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Traditional music with a gay theme

GUEST,Robert Hubbard 30 Jun 17 - 10:02 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 17 - 10:44 AM
Jack Campin 30 Jun 17 - 10:45 AM
Mrrzy 30 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM
The Sandman 30 Jun 17 - 02:45 PM
Susan of DT 30 Jun 17 - 05:07 PM
Joe_F 30 Jun 17 - 06:22 PM
The Sandman 30 Jun 17 - 07:33 PM
Mr Red 01 Jul 17 - 03:47 AM
Will Fly 01 Jul 17 - 04:02 AM
Mr Red 01 Jul 17 - 04:20 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Jul 17 - 05:09 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jul 17 - 01:04 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Jul 17 - 01:11 PM
The Sandman 01 Jul 17 - 04:27 PM
Joe_F 01 Jul 17 - 05:57 PM
Joe_F 01 Jul 17 - 06:15 PM
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Subject: Review: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: GUEST,Robert Hubbard
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 10:02 AM

I have long been a deep fan of traditional music. What I have always missed is that there is so little that I can find with any kind of gay theme. It just doesn't seem to be mentioned much. That's weird. I can think of only a handful of tunes that are suggestive. "The Handsome Cabin Boy", is a bit tongue in cheek and could be interpreted in certain ways. For many years, I thought Donovan's "To Try For The Sun" had a definite gay theme. It turns out I was wrong? I know there are folks out there with a much better knowledge base than mine. What do you think? How many gay themed songs (Pre 1970) can we remember?


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Subject: RE: Review: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 10:44 AM

There was a previous thread from way back: Historical gay/lesbian/bisexual songs?


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Subject: RE: Review: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 10:45 AM

You'll have to try cultures beyond Christian Anglo-America to find any real tradition of this.

Yes, there are a few fairly recent post-folk-revival songs with covert gay themes, and singer-songwriters like Janis Ian who have never concealed anything, but the pop scene is generally more honest about it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM

Jackaroe was a cross-dressing straight woman... hmmm.

There is always the singing of any love song to the same-gender lover, but that's adaptation, not invention.

There is this verse from Willie o'Winsbury

And it is no wonder, said the king
That my daughter's love you did win
For if I were a woman as I am a man
My bedfellow you would have been


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 02:45 PM

"Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Mrrzy - PM
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM

Jackaroe was a cross-dressing straight woman... hmmm.

There is always the singing of any love song to the same-gender lover, but that's adaptation, not invention.

There is this verse from Willie o'Winsbury

And it is no wonder, said the king
That my daughter's love you did win
For if I were a woman as I am a man
My bedfellow you would have been."
   So what it does not mean anyone is gay


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Susan of DT
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 05:07 PM

The Digital Tradition has a keyword for transvestite, but it is doubtful that any of them were gay.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 06:22 PM

"If I were a woman as I am a man" is a striking clause, but IMO it does not hint at homosexuality; rather, it suggests a man who is so secure in his masculinity that he can put himself in the place of a woman without compromising it. Such an attitude would be hard to imagine in (say) the US of the 1950s, when most straight men were very much exercised to prove they were not queer. It is perhaps easier to imagine now.

I cannot think of any old songs that actually refer to homosexual feelings or relations. There are a few bawdy songs that celebrate what Freud called polymorphous perversity, e.g., "The Pioneers":

Great joy they reap from tupping sheep
In sundry bogs and ditches,
Nor care a damn if it's a ram --
Those hardy sons of bitches.

I don't know how old that one is.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 07:33 PM

    "Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
    From: Joe_F - PM
    Date: 30 Jun 17 - 06:22 PM

    "If I were a woman as I am a man" is a striking clause, but IMO it does not hint at homosexuality; rather, it suggests a man who is so secure in his masculinity that he can put himself in the place of a woman without compromising it"
Exactly, there is a song that encourages women to love one another, "our captain cried all hands"
"You courted me a while just to deceive me,
Now my heart you have gained and you means to leave me."
Saying, "There's no belief in men, not my own brother
So girls if you can love, love one another."
But is it an encouragement to be Gay, or is it an encouragement to avoid men and just have non sexual relationships with women, it isa not clear, depends on the interpretation of the word love


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 03:47 AM

YouTube -

Cissy Man Blues 1

Cissy Man Blues - Kokomo Arnold


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 04:02 AM

I seem to recall some blues lyrics which talked of a "Bull-dyking woman and a faggoty man", but I can't think of anything in the British folk tradition which is as explicit as the blues.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 04:20 AM

wasn't "Big Rock Candy Mountain" euphemistic?

any songs about King Henry II ? The Ceilidh band Edward the Second (and the Red Hot Polkas) probably had a tune named for him.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 05:09 AM

As I was a walking one morning in May
I spied a young couple who fondly did stray
One was a soldier, a brave grenadier
The other was a sailor, I think they were queer.

I'll get my coat...

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 01:04 PM

I believe it is misleading to regard 'Female Sailor' or women soldiers songs dressed as man as 'gay'
Most of those who went off to join up did so to find their fellers anyway
Even though homosexuality was as natural when these songs were made as it is now, it wasd frowned upon and driven underground, so it is unlikely to be sung about openly or even covertly.
One of the best early cross-dressing-songs, in my opinion is 'The Duke of Athol's Nurse'- still raises a smile though I have heard it dozens of times.
This one, from Walter Pardon, has refernces to cross-dressing - I can't recall hearing it from anyone else


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 01:11 PM

Whoops - premature ejaculation:

The The Dandy Man


When I was twenty years of age a-courting I did go,
All with a dandy barber's clerk, he filled my heart with woe,
I never ceased to rue the day when I became his wife,
He can't do right by day nor night, 'tis true upon my life.

Young women all, take my advice and mark what I do say,
If ever you wed with a dandy man you'll ever rue the day.

And when he goes to bed at night like an elephant he lays,
He never takes his britches off, he sleeps in women's stays,
His mouth is like a turnpike gate, his nose a yard and a half,
And if you saw his dandy legs I'm sure they'd make you laugh.

Young women all……………….            

It was upon last Christmas day, as true as I'm a sinner,
And as he stayed at home that day he swore he'd cook the dinner,
He took out all the plums and flour and mixed them in his hat,
And in the pot upon the lot, the rogue he boiled some fat.

Young women all………………..         

It was last Sunday morning, all by his own desire,
My leghorn bonnet and my cap he took to light the fire,
He took the tea things off the shelf to clean off all the dirt,
He washed them in the chamber pot and wiped them on his shirt.

Young women all…………………         

One day, when I was very ill he went to buy a fowl,
He bought a pair, I don't know where, a magpie and an owl,
He put them in the pot to boil tied in a dirty cloth,
He boiled the lot, all feathers and guts and called it famous broth.

Young women all………………………            

As we were walking up the street, 'twas arm in arm together,
It very first began to snow, he said, what rainy weather,
And if he saw a hackney coach he'd swear it was a gig,
He cannot tell, I do declare, a donkey from a pig.

Young women all……………………..

Now you may talk of dandy wives, but tell me if you can,
Where there's a dandy woman who can match a dandy man,
He's a dirty rogue and a lazy fool, and how I bless the day,
If they would send my dandy man straight off to Botany Bay.

Young women all take my advice and mark what I do say,
If ever you wed with a dandy man you'll ever rue the day.

Then there's 'My Husband's Got No Courage in Him'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 04:27 PM

Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Dave the Gnome - PM
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 05:09 AM

As I was a walking one morning in May
I spied a young couple who fondly did stray
One was a soldier, a brave grenadier
The other was a sailor, I think they were queer.

I'll get my coat...

:D tG"
What a weak parody, and imo in poor taste


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 05:57 PM

Will Fly: Indeed, I had forgotten about the blues. I have an entire LP called _Straight and Gay_ (Stash Records, ST-118, put out in 1979) with 16 songs dating from 1925 to 1941. There is some amusing gossip on the jacket.


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Subject: RE: Traditional music with a gay theme
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 06:15 PM

Mr Red: Yes, McClintock's original Big Rock Candy Mountain mentioned homosexuality, tho only from the point of view of a young man who was tired of being raped.

One might also mention "Stripey and Blondie", a British Navy takeoff on "Frankie and Johnny" collected by Cyril Tawney of blessed memory. The heroine, discovering that her sailor man is two-timing her with another sailor, blows up the entire bar containing them.


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