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Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams

DigiTrad:
THE EXECUTION OF FREDERICK BAKER


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Cap'n Collins and the Mermaid (Annie Lore (15)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Sweet Fanny Adams (from Peter Kennedy, Folksongs of Britain and Ireland)


concertina ceol 30 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,mellie 30 Apr 04 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Spike 30 Apr 04 - 09:50 AM
concertina ceol 30 Apr 04 - 10:08 AM
concertina ceol 30 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM
Bob Bolton 01 May 04 - 09:20 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 May 04 - 10:03 AM
izzy 01 May 04 - 11:51 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 May 04 - 03:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 May 04 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Barbara Oakes 24 May 04 - 08:36 AM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jun 06 - 08:26 PM
Fliss 29 Jun 06 - 03:40 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jun 06 - 12:52 PM
Little Robyn 29 Jun 06 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Jon 29 Jun 06 - 09:24 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 08 - 02:48 PM
Joe Offer 15 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Oct 08 - 08:05 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 11 - 11:51 PM
GUEST 24 Mar 14 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,John Tait 24 Mar 14 - 12:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 14 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Alton Man 25 Mar 14 - 06:17 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 15 - 01:45 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: concertina ceol
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM

Hi this is not a joke.

A friend of mine was listening to the Desmond Carrington show recently on Radio 2 when they played a music hall track called "Sweet Fanny Adams" by the Two Leslies (Recorded in the 1930s I think). He would like to learn it but has asked me to try to fing the lyrics and melody. Has anyone got any details of this song.

many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,mellie
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 09:36 AM

My mum used to sing this; can only remember the chorus, and a few snatches of words. It's a gruesome little song, with a weirdly jaunty tune.

"Shall I ever see thee more my dearest Fanny?
The child that I most fondly did love
Was slain and cut to pieces by a villain
And now she's in heaven above."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,Spike
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 09:50 AM

Dunno if it's the same song, but a large hairy individual called Ying Tong John ( Hi John if your out there !) a renound and LOUD folk circuit guy in the 80's, usedto sing the following words :-

Sweet Fanny Adams, She's beautiful blythe and gay.
I carved her name on the trunk of an apple tree One fine day.
The woodpeckers soon got busy, Pecked all her name away,
Now there's nothing left of Sweet Fanny Adams but Sweet F A !!!

I seriously think it was based on the original song!!!

Cheers
Spike


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: concertina ceol
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 10:08 AM

Hi Spike,

I'm sure that's the song because alan, my friend sang that chorus in the pub on wednesday.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET FANNY ADAMS (Leslie Sarony)
From: concertina ceol
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM

this is it

SWEET FANNY ADAMS
Words and music by Leslie Sarony
As sung by The Two Leslies [Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes], 1937.

1. I'm fed up with misses and madams.
I'm fed up with love and romance.
The fault wasn't sweet Fanny Adams'.
The birds didn't give us a chance.

CHORUS: Oh, sweet Fanny Adams, blithe and gay!
On the old apple tree in the orchard, we carved our names in May.
But woodpeckers came in September and the woodpeckers would peck away.
Now all you can see on the old apple tree is "Sweet F A."

2. I said to my Fanny with feeling,
"Let's park in this field for romance."
I whispered, "With passion you're reeling."
She said, "No, it's ants in my pants." CHORUS

3. Those sunbathing times now are ending.
Few more orchard days now remain.
The chilly times onward are wending.
Now winter draws on again. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 May 04 - 09:20 AM

G'day concertina ceol,

I'm glad you have your words to the modern 'parody' version ... but I'm intrigued by GUEST,mellie's Mum's song ... apparently a (~) contemporary song about the actual murder and dismemberment of Frances Adams. This murder - and the (failed) attempt to scatter / conceal the corpse - was commemorated in the Royal Navy by applying the epithet "Sweet Fanny Adams" to any dubious preserved meat served to Sailors ... and this is the historical source of the expression "Sweet Fanny Adams" - or its diminutive "Sweet F A" - for anything small and uncertain ... not the dubious later "folk etymology" for "F A".

I would be interested to hear if any 'Catters have any other memories of this song.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 May 04 - 10:03 AM

Roud lists one example at present (2152), recorded by Peter Kennedy from Mrs Vashti Vincent at Sixpenny Handley, Wiltshire, in 1954. It is transcribed in Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, pp 721-2. According to John Brune, the words were written by Carel Jaeger (about whom I know nothing). There is a broadside of 1867 extant, but I don't know if it's related.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: izzy
Date: 01 May 04 - 11:51 AM

I remember on TV once I saw this bloke in drag singing something like:
       Sweet, sweet Fanny Adams
       She never makes any mistakes
       Sweet, sweet Fanny Adams
       Everyone knows that she's got what it takes

I can't be sure, but I think it was an excerpt from a Carry On.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 04 - 03:27 PM

"Execution of Frederick Baker" is in the DT, without attribution. Anyone know anything about this ballad?
The murder is described in the Hampshire stories at : Famous cases


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 May 04 - 03:46 PM

Execution of Frederick Baker was reprinted in Charles Hindley's Curiosities of Street Literature (1871):

Execution of Frederick Baker

It's a pity that no source information of any kind is given with the DT file for either text or tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,Barbara Oakes
Date: 24 May 04 - 08:36 AM

found lyrics to SFA after hearing on radio - so amusing - how do I find the music, would love to sing it to family!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 08:26 PM

The true story of Sweet Fanny Adams


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Fliss
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 03:40 AM

Heard it sung on Tuesday at Blists Hill Museum in the pub.

For those not in the know the museum is an open air one with buildings that have been saved from distruction and rebuilt to form a working VIctorian town. Its in Ironbridge, Shropshire.

fliss


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 12:52 PM

I heard a woman refer to her buttocks (somewhat oversized buns) as "my sweet Fanny Adams." Has this appellation been around for a while?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Little Robyn
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 07:22 PM

My Mum used to quote 'Sweet Fanny Adams means nothing to me' which I always thought was part of a song. It was also said as 'sweet FA'. That could maybe relate to the sailor's 'sweet nothings' that they had to eat.
I didn't know she was a real child. Fascinating story Foolestroupe.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 09:24 PM

Sweet FA can be Sweet Fuck All as well as Sweet Fanny Adams. I had assumed the Fanny Adams one was a euphemism for the coarser one but now I would guess the coarser words were a later interpretation.


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Subject: ADD Version: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 02:48 PM

Hello all--
   Well, we just can't get enough of a nasty subject, can we? I found the song "Sweet Fanny Adams" many years ago in a folksong book at the Berkeley, California main public library and haven't been able to identify that book again since. However, I had copied and learned the 1867 ballad, a particularly naive piece as to lyrics and melody, but rich in graphic detail. For all the particulars on the murder of little Fanny Adams by Frederick Baker, visit:

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/museum/curtis-museum/alton-history/fanny-adams.htm

   As the English do cherish their murderers, Baker has been duly celebrated by inclusion in wax museum displays, though with his single dismemberment of a small child he couldn't achieve the wider fame of the still-unidentified Jack the Ripper, who at least attacked only grown women. Both of these charming fellows are included in the chapter on Lust Murders in Krafft-Ebing's late Victorian compendium of aberrant urges, "Psychopathia Sexualis". As a folklorist, I was gratified at finding Baker's case history included therein and thus enlarging my understanding of the song, which I duly shared with my audiences, though let it be said that not all listeners had a sufficient appreciation of such a morbid subject; this is the only ballad I've ever been requested NOT to sing. I quite understand, and passed along a like aversion to Cap'n Collins.

   An expression later arose; one could say "it doesn't mean Sweet Fanny Adams to me", as in it means nothing, later sometimes abbreviated to "sweet F.A.". The term 'fanny' refers to a more intimate portion of the female anatomy in British usage than in American, and evidently the 'naughty bits' were not among the body parts recovered, the surmise being that Baker had eaten them. This may have given rise to the British definition of 'fanny', or it may derive from the earlier bawdy novel "Fanny Hill" as is often stated. Herewith, the song:

SWEET FANNY ADAMS

You parents dear who love your little children,
Pray listen a while unto me:
I once had a daughter like an angel,
But now from all trouble she is free.

Chorus:
Shall I never see thee more, my dearest Fanny?
That child that I so fondly did love
Was slain and cut to pieces by a villain,
But now she's in Heaven above.

'Twas on Saturday the twenty-fourth of August,
My fanny and her sister went to play
With another little girl, Minnie Warren,
Little thinking of danger on their way.

But soon they met with young Frederick Baker,
Who is a clerk in solitude we hear,
His parents well-to-do and much respected
At Alton in the county of Hampshire.

Three halfpence the monster gave the children,
To go sweetmeats for to buy;
My Fanny by the hand he dragged bewildered
To the Hollow as she bitterly did cry.

When the children came home without my Fanny,
The neighbors searched the fields all around;
In the hop-yard the head with the eyes out,
And the left ear cut off upon the ground.

Both arms and one leg cut from the body,
All scattered about on the ground,
But far worse than this the fiend committed,
For some parts have never yet been found.

To think that he so cruelly misuse her,
My child, scarce eight years of age
Was slain and cut to pieces by a villain,
But now he's lying in the silent grave.


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Subject: ADD Version: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM

Annie posted lyrics that are almost identical at the beginning to those found in Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain & Ireland, #333. Singer: Vincent Vashti, Sixpenny Handley, Wiltshire. Kennedy's recording of Vashti was on the Caedmon/Topic LP, Folk Songs of Britain, Vol. VII. As far as I can tell, the recording has not been reissued. Note that the Kennedy book has one additional verse, and significant differences in other verses toward the end.
Annie's version makes a little more sense to me.
-Joe-


SWEET FANNY ADAMS

Now, mothers dear, who love your little children,
Pray listen awhile unto me:
I once had a daughter like an angel,
But now from all trouble she is free.

CHORUS:
Shall I never see thee more, my dearest Fanny?
My child that I so fondly did love
Was slain and cut to pieces by a villain,
But now she's in Heaven above.

On Saturday the twenty-first of August,
My poor Fanny and her sister went to play
With another little girl, Minnie Warren,
Little thinking of danger on her way.

But soon they met with young Frederick Baker,
Who's a clerk in solitary we hear,
His parents well-to-do and much respected
At Alton in the county of Hampshire.

Three halfpence the monster gave the children,
To go sweetmeats for to buy;
My poor Fanny's hand he dragged bewildered
To the hollow as she bitterly did cry.

When the children came home without my Fanny,
The neighbors searched the fields all around;
In the hop-yard the head with the eyes out,
And the left ear cut off upon the ground.

Both arms and one leg cut from the body,
Such a cruel deed too strong that man of earth
Was to hide such a crime so bewildered,
My child cut to pieces dead in dearth.

She oftentimes would wander with her sister
In the fields gathering wild flowers gay;
I love her the more when I miss her
My sorrow I shall never drive away.


Supposing he so cruelly violate her,
My child, scarcely eight years of age
Was slain and cut to pieces by a villain,
But now he's lying in the silent grave.


Is this the tune you know, Annie?

Click to play


Here is the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Sweet Fanny Adams

    DESCRIPTION: Fanny Adams, her sister, and another girl go to play, but meet a clerk named Frederick Baker. He sends the younger children off with money for sweets, then murders Fanny. The singer grieves for her daughter, but notes that her murderer is now dead as well
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1867? (broadside announcing execution of Baker)
    LONG DESCRIPTION: The singer's eight-year-old daughter Fanny Adams and her sister go to play with another girl, but they meet a young clerk named Frederick Baker. He offers the younger children money for sweets; when they have gone, he drags Fanny to the hollow. She is missed, and the searchers find her body, murdered and horribly dismembered. The mother grieves for her daughter, but notes that her murderer is now dead as well
    KEYWORDS: grief rape violence abduction crime execution murder punishment death mourning children mother
    HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
    August 27, 1867 -- Murder of Fanny Adams by Frederick Baker. Baker was hanged later in the year.
    FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
    REFERENCES (1 citation):
    Kennedy 333, "Sweet Fanny Adams" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Roud #2152
    RECORDINGS:
    Vashti Vincent, "Sweet Fanny Adams" (on FSB7)
    Notes: The murder took place at Alton, in Hampshire. Cruel to relate, the expression "Sweet Fanny Adams" became part of British vernacular; in the Royal Navy it was used to refer to any dubious meat dish.
    In more recent popular usage, it means "nothing"; if one doesn't get paid for a job, for example, one says one got "Sweet Fanny Adams" or "Sweet F. A." In this context, of course, it is a euphemism for "sweet fuck-all.' - PJS
    File: K333

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 08:05 PM

It would seem that the DT file mentioned earlier was copied without attribution from John Paddy Browne's book Folk Songs of Old Hampshire (Horndean: Milestone Publications, 1987, 50-53). Browne himself frequently neglected to identify his sources, and there is no indication that I can find as to where he might have got the tune from. Since the text is precisely that of the broadside reproduced by Hindley, it may be that it and the tune had never met previously.

Brown mentions that 'at least four different' broadside accounts of the murder were issued, though he gives no useful details. For some information on one by the Norwich printer William Upcroft, see Roly Brown's article at Musical Traditions:

Glimpses into the 19th Century Broadside Ballad Trade No. 26: Norfolk printings of murder and execution (1) Material in the Norwich Millenium library


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 11:51 PM

You can hear SWEET FANNY ADAMS sung by The Two Leslies (Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes) at YouTube. It's the second of two songs in that "video." The lyrics correspond to those posted by Concertina Ceol above at 30 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 11:44 AM

I got this record of my great uncle in the 1950 along with several others We used to sing Sweet fanny Adams bright and gay on the old apple tree in the orchard she carved her name in may the woodpecker came in september the woodpecker would peck away now all you can see on the old apple tree is sweet FA .Also one called Down at the hole in the wall It went something like this .Down at the hole in the A ? young fellow said said to a young lady take this bucket down and milk the old cow till its full for hours she sat working pulling and jerking she found out the cow was a bull chorus down at the hole in the wall ect ect .I wish we still had them all now but were used as targets for air rifle.I think this must be the proper words Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET FANNY ADAMS (Leslie Sarony)
From: concertina ceol
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM

this is it

SWEET FANNY ADAMS
Words and music by Leslie Sarony
As sung by The Two Leslies [Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes], 1937.

1. I'm fed up with misses and madams.
I'm fed up with love and romance.
The fault wasn't sweet Fanny Adams'.
The birds didn't give us a chance.

CHORUS: Oh, sweet Fanny Adams, blithe and gay!
On the old apple tree in the orchard, we carved our names in May.
But woodpeckers came in September and the woodpeckers would peck away.
Now all you can see on the old apple tree is "Sweet F A."

2. I said to my Fanny with feeling,
"Let's park in this field for romance."
I whispered, "With passion you're reeling."
She said, "No, it's ants in my pants." CHORUS

3. Those sunbathing times now are ending.
Few more orchard days now remain.
The chilly times onward are wending.
Now winter draws on again. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,John Tait
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 12:03 PM

Both songs are on youtube The two Leslies and Leslie Sarony


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 02:02 PM

The Oxford Dictionary says it I an example of black humour (from the Baker murder).

I have wondered, however, if the origin of the expression is independent of the murder.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST,Alton Man
Date: 25 Mar 14 - 06:17 PM

I'm from Alton - the town where Fanny Adams and her family lived, I have seen her gravestone many times.

When I was at school my English teacher Kevin Osmond wrote the song " A Hot day in August" about the murder.

the song takes it's name from Frederick Bakers' diary entry on the day he commited the murder " killed a young girl, it was nice and hot"

a really haunting song - Kevin Osmond, if you're still out there I'd love to hear the song again


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Fanny Adams
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 15 - 01:45 PM

Sweet, sweet Fanny Adams
       She never makes any mistakes
       Sweet, sweet Fanny Adams
       Everyone knows that she's got what it takes

Sung by Tommy Trinder and Sonnie Hale in their marvellous 1944 comedy film, "Fiddlers Three."


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