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Lyr Req: My Canary Has Circles under His Eyes

Bristol Ted 28 May 01 - 11:51 AM
Bill D 28 May 01 - 09:55 PM
Bob Bolton 28 May 01 - 11:29 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 May 01 - 11:32 PM
Sorcha 28 May 01 - 11:37 PM
GUEST 29 May 01 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,alanabit 29 May 01 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 29 May 01 - 08:51 AM
Snuffy 29 May 01 - 09:17 AM
GUEST 29 May 01 - 10:42 AM
Bristol Ted 29 May 01 - 04:35 PM
Bob Bolton 30 May 01 - 12:15 AM
Bristol Ted 30 May 01 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 30 May 01 - 05:58 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 02 - 06:43 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 02 - 06:56 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 02 - 07:33 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Apr 02 - 04:28 AM
Herga Kitty 21 Apr 02 - 11:51 AM
Martin Graebe 21 Apr 02 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,brynw60 (Bryan W) 08 Feb 11 - 06:33 AM
Gurney 08 Feb 11 - 01:48 PM
Gurney 08 Feb 11 - 03:07 PM
Artful Codger 08 Feb 11 - 11:30 PM
freda underhill 09 Feb 11 - 12:36 AM
JohnH 09 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Feb 11 - 02:01 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Feb 19 - 01:28 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 19 - 03:04 PM
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Subject: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bristol Ted
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:51 AM

Can anyone help with this please? I have found a couple of references to the song with a Google search but nothing as yet has come up with the lyrics. Any help appreciated. Many thanks. Ted


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bill D
Date: 28 May 01 - 09:55 PM

sounds like of those things they used to "stump the band' with on Johnny Carson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:29 PM

G'day Bristol Ted,

I'm assuming this is really American territory ... and some bright Catter will pop the words in here at any moment.

However, I will pop a trace on the thread and, if push comes to shove, fire up the old LP turntable and take down the words from a rendition by a local Australian band Captain Matchbox (Since promoted themselves to Major Matchbox).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:32 PM

Ooh, I remember hearing this once. Don't remember where or when though, and couldn't tell you anything else about it except the title...

If you do find it, please post so we can all enjoy!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:37 PM

I tried 3 mega search engines this morning, and had no luck either.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY CANARY HAS CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 01 - 01:15 AM

This old world is slipping fast.
How much longer can it last?
Have we gone completely off our dome?
With this modernistic stuff,
I am through. I've had enough.
I'm so worried since he don't come home.

Since making whoopee became all the rage,
It even got into my birdie's cage.
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

He used to whistle "The Prisoner's Song.”
Now he does snake hips the whole night long.
My canary's got circles under eyes.

E-mail me for the rest - I'll remember it this evening!
alanabitqweb.de

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 20-Apr-02.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY CANARY HAS CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES
From: GUEST,alanabit
Date: 29 May 01 - 08:29 AM

Hi Bristol Ted! I couldn't finish giving you all the lyrics this morning, because I had to dash off and teach an English lesson. I heard the song performed by Paul Downes and Phil Beer when they played together in the seventies and I always liked it. They recorded it on their only live album, which I think - let's use the polite expression - they are not promoting any more... The song was also recorded by George Melly with John Chiltons' Feetwarmers (I think that's what they were called - I used to have the album). I assume it's an American song from early in the twentieth century, but no doubt one of our American friends will put us right on that point. I just had time to type in the prologue and the first verse this morning, so I'll pick it up again at the bridge (which comes twice - with a different lyric the second time round)

There was a time he would be content to flit among the flowers
Now every time that I let him out he hides up in the tree for hours

(Verse 2) Instead of taking a much needed rest
He’s been flying off to some sparrow's nest
My canary has circles under his eyes

Birds of a feather the old story goes
But then with love nobody knows
My canary has circles under his eyes

He has no girlfriend - that I'm sure of
But he keeps on asking, "What's this thing called love?"
My canary has circles under his eyes

(2nd Bridge) He always looks so sad poor boy - he always looks so solemn
I wonder if he's in a jam - I look in (Squaffer's?) column

(Verse 3) He won't eat his birdseed - I think it's a sin
He won't even sing without a thimble of gin
My canary's got circles under his eyes

No doubt somebody can correct this version or come up with a more authentic one, but that's the best my memory can do. We Brits usually change that "Squaffer's column" to "Marjie Proops's Column". You should stick in whatever you think makes the line funny. Still, there should be enough here to make a usable version. Have fun.
Alan.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 20-Apr-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 29 May 01 - 08:51 AM

Sounds pretty much as George Melly used to sing,I think he used "Dempster" as the columnist after Marge Proops was out of vogue the US original was "Swaffer" I believe>
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 May 01 - 09:17 AM

Hannen Swaffer was a columnist with an English Sunday newspaper (maybe the Sunday Express) up to about 1960, but he could have been going since the 20's I suppose


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 01 - 10:42 AM

Thanks Roger and Snuffy. That one always puzzled me! Alan.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bristol Ted
Date: 29 May 01 - 04:35 PM

Sorry to be so long in getting back to you all, work gets in the ay unfortunately! Such a great response, thank you very much alan for the detail.

I'm glad it was of interest to a few others as well. I will be re-learning this one now.

Cheers

Ted


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 May 01 - 12:15 AM

G'day Bristol Ted,

I'm glad that alanabit came up with the words for you. Now I don't have to go and gouge them off my old LP ... and I get to copy them - lovely place Mudcat!

BTW: I'm not so sure, now I see the verse:
He won't eat his birdseed - I think it's a sin
but I seem to remember hearing once that this song was inspired by the practice, at one time, of including a soupçon of marijuana seed in canaries' "Singing Mix".

Apparently they would irradiate the seed first to make it sterile, to stop you having a cannabis crop growing under the canary cage ... and so the police did not accept it as an explanation for otherwise inexplicable heads of weed.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Bristol Ted
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:04 AM

Thanks Bob.

Interesting ..... I must get a canary! You mentioned Paul Downes and Phil Beer earlier on, was this around Exmouth/Exeter in Devon by any chance? I used to run the Exmouth Folk Club when it was at the Heavitree Inn, after the spell at the Deer Leap on the sea front.

Remember Colin Wilson?? I was the base player on "Cloudburst". Those were the days ...

Cheers.

Ted


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 30 May 01 - 05:58 AM

Who would have been the US gossip columnist in the original ? (Hedda) Hopper? Louella (Parsons)? Both would fit. Or someone else?
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 06:43 PM

According to Craig I. Johnson's Jazz Pages, "My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes" was written by (Music) Jack Golden, and (Words) Ted Koehler & Edward Pola, in 1931.

AMG lists it being sung by Debroy Summers on 2 anthologies:
"Silly Songs (1922 to 1934)," ABC CD #836169, 1992;
and "Mairzy Doats: 24 Great Comic Songs," Prism CD #137, 1997;
and by Eddie Erickson on "On Easy Street," Arbors CD #19111, 1996.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 06:56 PM

I've turned up one more verse in an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

I've raised this birdie in manner so strict,
Yet I've a feeling I'm being tricked,
Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 07:33 PM

Correction/clarification of the above information:
According to http://www.abc.net.au/classic/daily/stories/s433754.htm –

Debroy Somers (not Summers) was the bandleader. The band was called "Debroy Somers and his Band." Dan Donovan was the vocalist.

By the way, it appears that the composer/lyricists were Americans, but the Somers and Donovan were British. I haven't run across any information about an early recording by an American band.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:28 AM

I seem to remember Diz Dizley doing this one too. Giok


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 11:51 AM

I can remember Anni Fentiman singing this at a Herga Folk Club birthday party...


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY CANARY'S GOT CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 06:25 PM

Hmm, I sense the folk process at work

I am struggling to remember but the dreaded Exmouth connection remains strong here. Back in 1970ish the Lighthousemen, led by Chris Harris, featured this song in their repertoire. I joined that group a few months after their appearance on 'Opportunity Knocks' and in time for a memorable gig on 'Magpie'.

The Lighthousemen were residents at the Exmouth club when it was at the Deer Leap on Exmouth seafront and ran twice a week in the summer to entertain visitors and, particularly, the Scandinavian language students. Paul Downes, Phil Beer, and Steve Knightley were regular visitors as teenagers.

When Chris Harris left for Bristol and became Chris Hayter, Cherri and I, together with Barry Lister, took the club on. When the room at the Deer Leap became a restaurant (sounds a familiar story, huh?) we moved to another pub in Exmouth and then to Newton Poppleford where the club became Newton Popplefolk for a few years before folding. A new Exmouth club was born in the 80s.

The canary song was sung by Nigel Carter and my memory of the lyrics as sung by him were as follows:

Since making whoopee has come all the rage,
It's even spread into the old birdcage.
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

He used to whistle The Prisoner's Song.
Now he does snakehips all day long.
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

He use to be satisfied to flit among the flowers.
But now, when I let him out, sits on his perch for hours.
He just keeps singing that vodeodo.
He must have heard it on the radio.
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

He ain’t got no girlfriend. That I'm certain of.
But he keeps singing, “What’s this thing called love?”
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

He should be taking a much-needed rest,
But he keeps flying to that old sparrow's nest.
My canary's got circles under his eyes.

I wonder if he's in a jam. He always looks so solemn.
I'd help him if I can. I'd write to Proops's column.
Won't eat his birdseed. It's really a sin.
Won't even sing without a slug of gin.
My canary's got circles under his eyes. Oh, yeah.
My canary’s got circles under his eyes

Now that brings back a few memories - thanks for jogging them


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: GUEST,brynw60 (Bryan W)
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:33 AM

Hi, i'm trying to find these lyrics too..

I remember hearing one verse not mentioned so far :

His only pals are the meadowlarks
just a tiny sparrow
but i'm afraid when he's in the park
he leaves the straight and narrow..

i raised this bird in a manner so strict
now i feel certain i'm being tricked,
my canary has circles ......

is there a word on this one ?
thanks
Bryan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Gurney
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:48 PM

If anyone wants a CD with this on it, contact Sean Sinnott in New Zealand and buy his CD 'So Far'. He's on Facebook, apparently in Dublin, and it is on Tradebit as a MP3 download.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Gurney
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 03:07 PM

Oh, and if anyone was wondering: 'Marge Proops' Column' was a regular article in a daily newspaper, aimed at London sophisticates.

It finished before I was old enough to appreciate it, or to sneer at it in inverted snobbery.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 11:30 PM

I have a note that this song was written in 1930, not 1931, and recorded that same year by Debroy Somers. Several other people recorded it in 1931, including Sophie Tucker, Marion Harris (clip) and Lawrence Welk's Novelty Orchestra. (Was Welk a wild child once upon a time?)

I first heard it from the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, on their LP Smoke Dreams (which generally sounds like they smoked a bit too much). They also issued it on a 45—I believe the A side is "Everything Is Hotsy-Totsy Now." Their intro begins "Mr. Pressman, here's some news"; this may be the original intro.

Most of these novely songs were disappointingly short on vocals, as the numbers were largely dance instrumentals. Consequently, singers desiring longer renditions usually had to supplement. They often replaced the intros, as well. And even the original creators added new lyrics from time to time. Determining the actual authors of all the various bits you want to use could be a challenge. Don't you love copyrights?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 12:36 AM

A history of the song and who played it can be found here:
My canary has circles under his eyes

The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band signed to Image Records in 1972 and issued their debut single "My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes", which was a Top 40 hit in Melbourne in November. During the year a brief snippet of their TF Much Ballroom act (performing "Who Walks Out When I Walk In") was captured (in colour) by film maker Peter Weir in his short documentary Three Directions In Australian Pop Music, which also featured performances by Spectrum and Wendy Saddington & Teardrop. Matchbox also featured in an episode of GTK, where they were interviewed by reporter Jeune Pritchard and gave a live-in-the-studio performance of "Mobile Line".

In June-July of 1972 Captain Matchbox supported folk legend Phil Ochs on his first tour of Australia. Their next single "I Can't Dance (Got Ants in My Pants)" / "Jungle Dance" was released in April 1973 and their debut album Smoke Dreams was released in June. The album was comprised entirely of 1930s and 1940s jazz, blues and jug-band standards. The lineup for these recordings was Mic (vocals, washboard, ukelele), Jim (harmonica, kazoo, vocals), Dave Hubbard (guitar), Peter Inglis (guitar, vocals), Peter Scott (tea chest bass), Mick Fleming (banjo, mandolin, guitar, vocals) and Jim Niven (piano, pedal organ). Here's a detailed history and discography of the band

Btw, the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band reformed in 2010 for the Woodford Folk Festival, with shows at Bluesfest and Sydney (Cat & Fiddle - standing room only) and Melbourne. The lineup for the reuinion included: Mic Conway, Jim Conway, Jeremy Cook, Don Hopkins, Phil Donnison, Cazzbo Johns, Jess Green and George Washingmachine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: JohnH
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM

I've just checked and Melly's version is on Youtube.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary has Circles under his Eyes
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 02:01 PM

YouTube has these recordings:

Debroy Summers Band, with vocal chorus by Dan Donovan (1930)

Marion Harris (1931)

The Fifth Avenue Dance Band, with Al Bowlly (1931)

Elsie Carlisle (1931 – It's the second song, after ALONE AND AFRAID)

The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band (1973)

George Melly (no date)

--plus several more recent.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY CANARY HAS CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 01:28 PM

MY CANARY HAS CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES
Words by Ted Kohler & Edward Pola, music by Jack Golden, ©1931.

All links go to YouTube. All these recordings were made in 1931.

I. As recorded by Marion Harris with Billy Mason and His Cafe de Paris Band.


This old world is slipping fast.
How much longer can we last?
Have we gone completely off our dome?
With this modernistic stuff,
I'm through; I've had enough.
I'm so worried now since it hit home.

Since making whoopee became all the rage,
It's even gotten to the old birdcage
And my canary has circles under his eyes.
He used to whistle "The Prisoner's Song."
Now he does snakehips the whole night long.
My canary has circles under his eyes.
Now there was a time he was satisfied
To flit among the flowers,
But now, when I let him out, he'll hide
Up in a tree for hours.
Instead of taking a much-needed rest,
He's flying out to some sparrow's nest.
My canary has circles under his eyes.

He has no girlfriend that I'm certain of,
But he sings “What’s This Thing Called Love?”
My canary has circles under his eyes.
Birds of a feather, the old story goes,
But love is something nobody knows.
My canary has circles under his eyes.
Now maybe he's worried, the little lamb.
He always looks so solemn.
I wonder if he is in a jam.
I'll look in Swaffer's column.
He won't eat his birdseed; it's really a sin.
He won't sing a thing without his cup of gin.
My canary has circles under his eyes.

II. Elsie Carlisle sings a different intro:

All this world is up to date.
Even children stay up late.
Things are not just what they used to be.
All this world is off its nut,
Going crazy, nothing but.
Just get this earful from me.

III. Al Bowlly with Howard Godfrey's Waldorfians sings a different intro and first verse:

Mister pressman, here's some news.
You can print it if you choose,
Just to prove that times have changed a lot.
Though it may sound strange for you,
It is absolutely true.
You can believe it or not.

Since making whoopee became all the rage,
It's even got to the old birdcage,
And my canary has circles under his eyes.
I thought he'd never do anything wrong.
Now he does snakehips the whole day long,
And my canary has circles under his eyes.
His only pals are the yellow lark
And just a tiny sparrow,
But I'm afraid when he's in the park
He leaves the straight and narrow.
I've raised this bird in a manner so strict,
Yet I've a feeling I'm being tricked,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.

IV. Sophie Tucker with Ted Shapiro and Orchestra sings a different ending to her second verse plus an additional third verse:

He's never cheerful; he's lost all his dash.
Must have been caught in the Wall Street crash,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.

When I observe him, it's making me think
He may be taking to dope or drink,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.
Maybe he's got secret sorrow or strife.
Maybe he's leading a double life,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.
I can't imagine him going wrong,
Or doing something shady.
Perhaps he's just worn out through singing songs
To some canary lady.
I fed him birdseed, but now he denotes
That birdseed must have been wild, wild oats,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.

V. Charles W. Hamp has this different ending to his second verse:

He's off to dreamland when dark shadows creep,
But I believe he walks around in his sleep,
'Cause my canary has circles under his eyes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Canary Has Circles under His Eyes
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 03:04 PM

Here's a hybrid version:

Aunty Mary had a canary
It wasn't very wise
Flew up her gown and when it came down
Had circles under its eyes.


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