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song about Husband wearing lover's pants

GUEST,Gerry 10 Jul 10 - 08:55 PM
Gurney 11 Jul 10 - 03:49 PM
Gurney 11 Jul 10 - 04:42 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jul 10 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Jul 10 - 01:59 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jul 10 - 12:07 PM
Gurney 13 Jul 10 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Gerry 13 Jul 10 - 08:14 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 10 - 01:17 AM
Gurney 14 Jul 10 - 01:26 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 14 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 14 Jul 10 - 12:51 PM
Gurney 14 Jul 10 - 09:34 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jul 10 - 01:44 PM
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Subject: Husband wearing lover's pants
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 10 Jul 10 - 08:55 PM

There are many songs in which a woman has to hide her lover when her husband comes home unexpectedly. The French-Canadian band Genticorum do one which has a development I've not come across in any English-language ballad. The husband gets in bed with his wife. She makes believe she's sick, so he'll go to the pharmacy to get her some medicine, giving the lover a chance to escape. But the husband accidentally puts on the lover's pants, and when he reaches into the pockets to pay the pharmacist and finds 15 gold coins there, he realizes he has been cuckolded. He consoles himself by spending the money at the tavern.

Is there an English-language ballad that has this idea of the husband accidentally wearing the lover's clothing, and said clothing being crucial in his discovery of his wife's deception?


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Subject: RE: Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 03:49 PM

Not in my limited experience, Gerry. There is 'The Butcher and the Parsons Wife' where the butcher waits under the bed "'Till they're both fast asleep, then out of the bedroom so softly does creep, with parson's best coat on, his wig and his cloak, and off to his lady to make up the joke."
Something like that, anyway. Cyril Tawney sang it.


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Subject: RE: Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 04:42 PM

Memory starting to kick in.
Maybe 'The Butcher and the Parson.'?

...."So softly does creep,
puts on Parson's best britches, his wig and his cloak,
and then off to his lady to make up the joke,

and sing fol-de-rol, fol-de-rol day.

He knocks on the door with his courage so bold,
with Parson's best coat on, and plenty of gold.
The maid, she comes down in the dead of the night,
she was half fast asleep when she gave him a light,

"Where is your missus?" "In bed." said the maid.
"Go open the door then, unto her." He sayed.

And a night of payback cuckoldry ensues, to the morning dismay of the Parson's wife.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 06:30 PM

The English language ballad generally goes under the title 'The Horned Miller', 'The Canny Miller and His Wife'

Versions in Bodleian Broadside Ballads website, Harding B25(861)
Holloway and Black, Later English Broadside Ballads, Vol 1 p111
Logan's Pedlar's Pack p389
Christie's Traditional Ballad Airs, Vol 2 p293 (2 fragments)
Newly published 'Secret Songs of Silence' by Ian Spring p127. See separate thread on this for availablility and offers to Mudcat members.
Greig-Duncan Vol 7, p319 (4 versions from oral tradition.)

I'm sure I have also come across other English ballads on the same theme but for the moment they escape me.

The story will also have a folktale number in Arne-Thompson as well but I haven't got access to this.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Jul 10 - 01:59 AM

Thanks, Gurney; thanks, Steve. Know of any recordings of these songs?


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jul 10 - 12:07 PM

Some of the Greig-Duncan material has appeared recently on recordings but it's a long shot that this was one of them as there are thousands of songs in the collection. Despite the above references it is quite a scarce obscure song.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Gurney
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 03:37 AM

There is a guy on YouTube singing 'The Butcher and the Parsons Wife' which is close to Cyrils version. Same tune, apart from it isn't so obviously waltzy as Cyril's, and minor mods in the wording.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 08:14 PM

Thanks, Gurney, I found it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED3KC83g2jA

Curiously, the guy who put it up (Bruce Michael Baillie) writes, "it isn't a real folk song, just sounds like one." Maybe someone should let him know....


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 01:17 AM

Gerry, it is a definite no-no on this site to discuss what a folk-song is, so I hope Bruce doesn't air that opinion here.
We are an opinionated lot. Sometimes two people agree, though. Sometimes.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 01:26 AM

That Guest is Gurney. There are gremlins about.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM

My apologies Gents! the only time I've ever heard this song performed anywhere in my 38 years on the folk scene was by Dave Farrar of Bradford.Never knew Cyril Tawney had done it as well. Also I've never ever found the words to the song in any folk publication I've read so assumed (wrongly as it turns out) that it was a song someone had written in a folky style! Once again my apologies and thanks for the information!


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 12:51 PM

Cripes, I thought this was a song about cross-dressing! Visions of Ann Summers Summer Days, and Knights, started to fill my panicky head, whilst thoughts of "Yikes, whatever next on Mudcat!?" spun around inside me. Phew! Thank heavens it's all down to pants versus trousers versus English/American/Canadian meaning.

Although................   ;0)


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 09:34 PM

Bruce, it is a good enough song to be adopted into folkdom, and the version Cyril sang has slightly different words and half the chorus, so it has been folk-processed.

It's just that we here have a thousand opinions, well aired, about 'What is Folk.' When someone brings IT up, shit and derision immediately descend.

You may still be right, though. Cyril was not a folk bigot.
I think I have that version on a tape somewhere. Maybe I should submit the words for the DT.


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Subject: RE: song about Husband wearing lover's pants
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 01:44 PM

If you look at the OP the word 'accidentally' is fairly crucial to the motif. In 'The Butcher and the Parson's Wife' the donning of the trousers is deliberate in order to facilitate the double cuckoldry. This in itself is a well-used motif, but a different one to the accidental donning found in the single cuckoldry of the French ballads and 'The Horned Miller'.
Sorry if this looks to be pedantic!


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