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Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers

DigiTrad:
AMBLETOWN (HOME DEARIE HOME)
BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS
G SUITS AND PARACHUTES
ROSEMARY LANE


Related threads:
Lyr Add: When I Was a Skivvy (9)
(origins) Origins: Bell-Bottom Trousers (5)
Lyr Req: Bellbottom Trousers (3) (closed)


amelia1@pacbell.net 08 Oct 98 - 04:56 PM
08 Oct 98 - 05:23 PM
gargoyle 08 Oct 98 - 07:30 PM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 98 - 09:43 PM
Melani 09 Jan 03 - 02:08 PM
MMario 09 Jan 03 - 02:12 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Jan 03 - 03:22 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 03 - 04:16 PM
MMario 09 Jan 03 - 04:34 PM
MMario 09 Jan 03 - 04:42 PM
vectis 09 Jan 03 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Jan 03 - 06:28 PM
PageOfCups 09 Jan 03 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Jan 03 - 07:58 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 03 - 01:18 AM
GUEST,Melani 10 Jan 03 - 02:43 PM
Joe_F 10 Jan 03 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 08:09 PM
BillR 10 Jan 03 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 10:18 PM
EBarnacle1 11 Jan 03 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,gripper 11 Jan 03 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Jan 03 - 05:20 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 03 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 10 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 10 Jan 07 - 08:38 AM
Charley Noble 10 Jan 07 - 09:18 AM
Scrump 10 Jan 07 - 09:18 AM
Greg B 10 Jan 07 - 11:20 AM
Lighter 10 Jan 07 - 12:36 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Jun 13 - 08:59 AM
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Subject: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: amelia1@pacbell.net
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 04:56 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics for the song "Bell Bottom Trousers".

Please help.

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From:
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 05:23 PM

Search DT for 'trousers'.


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: gargoyle
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 07:30 PM

Whoops! That sure ain't the song my mother used to sing to us.

I'll search for her version which made a good lulaby.

Bell bottom trousers,
Coat of navy blue
Sarah loved a sailor
And he loved her too


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 09:43 PM

Click here for lyrics and melody, which are the same as what's in our database. Are these the lyrics my parents used to sing? Shame on them!
Sure aren't the lyrics I expected....
-Joe Offer-
Messages from multiple threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Melani
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 02:08 PM

A friend of mine is learning "Bell Bottom Trousers", but is missing the last verse. I went to the DT to print it for him, but found that the DT version is also missing it. Can anybody oblige with the words? It's something about sitting with her baby on her knee, "and all she wants to do, me lads, is keep the Navy warm!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: MMario
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 02:12 PM

try here

url=http://www.acronet.net/~robokopp/shanty/bellbttm.htm

Now she sits beside the dock, a baby on her knee
Waiting for the sailing ships a-comin' home from sea
Waiting for the jolly tars in navy uniforms
And all she wants to do, my boys, is keep the Navy warm!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 02:14 PM

From this page:

Now there she sits upon the dock, a baby on her knee
A-waiting for the Navy ships a-coming home from sea
Waiting for the jolly tars in Navy uniform
And all she wants to do, me boys, is keep the Navy warm!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 03:22 PM

The robokopp site, pointed to by MMario, has the two main versions. Here is the link: Bell Bottom They call it a shanty, which it isn't.

Where was the Prince George Hotel?


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Subject: ADDPOP: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 04:16 PM

This is the version I learned as a kid, maybe from a Dinah Shore or Andrews Sisters recording, or something like that. Mitch Miller, maybe?
Is the version in the DT a bawdy parody of this - or is this a cleaned-up parody of a traditional song?
-Joe Offer-

BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS
(words and music by Moe Jaffee)

Once there was a little girl who lived next to me,
And she loved a sailor boy, he was only three.
Now he's on a battleship in his sailor suit
He's a great big sailor man, but he's just as cute:

CHORUS:
Bell Bottom Trousers, coat of navy blue,
She loves her sailor, and he loves her, too.
When they're together, he thrills her thro' and thro'
With his Bell Bottom Trousers, coat of navy blue.


When they walk along the street anyone can see,
They are, oh, so much in love, happy as can be.
Hand in hand they stroll along they don't give a hoot,
He won't let go of her hand even to salute:
CHORUS


Copyright 1943, by Chappell & Co.


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: MMario
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 04:34 PM

see previous thread which certainly makes it look like the "bawdy" version (or cautionary - depending on how you look at it) considerably older then 1943


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: MMario
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 04:42 PM

also see When I was a skivvy


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Subject: Lyr Add: BELL-BOTTOMED TROUSERS
From: vectis
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:27 PM

This is the version I've been singing for the last 30 years.
It is the bowdlerised Army version of a Navy song, or so I've been told.

BELL-BOTTOMED TROUSERS
CHORUS
...Singing of bell - bottomed trousers, coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging like his Daddy used to do...


...Once I was a serving maid way down in Drury Lane.
My mother she was kind to me and my sister was the same.
Then I met a sailor boy at home on liberty
And Oh! To my woe he took liberties with me...

...'Twas at the ball I met him and he asked me for a dance
I knew him for a sailor by the way he wore his pants
His shoes were brightly polished and his hair was neatly combed
And after the ball was over he asked to take me home...

...Well he called for a handkerchief to tie around his head
And likewise for a candle for to light his way to bed
And like a foolish maiden I could see no harm
In lying beside the sailor boy, just to keep him warm...

...Well I knew he was no Samson but that night he went to town,
He laid me in my bed until my blue eyes turned to brown,
And early the next morning just before he went away,
A £5 note he gave to me and these words to me did say...

...He said take this my darling for the damage I have done,
For you may have a daughter or you may have a son.
If you have a daughter then bounce her on your knee,
But if you have a son, send the bastard off to sea...

...So come all you young maidens and listen to my plea.
Never let a sailor lad an inch above your knee.
For once I had a sailor but now he's gone to sea
And left me with a pair of twins to bounce upon my knee


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:28 PM

The Traditional Ballad index has quite a list of versions. They are listed under "Rosemary Lane."


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Subject: RE: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: PageOfCups
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:37 PM

Joe- Mitch Miller & co. definitely did that clean version. I can hear them singing it even now. (And will be stuck with them in my head for the rest of the day, too!)

PoC


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Subject: Lyr Add: ENOCH KNOCKED ME OVER
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:58 PM

It has been suggested that "Rosemary Lane" - "Bell Bottom Trousers" originated from a ballad now lost. Here is a broadside that has the same meter as Bell Bottom Trousers, but elopement, rather than seduction, is the outcome. I think it belongs in the same mixed-up group of songs.

ENOCH KNOCKED ME OVER

Now once I loved a nice young girl,
A beauty I declare,
In fact I really thought that she
Was the fairest of the fair;
She lived at home with her Papa,
Old Enoch was his name.

Spoken- So one night I went to see him, and-

Chorus:
I knock'd the knocker, just as Enoch went to sup.
Enoch he knocked me down, Enoch he knocked me up.
Enoch knocked me over, Enoch knocked me sober;
O, I should like to knock Enoch as he knock-ed me.

He left me standing in the street,
And looking rather queer.
I never thought he'd serve me so,
When I went to see my dear;
But I waited there till it was dark,
When Sarah, she came out,
And seeing me in such a state,
Asked what is it all about?

Spoken- When I politely informed her-
I once knocked, etc.

I told her that I loved her true,
And hoped that she did the same.
Says she, my father's made a vow,
I shall not change my name,
So if you wish to gain my hand,
And married to me be,
Just go and ask Papa's consent,
Says I, he'll not agree.

Spoken- For you know very well that only a few minutes ago
I informed you that-
I only knocked, etc.

Says I, my dear, if you'll elope,
With me upon the sly,
Tomorrow we will married be,
Old Enoch then defy:
She gave consent, and off she went,
And preparations made,
For a moonlight trip that very night
While I went on parade.

She eloped with me that very night,
Next day we were married were,
And often since that happy time,
It does to me occur;
That if old Enoch I should meet,
I wonder what he'd say,
To hear his daughter's married, and
So happy all the day.

As sung by H. Darden. Firth c26(165), Bodelian Ballads, 1850-1899.


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Subject: ADD Version: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:18 AM

Here's a version from Randolph/Legman's Roll Me In Your Arms

BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS

When I was a serving maid, down in Drury Lane,
My master he was kind to me, my mistress was the same.
Along came a sailor boy, as happy as could be,
And he was the cause of all my misery.

Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
He'll climb the riggin' like his daddy used to do.

He asked for a candle to light him up to bed,
He asked me for a pillow to put beneath his head;
And I, silly lassie, thinking little harm,
Jumped into the sailor's bed to keep the sailor warm.

Early in the morning, about the break of day,
He handed me a five-pound note, and this to me did say:
Take this, darling, for all the harm I've done,
Maybe it'll be a daughter, maybe it'll be a son.

And if it is a daughter, bounce her On your knee,
But if it is a son, send the bastard out to sea.
Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue,
He'll climb the riggin' like his daddy used to do.

    Notes:
    Text from Mrs. I.C., Springdale, Arkansas, March 27, 1951. She had it from Mr. T.E., Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mr. E. says it is the original of the "Bell-Bottom Trousers" song of World War II, but he learned it in North Carolina, about 1908 (this may be a misremembering, as the text is of the 1920's or 30's type).


The Book of World-Famous Music says this:
while no doubt somewhat older, no printing of this song has been found than in the book Bottoms Up!, edited by Clifford Leach and published July 10, 1933...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:43 PM

Wow, thanks a lot, everybody. That last verse is just the one I was looking for--I've only heard the song a thousand times, and could only remember one line.

The 1943 clean version explains why I first heard the song from my mother when I was about six--I couldn't remember that one either, but I was pretty sure my mom wasn't singing the X-rated version.

By the way, Joe, is it possible to get that last verse onto the DT?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:34 PM

That cleaned-up 1943 version was on the radio when I was little. However, I thickened the plot considerably by mishearing it as

She loves a sailor; Auntie loves her too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 08:09 PM

Moe Jaffe wrote the clean version used by Tony Pastor, Guy Lombardo, Kay Kyser, Bing Crosby, Joe Colonna and others in 1945. See Moe Jaffe


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: BillR
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:55 PM

Yeah, the clean version is the first version I ever heard. From a Mitch Miller record when I was a kid. Didn't know there was another version until I was an adult.

-Bill


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 10:18 PM

I suspect the bawdy version will be found in notes, etc. from WW1 sailors and soldiers. My father picked up the dirty version while in Cavalry school, Ft. Riley, ca. 1920.
British versions are much older. Home, Dearie, Home (Amble Town) was published in 1888, but was old then.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 02:25 AM

If you look in Oscar Brand's "Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads," You will find two variants of the song.

In the first, the central character is an innocent serving maid down on Drury Lane who meets a sailor at a dance. He sees her home with the usual result.

In the second, the waitress at the Prince George Hotel leads a protected life until a "sailor, an ordinary bloke" comes along and removes her innocence. Both end up with babies but the first version is a citation of don't let a sailor an inch above your knee and in the second, all she wishes is to keep the navy warm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,gripper
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 04:29 PM

The Servant of Rosemary Lane was prited at the beginning of the 19th century by printers such as John Pitts and Jennings of London. Later in the century it was printed on broadsides at Belfast and Edinburgh.I have various copies of the wartime sheet music and all of my uncles sang the cruder version during active service in WW2. In fact I've sung it myself as a schoolboy in the 50s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 05:20 PM

Gripper, some are in the Bodleian. Thanks for pointing them out. The "Servant of Rosemary Lane," a readable copy is Johnson Ballads 624, J. Jennings, London. The date, with the newer "s", suggests ca. 1820, although the range given is 1790-1840.

Another ballad, "The Servant Boy," ties the meter to immigration.
Several copies; Harding B11(3453, by Pitts, Seven Dials, 1819-1844, is a clean copy.

The last three verses of "The Servant of Rosemary Lane:"

So we tumbled and tost by the light of the moon,
We rose the next morning all in the same tune,
The very next morning this young man arose,
And drest himself out in his tarpauling cloaths.

Alas! then I cried, O I am undone,
He has left me with child, of a daughter or son,
And if 'tis a girl she shall stay at home with me,
And if 'tis a boy he shall plough on the sea.

With his long quarted'd shoes, check shirt, and blue jacket,
On the quarter deck he shall stand like a bold British tar(?),
So I'll dry up my milk as you shall plainly see,
And pass for a maid in my own country.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 03:48 PM

An early printing under the title "The Waitress and the Sailor," tidied up no doubt, and sung to a variant of the usual tune, appears in "Songs My Mother Never Taught Me," by John Jacob Niles and Douglas Moore (N.Y.: Macaulay Co., 1929. The authors say it was current in World War One - undoubtedly true, since a British text of the period is given in John Brophy and Eric Partridge, "The Long Trail," published in 1965. Eric Posselt's "G.I. Songs" (1943) gives a text much like that of Niles and Douglas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM

Q, many thanks for posting this song in '03.

I know it's late to be asking, but have you the original and can you check it again? The first verse is missing its third line. Would like to see that.

Thanks!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 08:38 AM

Q, I should have specified it's "Enoch Knocked Me Over" I'm asking about. -- Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 09:18 AM

For the record a version of this song titled "The Maiden's Lament" is also included in Count Palmiro Vicarion's (Christopher Logue) BOOK OF BAWDY BALLADS (1962).

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Scrump
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 09:18 AM

Some of those versions above contain lyrics similar to a song I know as "Home Boys Home", which I originally heard by the Dubliners. Are they derived from the same song, or is one a variant of the other?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BELL-BOTTOM TROUSERS
From: Greg B
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 11:20 AM

This thread ought not to miss this rather unexpurgated version:



Once there was a waitress at the Prince George Hotel
Whose mistress was a lady and whose master was a swell
They knew she was a simple girl just lately from the farm
So they did their very best just to keep her from all harm

Singing bell-bottom trousers, coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging like his daddy used to do

The forty-second Fusiliers came marching into town
And with them came a company of rapists of renown
They busted every maidenhead that fell beneath their spell
But they never made the waitress from the Prince George Hotel

And then there came a company of Prince of Wales Hussars
They piled into the whorehouses and packed into the bars
Many a maid and mistress, even wife before them fell
But they never made the waitress from the Prince George Hotel

Then there came a sailor, and ordinary bloke
A-bulging at the trousers with a heart of solid oak
At sea without a woman for seven years or more
You didn't need to ask just what he was looking for

He asked her for a candle just to light his way to bed
He asked her for a pillow just to rest his weary head
And speaking very gently as if he meant no harm
He asked her for to come to bed just so's to keep him warm

She pulled aside the blanket and for a moment there did lie
He was on her! he was in her! in the twinkling of an eye
He was out again! and in again! and ploughing up a storm
And all the waitress said was 'I hope you're keeping warm!'

Early the next morning the sailor he awoke
Saying 'Here's a two-pound note my dear for the damage I have wrote
Now if you have a daughter, bounce her on your knee
And if you have a son, send the bastard off to sea!'

Now there she sits upon the dock, a baby on her knee
A-waiting for the Navy ships a-coming home from sea
Waiting for the jolly tars in Navy uniform
And all she wants to do, me boys, is keep the Navy warm!


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Origins: Bell Bottom Trousers
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 12:36 PM

As is so often the case, Oscar Brand is chiefly responsible for the two best-known modern versions. Both appeared on his Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads LPs in the '50s.

Can anyone positively date a "42nd Fusiliers" version before Brand's recording in 1958?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS (Moe Jaffe)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jun 13 - 08:59 AM

According to Wikipedia, this was the first of several commercial recordings to appear on Billboard's best-seller list. The first 2 verses and choruses were sung by a female vocalist; the rest by a male, both unknown to me. My transcription from Spotify:


BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS
Words and music by Moe Jaffe, ©1944.
As recorded by Tony Pastor and His Orchestra (charted 1945)

1. Once there was a little girl who lived next to me,
And she loved a sailor boy; he was only three.
Now he's on a battleship in his sailor suit,
Just a great big sailor man, but he's just as cute.

CHORUS: Bell bottom trousers, coat of navy blue,
She loves her sailor, and he loves her, too.

2. When they walk along the street anyone can see,
They are, oh, so much in love, happy as can be.
Hand in hand they stroll along; they don't give a hoot.
He won't let go of her hand even to salute. CHORUS

3. Ev'rywhere her sailor went, she was sure to go,
Till one day he sailed away; where, she doesn't know.
Now she's gonna join the WAVES, maybe go to sea,
Try to find her sailor boy wherever he may be. CHORUS

4. If her sailor she can't find on the bounding main,
She is hopeful he will soon come home safe again
So they can get married and raise a family,
Dress up all their kiddies in sailors' dungarees. CHORUS


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