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A song dilemma

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THE FROZEN LOGGER


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Lyr Req: Logger Lover Parody (6)
Lyr Add: Frozen Jogger (3)
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HELP! lyr for logger song re:hook tender (3)
Lyr Req: wildcat or boastful logger song (10)


Deckman 08 Mar 15 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,gillymor 08 Mar 15 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,DrWord 08 Mar 15 - 11:20 PM
Deckman 09 Mar 15 - 02:33 AM
Doug Chadwick 09 Mar 15 - 03:15 AM
Mysha 09 Mar 15 - 03:25 AM
GUEST, topsie 09 Mar 15 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Mar 15 - 03:46 AM
Will Fly 09 Mar 15 - 04:16 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 04:53 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 15 - 05:28 AM
BrooklynJay 09 Mar 15 - 08:50 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 09 Mar 15 - 09:02 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 09:18 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 09:39 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 15 - 10:14 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 15 - 10:21 AM
Mysha 09 Mar 15 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Petefrom seven stars link 09 Mar 15 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 09 Mar 15 - 11:57 AM
Chris C 09 Mar 15 - 12:17 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Mar 15 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Emjay, sans cookie 09 Mar 15 - 12:51 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 01:04 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 15 - 01:10 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 15 - 01:22 PM
Chris C 09 Mar 15 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,gillymor 09 Mar 15 - 02:49 PM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 15 - 02:52 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 15 - 05:32 PM
Deckman 09 Mar 15 - 06:45 PM
Gurney 09 Mar 15 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,DrWord 09 Mar 15 - 10:15 PM
Deckman 09 Mar 15 - 11:03 PM
Doug Chadwick 10 Mar 15 - 02:50 AM
GUEST,M 10 Mar 15 - 03:24 AM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 15 - 03:56 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 15 - 04:42 AM
breezy 10 Mar 15 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Desi C 10 Mar 15 - 05:31 AM
Mo the caller 10 Mar 15 - 06:39 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 15 - 08:58 AM
Deckman 10 Mar 15 - 10:37 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 15 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,mg 10 Mar 15 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,mg 10 Mar 15 - 11:56 AM
Deckman 10 Mar 15 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,mg 10 Mar 15 - 03:19 PM
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Subject: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Mar 15 - 09:42 PM

I recently sang some Pacific Northwest folksongs for three classes of middle school students in Seattle. One of the songs was "The Frozen Logger", as written by James Stevens. I have sung this song for well over sixty years. In the fourth verse I sang, as Jim wrote it and I've always understood it:

"HE NEVER WOULD SHAVE A WHISKER,
OFFEN HIS HORNEY HIDE,
HE'D JUST DRIVE THEM IN WITH A HAMMER,
AND BITE THEM OFF INSIDE."

Well this roomfull of young teenagers reacted to the word "horney", as did the teacher. I noticed the reaction, but kept true to the song and went on singing.

A few years ago my wonderful friend Don Firth and I gave a concert in Seattle, where he also sang this song. I also noticed an audience reaction to the word "horney"... this time from my 16 year old granddaughter.

I expect that I'll be invited back to this school soon to give a concert for the entire school. If so, I'd like to sing "The Frozen Logger" again. BUT ... and here is the question ... is it time that I change the word "horney" to something else? And if so, what word would you suggest?   CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 08 Mar 15 - 10:00 PM

"Hairy", "hirsute", "scruffy", "thorny"...


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 08 Mar 15 - 11:20 PM

"Leathery" might do in a pinch. gillymor's "thorny" is damn good, though, in the context!

I've run into this issue, and finally substituted the odd word--the n word in Stephen Foster, for e.g. Maybe the word "gay" as it occurs in many an old song would elicit similar pubescent/adolescent giggles?
always a bit of a stickler for the verified lyric, but you may change horney...wish I knew the melody...the alliteration is preserved in gillymor's first two suggestions, and hirsute would be a lexical treat for the young folk to "googel" or whatever it is they do with their electronica. Ennywey.....

keep on pickin'
dennis


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 02:33 AM

Part of my dilemma is that I am something of a purist. I met James Stevens and it seems to me that if he wrote the song the way he wrote the song, he had good reasons for doing so. I don;t feel it's my "right" to change it. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 03:15 AM

Don't change the lyrics. The word itself is not offensive and you will be educating the young people by showing that many words have different meanings, depending on context. If the teacher objects, I would tell him/her to grow up and stop being so infantile.

There are a whole range of jokes, songs, etc. that depend on a play on words to achieve puns, double-entendre and the like. But there are also those, as in your example, which innocently raise a giggle. The language would be poorer if valid words and meanings were to be forced out by silliness. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, rudeness and offense is often in the mind of the listener.

DC


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Mysha
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 03:25 AM

Hi Bob,

I sympathise, but personally I found the following way around always singing original lyrics:
- Sometimes I sing the original song. In that case I want to get every syllable and sound right, including American pronunciation or British pronunciation.
- Other times I sing an interpretation of the original, In that case I usually try to make the song sound to my audience the way the original would have sounded to the original audience.

Mudcatters with more performances under their belt may have better approaches to your dilemma, but I'd go for the second option here. I don't think Stevens intended to put in a giggle word for his audience there, so you should feel free not to sing one either.

Bye
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 03:38 AM

I agree with Doug Chadwick.

Presumably you were invited to sing at the school as part of the children's education, so here is an opportunity to educate them and add to their knowledge of their language. Do you introduce the songs? If so, talk to them about the richness of the words, and the alliteration.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 03:46 AM

Next, Moby Dick will be renamed Moby Richie. Then Immanuel Kant ...


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 04:16 AM

Keep the original words. You might do a short introduction which mentions the word in the context of how language and its meaning changes over the years. You might get a laugh or some other reaction at that point - and then you can sing the song as normal.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 04:53 AM

Depends on why you're singing the song in this particular case. If it's to teach them about "folk" songs then you should stick to the "original" (in this case, with a known author, there really is one); if it's just to entertain or get children singing, then avoid the opportunity for them to become distracted and change it.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 05:28 AM

Mess about too much with lyrics as they come to you, composed or traditional, and you are liable to end up with the kind of dogs·breakfast foolishness of that version on the Hilo thread, about the "Arkansas farmer with his seaboots on"!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 08:50 AM

I will echo what other have said: Keep the original lyric, and, if you are singing the song in an educational setting, then give 'em a little educatin' as to the meaning of the word before you launch into the song.


Jay


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 09:02 AM

Either do as Doug Chadwick suggests and use it as a "teachable moment" or, if that's beyond the scope of your gig, change the word to "hornlike". But do not eliminate the "horn" all together or you loose the alliteration.

By the way, if you take the "teachable" moment option, you may want to explain that in the days before plastics, animal horn and bone were commonly used raw materials. Comparing tough skin with horn seems odd nowadays because we don't commonly use horn to make things, so it's not part of our daily lives. But it would not have seemed so odd a hundred years ago.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 09:18 AM

just be grateful that you weren't mentioning animals of the genus castor!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 09:39 AM

What does "horney" mean in this context, if it's not what the kids took it to mean? I can't come up with any other meaning for "horney hide." Even a rhinoceros doesn't really have a horny hide; the horn is an appendage, not part of the hide. "Horns" as unshaved stubble is a very poor choice.

"Thorny," as someone suggested, would make sense for a logger who eschews shaving. "Horny" sounds like something that doesn't fit the story but was just thrown in for titillation. Think of it correcting a songwriter's mistake.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 10:14 AM

Perhaps he had 'hoary' in mind, but then you might have to explain the difference between 'hoary' and 'whory'!

I had a similar problem when demonstrating 'knacker bones' to kids at school. I actually revelled in it as did the kids, but I always explained where the term 'knackered' really came from afterwards. This might not mean anything in the States but it does over here.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 10:21 AM

There used to be a sort of poetical cliché of a working man being a "horny-handed son of toil", or some such. I believe Lord Salisbury famously used the phrase in Parliament during a C19 House of Lords debate on working conditions. So it surely implies a skin hardened by hard work or labouring in harsh climate.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Mysha
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 10:59 AM

Hi,

Horney is meant to indicate his skin is as if made from horn, I guess: He's one tough customer and you can't hurt him.

Indeed the skin of the rhino would do. It's not whether its hide actually is made of horn, but that it looks like it might be. "Thorny" would only seem to make sense if the logger didn't remove the stubbles from his face at all, but we know that he did: He drove them in with the hammer.


Well, you have lazy bones and you have tired bones ...
Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,Petefrom seven stars link
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 11:19 AM

I always understood that change and adaption was part of the folk tradition, and if that be so, I should have thought that a minor revision to retain the sense of the original lyric would be far from being unfaithful to it. However, I am far from being a dedicated folkie , let alone a purist !.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 11:57 AM

Well, I'd change the lyrics!
For example, the few years back I was asked to teach "Jamaica Farewell" to the group of 7/8 year old school children.
Now, the song starts off
"Down the way where the nights are gay"

I knew the word "gay" would create a fuss and so I changed the lyrics to
"Down the way where the warm wind play".

I could, of course, have gone down the "words changing meaning route" but I thought that such a discussion would be a distraction, and I could imagine some "clever" children insisting on singing the original lyrics!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Chris C
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 12:17 PM

Hi Deckman:
Thanks for your efforts to bring traditional music to young people. I'm glad to hear there's funding.
As much I'm 100% in philosophical agreement with NOT changing the lyric, there is perhaps a little more to consider. With elementary & middle-school kids in mind...
You don't want to undermine your own efforts by being remembered for one unfortunate(?) word. "A man sang old songs at school today" is good. "A man said 'horny' in a song at school today", not so much.
Also, things being what they are in the good ol' USA, I wouldn't go near even the most vaguely questionable terminology around young kids where it can be avoided. Only one parent, teacher, student or administrator has to decide something was inappropriate, and you're (potentially) done. They'd be wrong, and the whole mess would be stupid, but the problem would be all yours. It really doesn't take much to get some folks worked up.
And, there's an excellent workaround in "thorny" (courtesy of gillymor, above). Much as I hate to say it, there's some merit in considering a change. Save the "real" version for less immature audiences, and avoid the distraction altogether. Hard enough to win over new fans of traditional music as it is.
Food for thought, maybe.
~Chris


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 12:20 PM

Well that's all the folk songs with the word "wood" buggered then.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 12:39 PM

Deckman, you've got me thinking about kids and about this song.

First off, I'd say that you should change 'horny' to 'hairy.' Why? You are short-circuiting the gigglers who are disrupting your act. They know perfectly well that horny comes from horn, but they want to draw attention to themselves. ("What's he giggling about?") Don't let them do it.

But do children get "The Frozen Logger"? Because it's not about a frozen logger, it's a song about cultural stereotypes. It's making fun of macho, tough-guy, working-class males.

Do you demonstrate stirring your coffee with your thumb? The kids have probably never seen anybody do it.

And when I hear the phrase "forty-year old waitress," it brings up a big set of mental associations and assumptions. Do kids have that? Particularly the kind of boy who was weaned off a pacifier by having a joystick placed in his hands?


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,Emjay, sans cookie
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 12:51 PM

When I first learned the song about 60 years ago horny was often used to describe tough leathery skin. Slang changes. Other words got the giggles when I was in school. Even say that when you introduce the song, but as I told my kids when they were growing up, don't limit your vocabulary to please other people.
Use the opportunity talk about a few words that don't always mean what we think they do.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 01:04 PM

So, best not tell the kids about the historic musical equipment collection at London's "Horniman Museum".


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 01:10 PM

But joking aside, if it was me, I'd have a quick word with the teachers before class,
notifying there might be the odd mildly problematic 'historic useage' word,
and invite their informed opinion & input on how best between you to handle it with the kids.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 01:22 PM

I really resent having to alter words from the past in historical documents. I'd rather explain their original meaning, even to young people. I taught in lower secondary for nearly 40 years. Romeo and Juliet is full of sexual imagery but I don't see any of that being cut or altered!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Chris C
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 02:16 PM

Fair point, Steve; I wince at making any changes myself. But a teacher parsing R & J is presumably teaching an approved curriculum. Also, that's standard high school reading, never (to my knowledge) middle school, as in Deckman's scenario, for the reason you noted (mature content).
A musician popping in to middle schools to perform isn't really teaching a specifically approved curriculum, so it's tougher to say what's OK. Too many poor word choices, and he potentially risks losing his gig, not just his message. I bet he also has to weigh time constraints; talking about the language could be drifting off topic.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 02:49 PM

I love the language of old ballads but like Tunesmith I do alter some words from time to time. In Peggy and the Soldier I've changed the line
"They marched so bold and they looked so gay,
The colors flying and the band did play."
to
"They marched so bold in their fine array,..."

just so it's not a distraction and I don't think it detracts from the strong visual image in this case.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 02:52 PM

Singing for kids is a tough gig - especially when there are parents around who are second-guessing what's appropriate for their children. The parents want to make sure every word is understandable, that there are no phrases that could possibly have double meanings, and that there are no objectionable words of any sort. Sometimes, they even want printed copies of the lyrics you're going to sing. If you can sing for kids without worried parents and teachers present, it's cool. The kids get along just fine, and their impressionable minds are not damaged by hearing folk songs.

I get a kick out of Seamus Kennedy's recording of "Wee Willie Lost His Marley." Of course, he has to explain what a marley and a peeler and a gratin' are - but he also explains what a clothespole is.

I'm surprised that anybody would think twice about "horny hide," and I've never changed it - but I know many parents (and teachers afraid of parents and school boards) would demand a change if they noticed it. If I'm singing for kids and come across "gay" or "horny" and they laugh, what of it? It gives us something to talk about when the song is over, if there's a need for that.

But it's the parents who cause the problem....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 05:32 PM

LoL about the Horniman Museum. But one can go crazy if one takes things to extremes. Never heard anyone object to Arsenal Football Club: and they'd better not either!

≈M≈

{They beat Man U tonite: Hurrah!}


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 06:45 PM

JOE ... Thank you for your clearity. Obviously ... "THE PROBLEM IS APPARENT!" bad bad bob


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Gurney
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 09:01 PM

An American duo who played here once sang a Geordie song that included the line 'He stood on the corner with a fag in his mouth....'
As they came to that verse one said "This is where American audiences start laughing!"
Went down well here too.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 10:15 PM

ok ok ok I also infinitely prefer to keep to the original [especially when known, and not already been through the misheard|misremembered|folk process]. But I'd still go with the specifics of the "gig" as many posters have noted.

So, maybe you musical pundits and purists could say even when prefaced with a listener discretion advisory if they would sing the n word as it appears in Stephen Foster? After all, it's historically accurate, though far from politically correct.

excuse the drift; it's been a good thread.

keep on pickin'
dennis


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 11:03 PM

AHA ... I was expecting that someone might raise the issue of the "N" word. "The Frozen Logger" has almost a companian song here in the Pacific Northwest area of Washington (USA) state. And that song is "The Old Settler." It was written by Judge Francis Henry in the 1880's, before washington was even a "state."

One of the early verses was written as:

"... for two years I chopped and I niggered,
   but I never got down to the soil" ...

I, early on, always sang it as:

"... for two years I chopped and I labored,
   but I never got down to the soil" ...

Soooooo ... here's the same issue.

Where does one draw the line, EH? Good question, isn't it? bob(deckman)nelsn


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 02:50 AM

In my reply up at the top of the thread, I advised "Don't change the lyrics. The word itself is not offensive ....". The meaning of "horney" is set by the context.

The Old Settler makes reference to a word that has become offensive to most people in any context. The context links it directly to working like a slave, so the reference cannot be avoided. In this case, I would change the word and "laboured" seems a pretty good alternative.

Personally, I put "gay" into the in-context category. I find it a lovely word to describe being happy and carefree. I never change it, hoping to reclaim it for the world.

Having read through the thread, I take note of the reply from Mysha (09 Mar 15 - 03:25 AM). If a giggle-word causes a distraction, an interpretation may be better than my more academic approach. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

DC


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,M
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 03:24 AM

'I get a kick out of Seamus Kennedy's recording of "Wee Willie Lost His Marley." Of course, he has to explain what a marley and a peeler and a gratin' are - but he also explains what a clothespole is.'

Don't you mean a clae's prop?


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 03:56 AM

Two points for "M."

Touché!!!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 04:42 AM

"Even a rhinoceros doesn't really have a horny hide; the horn is an appendage, not part of the hide." (From: GUEST Date: 09 Mar 15 - 09:39 AM)

For the sake of other pedants; the rhinoceros "horn" is not made of horn either but matted hair, still mainly keratin but not actual horn. In the sense that it's made of hair and hair is an integral component of skin (hide), then rhinoceros horn could be considered hide. - And now back to using words in context!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: breezy
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 04:46 AM

'ornery '


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 05:31 AM

ABSOLUTELY NO!!


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 06:39 AM

The last 2 posts have me puzzled.
I never know what that word means.
No to what?


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 08:58 AM

"leth'ry" - scores 10 pragmatic compromise points.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 10:37 AM

Having growed up in the woods of the Pacific NOrthwest, I've always known many horney hided loggers. You can spot them a mile away ... their facial skin is weathered beyond belief ... the deep crevasses in their faces hold great quantities of dirt and pine needles ... their fingers are often missing or miss-shapen. In other words, they look like LOGGERS! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 11:09 AM

btw.. there's a more appropriate alternative word [and a quite obvious one, really]
that better conveys the meaning than "for two years I chopped and I labored"

"for two years I chopped and I slaved"


well...???


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 11:48 AM

I am with you Bob..don't change the words unless your back is to the wall. Just say ahead of the song that some words have old meanings.

From Jovial Miners..my hands are horny hard and black from digging in the vein

My preference is to never change the words unless it is an outrageous word that needs to be retired from usage period, or unless it is such an awful rhythm or rhyme it can't be sung and never ever to change from men to women back to men etc. That ruins a song for me. But people can do what they want actually.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 11:56 AM

I personally would never sing a song that made fun of working class men and I am sure Bob would not either. I don't see the song as making fun of anyone, but rather remembering the days when we had amazing men who cut down amazing trees.


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: Deckman
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 12:22 PM

Nice to see your name pop up Mary. How are things down there in "Cranberry Land"?   bob


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Subject: RE: A song dilemma
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 10 Mar 15 - 03:19 PM

Great...very sunny winter.


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