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ADD: Songs by Alex Comfort (1920-2000)


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Lyr Req: Gender-neut lyrics for One Man's Hands? (24)
Lyr Add: I'll Tell You Where to Put It If You Like (18)
Lyr Req: One Man's Hands (Kevin Becker version) (5)

Joe Offer 03 Mar 18 - 07:13 PM
Joe Offer 03 Mar 18 - 07:48 PM
Joe Offer 03 Mar 18 - 08:33 PM
Joe Offer 03 Mar 18 - 08:47 PM
Joe Offer 03 Mar 18 - 09:06 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Go Limp (Alex Comfort)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Mar 18 - 07:13 PM

This version is from Broadside Magazine, #5 (May 1962)- available free at

(Alex Comfort)
[tune: Sweet Betsey from Pike]

Oh Daughter, dear Daughter, Take warning from me
And don't you go marching With the young C-N-D.
For they'll rock you and roll you And shove you into bed.
And if they steal your nuclear secrets You'll wish you were dead.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

Oh Mother, dear Mother, I am not afraid.
For I'll go on that march And I'll return a maid.
With a brick in my handbag And a scowl on my face
And barbed wire in my underwear To shed off disgrace.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

But as they were marching, A young man came by
With a beard on his chin And a gleam in his eye.
And before she had time To remember her brick,
They were holding a sitdown On a neighboring hayrick.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

Now once at the briefing, She'd heard a man say,
"Go perfectly limp, And be carried away."
So when this chap suggested It was time she was kissed,
She remembered her briefing And did not resist.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

Oh meeting is pleasure And parting is pain.
I don't need to sing All that folk stuff again.
O Mother, O Mother, I'm stiff and I'm sore
From sleeping three nights On a hard classroom floor.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

Now mother, don't flap, There's no need for distress
That marcher has left me His name and address.
And if we win, Though a baby there be,
He won't have to march Like his da-da and me.

Singing too-ra-li, oo-ra-li, oo-ra-li-ay.

Recorded by Matt McGinn on The Best of Broadside, Vol. 1 (Folkways), and by Nina Simone

Also known as The Young CND" (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament)

Slightly different transcription at:

Nina Simone performance:
The major change Nina Simone made in the song lyrics, was to change "CND" to "NAACP."

Matt McGinn recording: (may not play in all countries)

Notes from Smithsonian/Folkways The Best of Broadside 1962-1988:
    The writer of this song, Dr. Alex Comfort (1920-2000), had an illustrious career. A medical doctor, Dr. Comfort was an expert on geriatrics. He also wrote extensively on political issues. Among the songs he wrote was "One Man's Hands" (Broadside #2), which was performed by Pete Seeger.
    Comfort is probably best known to contemporary audiences as the author of the popular Joy of Sex books.
    Jazz singer Nina Simone took the song and rearranged it as a civil rights march.

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Subject: ADD: St. Pancras Day (Alex Comfort)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Mar 18 - 07:48 PM

Thread #31006   Message #3082463
Posted By: Charley Noble
25-Jan-11 - 08:18 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
Subject: Lyr Add: ST. PANCRAS DAY

While we're waiting around for more songs, here's another keeper, a companion piece for "Hey ho! Cook and Rowe!" composed by Peggy Seeger:

Words by Alex Comfort, © 1961
Tune: traditional "Courtin' in the Kitchen"


Come all you tenants skint,
Pay heed to my narration,
I'll give you a hint
On dealing with inflation;
The Tories were returned,
Decided on a flutter –
We'd pay them what we earned,
Or we'd wake up in the gutter.


With my toora, loora, la,
Toora, loora, laddy,
Toora, loora, la,
St. Pancras Borough Council.

The notice it was sent
From Mr. Price the Chairman:
You'll have to pay the rent
Or get out then and there, man;
The Council took today
Solicitor's advice, sir,
And if you want to stay
You've got to pay the price, sir. (CHO)

The tenants they returned
An answer brief and civil:
Your bloody forms we've burned
And we'll see you at the devil;
Our mate, he's wired in nice,
And sentries put to watch him,
And as for Mr. Price
We'll pay him when we catch him! (CHO)

The bailiffs they come round
Just as the dawn was breaking;
Their strategy was sound,
They thought we'd not be waking;
But as they came in haste
A rocket took the air, sir,
And much to their distaste
Half London it was there, sir. (CHO)

They had to break the wall
And enter through a fissure,
And standing by on call
Was the Brighton Horse Militia;
It was like a NATO show
With Monty there to guide it,
A tank laid one man low
With the goldfish still inside it. (CHO)

When they got the tenants out
By dint of demolition;
The people raised a shout
And flocked around to listen;
They said, "We mean to fight!"
Their comments were explicit,
And we all went round that night
To pay Mr. Price a visit. (CHO)

He screamed for the police
To save him from the tenants;
We had to swear the peace
And in court we're doing penance;
But the Tories should reflect,
It's too soon for celebrating –
There's hundreds to eject
And they'll find us ready waiting. (CHO)


Another anti-eviction song from the same confrontation described in "Hey, Ho! Cook and Rowe!" was composed by Alex Comfort, set to the traditional Irish tune "Courtin' in the Kitchen." In this version it is the chairman of the municipal housing council who is besieged in the night by evicted tenants.

Published in Sing, London, UK, August, 1961, p. 8.

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Subject: ADD: I Wish I Was a Silver Watch (Alex Comfort)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Mar 18 - 08:33 PM

(Words by Alex Comfort, tune from the Forde Collection)

I wish I was a silver watch,
That in my truelove’s pocket I could be,
And every hour by day he'd look at me,
And at night upon his pillow I could lie.

I wish I was a silver swan
That on my truelove’s river I could swim,
And on his water I would glide and sing,
And in the evening I’d fly home to him.

I wish I was a silver ring
That round my truelove’s finger I could stay,
I’d grow so tight he could not let me go,
And to no other I’d be given away.

©Alex Comfort, 1963

Notes: Dr. Comfort is probably best known in Britain as a writer, broadcaster, and a researcher into the problems of old age and the extension of the life span, he is also a prolific song writer. Among his best known songs are "First Things First" and "I’ll tell you where to put it." He also supplied the words for "One man’s hands" to which Pete Seeger set a tune that has received wide recognition.

Source: New English Broadsides, page 28 (Oak Publications, 1967)
Anybody recognize this melody?

Click to play (joeweb)

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Subject: ADD: First Things First (Ban the H-Bomb) A.Comfort
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Mar 18 - 08:47 PM

OK, so this one I'm not conpletely sure about. Extrapolating from other Websites, I gather that this song has two titles, and that it's the song referred to above as "First Things First," written by Alex Comfort.

70. Ban Ban Ban the Bloody H-bomb (to the tune of John Brown's Body)

(allegedly by Alex Comfort)
(tune: John Brown's Body)

To hell with all the humbug and to hell with all the lies
To hell with all the strontium continuing to rise
To hell with all the Charlies with a gift for compromise
If they won't ban the H-bomb now

Ban ban ban the bloody H-bomb
Ban ban ban the bloody H-bomb
Ban ban ban the bloody H-bomb
If you want to stay alive next week

Macmillan and the Tories are out to wait and see
They think the great deterrent will secure the victory
I don't know if they scare the reds, by god they frighten me
If they won't ban the H-bomb now

Gaitskill's labour party are preparing for a sell
They want to get the votes and keep the atom bomb as well
But strontium will send us all to shovel coal in hell
If we don't ban the H-bomb now

Now half of them are barmy and half of them are blind
They've all been talking far too long, its time they all resigned
And the way to shift a donkey is to wallop its behind
So we're going to ban the H-bomb now

We're going to stop the loonies and preserve the human race
We're going to save our country ‘cause we love the dear old place
We might have to stuff a rocket up the rocket builder's base
But we're going to ban the H-bomb now

Somewhere in the States they've got a button painted red
If anybody sits on it we'll all of us be dead
Meanwhile a million children are waiting to be fed
So we're going to ban the H-bomb now

Source: Socialist Songbook,

"Ban, Ban, Ban the Bloody H-Bomb" by Alex Comfort, is supposed to be in Tom Glazer's Songs of Peace, Freedom, and Protest (1971), pages 16-18

I thought I had that book, but I can't find it. There's a Joe Glazer book with a similar title, and I keep getting the two mixed up.

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Subject: Obit: Alex Comfort (1920-2000)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Mar 18 - 09:06 PM

Here's the obituary from The Guardian

Alex Comfort
Dazzling intellectual whose prolific output of novels, poetry and philosophy remains overshadowed by a sex manual

By Claire Rayner, Mon 27 March 2000

Alex Comfort, who has died aged 80, was a physician, poet, novelist, anarchist and pacifist. He was never known for the length of his temper, and would have been extremely annoyed today to be reminded that, for many people, his name means only sex. Never mind his poetry, his novels, his gerontology, his startling politics or the breathtaking width of his mind and the power of his grasp; it was his production of a couple of books about sex as a leisure activity, like snooker or tennis, or cooking and eating, that made him a household name.

It was back in the early 1970s that James Mitchell, of publishers Mitchell Beasley, suggested to his friend, Comfort, that he might write a sex manual. Mitchell had previously published an anthology, The Complete Lover, a rather soggy collection of poems, stories and mildly erotic romance for which Comfort had written a chapter on real sex; this had been withdrawn from The Complete Lover because the American publishers, McGraw Hill, would have been too shocked by it - but the idea remained with Mitchell.

Thus was The Joy Of Sex: A Gourmet Guide To Lovemaking, born to be published in 1972. It was an easy birth, incidentally. Comfort wrote the book in two weeks, drawing largely , it was said by insiders, on his affair with the woman who was to become his second wife . Its original title was Cordon Bleu Sex (hence the chapters headed Starters, Main Courses, Sauces and Pickles) but the owners of the Cordon Bleu name objected, so the title was changed.

The illustrations were not. Depicting a bearded man with a less than perfect body, and a woman equally ordinary, they enabled readers to relate to the book as no previous sex manual had. The unselfconscious text showed a lively interest in all sorts of highways and byways of sexuality - like the role of the big toe in lovemaking, and the pleasures of a little light bondage - and made people feel comfortable. It sold all over the world, in a myriad of languages, to the tune of 12m copies. It is still selling, with its offspring, New Joy Of Sex, More Joy Of Sex, Pocket Joy Of Sex et al.

That it was a good book is undoubted. Comfort couldn't have written bad English if he tried, and his erudition laced the text to make it worth reading, even if you weren't in search of the perfect orgasm. It was also good because of what it did for so many people's sex lives. Comfort gave his readers permission to regard sex as a normal occupation and a perfectly respectable interest. As an agony aunt, I was happy to recommend Comfort's books rather than my own because they were so effective. I had many letters from people who had found reading Joy Of Sex a liberating experience.

Comfort is on record as having rather despised his sex books, for all they had made him so amazingly rich, and wanting to be remembered for his poetry, politics, novels and science. Yet, in a sense, he is so remembered by those millions of readers. The Joy of Sex is often anarchic - frequently poetic and sometimes funny. The jokes are good; even the science is there. One knows as a reader, at gut level, that this writer got the facts right as well as the feelings. It was no mean feat, and he can rest assured that he will be remembered for the right reasons.

He is survived by a son, and three grandchildren.

David Goodway writes: Alex Comfort's first book, The Silver River, an account of a voyage to Argentina and Senegal, was published in 1938, when he was still a pupil at Highgate School, the son of an LCC education officer. From there, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, to read natural sciences. He had a dazzling academic career - and, until his early 30s, a dazzling literary career.

His fictional debut came in 1941 with No Such Liberty, written while he was at Cambridge. The Power House, a long and acclaimed third novel, appeared in 1944. On This Side Nothing, probably Comfort's best novel, followed in 1949. There were also several books of verse. Art And Social Responsibility (1946), was his first collection of articles.

His lifelong pacifism dated from his schooldays; during the second world war, he was, he said, "an aggressive anti-militarist". It came to a head in the campaign against the indiscriminate bombing of Germany. Pacifism led to anarchism, for he came to believe that pacifism rested "solely upon the historical theory of anarchism".

The finest single statement of Comfort's anarchism is Peace And Disobedience (1946), one of the many pamphlets he wrote for Peace News and the Peace Pledge Union (and reprinted in 1994 in Against Power And Death). But his classic contribution to anarchist thought is Authority And Delinquency In The Modern State (1950), a remarkable application of the findings of psychiatry and social psychology to contemporary politics .

The 1950s saw his main effort concentrated on the biology of ageing. After the volume of poetry, And All But He Departed (1951), there was nothing until Haste To The Wedding (1962). After A Giant's Strength (1952) no novel appeared until Come Out to Play (1961). A second collection of articles, Darwin And The Naked Lady, was not published till 1962.

There followed a transitional decade for Comfort. Barbarism And Sexual Freedom (1948) had been the starting point for Sexual Behaviour In Society (1950), which was revised as Sex In Society (1963). Then, in 1962, came a formative experience, when he visited India. A translation from the Sanskrit of the erotological mediaeval classic, The Koka Shastra, resulted in 1964. In the 1970s, came Comfort's own manuals on sex.

In 1973, he moved to the Center For The Study of Democratic Institutions at Santa Barbara, California. The center soon folded, but he remained on the west coast, in a series of medical and academic posts. In 1985, he retired to England.

Comfort had written several works of scientific popularisation in the 1960s, but later books, such as I And That: Notes On The Biology of Religion (1979) and Reality And Empathy: Physics, Mind, And Science In The 21st Century (1984), were a good deal more abstruse. After the 1960s, he published another three novels, but only two collections of poetry. He was now a household name, but as something he always denied being: a sexologist.

David Hall writes: Towards the end of the 1950s, gerontology could hardly be called a well-defined or highly- respected discipline. The Club For Ageing, founded in 1947, had split into two, and it was to be nearly 30 years before clinicians and biologists found it possible to collaborate convincingly again. There was, however, a small group farsighted enough to realise that this dichotomy could only detract from the development of age research. One of this group was Comfort.

His early medical career enabled him to bring a clinician's point of view to his research, acknowledging that the ultimate aim of age research must be the interpretation of the ageing process to the human subject. On the other hand, he had an insatiable curiosity, which, on his arrival in the physiology department at the London Hospital Medical School, and later in the zoology department of University College, encouraged him to study age phenomena from whatever source appropriate data could be obtained.

This led him to examine ageing processes in both wild and captive populations of fish and other animals. He also realised that other people's studies could often be employed to good effect. For instance, he found it possible to use information from horse breeders' stud books to explain genetic factors associated with ageing. This biological research led to the publication of The Biology Of Senescence (1961), to be followed by Ageing: The Biology Of Senescence (1964). And one of the milestones of popular gerontology in the 1960s was a television interview featuring Comfort and the "red" dean of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson.

I began to appreciate the way Alex could explain the growing points of age research when, in the late 1960s, we were both officers of the British Society for Research on Ageing, in which he played an important role. It was about this time that he became a popular presenter at international meetings. These lectures were characterised by such a degree of optimism about the future development of gerontology - and the possible enhancement of lifespan - as to make some of his more conservative colleagues cringe. Thus, in Washington, in 1969, he suggested that, within 20 years, human life span might extend to 120 years.

Throughout Comfort's career, it was his ability to be deeply and simultaneously engaged in a variety of fields which characterised his activities. Such activities were not always scientific or liter ary. I attended a scientific meeting with him in Czechoslovakia, during the 1968 Prague spring, where he surprised his hosts at a social evening by singing a socialist ditty extolling the work ethic. He informed us he had attempted to teach it to Bertrand Russell when they were both on remand following a CND protest.

That Alex packed such a variety of activities into one life is truly remarkable. Whatever the assessment of the value of his research, and of his non-scientific studies, from the standpoint of the 21st century, he will be remembered as someone who left an indelible mark on the one that preceded it.

Alexander Comfort, physician, poet and novelist, born February 10 1920; died March 26 2000

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