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Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines

Steve Parkes 16 Dec 12 - 03:28 PM
Steve Parkes 16 Dec 12 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,SRD 16 Dec 12 - 04:26 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 12 - 06:11 PM
Long Firm Freddie 16 Dec 12 - 06:41 PM
MartinRyan 16 Dec 12 - 06:47 PM
MartinRyan 16 Dec 12 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Blowzabella sans cookie 16 Dec 12 - 07:03 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Dec 12 - 11:24 PM
Bob Bolton 16 Dec 12 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Beachcomber 17 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM
Girl Friday 17 Dec 12 - 07:12 AM
Steve Parkes 17 Dec 12 - 12:20 PM
Girl Friday 18 Dec 12 - 10:09 AM
FrederickDenny 18 Dec 12 - 12:03 PM
FrederickDenny 18 Dec 12 - 12:11 PM
Steve Parkes 19 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM
GUEST 01 May 13 - 07:36 AM
Mr Happy 01 May 13 - 08:04 AM
Charley Noble 05 Dec 18 - 11:07 AM
Billy Weeks 07 Dec 18 - 06:21 AM
Bugsy 07 Dec 18 - 08:02 PM
Snuffy 08 Dec 18 - 04:34 AM
GUEST 09 Dec 18 - 03:13 AM
Bugsy 10 Dec 18 - 04:58 AM
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Subject: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 03:28 PM

There's an old Music Hall song of this title, recorded several times by the eponymous Billy Williams in the early years of the 20th century. It has since been recorded (and performed) by Cosmotheka (Dave & the late Al Sealey). The song commemorates the Children Act of 1908, which introduced a number of safeguards to the legal status of children -- including the right of police officers and others (park keepers!) to confiscate any tobacco or cigarette papers from under-age children.

OK: cut to the chase. There are some pre-WWI slang expressions in the chorus, which I'm completely unfamiliar with; any help would be very welcome ...
Five little fags in a dainty little packet,
Five cigarettes that cost one D,
Five little pains underneath his jacket,
Five wopples in his little maree,
Five little whiffs, five little jiffs ...


Weird words in bold. (If you didn't already know, fag=cigarette and D is the abbreviation for pre-decimal pence. As for the packet, Google it!)


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 03:49 PM

Here's a good reording of the song, if you want to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 04:26 PM

I suspect that Pains, Wopples, Whiffs and Jiffs are the names of different brands of cigarette (but not necessarily spelled that way). There was definitely one called Wills Whiffs.


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:11 PM

Wills Whiffs are certainly a brand of cheap cigarette. But a 'whiff' was also a quick 'drag' or 'puff' on a cig as in 'Give us a whiff'


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:41 PM

Maree is, I think, actually Mary, rhyming slang for hand (Mary Ann, hand).

I heard wopples as wobbles - though its still not something I've heard of as being another name for cigarettes!

LFF


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:47 PM

Hmmm...

Partridge has "wambles" as nausea or uneasiness in the stomach. That would leave "pains" as literal and only "maree" unexplained.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:58 PM

... or to put it differently: Who was Mary Kelly, anyway?"!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: GUEST,Blowzabella sans cookie
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 07:03 PM

Might be worth contacting the British Music Hall Society - see if they can clarify the context / meaning of the slang words

They have a website HERE and also have a Facebook page HERE


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE WILLIE'S WILD WOODBINES
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 11:24 PM

Here's my transcription from the recording found online at Syracuse University:


LITTLE WILLIE'S WILD WOODBINES – title as given on the sheet music
LITTLE WILLIE'S WOODBINES (WILD WOODBINES) – title as given on the cylinder
Words and music by Fred J. Barnes and Robert P. Weston, 1908 – date of the sheet music as given in the British Library catalogue
As sung by Billy Williams on Edison Blue Amberol cylinder 23027, 1913.


Little Billy Williams found a penny in the garden
One fine summer's day.
And as little Billy'd never had more than a farthin',
He said, "Hip hip hooray!"
Then passing a tobacconist's where cigarettes were sold,
There he beheld some little packets colored green and gold.
Billy said, "Although I'm only six, I'll be a sport."
He toddled in the 'bacco shop and this is what he bought:

Five little fags in a dainty little packet,
Five cigarettes that cost one d,
Five little pains underneath his jacket,
Five wobbles in his little Mary,
Five little whiffs, five little jiffs,
As he lay upon the tramway-lines,
Wishin' he could touch the cable,
Looking greener than the label
Of little Billy's Wild Woodbines.

When Billy puffed the first one he said, "This don't seem a good 'un,
But the next might be all right."
And when he lit the second, he said, "Wish I'd bought plum puddin',
Or else a paper kite."
"Why, I never thought the world went round," he murmured at the third,
"But now I've seen it dancing, I can take my teacher's word."
Then at the fourth, he felt so bad he hiccuped with a frown:
"Smoke ain't so nice a-coming up as when it's going down."

So five little fags in a dainty little packet,
Five cigarettes that cost one d,
Five little pains underneath his jacket,
Five wobbles in his little Mary,
Five little whiffs, five little jiffs,
As he lay upon the tramway-lines,
Sadly saying, "Close the shutter.
Willie's dead but do not utter
A word of Billy's Wild Woodbines."

Little Billy Williams he lay flatter than a flounder,
Full of misery.
Suddenly along the road came PC Binns(?) the bounder.
"What's up here?" said he.
Then lighting his bulls-eye he disclosed the shocking fact
That Willie had been smoking right against the latest act.
He picked up all the evidence, those half-smoked Woodbines four,
And scowled as little Willie said:
"Please, sir, I've just one more."

So one cigarette in a dainty little packet,
One cigarette that cost one d,
One little pain underneath his jacket,
One wobble in his little Mary,
One little whiff, one little jiff,
As he lay upon the tramway-line,
The poor kid felt like dyin',
And the p'liceman he was cryin',
But that copper stole his last Woodbine.


[Here's an image of a "tin" sign advertising "Wild Woodbines" in a packet of 5 cigarettes:
http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/qi3xv1oh20kjhy.jpg]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 11:32 PM

G'day all and smoky ...

So it's Little W. D. & H. O. Willie's Woodbines ...

Regard(less),

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM

Good heavens, I recall smoking an illicit "Wild Woodbine" or two behind the bicycle shed. C 1940s would it be ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Girl Friday
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 07:12 AM

Jim Dixon beat me to it. I have the words. My grandmother used to sing the chorus to me, so I learned it at a very early age. Her songs came from The Boer War era. Many years later I heard Cosmotheka sing it, and realised that there were a lot more words to it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:20 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't heard Mary Ann for hand before; it was always German Band in the Black Country (although we didn't always use the same rhymes as Cockney RS). Wobbles is more English, isn't it, but it still sounds more like wopples to my rather deaf ears. Wills' Whiffs I remember well, and I guess it it was a non-slang alternative for gasper or fag. I shall certainly follow up the Music Hall Soc suggestion.

I'd found the writer/composer details on the web, but the label on my 78 doesn't have any info apart from the title & the performer; even the label name is covered by a duty stamp! (I think it's 'Scala Records'.)

Girl Friday, it was my grandfather (b 1905, I think) who got me interested as a tot, and my other gf. who got me started with the 78's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Girl Friday
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 10:09 AM

Steve Parker - My grandparents were born around 1890. Gf served in India.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: FrederickDenny
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:03 PM

I am almost certain that 'Wills Wiffs' were cigars not cigerettes. Sold in a yellow packet.

I also bought woodbines in packets of five as a teenager in the 50's. I believe that only woodbines and weights were produced in packets of five. All the others were sold in tens I believe.

BTW, woodbine is another name for honeysuckle, the picture on the packet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: FrederickDenny
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:11 PM

Just googled Wiffs

http://www.historyworld.co.uk/advert.php?id=648&offset=0&sort=0&l1=tobacco&l2=Cigars

http://www.historyworld.co.uk/advert.php?id=648&offset=0&sort=0&l1=tobacco&l2=Cigars

Seems a bit of a problem here. I hit the 'make...' below entered the stuff above, it then told me to cut/paste the second as above. Hope that it works.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM

Quite correct! Wills' Whiffs were a small cigar, a bit bigger than cigarette-size, if I remember right. My memory's not that reliable, but I thought there were other packets of five around. I'm sure somebody will put me right!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 13 - 07:36 AM

My father served in the RAOC during WW2 and this was one of his 'party pieces' ie songs sung at family gatherings. I always suspected that it was Music Hall song and it's pleasing to be proved right. It wasn't just Woodbine that were sold in packets of five, Players and Capstan were too. Whiffs were definitely small cigars so I imagine the reference in the lyric is to puffs of Woodbine smoke rather than another brand of cigarette or cigar. 'Wobbles' is surely short for 'collywobbles' a slang term for a tummy upset.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines - query
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 May 13 - 08:04 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodbine_(cigarette)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Dec 18 - 11:07 AM

So sad!

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:21 AM

'Five little wobbles in his little Mary' = Mary Kelly (belly)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: Bugsy
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:02 PM

Back when I was a child smoker, you were either a "Woodbines" smoker, or a "Player's Weights" smoker.

I was a Woodbines Man(boy).

You could also buy a brand called " Dominis" that came in packs of 4.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 04:34 AM

Woodbines or Park Drive, surely? Weights were full size, weren't they?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 03:13 AM

Peter Smee
Wills Whiffs were little cigarets-a whiff could mean a drag on a fag, or a really bad smell ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Willie's Wild Woodbines
From: Bugsy
Date: 10 Dec 18 - 04:58 AM

No Sniffy. Weights were the same size as Woodbines, but a bit stronger.
Will's Whiffs were miniature cigars.

Cheers

Bugsy


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