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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 (inactive) 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
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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 (inactive)
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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