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Absurdities in songs - any examples?

GUEST,Lone Stranger 18 Feb 07 - 06:30 PM
Bill D 18 Feb 07 - 06:51 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Feb 07 - 06:54 PM
Black Hawk 18 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM
Black Hawk 18 Feb 07 - 07:05 PM
Leadfingers 18 Feb 07 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM
retrancer 18 Feb 07 - 07:55 PM
LukeKellylives (Chris) 18 Feb 07 - 08:01 PM
Bert 18 Feb 07 - 09:33 PM
Songster Bob 18 Feb 07 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Feb 07 - 10:23 PM
Joe_F 18 Feb 07 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Gerry 18 Feb 07 - 10:35 PM
Muttley 18 Feb 07 - 10:42 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 07 - 10:53 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 01:31 AM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 01:48 AM
Gurney 19 Feb 07 - 01:55 AM
Ebbie 19 Feb 07 - 02:10 AM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 02:10 AM
Alec 19 Feb 07 - 02:43 AM
The Doctor 19 Feb 07 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,old git 19 Feb 07 - 05:48 AM
Alec 19 Feb 07 - 05:50 AM
Grab 19 Feb 07 - 05:56 AM
Alec 19 Feb 07 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Lone Stranger 19 Feb 07 - 06:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 07 - 06:59 AM
Georgiansilver 19 Feb 07 - 07:02 AM
Alec 19 Feb 07 - 07:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 07 - 08:48 AM
SouthernCelt 19 Feb 07 - 08:50 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 07 - 09:11 AM
Georgiansilver 19 Feb 07 - 09:20 AM
Scrump 19 Feb 07 - 09:51 AM
Charley Noble 19 Feb 07 - 10:20 AM
Dave Roberts 19 Feb 07 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM
Hawker 19 Feb 07 - 12:51 PM
Alec 19 Feb 07 - 12:56 PM
Nigel Parsons 19 Feb 07 - 01:02 PM
Nigel Parsons 19 Feb 07 - 01:19 PM
Jim McLean 19 Feb 07 - 01:29 PM
Georgiansilver 19 Feb 07 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,DocJ 19 Feb 07 - 05:10 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 07 - 06:35 PM
Don Firth 19 Feb 07 - 07:03 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 07 - 07:41 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 07:48 PM
Kaleea 19 Feb 07 - 07:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 07 - 07:53 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 07 - 07:54 PM
Joe_F 19 Feb 07 - 07:59 PM
Don Firth 19 Feb 07 - 08:52 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 07 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,Gerry 19 Feb 07 - 09:56 PM
Effsee 19 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM
John O'L 19 Feb 07 - 10:22 PM
Georgiansilver 20 Feb 07 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 20 Feb 07 - 06:26 AM
Scrump 20 Feb 07 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Big Bill 20 Feb 07 - 06:56 AM
Alec 20 Feb 07 - 07:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Feb 07 - 07:25 AM
Jim Lad 20 Feb 07 - 07:47 AM
Scrump 20 Feb 07 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,DocJ 20 Feb 07 - 10:01 AM
Midchuck 20 Feb 07 - 10:14 AM
dj bass 20 Feb 07 - 11:17 AM
Jim Lad 20 Feb 07 - 11:19 AM
Scrump 20 Feb 07 - 11:23 AM
Nigel Parsons 20 Feb 07 - 01:38 PM
Georgiansilver 20 Feb 07 - 01:47 PM
Jim Lad 20 Feb 07 - 02:08 PM
Nigel Parsons 20 Feb 07 - 02:18 PM
Severn 20 Feb 07 - 03:13 PM
Georgiansilver 20 Feb 07 - 03:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM
George Papavgeris 21 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM
Scrump 21 Feb 07 - 05:34 AM
George Papavgeris 21 Feb 07 - 05:42 AM
Scrump 21 Feb 07 - 05:54 AM
George Papavgeris 21 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM
Scrump 21 Feb 07 - 06:22 AM
George Papavgeris 21 Feb 07 - 06:31 AM
Bert 21 Feb 07 - 05:41 PM
George Papavgeris 21 Feb 07 - 06:54 PM
Little Hawk 21 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Bill 21 Feb 07 - 07:42 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Feb 07 - 09:13 PM
leeneia 21 Feb 07 - 11:00 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Feb 07 - 11:27 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 07 - 12:10 AM
George Papavgeris 22 Feb 07 - 02:46 AM
Georgiansilver 22 Feb 07 - 03:25 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 03:59 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 04:01 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 04:13 AM
Scrump 22 Feb 07 - 04:19 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 04:33 AM
Scrump 22 Feb 07 - 05:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 05:07 AM
Scrump 22 Feb 07 - 05:14 AM
Georgiansilver 22 Feb 07 - 05:26 AM
George Papavgeris 22 Feb 07 - 05:51 AM
Scrump 22 Feb 07 - 06:37 AM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Feb 07 - 06:48 AM
Midchuck 22 Feb 07 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Bainbo at work 22 Feb 07 - 07:54 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 07 - 08:47 AM
Joe_F 22 Feb 07 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Mike B. 22 Feb 07 - 10:50 PM
Liz the Squeak 23 Feb 07 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,meself 23 Feb 07 - 06:29 AM
Teribus 23 Feb 07 - 04:05 PM
Gurney 23 Feb 07 - 07:39 PM
Rowan 23 Feb 07 - 09:05 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 07 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,English Jon 27 Feb 07 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Nice Beaver. 27 Feb 07 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Gill Cawley 27 Feb 07 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,guest - texas 07 Jun 09 - 12:34 AM
DMcG 07 Jun 09 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,Bizibod 07 Jun 09 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,William Pint 07 Jun 09 - 01:10 PM
Joe_F 07 Jun 09 - 08:00 PM
Nigel Parsons 08 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM
MartinRyan 08 Jun 09 - 10:56 AM
Nigel Parsons 08 Jun 09 - 11:22 AM
MartinRyan 08 Jun 09 - 11:42 AM
Nigel Parsons 08 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 08 Jun 09 - 11:50 AM
MartinRyan 08 Jun 09 - 11:54 AM
Joe_F 08 Jun 09 - 09:01 PM
Rapparee 08 Jun 09 - 09:45 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 09 Jun 09 - 03:09 AM
Tradsinger 10 Jun 09 - 03:47 AM
Richard Mellish 20 Jun 09 - 05:39 PM
Jim Dixon 22 Nov 13 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,kendall 22 Nov 13 - 07:31 PM
Bill D 22 Nov 13 - 07:57 PM
Bill D 22 Nov 13 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Nov 13 - 10:19 PM
Dave Hanson 23 Nov 13 - 03:24 AM
Tattie Bogle 23 Nov 13 - 04:36 AM
PHJim 23 Nov 13 - 07:29 AM
Mr Happy 23 Nov 13 - 10:14 AM
Snuffy 03 Dec 13 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band" 03 Dec 13 - 10:27 AM
Bill D 03 Dec 13 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,John from "Elsie` Band" 03 Dec 13 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,kendall 03 Dec 13 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,kendall 03 Dec 13 - 12:47 PM
Bill D 03 Dec 13 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 07:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Dec 13 - 02:39 AM
kendall 04 Dec 13 - 08:32 AM
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GUEST,Guestibus 04 Dec 13 - 03:50 PM
BobKnight 04 Dec 13 - 09:54 PM
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Subject: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Lone Stranger
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:30 PM

Interested in singers views on 'silly' words.

My favourite example was pointed out by a local floor singer.

In 'Streets of Laredo' the lines are ,

Verse 1
1) As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
2) As I walked out in Laredo one day,
3) I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen
4) All wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay

Yeh? Line 3 = a shroud, Line 4 = He is dead, deceased, gone.

Verse 2
1) I see by your outfit you too are a cowboy
2) These words HE DID SAY as I slowly walked by .........

SLOWLY !!! - I would be a speck of dust in the distance if a corpse spoke to me as I walked past.

I can no longer sing this song without an image springing to mind of the narrator disappearing in the distance :-)

Any others have songs that have a similar effect?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:51 PM

I've always liked the image in "The Night Visiting Song" where, after tumbling in each other's arms all night, they solemnly shake hands before he rides off. (well, to be fair, it does say he gave her a kiss also...but...)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:54 PM

I think Malcolm Austen summed it up in Lovin' Joanna......

First verse:

"I went to church last Sunday, my love she passed me by,
She only had one contact lens and she wore it in her glass eye".

Last verse:

"I played my love at marbles, And she beat me by and by,
I suspected she was cheating by the rolling of her eye....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM

Galway Shawl

.....all I could think of was the Galway Shawl

.....my heart remains with the Galway Shawl

A cross dresser perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Black Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:05 PM

The Water is wide

The radio reported a cargo ship floundering off the Devonshire coast and locals plundering the beaches. (No live lost thankfully)

Singing that night I already had the set arranged and started singing this song. When I got to 'She's loaded deep as deep can be' it reminded me of the news item and I struggled to finish the song without laughing. My warped sense of humour - sorry!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:05 PM

The Alamo - YOUNG Davy Crocket was laughing and dying !

Wasnt he in his sixties when he died at The Alamo ??


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM

Is it being a spoilsport to point out that white linen is used not just for shrouds but also for sheets? And to point out that dying people are often likely to wrapped in a sheet.

And "young" is a reasonable word to attach tosomeone engaged in a pretty crazy enterprise that involves recapturing the recklessness of his youth.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM

If I saw a ghost walking down the street, I'd certainly say "Oh - sheet!"


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: retrancer
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 07:55 PM

I'll pick on John Denver here - almost heaven-west virgina.


Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah river.

The Blue Ridge mountains are not in west virginia and the Shenandoah river barely is at all. neither are central features of the state as denver tributes.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: LukeKellylives (Chris)
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 08:01 PM

Oh Susanna is confusing to me.

I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.
I'm goin' to Louisiana, my true love for to see.
It rained all the night the day I left, the weather it was dry.
The sun so hot I froze to death, Susanna don't you cry.

I don't know about you, but I think it'd be pretty damn hard to freeze to death in scorching heat.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bert
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:33 PM

In the second verse of "Come to the Bower" by Allen Damron

Our hero is man enough to decide to leave the East and travel to Texas.

In the third verse

'Ma reached me down the long rifle
and I never had held it before'


Great song though.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 09:58 PM

"It rained all the night the day I left, the weather it was dry.
The sun so hot I froze to death, Susanna don't you cry."

The absurdities are intended -- duh! I think the point of this thread is UNINTENDED absurdities.

Like, from "Omie Wise" --

"Be it murder or treason, oh, what a great crime,
To drown poor Naomi and leave her behind."

Bob


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:23 PM

About 1974 there was a dismal song about a girl and her horse, named Wildfire. It had the lines

Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down its stall

Let's get this straight. She was a healthy young woman capable of galloping across the plains, and she died from a FROST?

Sounds more like a tomato plant than a person.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:24 PM

In "Harriet Tubman", a train has a first mate and a lifeline.

In "A Sailor's Prayer", a ship's mast is "turned about".


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:35 PM

In one version of the Two Sisters ballad, the younger sister get pushed into the sea, floats on down to the mill dam, and gets fished out of a brook. I'm no hydrologist, but I don't think you can float down from the sea to a brook.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Muttley
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:42 PM

Dear Lone Stranger: read the lines again:

"I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white line as cold as the clay."

It was the LINEN that was cold - - - - NOT the cowboy.

I've heard corpses "groan" as air in the lungs or gut escaped long after they're dead ~ and that's pretty creepy: especially when it's your first DOA and you're alone in a quiet room with him/her.

And as for YOU Foolestroupe - - GO MOME and don't do that again. That was TERRIBLE

Muttley


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 10:53 PM

Sally Rogers' song LOVELY AGNES contains the line "We'll cross over Lake Michigan till we come to the shore."

Really? What else WOULD you do? Stop in the middle?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:31 AM

Yes....Rod Stewart has a really tasteless song in which he says to some girl whom he is trying to seduce: "let your inhibitions run wild".

I don't think he clearly understands the meaning (or proper usage?) of the word "inhibitions" when he says that.

Then there's McCartney's famous "in this world in which we live in" line from "Live and Let Die".

Those are cases where we know what they're trying to say...but we wonder why they couldn't have found a better way to say it! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:48 AM

Jim, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that Stan Rogers line, and your objection to it is silly, in my opinion.

Muttley, I think you are mistaken. It was the cowboy who was said to be cold as the clay, not the linen. Who the heck cares whether or not linen is cold? You...or someone else...left out the comma:

"I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen,
All wrapped in white line, as cold as the clay."

And if the dead cowboy spoke...well, hey, it's a song, right? Why can't a corpse speak in a song for purposes of telling a story? A mountain can speak in a song. A tree can speak in a song. Anything can speak in a song.

Where is your sense of imagination, people? Poetry is not to be bound in chains by the banal conventions of the literal mind.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:55 AM

Leeneia, as I remember the song, after the lines you quote, comes 'in a blizzard he was lost. She ran calling "Wlidfire....."'
So, presumably, she went out on foot in inclement weather, looking for a lost 'oss. Silly person.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:10 AM

An old gospel song: (When you get to heaven) Shake my mother's hand for me.

What?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:10 AM

leenia - Your objection to the lines in Wildfire is misconstrued. It's a lament for a girl who died in a blizzard....on foot, not riding....while searching for her horse which, for reasons unknown, had broken out of its stall and run off into the storm. A person can very easily die of exposure in a blizzard on the western plains, and it doesn't take very long. One can criticize the song for its sentimentality, I suppose, but not for anything unrealistic about the notion that a woman could die on foot in a blizzard. It's easy to become completely disoriented and lost in a blizzard, and once hypothermia sets in, you don't have long to live.

The implication is that the girl loved the horse so much that she lost her judgement. Well, such things have happened, and I daresay they will happen again.

******

Regarding "young" Davy Crockett...well, maybe the writer of that riproaring song had had his view of Davy Crockett shaped mainly by the popular 50's TV show with a young Fess Parker playing the hero. ;-) Yeah, Crockett was getting on in years when he went off to Texas and got himself "kilt" fighting Santa Ana.

Donovan did a really weird thing when he recorded it. He sing the line "his blood and his powder were dry". I always knew it as "his powder was ready and dry".


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 02:43 AM

I was confused ,as a child, by the line in "Durham Town" by Roger Whittaker that states "When I was a boy I spent my time sittin' onn the banks of the River Tyne". The river that runs through Durham is the Wear.
A few years back the group All Saints had a song out called "Never Ever" which opened with the line "There's a few questions that I need to know.."
This always made me wonder if that meant there were also a few answers that she needed to ask.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Doctor
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:18 AM

There are many songs in which credibility is stretched to the limit. The lad in 'The Farmer's Boy' just happens to knock on the door of the one farmer who will not only take him in, but has a daughter for him to marry and a farm for him to inherit. But maybe it was the last of a long list he'd tried. In 'The Lost Lady Found' she is lost in England, but found in Ireland, because her true love happens to stop for the night at the very house where she has been imprisoned. Co-incidence is strained too in 'The Golden Glove', and 'The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter', but my current favourite is 'The Golden Vanity', in which a little cabin-boy, whilst bobbing up and down in the water, having swum across from his own ship, manages to drill anything from two to nine holes through what should have been many feet of solid oak, sheathed in copper, and sink the enemy warship, all without anyone realising what was going on.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,old git
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:48 AM

Little Hawk...I think you'll find that McCartney's line was "In this ever changing world in which we're living..."


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:50 AM

I'd really,really love you to be right on this one old git but I'm afraid LH is.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Grab
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:56 AM

LH: "in which we live in", I think is actually "in which we're livin'".

How's about Clementine? "Drove she ducklings to the river... fell into the foaming brine." For starters, if it's a river then it's not briney, unless you're at the estuary, and then you're not really in mining country. And if the river's that bad, you don't want to be chucking ducklings into it, because they'll get washed away and you'll never see them again. And if she's going to fall in somewhere she can't swim, it'd be somewhere without a proper bank, so you'll never get the ducklings out again anyway. And what's she doing hanging around a river in the first place if she can't swim?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:04 AM

Sadly it was also McCartney who gave us "Penny Lane" in which rain pours from blue skies & a pretty nurse sells poppies for Remembrance Day (which is in November)in the height of Summer.
The supposedly devout Michael Jackson states in "We Are The World" that Jesus turned stones into bread but the Gospels record that Jesus refused to do this.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Lone Stranger
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:05 AM

Thanks all. Some great examples - keep em coming!

Muttley - you could be right but who cares about cold linen if your dead.

Question was not meant for grammatical errors but content LOL.

Songster Bob - True the question was about unintenional absurdities otherwise I could write ..

The elephant is a graceful bird
it flies from bough to bough
Lays its eggs up a rhubarb tree
and whistles like a cow

or

One fine day in the middle of the night
two dead men got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other

Similar lines in Oh Susannah

It rained all night the day I left
The weather it was dry
The sun so hot I froze to death
Susannah dont you cry

Peace to all


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:59 AM

"what's she doing hanging around a river in the first place if she can't swim"

What do you expect from someone, who for shoes, wears
"Herring Boxes, without topses!"

Such Dainty Feet!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:02 AM

I know an old woman who swallowed a fly!

).K that's quite possible......
I know an old lasy who swallowed a spider!
O.K that's quite possible....
I know an old woman who swallowed a bird!
How absurd, she swallowed a bird.....says it all and she goes on to swallow what else?
Really absurd.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:10 AM

"Johnny Todd" in which a woman who is pining for her beloved who has been at sea for all of a week is accosted by a complete stranger who proposes that she marry him (the stranger)the very next day.
She accepts.
Silly Cow.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:48 AM

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and mean while back In penny Lane...
The song is about "now" and "then" - blue suburban skies are "now", Penny Lane is "then". (Not that there's anything unlikely about blue skies in November anyway - English weather is changeable like that.)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:50 AM

One incongruity if not absurdity in "Cherokee Bend" by Gordon Lightfoot (forgive me GL) that has always bothered me says:
It was early in the spring when the snow had disappeared they came down with a bag of skins
In the fall of the year of 1910, Daddy died by the rope down in Cherokee Bend.

Since the whole affair that got 'Daddy' hung took place in the store where he was trying to trade the skins and you get the impression that 'Daddy' killed or seriously injured someone for what they said about his "dirty little kid at his side", why did it take 4 to 6 months for him to be hanged? The second verse says the boy stayed there until his father came to his end before he ran away back to his mother. Doesn't the length of the whole event stretch credibility, especially considering that the song was a commentary on bigotry against the Indians by the whites?
SC


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:11 AM

Fair young maid are you a weeping
For your Johnny gone to sea
If you'll wed with me tomorrow
I will kind and constant be

I will buy you sheets and blankets
I'll buy you a wedding ring
You shall have a silver cradle
For to rock the baby in

maybe fickle......
maybe mercenary......
maybe extremely sensible - a bird in the hand you know when there's a bun in the oven :)

but absurd??


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:20 AM

"I need of a handsome boatman, to row me to that distant shore"
First of all ....handsome....why handsome or perhaps in Victorian times it meant well made.....he would have to be to row from England to Botany Bay in Australia!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:51 AM

"My pink half of the drainpipe, separates me from you" is plainly absurd. It doesn't separate me from you at all.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:20 AM

Somewhere above Little Hawk is confusing Sally Rogers with Stan Rogers while discussing "Lovely Alice." Now I've met both of these fine singers and although they were good friends, they were not related to one another and differed significantly in appearance. I believe that Stan Rogers had less hair than Sally and was about a foot taller and at least a foot wider.

Linguistic trends also introduce unintended absurdities into traditional songs; they're there lying undisturbed like mines for years just waiting to explode. Who hasn't had moments of distress singing "gay" or "seamen" as band members break up and the audience disolves into hysterical laughter?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:23 AM

It was in the month of Liverpool
In the City of July
The rain was snowing heavily
And the streets were very dry


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM

Okay, let's clear this up once and for all:

Oh, they say 1) she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And 2)the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down its stall
3) In a blizzard he was lost

4) She ran calling Wildfire x 3
By the dark of the moon I planted
But there came an early snow
There's been a hoot-owl howling by my window now
For six nights in a row
She's coming for me, I know
And on Wildfire we're both gonna go
---------
Right. In chronological order we have 1) she died of a killing frost, just like a tomato plant.

2) Her horse seemed to sense the tragedy and broke down its stall door

3) A blizzard came, and the horse got lost. The frost must have been the first sign of the blizzard to come. That's pretty fast action, even for Nebraska, when a killing frost is expected in September and blizzards in January or February.

4) She ran calling "Wildfire," but she's already dead. See #1. So it's her ghost that's calling. The singer predicts that she will snatch him away and they both will become ghosts, riding on Wildfire's ghost.

Ornithological note: the hoot-owl, another species not in the bird books, can join the chicken hawk and the mudcat. See the thread about eating a mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Hawker
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:51 PM

One of my favourites is from 'Up In The North'

The Line:
'He was a ship's carpenter's son, by his trade'!

Now what trade is that, exactly?

Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 12:56 PM

The Mike Oldfield song "Moonlight Shadow" makes reference to "4 A.M. in the morning"


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:02 PM

In Good King Wenceslas
"When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence....right against the forest fence"

Okay, what is this idiot pauper doing travelling a league in dangerous weather coditions to get fuel (presumably wood) when he lives right next to the forest?

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:19 PM

Georgiansilver:
"I need of a handsome boatman, to row me to that distant shore"
First of all ....handsome....why handsome or perhaps in Victorian times it meant well made.....he would have to be to row from England to Botany Bay in Australia!

Perhaps someone at the time was confused by the homonyms 'handsome' and 'Hansom'. Unfortunately they would also have needed to mistake the origin of 'Hansom'.But the error is reasonable. Coming into use in the mid 1800s the 'Hansom Cab' replaced the 'Hackney Carriage' as the standard used by those 'plying for hire'. Hackney (then and now) was taken to mean 'plying for hire' and it would be a reasonable error to assume that the more modern vehicle had been named in the same way, rather than from the name of its creator.
So perhaps the singer is looking for a boatman for hire to do the rowing.

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:29 PM

There's a new CD of Robert Tannahill songs except that one song is by Robert Burns, at least contributed by him to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, a humerous song about two men going to a fair looking for a pretty girl and coming away with an old hag. (It's in the DT as Donald Cowper and his man). However a verse has been added which was written by William Motherwell for Tannahill's song (Hey Donal, How Donald) which was about a love sick lass. Adding this to Donald Cowper and his Man makes no sense at all.! What the singer thinks she is singing about, I have no idea. It's liking tacking a verse of Hey Jude onto Waltzing Matilda!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 01:41 PM

Nigel....mmmm interesting but was not the Hansom cab made by a cab maker called Hansom? I was given to believe this on visiting Buckland Abbey in Devon. I am of course prepared to be educated on this..does someone have the 'knowledge' needed. (Excuse the pun)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,DocJ
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 05:10 PM

'On A Bright and Sunny Morning, the Ground All Covered in Snow...'
and losts of other silly verses from Bascom Lamar Lundsford.
What did Frank Hamilton call him?
All those broken token songs are a bit silly: stranger turns up, girl doesn't fancy him, stranger says but I'm your lost lover (has he had a transplant of some sort?), girl does fancy him ... but that's love!
That cowboy who's shrouded before he's dead: in the Bayeaux Tapestry, Edward the Confessor is buried in one scene and then he dies in the next. Licence I guess
DocJ


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 06:35 PM

Actually, you are not meant to read absolutely everything from left to right - there4 are 'chunks' where you are supposed to move (walk) on, then read left to right....


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:03 PM

In songs like "John Riley" and "The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington," the guy is gone for, how long? Seven years. And when he returns, despite the fact that she loves him madly and as stayed true to him all this time, she doesn't recognize him.

Unless the fellow got his face completely rearranged by running full-tilt into a stone wall, I presume the lass in question was quite myopic, and that these songs originated before eye-glasses were invented.

In a lot of songs, stories, political speeches, et al., the "willing suspension of disbelief" is essential.

Don Firth


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Subject: Lyr Add: WILDFIRE (Michael Martin Murphey)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM

Not giving up easily, eh, Leenia? (grin)

Okay....here ya go. The whole danged song lyric:

Wildfire

Wildfire
by Michael Murphey

Written by M. Murphey / L.Cansler
from the album "Blue Sky, Night Thunder"
Epic/CBS Inc. 1975 EK33290

She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
Whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night.

Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came an early frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down its stall,
In a blizzard she was lost.

She ran calling Wild--fire
Calling Wild---fire
Calling Wi--i--ld--fi--i--re

By the dark of the moon I planted
But there came an early snow
Been a hoot owl howlin' outside my window now
For six nights in a row
She's comin' for me, I know
And on Wildfire we're both gonna go

We'll be ridin' Wildfire
Ridin' Wildfire
We'll be ridin' Wildfire
On Wildfire we're gonna ride

Gonna leave sodbustin' behind
Get these hard times right on out of our minds

Ridin' Wildfire




Note: It says "in a blizzard she was lost". The lack of one little letter 's' threw you off the track.

In chronological order we have:

1. storm moves in
2. horse breaks out of stall, runs off
3. girl runs into blizzard, looking for horse
4. girl gets lost in blizzard and freezes to death
5. horse vanishes
6. guy, haunted by her ghost or her memory, writes song about it, picturing himself and the girl riding Wildfire in some spirit realm or thought-dream


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:41 PM

Wild Mountain Thyme: If my love should leave me I would surely find another. What? just like that?

I've always thought it should really be: If my love should leave me I would surely find NO other.

dj


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:48 PM

Well, it's a reasonable attitude. Kind of refreshingly modern, don't you think? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Kaleea
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:51 PM

Does anybody really sing "Rock a Bye Baby" to babies & children?
Did anyone ever actually put a baby in a cradle in the top of a tree?
When the cradle fell, was the parent jailed for child endangerment?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:53 PM

A sentimental GUEST, I see.

Most times sung as
"If my true love she won't come,
I will surely find another..."


Or words to that effect.

In other words, "If needs must, there's more fish in the sea."


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:54 PM

Looks like McCartney probably did use the words "this ever changing world in which we're living"...although there are different opinions about that on the Net. Some say that he said "world in which we live in".

My guess is that he didn't. He can't be that stupid. Therefore I withdraw my previous objection to his lyric. ;-) It's okay after all.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 07:59 PM

at
thread.cfm?threadid=62576#1012925
you will see various doubts expressed about the plausibility of that cabin boy's being able to sink a ship with a specialized auger.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:52 PM

I'd always heard it,

"If my true love, she won't go,
I can surely find another."

Which is a sort of mild blackmail. "Let's go, kid. If you're not game, just remember, you're not the only kernel on the cob. . . ."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:15 PM

Go Lassie Go!

Arooooooo!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 09:56 PM

Christmas in the Trenches is a superb song BUT the timing is screwed up. It starts out

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.

(that is, the narrator is only 2 years removed from the incident he describes)
and it ends

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well

as if it is now many years since the war ended. Heck, it wasn't even called World War I until there was a World War II, so the narrator must be at least 20-some years removed from the incident. It's a long song, but it doesn't take 20 years to sing it!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Effsee
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM

What's the problem? I've seen many " Bright and Sunny Morning, the Ground All Covered in Snow".


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: John O'L
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 10:22 PM

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(You know you did, you know you did, you know you did)
But in this ever changing world in which we live in
(OR But if this ever changing world in which we're living)
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die

What does it matter to you
When you got a job to do
You gotta do it well
You gotta give the other fellow hell


The line in question doesn't matter, the entire song is a disgrace. He should have been pilloried for that.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:46 AM

I left my heart, in San Francisco.
My kidneys in Paris and my lungs in Spain


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:26 AM

Willie O' Winsbury has the lines 'and the King he sent for his merry men all, his merry men thirty and three' ...so he had these two serving men whose names were 'Thirty' and 'Three' did he?
Also at the end of the song there is the immortal line '...and he mounted her on a milk white steed' ...now THAT'S what I called extreme sex!


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Subject: Lyr Add: IT'S IN THE BOOK (Johnny Standley)
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:33 AM

All this analysis of song lyrics and finding fault with them reminds me of "It's In The Book" by Johnny Standley (1952). He recorded this sketch as a preacher giving a sermon about "Little Bo Peep". Here are the first part of the lyrics I found on the web:

I have a message for you - a very sad message!
My subject for this evening will be Little Bo Peep.
It says here, "Little Bo Peep, who was a little girl, has lost her sheep, And doesn't know where to find them."
Now that's reasonable, isn't it?
It's, it's reasonable to assume, if Little Bo Peep had lost her sheep,
It's only natural that she wouldn't know where to find them.
That, that basically is reasonable, but, uh, "leave them alone".
Now that overwhelms me, completely overwhelms me.
The man said she lost her sheep, turns right around and boldly states,
"She doesn't know where to find them".
And then has the stupid audacity to say, "Leave them alone"!
Now! Now, now think for a moment! Think!
If the sheep were lost, and you couldn't find them,
You'd have to leave them alone, wouldn't you?
So, "Leave them alone". "Leave them alone".
It's in the book!

"Leave them alone and they", they being the sheep, "they will come
home".
Ah yes, they'll come home.
Oh, there'll be a brighter day tomorrow, they will come home!
It's in the book.

"They will come home… a-waggin' their tails…".
Pray tell me what else could they wag?
"They will come home a-waggin' their tales … behind them… behind
them"!
Did we think they'd wag them in front of them?
Of course, they might have come home in reverse.
They could have done that, I really don't know.
But, none the less, it's in the book.

(It's the way he tells 'em! It's a lot funnier to listen to than it is on the printed page. Anyone else remember it?)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Big Bill
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:56 AM

Paul Simon, Leaves That Are Green- "I was 21 years when I wrote this song, Im 22 now but I won't be for long"... So how old was he when when he wrote the second part of that( which is part of the song he wrote at 21)?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Alec
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:00 AM

Billy Bragg "borrowed" Paul Simon's phrase for the opening line of "A New England".
Doesn't fully work there either.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:25 AM

Bright and Sunny Morning, the Ground All Covered in Snow".

What on earth is wrong with that? Just because there's snow on the ground the sun doesn't stop shining.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:47 AM

Shouldn't the hole actually be ON the bucket?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:57 AM

This line from I Am The Walrus (Lennon-McCartney):

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together"

That means that I, you and he are one and the same person.

So the statement "we are all together" is pointless.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,DocJ
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:01 AM

Sorry the Bascom Lamar Lundford's song is:
'..bright and summer's morning ... '(my mistake)

DocJ


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:14 AM

I love Richard Thompson's stuff, and "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" is one of my favorites, and I sing it, but -

"Shotgun blast to the chest left nothing inside..." And he lives long enough for her to be called into the hospital to see him, and is able to carry on a conversation with her before he dies? We're talking deader than a smelt, within seconds, here.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: dj bass
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:17 AM

Oh yes, Midchuck, and he gave her the keys of the Vincent. Surely a 1952 Vincent had magneto ignition and would not have had keys?

Still a great song though.

dj


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:19 AM

Scrump: Shouldn't that be "In the altogether"?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 11:23 AM

Surely a 1952 Vincent had magneto ignition and would not have had keys?

Ah, but it was chained to the lamp-post in the street outside.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:38 PM

Georgiansilver:
Nigel....mmmm interesting but was not the Hansom cab made by a cab maker called Hansom? I was given to believe this on visiting Buckland Abbey in Devon. I am of course prepared to be educated on this..does someone have the 'knowledge' needed. (Excuse the pun)

Quite right!
That's why I wrote:
Hackney (then and now) was taken to mean 'plying for hire' and it would be a reasonable error to assume that the more modern vehicle had been named in the same way, rather than from the name of its creator.

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:47 PM

Nigel
Sorry if I am misunderstanding you but why the reference to "So perhaps the singer is looking for a boatman for hire to do the rowing". ?.............


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:08 PM

My guess... Carrickfergus.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:18 PM

My point was that maybe the wording (as it has come down) possibly relied on two errors. Firstly the writer understanding 'Hansom' as meaning 'for hire', and then mistakenly writing it down as 'Handsome'

Had the word been 'Hackney' rather than 'Hansom' the meaning would come down as meaning a boatman 'for hire'. The word Hackney still being used for licensed Taxi cabs to this day, and also used for journalists who offer their skills for hire (an old 'hack').
John Mortimore even allows "Rumpole" to occasionally describe himself as a 'Hack' lawyer

I hope this illuminates, reather than further muddying the waters.

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Absurd ditties 'n' songs - any examples?
From: Severn
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 03:13 PM

Ebbie, you're right, is is absurd. If your mother lived to a ripe old age, no one would have to shake her hand for you. Both her hands would probably be shaking quite a bit on their own. No help needed.


And what's a Hansom Cabbing boy doing on a ship? They don't even go out on the lakes in Central park....


I always thought it was:

"The Peony known as wildflower
Busted down its pot
And its roots began to rot...."


And let me get this straight....Clementine drove the ducklings to the water and they drove her to the drink?


One of the biggest absurdities to me, of course, was Roy Acuff's garbling of the words to "Wabash Cannonball" and The Carter Family's garbling of "Wildwood Flower" still being accepted as gospel after all these years.




I'm SO confused.....


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 03:59 PM

O.K Nigel Thanks..hope you didn't think I was harangueing you. Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM

"Paul Simon, Leaves That Are Green- "I was 21 years when I wrote this song, Im 22 now but I won't be for long"... So how old was he when when he wrote the second part of that( which is part of the song he wrote at 21)? "

It can take a long time to get some songs written...



"Had the word been 'Hackney' rather than 'Hansom' the meaning would come down as meaning a boatman 'for hire'. The word Hackney still being used for licensed Taxi cabs to this day, and also used for journalists who offer their skills for hire (an old 'hack').
John Mortimore even allows "Rumpole" to occasionally describe himself as a 'Hack' lawyer"

... which is where the term "Computer Hacker" came from - to describe someone who had been around a while and knew a lot of clever tricks.

Some damn fool Yank Reporter misused the word for what were known as 'Crackers'...


I have always wondered if any other Johnny Standley material was out there.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM

Shame on you all, you missed the most obvious (and widely sung in folk clubs) line - from "Blacksmith":

"...with his hammer in his hand, he looked so clever..."

Clever? CLEVER? "he looked like a thug" perhaps, "thicker than two short planks" maybe, but "clever"?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:34 AM

Although, George, 'clever' can also mean 'dexterous' or 'manually skilled', which I guess could apply to a blacksmith, in spite of his mental ability? :-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:42 AM

Yes Scrump - but the song limits itself to how he "looked", i.e. the imagery. I don't think the lyric implies that he looked "so manually skilled" or "so dexterous".

Now, if the line was "so hunky", I could have lived with that.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:54 AM

George: ah, but 'clever' can also mean 'well-shaped' or 'handsome' - check this out, for example.

That would seem to fit the bill?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM

Yes, according to Arbuthnot (circa 1690), the Scottish scholar.
But not a meaning widely remembered today, surely? Otherwise expressions like "clever dick" would take on new and wonderful dimensions; literally! Though "clever clogs" would sit quite well. If that was the original meaning (quite likely) I wonder why the folk process failed to update this song.

Anyway, I like my interpretation better - never fails to make me smile!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:22 AM

OK George! :-)

(I hope you don't think I'm a clever clogs for raising these points!)

But when the song was written, maybe the 'handsome' meaning was more commonplace and understood. We usually take it as read that some words may have changed in meaning since the song was written, but it won't stop us using them in the original sense.

'Gay' is a good example where it's sometimes difficult to sing a line without people sniggering, because using the modern meaning can totally change the interpretation of a line.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:31 AM

I think you're right, Scrump, that's why I wondered why the folk process hasn't updated it; and no, "clever clogs" was not meant as a dig!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 05:41 PM

If you think a blacksmith isn't clever the you try doing it!!!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 06:54 PM

Not what I said, Bert. Respect to all blacksmiths. No, the point is the imagery - a well-built bloke holding up a hammer, presumably smudged from the fire and scarred from the flying sparks...


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM

Hey, people...I've been reading your critiques, most of which I think are unimaginative and petty. Is it okay with all of you if I, on behalf of the world's songwriters, stick my thumbs in my ears, wiggle my fingers, and blow a great big raspberry in your collective direction?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 07:42 PM

Foolstroop: Well wasn't 21 when he wrote the song then was he?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 09:13 PM

Bill

... but he was 'remembering' when he was.... :-P



"the imagery - a well-built bloke holding up a hammer, presumably smudged from the fire and scarred from the flying sparks... "

Now George, I've done some blacksmithing, and you've met me.... :-)

... see just how wrong that imagery is?

:-P


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 11:00 PM

Not an absurdity, really, but I have never been happy with two verses in "I Gave My Love a Cherry."

One starts "I gave my love a chicken." A chicken is far from being a romantic bird. When singing, I would rather not think about chickens.

And then there's "a baby when it's sleeping, there's no cry-en."

True, but for how long? Not a satisfactory resolution of the riddle.

I have folk processed the song as follows:

Riddle: "I showed my love a sparrow that had no bone."
Answer "A sparrow's egg in springtime, it has no bone."

I also got rid of the verb "pippin." I don't feel like explaining "pippin" over and over.


Riddle: I gave my love a baby, with no cryen."
Answer: A baby in its mother, there's no cryen."

That at least resolves the issue for a longer time.

Now I enjoy the song more.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Feb 07 - 11:27 PM

leeneia

see, you have 'folked' the song - it'll never be the same again...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 12:10 AM

Well, I think the really classic reaction to that particular song was demonstrated in the movie "Animal House", wasn't it? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 02:46 AM

Respect, Robin - just goes to show that all stereotypes can be 100% wrong.

(Actually, I did some smithing too as a kid, and I was crap at it, my uncle just set me to pumping the bellows in the end)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 03:25 AM

I believe that the word 'clever' had more than one meaning when I was very young...my grandfather... a carpenter...was considered by the villagers where I lived to be clever....but he lacked education and general knowledge. He was an excellent carpenter and even made me a hutch for my rabbit which looked like a tudor house.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 03:59 AM

I've always had a problem with the Blacksmith too... 'He fairly won my heart, wrote me a letter.' Must have been one damned fine love letter, but to be honest, I'd rather have something a bit more... physical?

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 04:01 AM

And my heart remained with that Galway shawl. ..

The girl means nothing to him, he wants the shawl!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 04:13 AM

Would you look at that.. I got a 100 and didn't realise it!!

Whoo hoo!! Good day for me today!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 04:19 AM

Georgiansilver: 'clever' can mean 'manually skilled' or 'dexterous' (see my post above to George). So that would fit your carpenter grandfather.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 04:33 AM

It is possible to be clever without being literate. In an age where literacy is counted as the norm, we often ridicule those who learn by observation and experience. Not everyone with a degree or scholarship is clever, they just read the right books.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 05:02 AM

Yes, LTS, some people confuse 'educated' with 'intelligent'. Some of the least intelligent people I've known were also the highest qualified academically.

By this, I mean that although they had reached a high level in their chosen field of study, they were absolutely useless in every other field, and they couldn't grasp everyday issues that the rest of us take in our stride. I guess that's the price they paid for their devotion to their work.

Conversely, I often meet people who I can tell are intelligent, but they just happen to have no qualifications to speak of. They just opted out of higher education, but that doesn't make them thick.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 05:07 AM

I've always held that the more letters after their name a person has, the less likely they are to be able to open a jar of peanut butter.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 05:14 AM

That's exactly the sort of thing I mean, LTS :D


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 05:26 AM

Kiz, I concur with your obvervation about the peanut butter.
Letters after my name are Accredited member of ISTD....CRCCYP....BA...and I am unable to open a jar of peanut butter because I never buy it.... I hate the stuff!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 05:51 AM

I'm glad you didn't say "in" their name, LTS!
Let's see... MBCS CEng BSc Msc - keep them jars away from me...


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 06:37 AM

Well, b*gg*r me George - snap! :-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 06:48 AM

Major Bloodnok, MT, MT, MT

What are all those MTs after your name for?

I get threepence back on each one....



Thanks Spike...
:-)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Midchuck
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 07:44 AM

If you want to change the subject of the thread to changed word meanings over time...

I have a copy of a page of a book of Robert Burns' poems, containing one entitled: Cock up your Beaver.

I swear I am not making this up.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Bainbo at work
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 07:54 AM

Walk tall, walk straight, and look the World right in the eye;
That's what my momma told me when I was about knee-high"


How do you look the world in the eye, when you're only knee-high?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 08:47 AM

Arthur Dent: 'It's times like this I wish I'd listened to what my mother told me.'

Ford Prefect: 'Why, what did she say?'

AD: 'I don't know, I never listened!'

Thanks, Dougie.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 08:08 PM

leenia:
A cherry in a Manhattan, it has no stone.
Chicken a la king, it has no bone.
The story of stupidity, it has no end.
A baby when it's strangled, there's no cryen.

*

A couple of splendid anticlimaxes:

I've held her mountains, I've kissed her plains
I've touched her sunshine and drank her rain
I've been so far boys but I broke too fast
I thought I had a winner picked but I came in last...again
Is this the way it always is in Baltimore?   

No. Thousands of women in Baltimore, over the years, have refrained from betraying their men, and the literature records many happy marriages there. Nor is there any reason to believe that you would have done better in Philadelphia; with your attitude, the odds are against it.

Oh, let us strive that ever we
May let these words our watch-cry be,
Where'er upon life's sea we sail:
"For God, for Country and for Yale!"

In that order, presumably.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Mike B.
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 10:50 PM

"The Vulture of the Alps" was part of the repertory of New Hampshire's famous Hutchinson Family in the mid-19th century. A performance by the New Hutchinson Family Singers appears on a 1976 Vox album called "Homespun America".

For a vulture to swoop down, grab a small child and carry him away seems rather implausible to me.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 04:45 AM

Unless the child had been dead for some time, the vultures wouldn't go near it.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 06:29 AM

They aren't so stupid ... (Remember Ransom of Red Chief?).


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Teribus
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 04:05 PM

An extremely good song - But - From the "Band Played Waltzing Matilda".

First verse contains the lines:

"Then in 1915 my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop rambling, there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they marched me away to the war."

As tin hats weren't issued to all until 1916 the hat he would have been given would have mostly likely been a "Slouch Hat".

Second verse contains the lines:

"And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well.
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shells,
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us back home to Australia."

Description of the actual landings at Suvla Bay:
The landings were begun at 10pm on the evening of 6 August with 20,000 troops set down at Suvla Bay ('A', 'B' and 'C' Beaches) with virtually no Turkish opposition other than from sniper fire.

The scenes being described in Eric Bogle's song are the first landings at Helles and Gaba Tepe (ANZAC Cove) on the 25th April, not Suvla Bay.

The rest of the song is spot on though.

Casualties for the entire campaign were as follows:

Turkish Forces - 250,000 total - 65,000 killed
British Forces - 205,000 total - 43,000 killed
ANZAC Forces   - 33,600 total - 11,200 killed
French Forces - 47,000 total - 5,000 killed

Lest We Forget.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 07:39 PM

To weigh in on the 'Handsome' theories: In his historical novel(?) 'London,' Rutherford explains that handsome meant skilled, seaman-like. Nowadays we would say handy. It did not initially mean comely.

From such 'handsome' boatmen were formed the first fire companies in that town. Useful chaps, with oars or hand-pump.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Rowan
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 09:05 PM

Teribus, a friend of mine (who I'll not embarrass by naming) did his PhD on Australia's military history in the first 20 years of the 20th century and his first academic job was lecturing in Australian history. At least once he set exam questions using Bogle's song as the text and inviting candidates to list (with evidence) the errors of fact it contained.

But, as Eric said, during his earliest, well-attended, performance of it (the 1974 National FF in Brisbane) the song was written as an emotional response to Australia's involvement in the Vietnam (as it's known to nonVietnamese) War. In that political context the emotional content is worth the poetic licence, I think.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:19 PM

Teribus gave some figures for the Gallipoli theatre as
"Casualties for the entire campaign were as follows:
Turkish Forces - 250,000 total - 65,000 killed
British Forces - 205,000 total - 43,000 killed
ANZAC Forces   - 33,600 total - 11,200 killed
French Forces - 47,000 total - 5,000 killed"

I can't remember all the figures now but I seem to recall that the forces described as British in most accounts include all the Australians and New Zealanders, as well as from the other British Dominions of the era; South Africa and India come to mind and I seem to recall the Indians had more casualties than the Anzacs. The French forces were similarly French mostly in their colonial status. My recollection is that most were Senegalese and their casualties also were greater than the Anzacs; Teribus' figures support such a recollection.

But the Australians generally don't seem to remember such things, as their own activities became part of the myth establishing nationhood. The irony is that the same campaign had the same effect (establishing nationhood, that is) for the Turks, leading to their emancipation from the Ottoman Empire. Their songs, being in Turkish, aren't as well known in the Australian folk repertoire. The Armenians don't have anything to celebrate from that era and their songs of mourning are hardly known at all.

Sigh, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,English Jon
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:45 AM

From "a stitch in time" by Mike Waterson..

"Oh there was a woman, and she lived on her own."

with me so far?

"she slaved on her own, and she skivied on her own"

it continues...

"she had two little boys and two little girls"

ie 4 small children..

"and she lived on her own..."

????

"with her husband."


Make of that what you will.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Nice Beaver.
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:46 PM

We've sort of gone from "absurdities" to the lack of historical accuracy in Bogle's modern use of the Gallipoli "myth" (or, popular understanding as disticnt from literal truth) in crafting an anti-war song. But we tend to rely on oral folk-memory, as set down in some contemporary songs, for our knowledge of events that "the victors" didn't write in the official history (like "Dunlavin Green", say). I wonder did earlier songsters take liberties for the sake of effect, or are their songs scrupulously accurate because of their memorializing function. And what about Homer's Catalogue of Ships?

By the way, a "Beaver" was a hat, which you could "cock up bravely". Derek Hill the harper used to delight in announcing the title of that melody, especially in the states.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Gill Cawley
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:54 PM

1. My favourite absurdity is the "false true lover" who appears in several songs, eg "Fair and Tender Ladies"
2. If I had to sit in a rowing boat all the way to Botany Bay, I'd rather look at a handsome boatman than an ugly one.
3. Some absurdities are accidental. I once sang "Is not your horse uopn its perch, your hawk is eating hay". I've never sung "Little Musgrave" since.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,guest - texas
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 12:34 AM

This is a reply to an old post, Bert, but maybe you're still out there! Nice to see you mention "Come To The Bower." It is a great song, written by Tim Henderson and Allen Damron. Tim co-wrote another song with Allen, called The Gringo Pistolero. Tim was the primary writer on both songs. Allen sang these two songs all over the country. Allen also beautifully recorded about twenty five of Tim's songs over about a twenty five year close friendship. Just like to keep the story straight.
All the best from me, a guest in Texas!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 03:50 AM

English Jon: When I first heard "A stitch in Time" I thought exactly the same thing, but in the end I decided to think of it emotionally, not physically: i.e. she had no support of any kind. That works for me.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Bizibod
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 11:30 AM

A Stitch in Time .The order of the words tells you what you need to understand.
Doesn't it just hit you in the solar plexus ?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,William Pint
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 01:10 PM

Here's a subtle one pointed out by my old friend, musician and historian, Stuart Frank.

In the song "Brave Wolfe" about the death of General James Wolfe at the battle of Quebec:

If you recall the story, Wolfe and his troops scaled a cliff along the St Lawrence River to battle the French on the Plains of Abraham.

The lyrics read:

The drums did loudly beat and the colours flying
The purple dawn did stream and men lay dying
And shot from off his horse fell that brave hero
We'll long lament his loss in tears of sorrow

Stuart asks, "Who carried his horse up that cliff?"


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 08:00 PM

In "Harriet Tubman" we are invited to imagine a train with a first mate & a lifeline.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM

IT'S IN THE BOOK
(Johnny Standley / Art Thorsen)

Johnny Standley with Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights - 1952


I have a message for you, a very sad message! My subject for this
evening will be Little Bo Peep.

It says here, "Little Bo Peep", who was a little girl, "has lost her
sheep, and doesn't know where to find them". Now that's reasonable,
isn't it? It's, it's reasonable to assume if Little Bo Peep had lost
her sheep, it's only natural that she wouldn't know where to find
them. That, that basically is reasonable, but, uh, "leave them
alone". Now that overwhelms me … completely overwhelms me. The man
said she lost her sheep, turns right around and boldly states, "She
doesn't know where to find them". And then has the stupid audacity to
say, "Leave them alone!" Now! Now, now think for a moment! Think! If
the sheep were lost, and you couldn't find them, you'd have to leave
them alone, wouldn't you? So, "Leave them alone". "Leave them alone".
It's in the book!

"Leave them alone and they", they being the sheep, "they will come
home". Ah yes, they'll come home. Oh, there'll be a brighter day
tomorrow, they will come home! It's in the book.

"They will come home a-waggin' their tails". Pray tell me what else
could they wag? "They will come home a-waggin' their tails behind
them, behind them!" Did we think they'd wag them in front? Of course,
they might have come home in reverse. They could have done that, I
really don't know. But, none the less, it's in the book.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 10:56 AM

The song Lonely Banna Strand starts off:

It was on Good Friday morning, all in the month of May

No it wasn't - it's never that late!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:22 AM

Good Friday once fell on Boxing Day! almost as late in the year as you can get!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:42 AM

Not in my version of what passes for the christian calendar! Explain please?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM

1899 King George IV stakes, a horse named Good Friday was one of the fallers!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:50 AM

I forget who parodied this old cowboy song, but it works:

I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy,
You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy too,
You can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys,
Get yourself an outfit and you can be a cowboy too.

One of the all-time absurdities in song must be a Carl Sandburg collected ditty, "A Horse Named Bill:"

Oh I had a horse and his name was Bill.
And when he ran he didn't stand still.
He ran away one day,
And also I ran with him.

He ran so fast he could not stop,
He ran into a barber shop,
And fell exhaustionized - with his eye teeth -
In the barber's left shoulder.

I got a gal and her name is Daisy,
And when she sings the cat goes crazy,
With deliriums - St. Vituses -
And all kinds of cataleptics.

One day she sang a song about
A man who turned himself inside out,
And jumped into the river,
Because he was so very sleepy.

Oh, my gal's Lena, she's a peach,
But don't leave food within her reach,
Nor babies, nor nursemaids,
Nor chocolate ice cream sodas.

I'm going out in the woods next year,
I'll shoot for beer and not for deer,
Well, I am, I was,
I'll be a great sharpshooter.

At shooting birds I am a beaut,
There is no bird I cannot shoot,
In the eye, in the ear, in the teeth,
Or in the fingers.

In Frisco Bay there lives a whale,
And she eats pork chops by the bale,
By the hogshead, by the schooner,
And sometimes, by the pillbox.

And when she's happy, how she plays,
She rolls about for days and days,
And hollers, and yodels,
And breaks the Ten Commandments.

Oh, and when she's happy, how she smiles,
You see teeth for miles and miles,
And tonsils, and adenoids,
And things too fierce to mention!

One day I went up in a balloon so big,
That the people on earth looked like a pig,
Like a mouse, like a katydid
Like flyses and like fleasens.

That balloon turned up with its bottom side higher,
It fell on the wife of a country squire,
She made a noise like a doghound, like a steam whistle,
And also like dynamite!

Well, what can you do in a case like that?
What can you do but sit on your hat,
Or on your grandmother, on your toothbrush,
Or anything else that's helpless.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:54 AM

Ooops, Nigel! Fell for that one, hook, line and sinker! I even recognise the bloody story when you tell it...

Curiously, it is possible to have Good Friday in May under the Eastern Churches (Julian) calendar. Which is rather nice since, IIRC, parts of the Celtic church in the West of Ireland (including Kerry, mentioned in the song) held on to that calendar much later than most of the Western church - but not as late as 1916, the date to whcih the song refers!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:01 PM

TJ: *Deliberate* absurdities are another matter. %^)


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:45 PM

Here's one:

My name is Tim McDonald, I'm a native of the Isle,
I was born among old Erin's bogs when I was but a child.
My father fought in "'Ninety-eight," for liberty so dear;
He fell upon old Vinegar Hill, like an Irish volunteer.
Then raise the harp of Erin, boys, the flag we all revere--
We'll fight and fall beneath its folds, like Irish volunteers!


The Battle of Vinegar Hill was on June 21, 1798. Assuming that the singer was conceived just before the battle, he would have been 62 or 63 at the outbreak of the US Civil War...a bit old for soldiering. Not impossible, but very highly unlikely.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 03:09 AM

Rapaire, you missed one in that song: "I was born...when I was just a child."


One that always bugs me is in the song "The Greenland Whale Fisheries":

the last verse:

Oh, Greenland is a dreadful place, a land that's never green,
Where there's wind and snow and the whale-fishes blow,
And the daylight's seldom seen, brave boys,
And the daylight's seldom seen.

Whaling season in the far north Atlantic of course is summer, and days are long in Greenland, like Alaska, the land of the midnight sun.

Charles


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:47 AM

Lots of folk songs have non-sensical words or plots. Try following the story of 'The Banks of Sweet Dundee', for example. The girl shoots her uncle who is so impressed he leaves all his money to her.

Another non-sequitor is the version of 'The Wife of Usher's Well' that I sing. It starts:

There was a woman and she lived alone
And babies she had three...

How does that happen...? (Don't ask).

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 05:39 PM

I second Joe's observation
> *Deliberate* absurdities are another matter. <
Some of the examples posted above are nonsense songs, a fine genre in its own right.

I like and sing Sarah Jane for its odd turns of phrase, such as "the north wind breeze", and for its (possibly deliberate) absurdities:
- "if I had Aladdin's wondrous lamp,
it would shine supremely grand"
i.e. ignore the genie and just use the thing for illumination,
and
- "by building castles in the air,
great pleasure I might obtain"
which is not the way castles in the air are usually understood.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 04:09 PM

This is the longest version of this rhyme I have run across. It was posted in another forum, without attribution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, skinny and stout,
I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about.
The admission is free, so pay at the door.
Now pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A blind man came to watch fair play.
A mute man came to shout "Hooray!"
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And dame to stop those two dead boys.
He lived on the corner in the middle of the block,
In a two-story house on a vacant lot.
A man with no legs came walking by,
And kicked the lawman in his thigh.
He crashed through a wall without making a sound,
Into a dry creek bed and suddenly drowned.
The long black hearse came to cart him away,
But he ran for his life and is still gone today.
I watched from the corner of the big round table,
The only eyewitness to facts of my fable,
But if you doubt my lies are true,
Just ask the blind man; he saw it too.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 07:31 PM

In the song Rolling Home, if you call all hands to man the capstan, who will man the sheets and halyards?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 07:57 PM

"... longest version of this rhyme I have run across. "

I think it is a a 'zipper' rhyme... a melding of 2 (or more) similar items. I have heard pieces of it as separate poems.

One began

"Ladies & gentlemen, hobos & tramps,
Crosseyed mosquitoes & bowlegged ants,
The admission is free, so pay at the door.
So pull up a chair and sit on the floor.

I come before you...(etc..etc with variants)"

But my father used to recite the one:

"'Twas midnight on the ocean, not a streetcar was in sight.
The sun was shining brightly' cause it rained all day that night...
'Twas a Winters day in Summer, and the rain was snowing hard,
While a barefoot boy with shoes on stood sitting in the yard...etc"

and then he added the "While the organ pealed 'potatoes'
                     Lard was rendered by the choir.."

verses...


So... that sort of little recitation is easily mis-remembered, added to, 'improved', melded and generally 'folk processed'. I have heard bits & pieces for 65+ years, which were, as my father said "The same---only different"


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 08:07 PM

revision/addendum

"Ladies & gentlemen, hobos & tramps,
Crosseyed mosquitoes & bowlegged ants,
I come before you to stand behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Admission is free...."etc.

I assume my father and various kids I knew had 'processed' all this way before *I* ever got it.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 10:19 PM

All those old songs where a well-off guy is out hunting or hiking, sees a young working woman (dairy maid, shepherdess) and instantly falls "in love."

Yeah, right.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 03:24 AM

A great line from ' A Pub With No Beer '

' There's a far away look on the face of the bum '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 04:36 AM

There's a line in "Gallowa Hills" - when doon fa's a' (when everything falls down).
I never really thought about it until an English friend asked what it meant: literal translation as shown, but I suppose it is suggesting falling on hard times or everything going pear- shaped for you.
However my friend had this mental picture of your trousers and pants all falling down. Since she said that, I've never been able to get through that line (which happens twice in the song) without laughing!


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: PHJim
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 07:29 AM

In "The FFV"/"Wreck Of The 143", The Carter Family* sing,

His face lay against the firebox door.
The flames were rolling high,
Said, "I'm proud to be born for an engineer
On the C&O road to die."

If the flames were rolling high, the firebox door would be red hot. A more realistic line, though one that doesn't scan as well, would be,

His face lay against the firebox door.
The flames were rolling high,
Said, "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEYYYAAAHHHH!!!"




*Also sun by Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Joan Baez and others.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 10:14 AM

There's a far away look on the face of the bum '


Seen his mule?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 09:30 AM

In the Flying Fish Sailor version of Blow the Man Down, the narrator tells us how he treated the policeman:

So I smashed in his face, and I stove in his jaw;
Says he "My young feller, you're breaking the law"

After that sort of assault, I'd be amazed if he could manage to say anything intelligible.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band"
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 10:27 AM

From our version of "Cutaway Mike":-


"Little Mike, he was born about six in the morning.
Himself and his mother were there at the time"
,..........
...........


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 11:04 AM

Oh, "Cutaway Mike" goes on & on! (I know only one source on an old LP)

"He once took a trip to his grandfather's tower
Who lived about 600 miles out of town.
Got there in an hour and lifted the tower
Returned home again with a church in his lap.

He once made a contract with baker and butcher
For all they could bake and for all they could kill.
A whole batch of bread he consumed for his dinner,
Then stuck a cow's tail in the hole of his tooth."
---------------------------------------------------

Then there is Bob Beer's "PYTHAGORUS AND CANTANKORUS" which you can listen to here... of which he says:"This is a musical abstract. I would describe it as being in blank verse, with no meter, no ending, and no meaning. Of course, I wrote it with; absolutely no effort."


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie` Band"
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 11:16 AM

Bill D.

It is on our Cd entitled "Cutaway Mike" and it contains your verses.

John


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 12:44 PM

It was midnight on the ocean, not a streetcar was in sight,
I stepped into drug store to get myself a light,
The man behind the counter was a woman old and grey,
She used to peddle donuts on the road to Mandalay.

Aint we crazy, aint we crazy, we sing just to pass the time away,
Aint we crazy, aint we crazy, we sing this little song all night today.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 12:47 PM

I stood by the water so green and so think,I stirred at the scum with an old withered stick,
When there rose from the depths of that limpid lagoon,
The luminous body of Mrs. Ravoon.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:25 PM

*grin* ...is that 'absurd', Kendall?... or merely ghoulish ?

We both sing the whole thing, and it's sometimes hard to tell if the audience considers it absurd.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 07:58 PM

@Kendall 22 Nov 13 - 07:31 PM
A ship at anchor will always have left itself searoom before anchoring, which will still be there when weighing: there's time enough to weigh anchor and then set sail, particularly as the only thing making way on the ship at that point is the current. Many ships could be worked by a mere fistful of very exhausted men, which is how the prize crew system worked. And if you haven't left yourself searoom, either don't sail until the tide, currents and winds change, or crab your way out using sprung anchors and boats - which isn't what the song describes.
Sheets and halyards will normally be secured so they can be left to their own devices at that point. If it's really necessary to use the wind, a minimum sail can be set first, but the same applies.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 02:39 AM

as Derek Brimstone pointed out

He rode east and he rode west....

cos he was an idiot


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: kendall
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 08:32 AM

Guest, I've been a sailor all my adult life so I know all that. It just struck me as poorly worded.

If it takes all hands, that must be one humongous anchor! The picture that come to mind was a full rigged ship, Barque or even a Brigantine.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 10:09 AM

An Appalachian version of The Wife of Usher's Well starts:

There was a woman and she lived alone
And babies she had three

How...?


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: GUEST,Guestibus
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:50 PM

One that I can't unhear is in "The Town I Loved So Well" - 'There was music there, in the Derry air' or as I always hear it, 'derriere'.


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Subject: RE: Absurdities in songs - any examples?
From: BobKnight
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:54 PM

Somewhere in the sixties (I think) some idiot added another verse to Tramps And Hawkers, with a line that reads, "I've helped the Buckie trawlers pull the herring ower the side." A bit difficult since trawlers don't fish for herring. The net trawls along the bottom collecting "white" fish, while herring are suface feeders, (Pelagic fish) caught by drifters.


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