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Origins: Mrs. Ravoon

DigiTrad:
MRS. RAVOON


kendall 10 Feb 00 - 02:11 PM
Amos 10 Feb 00 - 02:37 PM
kendall 10 Feb 00 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Bill D 11 Feb 00 - 12:06 AM
Barbara 11 Feb 00 - 02:36 AM
Joe Offer 11 Feb 00 - 03:22 AM
kendall 11 Feb 00 - 08:27 AM
MMario 11 Feb 00 - 08:58 AM
Amos 11 Feb 00 - 09:07 AM
GUEST 24 Feb 10 - 05:03 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 10 - 05:09 PM
olddude 24 Feb 10 - 05:11 PM
Tinker 24 Feb 10 - 05:15 PM
Bill D 24 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM
Herga Kitty 24 Feb 10 - 05:44 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 10 - 06:02 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 10 - 06:52 PM
Bill D 24 Feb 10 - 08:06 PM
Tinker 25 Feb 10 - 12:19 AM
olddude 25 Feb 10 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,John 25 Feb 10 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,BobW 25 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 25 Feb 10 - 08:47 PM
Joe Offer 26 Feb 10 - 03:04 AM
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Subject: Mrs. Ravoon
From: kendall
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 02:11 PM

Can someone tell me the age of Mrs. Ravoon?


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Amos
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 02:37 PM

I dinna think she shares it publicly, kendall -- and why (if you don't mind my asking) were you wanting to know??


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: kendall
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 03:29 PM

A friend of mine heard my tape, BEGINNERS LUCK, and that was one of the songs she had heard before. She does a lot of childrens programs, so, was curious about how old that poem is.


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: GUEST,Bill D
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 12:06 AM

Kendall...my ex-wife heard me sing that about 25 years ago, and she looked at me and said.."my grandmother used to sing that and chord it on her pump organ!!!"....I do NOT vouch for the truth/accuracy, but she swore to it...


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Barbara
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 02:36 AM

The first time I heard it was in 1975, in the DC area. I think it was Johathan Eberhardt. It doesn't sound that old to me, though I'm not sure why. Maybe the giant baboon makes me think of Fay Wray. Don't think songs about monkey monsters hauling off women could predate the 40's.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 03:22 AM

Here's what Harry Tuft says about Mrs. Ravoon on the notes for his Across the Blue Mountains CD:
Tom Mastin came to the Green Spider, a coffee house in existence in Denver from the late '50's through the mid-'60's, I guess it was in 1962 or '63. From him I taped two songs made from poems: "Calico Pie" by Edward Lear and "Mrs. Ravoon" which Tom said is an old English rhyme. He put the music to both. Tom has since written many more fine songs, some of which can be found on Jefferson Airplane albums. My last contact with Tom was many years ago, when he was living in Estes Park, Colorado.
Not particularly helpful. Great recording, though. It's available at Folk-Legacy (click).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: kendall
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 08:27 AM

I have Harrys album.


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: MMario
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 08:58 AM

If it's an old english rhyme, then maybe someone on that side of the Atlantic can find out where and when it came from?


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 09:07 AM

I just read it for the first time in the DT. It cites Tom M and "an old English rhyme". This is the dark side of the quirky English mind, I must say -- an odd, weird, poem. Makes ye shudder!

A


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:03 PM

Mrs Ravoon is the poem "Alternative Endings to an Unwritten Ballad" by Paul Dehn published in 1956 in his "For Love and Money". The book is pretty rare and I had to get the copy I saw via inter-library loan. Unfortunately the other poems in the collection totally lack the macabre off-the-wallness of "Alternative Endings to an Unwritten Ballad"


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:09 PM

Do you have the original text of the poem, and can you post it?
You'll find the Digital Tradition text for the song here (click)
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Mrs. Ravoon
From: olddude
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:11 PM

NOBODY on the planet ever performed it better than you Kendall
for those who never heard him play and sing this song it is here

Kendall - Mrs Ravoon


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Tinker
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:15 PM

Here is a google book reference that discusses the original poem as "an unwritten ballad to a "bad-enough mother"

It comes from A Time to Laugh: The Religion of Humor by Donald Capps

Capps follows with a variety of verses he has written on the "bad-enough mother" theme.....

I'm not quite ready to comment on the theme.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM

Nawwww... *I* do it better! But for Pete's sake, don't tell anyone...I wouldn't want it to get around that I even know it, because........ooops!


(I have heard Kendall do it near Halloween on year at the Getaway...don't think he has heard me)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:44 PM

The first time I heard it was when Bob Walser sang it at the Herga folk club.

Kitty


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Subject: ADD: Alternative Endings to an Unwritten Ballad
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:02 PM

This page claims to have the correct, original text of the poem by Paul Dehn (1912-1976);
    Finding the correct wording to this online is a bitch, not least because it was nicked by some folk singers in the US and set to music on the grounds that it was a traditional Olde English Songe. Pfff.
But it doesn't have the complete text that Tinker cited, so I'll post from Tinker's Google Books link:


ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS TO AN UNWRITTEN BALLAD
(Paul Dehn)

I stole through the dungeons, while everyone slept,
Till I came to the cage where the Monster was kept.
There, locked in the arms of a Giant Baboon
Rigid and smiling, lay...Mrs. RAVOON!

I climbed the clock-tower in the first morning sun;
And 'twas midday at least ere my journey was done.
But the clock never sounded the last stroke of noon,
For there, from the clapper, swung MRS RAVOON

I hauled in the line, and I took my first look
At the half-eaten horror that hung from the hook.
I had dragged from the depths of the limpid lagoon
The luminous body of MRS RAVOON.

I fled in the storm, through lightning and thunder,
And there, as a flash split the darkness asunder,
Chewing a rat's-tail and mumbling a rune,
Mad in the moat squatted MRS RAVOON.

I stood by the waters so green and so thick,
And I stirred at the scum with my old, withered stick;
When there rose through the ooze, like a monstrous balloon,
The bloated cadaver of...Mrs. RAVOON!

Facing the fens, I looked back from the shore
Where all had been empty a moment before;
And there, by the light of the Lincolnshire moon,
Immense on the marshes, stood...Mrs. RAVOON!

Source: A Time to Laugh: The Religion of Humor, by Donald Capps - quoting from The Oxford Book of Comic Verse (Gross, 1994, pp 360-361).
Capps wrote a number of additional verses. I'll post them below.

Say, does the tune to this sound to you like "Blow the Candle Out"????
-Joe-


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Subject: ADD Parodies: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:52 PM

Oh...I'll post them.

The first seems rather Oedipal:

A LETTER TO MY FUTURE BRIDE
(Donald Capps)

I was sleeping quite soundly and dreaming of you,
And pledging, my darling, I'd always be true,
When I suddenly spied by the light of the moon,
Stretched out by my side lay...Mrs. RAVOON!

"How could you get in there?" I asked with a start,
As I felt the mad beating of my horrified heart.
For aghast, I beheld her, and started to swoon,
For 'twas my old mother, she's ...Mrs. RAVOON!

"Oh, Mother, how could you?" I asked with dismay,
"You disrupted my dream of my blest wedding day!"
She answered, "Oh, Willy, what a tired old tune.
You don't know the power of...Mrs. RAVOON!

She left and I vowed my dream to resume,
But I felt all around me a dire sense of doom.
So I leapt from my bed - tripping o'er the spittoon -
And dashed off in search of...Mrs. RAVOON!


Capp also tried some biblical verses, which I think are much better:

ADAM'S MISTAKE

Naming the birds and the beasts was a chore,
So I laid down to rest and proceeded to snore.
Awakening I saw what appeared a baboon.
Not so, 'twas a woman...Mrs. RAVOON!


DAVID'S MISJUDGMENT

I walked out on my terrace and peered down below,
And my eyes lit upon a most wonderful show.
A woman was bathing and crooning a tune.
"Bathsheba," I cried! No, 'twas...Mrs. RAVOON!


HOSEA'S ERROR

I wandered through town, unhappy and glum,
For Jezreel, the eldest, was missing his Mum.
Then a surreal shape loomed over the dune.
"Is it Gomer?" I cried. Nope, 'twas...Mrs. RAVOON!


JOHN THE BAPTIST'S REVENGE

Amid cheering and clapping while the veiled woman danced,
Herod beckoned her toward him and said, "I'm entranced.
But please, little butterfly, shed your cocoon."
She did, and he saw. 'Twas...Mrs. RAVOON!


JESUS' CONFUSION

I stood in the garden 'mid roses and such,
When out of the haze came a womanly touch.
"Oh Mary, sweet Mary," I proceeded to croon,
But my senses deceived me. 'Twas...Mrs. RAVOON!

Source: A Time to Laugh: The Religion of Humor By Donald Capps (Professor of Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 08:06 PM

",,,does the tune to this sound to you like "Blow the Candle Out"?"

Only very vaguely...a couple of phrases.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Tinker
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 12:19 AM

Thanks for transcribing Joe. It's been a long day.....

Tinker


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: olddude
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 12:51 PM

That was really cool Joe, thank you


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: GUEST,John
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 01:53 PM

I want to apologize in advance for this bit of pedantic grumpiness (I'm dieting).

I listened to Kendall. It was great, but....

Limpid means "crystal clear" and "rune" usually refers to written or pictorial symbols (magical or otherwise).

Now that I have unburdened my dictionary heart, I can go back to enjoying the song as I have since I first hear Bill D. sing it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: GUEST,BobW
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM

This song recurs in my life much like its protagonist. After mouldering quietly for a decade or so, a fresh outbreak erupts. And always with new verses. I recently found several pages of verses written by kids at schools where I did programs back in the 70s and 80s. Last summer my own children and the diabolical Linda Breitag and family created yet more. When will it end?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:47 PM

Joe,

One of the funniest. Thanks for putting up all those versions!

I haven't been able to get Kendall's song clip to load, and no web version of either his album or Harry Tuft's seems to include a playable Mp3.

I'd love to get the tune, and I bet some other readers would too.

Would you be willing to add a midi?

Thanks! Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mrs. Ravoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 03:04 AM

I'd be glad to add a MIDI, but I can't transcribe by ear and I can't find notation for the tune. Anybody want to send a MIDI to me for posting?
-Joe -
joe@mudcat.org


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