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Up To The Rigs - appropriate?

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UP TO THE RIGS


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(origins) Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town (14)


RTim 30 Jul 21 - 10:21 PM
RTim 30 Jul 21 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Gurney 30 Jul 21 - 10:39 PM
Joe Offer 31 Jul 21 - 01:51 AM
r.padgett 31 Jul 21 - 02:40 AM
r.padgett 31 Jul 21 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 31 Jul 21 - 05:32 AM
John MacKenzie 31 Jul 21 - 01:00 PM
John MacKenzie 31 Jul 21 - 02:34 PM
meself 31 Jul 21 - 02:35 PM
meself 31 Jul 21 - 02:39 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Jul 21 - 03:19 PM
Jeri 31 Jul 21 - 04:49 PM
The Sandman 31 Jul 21 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 31 Jul 21 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 31 Jul 21 - 09:01 PM
The Sandman 01 Aug 21 - 02:36 AM
BobL 01 Aug 21 - 03:28 AM
meself 01 Aug 21 - 11:32 AM
Tattie Bogle 01 Aug 21 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,ottery 01 Aug 21 - 05:36 PM
The Sandman 02 Aug 21 - 01:44 AM
The Sandman 02 Aug 21 - 02:32 AM
Howard Jones 02 Aug 21 - 09:48 AM
meself 02 Aug 21 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 04 Aug 21 - 04:48 AM
Howard Jones 04 Aug 21 - 07:02 AM
meself 04 Aug 21 - 11:24 AM
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Subject: Up To The Rigs - Appropriate?
From: RTim
Date: 30 Jul 21 - 10:21 PM

With todays climate of being careful what songs you sing in mixed company or with the recent "Me too.." and/or gender issues.....Is it appropriate to sing a song like "Up To The Rigs.." any more..?

Tim Radford (who is re-appraising many of the songs he has sung for years)


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs
From: RTim
Date: 30 Jul 21 - 10:24 PM

In case you need a reminder.....Tim R

Up to the Rigs (As sung by Harry Cox and Tony Rose - and me.....)

Up to London City on one fine day
It was up Cheapside I made my way
A fair pretty maid I chanced for to meet
And with kisses her I there did greet

Chorus
    I was up to the rigs, down to the jigs
    Up to the rigs of London Town

She took me to some house of fame
And so boldly then did enter in
Loudly for supper she did call
A-thinking I was going to pay for it all

The supper being over and the table cleared
The waiters brought white wine and beer
The waiters brought white wine and red
And the chambermaid prepared the bed

Between the hours of one and two
She asked me if to bed I'd go
Immediately I did consent
And along with this pretty maid I went

Her cheeks were white and her lips were red
And I kissed her as she lay in bed;
But as soon as she fell fast asleep
Then it's out of her bed then I did creep

I searched her pockets and there I found
A silver snuffbox and ten pound
A golden watch and a diamond ring
So I took the lot and locked the lady in

So come all young men wherever you may be:
If you meet a pretty girl you use her free
You use her free but don't get drunk;
Just remember me when I was up Cheapside


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs
From: GUEST,Gurney
Date: 30 Jul 21 - 10:39 PM

I think turnabout is fair play. Just for comparison, I sing Cyril Tawney's song 'Outward/Homeward Bound' which is a placid acceptance of the parasites who prey on seamen. Absolutely in the opposite direction.

(Don't know if C.T. wrote it.)


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 01:51 AM

I dunno, Tim. I think it's pretty tame. I think I could get away with singing it even here in Politically Correct California.

Here's the Harry Cox performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8HiKwNTEsw

And here's the Charlie Wills performance on Voice of the People 07: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYQlHeFGKCo

And Peter Bellamy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U10Ifktn-8


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: r.padgett
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 02:40 AM

I will still sing it, in folk company of course

Ray


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: r.padgett
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 02:43 AM

Only Harry Cox's version available it seems?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 05:32 AM

I have included a version in the new book from a Gypsy source. Steve Gardham has discovered an extra verse in 18th/19th century cant.
It is a song of it's time. It needs to be viewed against the historical realities of survival in a Devil take the hindmost London subculture, where the 'Canting Crew' held sway over an army of Flash Patterers, Costas, and Doxies, each with their rules of survival.
Is it appropriate in 2021? Yes probably. It goes deeper than just another 'outwitting song'. The more things change the more they stay the same. Maybe the country man in London has been replaced by the immigrant or the asylum seeker. Same story, different cast.
I can suggest, it is for you to judge.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 01:00 PM

She asked hi8m to bed, didn't she?


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 02:34 PM

The Tailor's Britches
Ratcliffe Highway
The Barley and Rye
Go to Sea Once More.
etc etc.
Please let us sing the songs as they were handed down. Put them in context if you must, but, FFS stop trying to rewrite history !!


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: meself
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 02:35 PM

'Appropriate' for whom and where? On the face of it, it is a horrible story narrated by a horrible person - there are those who would assume that you, as a singer of the song, endorse or at least are amused by the attitudes (that seem to be) expressed in that song. So it is up to you to decide, in any given performance, how likely that assumption is and how much you care.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: meself
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 02:39 PM

John MacKenzie - who here is trying to rewrite anything, let alone history? Did I miss something?


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 03:19 PM

I usually do the Bold Dragoon where he loves her and leaves her along with the Oyster girl where she loves him and robs him. Appropriate? I dunno, but it is balanced :-)


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 04:49 PM

Folk songs are lessons in how attitudes have changed, and how clueless people in general were in the past. We hope we learn, and society gets better, not worse.
Someone once said that folk songs weren't history, but illustrated how people felt about historical things. I
remember "The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter. Where a young woman was raped by a knight, and when she pointed him out to the king, the king commanded he marry her.
The thought that this would ever be a just outcome is stupid and horrific. What woman would want to be permanently attached to her rapist? The thought that people, once upon a time, would ever think it was good?!
Times change. Attitudes change. I may not agree with what's in songs. I may not like them. But I think it's good to remember who we once were.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 05:06 PM

folk songs are about content rather than form or repertoire rather than style, this is where i differ from jim bainbridge, who stated recntly in Living tradtion magazine, that the marsden rattlers were more concerned with style than repertoire, to be precise he states.. quote
we developed a much wider view of folk music its place in the community and essentially it was and still is a style rather than a repertoire.
in my opinion this is rubbish.
so as far as i am concerned if i sing lily the pink in a folky style[ really , i thought there were quite a number of folky style] on a concertina and without amplification and in the style of bert lloyd its a folk song?
what utter codswallop


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 06:36 PM

Folk songs have always crossed the red lines of protean censorship. We have even more red lines today than the Victorian/Edwardian folklorists. A personal choice of what you sing or listen to is the best that can be achieved. Anything more than that will lead to crossing the biggest red line of all. I'm sure you know what that is.
Baring Gould did.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 31 Jul 21 - 09:01 PM

Better, appropriate -- According to whom, what and when? Our great-great-great-grandchildren get to decide how much 'better' we got before they themselves go under the same lens.

Hustlers (film) – It was a semi-autobiographical thing for singer Cardi B. She's quite proud of it. The critics call it 'empowering.'

If your goal is stitch-counting, museum piece history, your social mores are contemporary to your subject matter, not your audience. Post the boilerplate warnings and fire away.

If you're doing pirate opera, the producer will have a list of what's required/forbidden.

No reasonable performer would even think of doing songs the same way for a nursery rhyme; lounge act; ballroom and drunken carnival and that's just in one day. To whom and why are you singing?


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 21 - 02:36 AM

I sing the song in its original form that is an emotional decision, but really, both ways make the point and are effective


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: BobL
Date: 01 Aug 21 - 03:28 AM

A lot of comic songs are about things which in real life aren't the least bit funny - industrial accidents, unwanted pregnancies, marital infidelity, alcohol abuse. But they're not about the actual misfortunes of real people - they wouldn't be funny if they were. Instead they contain Awful Warnings about what might happen if you're not on your guard. Humour sweetens the bitter pill.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: meself
Date: 01 Aug 21 - 11:32 AM

At this remove, it's hard, if not impossible, to know how a song like this was intended and how it was taken, and by whom, when it was new. Was it sung, for example, by, on the one hand, cads in their cups to celebrate the mistreatment of prostitutes, or, on the other hand, by decent men (in their cups) to mock cads who would condone the behaviour in question? Or sung both ways - or neither? Was it sung by most without any real attention to the lyrical content, the way most people now sing along with a pop song?

So, again, I would think that whether or not you perform the song and how you present it would depend on your purpose.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Aug 21 - 12:46 PM

I would say go on singing it to a folk audience or in a folk session: it's unlikely anyway that you might be singing it elsewhere. It's a song of its time about things that may or may not have really happened: it's a folksong.
We may shudder at other songs that allude to rape, incest, child and adult murder, alcohol and domestic abuse, but I wouldn't say anyone should stop singing them if they so wish: they are all part of the folk tradition. There are some that I would not personally be drawn to singing myself, but it won't offend me if others choose to do so.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 01 Aug 21 - 05:36 PM

I (34, female) wouldn't have a problem with it, but then I have spent a large part of my life listening to folk music, so my standards might be a bit different to those of people from outside the folk world. I don't perform - if I did, I wouldn't absolutely refuse to perform any trad song, except Little Sir Hugh. Fanny Blair/Prince Heathen/Child Owlett I would perform, but with some talk and contextualisation first.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 21 - 01:44 AM

guest ottery, what you choose to perform where is up to you, but i have sung trad songs outside the uk folk revival and been successful ,particularly busking with them . so my experience is that the trad songs are good enough for everybody.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 21 - 02:32 AM

little Sir Hugh is a song i would never perform under any circumstance.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Aug 21 - 09:48 AM

There are far more songs of this nature where the lady robs the man, in circumstances where she probably had the advantage over him. In this case, her intention was probably the same but he managed to turn the tables on her. Can it be a Me Too issue if it is the man who is usually the victim?

There are also plenty of songs where the lady turns the tables on a man's dishonest intent - Lovely Joan, for example.

Better to look at these songs as warnings to both sexes to be on their guard.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: meself
Date: 02 Aug 21 - 02:56 PM

"her intention was probably the same" - although there's nothing in the song that suggests that .......


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 04:48 AM

I `ad that Ethel Spelter in my cab the other day. She`s the last of the Essex professional women hot dip galvanisers. She now writes about the S.E. counties and its music. `er book "Zinc or Swim" is essential reading.
She said, "Morning Jim. `ave you seen that Mudcat? They`re talking about whether "Up to the Rigs of London Town" is an apt song for 2021. Your band `as it in the repertoire. Do you still do it?"
I said, "Yeah. It`s still there. Tony used to do it with gusto. Anyway I don`t know what the fuss is all about. I doubt there is not an iota of difference between the goings on in London when the song was written and today!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 07:02 AM

"her intention was probably the same" - although there's nothing in the song that suggests that .......

At the very least she was expecting him to pay for dinner. In most songs of this nature that usually ended up with them in bed, which in turn usually ended up with her robbing him of his possessions (sometimes including his trousers) and on some occasions leaving him needing the attentions of a doctor. So, at risk of traducing a lady's reputation, it does not seem to be an unreasonable conclusion to draw.


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Subject: RE: Up To The Rigs - appropriate?
From: meself
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 11:24 AM

'most'? That's not my impression - I would say 'some'. I've heard far more songs concerning such, um - 'casual liaisons', often implying commercial exchange, that do not involve theft on the part of either party.

"At the very least she was expecting him to pay for dinner." I'm of an age to have had on more than one occasion a member of the opposite sex expect me to pay for dinner, and, in fact, I did so willingly. Never thought of it as a rationale for robbery.


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