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Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Rd

Jim Dixon 02 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 02 Mar 11 - 06:47 PM
MGM·Lion 03 Mar 11 - 12:58 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Mar 11 - 10:13 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 13 - 07:27 AM
Jeri 02 Mar 13 - 09:59 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: WOT CHER / KNOCKED 'EM IN THE OLD KENT RD
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM

You can hear Albert Chevalier perform this song at YouTube. That recording is an abbreviated version of the following lyrics. (He sings verse 1, chorus, first half of verse 4, first half of verse 3, and chorus.)

The following text comes from Musa Pedestris: Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes (1536-1896) edited by John Stephen Farmer ([London:] Privately printed for subscribers only, 1896), page 190. That book has marginal notes to translate the slang, but I didn't think it necessary to reproduce them here.


WOT CHER! (KNOCKED 'EM IN THE OLD KENT ROAD)
Words, Albert Chevalier. Music, Charles Ingle.
London : Reynolds & Co, [1892]

1. Last week down our alley come a toff,
Nice old geezer with a nasty cough,
Sees my Missus, takes 'is topper off
In a very gentlemanly way!
"Ma'am," says he, "I 'ave some news to tell,
Your rich Uncle Tom of Camberwell,
Popped off recent, which it ain't a sell,
Leaving you his little donkey shay."

CHORUS: "Wot cher!" all the neighbours cried,
"Who're yer goin' to meet, Bill?
Have yer bought the street, Bill?"
Laugh! I thought I should 'ave died,
Knock'd 'em in the Old Kent Road!

2. Some says nasty things about the moke,
One cove thinks 'is leg is really broke,
That's 'is envy, cos we're carriage folk,
Like the toffs as rides in Rotten Row!
Straight! it woke the alley up a bit,
Thought our lodger would 'ave 'ad a fit,
When my missus, who's a real wit,
Says, "I 'ates a bus, because it's low!"

3. When we starts, the blessed donkey stops.
He won't move, so out I quickly 'ops.
Pals start whackin' him, when down he drops.
Someone says he wasn't made to go.
Lor! It might 'ave been a four-in-'and.
My Old Dutch knows 'ow to do the grand.
First she bows, and then she waves 'er 'and,
Calling out, "We're goin' for a blow!"

4. Ev'ry evenin' on the stroke of five,
Me and Missus takes a little drive.
You'd say, "Wonderful they're still alive,"
If you saw that little donkey go.
I soon showed him that 'e 'd have to do,
Just whatever he was wanted to.
Still I shan't forget that rowdy crew
'Ollerin' "Whoa! steady! Neddy, whoa!

*

Rudyard Kipling quotes from this song in his story "Judson and the Empire" in his book "Many Inventions" (1893)—except that Kipling uses the spellings "geyser" for "geezer" and "What cheer" for "wot cher."

I'm guessing those slang terms were very new when the song was popular, and the spelling hadn't been standardized yet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Rd
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 06:47 PM

Interesting!

its the sort of thing Cosmotheka could have done and got laughs with - maybe , they were pretty smart at picking material.

You always thought they were picking material because they could make a good job of it. You don't always feel that withe 'curators of the tradition' crowd.

I remember Ian Campbell once said to me that he thought Cosmotheka were the most original thing to come out of the 1970's folkscene in England.

As it stands the song is almost like a dead language.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Rd
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:58 AM

Ah, I am old enough to recall when this song, along with other well-known effusions of the Music hall like many of Marie Lloyd's {My Old Man] and other of Chevalier's [My Old Dutch], and some of Gus Elen's [The Ouses in Between] were current referential currency, and everyone could chant at least a variant of the chorus & probably the first verse. Now we write of them here as absolutely forgotten antiquities.

This one, Old Kent Road, featured also in the original Penguin Book Of Comic & Curious Verse BTW.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Ken
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 10:13 AM

I, on the other hand, am hearing most of these songs for the first time (see all the Harry Champion songs I have posted over the last month or so)—not because I'm young (I'm not) but because I'm American. And I'm enjoying it! Britain had its music halls and the US had its vaudeville, which was similar, but apparently their repertoires didn't overlap.

A lot of British bands came over on the same boat (so to speak) with the Beatles, and Herman's Hermits introduced I'M HENERY THE EIGHTH I AM to Americans, but even then, they sang only the chorus, no verses, and nobody explained its origin. I thought it was a new song!

I don't think Cosmotheka made it over here, either.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Rd
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 07:27 AM

http://monologues.co.uk/musichall/Songs-K/Knocked-Em-Kent-Road.htm

Lyrics and PDF file of the music. .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wot Cher / Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Rd
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 09:59 AM

Refresh


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