crude, he just thought he could do better.

One we all learnt at school was 'The Keeper' It was not bowdlerised to any great degree, as kids we just weren't aware of the double entendre. I sometimes even wonder whether Sharp was.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:06 PM

And do join Tradsong Forum for expert help on folk song. It's £6.00 or £8.00 per year - I really ought to know 'cos I have just paid Doc.

And MArtin Graebe (in google) is the great expert on SBG.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 18 May 09 - 05:52 PM

Vance Randolph's two "bawdy" volumes should be taken together with his four-volume "Ozark Folk Songs." His material in the two later volumes, edited by G. Legman, was collected at exactly the same time and from some fo the very same people. Prudery delayed its publication for forty-odd years.

AFAIK, Rabdolph's *six* volumes make up the only completely unexpurgated and unbowdlerized general collection of folksongs published in English. He took down everything his sources sang for him and altered nothing.

Ed Cray's "The Erotic Muse" was the first scholarly volume devoted to bawdy folksongs exclusively.

Some of today's rap lyrics, apparently beloved by millions, are cruder, coarser, and uglier than anything Cray or Randolph collected decades ago.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:03 PM

10,000 Goddamn Cattle.

Whorehouse bells were ringing.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Emma B
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:24 PM

I have a copy of The Merry Muses of Caledonia they don't come much more unbowdlerized!


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 May 09 - 06:37 AM

G. Legman, who provided the "intro" to one or more of the Vance Randolph books, reportedly had about the most extensive collection of bawdy stuff in existence. He fought a long, and mostly futile, battle with "academia" for any recognition of his work; but mostly was "avoided" by academics and publishers.

He replied to the (mostly false) claim that his work wasn't properly documented with an article published in one of the major journals - I believe it was the American Journal of Folklore, or American Folklore Society Journal, or something like that. The article was mostly a thirty or forty page list of collected items, with some notes and comments.

Based partly on his comments in Randolph's last published book, and perhaps the "academic credential" from his Journal piece, he was an invited lecturer at an international folklore convention at the time of his death. When I went back to re-check citations on his Journal article - approximately three weeks after he died - I found that all reference to his existence, including his name as a speaker at the convention and the index entry via which I originally found the article, had been completely expunged from the Societies records.

It was reported (although only vaguely confirmed) that his widow destroyed his entire collection within a year or two of his death.

"We have been protected."

John


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Micca
Date: 19 May 09 - 07:06 AM

Em, is that the recently published edition that was launched I understand in Glasgow in the last month or so?
Having heard Diva sing the unbowdlerised version of "John Anderson, my Jo" memorably some years ago, I concur it is very bawdy, not for Maiden aunts.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Diva
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:33 PM

There has been a reprint of the 1959 edition of The Merry Muses..see here
http://www.booksfromscotland.com/Homecoming-Scotland-2009/Robert-Burns/Merry-Muses-of-Caledonia

which contains a new introduction by Dr Valentina Bold of Glasgow University and illustrations by Bob Dewar. It was launched at the NLS in Edinburgh in February this year and I was lucky enough to go to the Aye Write Book Festival in Glasgow in March with Dr Bold and sing a couple of the songs from the collection.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:59 PM

It's sad to think that Gershon Legman's work has gone. Fortunately I have two of his books; "The Rationale of the Dirty Joke" and "The Horn Book". So he wasn't scorned by all the publishers.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 May 09 - 02:41 PM

Is Legman his real name, or is it one of his preferences.

Art


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 19 May 09 - 03:32 PM

JohninKansas,

I wasn't aware of that destruction of Legman's collection you described. It is a real horror. I am enormously grateful to Legman for his publication of Randolph's "inadmissible" songs, with extensive notes and comparison of versions that make it a classic. He was a fine scholar doing uphill work against a lot of resistance.

Not many people know that Gershon Legman, besides his wide studies of "dirty" jokes, etc., was the author of the best collection of unexpurgated limericks, widely published as "The Limerick" (copies are frequently found second hand). But many, perhaps most of the copies are unattributed—no author's name. Apparently some publisher bootlegged it. It's a real shame. Poor Legman probably never saw a penny from all those bootleg sales, and he could ill afford the loss, from what I understand.

Reminds me of Mrs. Richard Burton making a bonfire of all her husband's extensive notes on impolite practices, anecdotes, etc. among the many ethnic peoples he knew from personal experience as an explorer.

The bluenoses have held the field an awfully long time.

It bears saying that the parodies Leeneia mentioned above, while not originals, are no less noteworthy for all that. Songs like "Silver Threads Among the Gold," "Bye Bye Blackbird" and other popular items rapidly got parodied, and made their way into folk tradition.

Some songs started as bawdy or suggestive and went clean in more public versions—Sweet Violets, Hogeye, Lavender Blue, The Fireship and The Tailor Boy come to mind.

Whereas songs like "Cindy," "Roll On the Ground," and so on were sometimes collected with bawdy verses interspersed among the clean ones, a situation the folklorists quickly censored.

In truth bawdy lore has always been an integral part of folksong—the epitome is "Little Ball of Yarn," which starts sweet and innocent and winds up scabrous. Whether it originally ended bawdy or not, I'm not sure anyone knows.

Many people had songs they'd spontaneously "clean up" for a visitor, but sing uncensored in private.

Sorry, didn't mean to run on like that. But the bawdy song situation is so rarely told straight, I had to put in my oar.

[Splash!]

Bob


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 May 09 - 12:30 PM

I'm unaware of any reliable report that Legman's collection of folklore was "destroyed" after his death. It strikes me as exceedingly unlikely, to put it mildly.

And yes, "Legman" was his real name.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 09 - 03:34 PM

Bob,

Re Little Ball of Yarn, do you mean that the song itself begins sweet and innocent? In the only version that I remember part of it begins:

In my prison cell I sit
With my finger in my shit
And the shadow of my bollocks on the wall

Unfortunately I can't recall the rest.

Re the limerick book I guess that was one that I perused a couple of times some years back in a bookshop here in London. It boasted 1700 limericks. Sadly I didn't have the money at time.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 May 09 - 04:27 PM

What about the more recent online collections, like the
Have these been bowdlerized?
Any unbowdlerized sea song collecitons?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 20 May 09 - 04:49 PM

Hoot,

You're quoting the opening of what is ordinarily the last verse. The usual beginning of Little Ball of Yarn seems to set it up as a pretty, not very explicit love song. This is the usual start, from the version marked (2) in the DT:

It was in the month of May, when the lambs do sport and play
And the birds sing sweetly at the dawn,
I met a country maid and unto her did say,
"Let me wind up your little ball of yarn?

"Oh, no" says she to me, "You're a stranger, I can see,
And though I admire your Northern charm,
I prefer to let one of those with fine manners and fine clothes
Wind up me little ball of yarn."

Of course it's possible to do the plot as a flashback from the prison cell. That at least lets the audience know where it's going from the start.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 20 May 09 - 04:54 PM

Hi Lighter,

Reviewing JohninKansas' post, I see that destruction of Legman's materials is only a vague inference. So ... possibly I've overreacted. And I sincerely hope it's not so.

John also cited disappearance of references to Legman's work. That seems more substantial as he reports it. In general it would confirm a scholarly trend to bury the embarrassing, no matter how valuable the scholarship.

But I have not tried to verify any of this myself, so I'll withdraw my foot from the door until we know more definitely what really did happen.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Bill D
Date: 20 May 09 - 07:37 PM

It may be the collection of Sir Richard Burton that some remember. I believe Legman referred to it. Burton's wife was the culprit.


"Burton, Sir Richard (1821–90). Traveller, Arabist, and great Victorian outsider, Burton joined the Indian army in 1842. In India he learned numerous languages and much obscure lore, not least about Islam. Hence he was credible when he travelled to Mecca disguised as an Arab in 1853. Now famous, he led an expedition to Harar in north‐east Africa before being chosen by the Royal Geographical Society to lead their great east African expedition of 1856. Burton discovered Lake Tanganyika in 1858. Later travels took him to the Gold Coast, Mount Cameroon, Dahomey, Brazil, and the American West. He published translations of the Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra. This and other exploits shocked many Victorians, including his wife, who destroyed most of his papers."


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 May 09 - 09:27 PM

Joe, there's nothing bawdy in the Wolf Collection.
The Hunter Collection, however, includes several bawdy items.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 May 09 - 09:56 AM

Bob Coltman,
Thanks for that Bob. That would make more sense.It is a long time since I last heard it and probably I've not remembered it correctly. I'll just put it down to the folk process.

Hoot.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Diva
Date: 21 May 09 - 10:39 AM

Well I think we (The Scots) could have had an awful lot more if it had not been for The Reformation and the like of Knox and his cronies. In the archive where I work we have, on microfilm, the Robert Tait Collection which is basically a 'how to read the dots and sing church type music' but in the middle of it is a piece(with dots) about a farting competition between a lady and her maid. It dates to about 1671


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 May 09 - 08:53 PM

Bill D.

I'll have to do some more research on the explorer Richard Burton. I read his explorations of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia many years ago but I never knew he had an interest in bawdy songs.

Spending an evening with him would have been interesting!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 May 09 - 10:27 PM

Charley... I have both volumes of Legman's collection of bawdy limericks, as well as his 2 volumes of 'dirty jokes'.

I 'think' I remember Legman remarking on Burton's collection & problems, but Legman didn't have an index in those volumes, so I am slowly perusing the preface and such to see what I can find. I'll update this thread if I find relevant material.


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 May 09 - 12:02 PM

Lady Isabel Burton certainly destroyed at least some of her husband's work after his death in 1890, notably his translation of The Scented Garden. She maintained that Richard's ghost had visited her to insist upon it.

From Thomas Wright's Life of Sir Richard Burton (1906):

"[T]he fifteen hundred subscribers to The Scented Garden kept writing to Lady Burton to ask when the promised work was to be in their hands. As she could not possibly reply to so many persons, and as the nature of some of the letters cast her into a state of wild perturbation, there seemed only one course open to her—namely, to write to the press. So she sent to The Morning Post the well-known letter which appeared 19th June, 1891, mentioning some of her reasons for destroying the manuscript, the principal being her belief that out of fifteen hundred men, fifteen would probably read it in the spirit of science in which it was written, the other fourteen hundred and eighty-five would read it 'for filth's sake.' The principal cause, the apparition of her husband, she did not mention."


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 May 09 - 07:48 PM

A biography of Sir Richard Burton does assert that his wife destroyed all of his unpublished writings, but I don't recall there being any suggestion of much of anything "musical" in them.

He reportedly sought out certain of the "oriental" mystic cults, and for some time apparently practiced some of their rites. It was suggested that his "practices" may have included some sexual activities (gasp - horror) not widely accepted in polite society, that he may have engaged in some use of illicit drugs, and that he may have commited "crimes" of some undefined kinds as part of ritual practices/observances. His wife may also have been offended by his having kept/used "native concubines" for extended times during his foreign duties.

I have an index entry for a book:

Captain Sir Richard Burton, by author Rice, publisher DaCapo, ISBN 030681028X that I purchased ca. 2003 at a sale price; but can't be certain it's the one in which I remember reading about the destruction of his notes without finding the book itself, and it's not at hand at present.

Comments about the rumored destruction of Legman's collection were, if I recall correctly, in correspondence/comments in a "society magazine" but I don't believe it was the same society that Journaled his "index" of the collection. Unfortunately I don't seem to have saved my original notes through a succession of failed hard drives and bunches of floppy disks that turned out not to be of archival quality. (But I did find my copy of my 1956 Federal Income Tax Return while looking to see if the notes were still in archives.)

John


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Subject: RE: Are there any unbowdlerized collections?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 May 09 - 08:14 PM

And AHA! Exultations and Great Joy!!!

I did find a document implying that I posted in an unidentifed Mudcat thread - sent in a PM to an unidentified member - or perhaps sent in an email (my records weren't as good as current ones back then):

G. Legman has a couple of articles in the Journal of the American Folklore Society Vol 103, that you might find interesting if the Journal is in your local library.
In Vol 103, No. 410, October-December 1990 page 417, his Erotic Folksongs and Ballads: An International Bibliography is a very long listing of hundreds of obscure and unobtainable (possibly non-existent?) citations.


and

The following is the "header" from a separate article, "Unprintable" Folklore: the Vance Randolph Collection, by Mr. Legman, from the same Journal. My records are incomplete. I believe this article begins on page 259 of the same "volume" of the JAFS, although it doesn't appear on the banner page list of articles for that issue.:

"During most of his working life, Vance Randolph, the great Ozark folklorist and writer, failed to receive the recognition he deserved from the folklore establishment, and he was forced by publishing convention to suppress the substantial and important erotic stories and songs in his collection. The forthcoming publication by University of Arkansas Press of Randolph's heretofore "unprintable" songs and other lore provides an occasion for examining the character, causes, and costs of suppressing such materials."

The article - some 20 pages worth - expounds in some detail on the "politics" of publishing unexpurgated folklore, and has some interesting opinions on a number of frequently cited (and frequently quoted) published works. Mr. Legman relates some of Vance Randolph's difficulties with "folklorist" academicians, without too much complaint about his own similar difficulties.


(File data shows content created 04 April 2002, implying I still had notes at that time.)

John


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