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Martin Said to His Man

DigiTrad:
WHO'S THE FOOL NOW or MARTIN SAID TO HIS MAN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: I know a Milk maid - Napoleonic folk song (10)
who's the fool now (33)
martin said to his man couplets (14)
Lyr Req: Martin Said to His Man (35)


Steve Gardham 07 Nov 19 - 03:03 PM
JeffB 07 Nov 19 - 01:36 PM
Gordon Jackson 06 Nov 19 - 03:57 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Nov 19 - 02:36 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 19 - 07:21 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Jul 17 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Phil Edwards 19 Jul 17 - 06:37 AM
Lighter 18 Jul 17 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,CJB 18 Jul 17 - 04:09 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jul 17 - 02:50 PM
Lighter 18 Jul 17 - 01:53 PM
BobL 18 Jul 17 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,CJB 17 Jul 17 - 12:17 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 10:51 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jul 17 - 09:47 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jul 17 - 09:45 AM
Tootler 17 Jul 17 - 09:31 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jul 17 - 09:22 AM
Snuffy 17 Jul 17 - 06:51 AM
vectis 17 Jul 17 - 06:19 AM
Snuffy 17 Jul 17 - 05:25 AM
Greg F. 16 Jul 17 - 09:36 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 17 - 06:25 PM
GMGough 16 Jul 17 - 03:52 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 17 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Senoufou 16 Jul 17 - 01:20 PM
Lighter 16 Jul 17 - 01:01 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jul 17 - 07:53 AM
sapper82 16 Jul 17 - 07:07 AM
Steve Howlett 16 Jul 17 - 06:43 AM
GUEST 09 May 10 - 06:28 PM
Phil Edwards 09 May 10 - 05:48 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 May 10 - 08:58 AM
Phil Edwards 09 May 10 - 08:52 AM
Leadfingers 09 May 10 - 06:16 AM
CapriUni 09 May 10 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,barely barley 14 Feb 07 - 09:38 PM
Padre 30 Jul 04 - 11:21 PM
Rozza 30 Jul 04 - 02:21 PM
Leadfingers 30 Jul 04 - 01:55 PM
muppett 30 Jul 04 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Ann Brady 30 Jul 04 - 10:51 AM
Bentley 29 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM
LadyJean 29 Apr 04 - 12:59 AM
Charley Noble 28 Apr 04 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,Melani 28 Apr 04 - 01:52 PM
Lil Dog Turpy 28 Apr 04 - 12:35 AM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Apr 04 - 10:20 PM
Barbara 27 Apr 04 - 08:04 PM
Les in Chorlton 27 Apr 04 - 04:51 PM
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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 03:03 PM

Looking at some old 15th/16th century manuscript songs these 'impossibilities' songs were fairly common then and were referred to as 'burlesques' which is of interest to me as the meaning and usage of the word 'burlesque' seems to have altered by about 1600 to mean a satire on a serious piece of work like a ballad, play, story or even a whole genre. This meaning persisted until the end of the nineteenth century when it was recycled again to also mean smutty performances in the Music Hall.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: JeffB
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:36 PM

A cup is rounded and has a handle, a can is straight-sided and doesn't have a handle. I don't know what is significant about the difference as far as the song is concerned, except that a cup was probably higher class. That would be in line with the song's running joke, which is that gentleman Martin is getting drunk with his servant. But see Steve Howlett's post of 16 Jul 17 above for a more imaginative interpretation.

Cans are occasionally mentioned in songs involving drink; e.g. The Hsarvest Horn

The master brings the can, he's a jolly-hearted man,/ "Come my lads and take a pull of the best" etc .....

The earliest record of the song was when it was registered by a Thomas Orwyn in 1588, so it has some history.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 03:57 AM

Hmm ... given that 'can' for 'toilet' dates back to the 1950s (www.alphadictionary.com) and the song is found printed in a 1609 songbook, I don't think that theory holds water (pun intended).

I don't think song is simply about 'impossible things' per se, like, say, The Derby Ram. Rather, I see it as being about hallucinating while drunk.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 02:36 AM

' the can ' is a toilet in the USA, Martin Said To His Man is a traditional English drinking song, get it ?


Dave H


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 19 - 07:21 PM

Hmm...
What does, "Fill thou the cup and I the can" mean? What's the significance of cup versus can?
Is "the can" a drinking vessel or is "the can" a toilet, as in, "fill thou the can" means "go take a piss"?


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 06:47 AM

Oops - blue clicky gone weird.

How's this?

Who's the fool now?


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST,Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 06:37 AM

I saw Les Jones debate with Diane Easby,
Saw Malcolm Douglas correct them both...

I can't actually make out Les's voice, but he's in here somewhere (as is Ged Gaskell, who left us last year). Absent friends...

https://philedwards.bandcamp.com/track/whos-the-fool-now


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 07:03 PM

CJB, my hare/bear couplet is clearly an ex. of the "folk process," furthered by me,since I was trying to recall something I'd heard decades ago.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 04:09 PM

Saw a hare chase a hound ...

50 (or 20) miles above the ground ...

===

Saw the man in the Moon ...

A cloutin' of St.Peter's shoon

====

Saw the cheese eat the rat ...

And a mouse chase a cat ...

===


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 02:50 PM

Saw Great Harry smoking dope,
Said his dealer was the Pope.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 01:53 PM

Saw a hare chase a bear,
Twenty miles in the air.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: BobL
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 02:44 AM

This will probably be lost on anyone under 50:
    I heard a swan loudly call
    Channel one-four, wall to wall


And again a touch of history:
    I saw **** buy a round
    and get change from a pound


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:17 PM

I saw a ram butt a dam - fi man fi
I saw a ram butt a dam - whose the fool now?
I saw a ram butt a dam - and a bee swim in jam
Thou hast well drunken man - whose the fool now?

====

I saw a whale chase a snail ...

Faster than by British Rail

====

I saw a sheep shearing corn ...

And a cuckold blow his horn

====


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:51 AM

i just sing it for fun! Learned it from Pete Quinn back in the old "Tipperary Pub" days in Detroit.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:47 AM

Century!


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:45 AM

In previous centuries along with riddle competitions, singing competitions, drinking competitions, lying competitions were common forms of entertainment. Nowadays we put the whole lot together and just call it politics.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:31 AM

My Aberdonian grandmother sometimes used to refer to clothes as "clouties" (pronounce "ou" as "oo") and where my wife comes from there's a saying "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out"

In both cases "clout" basically means cloth so the reference to Field of the Cloth of Gold seems quite feasible.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:22 AM

BUT, the rest of the song doesn't refer to Henry VIII. The original song might well have had political referents but as it came down to us it's just a bit of fun.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:51 AM

If the rest of the song refers to Henry VIII, then that verse could well refer to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: vectis
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:19 AM

This verse is seldom sung
The red rose he went to France
To teach the lily how to dance.

I think it refers to either Crecy or Agincourt.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 05:25 AM

"Come put your wine in glasses, put your cider in an old tin can, put John Barleycorn in a nut-brown bowl and he'll prove the strongest man"


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Greg F.
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 09:36 PM

Think you'll find that "can" or "cann" is an 18th century term for a tankard-like drinking vessel but without a lid.

Nowt to do with pissing in the corner.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 06:25 PM

Or not! Interesting piece of conjecture but the 4 standard verses are all simple impossibilities. Chappell thought it simply 'a satire on those who tell wonderful stories' (possibly about Henry and the Pope) and this is more likely to happen when the storyteller is a drunken fool.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GMGough
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 03:52 PM

> Clouting' means 'mending'.
> So the Man in the Moon was mending St Peter's shoes.

If the Man in the Moon was Henry VIII, then does "clouting off"
mean dissociating with the catholic church; or does it mean
mending the church in order that it will accede to Henry's demands.

Some years ago I asked Maddy Prior about this verse after a Steeleye
Show. Maddy said come back later. The band and audience stragglers
including me adjourned to the bar. Later in a more quiet moment I
asked again. Maddy said that it referred to Henry VIII and the Pope.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 03:24 PM

Similar 'impossibilities' songs and rhymes have been common in all ages since the 16th century and probably well before that. 'Paddy Backwards' is another which has been running for nearly 3 centuries. They overlap somewhat with nonsense songs. Rhymes like 'I went to the pictures tomorrow'.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 01:20 PM

'Clouting' means 'mending'. So the Man in the Moon was mending St Peter's shoes.

'Fie' is an expression of disgust or disapproval. I'd translate, "Fie man, fie!" as "Don't be so bloody daft mate!"

We hollered this song out in the folk club in Edinburgh in the early sixties. Everyone was a Scot, but we definitely sang, "Who's the fool now?" and not "Wha's fu' the noo?"

I did often hear the word fu' (meaning drunk), especially among those from Fife.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 01:01 PM

> 1609, when folks were lewder and songs were ruder.

Probably not true.

See any collection of rugby songs.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 07:53 AM

In another recent thread I was reminded of my very first experience of folk singing, as a student at the Buck Inn, Malham, in 1970. This thread has reminded me that this was another of the songs sung there. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: sapper82
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 07:07 AM

The Oyster at Butley, near Woodbridge in the summer of 1972 comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Steve Howlett
Date: 16 Jul 17 - 06:43 AM

I'm thinking of reviving this at my local folk club. The new landlord is called Martin, and last Friday he got drunk and landed on his a**e. It usually takes them a few months to settle in before they do that, but he's only been in the job a week!

Anyway, the way I interpret the words is that Martin is telling his servant to fill the cup with wine, while he p1sses in the can in the corner. I may even do a gesture suggesting this. After all, the song dates from 1609, when folks were lewder and songs were ruder.

Contemporary satirical verses are always welcome:

I heard Ms Theresa May
Saying that she's here to stay.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST
Date: 09 May 10 - 06:28 PM

Memories of the Horse and Jockey, Waddington (near Lincoln) in the early 1970's. It became almost a tradition that the guest of the night would do this as their final encore with the floorsingers adding verses.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 May 10 - 05:48 PM

Indeed 'twas. I'd never heard anything like it, never mind started anything like it. A very fine night, & the first of many for me.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 May 10 - 08:58 AM

I seem to remember it was the first or possibly second song you sang at the Beech - and a grand song with great choruses rang out

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 May 10 - 08:52 AM

This is probably of no interest to anyone but me, but this was the first folk song I ever learned from another singer. The year was 1976, the singer was this guy called Rob who was a mate of my friend Steve & ran a close-harmony unaccompanied équipe with the awful name of Eyesteel Span, and I picked up most of the tune OK but had terrible trouble getting the extra drop down to drun-ken, man. That did for my career as a young folkie - that, and my inability to sing harmony, and the fact that he wasn't actually auditioning me so much as filling in time before Steve turned up. The following year punk happened, and I cut my hair and forgot all about the Eng. Trad.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 May 10 - 06:16 AM

Very true C U - Why be sensible when you have a chance to be VERY silly


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 May 10 - 03:10 AM

Refreshing this thread after a coon's age, I know.

The tune to this song (as gathered from the midi in the DT) was in my head early, as I was just waking from a dream. ...It's been stuck there as an earworm, ever since.

One could certainly have a much worse fate.

Elizabethans thought really silly, impossible stuff was funny (especially when drunk).

I've been witness, on several occasions in my life, to drunken 20th and 21at Century Americans (and Brits), and can say with confidence that the same holds true for them, as well.


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Subject: RE: Martin Said to His Man
From: GUEST,barely barley
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 09:38 PM

Can anyone help me with the chords to this tune?


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Subject: RE: lyrics required..please (Martin said to his man..)
From: Padre
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 11:21 PM

An old verse from the FSGW Getaways:

I saw [here fill in the name of a person at the session] buy a round
Saw [yet another name here] turn it down

Thou hast well drunken man, who's the fool now.


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Subject: RE: lyrics required..please (Martin said to his man..)
From: Rozza
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 02:21 PM

I rather liked the verse that went:

I saw a bottle in front of me
Fie man fie
I saw the bottle in front of me
Who's the fool now?
I saw the bottle in front of me
Better than frontal lebotomy!
Thou has well drunken man
Who's the fool now


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Subject: RE: lyrics required..please (Martin said to his man..)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 01:55 PM

If you put Martin Said To His Man in the search box you will find all the verses that matter . Then Add Muppets couple and this one :-

I saw a Butterfly Flutter By
And A Dragonfly Drink a Flagon dry

And you have more than enough for one song , even in Ireland .


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Subject: RE: lyrics required..please
From: muppett
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 11:11 AM

A couple of verses I sing in this song,

I saw a Bull milk a maid ...............
Should have heard the commotion they made ..........


I saw a man dead in bed ..................
Cause he'd bin supping Watney's Red ..................


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Subject: lyrics required..please
From: GUEST,Ann Brady
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 10:51 AM

Hi, there is a song driving me mad....... I need to know if I have all the words. I know 3 verses but am sure there are more. I have heard it sung many years ago here in ireland, but feel it may be of english origin. Any info. lyrics, recordings etc appreciated.
This is how it starts;
    Old Martin says to his wan, fi man fi,
    Old Martin says to his one who's the fool now?
    Old Martin says to his wan(one) fill up a cup and I'll have some,
    Thou art a drunken fool who's the fool now.

    I saw the flea hurl the tree............
    45 miles out to sea thou art a .......

    I saw the maid milk the bull.........
    Fill up a cup til it was full, thou art etc.
Thanks for your interest,
Happy singing!!


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: Bentley
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM

I sometimes sing this one and often add a verse or two relating to an article of topical news.e.g. I saw Prince Charles on the dance floor;repeat;repeat;dancing with a Brazilian whore.Get the idea?


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: LadyJean
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 12:59 AM

The traditional version says "I saw a snail drive a nail from Penzance up to Hale" I was delighted to discover, when we were in Cornwall, that Hale is the next town on the line after Penzance. Though I didn't see any snails driving nails.

I heard a speech from a Bush fie man fie
I heard a speech from a Bush, who's the fool now.
I heard a speech from a Bush. Every word made me blush.
Thou hast well drunken man, who's the fool now.


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 10:31 PM

Barbara-

I can't take credit for the "Saw a dragon fly drink a flagon dry." At one point I ran across a reference to the lines appropriately enough in a column by Richard Lederer, a reference that dated to the mid 19th century, but the column has gone astray.

Another verse that probably came from the same source was:

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me...
Than a frontal lobotomy...

There's a term for this kind of word game.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 01:52 PM

For the guy in our Ren faire guild who thinks it's funny to run up and down the parade grabbing at rear ends:

I thought I saw a six-foot goose,
Look out, Marty's on the loose.


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 12:35 AM

Funny, this almost became my theme song when I started singing it about 6 months ago. Calls of "the martin song!" Here's a few verses I've added

I saw ***** drink a sprite,
He stays sober every night

I saw ***** miss a note
My mistake, of course (s)he won't

I heard ***** sing a song
But the lyrics were so suggestive I couldn't possibly sing them for you here ....
(yes I know it doesn't scan)

What is that goaty smell
With ****'s bodhran around we sure can tell


and as a Brit who's now in Quebec I can vouch for the Qubec Chip (fry). They make a fine quality product here, but then insist on covering it in curd cheese and the most disgusting gravy you've ever seen and calling it Poutine!


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 10:20 PM

Barbara,

I sympathise with you.

The SCA (when I was involved) used this song as a base to sing in public many impromptu verses about events and people that happened during its regular gatherings.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: Barbara
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 08:04 PM

Charley, I don't know about the provenance of that verse, though I could suspect yourself as the author, sounds just like your kind of silliness, and it doesn't scan. Or at least you really have to work to get three sylables per note. It is fun, though. Possibly if you drop the "Saw" off the dragonfly part, you don't end up sounding like your mouth is quite so full of feathers.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Martin said to his man
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 04:51 PM

Ok, I love this song and maybe it's longevity and renewell and evidenced here, chips, fries or whatever


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