Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Meaning of Twanky Dillo

DigiTrad:
TWANKY DILLO


alanww 21 Dec 01 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 01 - 12:07 PM
Ringer 21 Dec 01 - 12:48 PM
DMcG 21 Dec 01 - 01:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Dec 01 - 01:53 PM
Dead Horse 22 Dec 01 - 06:48 AM
alanww 22 Dec 01 - 04:32 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Dec 01 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Phil 23 Dec 01 - 06:36 PM
Amos 23 Dec 01 - 07:03 PM
Mr Happy 17 Mar 06 - 06:45 AM
melodeonboy 17 Mar 06 - 08:30 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Mar 06 - 10:12 AM
GUEST 17 Mar 06 - 12:07 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Jun 08 - 12:57 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jun 08 - 03:34 AM
Jim Dixon 06 Jun 08 - 07:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Jun 08 - 08:15 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jun 08 - 06:09 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Jun 08 - 06:37 PM
gnomad 07 Jun 08 - 07:42 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Jun 08 - 08:59 PM
Bernard 07 Jun 08 - 09:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jun 08 - 10:39 PM
Darowyn 08 Jun 08 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,Lighter 08 Jun 08 - 10:54 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 08 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Lighter 08 Jun 08 - 06:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Jun 08 - 08:38 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 08 - 11:23 AM
nutty 09 Jun 08 - 12:13 PM
Schantieman 09 Jun 08 - 01:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM
Lighter 24 Sep 08 - 08:00 PM
JeffB 24 Sep 08 - 09:59 PM
Bryn Pugh 25 Sep 08 - 04:43 AM
Lighter 25 Sep 08 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Abdul the Bul Bul on his laptop 25 Sep 08 - 01:59 PM
Will Fly 26 Sep 08 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Ben F-W 03 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM
alanww 22 Oct 09 - 11:58 AM
IanC 22 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM
Joe_F 22 Oct 09 - 06:36 PM
David E 22 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: alanww
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:26 AM

I intend to sing the Watersons' version of Twanky Dillo (which is quite different from the Copper version). Hence I would be grateful for any knowledge there is around about the meaning of the less obvious bits of the words!

^^

The life of a shepherd
Is a life of great care
But with my crook and dog Whitefoot
I shall drive away fear

Twanky dillo twanky dillo,
Twanky dillo, dillo, dillo, dillo
And he played on his merry bagpipes
Made from the green willow
Green willow, green willow,
Green willow, willow, willow, willow
And he played on his merry bagpipes
Made from the green willow

Well if ever my sheep,
Go astray on the plain
Why my little dog Whitefoot,
He'll fetch 'em again

Well if ever I meet with,
The old shepherd's horse
I shall cut off his tail,
Clean up to his harness

And if ever I meet with,
The old shepherd's daughter
I shall block up the hole,
Where she do draw water

For instance, what does twanky dillo refer to and why would one want to cut off the horse's tail and block up the daughter's hole? Thanks!

Green grows the laurel, soft falls the dew ...
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 12:07 PM

From the sleeve note of 'The Watersons:'

This is one of the songs harmonised with sweet dignity by the Copper cousins, Ron and Bob, who live in Sussex and sing in parts the way their fathers sung before them.

The song is usually found as an anthem for the blacksmith, celebrating his strong arm and brawny body. But the Watersons found these lusty, bucolic words in the Hammond collection from Dorset. The blacksmith's blowpipes are transformed into a shepherd's bagpipes, the song is taken out of the smoky forge into the open air and it ends on a ribald laugh rather than a 'health to the king'.

D'Urfey's PILLS TO PURGE MELANCHOLY of 1719 contains a song about the tribulations of a rich farmer called Roger Twangdillo. There may be a connection. Or there may not!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Ringer
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 12:48 PM

Come on, Alanww: use your imagination a bit. The way the Watersons sing it, it makes you think the tail will be cut off "up to 'is aaaaaarse'ole". And presumably the daughter was lustable-after?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: DMcG
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 01:41 PM

I have always assumed that the interpretation is along Bald Eagle's lines. So that makes two corrupt souls our here ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 01:53 PM

You are not alone.  This particular set of the song was noted by H.E.D. Hammond from John Hallett of Mosterton, Dorset, in 1906.  The Watersons have changed it a little, doubling the length of the chorus and omitting one verse.  Instead of Clean up to his harness, for example, Mr Hallett sang Right close up to his arse-O.  The missing verse was:

If ever I should meet with the old shepherd's wife-O
I'll make him a cuckold all the days of his life-O!

In the light of that, it should be even more obvious what the narrator intends to do to the shepherd's daughter.

So far as the word Twankydillo is concerned, nobody really knows what it meant.  Frank Purslow (The Constant Lovers, EFDSS 1972) remarked:

"The origin of the word "Twankydillo" has never been satisfactorily explained, although in the usual "Blacksmith" versions it has been suggested that it might represent the sound of the hammer on the anvil (in a literal sense!).  Personally I doubt this very much.  For one thing there is no evidence that the "Blacksmith" versions are older than the other bawdy verses in existence; my own personal opinion is that the opposite is the case.  For an explanation of the word I suggest that a good clue lies in the phrase (common to all versions) and he play'd on his merry bagpipe(s)..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Dead Horse
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:48 AM

It's the hole where she MAKES water, a line found in many a ribald song or shanty, as for example Shenendoah
Oh Shenendoah, I love your daughter.......... I love the place where she makes water.......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: alanww
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 04:32 PM

Thanks for the comments on the meaning one and all, and particularly for the extra verse!
Clearly the reference to the shepherd's daughter is lusty but I suppose I was, and still am, thrown somewhat by the word draw , (as opposed to make) water in the following line! I have obviously lead too sheltered a life!

Fair thee well my Juliana ...
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 07:56 PM

I should also have mentioned that John Hallett sang where she do make water.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 06:36 PM

I heard Maddy Prior (I think) being interviewed and she suggested that Twanky referred to alcohol, probably gin. She also had an explanation for dillo that I can't recall. She sang the version that refers to the blacksmith and Old Cole.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Amos
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:03 PM

Gotta admit that's a version of Shenandoah that I have never even imagined, let alone heard. And here I thought it was a song rich with dignity. Sigh.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Mr Happy
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 06:45 AM

Twanky dillo twanky dillo,
Twanky dillo, dillo, dillo, dillo
And he played on his merry bagpipes

perhaps 'Twanky Dillo' is the blacksmith's/shepherd's name?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: melodeonboy
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 08:30 AM

I can't help you with the meaning, I'm afraid; much as I'd like to. However, for your amusement I can direct you to an alternative fourth verse of the Copper Family version, written by my former folk band, "Coarse, Rough & Direct" and suitable for non-Royalists like us in a Middle East environment!

Have a look at the Stained, Sealed and Delivered (non-music) thread. (I don't know how to work the bloody links myself!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 10:12 AM

why its pure filth....and to think it had all those nice people fooled in Singing Together... thank God one of our primary teachers didn't know - she would have washed ALL our mouths out with soap!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 12:07 PM

in the pantomime tradition, Widow Twanky was a play upon Tuan Qi (probably spelt differently) which was a particular type of tea brought to Britain on the clipperships.
No idea about Dillo, except it rhymes with willow.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: TRANCADILLO (Caroline Gilman, F H Brown)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 12:57 AM

I don't know about the tune, but this song has the same metrical structure as TWANKY DILLO.
^^
From Verses of a Life Time by Caroline Howard Gilman, Boston: J. Munroe and company, 1849. [This poem was set to music by F. H. Brown, and published as TRANCADILLO.]

O COME, MAIDENS, COME!
BOAT SONG.

1. O COME, maidens, come o'er the blue rolling wave,
The lovely should still be the care of the brave.

CHORUS.
Trancadillo, Trancadillo, Trancadillo, dillo, dillo, dillo,
With moon-light, and star-light, we'll bound o'er the billow,
Bright billow, gay billow, the billow, billow, billow, billow,
With moon-light, and star-light, we'll bound o'er the billow.

2. The moon 'neath yon cloud hid her silvery light —
Ye are come — like our fond hopes she glows in your sight.

Trancadillo, Trancadillo, &c.
With moon-light, and love-light, we'll bound o'er the billow,
Bright billow, gay billow, &c.
With moon-light, and love-light, we'll bound o'er the billow.

3. Wake the chorus of song, and our oars shall keep time,
While our hearts gently beat to the musical chime.

Trancadillo, Trancadillo, &c.
With oar-beat, and heart-beat, we'll bound o'er the billow,
Bright billow, gay billow, &c.
With oar-beat, and heart-beat, we'll bound o'er the billow.

4. As the waves gently heave under zephyr's soft sighs,
So the waves of our hearts, 'neath the glance of your eyes.

Trancadillo, Trancadillo, &c.
With eye-beam, and heart-beam, we'll bound o'er the billow,
Bright billow, gay billow, &c.
With eye-beam, and heart-beam, we'll bound o'er the billow.

5. See the helmsman looks forth to yon beacon-lit isle;
So we shape our hearts' course by the light of your smile!

Trancadillo, Trancadillo, &c.
With love-light, and smile-light, we'll bound o'er the billow,
Bright billow, gay billow, &c.
With love-light, and smile-light, we'll bound o'er the billow.

6. And when on life's ocean we turn our slight prow,
May the light-house of hope beam like this on us now.

Life's billow, frail billow, the billow, billow, billow,
With hope-light, the true-light, we'll bound o'er life's billow,
Life's billow, frail billow, &c.
With hope-light, the true light, we'll bound o'er life's billow.

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S. C. 1844.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 03:34 AM

That's interesting. Sheet music of 1846 can be seen at the Lester Levy Collection, titled 'Oh Come Maidens Come. Boat Song'. So far I'm not sure how much resemblance it bears to 'Twankydillo' tunes found in tradition, but the introductory note makes it clear that chorus and tune were based on an existing song:

'The following graceful harmony, long consecrated to Bacchanalian revelry, has been rescued for more genial and lovely associations. The words were composed for a private Boat party at Sullivan's Island South Carolina, but the Author will be glad to know that the distant echoes of other waters awake to the spirited melody. A portion of the original Chorus has been retained, which, like some of the Shaksperian refrains seemingly without meaning, lends animation to the whole.'

The 'Old Cole' form was printed by Pitts in the early C19: see Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The bold farriers

'Twanky dillo' occurs, but not in the now-familiar chorus form. There were other broadside editions featuring a blacksmith instead of a farrier; those I haven't seen.

James Reeves (Everlasting Circle, 1960, 270-1) prints a brief 'Blacksmith' form noted by Baring-Gould, together with the Hallet text discussed earlier. He quotes a note from Hammond's MS: 'Final verse too indecent to be written down' - this would appear to be the one about the shepherd's daughter, so whether Frank Purslow got it from the field notebook or from another source remains to be seen.

Reeves also quotes from a version of 'The Goose and the Gander' in M H Mason, Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs, 1908, 16-17 (second verse):

The blacksmith is black, but his silver is white
And he sits in the alehouse from morning till night.
Tang dillo, tang dillo, tang dillo, tang dillo
And happy is the man that sits under the willow.

More on that song is in thread  Origins: Grey Goose and the Gander, but this is the only version with the relevant lines, which may well have wandered in from elsewhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: TWANKYDILLO (trad. Sussex)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 07:43 AM

These lyrics are very similar to those in the DT:

From Songs of the British Isles by Max Spicker, 1909, page 24 (which also has the musical notation):

TWANKYDILLO
Sussex

1. Here's a health to the jolly blacksmith, the best of all fellows
Who works at his anvil while the boy blows the bellows;

CHORUS 1: Which makes my bright hammer to rise and to fall;
Here's to old Cole, and to young Cole, and to old Cole of all!
Twankydillo, twankydillo, twankydillo, dillo, dillo, dillo,
A roaring pair of bagpipes made of the green willow.

2. If a gentleman calls, his horse for to shoe,
He makes no denial of one pot or two,

CHORUS 2: For it makes my bright hammer to rise and to fall;
Here's to old Cole, and to young Cole, and to old Cole of all!
Twankydillo, twankydillo, twankydillo, dillo, dillo, dillo,
And he that loves strong beer is a hearty good fellow.

3. Here's a health to King Charlie, and likewise his queen,
And to all the royal little ones where'er they are seen:

CHORUS 3: [Same as Chorus 1.]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 11:55 AM

That's another book that Google witholds from British users, but the text (and presumably also the tune) appears to have been copied from Lucy Broadwood and J A Fuller Maitland, English County Songs, London: Leadenhall Press, 1893, 138-9; it came from Samuel Willett of Cuckfield. Presumably Spicker acknowledged his source somewhere in the book?

Miss Broadwood commented on the connection between the Blacksmith song and 'a song about a goose and a shepherd's dog, arranged by J Hook. It had a refrain of "Twankidillo, and he played on his merry bagpipes beneath the green willow." Compare "The Goose and the Gander"...' (etc).

Hook was horribly prolific, so without a title it may prove difficult to identify the song meant (or it may not; we shall see): at any rate, forms of the chorus seem to have been attached to three distinct songs (four if you count 'Roger Twangdillo') so some more thought about how they interrelate is needed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 08:15 PM

Thanks for "The Bold Farriers," Malcolm. It's such gibberish, I'm surprised they printed it twice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 06:09 PM

Just a thought...Bagpipes don't 'roar' and they're not made of 'green willow' but a blacksmith's forge blowpipes might be. I still kinda like the idea of 'tang-dillo' being the sound of the hammer ringing on the anvil.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 06:37 PM

Maybe the "twank" is the sound of the hammer and the "dillo" is the sound of the bellows?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 07:42 PM

I quite agree that bagpipes don't roar, Steve, and they don't usually come as a pair for that matter, but then I also doubt that willow would last long enough in a forge for the blacksmith's blowpipe idea to have much credence either. It is a set of words that has puzzled me (off and on) for years, and to not much effect.

What I do like is the "Twankydillo = (sound of) smith at work" theory. The rhythm to which it is sung matches what I have observed of smiths at work - strike, double bounce of hammer to side, strike, double bounce, etc. It just seems to make sense, which is, of course, no reason to believe anything.

Reading the early part of the thread, it is a joy to see that I am not alone in seeing the bawdy possibilities behind the versions I first heard sung. I expect that the performance, body language, eye rolling and the like, would be tailored to suit the singer's perception of the audience's sensibilities: no change there, then. Also good to learn Malcolm's missing verse; it seems appropriate, and a fairly short song can benefit from a little restoration.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 08:59 PM

So, does anybody have a theory about what "old Cole" and "young Cole" refer to?

I've seen it spelled "coal" but that makes no sense either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 09:59 PM

Possibly something to do with 'coel' being gaelic for music?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 10:39 PM

That's 'ceol'; and nearly as likely as a reference to the blacksmith's choice of eye makeup.

On similar lines, certain amateur folklorists of the early 20th century desperately wanted this to be an ancient pagan survival, so that the Coles could be King Cole and his namesakes (there had to be three of them in order for it to be really significant, of course; and ideally spelled Coel) but frankly, the Baring-Gould fragment (in which they are all goats) is probably no less illuminating.

The onomatopoeic interpretation of 'twankydillo' is the standard one (Broadwood, Mason et al) and will do as well as any other; provided nobody wants to tangle overmuch with D'Urfey's Roger Twangdillo, of course. I know I don't.

Anybody who thinks that bagpipes don't roar has obviously not been to the same New Year parties as me. When some maniac in a kilt leaps out of the cellar and starts playing them right in your ear, I can assure you that they roar pretty convincingly.

I do take the point, though. To be serious, I'd expect that bit to be the result of textual corruption somewhere along the line. This song, in its various forms, certainly has its fair share of such; and the chances are that whoever wrote it had never even seen bagpipes, whether made of, or played under, willow; green or otherwise.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Darowyn
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 04:10 AM

There is one other phrase in the chorus which indicates that the song is associated with, and displays some detailed knowledge of, forgework.
That is the description "bright hammer".
Bright is the term used in metal work for steel which is polished and shiny. The face of a hammer, in frequent contact with the oxide scale on the hot workpiece becomes highly polished.
Green, unseasoned willow would be a cheap and easily replaceable material for the blowpipe of a bellows, and with its high moisture conten, would last better than most timbers.
The sharp double sighting tap on the anvil, followed by the heavier and duller sound of the strike on the soft, red-hot metal could well be represented by "twanky dill" with a the traditional added"o" to make it more folkie- (like welcoming in the Mayo!)
It just all works out as a song from the smithy to me.
Now I wonder if blacksmiths and farriers ever drank beer....
Cheers
Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 10:54 AM

Difficult to believe that the similarity between "Twangdillo" and "Twankydillo" is entirely coincidental, especially since "Twangdillo" in D'Urfey's song also appears in the refrain.

Possibly the name was simply taken over into the newer song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 11:22 AM

Old Cole and Young Cole,
Cole and Son, blacksmiths to the gentry,
They'll block yer daughter's entry!

Does this shepherd version predate all the blacksmith versions?

The Envied Sheppherd (Madden Collection c1790)

A Shepherd of pleafure,
Being void of all care,
With his Bottle and his Buget,
So well does he fare,
Green Wellow Green Willow,
Green Willow Willow Willow,
And he Alays(sic) upon his Bag pipes,
Made of the Green Willow.

But if I fhould meet with,
This young Sheepherd's Wife,
I will make him a Cuckold,
All days of his Life,
Green Willow &c.

But if I fhould meet,
With his Flock upon the Plain,
I will fend my Little Bog dog,
For to fetch them back again,
Green Willow &c.

When we meet in the Field,
We'll Drink till we'er mellow,
And he that Drinks moft,
I(s) a Jolly brave Fellow,
Brave Fellow brave Fellow,
Brave Fellow Fellow Fellow,
And he that Drinks moft,
Is a Jolly Brave Fellow.

Lucy Broadwood had a lot to say on the matter in English County Songs. In a note she said that 'foal' and 'colt' are alternatives to 'Cole'.
Whilst leather bellows are indeed bound with green willow at the nozzle to protect them from the fire, looking at the shepherd version I am now wondering if some English pipes could have been made from green willow. Any pipesmiths out there tuning in? Perhaps the pithy withy was ideal for making a chanter with its soft centre.

Baring Gould claims to have collected a folktale about King Alfred and a blacksmith which claims to be the origin of the blacksmith version. It 'was taken down in 1883 by E Young from a poor fellow of Steyning in deep decline'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 06:27 PM

John Keats wrote as follows to his sister-in-law Georgiana Keats in 1820:

"Twang dillo dee. This you must know is the Amen to nonsense....[No thief or murderer would] condescend to be a Twang dillo dee....Some philosophers in the Moon...say that Twang dillo dee is written in large letters on our globe of Earth."

Where he heard it, I dunno.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 08:38 PM

Keats seems to have been quite fond of the expression, whatever he understood by it. It occurs in a number of his letters. Walter Jackson Bate (John Keats, Harvard University Press, 1963, 635) explains it as 'signifying the twanging of a musical instrument at the end of a refrain', but doesn't say how that information came to him. It was certainly used in that sense in Walter Thornbury's Life in Spain: Past and Present (1859), for example. A bit of a search via Google returns various other instances of similar expressions, such as:

M G ('Monk') Lewis' 'The Willow's the Wreath for Me' (Universal Songster, III, c.1827, 156) has the chorus

Sing twang twang lango dillo!
Sing lango twang dillo twang dee!
Oh! bring me a bunch of the willow,
The willow's the wreath for me.

Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, 1822, chapter 27:

'Would you have a tune on that ghittern, to put your temper in concord for the day? - Twang, twang - twang, twang, dillo. Something out of tune, sir - too many hands to touch it - we cannot keep these things like artists.'

'Fort Lillo; Or, The Dream' (Morning Chronicle, Oct 11 1809):

Fresh was the breeze, the sails were bent,
The jovial sailors sung twang-dillo

'The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter' (C17):

Sing, trang, dil do dee'

... and so on. The wide range of situations in which forms of the wording are found would tend to suggest that the theory that the sound echoes that of a blacksmith's hammer was constructed to fit one situation only, without knowledge of other examples where it could have had no such significance. Ultimately it may mean no more than 'fol de rol' or 'tra la la'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 11:23 AM

Looking at Malcolm's latest references inspired me to have a thumb through Partridge's Dict of Hist Slang.

Twang is the sex act 17th-18th century

Twanging 1609 = Excellent (and associated) Upto 1870 Twanger = anything large or fine...'go off twanging' = to go very well.
c1770 diddle = nonsense...diddle of course has lots of musical associations. Diddling is another term for mouth music. Diddling is also cheating. We won't go into 'dildo'.

Personally one off the top of my head 'Twang' = a string being plucked & 'diddle' is the vibrating sound produced, or not!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: nutty
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 12:13 PM

If that's where the word 'wank' comes from then we are into a different meaning completely - but one that would definitely fit the lyrics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Schantieman
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 01:38 PM

Jim Dixon's contribution above is the Copper Family version - well-known and deservedly popular - and just as impenetrable as the one under discussion...a bit like the shepherd's daughter, perchance?

Most of the shanties (Shenandoah is a capstan shanty) that we know have been bowdlerised, largely by Stan Hugill and also by other collectors. If anyone knows a source of original, unbowdlerised, versions, I'd be glad to hear of them.

Steve
(who has to turn up at work 21 more times now!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 02:12 PM

No, it isn't 'the Copper Family version', though theirs is very similar. See my post following Jim's for the correct attribution; to which I may as well add the following details from Roy Palmer:

Sung by Samuel Willett (b. c. 1830), baker, Cuckfield, Sussex; collected by Lucy Broadwood, 1891.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 08:00 PM

From "Baily's Magazine of Sports and Pastimes," XVII (1869), pp. 302-303, probably the best 19th Century description we're going to get of the singing of "Twankydillo" in a Yorkshire pub:

"The president rose and begged to observe that in his humble opinion the time for harmony had arrived. (Hear, hear.) He would, therefore, exercise his prerogative by calling upon his esteemed friend Mr. Turps to oblige with Twankydillo. (Vociferous applause, mingled with exclamations of 'A noble call!') Mr. Turps would have been most happy, he was sure, but he was at that moment suffering from cold. They would notice his hoarseness. ('No, no!' 'Come, Turps!') Well, he would fry, and if he broke down, they utterly spoilt the roundness of his 'period ' by a burst of applause.

"Mr. T.'s mode of carolling was peculiar. Unlike most amateur
minstrels, he refrained from fixing his gaze on a crack in the ceiling, or a globe of the chandelier. He bent his beaming face full on the audience, and with philanthropic impartiality distributed the beams all round. The effect of this effusion of gentle joviality was rendered more impressive by the waving of his right hand, not as a means of marking time, but to 'knock down,' as it were, the points of the song. Upon Mr. Macarthy and the other strangers present Mr.
Turps's gestures exercised a somewhat disturbing influence, by
causing them to burst forth into chorus at inappropriate periods. The touching expression of pity which the minstrel bestowed on the
erratic choristers failed to add to their composure. The aim of the
ballad was twofold: praise of the British blacksmith, and the glorification of the beverage manufactured by the British brewer. A
national song, my masters, the burthen whereof ran — phonetically —
something like this : 'Which it makes my bright ham-mer for to rise and to fall says the old coal to the young coal and the young coal
OF ALL' ['of all' fortissimo.]. Twankydillo, twankydillo, twanky-dillo, dillo, dillo, dillo, dil-OH! Oh, he who drinks good ale is the prince of good fel-LOWS!'

"The company were now warmed through and through, thanks to
the concerted rendering (' rendering' is the word) of the cabalistic
word Twankydillo. Everybody was delighted, because everybody
felt assured the grand success was chiefly due to his individual exertions."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: JeffB
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 09:59 PM

That's just marvellous Lighter. Could have been straight out of Dickens.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 04:43 AM

I have a vague recollection that 'twankey dillo' might have been used as a euphemism for gin ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 01:28 PM

JeffB, the passage comes from a serial called "The Chronicles of Heatherthorp." Regrettably its author remains anonymous. Nor does World Cat show any publication in book form.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Abdul the Bul Bul on his laptop
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 01:59 PM

What an wonderful absorbing thread.

Al


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 06:22 AM

I wonder if the pantomime character "Widow Twanky" - traditionally Aladdin's mother - has any connection with this song?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: GUEST,Ben F-W
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM

The question of possible links between Roger Twangdillo the blacksmith, Twanky dillo in the shepherd number above and Widow Twankey from "Aladdin" has interested me for some time.

According to Wikipedia: "The first "Widow Twankey" was played by James Rogers at the Strand Theatre on 1 April 1861, in an 'extravanganza' by H. J. Byron, Aladdin or The Wonderful Scamp.", making it contemporaneous with the songs above.

In Stamford, Lincolnshire, with its tradition of bull-running, there is a local name for the bull (and by extension, the butcher) of "Roger Twankydillo", often given as the earthier "Roger Twankydildo". This suggests a possible connection between the blacksmith and the bull, particularly relating to strength and sexuality. Twanky dildo is one term for the bull's pizzle (penis) in Lincolnshire (although I now can't find the reference to this) - this obviously links to both 'twang' as 17th Century slang for sex (with its successor "wank") and 'dildo'. Perhaps Widow Twankey, a burly man dressed as a woman, is a deliberate reference to 'twanky-dildo', commenting on the inversion of traditional male roles. Or maybe the suggestion was that Mr Twankey was a butcher or blacksmith, which would make the Widow's cross-dressing an ironic comment on the red-blooded masculinity of such powerful figures (married to other men!)...

There's a PhD in here somewhere...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: alanww
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 11:58 AM

A fascinating discussion ...
"2. If a gentleman calls, his horse for to shoe,
He makes no denial of one pot or two,"
Any thoughts on what the "denial of one pot or two" refers to?
"Come all ye bold ...!"
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: IanC
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM

He won't refuse to drink.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 06:36 PM

Or perhaps, he brings along a pot or two as a tip, fitting for a hot worker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning of Twanky Dillo
From: David E
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM

Once this gets settled can we move on to what "with me fol-de-rol" means? I once asked a young English woman what that meant and she just turned a lovely shade of red...

Clueless in the States,
David E.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 July 8:26 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.