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Background info: 'funical man'?

Callie 24 Oct 01 - 09:52 AM
MMario 24 Oct 01 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 24 Oct 01 - 10:29 AM
MMario 24 Oct 01 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 24 Oct 01 - 10:43 AM
Bert 24 Oct 01 - 12:20 PM
Callie 25 Oct 01 - 01:38 AM
Scabby Douglas 25 Oct 01 - 05:24 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Oct 01 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Steve Parkes 25 Oct 01 - 07:13 AM
GUEST 25 Oct 01 - 11:53 AM
Bert 25 Oct 01 - 01:16 PM
Jingle 25 Oct 01 - 01:34 PM
Jingle 25 Oct 01 - 01:35 PM
MMario 25 Oct 01 - 01:42 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Oct 01 - 09:28 PM
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Subject: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Callie
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 09:52 AM

One of my friends taught me snatches of this very funny song and I was thrilled to find all the words in the Digital Tradition.

Question is, does anyone know anything ABOUT it? Origins, quirky memories, ANYTHING!

I've been told it's a popular English children's song. You never saw anything as funny as a bunch of grown ups singing this together!

Callie


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: MMario
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 09:57 AM

Bert does this! it's hilarious


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 10:29 AM

I don't know its history (but there is at least one earlier thread on this) but my grandfather used to sing it and also my father, but I never mastered it! As my grandfather died in about 1957 it is probably quite old, Victorian I'd guess. You've brought back memories of him singing,tap dancing, doing conjuring tricks and playing the mandolin. (He was a tool maker in the cycle trade but used all these other skills, and even seaside photography, to make ends meet when he was out of work!)
I often think if he'd lived longer, he might have instilled some musical ability into me , he was one of those blokes who'd buy an instrument in a pub when in his cups and be playing it in a couple of weeks,only to sell it when times were hard. My dad says he remembers a steady procession of instruments, banjo, piano, American organ, mandolin, coming in and going out again to the pawn shop! (sorry for thread crep, I came over all soggy with nostalgia!)
RtS


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: MMario
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 10:37 AM

okay - gotta ask. What is an "American" organ and how does it differ from other organs?

Why do I suspect I am going to regret this question?


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 10:43 AM

I think is is what we call a harmonium, smaller than a piano but larger than the Asian handpumped ones, and footpumped. I remember one in the hall where we had Methodist Sunday school in my youth, always seemed to wheeze one beat behind the singing!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 12:20 PM

I first heard the song in 1946 or thenabouts, when it was a popular song on the radio. From what I know, it's a farrowing song from Somerset in England. It was sung to a sow when she popping out those piglets to make her feel among friends.

I have heard that, when it was first played at an English Folk Dance and Song Society concert (by a group of lads from Somerset, at The Albert Hall) the poor old dowagers who ruled the EFDSS at that time were most put out because they thought the lads were taking the piss out of them.

Now for some pure speculation... It sounds to me that the style is very much like a Breton Chant. There has been a history of cultural interchange between North West France and The South West of England and I wonder if this song points to such a link. Could it be that the pig sounds were at originally an attempt to mimic a Breton Chant?


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Callie
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 01:38 AM

Thanks Bert and all for your info, which I'll pass on to my friends. Rest assured that the song is alive and thriving in Sydney Australia!

I hope to hear you sing it one day!

regards

Callie


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 05:24 AM

Bert -I've never ever heard any Breton music which could be interpreted as pig noises... - I think you're pulling our trotters ...

I know that the bombarde and biniou ideally need to be played at least a county away to appreciate them musically, and not as weapons of war... but I think you were being a bit harsh on the old Breton chanting....

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 05:27 AM

G'day MMario,

Actually, Harmoniums (Harmonia? ;>) blow, while American Organs suck. The resulting tone is different ... apparently sharper from an harmonium, whereas the American Organ has a more muted quality. (I think I have this the right way around ... but "muted" does not sound like an American quality.)

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: GUEST,Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 07:13 AM

Bert, the idea of "Funnicle" being part of a cultural swap with the Bretons sounds very like Christmas in the trenches in "Oh what a lovely war", when the Germas sing "Stille nacht" and the Tommies reply with "Christmas day in the cookhouse"!

Bob, you'd better explain to our friends over the Water that you weren't criticising their organs! "Negative pressure" might be a better way to put it?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 11:53 AM

Gee, I always (for about 60 years) heard it as "Susanna'a a funny old man"


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 01:16 PM

Well it's just that the rhythm is similar and the words are unintelligible, so I GUESSED that there could be a connection. If someone from Somerset were to try to imitate a Breton Chant... Ah well maybe not.

GUEST - Where did you first hear it?


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Jingle
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 01:34 PM

How funny to see this thread just now - I was telling a friend a few days ago at the Tap in Whitby that my father used to sing this song. I always thought it was a Norfolk song.


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Jingle
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 01:35 PM

How funny to see this thread just now - I was telling a friend a few days ago at the Tap in Whitby that my father used to sing this song. I always thought it was a Norfolk song.


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: MMario
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 01:42 PM

Thanks Bob.


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Subject: RE: Background info: 'funical man'?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 09:28 PM

G'day again,

Steve Parkes: Sorry ... I speak (write) English.

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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