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Songs about women, but not about love

GUEST,EHS 29 May 14 - 07:32 AM
GUEST 29 May 14 - 08:13 AM
GUEST 29 May 14 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,EHS 29 May 14 - 08:38 AM
GUEST 29 May 14 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,EHS 29 May 14 - 09:06 AM
GUEST 29 May 14 - 11:05 AM
GUEST 29 May 14 - 11:10 AM
Jack Campin 29 May 14 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,EHS 29 May 14 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 29 May 14 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,mg 29 May 14 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Rog Peek 29 May 14 - 02:48 PM
Amos 29 May 14 - 03:56 PM
Jack Campin 29 May 14 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,EHS 29 May 14 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 08:16 PM
Howard Kaplan 29 May 14 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 09:23 PM
vectis 29 May 14 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,Tony 29 May 14 - 10:30 PM
LadyJean 30 May 14 - 12:22 AM
GUEST 30 May 14 - 03:45 AM
Musket 30 May 14 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,big al whittle 30 May 14 - 05:09 AM
Jim Carroll 30 May 14 - 05:20 AM
GUEST 30 May 14 - 05:29 AM
BrendanB 30 May 14 - 07:15 AM
Bert 30 May 14 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 30 May 14 - 03:39 PM
Joe_F 30 May 14 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,Julia L 30 May 14 - 10:06 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 30 May 14 - 10:26 PM
Janie 30 May 14 - 10:49 PM
Janie 30 May 14 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,Lou 31 May 14 - 10:43 AM
Uncle_DaveO 31 May 14 - 06:19 PM
Uncle_DaveO 31 May 14 - 06:59 PM
Jack Campin 31 May 14 - 07:58 PM
LadyJean 31 May 14 - 10:35 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Jun 14 - 04:04 AM
vectis 01 Jun 14 - 04:10 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jun 14 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Jun 14 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,JTT 02 Jun 14 - 04:25 AM
Jack Campin 02 Jun 14 - 07:35 AM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,iwasthere 03 Jun 14 - 05:41 AM
Jack Campin 03 Jun 14 - 08:51 AM
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Subject: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,EHS
Date: 29 May 14 - 07:32 AM

I'm looking for traditional (or pretty-traditional) songs about women that are *not* about love, marriage, or courting. (IE songs about women, not about women longing, loving, doting, courting, or being courted, loved, or doted upon, or otherwise acting the foil for men.) I'm primarily interested in Irish songs, but have expanded my search because it's actually quite difficult.

So far I've found:
- Barry Gleeson's ballad about the boxer Jane Murphy; "The Female Prize-Fight"
- Tom Lehrer's totally not traditional 'Irish Ballad'


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:13 AM

It's not Irish, and a very obvious allegory so maybe not really what you're looking for, but there's the American War of Independence song 'Revolutionary Tea'.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:24 AM

Mollie Malone, of course, and her sister Clementine!
Actually, those two go well together and could be considered for the "two songs" thread.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,EHS
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:38 AM

@Guest I overlooked Cockles & Mussels because of those lines: "Where the girls are so pretty /
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone". Struck me as an Angelina Baker-style premise to a song (i.e. a man describing a woman to another man as a potential object for affection). Likewise, Clementine is 'my darling'.

Both are possibly 'matches', but not outright.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:50 AM

If so, then it's most certainly not about love, but lust!


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,EHS
Date: 29 May 14 - 09:06 AM

@Guest: Yes, I suppose 'lust' can be added to the list with longing, loving, doting, and courting.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 14 - 11:05 AM

Hm, stretches the point more than somewhat. Mollie was simply working her buns off until a fever killed her, no sign of direct enamourment, and Clementine, well, she's just the butt of a silly song. "Drove her ducklings to the water" indeed! The author's just taking the piss out of the sentimental ballads of the day.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 14 - 11:10 AM

I don't agree that it's stretching the point. The general point here is finding songs where women and their actions are described like men and their actions are described in traditional songs and ballads -- songs about coal miners and soldiers don't have refrains like 'Oh, my darling!" :)


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 May 14 - 12:01 PM

Have you looked at Anne Feeney's website? If anybody knows about Irish women's labour songs she will.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,EHS
Date: 29 May 14 - 12:17 PM

I'll take a look. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 29 May 14 - 01:08 PM

don't laugh yet, but I always thought that Sweet Betsy from Pike had the gumption it took to be a pioneer... Ike was the wuss. LOL

Some of the female pirate songs might qualify


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 May 14 - 01:20 PM

I believe that Clementine was based on a true story.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Rog Peek
Date: 29 May 14 - 02:48 PM

"The Death of Mother Jones"

Not Irish, except Mary Jones was Irish by birth.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Amos
Date: 29 May 14 - 03:56 PM

There's a family of ballads about a woman who turns the tables on a dishonest suitor, one of which starts "There was a youth, a wicked youth, he lived beside the sea...". She ends up throwing him off a cliff for a no-good murderer.

It's still in the general circle of courtship, of course.

Then there's Molly Malone and her cockles and mussels, Clementine and her herring boxes, and someone must have written up Annie Oakley sometime, I'd think. Darling Corey and Little Maggie are not about courtship much.

The death of Robin Hood also describes a wicked nun who bleeds poor Robin to death.

Just a few off the top of me haid.

A


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 May 14 - 06:48 PM

Why Irish in particular, anyway? It drastically limits the variety of songs you're going to get.

There are songs in a lot of cultures (but not Irish, as far as I know) for women to use in casting spells, or songs about witchcraft and casting spells. Does witchcraft count as work?

Remember that songs can generalize in meaning beyond their original topic. Patia Isaku in "Mountain Storm, Pine Breeze: Folk Song in Japan":

In its setting as a banquet song, the emotional scope of a song's text is often carried way beyond its original limitations. A desperate lullaby by an isolated nursemaid in a backcountry village, far from her own home and family, always underfed and harassed, barely more than a child herself, suddenly serves to describe a whole group of young women in a city entertainment district. The nursemaid's song may be sung by a geisha as a complaint against her employer, as a lament for a personal sadness, or to win a patron.

There is a song from lowland Scotland where the persona singing it is a woman mineworker, whose job would probably have been carrying enormous hods of coal from the face up to the surface. Its ostensible theme is the wish that some rich bloke would marry her and take her out of that in a glittering carriage. So, as a love song, it's the sort of thing you aren't interested in. But the whole point of it is what it says about the lives of women miners... come on, somebody, anybody, get me out of this.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,EHS
Date: 29 May 14 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for the responses!

I agree -- the Irish limitation really narrows things. I sing & play Irish traditional music, so I'm most interested in songs in that style, at least (and preferably old).

I'll take a look for that mining song. Darling Corey and Little Maggie are both lovely songs, but both are definitely largely about these women in the context of men (the appeal of, or relationships with).

I really appreciate the help with this little quest of mine. It's been depressingly difficult to find any.

I don't know if people here are familiar with the Bechdel Test for films, but the requirements are that a film fulfils 3 criteria:

1. It has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Surprisingly rare (none of the 3 original Star Wars films, for example, pass this test).

Anyway, it's been very interesting seeing how traditional songs fare against similar criteria. Not great, alas.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:16 PM

There once was a union maid who never was afraid
of the goons and the ginks and the company finks
and the deputy sheriffs who made the raid.
She went to the union hall when a meeting it was called,
and when the Pinkerton boys came around she always stood her ground.

CHORUS:
Oh, you can't scare me, I'm stickin' to the union,
I'm stickin' to the union. I'm stickin' to the union.
Oh, you can't scare me, I'm stickin' to the union,
I'm stickin' to the union 'til the day I die.

This union maid was wise to the tricks of the company spies.
She never was fooled by a company stool. She'd always organize the guys.
She always got her way when she struck for better pay.
She'd show her card to the national guard and this is what she'd say:

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Howard Kaplan
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:17 PM

In the version of "Female Rambling Sailor" in the DT, there's a brief mention of a dead lover in the backstory, but the rest of the song is about her military exploits.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 08:37 PM

Just a ship out on the ocean, a speck against the sky.
Amelia Earhart flying that sad day.
With her partner, Captain Noonan, on the second of July.
Her plane fell in the ocean far away.

CHORUS:
There's a beautiful, beautiful field
far away, in a land that is fair.
Happy landings to you, Amelia Earhart.
Farewell, first lady of the air.

Half an hour later her SOS was heard.
Her signal weak but still her voice was brave.
In shark-infested waters her plane went down that night
in the blue Pacific to a watery grave.

CHORUS

Now you've heard my story of that awful tragedy.
We all pray she'll fly home safe again.
In years to come, though others blaze a trail across the sea,
we'll ne'er forget Amelia and her plane.

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 09:02 PM

Ave Maria, gratia plena.
Maria, gratia plena. Maria, gratia plena.
Ave, ave dominus. Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus.
Et benedictus fructus ventris, ventris tui, Jesus.

Ave Maria, Mater Dei.
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus, ora, ora pro nobis.
Ora, pro nobis peccatoribus.
Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. In hora mortis nostrae.
In hora, hora mortis nostrae, Sancta Maria.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5cF5GGqVWo


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 09:23 PM

Todos me dicen el negro, Llorona, negro pero cariñoso.
Everyone calls me the dark one, Llorona; dark, yes, but loving.
Yo soy como el chile verde, Llorona, picante, pero sabroso.
I am just like chile verde, Llorona, sharp, but inviting.

Salias del templo un día, Llorona, cuando al pasar yo te ví.
Leaving the temple one da-ay, Llorona, when I happened to see
Hermoso güipil llevabas, Llorona, que la vírgen te creí.
the beautiful cloak that you wo-ore, Llorona, the Virgin I thought you to be.

Ay de mí, Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, de azul celeste.
Alas, Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, heavenly blue.
Y aunque la vida me cueste, Llorona, no dejaré de quererte.
And although life takes its to-oll, Llorona, I'll never stop caring for you.

Dicen que no tengo duelo, Llorona, porque no me ven llorar.
They say I have no sorrow, Llorona, because they don't see my tears.
Hay muertos que no hacen ruido, Llorona, y es más grande su penar.
The dead are silent, Llorona,Llorona,your sorrow is greater than mine.

Ay de mi Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, de ayer y hoy.
Alas, Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, Llorona, then and now.
Ayer maravilla fui, Llorona, y ahora ni sombra soy.
Then I was a wonder, Llorona, and now not even a shadow.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: vectis
Date: 29 May 14 - 09:55 PM

The female drummer - woman joins army as drummer boy
The testimony of Patience Kershaw - woman miner
Kitty Kane - Tough, early settler, Australian prostitute


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 10:13 PM

CHORUS:
By and by, I'm gonna see the king. By and by, I'm gonna see the king.
By and by, I'm gonna see the king. Lord, I don't mind dyin'. I'm a child of God.

A mother called her daughter to her dyin' bed.
She placed her hand upon her daughter's head,
and grabbed her kindly in her arms,
and said I'll not be with you very long.

Oh daughter, the Lord is soon gonna carry me home.
But you must remember, when I'm dead and gone,
that though I leave you in this old world alone,
you know that God will guide you safely home.

Now you might do some things that you don't consider no harm;
but God in heaven knows when you've done wrong, so you'd better let
dancin' and card parties all go by,
so that you might someday reach your home on high.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 May 14 - 10:30 PM

Not sure, but I don't think this one is about romantic love; and it's sung by someone who usually sings Irish traditional songs:

Jennifer Mylod, No Stars - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLrWKXljCPM


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: LadyJean
Date: 30 May 14 - 12:22 AM

The Bonnie Lass of Anglesea flat out rejects marriage, preferring to get rich on her own.

The Jute Mill Song is about women working. Then there's the Doffin Mistress, an old favorite of mine.

I believe there's a song about Florence Nightingale.

Oh, and The Homespun Dress, that Confederate ladies sung about the dresses they made from cloth they spun and wove themselves.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 14 - 03:45 AM

Katy Daley, the moonshiner.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Musket
Date: 30 May 14 - 04:51 AM

If songs of unrequited love aren't love songs, then most of my set complies with the requirement......

On a more serious note, I'd put forward "Famous Flower of Serving Men."


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 30 May 14 - 05:09 AM

unrequited love is still love

famous flower of serving men....what IS that song about?

theres magic and all kinds of stuff going on there....great riff...weird song!


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 May 14 - 05:20 AM

Plenty of songs about women making thing happen for themselves - probably, the daddy (or the mammy) of them all is The Female Frolic, which gave its name to a whole genre:

THE FEMALE FROLIC (English)
OR: An Account of a young Gentlewoman, who went upon the Road to rob in Man's Cloaths, well mounted on a Mare, etc.
Our first record of women taking to the highway for the purpose of robbery and crime is from the 14th century. Since the late 16th century, writers and street poets have been intrigued with the roaring girls, the Moll Cutpurses and those women who disguised themselves as sailors or soldiers, to follow their lovers or to avoid the more mundane cares of women. This kind of piece was probably to the 16th and 17th centuries what the cowboy films have been to our time - the wilds of Hampstead and Highgate were exotic and unmapped. Each heath or highroad had its denizens, and if the denizen was a woman so much the more exotic. This humorous song, known variously as "The Female Highwayman', "The Female Robber', was taken from the Pepys collection of broadside ballads. It is also printed in Alfred Williams* FOLKSONGS OF THE UPPER THAMES.


1    You Gallants of every Station,
Give ear to a Frollicksome Song;
The like was ne'er seen in the Nation,
'Twas done by a Female so young.

2    She bought her a Mare and a Bridle,
A Saddle and Pistols also,
She resolved she would not be idle,
For upon the Pad she did go.

3    She Cloathed her self in great Splendor,
For Breeches and Sword she had on,
Her Body appear'd very slender;
She showed like a handsome Young-man.

4    And then like a Padder so witty,
She mounted with speed on her Mare;
She left all her Friends in the City,
And steered her Course towards Ware.

5    The first that she met was a Grocer
Was walking with Cane in his Hand,
She soon to the Spark came up closer,
And boldly she bid him to stand.

6    She took from him but a Guinea,
And then met a Taylor with Shears,
And because the poor Rogue had no Money
She genteely clipt of his Ears.

7    The next that she met was a Tanner.
For loss of his money he cry'd,
And because he bawled in this manner,
She handsomely tanned his Hide.

8    And then she up with a Quaker,
She told him, she must have his Coin:
Quoth he, Thou silly Wise-acre
Thou shalt have no Money of mine.

9    She show'd him a Pistol to prove him;
He told her by Yea and by Nay,
That since the good Spirit did move him,   
She might take his money away.

10 An Excise-man then she accosted.
And bid him Deliver with speed;
He often of Valour had boasted,
But he was a coward indeed.

11 She Rifled him of his Money
Oh! This was a very rich Prize,
She took from him Four-score Guineys,
That he had for Excise.

12 The next that she met was a Padder,   
Well mounted upon a bay Nag;
Oh! This made her so much the gladder,
She told him she wanted his bag.

13 He thought she would certainly fight him,
Prepared himself out of hand:
But she was resolved to fright him,
She damn'd him, and bid him to stand.

14 He presently drew out his Rapier
And bid her to stand on her guard;
But quickly away she did Caper,
The High-way-man. follow'd her hard.

15 He followed and soon overtook her,
And searched her Breeches with speed;-
And as he did well overlook her,
He found her a Woman indeed!

16 The Highwayman stood all amazed;
But she had no cause to complain.
Tho' with her he did what he pleased,
He gave her the Money again.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 14 - 05:29 AM

One's half tempted to suggest The Laird of Cockpen, where for all that the fat old Laird would like to get laid, his target is having nowt of it.

And then there's Kate Dalrymple, the sister to Alison Gross. In fact, the original Kate was a society beauty when young, there's supposedly a painting of her in the National Portrait Gallery in London. But age does not come alone...


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: BrendanB
Date: 30 May 14 - 07:15 AM

If you can find them I suggest that you check out the CDs of Werka's Folk, a women's choir led by Sandra Kerr. Lots of great songs about independent women, beautifully sung too.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Bert
Date: 30 May 14 - 01:30 PM

There are some here

Women's Work Songs


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 30 May 14 - 03:39 PM

Maid on the Shore has a strong female outwitting a sea captain


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 May 14 - 09:03 PM

Eppie Morrie might qualify. I presume that the ruffian's attempt to rape her so that she will marry him does not count as love. It is true, tho, that at the very end it turns out that she has someone else in mind.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 30 May 14 - 10:06 PM

Grace Darling- lighthouse keepers daughter rescues stranded sailors (historic)


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 30 May 14 - 10:26 PM

The virgin Mary had a baby boy

woman gives birth in extraordinary circumstances!


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Janie
Date: 30 May 14 - 10:49 PM

The general point here is finding songs where women and their actions are described like men and their actions are described in traditional songs and ballads

Women are not entirely like men. In addition, traditional songs, (and modern songs) are always going to reflect the social mores and the generally socially accepted differentiation regarding assumptions about gender and gender roles of the times in which the songs arose. Nothing depressing about that. Just is what it is. Here is a modern song written by Barry Finn using a traditional tune, though I don't think it is an Irish trad. tune.

Pasted this from Finn and Haddie website

Ida Lewis


as led by Barry Finn on Fathom This © 2007
Barry Finn and Neil Downey

Words by Barry Finn © 1997; traditional tune Turkey Rhubarb

Ida Lewis left Newport at the age of fifteen,
Moved onto Lime Light Rock in the eighteen-fifties;
Her father was a captain, now keeper of the light;
Soon the duties fell on Ida to keep the lamps burning bright.

Her sisters and brother she'd row to school every day,
In a small open lifeboat across the rough bay;
From his wheelchair her father would watch through the storms
In horror as Ida would row the children back home.

Renowned for her skills no matter the weather;
At swimming or rowing no man was her better;
At the age of sixteen she had saved four men's lives;
By the time she retired she had saved twenty-five.

There are saints on the water and demons in the sea;
One and all they praised Ida for her great bravery;
The very night this woman died, who had lived on the shoals,
Every bell on every boat in Newport did toll.

Now they've renamed that rock the Ida Lewis Rock Light,
And in her honor today the lights are still burning bright;
But sometimes at night when it's rough and it's cold,
Some claim to see Ida pulling boys from the foam.

Barry learned about Ida Lewis's heroic life in the book Women Who Kept the Lights by Mary L. and J. Candace Clifford.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Janie
Date: 30 May 14 - 11:00 PM

Apparently a Cornish tune. Here is all I could find to indicate the tune on youtube.

I'm guessing, but don't know, that the variant tune Barry used was from the Maddy Prior & Tim Hart recording.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Lou
Date: 31 May 14 - 10:43 AM


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 31 May 14 - 06:19 PM

I can't at the moment recall the title, but there's a song
to the effect that the farmer sent his daughter to deliver the
rent to the landlord.

By some smart trickery, she gets him to dismount, and she
jumps on his horse and rides home with the loot in his
saddlebags to give to her father. I may be confusing this
with a similar song, but I think I remember that the farm
horse, with the rent, follows, so that she comes home with
the rent, the loot, and the robber's horse, her horse following.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 31 May 14 - 06:59 PM

I just realized that I left out the second act, so to speak.

On her way to the landlord's, she's accosted by a highwayman.

And then...and THEN she tricks him off his horse, jumps aboard,
and rides home, followed, I think by her own (daddy's own, I
suppose) horse.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 May 14 - 07:58 PM

That song is called "The Crafty Farmer". Dunno if there's an Irish version of it.


Georgian healing songs from the women's choir "Sathanao":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D666D7SQ--Y
(I have their CD, which has very good notes in English about the meaning and function of the songs).


Mantra for the Tibetan goddess Tara - just picked at random as a women's song for a female deity. (If female spirituality ever generated any songs in Ireland, they probably take the form of shanties for nuns to sing while whipping children).


Kulning with Susanne Rosenberg (Rosenberg seems to know more about it than anybody else ever)


Mudcat thread on linen industry songs


This is something I found when looking at early Scottish traditional music transcribed for the recorder. I don't know if this communication has ever been published; I couldn't find it and I don't know of any other workhouse musical folklore. The Peterborough workhouse is fairly well documented but I couldn't date "Madam Marshall", and hence the song.

The Devil's Dozen was originally titled St Catherine; it was first published by the Englishman John Bennett, in his Harpsichord Lessons of around 1700. (Thomson's manuscript also has a copy of the tune, as The Dozen). It became a popular dance tune in both England and Scotland. St Catherine was the patron saint of spinners and there is an old song for the costumed parade of the spinning girls of the Peterborough workhouse that fits the first part of the tune; perhaps it started out as a guild march to which Bennett added the second strain. Since the song seems not to have been published, I'll give it here; it's from the papers of Francis Collinson in the National Library of Scotland, an unsigned sheet not in Collinson's handwriting.

    Here cometh Catherine, as fine as any Queen,
    tweedle, tweedle, tweedle, tweedle-twiny-o,
    with a coach and six horses, a-coming to be seen,
    and a-spinning we will go.

    Some say that she's alive and some that she is dead,
    But here she does appear with a crown on her head.

    Old Madam Marshall she taketh up her pen,
    And then she sits and calls for all her royal men.

    You that want employment, though spinning is but small,
    Don't stand still but go to work for all.

    If you set a spinning you can either work or play,
    But if we set a-spinning we earn a crown a day.

    And if there be some young men, as I suppose there's some,
    We'll hardly let them stand alone upon the cold stone.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: LadyJean
Date: 31 May 14 - 10:35 PM

"Three Drunken Maidens" Is about 3 maidens on a drinking spree. The Merchant and the Beggarmaid, has the beggarmaid taking the merchant's gear while he's asleep.   "The Ranger's Command" is about a woman who fights Indians in Texas. There's a country song about Nancy Hart a Revolutionary War heroine.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 04:04 AM

"the farmer sent his daughter"
Y'r 'tis David, or something similar.
There are Irish versions, but not about women, as far as I know.
Jim Carroll

MAID OF REIGATE
At Reigate there lived a farmer
Whose daughter to market did go
Not fearing that any would harm her
For often she rode to and fro

It fell on a time amongst many
Her store of spring oats she had sold
And having received the penny
In shillings and guineas and gold

On her way back from the market
And fearing some danger to find
She sold the gold up in her saddle
Which was with the leather well lined

She rode on a little bit further
And met a thief on the highway
A gentleman robber well mounted
Who soon did oblige her to stay

He took her old mare by the bridle
A pistol he helt to her breast
Your money this moment deliver
Or else you will die I profess

This maiden was sorely affrighted
And so was poor Dobin the steed
When down off his back she alighted
She quickly ran home with great speed

This damsel he stripped nearly naked
And gave her some sorrowful blows
Says "Girl,   you must patiently take it
I'll have both your money and clothes"

He rolled her clothes up in a bundle
And gave her his stallion to hold
The poor girl stood trembling and shaking
As though she was perished with cold

The thief up his bundle was making
And being rejoiced at his prize
Says, "yourself I shall surely be taking
As part of my baggage likewise"

He said "I will soon recompense you
For the loss of your clothes you'll be paid
For as soon as I've finished this bundle
I'll show you a trick with a maid"

The girl holding fast to the bridle
Was beginning to grow more afraid
Said she, "It's in vain to be idle
I'll show you the trick of a maid

Then up on the saddle she mounted
Just as if she had been a young man
As while on his money he counted
"Pray follow me sir if you can

The robber he flew in a passion
And chasing behind he did curse
Says "Damn me I'll give you your clothes back
And something to put in your purse.

The maid she says "you needn't bother,
You may keep them kind sir if you please
Her ran but he couldn't get at her
His boots they so hampered his knees

She left him there raving distracted
In truth very hard was his lot
She left him a parcel of farthings
Five shillings was all that he got

She rode over hedges and ditches
Got home just at twelve of the clock
Her father was sorely affrighted
To see her come stripped to her smock

"Oh daughter, what happened? come tell me
And why have you tarried so long
She said "Some hard fortune befell me
But I have received no wrong"

But joy put an end to their sorrow
For in the portmanteau was found
In a bundle a great sum of money
In all about eight hundred pound

Now all you young maids who go riding
Whose life it in danger and worse,
Be sure that your always well mounted
And you'll never lack a full purse


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: vectis
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 04:10 AM

Who would be a fisherman's wife? - scottish with a bouncy tune


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 04:43 AM

What Can A Young Lassie Do Wi' An Auld Man
Robert Burns 1791

What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie,
What can a young lassie do wi' an auld man?
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie
To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'.
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie
To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'!

He's always compleenin' frae mornin' to e'enin',
He hoasts and he hirples the weary day lang;
He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen, -
O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man!
He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen,
O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man.

He hums and he hankers, he frets and he cankers,
I never can please him do a' that I can;
He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows, -
O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man!
He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows,
O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man.

My auld auntie Katie upon me taks pity,
I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan;
I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan,
I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him,
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 08:00 AM

My guess is that 70% of all songs are about "libido" in the widest sense, including marriage, parenthood, "hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate" etc. The OP obviously wants to exclude that topic altogether, where a 50% quota seems "natural" (- given the taboo on homoerotics).

Perhaps 10% are about professional life and politics, which were domains of manhood in Ireland and many other countries - songwriters cannot be blamed for that. Still, the "heroine" is a figure of considerable tradition.

The genders of deities and saints in religious songs are not the lyricists' choice either. Again, in Christianity the balance may not be all that much on the male side, due to the Virgin's prominence.

Remain songs about general social life, arts, nature, science, philosophy, religion (believers), traveling, etc. In these genres, men are probably slightly over-represented without compelling reasons. I do not know many Irish songs, but chatting women, for example, are a widespread cliché of folklore worldwide.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 04:25 AM

This is like the game where you try to find a film where women talk to each other about anything except men! (Almost impossible.)

What about Samhradh! Samhradh! It's not about an individual woman, but it's about girls going up to the hills booleying.

And what's that other doffing mistress song that Kate Rusby sings that is a loving portrait of a forewoman? A nice English song.

And there's Eeela Weela Waulia, about the old woman who lived in a wood and stuck her penknife in the babby's heart.

Would you find any songs in the War of Independence canon - I somehow can't imagine Helena Molony singing anything moony-eyed.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 07:35 AM

Songs about war can end up reflecting the same gender stereotypes as conventional songs about love. Many of the Jacobite standards are from a woman's perspective, with either the Jacobite cause or Bonnie Prince Charlie in particular anthropomorphized as a male lover. (There are also some using a more complicated code relating to the episode when he was on the run in women's clothes - referred to as "Morag", but the real gender is never ambiguous).

There are quite a few songs about women as publicans, "The Wild Rover" being the best known, but they all seem to be from the perspective of a male customer.


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:07 AM

Here's a couple which aren't so much about love as against it:
The Queen's Maries - possibly but not explicitly suggesting the execution of the singer is the consequence of an illicit royal liaison.
Maids When You're Young - advising against love, so marginal


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: GUEST,iwasthere
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 05:41 AM

Maintenance Engineer, by Sandra Kerr
Lady bus driver, sung by Frankie Armstrong
I want to be an engineer, sung by Peggy Seeger


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Subject: RE: Songs about women, but not about love
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 08:51 AM

Dol Li A.

Men aren't love objects in that, they're clientele.


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