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Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw

GUEST,Guest: Stoo 15 Jan 04 - 03:39 PM
Clinton Hammond 15 Jan 04 - 03:50 PM
Joybell 15 Jan 04 - 05:39 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Jan 04 - 09:14 PM
NicoleC 15 Jan 04 - 09:27 PM
Rustic Rebel 15 Jan 04 - 09:37 PM
Ferrara 15 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jan 04 - 10:22 PM
mg 15 Jan 04 - 11:04 PM
wysiwyg 15 Jan 04 - 11:07 PM
johnfitz.com 16 Jan 04 - 01:46 AM
Joe Offer 16 Jan 04 - 02:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Jan 04 - 02:48 AM
open mike 16 Jan 04 - 03:19 AM
Rustic Rebel 16 Jan 04 - 03:45 AM
M.Ted 16 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM
Bill D 16 Jan 04 - 03:47 PM
Joybell 16 Jan 04 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 16 Jan 04 - 06:05 PM
Bill D 16 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 16 Jan 04 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 16 Jan 04 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jan 04 - 07:24 PM
Joybell 16 Jan 04 - 07:54 PM
Bill D 16 Jan 04 - 11:42 PM
Cluin 16 Jan 04 - 11:58 PM
M.Ted 17 Jan 04 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,Susanl 17 Jan 04 - 04:36 AM
Joybell 17 Jan 04 - 07:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jan 04 - 07:16 PM
Joybell 17 Jan 04 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,the old pooperoo 17 Jan 04 - 08:06 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 04 - 08:46 PM
Joybell 17 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM
Joybell 17 Jan 04 - 09:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Jan 04 - 09:12 PM
Melani 18 Jan 04 - 01:42 PM
Joybell 18 Jan 04 - 05:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 04 - 06:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM
Walking Eagle 18 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM
Joe Offer 18 Jan 04 - 10:09 PM
Joybell 19 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM
Melani 20 Jan 04 - 12:29 AM
Inükshük 20 Jan 04 - 02:47 PM
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Ferrara 27 Oct 08 - 02:16 PM
meself 27 Oct 08 - 02:20 PM
Colin Randall 27 Oct 08 - 03:15 PM
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Subject: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: GUEST,Guest: Stoo
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 03:39 PM

In the 50's, Arthur Godfrey wrote and performed a novelty tune called "Slap Her Down Again Paw". A typical comedy tune about an errant young lady going against the wishes of her family, romantically that is. Does anyone who is familiar with this tune think it inappropriate to perform in these politically correct times? Thanks for any comments.
Stoo


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 03:50 PM

Don't let the PCers dictate your songs...

Especially not with hits like "Bugger Off", "Fuck Off And Die" and "Cop Killer" out there...

Sing the songs ya wanna sing Stoo...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 05:39 PM

For me it depends on where I'm performing, how I personally feel about a song, and whether I consider it a good song to start with. It's a funny thing but some people are very quick to take offense at the most innocent of songs. Moral outrage is a popular indulgence. I've very rarely had anyone tell me I upset them with a song I've sung. I always give a short introduction before all my songs and it includes noting, if that's appropriate, that the song comes from a time when attitudes were different. It's probably a bit more tricky if you are male and wish to sing a song that supports wife beating. I don't think I'd be brave enough. I sing songs about drunken Victorian fathers but the sympathy is with the victims not the father and that's different. It all depends on your audience and the way you put your songs across.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 09:14 PM

What it comes down to is, "Approprite for what? For whom?"
ALWAYS a matter of judgment, and no-one can exercise that for you but you!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: NicoleC
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 09:27 PM

I guess it also depends on whether or not you feel you can communicate to an audience a sense of being tongue-in-cheek or just lighthearted. One needn't approve of murder to sing a song about it, and so forth.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 09:37 PM

Appropriate for what would also be my question. Are you singing to a group of children or adults in a tavern that just act like a group of children? (Ha!)
Take a look at a part of this song,

I would rather my gal would hit me
Than to haul right up and quit me.
It ain't nobody's business if I do.

I know that she won't call no copper
If she gets beat up by her poppa.
It ain't nobody's business if I do, Lord no.
Well, it ain't nobody's business if I do.


I would still sing this, appropriate or not. It's a great tune. Billie Holiday- Ain't nobody's buisness if I do.
Rustic


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ferrara
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM

Well, I can tell you, Stoo, I've sung it at Open Sings & parties but mostly I dont sing it because there are so many eyebrows raised. I thought it was a GREAT song when I was 10 years old or so, and so did my family. Actually I still like it a lot. And I remember all the "voices" Godfrey used for the "kinfolks."

Well, I sang it this fall and a couple people really liked it so I guess it's not totally unacceptable... just be prepared for the raised eyebrows etc.

Rita Ferrara

ps thanks to Bill (D) for showing me this thread....


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 10:22 PM

To be be sung in the Ironic Mode.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: mg
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 11:04 PM

I would recommend against it. mg


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 11:07 PM

1. No, it's NOT politically correct. On the other hand, neither was most of the folk music (60's, USA) I grew up hearing. :~) Not then anyhow. Then it was. Now it's not anymore. Go figure.

2. I'm so lucky-- I play and sing for church every week, and I get to pick all our band's music. To do that I listen to an average of more than 100 songs a week. Out of that I "hear" the necessity for doing an average of 1-10 songs. Out of that group there may be one (or there may not be any) that I simply have to do that week, and I work up the arrangement and any lyric smoothing that day, if possible. I get lost in these, and we just HAVE to do them. If I died "today," THAT would be the song I'd be more than content to die, singing. And song by song, I can say why that is so, for that song, that day, that week.

Are you lucky enough to be that particular? Do you have that much to choose from and time to hear it? Is this a song you would be content to die, singing, as your last song?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: johnfitz.com
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 01:46 AM

Ask your audience. I do some extremely bawdy songs, but I introduce them as such. I don't know the song you are talking about. Some people might think it really funny and relevant. Some might not. If you don't mind pssing people off, and are comfortable with your moral character, then go for it...To thine own self be true


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 02:25 AM

Say, Stoo or Ferrara or somebody, could you post the lyrics for us?
thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: SLAP 'ER DOWN AGAIN PAW(Arthur Godfrey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 02:48 AM

Lyr Add: SLAP HER DOWN AGAIN PA
(Arthur Godfrey)

Come here, gol-darned you
Take that and that and that
That's right.

Slap her down again pa
Slap her down again
Make her tell us more pa
Tell us where she's been
We don't want our neighbors
Talkin' about our kin
Slap her down again pa,
Slap her down again.

Well pa and ma were so darned sore
They woke me up one night
There was an awful cussin'
And ma said pa was right
They was a-waitin' sister Bess
Who never kept her word
The Sun came up as Bess came in
And this is what I heard.

Slap her down again pa, etc.

Now poor old Bess got so darn mad
She ran away one day
To meet that travelin' salesman
With city-slickin' ways
We ran and stood beside them though
With shotguns by our sides
Me and Deke and pa and ma
Who yelled as they came by.

Why don't you slap her down again pa
Slap her down again
Yeah, make her tell us more pa
Tell us where she's been
You know that we don't want our neighbors
Talkin' about our kin
Slap her down again pa
Slap her down again.

Now ma and pa they planned for Bess
To marry Deacon brown
And not that travelin' salesman
Who always came around
They made poor Bessie go to church
Her face was mighty red
The deacon took one look at her and this is what he said

Slap her down again pa, etc.

Well the moral of this story girls
Is don't stay out too late
Unless you take your shoes off
Outside your pappy's gate
If ma don't hear you comin' in
She won't lay down the law
And you won't have to worry
Cause you won't see much of pa.

www.bobvila.com/wwwboard/messages/92399.html.

The Record Lady has this song by Patsy Montana, Requests page 2.

Sorry about the links, got to run.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: open mike
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 03:19 AM

perhaps you could sing it at a conference against domestic violence
to remind the audience about a topic which might enrage them. Be
prepared to duck out the back door fast, though.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 03:45 AM

That is a song of the times. It was acceptable to beat on women and children. Damn am I glad times have changed.
That almost sounds like it could be a new song title.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM

The song is humorous song! If people can't take a joke--we're all in troubl--I pity the fool who attempts the "Too Fat Polka" without the proper disclaimers--


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 03:47 PM

exactly, M.Ted...I cannot imagine how anyone could take it as anything but a silly parody like "I'm My Own GrandPa"

(I suppose Homer & Jethro singing "Throw Mama fron the Train" is also non-PC?)


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 05:42 PM

Oh! so it's about beating a teenager not a wife. I still agree with the idea of singing anything you feel comfortable with.
I do see another potential problem with this song though. It's not only about child beating, it's about the behaviour of a group of people - Hillbillies, presumably, or rural families in general. It could be seen as unfair as sung by city folks. I don't think I'd sing it. Having said that I do sing songs about other evil aspects of human behaviour like murder and rape - but not songs that support those acts. Bawdy songs without violence are another matter. We all enjoy sex and we all like rude words.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:05 PM

I can't provide an answer to the question, but I would like to offer an anecdote.

This song was extremely popular in my house when I was growing up. We were a houseful of well-educated Californians, by the way, and my father was a loved and respected college professor.

But when we look back on our childhoods, my brother and I remember an incident, not entirely unlike the one in the song, that actually happened to our sister at our parents' hands. And it horrifies us that we let it happen, even though we were both younger than our sister and probably couldn't have done much to stop it.

Would it have made any difference in our parents' behavior -- or in our willingness to tolerate that behavior -- if that song hadn't been an accepted part of the family culture? Maybe not. But although I'll defend anyone's right to sing it, "Slap Her Down Again, Paw" is one song I doubt anyone in my family will ever sing -- or want to hear -- again.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM

well...almost all of stupid human behavior is documented in song somewhere--some seriously, some humorously- some condemning, some just documenting.. I suppose that ANY song about rape, beating, murder, decapitation, spouse or child abuse, etc. would bring up uncomfortable feelings in 'somone', but unless it is obvious that the singer is praising or advocating anti-social behavior, I can't let my personal discomfort with a topic lead me to ask someone NOT to document *life* in song........in fact, I would worry if some topics were totally avoided. Figuring out how to do it in reasonable 'good taste' and decent music is another issue.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM

"Is this tune appropriate?"   

I can understand how a song can be considered distasteful or inappropriate maybe- but how can that apply to a "tune"?


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:55 PM

Oh, McGrath, I am sore wounded by the incisive quality of your rapier-like wit.

But seriously, yes, I KNOW that I'm only uncomfortable with the song because of personal circumstances, and that's why I'd never ask anyone not to sing it.

What I was trying to get across, though, is that I keep asking myself if "desensitization" -- due, to some degree, to that song -- wasn't a factory in my storybook family's descent into abuse.

Believe me, I am not a believer in limiting songs to a sanitized, PC subset of the available material. It's just that this particular song, for a very particular reason, makes me wonder about the desensitization issue. As I already said, it's not an answer, just an anecdote I thought someone else might profit from.

ClaireBear


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 07:05 PM

Sometimes I can't believe I edit for a living. Sigh. That's factor, not factory.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 07:24 PM

It's a song and a "comic" song - but reading through it, it strikes me that there's a subversive element running through it, and it's not merely signing up for a "Spare the rod and spoil the child" approach.

Up until the last two verses it comes across, in print anyway, as pretty sceptical about that style of child-rearing. What's achieved by heavy discipline is that:

"Now poor old Bess got so darn mad
She ran away one day
To meet that travelin' salesman...


Which wasn't, I imagine, what was intended.

And even with the last two verses, it is pretty clear that the heavy-handed approach didn't work out as planned.

Moreover, and I'd think maybe this takes a lot of the offensiveness out of it, the moral isn't "Behave yourself, young lady or you'll get slapped" - it's "Be careful not to get caught, and you'll be all right." And the last line seems to imply that Pa is a hypocrite anyway. ("And you won't have to worry, Cause you won't see much of pa.")In fact, read that way, the chorus does the same for the whole self-righteous family:

"Slap her down again pa
Slap her down again
Make her tell us more pa
Tell us where she's been
We don't want our neighbors
Talkin' about our kin
Slap her down again pa,
Slap her down again."


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 07:54 PM

Hello ClaireBear, A bunch of red noses, from the nose factory, to you. I think you comment is relevant and an important part of the discussion. I would never expect a singer to avoid any song that might offend or upset me either, but I would personally not sing this song. I wouldn't sing "The Wee Cooper of Fife" either. In fact I'll avoid songs, comic and otherwise, that CONDONE cruel behaviour.
I can think of times when a song, has unexpectedly worked on someone in my audience. I sing "The Picture that is Turned Towards the Wall" and often comment that it's the story of my mother's experience when she turned up pregnant,on her parent's doorstep. A lady once came up to me, after my bracket, and said it was also her sister's story, and she thanked me for singing such a lovely, sensitive song. This song has come to be thought of as a rather over-the-top, slightly comical, piece of Victoriana, but I never present it that way. I sing it as it was intended to be sung and as I feel it. It's not a song that was written with comic intent.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 11:42 PM

Joybelle..I need to ask -- what you WOULD do with songs like "The Wee Cooper O Fife"? Would you eradicate them? Would you leave them in old books, but only allow certain people to see them? Would you just leave the room when someone else sings them? Do you sing only sweet, happy songs?

Your statement "In fact I'll avoid songs, comic and otherwise, that CONDONE cruel behaviour.", made me think hard about the issue, and the conclusion I come to is, the song does not condone anything...one of the characters in the song condones a certain type of behavior. The song merely paints a picture of this behavior, and no one should ever assume that a singer approves of the attitude expressed in a song.
   A huge number of the folk songs I know in English contain some 'bad'(and often cruel) behavior, and I think it is important that these songs are heard and remembered as a mirror of the strange species of animal to which we belong. Yes, at one time it was widely considered 'ok' for men to beat wives that did not please them.....now it is a whole lot LESS condoned--perhaps due to the implied ridicule of the practice in some songs. (I know, I know...it is not 'explicitly' condemned...but then the song would not be 'fun' while it exposes. It is much harder to write a 'good' song which includes a moral lesson. It is much easier to describe the situation and let folks decide for themselves.

I am not suggesting that you, or anyone, go learn a bunch of songs which are not what they like to sing, just because Bill D stated that it's good for them..*smile*, I just want to lay out one viewpoint about how we can approach all these musical records of our own history.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Cluin
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 11:58 PM

Our fiddler leaves the stage (or at least moves to the back of it) when we are forced by request to launch into "Barrett's Privateers". He doesn't like the "Goddamn them all!" line.

Personally, I have sung that song so many times I wouldn't mind never doing it again. But folks still seem to get a kick out of it so that's why we do it.

I used to like it too, years ago.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 01:12 AM

Well, Joybell--it is an oft used humorous device to take on the behaviors that embody a certain point of view for the purpose of satirizing and exposing the hypocricy of that point of view--Interesting to note that the Victorians were much satirized for their proneness to maudlin sentiments, their moral hypocricy, and their lack of humor--


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Susanl
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 04:36 AM

Songs are meant to be about anything. They are stories about being alive. Good songs are well told stories about being alive. That's all that matters. The songs I love the most neither condemn nor condone human behaviour. They just tell a story musically and eloquently and leave the rest to the listener.

I would rather listen to Willow Garden than This Land is Your Land, for instance.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 07:02 PM

Dear Bill, Me sweet and happy? *grin a few times over* I don't actually sing many "sweet, happy songs" at all.
Songs like "The Wee Cooper of Fife" and other songs that condone what I see as unacceptable behaviour are not part of my repertoire but I certainly would not have them eradicated, nor do I expect any other singer to conform to my personal standards. The song that started this discussion does put the singer into the position of family member encouraging unnacceptable behavior and I wouldn't sing it.
Funny that I've come across as a singer of sweet,happy songs. I've never really cared for them on the whole. The stories are boring for a start and they date quickly. As well I rather like the contrast between my rather sweet-sounding voice (not to mention my name) and really dark and terrible songs about death and pain and sadness. I do rather favour songs that have happy-sounding melodies - merry dance tunes, but that tell grim stories using strong images. Ballads like "Lamkin" and "The Cruel Sister". It's the contrast I like. I also sing 19th Century parlour songs of the sad variety. Very few of the comic ones appeal to me. My mind has always wandered around inside the folktales of the Grimms Brothers, the Child Ballads, and through lonely graveyards full of dead lovers. Sweet, happy songs? Joy though.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 07:16 PM

Joybell is right - a lot of Victorian Parlour Ballads that people have come to think of as jolly romps are really serious songs, and they benefit from being sung that way.

That applies for quite a number of other songs that always tend to be given the jolly singalong approach. For example, "The Titanic", which can send a shiver up your spine. For that matter so can "All for me Grog" - I once heard Tim Laycock sing a slow straight version of that, which had a quite extraordinary impact.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 07:49 PM

Yes McGrath, "Death came riding by sixteen hundred had to die!" Shivers indeed. "The Titanic" is one of the best. Joy of the Belles


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 08:06 PM

why do we find it humorous when a grown man beats up his adolescent daughter? i think it's because the song makes clear that these people are just ignorant hillbillies, and we always find hillbilly violence humorous (feudin fussin & a-fightin, etc). we have also found humor in the spectacle of "darkies" cutting each other with their ubiquitous razors, or of cliche irishmen getting drunk and pounding each other to a pulp. try changing the contexts around -- substituting an anglo-american factory worker (or in claire bear's case, a college professor!) for Paw, for instance, and see how funny it sounds.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 08:46 PM

"...other songs that condone what I see as unacceptable behaviour..."

Ah STILL don't think the SONG can condone nuthin'

Ah guess, Ahm a mite slow, but Ah still don't see whut differmunts hit makes to be willin' to sing 'bout murder between sisters and NOT sing 'bout whuppin' yore silly kid...but everbody done got they own ideer 'bout where lines gotta be drawed. Y'all g'wan and sing whatcha want.

(guess I'd better duck out of sight before my bad parody of hillbilly grammar gets too much flak! *big grin*)


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM

It's not what you sing about but the position you take. This song is not just "about" something it has the singer taking sides. I repeat that I wouldn't sing it but other singers have to make up there own minds.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 09:03 PM

Sorry "their" not "there"


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 09:12 PM

Ah don' car' whut momma don' 'low, gonna sing 'at song anyhow!


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Melani
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 01:42 PM

My mother used to sing that song, with what she thought of as a "hillbilly" accent, because she thought it was funny--but then, she also plastered her guitar with decorative decals that really slopped it up (See thread "Decorated Instruments"). I never much cared for it. I think the problem is that it tells the story in the first person and is supposed to be funny, when in fact, as was pointed out, it's about parents beating their daughter. Strange that my mom's weird folk music habits seem to be coming up for me today.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 05:57 PM

Melani, You are exactly right.
Just by the way I couldn't help thinking that my two daughters could probably relate to your story. I didn't sing this particular song but I know that my understanding of the songs I sing, and the effect they can have on listeners, has changed over the years. I think that the worst I did though was to be always dressed up in what my kids saw as funny clothes. They would have preferred a less weird Mum. I'm a Grandma now. Grandmas are expected to be eccentric.
                               Cheers across the generations, Joy


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:13 PM

One storytelling technique is, where the idea is that the listener is meant to see through what the first person narrator is saying, and understand what is happening in a different way.

Perhaps the thing about this song, as old pooperoo implies, is not that it advocates beating wayward daughters, but that it lampoons "hillbillies" for that kind of thing.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM

Nuthin' 'bout hillwillies in the song.

It lampoons rural folk (like those engaged in the Iowa primary vote) from sea to shining sea.

Sign me- city feller


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM

If you want to sing it, you could update it by adding some verses of your own. This is a fine technique in the folk traditiion.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 10:09 PM

I sing You're Always Welcome at Our House to kids, and they always seem to like it. I sometimes get complaints from their parents, but I explain that I see value in a song that shows the absurdity of solving problems with violence.

But "Slap Her Down, Pa" makes me cringe. It doesn't strike me as funny at all. On the other hand, I asked for the lyrics because I wanted to know what they said, and I'd like to hear the song - once.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM

Joe, I have been singing "You're Always Welcome at Our House" to kids for years too. I've never had a complaint but I too introduce it carefully. No one, especially the kids, could ever believe that it is about a real situation. Joy


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Melani
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 12:29 AM

Joybell, I never minded that my mom was eccentric--and God knows she was. But she did have these occasional lapses of taste that I found pretty embarrassing--and still do.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Inükshük
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 02:47 PM

Joe Offer
"and I'd like to hear the song - once."
As Q mentioned in the post providing the lyrics as you requested, there is a very cheerful rendition done by Patsy Montana at the Record Lady's place.
You'll probably want to run it through a few times to get into the spirit of the song.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Stoo
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 05:11 PM

Since posting this topic, I'm amazed at the array of different opinions. Both for and against are very well stated. I think the closest to my opinion was posted by McGrath of Harlow, where he stated that the song doesn't encourage beating on the daughter but lampoons the "rural folk" aka 'hillbillies' for perhaps behaving in that manner. Thanks for the response. I will have to think twice before performing said tune.
Stoo


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 06:52 AM

Clones - delete the crap but please keep this thread active!

Stoo - if you're still there - go over to Art's Politically Incorrect Songs thread. I think these two should be linked with little blue clickies at the top.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: topical tom
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 07:05 AM

In my opinion, the only occasion to sing this song is as an example of how morally, socially, even legally wrong and inappropriate these type of songs were and ,thankfully, how we have progressed since then.I see no humour in such songs.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 11:36 AM

Beat on the brat
   Beat on the brat
   Beat on the brat with a baseball bat, ohoh
                           Joey Ramone


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Megan L
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 11:45 AM

weel lad i widny use a baseball bat tae beat me brat but a carpet beater did the job jist fine especially efter ahm bin bakin an hid smoored in floor(Brat in Scots was a stout working apron no the kinda thing ye wid serve afternoon tea in )


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Thore Williams
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 03:44 PM

Slap Her Down Again Paw:

I am absolutely amazed that anyone would not find this song FUNNY.
I suggest those who find it otherwise should seek mental help.

In no way does the song suggest that we all beat our kids. Anyone having a problem with the song should IMMEDIATELY SEEK HELP !!


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 01:22 PM

It's a Shame To Beat Your Wife On A Sunday

Little Sadie
Tom Dooley
Banks Of The Ohio
Willow Garden
Pretty Polly
Delia

Miss Otis Regrets
Frankie And Johnny
Monongahela Sal

I have, at one time or another sung all of these songs. I stopped singing the first one many years ago, but I hate to give up some of the really great murder ballads. In the first six murder ballads, the man murders the woman. They are all in the first person and he doesn't give much of a reason, BUT he does end up sitting in prison or hanging. When I sing these songs, I don't approve of the actions, I'm playing a character.

The last three are murder ballads where the woman kills the man. They are all in the third person and, though their reasons don't justify murder, we don't feel too sorry for the scumballs they murder.

I'd put Slap Her Down Again Pa in the same group as It's A Shame To Beat Your Wife On A Sunday. I don't sing them for the same reason I don't tell nor laugh at racist jokes.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 02:16 PM

Well I was a feminist even as a kid -- for example, I decided I would never change my name to my husband's or promise to obey him just because we were married! [Ask Bill -- I've kept both promises.] But I loved "Slap Her Down Again Paw." We had it on a 78 rpm record and it got a lot of plays at our house.

I was still a feminist in the 70's -- by nature, and because of the way I see the world, and in part because I had a southern Italian father who occasionally really came the heavy over his wife and kids. But. I had a sense of humor about it, which I decided was not true of all the women around me who were just discovering that they had been downtrodden.

I don't sing it any more. There are plenty of other songs. But I never thought that Arthur Godfrey sympathized with the attitudes in the song. I thought he was making fun of them.

And no, things like that aren't funny when they are happening. But the exaggeration in the song is funny. Especially the last verse. That's how I knew Godfrey (and the song) were on my side.

The moral of this story girls
Is don't stay out too late,
Unless you take your shoes off
Outside your pappy's gate.
If Ma don't hear you coming in
she won't lay down the law
And you don't have to worry
'Cause she won't sing out to Paw --

Chorus: Slap Her Down Agin, Paw etc.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 02:20 PM

"Lay down the LAW", I believe.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Colin Randall
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 03:15 PM

I too cringed when I read the lyrics. If I could sing, I would choose not to sing it.

But I can see that with the right interpretation, it would come across - as McGrath points out in the most impressive, to me, contributions to this thread - as opposing the violence it describes,

But then, it also seems to be a case of whether it's generally sung at all, as opposed to simply being played as a tune. You only need to consult a good list of tune titles to see that we could end up with dozens more threads on what should nowadays be censored

Colin


Salut! Live


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 07:02 PM

Although I love Billie Holiday, I still cringe whenever I hear
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Midchuck
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 08:10 PM

All the good songs are inappropriate by present standards. Every damn last one. I've lived too long.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 01:50 PM

As I read this thread, it reinforces a belief that gets stronger with time: songs can change what a person thinks and believes! I find that scary since one of my joys is to present music to others.

It also reminds me that not everyone "hears" songs the same. My wife listens to songs as a whole without focusing on the lyrics. She is often surprised when I tell her what a song is "about".   Ronald Reagen's staff used Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" at rallies, probably because they only heard the title words and not the rest of the song.

So Shoo. You have to decide this question for yourself. Clearly, the reaction to the song will vary from person to person and therefore from audience to audience. As Clairebear explains, individual reaction may come from individual experience. The result is this. If you don't want to offend people with your songs, don't sing. You may never know who you have offended.

If you like a song that YOU have questions about, explore those questions yourself and come to some decision. I sing "Gotta Find a Woman with a Chainsaw" which includes a line about "Mendocino Thunder-Fuck". I don't like the line and I won't sing it. I wrote a substitute. The song was too good to waste. Yes, the song might still offend some people.

Dave Ray did a blues song "Killing Me by Degrees". One verse is "I feel like snapping a pistol, baby, in your face. You know that graveyard will be your resting place. This woman is killing me, baby, killing me by degrees". I probably would never aing it to a large group, but I might to song circle or group of friends. It reflects a feeling that resonates with me, not one that I would ever act upon but which I have felt in the past.

Finally, you need to consider just how many people you dare to offend. Your version of "This Land is Your Land" might very well offend someone with different beliefs.

What you sing is a reflection of you. So what ever you wish to sing is appropriate for you. Let me stand down from the soap box.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Dave Swan
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 03:13 PM

So, just curious here, Roger. Is it the reference to dope itself or the term for it that offends you? I merely ask.

D


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 02:21 PM

Dave, It is a little bit the reference to dope, but more the "F" word. I don't exclude dope references in songs, but I tend to stay away from direct references. So, I will do a song with the line "That corn cob pipe he chewed on always smelled just a little funny."

As you might not know, I am a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the State of Maryland and it is probably best that I not be seen as promoting drug or alcohol use. Like I say, it is all about you and what impact you want to have.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Dave Swan
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM

Thanks, Roger. This conversation reminds me of the days on the 'cat when a question could be asked and answered and the exchange would be civil and informative.

I see all of your points, particularly the one about being a counselor and having to watch what you sing. It'd be like me singing to promote arson.

Thanks again,

D


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 04:02 PM

Maybe it's because we are both "old 'catters" on the "'cat".

Big RiB


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 04:04 PM

"The Holly Twig," or "A Bachelor Bold and Young," (and other titles) deals with proper and fitting punishment for a scolding wife-

Tuesday morning I carried her home;
I thought to my soul I'd have a wife of my own.
She wrinkled up her face and began to scold.
I never was scolded so in my life-time before.

Wednesday morning I went to the wood.
I thought to my soul she wouldn't prove good.
I got me a hickory, one that was green-
I thought it was the keenest I ever had seen.

Thursday morning I whipped her well;
I have no doubt I sent her soul to hell.
But if I have, I shall never repent
The time in whipping her that I have spent.

These verses are part of the old song, from a version collected in Mississippi by A. P. Hudson, 1926, JAFL vol. 39, no. 152, pp. 155-156.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 06:51 PM

The tone of that one seems quite different from that of Slap Her Down Again, does it not?


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: trevek
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 06:57 AM

I'd suggest it depends on HOW you sing it. If you sing it like you believe it's a good idea then perhaps not.

Mind you, I'm all for songs about slapping teenagers... shame it's only songs!


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 06:55 AM

It's a funny song in a classically black humour way, but only because to contempory ears, it demonstrates such regressive attitudes of the times and of the people it describes - in which the content itself may indeed have once been considered funny.

The reason it was probably considered funny then, is to my mind, very didfferent to why it might be funny now.

Once, to many people the idea of severe child or spouse beating was a normal everyday occurrance. They were the people who were desensitised to their own behaviours. So maybe it was funny to them in a 'bawdy' way.

To my ears, the song is more like a kind of circus freak-show of grotesques. And has the effect of conjouring up equivalently freakish and very black-humour style images of duelling banjos, village lynchings, incestuous inbreeding, and nine year-old brides...


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,AJ
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM

Ask if it is appropriate and you give people the chance to ask themselves if they should be offended. If there is the remotest possibility that someone might say to them, "you should be offended," then they WILL be offended. We all want to appear sensitive to the raw exposed nerves of anyone who might publicly question whether we are bigots and find a reason to sue. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that America (in general) has a big honkin' chip on its shoulder and needs to lighten up. Far too much seriousness is made out of the trivial, and truly serious matters are regarded flippantly. This generation is not any better than the 50's generation although that is their main claim. Stereotypes are equally if not more vicious than those back then, they're just different. (Ask any blonde or a person of religious moral convictions). This sycophantic belly-groveling ass-whining generation is just too uncool to have fun. If they couldn't walk in lock-step, the weak-knee little germs would all fall down. Time and again history repeats itself. If a generation is marked with strength and courage, the successive generation is always replete with cowardice. They bully and puff their stuff about things that are inconsequential in order to appear "big". Hence all the Political Correctness Nazis. Get down to brass tacks and the blowhards are bound to pop off.

Reserve the good stuff for those who can best appreciate it. We're out there, and we know how to have a good time. The mentally balanced don't lash out over PATENTLY comedic fare such as this song.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: kendall
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 07:19 PM

Things have changed since 1948


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Alice
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM

I too listened to this song as a child and found it very amusing. We would sing and dance along with it. Certainly I never approved of the behaviour espoused by it and the only influence it held for me was as a venue to laugh along with my friends at the absurdity of it.

The question might be rephrased: "Is this song appropriate for ----? (fill in the blank.) Kind of depends on the audience, I guess. But I'm inclined towards songs that might push a few buttons in almost any audience. If it gets under your skin at least you might be thinking about it some.

At any rate, I've appreciated the discourse on the subject and it's something to hear that others share similar memories of the song from childhood.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: GUEST,Lonnie
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM

From what I have heard about Arthur Godfrey, these lyrics might not be as "playful" and "in jest" as one would think.
Godfrey, from many accounts, was a genuine American phony...folksy, friendly Uncle Arthur to the world...quite something else in private.
Steve Allen used to do a bit for years on The Tonight Show and beyond where he would read the lyrics of popular rock n roll songs in complete dead pan without music.
For example:

"Bee Bop A Loo La, She's My Baby"...long pause, (audience giggles)...
"Bee Bop A Loo La....I Don't Mean Maybe"...Allen looks at the camera
with an "are you kidding me?" look on his face and the live audience
bursts into laughter as he slowly shakes his head in apparent disgust.

Allen could have done something similar with this song.
Reading these lyrics without music, they look like they were written
by a demented hermit living somewhere in the Ozarks.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 12:03 PM

I've never heard the 'Slap Her Down Again' song but the sentiments - to me - reek of honor killings.

The only time I would sing it, I think, is when the group/song circle had devolved one after another into unrelentingly sad/cruel/unhappy/gory songs. That's what I do with 'Knoxville Girl'. It gets us onto a different genre, right quick.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: beeliner
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 01:15 PM

Arthur Godfrey wrote and performed a novelty tune called "Slap Her Down Again Paw"

Godfrey's version was a cover. The original was by Esmereldy and her Novelty Band, and the authors are listed on the label as Arnold, Cornell, and Asherman.

Godfrey, from many accounts, was a genuine American phony...folksy, friendly Uncle Arthur to the world...quite something else in private.

Virtually everyone who ever worked for or with Godfrey said that he was a rotten SOB, but he was also one of the great pioneers of radio broadcasting. While other announcers addressed 'the vast radio audience' as if they were hordes standing before them, Godfrey spoke to ONE PERSON - the average listener, usually female in the daytime. He may not have been the first to take this approach, but he was certainly the most successful.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Lindagail
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 09:11 AM

I have read EVERY single post in this thread and my first reaction is "Wow, are these folks for real?" (especially guest AJ) First of all, one out of four women will experience domestic violence in their life. And I can tell you first hand that a huge percentage of those one in four will have come from a home that experienced domestic violence. So to answer your question, I think you might offend at the very least a quarter of your female audience.

I looked this song up because my aunt was almost killed in a beating by my grandfather as a young woman and my father (her brother) sang this song during the beating. And no these were NOT hillbillies, these were highly respected, prim and proper rural MN folks.

That abuse rolled down through the generations onto me as a child in the 50's and I can tell you I was horrified when I heard the words. I guess it is all perspective. As a survivor of serious physical child abuse, I was horrified as I read the words. Yes, it was a different time. And it needs to stay in that time.

To tell someone to lighten up or to make fun of their legitimate objections (example: This sycophantic belly-groveling ass-whining generation is just too uncool to have fun.) is insulting. (btw, you sir have not the slightest clue to "cool.") There is nothing funny about being beaten.
Lindagail
www.childabusestories.org


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,s
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 07:09 PM

The comment above about the 'hillbilly' aspect of this song is the clue. The whole point is to make fun of the unenlightened rural conservative folks that "aren't like us" (anymore), and was a staple of a time when the "post-war" was changing into the "boom times" of the 50s. It's instructive to remember that the old ways, which included strict child-rearing (and wife-beating), were giving way to many of the attitudes we see above -- "How could anyone think this funny?" and so forth.

You could probably make a list of other kinds of song that came out of such "change-times", not limited to "coon songs," "stage Irish songs," etc. If I were in graduate school again, it might be fitting for a thesis.

So remember the times and the reasons for this and similar songs.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 12:10 AM

Hmmm... That "s" is "Songbob."


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,uncle Rumpo
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 12:40 AM

read none of these except yours "GUEST,Lindagail"..

ok..i get bruises from my younger wife.

she has a mean temperament..
made my bed, I can live with it..

but no way could i ever respect any man who violates women..

they are low life coward scum..


ps... "GUEST,Lindagail" would that be a Lewis family name by any chance.????

if so, you play a cool piano..


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Taconicus
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 09:59 AM

Songbob is right, the song is another one of those examples of rampant classism that continues unabated in intelligentsia and progressive circles. It's very PC today to ridicule "rednecks" and conservatives. It's just not PC if the listener thinks the song is being serious about abusing women. But if it's understood as ridiculing "hillbillies" it's given a pass.

Race is the area in which folk music is most bowdlerized (or just censored outright) with very little, if any, discussion allowed. I'm not talking about racism specifically, but even songs that merely reflect the realities of racial separation in the past. For example, there's an old song that's very beautiful when sung in four-part harmony. I believe the title is After Dark. Here are the original lyrics:

After dark when everything is still
And the moon comes creeping o'er the hill
I'll be waiting patiently for you
'Cause I love you true
Yes indeed I do, my honey,

Come with me, along the Everglades,
Watch the darkies, how they promenade!
You're my ever loving queen of all the dusky maids.
You're my moonlight Lou [or Lill, or some similar-sounding name]

Apparently, this song reflects a time when white men in the South might go down to the "Negro district" to indulge in sexual dalliance with "loose women" there. It's not a mean-spirited song, but it reflects a very unsavory period of history as far as race relations is concerned. A very beautiful song, it's still song today in "barbershop" (male a cappella close four-part harmony) courses, but with different lyrics:

Come with me, along the Everglades,
Watch the folks, see how they promenade!
You're my ever loving queen of all the pretty maids...

Just two or three words changed, and the bowdlerization is complete! And the unpleasant history is forgotten.

The sensitivity to this sort of thing may be more pronounced in the United States than elsewhere. While over in Scotland about a decade ago I heard a classic "blood libel" folk song sung at a folk music club performance. It was all about a little Christian boy who was lured away by a "Jewess" who proceeded to carve out his heart "with her little penknife," etc. It was performed without any explanation or context, and received nice applause. No one (but me) seemed to think there was anything wrong with singing it without at least an explanation or proviso that it might not be factually based -- it's just good authentic folk music, don't you know!


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Taconicus
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 10:07 AM

Err... make that
... still sung today in "barbershop" (male a cappella close four-part harmony) choruses..."
Dang voice-recognition dictation software!


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: beeliner
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 03:58 PM

1. Apparently, this song reflects a time when white men in the South might go down to the "Negro district" to indulge in sexual dalliance with "loose women" there.

2. It was all about a little Christian boy who was lured away by a "Jewess" who proceeded to carve out his heart "with her little penknife," etc.


1. It's possible that some white men might have done that, but from the lyrics it sounds more than a minstrel show number, with the singer being black or in blackface. There were many such songs.

2. Well, this was a Child ballad, "Sir Hugh", popularized in the US by Nelstone's Hawaiians as "Fatal Flower Garden", and included in the Harry Smith anthology. By that time the Jewess had become a gypsy. Of course, neither group ever had such a ritual, but it makes an interesting song.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 May 11 - 05:22 PM

I think that both this song and "Old Time Cat O' Nine"/Cat O"Nine Tails" by Lord Invader need an introduction before anyone sings them.


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Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:26 AM

Inappropriate. The story as told in this song is not comical. There could be a funny song about the practice of disciplining an overly affectionate daughter, but comedy requires that the victim perseveres in spite of the adversity. In this song, we only hear of the beating, not that she goes off with the travelling salesman anyway. So our feeling about the subject matter is sadness, and the tone of the song should respect that, as in many traditional songs such as "The Trumpeter of Fyvie."


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Mudcat time: 25 April 3:18 AM EDT

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