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Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)

DigiTrad:
CROW ON THE CRADLE
EVERY STAR SHALL SING A CAROL


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NH Dave 28 Oct 00 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,bigJ 28 Oct 00 - 08:38 PM
Quincy 29 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,bigJ 30 Oct 00 - 04:38 PM
NH Dave 31 Oct 00 - 08:26 AM
NH Dave 06 Nov 00 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,bigJ 06 Nov 00 - 09:09 PM
NH Dave 07 Nov 00 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,bigJ 08 Nov 00 - 02:45 PM
Lanfranc 08 Nov 00 - 06:27 PM
NH Dave 10 Nov 00 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,Felipa 11 Nov 00 - 04:43 AM
GUEST 18 Feb 12 - 04:42 PM
John MacKenzie 18 Feb 12 - 04:57 PM
Leadfingers 18 Feb 12 - 06:23 PM
Reinhard 18 Feb 12 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,Mike 07 Sep 12 - 08:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Sep 12 - 03:54 PM
John MacKenzie 08 Sep 12 - 05:30 PM
GUEST 09 Sep 12 - 07:50 AM
GUEST 21 Sep 16 - 08:44 AM
leeneia 21 Sep 16 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Jack O'Lantern 21 Sep 16 - 07:48 PM
leeneia 21 Sep 16 - 08:17 PM
Mr Red 22 Sep 16 - 07:36 AM
keberoxu 22 Sep 16 - 02:21 PM
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Subject: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: NH Dave
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 07:35 PM

This one's for our Brit friends who remember songs of the early seventies. I'm looking for lyrics to The Phonebox Song that was sung in the late 60's - early 70's. This poor unfortunate tried to phone up his mother, in the old L/S/D days, but gets a dolly bird with an interesting sounding voice, who doesn't give her phone number, as was the custom in those days. Problem, he only has the few coins that he placed into the phone slot, so if he punches "Button 'B'" to chat up the lady who answered he will lose all his money, and can't call Mum later on. The song starts out:

Standing alone in the damp and the dark In a lonely old phonebox in Finsbury(?) Park I promised to call Mum at quarter past two [or somesuch] But instead of my mother, I keep getting you.

Cho So say who you are and not just, "Hello" Give me your name or give me your number. Say who you are and not just, "Hello" If I push button "B" all my pennies will go.

Thanks

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 08:38 PM

It was written by Sidney Carter (Lord of the Dance) at the time that new 'phone boxes were being introduced. I have the words somewhere, but since I'm on my way to bed at the moment - it's 1.37 a.m. here,....if someone doesn't post them first, I'll look for them tomorrow night.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: Quincy
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM

refresh

Looks like it's up to you bigJ!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 04:38 PM

Aaaaaargh! Still looking.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: NH Dave
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 08:26 AM

Thanks.

How like life. You think you have everything nicely sorted out and then, unbeknownst to you, somebody MOVES something.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: NH Dave
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 03:06 PM

RefreshDave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 09:09 PM

Dave, your entry 'you have everything nicely sorted out and then' brought a wry smile to my face since I'm in the middle of moving the accumulation of the past 25 years from the ground floor to the first floor, and it was while doing so that I came across the words of the song in a magazine. Now, of course, I can't find the magazine!!!!! However, do not despair, because I was on the 'phone to my friend Geoff last night and mentioned the song to him. Oh yes, he said, it's on a Three City Four LP, I'll copy it to minidisc and send it to you. Watch this space.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: NH Dave
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 10:44 AM

BigJ, I spend many years in the USAF so I know EXACTLY what you mean. Now if we could get more of the British stuff over here...I'm still looking for some of Billy Connolly's older stuff.Dave


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TELEPHONE SONG (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 08 Nov 00 - 02:45 PM

Well, everything comes.......... Here are the words courtesy of the group Three City Four on their 1965 LP (Decca LK 4705) where it's sung by group member Martin Carthy. Other members are Leon Rosselson, Marian Mackenzie and Ralph Trainer. Many thanks to Geoff for copying the LP and putting the minidisc in the post to me.

THE TELEPHONE SONG by Sydney Carter

Standing alone in the damp and the dark
Of a filthy old phone box in Finsbury Park
I dialed Fremantle they give me a FRO,
I asked for a Primrose, they give me a PRO.

CHORUS
So, Say who you are, love, and not 'Hello'
Give me your name and give me your number.
Say who you are, love, and not 'Hello'
If I press button 'A' all my pennies will go.

My mother is waiting at Lancaster Gate,
I promised to phone at a quarter to eight.
I've done all the things that they tell me to do
But instead of my mother I keep getting you.

There's many the girl that I've got to know
Through a fault on the line of the GPO,
I'd do it again but it wouldn't be right.
I promised to telephone mother tonight.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: Lanfranc
Date: 08 Nov 00 - 06:27 PM

AAhhh, Memories!

FREmantle, FRObisher, PRImrose, PROspect, FLAxman, WHItehall ...

SO much more fun than 7373, 7370 and the boring modern numeric equivalents.

I used to sing this song in the late 60's and had almost forgotten it. It'll get a revival now, though, even if I do have to spend five minutes explaining the historical(?) context each time I sing it!

Thanks for the reminder.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: NH Dave
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 10:47 PM

In those halcyon days before urban blight struck the phone systems, the US had literal exchanges like PEnnsylvania(65000)from the Glen Miller song, OLive, etc.. Now, unfortunately, they are all numeric combinations, which make for more exchanges without needing to find prefixes that make any sense, but loses some of the romanticism.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Phonebox Song'
From: GUEST,Felipa
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:43 AM

Is tgere any mobile phone song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 04:42 PM

Does anyone know if "The Three City Four" has been re-issued on CD? I have the original album but would like to get it on CD...

Cheers!!
Jim Johnson
Ffilharmonious Jug Band
England's Anglo-American Jug Band of the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 04:57 PM

Hi Jim, I'm still in touch with Pete Ballan.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 06:23 PM

Amazon have one copy in stock - Blickifier doesnt want to work for me tonight !!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 09:30 PM

The CD "Smoke & Dust" has 8 of 14 tracks from the LP "The Three City Four" and 11 of 12 tracks from the original LP "Smoke & Dust". It was released in March 2010 and is distributed by Proper so it should be available in all the usual places in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 08:40 PM

If memory serves, Jake Thakeray used to sing it as follows:

THE TELEPHONE SONG by Sydney Carter

Standing alone in the damp and the dark
Of a filthy old phone box in Finsbury Park
I dialled Freemantle and got Waterloo,
But instead of the missus, I'm talking to you.

CHORUS
So, Say who you are, love, and not 'Hello'
Give me your name and give me your number.
Say who you are, love, and not 'Hello'
If I press button 'A' all my pennies will go.

The missus is waiting in Lancaster Gate,
I promised to phone at a quarter to eight.
I've done everything that it says I should do
But instead of the missus I keep getting you.

There's many the girl that I've got to know
Through a fault on the line of the GPO,
I'd do it again but it wouldn't be right.
I promised to phone up the missus tonight


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 03:54 PM

That'd be typical for Jake Thakray, making it the missus instead of Mum to give it a naughty spin...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 05:30 PM

I still sing this song occasionally, using the original words of course. Nowadays I need to explain buttons A & B on old payphones, to my audience.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 07:50 AM

Twelve years later, in answer to Felipa (hope you're not hanging on the phone waiting for an answer), yes there is, have a listen to Leon Rosselsons "Conversation on a Mobile" it's on his "Bringing the News from Nowhere" CDs of 2011.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 08:44 AM

I remember this song so well in Ulverston 1970 ! Sung by a brilliant guy who was ex Squadie deafened by rocket launcher in Cyprus.
Eeee if only I could remember his name ! Old age is a B******r !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 09:45 AM

And what exactly did buttons A and B do?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST,Jack O'Lantern
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 07:48 PM

leeneia:

So naive!

In a phone box, in most semiurbanised parts of the UK before about 1964, to make a phonecall, you went into one of those iconic red phone boxes, and put your pennies into a slot in the black box in front of you. You then picked up the phone, and dialled the number, say SWI3067. After a bit of clicking, you heard the phone ring tone- brrrr...brrrr, brrr...brrr... Then she answered (you hoped). "Hello?" It was her mother (of course). You then had two choices. Press Button A. That connected the call, and you could talk to her mother, who would probably put the phone down and your pennies would have been wasted. Or press button B and get your pennies back, and try again later. I don't know if it worked the same way reciprocally, not being female and trying to call a male (if any ever did).

When I joked about "button A, button B" with my mother years ago (she died in 2000), she didn't understand what I was talking about. She never used a phone box, because she didn't know anyone who had a phone.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 08:17 PM

"If a woman answers, press Button B," I suppose.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: Mr Red
Date: 22 Sep 16 - 07:36 AM

Or in modern parlance, offer to sell life insurance.
(other scams are available)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Telephone Song (Sydney Carter)
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Sep 16 - 02:21 PM

Flanders and Swann, the At the Drop of a Hat song-writing duo, were close to Sydney Carter and their live shows often included a Carter song. Thus it is that "Hat-Trick," the package with four compact discs, has a live performance of Donald Swann singing the song on this thread, changing the phone-box location to his own neighborhood, spitting out "a filthy old phone box in Battersea Park."

Leon Berger, the keeper of the flame of all things F & S (and reportedly writing a biography of Michael Flanders) gives detailed notes on the "Hat Trick" compilation. The following quote is Leon Berger's, from the booklet of notes.

"A brief lesson in the low-tech phoneboxes then owned by the General Post Office (GPO). To make a call, you inserted your coins, dialled, and on hearing a reply, you had a few seconds in which to press Button A to be connected and your money was swallowed. If the recipient failed to identify themselves speedily, you risked losing your cash. Hence, printed in the front of every Telephone Directory was the instruction:
'Say who you are. Do not just say "Hullo" .'

--page xv, Hat-Tracks (guide to the songs)
© 2007 EMI Records Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


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