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Songs that offend you

alanabit 06 Dec 04 - 11:29 AM
Midchuck 06 Dec 04 - 11:39 AM
Clinton Hammond 06 Dec 04 - 12:13 PM
sian, west wales 06 Dec 04 - 12:20 PM
The Borchester Echo 06 Dec 04 - 12:21 PM
Dead Horse 06 Dec 04 - 12:25 PM
Rapparee 06 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Dec 04 - 12:35 PM
PoppaGator 06 Dec 04 - 12:38 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Dec 04 - 12:52 PM
The Villan 06 Dec 04 - 01:02 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Dec 04 - 01:12 PM
Azizi 06 Dec 04 - 01:21 PM
The Villan 06 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Dec 04 - 01:35 PM
Peace 06 Dec 04 - 01:35 PM
The Villan 06 Dec 04 - 01:48 PM
Tradsinger 06 Dec 04 - 02:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Dec 04 - 02:21 PM
Kenny B 06 Dec 04 - 02:38 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Dec 04 - 02:40 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Dec 04 - 04:55 PM
Lighter 06 Dec 04 - 05:14 PM
dwditty 06 Dec 04 - 05:27 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Dec 04 - 05:46 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 06 Dec 04 - 05:54 PM
Nemesis 06 Dec 04 - 06:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Dec 04 - 06:22 PM
Bobert 06 Dec 04 - 06:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Dec 04 - 06:36 PM
PoppaGator 06 Dec 04 - 06:41 PM
beetle cat 06 Dec 04 - 07:17 PM
michaelr 06 Dec 04 - 07:21 PM
PoppaGator 06 Dec 04 - 07:26 PM
Peace 06 Dec 04 - 07:40 PM
Bill D 06 Dec 04 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,Tony 06 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM
Joybell 06 Dec 04 - 09:07 PM
Rapparee 06 Dec 04 - 09:42 PM
Janice in NJ 06 Dec 04 - 09:48 PM
khandu 06 Dec 04 - 09:53 PM
Rapparee 06 Dec 04 - 10:04 PM
Sorcha 06 Dec 04 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Gerry 06 Dec 04 - 11:27 PM
LadyJean 06 Dec 04 - 11:42 PM
DonMeixner 07 Dec 04 - 12:04 AM
Coyote Breath 07 Dec 04 - 12:22 AM
Boab 07 Dec 04 - 02:38 AM
John MacKenzie 07 Dec 04 - 05:15 AM
Leadfingers 07 Dec 04 - 05:32 AM
Paco Rabanne 07 Dec 04 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Ron Davies 07 Dec 04 - 06:15 AM
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Wolfgang 07 Dec 04 - 08:14 AM
Flash Company 07 Dec 04 - 10:02 AM
Rapparee 07 Dec 04 - 10:23 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 04 - 10:24 AM
John MacKenzie 07 Dec 04 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Weasel Books 07 Dec 04 - 10:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Dec 04 - 11:05 AM
alanabit 07 Dec 04 - 11:56 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 04 - 12:43 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 07 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Dec 04 - 01:08 PM
DonMeixner 07 Dec 04 - 01:18 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 07 Dec 04 - 03:01 PM
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Big Al Whittle 08 Dec 04 - 09:28 AM
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Big Al Whittle 08 Dec 04 - 11:46 AM
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GUEST, Mikefule 08 Dec 04 - 12:37 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 08 Dec 04 - 01:23 PM
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DonMeixner 08 Dec 04 - 05:41 PM
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Richard Bridge 08 Dec 04 - 06:26 PM
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Midchuck 08 Dec 04 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Gerry 08 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Dec 04 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,Scoville on borrowed PC 08 Dec 04 - 09:19 PM
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Rapparee 08 Dec 04 - 11:03 PM
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Metchosin 09 Dec 04 - 12:54 AM
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alanabit 09 Dec 04 - 03:01 AM
Metchosin 09 Dec 04 - 03:20 AM
Wusie 09 Dec 04 - 04:24 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 04 - 05:56 AM
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Big Al Whittle 09 Dec 04 - 07:20 AM
mkebenn 09 Dec 04 - 08:33 AM
Rapparee 09 Dec 04 - 09:59 AM
Coyote Breath 09 Dec 04 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,amergin 09 Dec 04 - 01:19 PM
Bill D 09 Dec 04 - 01:32 PM
alanabit 09 Dec 04 - 02:57 PM
Joybell 09 Dec 04 - 05:52 PM
Metchosin 09 Dec 04 - 06:11 PM
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Bill D 09 Dec 04 - 06:47 PM
Metchosin 09 Dec 04 - 06:58 PM
Scoville 09 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM
Scoville 09 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 04 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Gerry 09 Dec 04 - 09:24 PM
DonMeixner 10 Dec 04 - 12:31 AM
mkebenn 10 Dec 04 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Jimmy 10 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Dec 04 - 12:32 PM
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frogprince 10 Dec 04 - 03:19 PM
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frogprince 11 Dec 04 - 01:21 PM
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GUEST,Bluesmike 11 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Dec 04 - 05:32 PM
vulvabogwadins 13 Dec 04 - 01:06 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 13 Dec 04 - 02:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 04 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Gerry 14 Dec 04 - 10:11 PM
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annamill 15 Dec 04 - 02:11 PM
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Big Mick 01 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM
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kendall 01 Feb 05 - 04:50 PM
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Subject: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 11:29 AM

I have been involved in a couple of debates recently about songs which have given offence to other Mudcatters. On one occasion, a song I posted was seen as racist. On another, there was discussion of a very bad taste song, which for some members went beyond what they found acceptable.
I am not trying to push anyone's buttons here. I view Mudcatters as my friends and I expect my friends to tell me when they think I am wrong. What we find offensive or not offfensive very much comes down to our experiences and our own personalities. We are not all looking at the world through the same eyes.
I would be interested to hear what songs - or types of songs - other members find offensive and to discuss why they are affected in that way. My critics on the other threads responded with immaculate courtesy. I hope we can conduct a debate here in the same spirit.
I particularly dislike songs which I feel glorify violence, or give it a bogus moral footing. I wonder what you find unnacceptable?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 11:39 AM

Frosty the F*%^ing Snowman.

Rudolph the F*$@ing Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Stupid Little Drummer Boy.


I love music, and I enjoy Christmas, in spite of my cynicism about the holiday as a marketing tool. But I hate the Christmas music, and I'm not sure why. Maybe the repetition every year, maybe the blatant use as a marketing tool.

I realize I'm wandering off topic right away, but I am giving my honest answer to the question.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:13 PM

Offends? I can't say it offends me but "There Were Roses" nausates me! Is that close enough?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: sian, west wales
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:20 PM

Don't like, You Picked a Bad Time to Leave Me, Lucille. What? Does he mean that if the kids are fed and the crops are in, he'd be happy to see her leave? So ... convenience to HIM is what's important?

(((sheesh)))

siân


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:21 PM

If it trivialises or over-simplifies a complicated political issue, it irritates me. I'm right with ClintonHammond on There Were Roses, particularly when lisped by Cara Dillon in her little girl voice.

And I hate to say this because I admire Pete Morton greatly, but his song Two Brothers which depicts Israel and Palestine as a pair of badly-behaved kids has the same effect. "I don't care who started it..." is really not helpful.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:25 PM

I detest racist songs.
I have never found any, but if I do, I will detest them.
There are plenty with the *nigger* word in them, but as these songs were mostly written by, and certainly sung by coloureds, I figure who am I to turn all pc all of a sudden?
I also hate songs with "Dead Horse, you are a f***ing w***er" in the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM

I've been surprised by songs, but never really offended. Perhaps what offends me is not the song itself but the connotations it has today: "Horst Wessel Lieder" or "Dixie" are two that come to mind, as does "Jump Jim Crow."

Like the swastika and other symbols, certain songs have been used in such a way that today they are offensive.

I admit that I'm leaving out songs that are INTENDED to offend, such as

"Sunday morning, go for a ride
Took along my Colt .45
Went down to Derry just for a lark...."

for one example.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:35 PM

just avoid it. when somebody sings it, choose then to and have a wee. or get the drinks in.

generally the more verses and more miserable a song is - somehow it seems to attract the singers with less ability to remember the words.

I think that annoys me more than anything - people with no serious committment to singing the song properly - getting up and sort of singing it because they feel the need to be a singer - a sort of neurotic alternative to being an ordinary human being. they can usually be heard in the dim recesses slagging off Martin Carthy and anyone else who spoils it by being too professional.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:38 PM

I don't offend easily, and generally find great amusement in material that others find offensive.

Could you please identify the songs that aroused this reaction, so that I might enjoy them?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:52 PM

I also am not offended by what would now be considered racial slurs if they weren't deemed offensive when the song was written. What I am offended by are attempts to "clean up" old songs in which such words may be used for the sake of modern political correctness. For instance, I have a Skillet Lickers tape on which the fiddle tune "Nigger in the Woodpile" has been retitled "In the Woodpile". I feel that doing so is contrary to the spirit of folk music and is the musical equivalent of putting fig leaves on statues.

However, I would be very offended if a recently composed song were to include a racial or ethnic slur, and, while I'll defend some moronic country singer's right to use "rag head" in a song, I damned sure don't have to listen to it.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: The Villan
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:02 PM

Clinton
I totally disagree with you.

There were Roses is a beautifull number.

We are fortunate in Lincolnshire to Listen to Lucy Wright and Paul Young do this number. Its beautifull and brings tear to the eye.

Don't take it the wrong way, just my personal opinion. :-)

Les Worrall


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:12 PM

Yer welcome to disagree all you want Les... It's the nature of the beast eh! :-)

I think it's trite, sappy, over saccharine, and if one is going to write songs that rhyme, one should make sure they actually rhyme... (sad and land, born and strong, just as examples) It always seemed to me to be at best a good first draft...

For a song with the exact same message, "Christmas In The Trenches" beats "Roses" hands down, any day of the week in my book...

But what a boring old world it'd be if we all agreed on everything all the time eh Les! :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:21 PM

I don't like traditional and contemporary lyrics that are:
racist
sexist
homophobic

While I recognize the need to document the original words of songs that contain such lyrics, I don't have to use referents that I find offensive. So I substitute other words.

Why do I find these lyrics offensive? I consider them to be harmful in the short and long term to individual's self-esteem and to the referenced group's self-concept. I also believe that such referents can harm those in the majority populations who use them.

That being said, if someone wants to use such referents, I support their right to do so although I think it may be unwise and unhealthy to do so in some circles ;0) and in the long run.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: The Villan
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM

That's what its all about Clinton agreeing to disagree, without getting offensive to each other. :-)

If I could put on every artist at my club that everybody liked I could charge a fortune and live a very respectful life (only joking).

It's all about variety and some we like and some we don't.

Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:35 PM

I donno anyone who likes everything Les...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Peace
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:35 PM

"I Am Woman".

Not for it's sentiments, but for being one of the worst songs of all time.

"Horse With No Name" for being equally bad.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: The Villan
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 01:48 PM

None


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:17 PM

IRA rebel songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:21 PM

Maybe if Clinton heard Tommy Sands sing "There were Roses", with not a trace of "saccharine", he'd change his mind. Reue enough, the rhymes aren't exact, but that's not because Tommy Sands hasn't the craft to make them match (that's the easiest thing in the world), it's because he liked it better that way, with a few partial rhymes and assonances scattered around.
........................

There are two types of "offensive" in this thread - there's aesthetic offensive, where's it's the style that gets in the way (and half the time that's a matter of how a song is sung - there are singers who can make you want to throw up at any number of lovely songs); and there is content-based offensive. And the better the song, the worse when it comes to that. But even there, what matters isn't so much teh song itself, it's the intent of the singer.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Kenny B
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:38 PM

I have been asked not to sing "The Hanky" by Davy Robertson at one venue and requested to sing it twice at another location.
So who knows?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:40 PM

Have McGoH... Didn't like it either...


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 04:55 PM

sian,west wales, said:

Don't like, You Picked a Bad Time to Leave Me, Lucille. What? Does he mean that if the kids are fed and the crops are in, he'd be happy to see her leave? So ... convenience to HIM is what's important?

I think you've got a wrong handle on what the narrator is saying in this song, sian.

In essence, the "bad time" is when he's already been knocked down, and Lucille has picked that time to kick him in the groin.

I haven't heard the song for a while, but I seem to remember that the title is actually, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille," an ironic statement. The song is rueful humor, as I understand it. You seem to be taking it at absolute face value.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 05:14 PM

McGrath is right about there being more than one kind of "offensive." Songs joyfully espousing twisted political or social movements repel me but don't make me want to throw up. Certain rugby songs dwelling on - here's a perfect word - crapulousness - do make me queasy.

Goofy saccharine songs make me groan, so I guess they offend me in a different way. I better not mention any titles.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: dwditty
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 05:27 PM

Brucie...Horse with No Name...great choice...the heat was hot (indeed)

OK, I can suffer through Neil Diamond complaining that his chair won't talk to him in I AM..I Said. But when he rhymes "brang" with "sang" in Play Me:

....songs she sang to me
songs she brang to me

Oh brother.

dw


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 05:46 PM

What, DWD, he should have said, "brung to me--sung to me"??

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 05:54 PM

Hmmmmm. Offensive?

Surely the intention of the singer is important.

But there are layers within layers.

And first, let me say I really am offended, or at least irritated, by the use of euphemisms for words like "nigger" ("the N word", "n***er", etc.) when the word is being used in a serious and valid context. It's prissy.

So, a song from 1845 with the word "nigger" in it is a historical specimen, interesting and valid in its context, although most of us wouldn't espouse the values it expresses.

But if I wrote a song today, casually referring to black people as "niggers" then that would be offensive.

But what if I wrote a serious song, inspired by my sincere hatred of racism, and used the word deliberately for effect? That shouldn't be seen as offensive, although some people might find the particular example to be in bad taste, or misjudged.

And what if a black person wrote one, with the intention of performing it to a predominantly black audience? (S)he might argue that it was "reclaiming" the word and deliberately stripping it of its offensive connotations and neutering it. Some black people might agree, but others might still find it offensive.

Yet 150 years ago, many black people probably used the word just out of habit and never thought about it being offensive. They were too busy being oppressed to worry about a word.

Then there's "post modern irony" which is where we laugh at the fact that something used to be funny or acceptable, but isn't now. At one level, that's making camp "Carry On" jokes; at another, it's pretending to admire Bernard Manning's style of humour. To a knowing audience, which understands the distinction, it's a valid and sometimes powerful form of satire.

So, the only test I could apply to whether a song is offensive is the intention of the singer (not the song writer). If (s)he intends to offend, then it's offensive; if (s)he doesn't care who (s)he offends, then it may be offensive. Otherwise, the worst it can be is "in poor taste", and the best it can be is very funny, or moving.

That said, I can think of one song I'm never quite comfortable with, even though it's a very good session song: "My proper name is Clarence". This is a funny song, but predicated on all those present agreeing that homosexuality and transvestism are frightening. It never crossed my mind that it was offensive until I was in the same room as a gay friend when it was being sung, and he wasn't laughing. This is a low level offensiveness, arising from the fact that it carelessly perpetuates or endorses a prejudiced opinion.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Nemesis
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 06:11 PM

The songs I find offensive are the ones I'm most likely to hear ... on the radio (don't hear racist, homophobic songs cos neither the local or national stations play them..)

But the songs that I hear and find offensive are things like "Sexual Healing" and other blatant sexual descriptions .. e.g. at 7am in the morning while getting the kids ready for school. It's out of place, inapropriate and quite embarrassing with little kids aurally confronted by moaning orgasms and explicit sexual references - even worse seeing them sing along: like the chldren's "talent" competition we saw, with 5 year old moppets barely clad, miming along to words and actions "I wanna be your lover" by the Spice Girls.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 06:22 PM

Actually I think that another, and perhaps more accurate reading of "My proper name is Clarence" is that it's poking fun at people who think that "homosexuality and transvestism are frightening".

But for that to work it needs to be sung in a context where the singer and the listeners were agreed that those kind of attitudes are ridiculous. In the wrong setting it could reinforce those very attitudes (rather like "Black, White and Brown" with its refrain of "If you're Black, get back", if sung by racists.)
...............................................

There are some occasions when you might actually want to offend some people and some attitudes. I know Dylan turned away from the idea of "finger-pointing songs", but there are times when pointing fingers is not a bad thing to do.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 06:31 PM

When I was growin' up back in ol' Virginny we used to sing a song in out white public schools entitled "Old Black Joe"... I didn't know enough about the real world at the time to be offended but that changed... What ahorrible song to make a bunch of lilly white kids sing in their lilly white elementary school...

Now there are a couple songs that I've heard over the years that I should offend me but fir some reason I just think they are funny, like Bobby Bare's "Redneck Mother", 'er whoever it was that wrote "Jesus, Kick Me Thru the Goal Posts of Life"...

And then there are songs that are so bad that I am offended that I have written songs a zillion times better that have never mad4e it on the radio yet these lame songs did. The worst of these offenders in Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey"... Worst song ever written... Makes me reconsider my position on the death penalty...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 06:36 PM

It seems to me that "Old Black Joe" could really only be offensive in a racist culture. A sort of litmus test of whether the culture is racist or not.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 06:41 PM

GUEST Mikefule wrote, about songs containing the word "nigger":

"And what if a black person wrote one, with the intention of performing it to a predominantly black audience? (S)he might argue that it was "reclaiming" the word and deliberately stripping it of its offensive connotations and neutering it. Some black people might agree, but others might still find it offensive."

What if? What if? Jeez! Mike, have you never been subjected to the sound of rap "music"? I envy you...


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: beetle cat
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:17 PM

I found a little book of chanties, "what Do you Do With A Drunken Sailor", edited by Douglas Morgan, Swordsmith Books, 2002.

Claims to be unmodernized versions of chanties. I dont know what it think. Sure does open my eyes though.. I'm glad they aren't sung like that anymore, as there would be an even smaller audience for them. As long as the records exist somewhere.

There are a few in there that ive heard sung as they appear in the book, and I am not offended by them simly because that is how I grew up hearing them, like "Cruising 'Round Yarmouth". The metaphor probably wouldn't escape anyone over the age of seven.

There are a few that I haven't ever heard sung in public, that I suppose are "beyond repair", such as "Baltimore Whores".

and then, most interestingly, there are the chanties that I have accepted in their edited versions, such as "Whup Jamboree", thinking all this time that jenny should keep her ring tail warm, or fetch the oat cakes! And somehow I feel lied to, when I learn the original versions, but I understand, and am greatfull at the same time.

Just as long as they are sung, I think, do whatever you want. That is what tradition is all about.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: michaelr
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:21 PM

Where I work, I'm subjected to a lot of "classic rock" radio, and I'm offended whenever I hear one of those Led Zeppelin songs with the lines "big legged woman ain't got no soul" or "The soul of a woman was created below".

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:26 PM

Everyone should know that them big-leg wimmins got *plenty* soul...and they should certainly continue to be a big [no pun intended] part of traditional blues lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Peace
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:40 PM

Dick Gregory wrote a series of essays, observations and stories entitled "Nigger". He dedicated it to his mother with the words, "The next time you hear the word nigger, they're advertising my book." Intent and context have lots to do with it all, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:51 PM

....'modern' songs with hateful lyrics which degrade women and promote violence.

There are songs from the past I would not sing in many venues, but would in certain places...with explanitory disclaimers. (songs with 'nigger' when it is done to illustrate the way things were) Raunchy songs do not offend me morally, but some are in such bad taste, poorly constructed, and just plain stupid excuses to bellow naughty words that I will NOT sing them...(a lot of Rugby..etc.. songs are only crude, and not a bit clever...so it sort of offends me that good raunchy songs are ignored in order to be as gross as possible...but that is not exactly what the thread is about)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM

I get offended by economic or political songs with sloppy reasoning leading to highly biased positions. All sides of politics and self interest seem guilty of this but the left tends to dominate in folk circles. I used to get particularly annoyed by a lot of Red Gum's material.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 09:07 PM

I'm not easily offended, but I do dislike songs that stir up genuine deep feelings for something that's not real, but appears to be. Songs like "Scarlet Ribbons", for example - although that's one of the milder ones. (Child prays for hair-ribbons and gets them). There are more nasty examples I'm sure.
There are songs I wouldn't sing at all, some I would only sing in some places, and some I'll avoid listening to.
Good thread, alanabit. Thanks. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 09:42 PM

And it sometimes depends upon the temporal context:

COPS OF THE WORLD

by Phil Ochs, (c)1966, 1968 Barricade Music, Inc.

Come, get out of the way, boys, quick, get out of the way
You'd better watch what you say, boys, better watch what you say
We've rammed in your harbor and tied to your port
And our pistols are hungry and our tempers are short
So bring your daughters around to the fort
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

We pick and choose as we please, boys
Pick and choose as we please
You'd better get down on your knees, boys
You'd best get down on your knees
We're hairy and horny and ready to shack
And we don't care if you're yellow or black
Just take off your clothes and lay down on your back
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

Our boots are needing a shine, boy, boots are needing a shine
But our Coca-Cola is fine, boys, Coca-Cola is fine
We've got to protect all our citizens fair
So we'll send a battalion for everyone there
And maybe we'll leave in a couple of years
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

And dump the Reds in a pile, boys, dump the Reds in a pile
You'd better wipe off that smile, boys, better wipe off that smile
We'll spit through the streets of the cities we wreck
And we'll find you a leader that you can elect
Those treaties we signed were a pain in the neck
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

And clean the johns with a rag, boys, clean the johns with a rag
If you like, you can use your flag, boys, if you like, you can use your flag
We've got too much money; we're looking for toys
Guns will be guns, and boys will be boys
But we'll gladly pay for all we've destroyed
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

And please stay off of the grass, boys, please stay off of the grass
Here's a kick in the ass, boys, here's a kick in the ass
We'll smash down your doors; we don't bother to knock
We've done it before, so why all the shock
We're the biggest and toughest kids on the block
And we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world

And when we've butchered your sons, boys, when we've butchered your sons
Have a stick of our gum, boys, have a stick of our bubblegum
We own half the world, oh say can you see
And the name for our profits is democracy
So like it or not you will have to be free
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys, we're the cops of the world.

or another from Phil:

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
And I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to the civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
And I'm glad that the commies were thrown out
From the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
And I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
As long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Ah, the people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
Now I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Yes, I read New Republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I attend all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
And I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Sure, once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
Ah, but I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal.

and one more from Phil:

The fire breathing rebels arrive at the party early,
Their khaki coats are hung in the closet near the fur.
Asking handouts from the ladies, while they criticize the lords.
Boasting of the murder of the very hands that pour.
And the victims learn to giggle, for at least they are not bored.
And my shoulders had to shrug
As I crawl beneath the rug
And retune my piano.

The hostess is enormous, she fills the room with perfume,
She meets the guests and smothers them with greetings.
And she asks how are you as she offers them a drink,
The countess of the social grace, who never seems to blink.
And she promises to talk to you, if you promise not to think.
And my shoulders had to shrug, as I crawled beneath the rug
And retuned my piano.

The beauty of the hour is blazing in the present,
She surrounds herself with those who would surrender.
Floating in the flattery she's a trophy-prize, caressed.
Protected by a pretty face, sometimes cursed, sometimes blessed.
And she's staring down their desires, while they're staring down her dress.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

The egos shine like lightbulbs, so bright you cannot see them,
Blind each other blinder than a sandbox.
All the fury of an argument, holding back their yawns,
A challenge shakes the chandliers, the selfish swords are drawn.
To the loser go the hangups, to the victor go the hangers on.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

They travel to the table, the host is served for supper,
And they pass each other for salt and pepper.
And the conversation sparkles as their wits are dipped in wine,
Dinosaurs on a diet, on each other they will dine.
Then they pick their teeth and they squelch a belch saying:
Darling you tasted divine.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

The wallflower is waiting, she hides behind composure.
She'd love to dance and prays that no one asks her.
Then she steals a glance at lovers while her fingers tease her hair.
And she marvels at the confidence of those who hide their fears.
Then her eyes are closed as she rides away with a foreign legionaire.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

Romeo is reeling, counting notches on his thighbone,
Searching for one hundred and eleven.
And he's charming as a child as he leads them to the web,
Seducing queens and gypsy girls in the boudoir of his head.
Then he wraps himself with a tablecloth and pretends he is a bed.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

The party must be over, even the losers are leaving.
But just one doubt is nagging at my caustic mind:
So I snuck up close behind me and I gave myself a kiss,
And I led myself to the mirror to expose what I had missed.
There I saw a laughing maniac who was writing songs like this.
And my shoulders had to shrug, etc.

Something in Ochs to offend 'most everyone....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 09:48 PM

It isn't the song itself, but a comment Phil Ochs inserted into Love Me, I'm a Liberal:

I go to civil rights rallies,
I put down the old D.A.R.

Spoken: D.A.R. -- That's the Dykes of the American Revolution.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: khandu
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 09:53 PM

Excellent thread Alan!

I am not easily offended by songs. I try to see from the writer's viewpoint.
I guess the only songs that "offend" me are some of the old Gospel hymns & some "contemporary" Christian music.
I mean, why sing about the "Sweet By & By" when I need to know how to live in the "Not So Sweet Here & Now"!
And "Gimme gas for my Ford, keep me trucking for the Lord, Gimme oil for my board, keep me surfing for the Lord", just does not inspire me to respond with "Christian charity"!

Ken


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 10:04 PM

Hell, why not? (Anybody else start to notice the relevance in Phil's songs isn't just to the '60s?)

I'M GOING TO SAY IT NOW
(Phil Ochs)

Oh, I am just a student, sir, and I only want to learn
But its hard to read through the rising smoke of the books that you
like to burn
So I'd like to make a promise and I'd like to make a vow
That when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

Oh, you've given me a number and you've taken off my name
To get around this campus, why, I'd almost need a plane
And you're supporting Chiang-Kai-Shek, while I'm supporting Mao
So when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

I wish that you'd make up your mind, I wish that you'd decide
That I should live as freely as those who live outside
Cause we also are entitled to the rights to be endowed
And when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

Oh, you'd like to be my father, you'd like to be my dad
And give me kisses when I'm good and spank me when I'm bad
But since I left my parents, I've forgotten how to bow
So, when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

And things they might be different if I was here alone
But I've got a friend or two who no longer live at home
And we'll respect our elders, just as long as they'll allow
That when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

I've read of other countries where the students take a stand;
They've even helped to overthrow the leaders of the land
Now I wouldn'r go so far to say we're also learning how
But when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

So keep right on a-talking, and tell us what to do
But if nobody listens, my apologies to you
And I know that you were younger once, cause you sure are older now
And when I've got something to say, sir, I'm going to say it now.

(Repeat first verse)

Copyright 1965 Barricade Music, Inc.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 10:29 PM

Christian hymns about blood.....such as Rock of Ages....don't really 'offend' me, but they do nauseate me no end. Likewise, 'Trad'Christian funeral hymns....In the Garden, Old Rugged Cross.....etc.....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 11:27 PM

dw wrote,

"OK, I can suffer through Neil Diamond complaining that his chair won't talk to him in I AM..I Said. But when he rhymes "brang" with "sang" in Play Me:

"....songs she sang to me
songs she brang to me"

Say, dw, are you channelling Martin Pearson? He puts something almost exactly like this into one of his routines - I think it's the one where he parodies The Gambler.

Anyway, I'm offended by Lord of the Dance, specifically by the verse,

"I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame,
The holy people said it was a shame,
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
And they left me there on a cross to die."

which perpetrates the antisemitic lie that the Jews crucified Jesus.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 11:42 PM

A lot of top 40 songs from the 60s were offensive, but few more so than one called "Sweet Cream Ladies", a tribute to prostitutes. It was parodied to advertise Jell-o Cream pies, which amused me no end.
In the 70s, there was a song called "We Got to Get You a Woman", which included the line, "They may be stupid but they sure are fun." I didn't care much for that.
Also in the 70s, the Transylvania College choral union was doing a medley of Stephen Foster songs. The Baritone we called Sugar Bear, because he was a big man with a voice like warm honey, began his solo:

"Oh the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky Home.
'Tis summer, the dar--young folks are gay".

An on the spot rewrite.

The holy people doesn't encompass all the Jews. Protestants learn that Jesus was opposed by the "Scribes and Pharisees, religious leaders more interested in secular power than real faith, and those bad old Romans.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 12:04 AM

I can't think of a single song that offends me. I guess I am able to escape into context with about anything I hear.

Two songs I flat out don't like and amazed at their acceptance are

"The Old Man" ( Phil Coulter) and "The Voyage" (Christy Moore? I think) just awful. If you want to hear the sentiments they engender try Jerry Jeff Walker's "My Old Man" and Tom Paxtons "Outward Bound"

Rapaire, I have never doubted Phil Ochs relevance.

Gerry, I think you better read your history a little deeper. It was some, underline some, make that a few, people who were Jewish that crucified Jesus, It was not all the Jews who did it. Rome was responsible but a couple of frightened local clerics caused directly the deed to be done. You can't say all the Jews killed Christ, who was Jewish anymore than you can say all the Catolics are responsible for the Spainish Inquisition. Altho' some one will I'm sure.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 12:22 AM

Well I guess one shouldn't really be offended by a song's words or sentiments when the song expresses what WAS a understanding of life at a point in the past.

If the song was written with the intent to offend or was written with some sort of "in-your-face" justification (on the part of the author) it is offensive, period!

I know songs whose words are painfully racist. But in the context of the times when they were written and performed they were done "in the vernacular" so to speak.

I personally would not sing these songs as they were written and if I couldn't edit them so they still had value as musical entertainment I wouldn't sing them at all.

Pete Seeger was involved with the re-issue, on a LP, of a number of Uncle Dave Macon's recordings. Some racist words are part of the songs. Pete Seeger is no racist. He provided a valued service by helping to re-issue the songs. I play a lot of Uncle Dave's stuff and never use the racist words and the songs still stand strong.

There is a terrible racist word and racist sentiment in "Prohibition is a Failure". There are offensive words in the "Jim Crow" novelty songs from before during and after the Civil War. "Suananoa Tunnel" has a verse with a racist word in it. "Watermellon on the Vine" I think also has racist words (I'm a bit fuzzy here since I never learned that one). These songs are not, in themselves, racist.

I heard a song when I lived in Alabama, which was definately racist. It was a song sung by a mamber of the Klan, to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

That earlier song alanabit, (If memory serves me) was objectionable because while it may have had legitimacy in the past it certainly shouldn't be taught to a child today.

CB


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Boab
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 02:38 AM

I have an aversion to ANY parody. Those who haven't got the talent to produce their own original should atleast leave the work of others alone!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 05:15 AM

I hate any sectarian song, and hate even more good historical songs which have become 'The Property' of one side or the other in sectarian circles. Songs like Kevin Barry and The Fields of Athenry, I even got sideways looks for singing Roddy McCorly once, jeez! Songs like The Sea Around us by Behan express these sentiments better without appearing to attract the same censure.
As for 'Songs which make me rush for the off switch' first and foremost I Got You Babe, followed by McArthur Park, and anything by Rod McKuen [sp?] etc etc.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 05:32 AM

Its blatant misreprentation in songs that winds me up - 'Young' Davy
Crockett laughing and dying in The Alamo and that one about the witches where the Inquisition killed more witches than the total population of Europe at the time .
And Sorry Boab , but I have long held the belief that EVERY time some one writes a good song , some Smart Ass Folkie writes an even better parody of it .
Which reminds me , Sian , try the Shep Wooley 'Lucille' rewrite - 'You
picked a fine time to try for a feel' !!!!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 05:36 AM

'Paper Woses' by Marie Osmond. She can't pronounce the letter R properly, she sings a bloody W!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 06:15 AM

Songs that have been changed to protect the real or imagined sensitivities of the audience.

Obviously you have to use your judgment.   But if you want to sing something controversial, you should be able to just preface it by saying you don't agree with the sentiment, language, and place it in historical context or whatever.

Then you should be able to sing anything, with absolutely no censorship whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 07:54 AM

Maybe this shouldn't be a problem, bearing in mind that, as hard as I try, I do end up using a few choice words from time to time, albeit normally only in my own hearing, however, recently I saw a bunch of people doing a guest spot at a local folk club who had a song, the chorus of which including liberal use of f***. Maybe, this would have seemed slighty less incongruous with the setting, bearing in mind that people quite often bring kids along seeing it as a safe enviroment, if they had not then encouraged the audience to join in ad nauseum. As a professional performer for that last 25 years, realising that there is a degree of responsibilty in that role, this just came across as offensive and infantile when placed into that particular context.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:14 AM

When seeing a TV feature about Neonazi music recently I realised that luckily I do not know most of the songs that really would offend me.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Flash Company
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 10:02 AM

Probably the most offensive thing I've heard recently was a five year old girl on a local bus in Mid-Cheshire, egged on by her granny, singing Kevin Barry.
I'm an ooold folk singer, and know these songs, but if you are still teaching them to five year olds 'The Troubles' will never be over.

FC


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 10:23 AM

If rebel songs offend, then these should offend:

Yankee Doodle
The American Vicar of Bray
The World Turned Upside-Down
Skye Boat Song
Bonny Charlie's Now Awa'
La Marsaille
Anacreontic Song
The battle of the kegs
St. Clair's Defeat
Noble boys of Canada
Patriotic diggers
The Hunters of Kentucky
Rich lady over the sea
Wha' would ye no' fight for Charlie?
The International

...and on, and on, and on....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 10:24 AM

I find "There Were Roses" an absolutely dreadful bit of schlock.. and I am offended by it. I also am offended by other songs of the same ilk..a good deal of stuff by Harry Chapin.... Much of Cat Stevens and The Little Drummer Boy ought to be banned outright for reasons of mental health.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 10:38 AM

There you go Rapaire, it's not the songs, it's the labels some folks hang on them.

Giok


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Weasel Books
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 10:42 AM

I don't care much for songs that are sung with the intention to hurt or offend (and are extremely simplistic about it, too), like pretty much anything the Grehan Sisters sang.

On the same vein a very vile old song is the Orange Flute, God Save the King/Queen as well.

I know that with 'There Were Roses' (have only ever heard Tommy Sands) I just feel very ill after hearing it.

A song I would not listen to is The Well Below the Valley (though I admire Planxty's guts in recording that)

I like what Martin Carthy said about the song Prince Heathen, that the first time he read it he shook with rage, but after dropping the last line, he sings it to show man's cruelty to man.

Editing old songs because the sentiment might offend is very wrong. If you want to sing your own version without whatever offends you, thats different.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 11:05 AM

I suppose you could adapt the NRA slogan "Songs don't offend, people offend". And people get offended, often for reasons that actually have very little to do with the song.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 11:56 AM

Actually, the "rebel" songs are one of the few types which can push my buttons. I do not really know whether I know where I would draw the line - or indeed if I would want to draw one. I can hear songs like "Roddy McCorley" - I have sung it - and identify with a good ballad, which mourns for the life of a brave young man. I can also understand the outrage which gives rise to songs like "Skibereen". The ones I found really offensive, were the ones which glorified the murderous thugs - whether IRA, UDA or the authorities of Ireland at a time when sordid murders were happening on a weekly basis. And no, I don't give a stuff which "side" they were on. To hear songs boasting about killing and cruelty was more than I could take. I have heard them from both sides of the sectarian divide and I did not like the face of either.
Maybe I should have kept quiet there. Some of our American friends may think I am flaming!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 12:43 PM

Way back uip the thread someone replied to me:

I wrote <<"And what if a black person wrote one, with the intention of performing it to a predominantly black audience? >>

To which the reply was <>

I was aware as I wrote it that such a thing happens, and that the debate on the rights and wrongs is very much alive in a certain section of some black communities, and amongst the chattering classes. However, I didn't want to open up that debate (thankfully, knowing little about rap music) but to put it forward as a hypothetical situation in a folk context. (Leaving aside whether rap is a modern folk music.)

And someone else got offended by the perceived antisemitism in Lord of the Dance. I think in a song, it is unfair to analyse the grammar and syntax too closely, but I always assumed that "they" in that song didn't refer exclusively to the Jews every time it appears, or to any other group of people but to the more nebulous "they", meaning "mankind generally". It's a song, not a legal document.

Me, I'm offended by kids being taught religious songs at school anyway.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM

Sorry, forgot to fill in the "From" box. That last one was from me.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 01:08 PM

The suggestion that "the holy people" means "the Jews" - presumably as some kind of improvised variation of "the chosen people" - is a strange one indeed. It definitely wouldn't have been what Sydney Carter had in mind. I doubt very much if it's been understood that way by many of those who sing it. And I hope, with some confidence, that it can't have happened very often.

I suppose songs are a bit like stones. You need them if you are to build things, but in the wrong hands they can be thrown as missiles.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 01:18 PM

The San Hedron was the high council of the Levitical Priesthood, they were the religious leaders of all Israel. This is probably what Sidney Carter meant when he spoke of The Holy People. The San Hedron tried Christ. A small gathering of men who felt their jobs and traditions were on the line. Not the entirety of Judaism.

Carter could also have been being sarcastic.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 03:01 PM

Dash it all to heck! Just looking back, i see I missed out a "paste" of the comment I was quoting.

Oh well, the general point is that "The holy people" (said it was a shame) no doubt refers to the religious leaders of the time, but
"THEY" (whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high, and left me there...) doesn't necessarily refer to the holy people in the previous line. If songs were written that carefully, Mick Jagger COULD get no satisfaction.

In fact, if you want to analyse it that closely, it refers to three things that THEY did (whipping, stripping, and hanging on high) and only one of those is unequivocally a transitive verb with "me" as the object. One valid reading of the sentence is that they whipped some cream? themselves?) and stripped (after all, it was warm) and then they directed their attention to the protagonist and hung him on high.

And I don't think that anywhere does it say that the narrator of the song is Jesus.   It could be Brian.

It's a while since I've read much scripture, but I can't recall Jesus ever saying, "I am the Lord of the Dance" (even allowing for multiple translations over 2 000 years, given that he never spoke English).

Unless I've missed the reference, therefore, although the song relates many biographical details which bear a striking similarity to those of Jesus, it also repeatedly falsely attributes these rather important words to him, in nearly every verse.

Like I said, it's a song, not a legal document.

If we're going to analyse the text in this level of detail, who wants to give me a thorough grammatical, syntactical, lexicographical, etymological and theological analysis of "And i-o-i-o-i-o by priest and people sungen"?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 03:08 PM

My point is that history is replete with hate and haters, with violence, with blood. I have no doubt that in the ancient Middle East songs were sung which glorified the number of penises lopped off and stacked up, that Attila's horsemen sung about the heads they piled. To my mind it's just as well that such folk songs are forgotten.

Should I sing "The Outlaw Raparree" the way it was written? I'm not a foe of England, but I'm completely opposed to tyranny and a case can certainly be made that England (as well as other countries!) has acted in a tyrannical manner at times. If I were to go down to Pub 'n' Suds on Monday next and sing the song the audience would join in, but they would neither go out and shoot an Englishman or try even dislike the country a little bit.

I know a young lady in Ireland who dislikes the English -- or at least she did when she was 14 and a flaming Irish nationalist. Next time I'm over I'm going to see how she feels now that she's eighteen and bit older....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 03:26 PM

In any conflict the participants believe they are for freedom, justice and possibly the correct god. I do not know of anyone who declared that they went to war to stop those forces. There never was any shortage of folks to fight for a rotten cause.
Like you, I am very glad many of those hate filled songs were forgotten. I just hope that a few more will join them on the dung heap of those which added nothing to the sum of human culture and understanding!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Santa
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 04:33 PM

There is one song that does not offend me, but clearly does some people. I have a shanty collection CD which boasts that within the songs are sung with the real words, no political correctness. However, it has bowdlerised "Johnny come down to Shiloh". i suspect you can all go straight to the line

A big buck nigger with his sea boots on

I used to sing that as a child without growing up racist. Looking at it now, I see it not as a put-down but almost as a glorification. But I am peeved to hear the song sung without it.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,munchie
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 04:41 PM

I'm offended by all new songs... I mean, everything has been sung about already except perhaps for your particular "girl" and who the heck cares anyway? There are simply too many songs, period, and to my mind, few things are worth singing about and those that are have been sung to death.

But seriously, I am offended by 2 things mainly in songs:

1. The line "I can't live without you" or the equivalent. Get real, you'll live fine without her when she cusses you out and walks out the door.

and

2. "love songs" that don't mention the name of the person, mostly referring to "you" as the subject. I mean, if I were to write a song about my girl, I'd at least mention her name in it. And lest someone point out that these songs can be shared by others, I think that is just cheap.

I like music with no words best. :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:01 PM

I think maybe alanabit has a point.

context is everything. I wonder if friends of President McKinley were upset when all these string bands were going round doing jaunty little tunes like solid Gone and white House Blues.

Context is everything. Some of the Irish rebel songs are extraordinarily beautiful. Many of the classic recordings that we still listen to came from the 1960's when a shot in anger had not been fired for years.

During the 1970's when the shit had really hit the fan and there were bombs going off all over Ireland and England, and each side was engaged in murder - it wasn't something that fitted easily into English folk clubs. doubtless over in Ireland and in some communist clubs in England the rebel songs were still being sung, and indeed for the combatants gained fresh poignancy.

I am frequently amused by Irish/Americans gleeful assumption that the rebel songs will upset their English listeners. Perhaps a few thin skinned people will be upset about the hoary old tales of English misdeeds, but I have probably had more requests to play rebel songs from ex English soldiers, and soldiers in Irish regiments of the English army than any other quarter. the english soldiery really took to the rebel songs.

Many Irish centres spell it out. No rebel songs of any kind, when you walk through the door with your guitar.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:07 PM

I don't find ALL Jesus parodies offensive, but some of the more disgusting ones are offensive. And having someone sing me more than one-- like an all-evening Jesus-joke and Jesus-song fest-- it's offensive in that it's cumulative. Would you visit an African-American's house and sing coon songs all evening... just because somehow, being with that person, you were suddenly aware that you knew a whole lot of those songs? It's tiresome. When everyone you run into can't wait to tell you the newest dumb-pastor or weird-Jesus joke they just heard-- it's a bit much to take smiling when you're wearing clericals or you are with someone who is.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Chris Green
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:14 PM

WLD - I agree with your post about rebel songs. I'm English (although technically Irish if you go back a generation or so!) and there's no denying that a lot of the rebel songs are achingly beautiful. For what it's worth, I posted a version of "The Foggy Dew" I wrote here as an attempt to update the rather outmoded sentiments of the original. Any comments/criticisms would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:44 PM

I stopped singing 'rebel' songs in 69 when the troubles restarted only
because there was a good chance someone in the audience could easily have a brother or husband or son being shot at by the 'rebels' I was singing about . And I know a lot of singers who did exactly the same !
Abnd indeed as WeeLittleDrummer said , a lot of the troops who served in Ireland really liked the Irish songs !


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 09:01 PM

Several people have suggested that "The holy people" in Sydney Carter's Lord of the Dance is not a reference to the entirety of the Jewish people (of Jesus's time). E.g., one person wrote,

"The suggestion that "the holy people" means "the Jews" - presumably as some kind of improvised variation of "the chosen people" - is a strange one indeed. It definitely wouldn't have been what Sydney Carter had in mind. I doubt very much if it's been understood that way by many of those who sing it."

I'll agree with the last sentence, but disagree strongly with the first two. I think Sydney Carter knew his "Old Testament" better than most people do now. Exodus 19:6,
"And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."
Deuteronomy 7:6, "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."

It's no improvised variation of anything - it's right there in the King James version, and it refers to the Jewish people in its entirety, not just some officials or some faction. I'm quite convinced that when Sydney Carter used the phrase "the holy people" he was alluding to Deuteronomy.

So I'll maintain my position that the song perpetuates the myth that the Jewish people as a whole crucified Jesus - at least for those listeners familiar enough with the Bible to get the allusion. And I'll add that this myth has been the root cause of centuries of hideous persecutions of Jews. Sing the song if you must, but know what you're singing.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 06:13 AM

The King James version of Deuteronomy? Could you give us an approximation of how many times the words had been edited, tidied up, clarified and translated between the original and the King James version? Just so we can assess its merits as an original text, you understand.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 08:17 AM

I can't put my hand on a quote that brings it out, but Sydney Carter often enough indicated that "the holy people" meant the kind of people who think they own God, in any religion. The "Unco Guid" as Robert Burns called them.

Here is a quote from Sydney that demonstrates his radical ecumenism:

"I see Christ as the incarnation of that piper who is calling us...By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and plaxces, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus."

Which is an idea he extended in another song - Every Star Shall Sing A Carol

Who can tell what other cradle?
High above the Milky Way;
Still may rock the King of Heaven,
On another Christmas day.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Puffenkinty
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 08:57 AM

While reading this thread, a ghastly
song popped into my head. It was from
the fifties (I'm up in years). It was from
a musical called "Silk Stockings" and this song,
"Without Love", was one of the big hits from the show.

Here goes:

"Without love, what is a woman?
A treasure unemployed,
Without love, what is a woman?
A zero in the void,
But with love, what is a woman?
Serene contentment, the perfect wife,
For a woman to a man is just a woman,
But a man to a woman is her life."

Aghhhh! Young girls believed this drivel
in the 50's. (A common question was,
"Are you going to college for your
BA or your MRS?".)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:08 AM

How about "I enjoy being a girl" from "Flower Drum Song"?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Grab
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:25 AM

Irish rebel songs are fine by me. I do take exception to "Come out you Black and Tans" though, which isn't a rebel song, it's just an incitement to violence.

The latest one to get me pissed off though was an anti-evolution song by a group of religious nuts in a local folk club, a song called "By Divine Design". Now I don't mind how much religion you've got, but we're in a pub, not a church. And it'd need to be a pretty specific church too, bcos most of the Christians I know are not inclined to the literal truth of the Bible in defiance of observed facts about the world.

On the plus side, that pissed me off enough that I'm writing a rebuff, starting with Copernicus and Galileo and working forwards. If you don't plan on joining them, beat them! ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:28 AM

great song I enjoy being a girl - often find myself singing it - brings out the drag queen in us all........

as piglet said its very hummy!

Another thing that always occurrs to me about the Irish centres where they say no rebel songs, none what ever! Theres always a poster with The Wolftones appearing next week!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 10:26 AM

I often sing 'I feel Pretty' from 'West Side Story', but my mirror says I'm singing a lie ;~)

Giok


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rain Dog
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:03 AM

Context and intention have a lot to do with how 'offensive' or 'inoffensive' you find a particular song. The Fields of Athenry sung at a rugby or football international is not intended to be offensive.

I don't like 'There be Roses' myself. A bit too sentimental in the telling for my tastes but most of us would agree with the message it is trying to get across.

I am surprised no one has mention Randy Newman, a troubling songwriter if ever there was one. Because he writes his songs from the point of view of the character, they can say things and express views that some people would find troubling. That of course is their aim. 'Rednecks' which uses the word nigger. 'Sail Away' which is about the slave trade . 'In Germany Before The War' which is about a child murderer. Not easy listening by any means


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:33 AM

Interesting point about Randy Newman. I am always amazed at how many people miss the point of, "You Can Leave Your Hat On". Newman is clearly taking the narrator apart, yet people still see it as a sexy song. You always run that risk with satire.
I am surprised that so few people took offence at the Stones "Under My Thumb" and other songs of that era. I like them, as it happens, but it is not hard to imagine a woman being annoyed by lines like:
"It's down to me - the way she talks when she's spoken to
It's down to me - the change has come
She's under my thumb..."
Maybe the Stones were being satirical, but I haven't heard many people making that claim!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:46 AM

The lyrics of Come out you black and tans - now they are satirical - that sort of pissed up republican bellicosity that Joyce was talking about in the cyclops bit of Ulysses.

I don't think anybody seriously doubts the bravery of men - many of them Irish (like my Grandad) who fought in Africa or Flanders.

I notice that Kenneth Branagh (another Irishman) used Ronnie Drews exquisite reading of the song when he did the O'Casey play Shadow of a Gunman for the telly a while back. Bronagh Gallagher from The Commitments was in te programme too.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 12:09 PM

How about "I'm a Good Old Rebel"? Supposedly it's satirical, but how do we really know what they mean when they sing it?

The Easter Rising rewrite of "Erin Go Bragh" gloats rather much over blowing people away.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 12:37 PM

Fields of Athenry: that a few years ago, outside a Celtic/Rangers match a young male fan was murdered following a confrontation in which he was reported to be singing the song aggressively into the face of the his hated rival.

Anything with a tribal element to it can be used tribally. As Einstein said, "Only two things are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity - and I'm not sure about the universe."


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rain Dog
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 12:39 PM

Like I said : Context and intention


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 01:23 PM

You could get beaten up for singing "I'm for ever blowing bubbles" in the wrong place and time.

Something that might be exciting in some places - sing Kevin Barry to the tune of The Sash, or the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 05:27 PM

I think the title is "honest work" - includes a line about a man paying union dues so that he would not have to work nor change.

My mate Simon sings it to wind me up (he's a nice guy for a fairly extreme right winger), so I usually respond with something anti-Thatcher, but I really must learn the Red Flag properly. Or maybe the Miner's Lifeguard would do.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 05:41 PM

Todd Rundgren's "Honest Work"

A very ppowerful song. I happen to agree with much of this sentiment. I don't find it offensive in the least and would sing it right along with "The Prince of Darkness"

Don

Honest Work



I'm not afraid to bend my back
I'm not afraid of dirt
But how I fear the things I do
For lack of honest work
My family is lost to me
They could not bear the hurt
To see the state their boy is in
For lack of honest work

I hold no blame for anyone
'twas I who did arrange
To pay my union dues so i'd
Not have to learn or change
And when I was replaced, 'twas i
Who started down the hill
And drank away my savings 'til
I couldn't stop myself

The prophets of a brave new world
Captains of industry
Have visions grand and great designs
But none have room for me
They see a world where everyone
Is rich and smart and young
But if I live to see such things
Too late for me they come

I know I'm not the only one
To fall beneath the wheel
Such company can not assuage
The loneliness I feel
So many are resigned to be
Society's debris
But I will be remembered for
The life life took from me

For I'm not afraid to bend my back
I'm not afraid of dirt
But how I fear the things I do
For lack of honest work


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Weasel Books
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 06:07 PM

Anti-Thatcher? Maybe Maggie's Farm?

Being a native Hebrew speaker and I just checked the King James translation of those verses, it's accurate.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 06:26 PM

Don most of the song is OK. But the two lines cited are simply capitalist propaganda - or class warfare if you like - without the wit of, say "Workers' Beer". They are as wilfully offensive as KKK propaganda about the threats negros pose to white virgins or Hitlerite songs about Jews with astrakhan collars. An offensive stereotype.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,mkebenn@work
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 07:27 PM

Leadfingers, I believe Jane Bower wrote that line as"And here Davy Crockett stood smiling and laughin', gallantry fierce in his eye" and I think Donovan played with it abit. Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 08:26 PM

Jeez Richard,

You read a lot more into that than I do. All I ever read into this was ultimately the individual is rsponsible for his or her success or failure.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 08:44 PM

Leadfingers, I believe Jane Bower wrote that line as"And here Davy Crockett stood smiling and laughin', gallantry fierce in his eye" and I think Donovan played with it abit. Mike

Just googled and checked his life span, and I was right. Born 1786, died 1836. So he was 50 when he was at the Alamo.

So what's the problem? He was young. From my viewpoint.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM

McGrath of Harlow wrote, "I can't put my hand on a quote that brings it out, but Sydney Carter often enough indicated that "the holy people" meant the kind of people who think they own God, in any religion."

If you do find a quote that brings it out, I'd like to see it. Meanwhile, I have found that I'm not the only person ever to be upset by the song. Here are a couple of places where the topic comes up.

www.neym.org/PrejudiceAndPoverty/Issue3.summer99.pdf

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/jbalkin/articles/london21.htm


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:08 PM

The suggestion there is that people lose their jobs because they have refused to "learn or change", and that this is what unions are about.   

And in my experience, those are such gross over simplifications that they are lies. Imagine a song about a battered or deserted wife in which she says it's all her fault, because she didn't learn to pretty herself up for her hsuband and cook him different kinds of food. And she shouldn't have listened to those feminist friends of hers. That'd be the equivalent of those lines.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Scoville on borrowed PC
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:19 PM

I've always hated the line "as for me my little brain/isn't very bright/choose for me, O, Santa Claus/what you think is right".

Heaven forbid I speak ill of Townes Van Zandt but I've always been irritated by the end of "Tecumseh Valley" where she "turned to whoring/out on the streets/with all the lust inside her". There isn't anything at all lustful about the rest of the song--the whole story is that she's a poor, uneducated girl trying to make ends meet. My friend always replaces it with "she turned to whoring/out on the streets/in all her desperation/and many a man returned again/for empty consolation".

And there's a whole raft of nineteenth century pop songs that are good tunes but much better off without words ("Rose of Alabama", "Kingdom Coming" ["Year of Jubilo"], "Old Zip Coon", etc.).


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:31 PM

Here's a quote that rather implies what I said back there:

"I cannot remember the name of the rabbi who declared that at the Final Judgement every man will have to account for all the things he could rightly bav enjoyed but didn't. Jesus, I believe, would have approved of this. In the New Testament, the Pharisees are the 'good' men who have turned their back to joy; unlike the publicans and sinners. These may not find the joy they seek in what they do; yet though 'bad', they are facing in the right direction. No wonder Jesus found them more attractive." (Sydney Carter, "Dance in the Dark", Chapter 18.)

It seems pretty likely that Sydney Carter would never have come up against the suggestion that Lord of the Dance was anti-semitic, so as to have any reason to specifically refute it - the criticism he came up against sometimes was that it was anti-Christian, and he accepted that, for some versions of Christianity, that was true enough.

Still, since it's too late for Sydney to refute this, perhaps his great friend Rabbi Lionel Blue, who wrote an introduction to a collection of his songs and poems might do it some time.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:03 PM

Try "Kevin Barry" in my brother Ted's rendition and see what it gets you:

"...just a lad of eighteen summers
Yet no true man can deny
As he walked...to...death that...morning...SOB! SOB! (sounds of crying)
I...I'm sorry...I can't go on...."

or "The rising of the moon"

"...By the risin' of the moon YEE HA! (knee slap)
By the risin' of the moon
Fer the pikes must be tagether
By the risin' of the moon YEE HA! (knee slap)


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:08 PM

Heaven forbid I speak ill of Townes Van Zandt but I've always been irritated by the end of "Tecumseh Valley" where she "turned to whoring/out on the streets/with all the lust inside her". There isn't anything at all lustful about the rest of the song--the whole story is that she's a poor, uneducated girl trying to make ends meet. My friend always replaces it with "she turned to whoring/out on the streets/in all her desperation/and many a man returned again/for empty consolation".

One assumes that your friend consulted with Townes prior to his death and obtained permission to change the words to his song, since if he didn't, he's doing something at least mildly illegal, unethical, and to be condemmed by all right-thinking people. And why is lust in a woman so evil? Are only men allowed lust?

And there's a whole raft of nineteenth century pop songs that are good tunes but much better off without words ("Rose of Alabama", "Kingdom Coming" ["Year of Jubilo"], "Old Zip Coon", etc.).

True enough in general, but did you ever really listen to "Kingdom Coming," beyond the fake dialect and the constant references to "Darkies" (which is simply the language of the time)? It's a celebration of the end of slavery and the slaves getting some of their own back. Not a put-down. What's wrong with that?

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 12:42 AM

What I said before.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 12:54 AM

The Cat Carol definitely offends my sensibilities.

                  The Cat Carol

                  The cat wanted in to the warm warm house,
                  but no one would let the cat in
                  It was cold outside on Christmas Eve,
                  She meowed and meowed by the door.

                  The cat was not let in the warm warm house,
                  And her tiny cries were ignored.
                  'twas a blizzard now, the worst of the year,
                  There was no place for her to hide.

                  Just then a poor little mouse crept by,
                  He had lost his way in the snow.
                  He was on his last legs and was almost froze,
                  The cat lifted him with her paw.

                  She said "Poor mouse do not be afraid,
                  because this is Christmas Eve.
                  "On this freezing night we both need a friend,
                  "I won't hurt you - stay by my side."

                  She dug a small hole in an icy drift,
                  This is where they would spent the night.
                  She curled herself 'round her helpless friend,
                  Protecting him from the cold.

                  Oooooo

                  When Santa came by near the end of the night,
                  the reindeer started to cry.
                  They found the cat lying there in the snow,
                  and they could see that she had died.

                  They lifted her up from the frozen ground,
                  and placed her into the sleigh.
                  It was then they saw the little mouse wrapped up,
                  she had kept him warm in her fur.

                  "Oh thank you Santa for finding us!
                  "Dear cat wake up we are saved!"
                  ..."I'm sorry mouse but your friend has died,
                  there's nothing more we can do.

                  "On Christmas Eve she gave you her life,
                  the greatest gift of them all."
                  Santa lifted her up into the night sky,
                  and laid her to rest among the stars.

                  "Dear mouse don't cry you are not alone,
                  you will see your friend every year.
                  "Each Christmas a Cat Constellation will shine,
                  to remind us that her love's still here."

                  Oooooooo

Sadly, I do not think it was intentionally written as a parody.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:33 AM

McGrath of Harlow wrote, "It seems pretty likely that Sydney Carter would never have come up against the suggestion that Lord of the Dance was anti-semitic, so as to have any reason to specifically refute it...."

This is flatly contradicted at one of the links I posted earlier, where it says,

"In 1996 the General Conference Hymnal Oversight Committee of the Society of Friends decided to include the "Lord of the Dance" in its newly revised hymnal. The decision did not go unnoticed; it caused a remarkable debate in the pages of The Friends Journal. One anguished Quaker wrote a letter decrying the song as "anti-Semitic" and concluding that "[i]t is a sacrilege that 'The Lord of the Dance' has been included in Songs of the Spirit and other Quaker song books. It will be a continuing disgrace and a sin for the Religious Society of Friends to continue to disseminate this song."(6) Whatever might be said about reading anti-Semitic lyrics silently to one's self, the protester recognized that the Society of Friends took on additional responsibilities when they authorized public performances as part of their canon of officially approved materials.

"The Hymnal Oversight Committee understood that the song might be controversial. They had contacted the author, Sydney Carter, and "engaged in discussions with [him] about his song," but Mr. Carter refused to alter the words."


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Bluesmike
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:44 AM

What offends me is intolerance. Even disgraceful songs like Move them Niggers North. Or David Allan Coe's song about his wife run off with a nigger have relevance. Folk songs are about how real people feel in real time and in 100 years these songs will present to anthropologists very real sentiments about a particular segment of society. In these frightening days of global truth as presented by Bush and his global crusaders the idea of even beginning a discussion on censorship and things that 'offend' has really scary implications.
It is up to you all to choose what offends and to turn it off not to set an arbitrary standard . If you are real your own truth is the only thing which has any relevence.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 03:01 AM

Bluesmike:
I think everyone here would agree with you. This is not a discussion about censorship, which I have seen no one propose here. It is a discussion about which songs cause us offence. I simply asked people to describe what offended them and try to explain why. It has been interesting reading so far.
Metchosin:
Thank-you very much. I laughed out loud when I read that. It's hilarious, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 03:20 AM

Yup, I'm starting to dread Christmas already, they will play it again and again on the CBC to keep the Canadian content up. I think I'll go puke up a fur ball now and get it over with.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Wusie
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 04:24 AM

Am I alone in loving Roses? As sung by Sean Keane, that is. Also, I have a good friend here in Oz who was an RUC fella before he came out to God's Own country. My Dublin husband sings along with his Orange songs, and Joe sings Rebel songs with gusto. They are best mates, and in THIS country, no-one needs to be worried if a song , with good music and good lyrics, has had a chequered path, or origin. How many Northern Irish Protestants sing Danny Boy with their heart, including the line...."and you will kneel and say an Ave there for me"....Joe nearly weeps when he sings that song.
Personally, I can't stand Two Little Boys.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 05:56 AM

I rather think that by 1996 Sydney Carter might have been unable to deal with this, because of advancing Altzheimers. If he was able to respond to the question, it would be interesting to see how he explained his preference for retaining the words he had settled on. He was always changing the words of his songs when he thought a change was appropriate. (And he was happy when other people did the same - he saw the "folk process", and the way that songs changed as they moved through the world and through time as extremely important.)

I doubt very much if there are many people who have ever understood the song in that kind of way. It would be interesting to see if Lionel Blue had any comment on that notion in his introduction to Sydney Carter's collected songs and poems - in a BBC talk once Rabbi Blue said that that, every morning when he awakes, he sings Sydney Carter's song "Keep Me Travelling Along With You"


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 06:17 AM

And if anyone would sooner sing the line from the Lord of the Dance

"The Men of God, they said it was a shame"

to avoid any possible misunderstanding, I doubt very much if Sydney Carter would have had any objection. He didn't regard his words as final and sacrosanct - in reference to this very song he wrote "Sometimes for a change I sing the whole song in the present tense 'I dance in the orning when the wolrd is begun...' It's worth a try."


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 07:20 AM

I was brought up a Quaker, a member of the Society of Friends, even attended a Quaker boarding school for a while. To be honest I suppose that is where my love of folk music comes from. Folk music then as now was middle class stuff for the main part, sadly.

However the accusation of The Lord of the Dance to be anti-semitic song. It really does bring back to me the Quaker beliefs that you should suffer every fool gladly - indeed, not even regard someone who is patently a complete idiot as such. It was so stultifying and uncreative not to make a statement and feel constrained by a respect for belief that the other party certainly does not have for you.

The twit who came up with this nonsense has never in his life created someothing as exquisite as Lord of the Dance. Otherwise he would know how many failed songs are written before once or twice in the life of an artist, a masterpiece is created.


The Lord of the Dance is a marvellous creation, and I have seen it give relief and comfort to the bereaved, and as a teacher I saw children from tough backgrounds have their spirits raised by this song. The suggestion that Carter himself was in any way anti semitic is utterly disgraceful.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: mkebenn
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 08:33 AM

Midchuck, yea, from my point of view he was young also. Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 09:59 AM

I first heard and sang "Lord of the Dance" back in the 1970s. I never then, and do not now, think that it was ever intended to be or was anti-Semitic (or more strictly, anti-Jewish). To be honest, until I read this thread the thought had never even entered my mind.

Of course, I never heard "the Jews killed Jesus" until I was in college. I -- and those I grew up with -- simply figured the crucifixion was some sort of mob violence, not an indictment of an entire religious group.

But I grew up in a sheltered environment....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 12:39 PM

I like "There Were Roses", Wusie as sentimental propart but the terribly nasal tone I've heard it sung with is hard to bear.

I don't know who performed it as I have it on a bootleg CD of the 20th anniversary Green Linnet collection given to me by a friend.

CB


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,amergin
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:19 PM

songs about sex and drinking and dancing offend me.....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:32 PM

*peeking back into the thread....discovering "The Cat Carol"


SHUDDER ....that is possibly the most saccharine, silly, disgusting piece of trite fluff I have ever seen! I will SING "Put My Little Shoes Away", but I would not stay in the room for 3 verses of "The Cat Carol"

wonderful example, Metchosin


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 02:57 PM

It's a classic in a way, isn't it? Right down there with "Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" and the works of The Great McGonagall!


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 05:52 PM

Oh! how sheltered we are out here on the Western Plains. I've never heard "The Cat Carol"! Thank you so much Metchosin. It's far more horrible than anything I've ever heard, I think. And were talking nearly 60 years here!
Rather like a Furry Friends version of "Mary of the Wild Moor"
(a lovely song and one of my favourites, I hasten to add!)
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 06:11 PM

I think you have to hear it sung just to appreciate how truly bad it is. My advice is to immediately run at the first note and just take my word for it. By comparison, Shooby Taylor, the human horn, is sublime.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 06:45 PM

Come to think of it - we may have witnessed this very same miracle, Metchosin.
Except that it was a rat instead of a mouse, it was the middle of Summer, no snow around, a Tom cat, wasn't Christmas, the rat died and it was the cat who lived,.... still and all....

Our cat,"Feelings" had a bed in an old guitar body - top off, with sheepskin bedding. One day we removed the sheepskin and LO! There was a mummified RAT. Do you think we saw the very same story re-enacted before us? Feelings got some of the details wrong, I'll grant you. ALSO we'd have taken note sooner if a raindeer had come and told us where to look!
Wonder if Feelings had heard the song? Or wrote it, even? Maybe it's in feline oral tradition. They do have sing-a-rounds, I've heard them. Cheers Joy


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 06:47 PM

but...a Google search on the title will take you to many, many places where reviews and discussions are posted with sincere folk absolutely gushing about how beautiful and 'moving' it is! .....It moves ME, alright...right toward the door before it moves my innards to bring up lunch..*grin*


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 06:58 PM

With some, I guess, all their taste is in their mouth.....


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM

One assumes that your friend consulted with Townes prior to his death and obtained permission to change the words to his song, since if he didn't, he's doing something at least mildly illegal, unethical, and to be condemmed by all right-thinking people. And why is lust in a woman so evil? Are only men allowed lust?

Midchuck, I didn't say anywhere that I thought lust in a woman was evil. My friend performs only among friends and has no intention of ever recording anything, and she made a point of telling us that she changed the words. Townes had already passed when she learned the song. What offends her is not the idea of lust in a woman but the idea that lust is the root of prostitution. She's a social worker who has known a lot of hard-luck women, none of whom became prostitutes out of lust. She loves Townes and she loves the song, she's just damned tired of the popular idea that prostitutes do what they do because they like sex.

And no, I don't think it's unethical as long as she is honest about what she did to the song.

And yes, I have listened to the words of "Kingdom Coming". No, they are not as offensive when you "de-minstrelize" them but I still wouldn't sing them in public, at least not without a thorough explanation to my audience, because of the attitudes of the time and because in this part of the country (I live in Texas) you unfortunately can't always be sure people don't sort-of mean it when they sing something like that. Sad but true.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM

It'd take real courage to sing that Cat Carol.   A Christmas Truce between Cat and Mouse, that's fair enough, and in the tradition of tye Lion and the Lamb, and dying out in the snow is not unusual in songs, sentimental and otherwise - but Santa and the weeping reindeer, that's what really puts it over the edge. (If it had even been The Christmas Angel it might have saved it...)

I'd love to hear a version of this by Hank Wangford...


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM

Oh, retch. Sorry, I thought I was getting over this flu bug but the Cat Carol has definitely set me back.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 08:11 PM

It always seems strange to me that people set so much significance on things like whether, for example a word is spelt "them" or "dem" or "these" or "dese". Better to use standard spelling, partly because that way people use their natural pronunciation (which often enough, ironically enough, is going to be "dem" and "dese").   

The same goes this side of the Atlantic for Rudyard Kipling trying to indicate cockney, or even William Barnes with Dorset dialect. The "funnt spelling" gets in the way of the poetry, and even messes up people's ability to get the accent right, if they are doing it that way.

But I can't really see why this kind of thing has much to do with racism either way.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 09:24 PM

McGrath of Harlow wrote,

       And if anyone would sooner sing the line from the Lord of the Dance

       "The Men of God, they said it was a shame"

       to avoid any possible misunderstanding, I doubt very much if Sydney Carter
       would have had any objection.

I have an objection to any song that ascribes the crucifixion to any Jew or Jewish group.

weelittledrummer wrote,
      
       The twit who came up with this nonsense has never in his life created
       someothing [sic] as exquisite as Lord of the Dance.

Evidently a few people have come up, independently, with the notion that there's a
problem with a song that accuses the Jews of killing Jesus. Whether any of these
people has ever created anything particularly exquisite - I'm sorry, I don't see how
this relates to the discussion.

       The Lord of the Dance is a marvellous creation, and I have seen it give relief and
       comfort to the bereaved, and as a teacher I saw children from tough backgrounds
       have their spirits raised by this song.

Good. Does that mean it's forbidden to offer any criticism of it?

       The suggestion that Carter himself was in any way anti semitic is utterly disgraceful.

My position is that the belief that the Jews killed Jesus is an antisemitic belief. If you
reject this position of mine then you can accept that Carter expressed this belief in
the song without seeing it as implying that Carter was in any way antisemitic. Carter
expressed in the song a belief that I find offensive - that's why I posted to this thread
("Songs that offend you") to begin with.

Rapaire wrote,

       I first heard and sang "Lord of the Dance" back in the 1970s. I never then, and
       do not now, think that it was ever intended to be or was anti-Semitic (or more
       strictly, anti-Jewish).

I agree that it was never intended to be anti-Jewish. Unfortunately, it turned out to be
anti-Jewish. It says the Jews killed Jesus. That's anti-Jewish, whatever the intentions
were.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: DonMeixner
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 12:31 AM

Gerry,

Who then killed Christ. My understanding of history makes it a group effort. The Romans had no laws that would allow them to excecute so Pilate turned him over to the San Hedron. The San Hedron found him guilty of enough stuff to allow for his crucifiction.

I realize this is beyond musicological. But who was it that drove the nails?

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: mkebenn
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 07:52 AM

I change a line in Prine's "Sam Stone" 'cause it bothers me, and I don't point it out. Wrong? Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Jimmy
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM

Getting back to songs that offend. I'd have to say that MOST "National Anthems" fall into this category.
To what point is the "National Anthem" played at domestic sports events? International events, maybe.
What about National Anthems that were written before the current geopolitical makeup.
How about the "British (i.e. English) National Anthem" which, although apparantly derived from a Jacobean tune, originally contained the verse:
"God grant that Marshall Wade
Shall by Thy mighty aid, victory bring.
Let him sedition hush, and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King."
Not exactly
The Establishment says that they only play three verses these days. If it is an instrumental - which verses apply and which don't


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 12:32 PM

The actual line was as I remember:-

I danced on the sabbath and I cured the lame -
The holy people said it was a shame.
I have always understood this to refer to the fact that various religious authorities interpreted the bible to say that on the sabbath you should do no work. Curing the lame was work. They took objection.

Nothing to do with crucifixion. Then as now, it seems good works cannot go without castigation. Not even writing great hymns.

(then fresh sentence with unspecified subject))
They whipped and stripped me and hung me high
left me there on a cross to die.

Officially of course the Roman soldiers did all that. But I think when a great voice is stilled, all decent men feel some collective guilt.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 12:41 PM

The actual line was as I remember:-

I danced on the sabbath and I cured the lame -
The holy people said it was a shame.
I have always understood this to refer to the fact that various religious authorities interpreted the bible to say that on the sabbath you should do no work. Curing the lame was work. They took objection.

Nothing to do with crucifixion. Then as now, it seems good works cannot go without castigation. Not even writing great hymns.

(then fresh sentence with unspecified subject))
They whipped and stripped me and hung me high
left me there on a cross to die.

Officially of course the Roman soldiers did all that. But I think when a great voice is stilled, all decent men feel some collective guilt.

PS Sorry I called you a twit


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: frogprince
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 03:19 PM

"The holy people said it was a shame"
Stop a minute and put the line in context. Jesus lived, and associated, primarily with other Jewish people; that was who he was, and where he was; there is no denigration of the general populace around him in the song. The song specifically contrasts how the "Holy" leaders rejected him, with his acceptance by his disciples and followers; the disciples, to a man, were Jews too. "Holy people" in the song refers to the kind of people who stand entrenched in their authoritive rules and customs to the detriment of their compassion and common decency. It's essentally timeless; it's about Jerry Falwell, and about the Tallaban, among others.
                               Dean


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 06:14 PM

It's come up before. We all got quite heated over it, but here goes. I wouldn't sing, or listen to (if I could help it)
"Slap her Down Again Pa!"
Might have thought it was funny when I was younger, but I doubt it.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: frogprince
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 01:21 PM

Joybell, I was just going to mention "Slap Her Down Again, Pa"; something reminded me of that thing the other day, for the first time in many (but not enough) years. Are there still people "amusing" themselves by singing that? I can remember it actually getting a substantial amount of air time. I can't say it was a childhood favorite of mine, but I guess back then I thought it was kind of funny; sometimes it can really feel good to realize how much you've changed. Maybe the song should be preserved somewhere, though, to bring out when anyone starts ranting about all the moral and sociological ground we've lost since the "good old days".


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,kareno
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 02:11 PM

I was suprised to see Old Black Joe in this list (way back). I was one of those little white kids who,along with non white kids, sang this song in grade school and have loved it ever since. Just this week I was picking it out on my fiddle and thinking what a talent Foster had for simple melodies.   I have serious doubts that we meet up with friends and relatives in an afterlife but the portrayal of old age and death in the song touches me deeply. The feelings of loss and the longing to be reunited put so simply: "I'm comin'".


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,SBC/Toronto
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 02:45 PM

The first time that I heard "Lord of the Dance" was about 35 years ago when I was doing some gigs with John Allan Cameron, a Canadian folk singer who, before he became a fulltime performer, had studied for the Catholic priesthood.

In the song are these lines:

"I danced for the scribe & the pharisee
But they would not dance & they wouldn't follow me"

and

"I danced on the Sabbath & I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They whipped & they stripped & they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die."

I was very uncomfortable about performing the song because I certainly interpreted them as meaning the Jews killed Christ and I brought this up with John Allan. Now, I don't know about Sydney Carter, but I certainly had not thought that John Allan was anti-Semitic. His response, and remember he was trained for the Catholic priesthood, was that the song was correct, that the Jews did kill Christ.

When Sydney Carter wrote that song, mainstream Christianity did teach that Jews, as a people, were Christ killers. Carter was reflecting the standard Christian belief of his time. A belief that that many Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, now refute.

The song reflects the anti-Semitic bias of the mainstream Christianity of the time. For McGrath of Harlow to pretend otherwise is disingenuous at best.

The fact that Carter had many years of opportunities to revise the song before the onset of Alzheimer's and didn't, speaks volumes about his own values, even if he had, as McGrath points out, a friend who was a rabbi. How many times have we heard the old sayings, "some of my best friends are Jewish," or "some of my best friends are Black," when someone tries justifying anti-Semitism or racism.

Yes, the inherent anti-Semitism of "Lord of the Dance" offends me.

BTW, I finished up that contract and never played with John Allan Cameron again.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Bluesmike
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM

Someone once said no matter what you say you will always offend someone. I like to think I manage somewhat better odds than that.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 05:32 PM

DonMeixner wrote,

       Who then killed Christ. My understanding of history makes it a group effort.
       The Romans had no laws that would allow them to excecute so Pilate turned
       him over to the San Hedron. The San Hedron found him guilty of enough stuff
       to allow for his crucifiction.

       I realize this is beyond musicological. But who was it that drove the nails?

I think you have it exactly backwards. The Jewish courts, which hardly ever imposed
capital punishment anyway, had long since lost to the Romans all authority to do so.
The Romans, meanwhile, executed thousands, and crucifixion was a Roman, not a
Jewish, method.

frogprince wrote,

       "The holy people said it was a shame"
       Stop a minute and put the line in context. Jesus lived, and associated, primarily
       with other Jewish people; that was who he was, and where he was; there is no
       denigration of the general populace around him in the song. The song specifically
       contrasts how the "Holy" leaders rejected him, with his acceptance by his disciples
       and followers; the disciples, to a man, were Jews too.

Well, we've been through that, earlier in this thread. "Holy people" is used repeatedly
in Deuteronomy, in translations with which Sydney Carter would have been quite familiar,
to refer to the Jewish people in its entirety. But even on the point of view that the phrase
refers to some Jewish organization or faction of the time, the song accuses those Jews of
much more than just saying it was a shame; it accuses them of hanging Jesus on a cross
to die. That accusation is an anti-Jewish lie, and it offends me.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: vulvabogwadins
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 01:06 PM

So far I haven't found any song that particularly offends me. I may find some songs politically offensive, such as sixties hippie tunes and other such out of touch nonsense, but if they're put to a good tune I'll sing them anyway.

Far too often is the case that individuals look for things to be offended by and that by far offends me even more than a poorly written song.

One needs only to look for any thread here dealing with the IRA or some Orangemen to notice by the third post someone is up in arms and denouncing the views of the person who started the thread (though often with courtesy), the subject matter of the song, the political ramifications, and may even infer that even singing such a song is just one step down from pulling the trigger or setting the detonator. Silencing those who perform these types of songs and trying to erase them from history does no justice for anyone.

That is what I find offensive.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 02:38 PM

There's a similarity here with a recent artificial media brouhaha about Cherie Blair's comments about the Palestinians. If you say that you can understand how someone from a Palestinian background might feel driven to suicide bombing, and you will be instantly castigated for condoning their actions.   I can understand the basic principles of an atom bomb, but it doesn't mean I think they should be used.

But if we don't discuss these things freely, and we don't at least try to understand why "the enemy" hates us, the enmity will persist. We have freedom of speech under law, but the media and many of the general population don't respect it when someone says something controversial.

Question: If we accept for the moment that there was a "Christ", and that "The Christ" was executed, then was He killed by the Jews?

Answer: Some Jews actively promoted His death; some stood by and silently condoned it; some stood by and silently condemned it; many probably didn't give a monkeys one way or another - they lived in brutal times; some few tried to stop it; and MOST Jews never knew a thing about it.

Many anti-Zionist Jews held a vigil outside the hospital as Arafat was dying, partly to show their repugnance for the actions of Israel, the state, despite their allegiance to their understanding of the Jewish religion.

If people can't discuss the circumstances of Jesus's death, 2,000 years after the event, without falling out, then He wasted his time! And I'm writing as an atheist with no particular axe to grind for or against any particular one of the various Christian sects or the various Jewish sects.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 06:22 AM

I never knew Sydney Carter, but I knew the religion that he chose - Quakerism. I read one of his books. I saw him interviewed. I can only appeal to any of his friends out there to defend him from what is being said about him in this thread.

If you are choosing to translate 'the holy people' as the Jewish people, and to interpret The Lord of the Dance as an anti-semitic tract - all I can say is that it seems like a terrible slander.

It didn't seem to me that he was like that.

It is possible to interpret the Bible itself as an injunction to do murder, insomuch as people have done it. But it takes a fairly malicious nature to do such a thing.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 10:11 PM

Mikefule wrote,

       Question: If we accept for the moment that there was a "Christ", and that
       "The Christ" was executed, then was He killed by the Jews?

       Answer: Some Jews actively promoted His death; some stood by and silently
       condoned it; some stood by and silently condemned it; many probably didn't
       give a monkeys one way or another - they lived in brutal times; some few
       tried to stop it; and MOST Jews never knew a thing about it.

I'm not sure what makes Mikefule think that some Jews actively promoted the death of
Jesus. In any event, Jesus was killed by the Roman authorities of the day.

weelittledrummer wrote,

       If you are choosing to translate 'the holy people' as the Jewish people, and to
       interpret The Lord of the Dance as an anti-semitic tract - all I can say is that it
       seems like a terrible slander.

I've made the case earlier in this thread for interpreting "holy people" to mean the Jewish
people as a whole, but I've also pointed out that even if it only refers to one Jewish faction
or organization it is still saying that Jesus was crucified by Jews. To say that Jesus was
crucified by Jews is to perpetuate an anti-Jewish lie.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 01:27 PM

<>

Er... read the sentence, with particular reference to the word *"Some"*.

Or was it because of the demands of the early Bophuthatswanan Methodists that Pilate gave up and washed his hands of the whole thing, despite finding no reason to convict Jesus?

Of course (in the story) ***some*** Jews actively promoted his death.

That's a huge part of the story: God promises the Jews a Messiah; Jews on the whole expect said Messiah to be a warrior King; said Messiah turns out to be notable pacifist from a humble background; many Jews disappointed; some regard him as a fake; He's rejected by the Jewish people (as a whole, but not all of 'em); He gets sacrificed, and becomes saviour of anyone, Jew or Gentile, who chooses to believe in him.

Over the next 2000 years, a number of cults grow up, emphasising different aspects of the story, or making up new bits, and some of them then take it in turns to fall out with each other and everyone else.

Meanwhile most people - Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Shintoists, Taoists, Buddhists and even atheists - just want to get on with their lives, treat their philosophical beliefs or superstitions as an important but small part of who they are, and really don't try too hard to take offence where none is intended, and certainly don't confuse "some" with "most", "many" or "all" when a factual statement is made about some members of a given group.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: annamill
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 02:11 PM

This is a offensive song thread, right?

BTW, "There were roses" is suppose to be offensive, make you feel sick and generally feel bad. If it made you feel good you'd be a sick, sick person.

One song that riles me and actually makes me run to change the station real fast, is "The Last Farewell"

There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
Tomorrow for old England she sails
Far away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land full of rainy skies and gales
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

So let's have sex now before I die, OK?



I see this dude running from girl to girl with the same garbage.

Love, Annamill


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Allison
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:41 PM

It's interesting how so many things that seem inoffensive to some are positively needling to others. For example, my favorite folk musician, Amy Martin, refered to some pop music as "plastic" and drew a heated response from one fan who objected to the "slam" against the pop genre. At the same time, many of her songs are overtly political and liberal, and yet fans of all kinds of different political backgrounds like them. You can hear her at her website .


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM

I see that some folks haven't made the distinction between dislike and offend.

I am offended by songs that are jingoistic, and glorify war. That is not to say that songs meant to inspire people to act in a cause are wrong. But when the attempt is to glorify the most horrible example of mankind's existence (war and violence), then I am offended mightily.

I also am offended by songs that characterize whole groups of people with a specific message. This would include much of today's rap music which seems to indicate that women are "ho's" meant to be dressed up to please men. As the Father of three daughters, I am offended by songs which lead them to believe their role in the world is to dress scantily and rub their ass against some guys crotch. This would include songs which send these generalized, and incorrect, messages about folks based on gender, race, religion.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 01:23 PM

I wrote a song ten years ago, about two homeless people, which was intended as an ironic dig at the system which makes petty crime the only way for some people to survive. I sang it for about five years and it was well received everywhere. Then singing it at Sidmouth, I was threatened by a man who said he was homeless, and chose to take the words absolutely literally. He had to be escorted off the premises, and hung about for a couple of hours waiting for me to come out. Then he left. I haven't sung it since.

I felt gutted that what I was trying to say was missed, and that ai had caused such offence.

I guess it's all a matter of perception.

No song offends me, unless I judge it as being sung for that purpose. I suppose he felt that that was my purpose.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:15 PM

I dunno. Offense is in the mind of the listener.

My own young fella was doing a busking job outside City Hall in Belfast and started his repertoire with The Fields of Athenry. He was politely advised to move on by a well-intentioned local girl passing by. The eejit never associated the tune with Celtic Football team or with Nationalists. Apparently, it assumes blasphemy proportions in parts of the North.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: kendall
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 04:50 PM

"Young" Davey Crockett was 51 at the time.

Anyway, "THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR TO MINE'S BEEN SOLD TO NIGGERS" is about as bad as it gets.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 04:56 PM

51 is young...


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:02 PM

When I was a kid the only folk singer person I knew (till I met Bill Bonyun) was a friend of my parents, Harrison Taylor. She had no pretensions to being a hotshot folksinger...that concept had really not arisen in those days. As I was growing up, getting loud on the banjo, Harrison tended to circle her wagons and so I didn't learn as much from this gentle, undemonstrative singer as I might have. But her repertoire was mostly Burl Ives...nothing much original, a few New Yorkish items of the time like Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets" and the "Martins and the Coys" made famous by Dorothy Shay the Park Avenue Hillbillie.

That, however, did not mean her songs were not deeply felt. And she taught me something about genuineness. Once I sang a gospel song I had just learned. Didn't mean anything particular by it, I was then and am now unreligious. But Harrison, though she complimented me for my parents' sake, said she would never sing that song. Why? "Because I don't believe in it."

All of which is background for saying: in those days I had no problem singing a song I didn't believe in. Now, when I choose very carefully before doing anything gospelish because I don't want to add fuel to the inflammatory (per)version of Christianity that's getting around these days, I recall Harrison. And I find I steer clear of a lot of gospel because it puts me off now, as it never used to. I regret this, and feel the loss. Such gospel as I like is usually black-originated now, not white, whatever that means.

I also agree with the poster above who cited national anthems. About ours... Well, let's just say I'm an avid baseball fan (how about them Sox) but when they play the anthem to Old Gory, I turn the sound off and don't really want to look at the screen. I feel I am a patriot, but they've stolen my flag and are trying to steal my country and right now the flag offends me, which I'm very sorry for.

All of which adds up to: songs of religion and politics, in these times, tend to offend me.

Apart from that, I'm offended by next to nothing except outright cruelty and macho meanness (if that makes me a girly man so be it). So I don't like "Ballad of the Green Berets" / "Give Me Some Men Who Are Stout Hearted Men" type stuff. And I do agree about the patently phony...like "Scarlet Ribbons" (perfect example) though I like equally mawkish stuff such as "I Cannot Call Her Mother."
Bob


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: kendall
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 07:53 PM

Is this THE Bob Coltman? the man who wrote such gems as, Patrick Spencer, The Minstrel Show and Lonesome Robin?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: kendall
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:34 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Gid Tanner
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 12:26 AM

Some folks say a nigger won't steal
I caught three in my corn field
One had a bushel, one had a peck
One had a rope wrapped around his neck.

Run Nigger Run


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: alanabit
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 08:44 AM

Repulsive as that verse is, I think (hope) that nowadays the effect would be to depict the singer as portraying a demented character.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rumncoke
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 10:22 AM

I never thought the song 'Way down to Lamorna' was offensive until I watched a rather plump middle aged man engage in simulated sex as he sang it.

Bleaugh!!

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 12:41 PM

Woody used to say "I hate a song that makes a man feel small, no 'count"
(I'm paraphrasing. Someone can send the right quote.)

In context, I am not offended by any song. Each song holds a point-of-view which
I'm not obliged with which to agree.

I will however not promote any song that I believe is disagreeable to me unless it
is in context with a performance wherein I can express my distaste or disagreement
with it.

I am not easily offended because I have been on the upside of the see-saw.

Langston Hughes said, "Cheap little rhyme to cheap little tune is sometimes
as dangerous as the sliver of a moon. Cheap little tune to cheap little
rhyme will cut a man's throat sometime". (Wisdom, there).

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 02:49 PM

Anything that involves killing animals for sport - but live and let live I suppose (unless you happen to be a fox, a grouse, a hare, a stag......)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:57 PM

But there are some excellent songs about hunting and I think it quite OK to do these while disapproving of the killing of animals, because they are good songs.

Can we not sing a murder ballad unless we are a psychopath?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Ref
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 08:30 PM

I don't know if anyone else here shares being a Unitarian-Universalist with me, but I'd just like to throw in how offensive it is to be told I must like a certain song because of group identity. Yes, I am referring to that "maudlin and drippy" piece of &$%@, "Spirit Of Life!"


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:57 PM

I can think of only one song that has ever really really offended me. We were required to sing it during Basic Training in the U.S. Army, and I mumbled the lyrics because I just couldn't sing them:
    I wanna be an Airborne Ranger,
    I wanna live a life of danger;
    I wanna go to Viet Nam,
    I wanna kill old Charlie Cong.
I knew I was going to Germany when I finished training, but I still hated that song - and I knew if I spoke out against it, I just might be sent to Viet Nam.

To me, that was the most obscene song I have ever heard. That, and what we were required to say when the Drill Sergeant asked,
    What is the purpose of the bayonet?

    Answer: To Kill!!!
Oh, how I hated that.

-Joe Offer, Pacifist-


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:49 AM

Any song that has the words "the windmills of your mind" in it gets a thumbs down from me. (Parodied, inimitably, by the Bonzo Dogs with the phrase, "the ventricles of your heart".


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:53 AM

"Anything that involves killing animals for sport"

Jim, I have a real problem in this area. For a great many years I have been an active campaigner against killing animals for sport (most especially, fox hunting, dog fighting and badger baiting) but there are some hunting songs that I do like: Martin Simpson singing The Granemore Hare, for instance. I try to think of them as an anachronism - part of the past. I remember, many, many years ago, hearing Mike Waterson introducing Dido, Bendigo by saying that they were against hunting but it was a great song.

I suppose the same could be said of other types of songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,gramm
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 03:35 AM

rofl @ phil ochs being on this list

conservative much?


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: GUEST,Chaz Brewer
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:00 AM

this one


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:33 AM

"Tie a yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree" sung in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Songs that offend you
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:56 AM

Guest, Jimmy: What about National Anthems that were written before the current geopolitical makeup.
How about the "British (i.e. English) National Anthem" which, although apparantly derived from a Jacobean tune, originally contained the verse:
"God grant that Marshall Wade
Shall by Thy mighty aid, victory bring.
Let him sedition hush, and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King."


No, not exactly. OK, this post is ancient, but I can't let the inaccuracy pass. This verse was never ORIGINALLY part of the UK National anthem.

The anthem was composed *after* the Act of Union, so was indeed the British National Anthem, rather than being "English". Its first published version consists of the 3 verses that are still current.

The 1745 publication, in the midst of the Jacobite uprising (Jacobite, not Scottish, BTW....there were more Scots in Cumberland's army than there were in Prince Charlie's!) did not contain this verse.

In fact, the first reference to it is in The "Gentleman's Magazine" of 1837, as being "an additional verse, though being of temporary application only, stored in the memory of an old friend". It was used briefly around the '45 rising as an unauthorised 4th verse. The Jacobites also had their own "additional" verse going:

God bless the prince, I pray,
God bless the prince, I pray,
Charlie I mean;
That Scotland we may see
Freed from vile Presbyt'ry,
Both George and his Feckie,
Ever so, Amen.

So basically, some people on both sides added "unauthorised" verses to the anthem reflecting their own particular political/ religious persuasions.


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