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Origins: Jenny Wren Bride

Leadfingers 06 Jan 19 - 04:42 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 05:17 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 05:45 AM
Leadfingers 06 Jan 19 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Teribus 06 Jan 19 - 09:50 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Teribus 06 Jan 19 - 12:13 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 12:38 PM
Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 12:56 PM
Richard Mellish 06 Jan 19 - 04:41 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 06:54 PM
Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 07:19 PM
Richard Mellish 07 Jan 19 - 09:15 AM
Lighter 07 Jan 19 - 09:41 AM
Charley Noble 08 Jan 19 - 07:13 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 08 Jan 19 - 07:24 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 19 - 04:32 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 09 Jan 19 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Teribus 09 Jan 19 - 07:21 AM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 08:02 AM
Gurney 12 Jan 19 - 02:50 AM
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Subject: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 04:42 AM

I first heard this in Singapore , sung by a Wren , and would like to know where and when it originated


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 05:17 AM

Cyril Tawney thought it originated in the 1920s (with earlier title Pusser-Build Bride): Tawney: Grey Funnel Lines: Traditional Song & Verse of the Royal Navy 1900-1970

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 05:45 AM

It was published in France in 1956 in "Count Palmiro Vicarious Book Of Bawdy Ballads" (see Origins: Count Palmiro Vicarion unveiled for index), but other references online all seem to postdate Tawney's version.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 09:12 AM

Thank you Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 09:50 AM

The verse:

"The Vicar he stood at the alter
And said who gives this woman away
A bloke off the "Hood"
Said blimey I would
But let every dog have it's day"

That would date the song after May 1920, when the year HMS Hood was commissioned from a new build into the fleet, and May 1941 when it was sunk in action against the Bismark in the Denmark Strait.

Always known it as a "Standard" Sods Opera song. No Idea who actually came out with it but it must have been written after the outbreak of the Second World War (1st September 1939 and 24th May 1941). In 1939 HMS Hood was in Portsmouth and the WRNS having been formed in 1917 and disbanded in 1919 were only reformed at the outbreak of war in 1939 so there could have been no Jenny Wren brides between May 1920 and August 1939.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 11:01 AM

Teribus - Tawney says it was formerly Pusser built Bride, though   on a quick search I found no references to this.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 12:13 PM

Understood Mick, I was responding to the thread title.

Cyril Tawney makes reference to "The Pusser built Bride" which included the mention of the "Hood" (No other RN ship in commission that would suit the rhyme). In which case the remarks I have made still stand although the time frame only be pushed back to between 1929 and 1936 when "Hood" was in Portsmouth Dockyard in refit and in service in the Home Fleet. Prior to that HMS Hood was stationed:

1920 Commissioned
1921 - 1922 Mediterranean
1923 - 1924 World Cruise
1925 - 1927 Mediterranean
1928 - 1929 Gibraltar Dockyard for repair after collision with HMS Renown.
1929 - 1936 Portsmouth and Home Fleet
1937 - 1939 Mediterranean


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 12:38 PM

I don't quite understand his reference to the rhyme requiring Hood. In the version printed in his book it's mid-line and could be replaced.

It's also not clear if the song was made all-at-once, or added to/modified over the years. I don't have any information on that.

Nice work on dating via The Hood though.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 12:56 PM

There is also a "Willow Wren Bride," reported (without a text) by John R. Baldwin in Folk Music Journal, 1969. (He collected it in 1966.)

Willow Wren is a firm that rents "narrowboats" for pleasure trips on English canals.

Ian Hendrie on other thread (2008):


I met a bloke walking through Bedworth
He said I could laugh 'til I cried
I've been and got shot of me mate on the cut
And he's married a Willow Wren bride
Married, married
He's married a Willow Wren bride


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 04:41 PM

Lighter,
I've always taken Willow Wren bride to be a parody of Jenny Wren Bride.

Mick,
> I don't quite understand his reference to the rhyme requiring Hood. In the version printed in his book it's mid-line and could be replaced.

The third line of each verse has an internal rhyme, apart from "Crusher"/"paper" which isn't very good.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 06:54 PM

So it does Richard! Thanks.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 07:19 PM

My sense is that you're right, Richard.

When did Willow Wren begin business?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 07 Jan 19 - 09:15 AM

> When did Willow Wren begin business?

I've just spent some time trying to find out. Google found me this statement:
"The Willow Wren Canal Carrying Company Ltd. was formed in 1953 by three individuals, Robert Aickman (Founder of the Inland Waterways Association), Leslie Morton, who at one time was with the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co. and Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson who was a member of Rothschild’s merchant bank. Their aim was to preserve and be able to carry out commercial carrying throughout the canal system."

The associated URL is unavailable but is cached here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Jan 19 - 09:41 AM

Undoubtedly "Jenny Wren" is older and more elaborate. And Willow Wren is surely not as culturally influential as the RN.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jan 19 - 07:13 PM

Well discussed! Is the tune traditional?

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 08 Jan 19 - 07:24 PM

Charlie

It uses "My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean" as the tune.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 04:32 AM

Do we have full lyrics somewhere? All I found were these lyrics at horntip.com.



JENNY WREN BRIDE
(melody: My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean)

I've just come away from the wedding,
Oh Lord I could laugh till I cried.
I'll never forget the relations I met
When I married my Jenny Wren bride.

cho: Married, married, I married my Jenny Wren bri-iide,
     Married, married, I married my Jenny Wren bride.

Her father he works in the dockyard,
Her brother he owns a Marine Store,
And as for their habits, well talk about rabbits
They've got half the dockyard ashore.

I asked her old man for a dowry,
He gave me a can of soft soap,
A bundle of waste and some polishing paste
And fifty-six fathoms of rope.

The present we got from her brother
Was twenty-four yards of blue jean,
Her cousin, the crusher, he sent us note-paper,
Six packets of Service Latrine.

Her family hung flags in the churchyard
And they painted the hallway with flatting,
When out stepped the bride they all piped the side,
And she tripped on the coconut matting.

Her wedding-dress, lashed up with spunyarn,
Was made from an old whaler's sail.
On top of her head a dishcloth was spread,
With a spudnet in front for a veil.

Her petticoat was made out of hessian,
Her knickers were made of green baize,
While for her suspenders she'd a motor-boat's fenders
And two pusser's gaiters for stays.

Now most of the church congregation
Was made up of Wrens on the dole
While in the back pew sat the six-inch gun's crew
And half of the standing patrol.

The parson got up in the pulpit.
He said, "Who gives this woman away?"
Thcn a bloke from the Hood whispered: "Blimey, I could,
But let every dog have its day."

Well now, I'm just off on me honeymoon,
I don't know what happens tonight,
But I've spoke to a few who declare that they do,
And they swear she's a bit of all right.

Tune:'My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean
From Grey Funnel Lines, Tawney
Recorded by Oscar Brand, Bawdy Sea Songs
note: originally "Pusser-made Bride"


So, am I to understand that the "Wren" in this song is a member of the Women's Royal Naval Service?



-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 06:04 AM

Joe - yes!

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 07:21 AM

The following verse:

Now most of the church congregation
Was made up of Wrens on the dole
While in the back pew sat the six-inch gun's crew
And half of the standing patrol.

I originally heard and learned as

Now as for the congregation
It was made up of Wrens on the dole
While asleep in the back pew was the six-inch gun's crew
And half of the standing patrol.

The reference to "the six-inch gun's crew" ties the song to Portsmouth, as opposed to Devonport (Plymouth) or Chatham. The six-inch gun mentioned in the song was located in HMS Excellent (Royal Navy Gunnery School) and was used to train gunnery ratings in basic gun drills and by Weapons Articifers, and Weapons Armourers in more complex aspects of what to do, and how to deal with problems related to a naval gun. Probably all gone now as the role of the establishment has changed greatly since my time in the Navy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 08:02 AM

Oscar Brand's version (sung in a faux-Cockney accent like Dick Van Dyke's in "Mary Poppins") appeared on Brand's LP "Old-Time Bawdy Sea Shanties Vol. 5" (Audio Fidelity AFSD 5884) (1958).

It's really "Vol. 5" of his "Bawdy Songs" series.

Brand's version is much like the others, though shorter. There's no indication of where he got it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jenny Wren Bride
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Jan 19 - 02:50 AM

Joe, I was in the audience when Cyril made a partial explanation of some of the terms.

'As for their habits, well, talk about Rabbits! They've...'
Rabbits are items pilfered and illicit items manufactured.
'Crusher.' Naval policeman.
'Pussers.' Pursers. i.e. belonging to the navy.

Cyril also sang "made up of ex-tiffies on the dole..." A tiffy is an artificer, an engineer. Cyril was an ex-tiffy.


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