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Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw

15 Jan 04 - 03:39 PM (#1093557)
Subject: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: GUEST,Guest: Stoo

In the 50's, Arthur Godfrey wrote and performed a novelty tune called "Slap Her Down Again Paw". A typical comedy tune about an errant young lady going against the wishes of her family, romantically that is. Does anyone who is familiar with this tune think it inappropriate to perform in these politically correct times? Thanks for any comments.
Stoo


15 Jan 04 - 03:50 PM (#1093563)
Subject: RE: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: Clinton Hammond

Don't let the PCers dictate your songs...

Especially not with hits like "Bugger Off", "Fuck Off And Die" and "Cop Killer" out there...

Sing the songs ya wanna sing Stoo...


15 Jan 04 - 05:39 PM (#1093628)
Subject: RE: Origins: Is this tune appropriate?
From: Joybell

For me it depends on where I'm performing, how I personally feel about a song, and whether I consider it a good song to start with. It's a funny thing but some people are very quick to take offense at the most innocent of songs. Moral outrage is a popular indulgence. I've very rarely had anyone tell me I upset them with a song I've sung. I always give a short introduction before all my songs and it includes noting, if that's appropriate, that the song comes from a time when attitudes were different. It's probably a bit more tricky if you are male and wish to sing a song that supports wife beating. I don't think I'd be brave enough. I sing songs about drunken Victorian fathers but the sympathy is with the victims not the father and that's different. It all depends on your audience and the way you put your songs across.


15 Jan 04 - 09:14 PM (#1093767)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Uncle_DaveO

What it comes down to is, "Approprite for what? For whom?"
ALWAYS a matter of judgment, and no-one can exercise that for you but you!

Dave Oesterreich


15 Jan 04 - 09:27 PM (#1093777)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: NicoleC

I guess it also depends on whether or not you feel you can communicate to an audience a sense of being tongue-in-cheek or just lighthearted. One needn't approve of murder to sing a song about it, and so forth.


15 Jan 04 - 09:37 PM (#1093782)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Rustic Rebel

Appropriate for what would also be my question. Are you singing to a group of children or adults in a tavern that just act like a group of children? (Ha!)
Take a look at a part of this song,

I would rather my gal would hit me
Than to haul right up and quit me.
It ain't nobody's business if I do.

I know that she won't call no copper
If she gets beat up by her poppa.
It ain't nobody's business if I do, Lord no.
Well, it ain't nobody's business if I do.


I would still sing this, appropriate or not. It's a great tune. Billie Holiday- Ain't nobody's buisness if I do.
Rustic


15 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM (#1093787)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ferrara

Well, I can tell you, Stoo, I've sung it at Open Sings & parties but mostly I dont sing it because there are so many eyebrows raised. I thought it was a GREAT song when I was 10 years old or so, and so did my family. Actually I still like it a lot. And I remember all the "voices" Godfrey used for the "kinfolks."

Well, I sang it this fall and a couple people really liked it so I guess it's not totally unacceptable... just be prepared for the raised eyebrows etc.

Rita Ferrara

ps thanks to Bill (D) for showing me this thread....


15 Jan 04 - 10:22 PM (#1093812)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow

To be be sung in the Ironic Mode.


15 Jan 04 - 11:04 PM (#1093827)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: mg

I would recommend against it. mg


15 Jan 04 - 11:07 PM (#1093830)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: wysiwyg

1. No, it's NOT politically correct. On the other hand, neither was most of the folk music (60's, USA) I grew up hearing. :~) Not then anyhow. Then it was. Now it's not anymore. Go figure.

2. I'm so lucky-- I play and sing for church every week, and I get to pick all our band's music. To do that I listen to an average of more than 100 songs a week. Out of that I "hear" the necessity for doing an average of 1-10 songs. Out of that group there may be one (or there may not be any) that I simply have to do that week, and I work up the arrangement and any lyric smoothing that day, if possible. I get lost in these, and we just HAVE to do them. If I died "today," THAT would be the song I'd be more than content to die, singing. And song by song, I can say why that is so, for that song, that day, that week.

Are you lucky enough to be that particular? Do you have that much to choose from and time to hear it? Is this a song you would be content to die, singing, as your last song?

~Susan


16 Jan 04 - 01:46 AM (#1093879)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: johnfitz.com

Ask your audience. I do some extremely bawdy songs, but I introduce them as such. I don't know the song you are talking about. Some people might think it really funny and relevant. Some might not. If you don't mind pssing people off, and are comfortable with your moral character, then go for it...To thine own self be true


16 Jan 04 - 02:25 AM (#1093884)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joe Offer

Say, Stoo or Ferrara or somebody, could you post the lyrics for us?
thanks.
-Joe Offer-


16 Jan 04 - 02:48 AM (#1093893)
Subject: Lyr Add: SLAP HER DOWN AGAIN PA (Arthur Godfrey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

SLAP ‘ER DOWN AGIN, PAW
Words and music by Polly Arnold, Alice Cornett, & Eddie Asherman
As recorded by Arthur Godfrey with the Too Fat Trio, 1948 (YouTube) (Internet Archive)

SPOKEN: Come here, gol-dern you!
Take that! And that! And that!
That's right—

CHORUS: Slap her down again, Pa; slap her down again.
Make her tell us more, Pa, tell us where she's been.
We don't want our neighbors talkin' about our kin.
Slap her down again, Pa; slap her down again.

Well Pa and Ma were so dern sore, they woke me up one night.
There was some awful cussin' and Ma said Pa was right.
They was awaitin' Sister Bess who never kept her word.
The sun came up as Bess came in and this is what I heard: CHORUS

Now poor old Bess got so dern mad she ran away one day
To meet that travelin' salesman with city-slickin' ways.
We ran and stood beside the road with shotguns by our side,
Me and Deke and Pa and Ma who yelled as they came by: CHORUS

Now Ma and Pa they planned for Bess to marry Deacon Brown
And not that travelin' salesman who always came around.
They made poor Bessie go to church; her face was mighty red.
The deacon took one look at her and this is what he said: CHORUS

Well, the moral of this story, girls, is don't stay out too late
Unless you take your shoes off outside your pappy's gate.
If Ma don't hear you comin' in she won't lay down the law
And you won't have to worry cause she won’t sing out to Pa: CHORUS

* * *
Also recorded by:
Smokey Rogers with Tex Williams' Western Caravan, 1948
Patsy Montana and Her Buckaroos, 1948 (Internet Archive)
Esmereldy & Her Novelty Band (YouTube)


16 Jan 04 - 03:19 AM (#1093900)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: open mike

perhaps you could sing it at a conference against domestic violence
to remind the audience about a topic which might enrage them. Be
prepared to duck out the back door fast, though.


16 Jan 04 - 03:45 AM (#1093907)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Rustic Rebel

That is a song of the times. It was acceptable to beat on women and children. Damn am I glad times have changed.
That almost sounds like it could be a new song title.


16 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM (#1094339)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: M.Ted

The song is humorous song! If people can't take a joke--we're all in troubl--I pity the fool who attempts the "Too Fat Polka" without the proper disclaimers--


16 Jan 04 - 03:47 PM (#1094395)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D

exactly, M.Ted...I cannot imagine how anyone could take it as anything but a silly parody like "I'm My Own GrandPa"

(I suppose Homer & Jethro singing "Throw Mama fron the Train" is also non-PC?)


16 Jan 04 - 05:42 PM (#1094462)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Oh! so it's about beating a teenager not a wife. I still agree with the idea of singing anything you feel comfortable with.
I do see another potential problem with this song though. It's not only about child beating, it's about the behaviour of a group of people - Hillbillies, presumably, or rural families in general. It could be seen as unfair as sung by city folks. I don't think I'd sing it. Having said that I do sing songs about other evil aspects of human behaviour like murder and rape - but not songs that support those acts. Bawdy songs without violence are another matter. We all enjoy sex and we all like rude words.


16 Jan 04 - 06:05 PM (#1094479)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear

I can't provide an answer to the question, but I would like to offer an anecdote.

This song was extremely popular in my house when I was growing up. We were a houseful of well-educated Californians, by the way, and my father was a loved and respected college professor.

But when we look back on our childhoods, my brother and I remember an incident, not entirely unlike the one in the song, that actually happened to our sister at our parents' hands. And it horrifies us that we let it happen, even though we were both younger than our sister and probably couldn't have done much to stop it.

Would it have made any difference in our parents' behavior -- or in our willingness to tolerate that behavior -- if that song hadn't been an accepted part of the family culture? Maybe not. But although I'll defend anyone's right to sing it, "Slap Her Down Again, Paw" is one song I doubt anyone in my family will ever sing -- or want to hear -- again.

Claire


16 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM (#1094500)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D

well...almost all of stupid human behavior is documented in song somewhere--some seriously, some humorously- some condemning, some just documenting.. I suppose that ANY song about rape, beating, murder, decapitation, spouse or child abuse, etc. would bring up uncomfortable feelings in 'somone', but unless it is obvious that the singer is praising or advocating anti-social behavior, I can't let my personal discomfort with a topic lead me to ask someone NOT to document *life* in song........in fact, I would worry if some topics were totally avoided. Figuring out how to do it in reasonable 'good taste' and decent music is another issue.


16 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM (#1094506)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow

"Is this tune appropriate?"   

I can understand how a song can be considered distasteful or inappropriate maybe- but how can that apply to a "tune"?


16 Jan 04 - 06:55 PM (#1094521)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear

Oh, McGrath, I am sore wounded by the incisive quality of your rapier-like wit.

But seriously, yes, I KNOW that I'm only uncomfortable with the song because of personal circumstances, and that's why I'd never ask anyone not to sing it.

What I was trying to get across, though, is that I keep asking myself if "desensitization" -- due, to some degree, to that song -- wasn't a factory in my storybook family's descent into abuse.

Believe me, I am not a believer in limiting songs to a sanitized, PC subset of the available material. It's just that this particular song, for a very particular reason, makes me wonder about the desensitization issue. As I already said, it's not an answer, just an anecdote I thought someone else might profit from.

ClaireBear


16 Jan 04 - 07:05 PM (#1094534)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,ClaireBear

Sometimes I can't believe I edit for a living. Sigh. That's factor, not factory.


16 Jan 04 - 07:24 PM (#1094541)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow

It's a song and a "comic" song - but reading through it, it strikes me that there's a subversive element running through it, and it's not merely signing up for a "Spare the rod and spoil the child" approach.

Up until the last two verses it comes across, in print anyway, as pretty sceptical about that style of child-rearing. What's achieved by heavy discipline is that:

"Now poor old Bess got so darn mad
She ran away one day
To meet that travelin' salesman...


Which wasn't, I imagine, what was intended.

And even with the last two verses, it is pretty clear that the heavy-handed approach didn't work out as planned.

Moreover, and I'd think maybe this takes a lot of the offensiveness out of it, the moral isn't "Behave yourself, young lady or you'll get slapped" - it's "Be careful not to get caught, and you'll be all right." And the last line seems to imply that Pa is a hypocrite anyway. ("And you won't have to worry, Cause you won't see much of pa.")In fact, read that way, the chorus does the same for the whole self-righteous family:

"Slap her down again pa
Slap her down again
Make her tell us more pa
Tell us where she's been
We don't want our neighbors
Talkin' about our kin
Slap her down again pa,
Slap her down again."


16 Jan 04 - 07:54 PM (#1094560)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Hello ClaireBear, A bunch of red noses, from the nose factory, to you. I think you comment is relevant and an important part of the discussion. I would never expect a singer to avoid any song that might offend or upset me either, but I would personally not sing this song. I wouldn't sing "The Wee Cooper of Fife" either. In fact I'll avoid songs, comic and otherwise, that CONDONE cruel behaviour.
I can think of times when a song, has unexpectedly worked on someone in my audience. I sing "The Picture that is Turned Towards the Wall" and often comment that it's the story of my mother's experience when she turned up pregnant,on her parent's doorstep. A lady once came up to me, after my bracket, and said it was also her sister's story, and she thanked me for singing such a lovely, sensitive song. This song has come to be thought of as a rather over-the-top, slightly comical, piece of Victoriana, but I never present it that way. I sing it as it was intended to be sung and as I feel it. It's not a song that was written with comic intent.
Joy


16 Jan 04 - 11:42 PM (#1094659)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D

Joybelle..I need to ask -- what you WOULD do with songs like "The Wee Cooper O Fife"? Would you eradicate them? Would you leave them in old books, but only allow certain people to see them? Would you just leave the room when someone else sings them? Do you sing only sweet, happy songs?

Your statement "In fact I'll avoid songs, comic and otherwise, that CONDONE cruel behaviour.", made me think hard about the issue, and the conclusion I come to is, the song does not condone anything...one of the characters in the song condones a certain type of behavior. The song merely paints a picture of this behavior, and no one should ever assume that a singer approves of the attitude expressed in a song.
   A huge number of the folk songs I know in English contain some 'bad'(and often cruel) behavior, and I think it is important that these songs are heard and remembered as a mirror of the strange species of animal to which we belong. Yes, at one time it was widely considered 'ok' for men to beat wives that did not please them.....now it is a whole lot LESS condoned--perhaps due to the implied ridicule of the practice in some songs. (I know, I know...it is not 'explicitly' condemned...but then the song would not be 'fun' while it exposes. It is much harder to write a 'good' song which includes a moral lesson. It is much easier to describe the situation and let folks decide for themselves.

I am not suggesting that you, or anyone, go learn a bunch of songs which are not what they like to sing, just because Bill D stated that it's good for them..*smile*, I just want to lay out one viewpoint about how we can approach all these musical records of our own history.


16 Jan 04 - 11:58 PM (#1094665)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Cluin

Our fiddler leaves the stage (or at least moves to the back of it) when we are forced by request to launch into "Barrett's Privateers". He doesn't like the "Goddamn them all!" line.

Personally, I have sung that song so many times I wouldn't mind never doing it again. But folks still seem to get a kick out of it so that's why we do it.

I used to like it too, years ago.


17 Jan 04 - 01:12 AM (#1094696)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: M.Ted

Well, Joybell--it is an oft used humorous device to take on the behaviors that embody a certain point of view for the purpose of satirizing and exposing the hypocricy of that point of view--Interesting to note that the Victorians were much satirized for their proneness to maudlin sentiments, their moral hypocricy, and their lack of humor--


17 Jan 04 - 04:36 AM (#1094726)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Susanl

Songs are meant to be about anything. They are stories about being alive. Good songs are well told stories about being alive. That's all that matters. The songs I love the most neither condemn nor condone human behaviour. They just tell a story musically and eloquently and leave the rest to the listener.

I would rather listen to Willow Garden than This Land is Your Land, for instance.


17 Jan 04 - 07:02 PM (#1095152)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Dear Bill, Me sweet and happy? *grin a few times over* I don't actually sing many "sweet, happy songs" at all.
Songs like "The Wee Cooper of Fife" and other songs that condone what I see as unacceptable behaviour are not part of my repertoire but I certainly would not have them eradicated, nor do I expect any other singer to conform to my personal standards. The song that started this discussion does put the singer into the position of family member encouraging unnacceptable behavior and I wouldn't sing it.
Funny that I've come across as a singer of sweet,happy songs. I've never really cared for them on the whole. The stories are boring for a start and they date quickly. As well I rather like the contrast between my rather sweet-sounding voice (not to mention my name) and really dark and terrible songs about death and pain and sadness. I do rather favour songs that have happy-sounding melodies - merry dance tunes, but that tell grim stories using strong images. Ballads like "Lamkin" and "The Cruel Sister". It's the contrast I like. I also sing 19th Century parlour songs of the sad variety. Very few of the comic ones appeal to me. My mind has always wandered around inside the folktales of the Grimms Brothers, the Child Ballads, and through lonely graveyards full of dead lovers. Sweet, happy songs? Joy though.


17 Jan 04 - 07:16 PM (#1095166)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow

Joybell is right - a lot of Victorian Parlour Ballads that people have come to think of as jolly romps are really serious songs, and they benefit from being sung that way.

That applies for quite a number of other songs that always tend to be given the jolly singalong approach. For example, "The Titanic", which can send a shiver up your spine. For that matter so can "All for me Grog" - I once heard Tim Laycock sing a slow straight version of that, which had a quite extraordinary impact.


17 Jan 04 - 07:49 PM (#1095183)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Yes McGrath, "Death came riding by sixteen hundred had to die!" Shivers indeed. "The Titanic" is one of the best. Joy of the Belles


17 Jan 04 - 08:06 PM (#1095200)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo

why do we find it humorous when a grown man beats up his adolescent daughter? i think it's because the song makes clear that these people are just ignorant hillbillies, and we always find hillbilly violence humorous (feudin fussin & a-fightin, etc). we have also found humor in the spectacle of "darkies" cutting each other with their ubiquitous razors, or of cliche irishmen getting drunk and pounding each other to a pulp. try changing the contexts around -- substituting an anglo-american factory worker (or in claire bear's case, a college professor!) for Paw, for instance, and see how funny it sounds.


17 Jan 04 - 08:46 PM (#1095222)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D

"...other songs that condone what I see as unacceptable behaviour..."

Ah STILL don't think the SONG can condone nuthin'

Ah guess, Ahm a mite slow, but Ah still don't see whut differmunts hit makes to be willin' to sing 'bout murder between sisters and NOT sing 'bout whuppin' yore silly kid...but everbody done got they own ideer 'bout where lines gotta be drawed. Y'all g'wan and sing whatcha want.

(guess I'd better duck out of sight before my bad parody of hillbilly grammar gets too much flak! *big grin*)


17 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM (#1095228)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

It's not what you sing about but the position you take. This song is not just "about" something it has the singer taking sides. I repeat that I wouldn't sing it but other singers have to make up there own minds.


17 Jan 04 - 09:03 PM (#1095231)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Sorry "their" not "there"


17 Jan 04 - 09:12 PM (#1095240)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Ah don' car' whut momma don' 'low, gonna sing 'at song anyhow!


18 Jan 04 - 01:42 PM (#1095631)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Melani

My mother used to sing that song, with what she thought of as a "hillbilly" accent, because she thought it was funny--but then, she also plastered her guitar with decorative decals that really slopped it up (See thread "Decorated Instruments"). I never much cared for it. I think the problem is that it tells the story in the first person and is supposed to be funny, when in fact, as was pointed out, it's about parents beating their daughter. Strange that my mom's weird folk music habits seem to be coming up for me today.


18 Jan 04 - 05:57 PM (#1095770)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Melani, You are exactly right.
Just by the way I couldn't help thinking that my two daughters could probably relate to your story. I didn't sing this particular song but I know that my understanding of the songs I sing, and the effect they can have on listeners, has changed over the years. I think that the worst I did though was to be always dressed up in what my kids saw as funny clothes. They would have preferred a less weird Mum. I'm a Grandma now. Grandmas are expected to be eccentric.
                               Cheers across the generations, Joy


18 Jan 04 - 06:13 PM (#1095785)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: McGrath of Harlow

One storytelling technique is, where the idea is that the listener is meant to see through what the first person narrator is saying, and understand what is happening in a different way.

Perhaps the thing about this song, as old pooperoo implies, is not that it advocates beating wayward daughters, but that it lampoons "hillbillies" for that kind of thing.


18 Jan 04 - 06:22 PM (#1095792)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Nuthin' 'bout hillwillies in the song.

It lampoons rural folk (like those engaged in the Iowa primary vote) from sea to shining sea.

Sign me- city feller


18 Jan 04 - 09:44 PM (#1095931)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Walking Eagle

If you want to sing it, you could update it by adding some verses of your own. This is a fine technique in the folk traditiion.


18 Jan 04 - 10:09 PM (#1095947)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joe Offer

I sing You're Always Welcome at Our House to kids, and they always seem to like it. I sometimes get complaints from their parents, but I explain that I see value in a song that shows the absurdity of solving problems with violence.

But "Slap Her Down, Pa" makes me cringe. It doesn't strike me as funny at all. On the other hand, I asked for the lyrics because I wanted to know what they said, and I'd like to hear the song - once.

-Joe Offer-


19 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM (#1096592)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joybell

Joe, I have been singing "You're Always Welcome at Our House" to kids for years too. I've never had a complaint but I too introduce it carefully. No one, especially the kids, could ever believe that it is about a real situation. Joy


20 Jan 04 - 12:29 AM (#1096805)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Melani

Joybell, I never minded that my mom was eccentric--and God knows she was. But she did have these occasional lapses of taste that I found pretty embarrassing--and still do.


20 Jan 04 - 02:47 PM (#1097326)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Inükshük

Joe Offer
"and I'd like to hear the song - once."
As Q mentioned in the post providing the lyrics as you requested, there is a very cheerful rendition done by Patsy Montana at the Record Lady's place.
You'll probably want to run it through a few times to get into the spirit of the song.


20 Jan 04 - 05:11 PM (#1097455)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Stoo

Since posting this topic, I'm amazed at the array of different opinions. Both for and against are very well stated. I think the closest to my opinion was posted by McGrath of Harlow, where he stated that the song doesn't encourage beating on the daughter but lampoons the "rural folk" aka 'hillbillies' for perhaps behaving in that manner. Thanks for the response. I will have to think twice before performing said tune.
Stoo


03 Mar 08 - 06:52 AM (#2278079)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Clones - delete the crap but please keep this thread active!

Stoo - if you're still there - go over to Art's Politically Incorrect Songs thread. I think these two should be linked with little blue clickies at the top.


03 Mar 08 - 07:05 AM (#2278087)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: topical tom

In my opinion, the only occasion to sing this song is as an example of how morally, socially, even legally wrong and inappropriate these type of songs were and ,thankfully, how we have progressed since then.I see no humour in such songs.


03 Mar 08 - 11:36 AM (#2278290)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Neil D

Beat on the brat
   Beat on the brat
   Beat on the brat with a baseball bat, ohoh
                           Joey Ramone


03 Mar 08 - 11:45 AM (#2278302)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Megan L

weel lad i widny use a baseball bat tae beat me brat but a carpet beater did the job jist fine especially efter ahm bin bakin an hid smoored in floor(Brat in Scots was a stout working apron no the kinda thing ye wid serve afternoon tea in )


26 Oct 08 - 03:44 PM (#2476668)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Thore Williams

Slap Her Down Again Paw:

I am absolutely amazed that anyone would not find this song FUNNY.
I suggest those who find it otherwise should seek mental help.

In no way does the song suggest that we all beat our kids. Anyone having a problem with the song should IMMEDIATELY SEEK HELP !!


27 Oct 08 - 01:22 PM (#2477333)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Jim

It's a Shame To Beat Your Wife On A Sunday

Little Sadie
Tom Dooley
Banks Of The Ohio
Willow Garden
Pretty Polly
Delia

Miss Otis Regrets
Frankie And Johnny
Monongahela Sal

I have, at one time or another sung all of these songs. I stopped singing the first one many years ago, but I hate to give up some of the really great murder ballads. In the first six murder ballads, the man murders the woman. They are all in the first person and he doesn't give much of a reason, BUT he does end up sitting in prison or hanging. When I sing these songs, I don't approve of the actions, I'm playing a character.

The last three are murder ballads where the woman kills the man. They are all in the third person and, though their reasons don't justify murder, we don't feel too sorry for the scumballs they murder.

I'd put Slap Her Down Again Pa in the same group as It's A Shame To Beat Your Wife On A Sunday. I don't sing them for the same reason I don't tell nor laugh at racist jokes.


27 Oct 08 - 02:16 PM (#2477375)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ferrara

Well I was a feminist even as a kid -- for example, I decided I would never change my name to my husband's or promise to obey him just because we were married! [Ask Bill -- I've kept both promises.] But I loved "Slap Her Down Again Paw." We had it on a 78 rpm record and it got a lot of plays at our house.

I was still a feminist in the 70's -- by nature, and because of the way I see the world, and in part because I had a southern Italian father who occasionally really came the heavy over his wife and kids. But. I had a sense of humor about it, which I decided was not true of all the women around me who were just discovering that they had been downtrodden.

I don't sing it any more. There are plenty of other songs. But I never thought that Arthur Godfrey sympathized with the attitudes in the song. I thought he was making fun of them.

And no, things like that aren't funny when they are happening. But the exaggeration in the song is funny. Especially the last verse. That's how I knew Godfrey (and the song) were on my side.

The moral of this story girls
Is don't stay out too late,
Unless you take your shoes off
Outside your pappy's gate.
If Ma don't hear you coming in
she won't lay down the law
And you don't have to worry
'Cause she won't sing out to Paw --

Chorus: Slap Her Down Agin, Paw etc.


27 Oct 08 - 02:20 PM (#2477377)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself

"Lay down the LAW", I believe.


27 Oct 08 - 03:15 PM (#2477416)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Colin Randall

I too cringed when I read the lyrics. If I could sing, I would choose not to sing it.

But I can see that with the right interpretation, it would come across - as McGrath points out in the most impressive, to me, contributions to this thread - as opposing the violence it describes,

But then, it also seems to be a case of whether it's generally sung at all, as opposed to simply being played as a tune. You only need to consult a good list of tune titles to see that we could end up with dozens more threads on what should nowadays be censored

Colin


Salut! Live


28 Oct 08 - 07:02 PM (#2478587)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Jim

Although I love Billie Holiday, I still cringe whenever I hear
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do.


28 Oct 08 - 08:10 PM (#2478627)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: Midchuck

All the good songs are inappropriate by present standards. Every damn last one. I've lived too long.

Peter


29 Oct 08 - 01:50 PM (#2479150)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore

As I read this thread, it reinforces a belief that gets stronger with time: songs can change what a person thinks and believes! I find that scary since one of my joys is to present music to others.

It also reminds me that not everyone "hears" songs the same. My wife listens to songs as a whole without focusing on the lyrics. She is often surprised when I tell her what a song is "about".   Ronald Reagen's staff used Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" at rallies, probably because they only heard the title words and not the rest of the song.

So Shoo. You have to decide this question for yourself. Clearly, the reaction to the song will vary from person to person and therefore from audience to audience. As Clairebear explains, individual reaction may come from individual experience. The result is this. If you don't want to offend people with your songs, don't sing. You may never know who you have offended.

If you like a song that YOU have questions about, explore those questions yourself and come to some decision. I sing "Gotta Find a Woman with a Chainsaw" which includes a line about "Mendocino Thunder-Fuck". I don't like the line and I won't sing it. I wrote a substitute. The song was too good to waste. Yes, the song might still offend some people.

Dave Ray did a blues song "Killing Me by Degrees". One verse is "I feel like snapping a pistol, baby, in your face. You know that graveyard will be your resting place. This woman is killing me, baby, killing me by degrees". I probably would never aing it to a large group, but I might to song circle or group of friends. It reflects a feeling that resonates with me, not one that I would ever act upon but which I have felt in the past.

Finally, you need to consider just how many people you dare to offend. Your version of "This Land is Your Land" might very well offend someone with different beliefs.

What you sing is a reflection of you. So what ever you wish to sing is appropriate for you. Let me stand down from the soap box.

Roger in Baltimore


29 Oct 08 - 03:13 PM (#2479208)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Dave Swan

So, just curious here, Roger. Is it the reference to dope itself or the term for it that offends you? I merely ask.

D


30 Oct 08 - 02:21 PM (#2480123)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore

Dave, It is a little bit the reference to dope, but more the "F" word. I don't exclude dope references in songs, but I tend to stay away from direct references. So, I will do a song with the line "That corn cob pipe he chewed on always smelled just a little funny."

As you might not know, I am a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the State of Maryland and it is probably best that I not be seen as promoting drug or alcohol use. Like I say, it is all about you and what impact you want to have.

Roger in Baltimore


30 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM (#2480149)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Dave Swan

Thanks, Roger. This conversation reminds me of the days on the 'cat when a question could be asked and answered and the exchange would be civil and informative.

I see all of your points, particularly the one about being a counselor and having to watch what you sing. It'd be like me singing to promote arson.

Thanks again,

D


30 Oct 08 - 04:02 PM (#2480212)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Roger in Baltimore

Maybe it's because we are both "old 'catters" on the "'cat".

Big RiB


30 Oct 08 - 04:04 PM (#2480214)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

"The Holly Twig," or "A Bachelor Bold and Young," (and other titles) deals with proper and fitting punishment for a scolding wife-

Tuesday morning I carried her home;
I thought to my soul I'd have a wife of my own.
She wrinkled up her face and began to scold.
I never was scolded so in my life-time before.

Wednesday morning I went to the wood.
I thought to my soul she wouldn't prove good.
I got me a hickory, one that was green-
I thought it was the keenest I ever had seen.

Thursday morning I whipped her well;
I have no doubt I sent her soul to hell.
But if I have, I shall never repent
The time in whipping her that I have spent.

These verses are part of the old song, from a version collected in Mississippi by A. P. Hudson, 1926, JAFL vol. 39, no. 152, pp. 155-156.


30 Oct 08 - 06:51 PM (#2480347)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself

The tone of that one seems quite different from that of Slap Her Down Again, does it not?


31 Oct 08 - 06:57 AM (#2480673)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: trevek

I'd suggest it depends on HOW you sing it. If you sing it like you believe it's a good idea then perhaps not.

Mind you, I'm all for songs about slapping teenagers... shame it's only songs!


27 Nov 08 - 06:55 AM (#2502783)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Sleepy Rosie

It's a funny song in a classically black humour way, but only because to contempory ears, it demonstrates such regressive attitudes of the times and of the people it describes - in which the content itself may indeed have once been considered funny.

The reason it was probably considered funny then, is to my mind, very didfferent to why it might be funny now.

Once, to many people the idea of severe child or spouse beating was a normal everyday occurrance. They were the people who were desensitised to their own behaviours. So maybe it was funny to them in a 'bawdy' way.

To my ears, the song is more like a kind of circus freak-show of grotesques. And has the effect of conjouring up equivalently freakish and very black-humour style images of duelling banjos, village lynchings, incestuous inbreeding, and nine year-old brides...


06 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM (#2559567)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,AJ

Ask if it is appropriate and you give people the chance to ask themselves if they should be offended. If there is the remotest possibility that someone might say to them, "you should be offended," then they WILL be offended. We all want to appear sensitive to the raw exposed nerves of anyone who might publicly question whether we are bigots and find a reason to sue. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that America (in general) has a big honkin' chip on its shoulder and needs to lighten up. Far too much seriousness is made out of the trivial, and truly serious matters are regarded flippantly. This generation is not any better than the 50's generation although that is their main claim. Stereotypes are equally if not more vicious than those back then, they're just different. (Ask any blonde or a person of religious moral convictions). This sycophantic belly-groveling ass-whining generation is just too uncool to have fun. If they couldn't walk in lock-step, the weak-knee little germs would all fall down. Time and again history repeats itself. If a generation is marked with strength and courage, the successive generation is always replete with cowardice. They bully and puff their stuff about things that are inconsequential in order to appear "big". Hence all the Political Correctness Nazis. Get down to brass tacks and the blowhards are bound to pop off.

Reserve the good stuff for those who can best appreciate it. We're out there, and we know how to have a good time. The mentally balanced don't lash out over PATENTLY comedic fare such as this song.


06 Feb 09 - 07:19 PM (#2559574)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: kendall

Things have changed since 1948


15 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM (#2701308)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Alice

I too listened to this song as a child and found it very amusing. We would sing and dance along with it. Certainly I never approved of the behaviour espoused by it and the only influence it held for me was as a venue to laugh along with my friends at the absurdity of it.

The question might be rephrased: "Is this song appropriate for ----? (fill in the blank.) Kind of depends on the audience, I guess. But I'm inclined towards songs that might push a few buttons in almost any audience. If it gets under your skin at least you might be thinking about it some.

At any rate, I've appreciated the discourse on the subject and it's something to hear that others share similar memories of the song from childhood.


07 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM (#2960149)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: GUEST,Lonnie

From what I have heard about Arthur Godfrey, these lyrics might not be as "playful" and "in jest" as one would think.
Godfrey, from many accounts, was a genuine American phony...folksy, friendly Uncle Arthur to the world...quite something else in private.
Steve Allen used to do a bit for years on The Tonight Show and beyond where he would read the lyrics of popular rock n roll songs in complete dead pan without music.
For example:

"Bee Bop A Loo La, She's My Baby"...long pause, (audience giggles)...
"Bee Bop A Loo La....I Don't Mean Maybe"...Allen looks at the camera
with an "are you kidding me?" look on his face and the live audience
bursts into laughter as he slowly shakes his head in apparent disgust.

Allen could have done something similar with this song.
Reading these lyrics without music, they look like they were written
by a demented hermit living somewhere in the Ozarks.


08 Aug 10 - 12:03 PM (#2960581)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Ebbie

I've never heard the 'Slap Her Down Again' song but the sentiments - to me - reek of honor killings.

The only time I would sing it, I think, is when the group/song circle had devolved one after another into unrelentingly sad/cruel/unhappy/gory songs. That's what I do with 'Knoxville Girl'. It gets us onto a different genre, right quick.


08 Aug 10 - 01:15 PM (#2960608)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: beeliner

Arthur Godfrey wrote and performed a novelty tune called "Slap Her Down Again Paw"

Godfrey's version was a cover. The original was by Esmereldy and her Novelty Band, and the authors are listed on the label as Arnold, Cornell, and Asherman.

Godfrey, from many accounts, was a genuine American phony...folksy, friendly Uncle Arthur to the world...quite something else in private.

Virtually everyone who ever worked for or with Godfrey said that he was a rotten SOB, but he was also one of the great pioneers of radio broadcasting. While other announcers addressed 'the vast radio audience' as if they were hordes standing before them, Godfrey spoke to ONE PERSON - the average listener, usually female in the daytime. He may not have been the first to take this approach, but he was certainly the most successful.


14 Aug 10 - 09:11 AM (#2965033)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Lindagail

I have read EVERY single post in this thread and my first reaction is "Wow, are these folks for real?" (especially guest AJ) First of all, one out of four women will experience domestic violence in their life. And I can tell you first hand that a huge percentage of those one in four will have come from a home that experienced domestic violence. So to answer your question, I think you might offend at the very least a quarter of your female audience.

I looked this song up because my aunt was almost killed in a beating by my grandfather as a young woman and my father (her brother) sang this song during the beating. And no these were NOT hillbillies, these were highly respected, prim and proper rural MN folks.

That abuse rolled down through the generations onto me as a child in the 50's and I can tell you I was horrified when I heard the words. I guess it is all perspective. As a survivor of serious physical child abuse, I was horrified as I read the words. Yes, it was a different time. And it needs to stay in that time.

To tell someone to lighten up or to make fun of their legitimate objections (example: This sycophantic belly-groveling ass-whining generation is just too uncool to have fun.) is insulting. (btw, you sir have not the slightest clue to "cool.") There is nothing funny about being beaten.
Lindagail
www.childabusestories.org


14 Aug 10 - 07:09 PM (#2965340)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,s

The comment above about the 'hillbilly' aspect of this song is the clue. The whole point is to make fun of the unenlightened rural conservative folks that "aren't like us" (anymore), and was a staple of a time when the "post-war" was changing into the "boom times" of the 50s. It's instructive to remember that the old ways, which included strict child-rearing (and wife-beating), were giving way to many of the attitudes we see above -- "How could anyone think this funny?" and so forth.

You could probably make a list of other kinds of song that came out of such "change-times", not limited to "coon songs," "stage Irish songs," etc. If I were in graduate school again, it might be fitting for a thesis.

So remember the times and the reasons for this and similar songs.

Bob


15 Aug 10 - 12:10 AM (#2965467)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Songbob

Hmmm... That "s" is "Songbob."


15 Aug 10 - 12:40 AM (#2965473)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,uncle Rumpo

read none of these except yours "GUEST,Lindagail"..

ok..i get bruises from my younger wife.

she has a mean temperament..
made my bed, I can live with it..

but no way could i ever respect any man who violates women..

they are low life coward scum..


ps... "GUEST,Lindagail" would that be a Lewis family name by any chance.????

if so, you play a cool piano..


15 Aug 10 - 09:59 AM (#2965639)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Taconicus

Songbob is right, the song is another one of those examples of rampant classism that continues unabated in intelligentsia and progressive circles. It's very PC today to ridicule "rednecks" and conservatives. It's just not PC if the listener thinks the song is being serious about abusing women. But if it's understood as ridiculing "hillbillies" it's given a pass.

Race is the area in which folk music is most bowdlerized (or just censored outright) with very little, if any, discussion allowed. I'm not talking about racism specifically, but even songs that merely reflect the realities of racial separation in the past. For example, there's an old song that's very beautiful when sung in four-part harmony. I believe the title is After Dark. Here are the original lyrics:

After dark when everything is still
And the moon comes creeping o'er the hill
I'll be waiting patiently for you
'Cause I love you true
Yes indeed I do, my honey,

Come with me, along the Everglades,
Watch the darkies, how they promenade!
You're my ever loving queen of all the dusky maids.
You're my moonlight Lou [or Lill, or some similar-sounding name]

Apparently, this song reflects a time when white men in the South might go down to the "Negro district" to indulge in sexual dalliance with "loose women" there. It's not a mean-spirited song, but it reflects a very unsavory period of history as far as race relations is concerned. A very beautiful song, it's still song today in "barbershop" (male a cappella close four-part harmony) courses, but with different lyrics:

Come with me, along the Everglades,
Watch the folks, see how they promenade!
You're my ever loving queen of all the pretty maids...

Just two or three words changed, and the bowdlerization is complete! And the unpleasant history is forgotten.

The sensitivity to this sort of thing may be more pronounced in the United States than elsewhere. While over in Scotland about a decade ago I heard a classic "blood libel" folk song sung at a folk music club performance. It was all about a little Christian boy who was lured away by a "Jewess" who proceeded to carve out his heart "with her little penknife," etc. It was performed without any explanation or context, and received nice applause. No one (but me) seemed to think there was anything wrong with singing it without at least an explanation or proviso that it might not be factually based -- it's just good authentic folk music, don't you know!


15 Aug 10 - 10:07 AM (#2965644)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Taconicus

Err... make that
... still sung today in "barbershop" (male a cappella close four-part harmony) choruses..."
Dang voice-recognition dictation software!


15 Aug 10 - 03:58 PM (#2965857)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: beeliner

1. Apparently, this song reflects a time when white men in the South might go down to the "Negro district" to indulge in sexual dalliance with "loose women" there.

2. It was all about a little Christian boy who was lured away by a "Jewess" who proceeded to carve out his heart "with her little penknife," etc.


1. It's possible that some white men might have done that, but from the lyrics it sounds more than a minstrel show number, with the singer being black or in blackface. There were many such songs.

2. Well, this was a Child ballad, "Sir Hugh", popularized in the US by Nelstone's Hawaiians as "Fatal Flower Garden", and included in the Harry Smith anthology. By that time the Jewess had become a gypsy. Of course, neither group ever had such a ritual, but it makes an interesting song.


11 May 11 - 05:22 PM (#3152344)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

I think that both this song and "Old Time Cat O' Nine"/Cat O"Nine Tails" by Lord Invader need an introduction before anyone sings them.


12 May 11 - 11:26 AM (#3152767)
Subject: RE: Is this tune appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again
From: GUEST,Tony

Inappropriate. The story as told in this song is not comical. There could be a funny song about the practice of disciplining an overly affectionate daughter, but comedy requires that the victim perseveres in spite of the adversity. In this song, we only hear of the beating, not that she goes off with the travelling salesman anyway. So our feeling about the subject matter is sadness, and the tone of the song should respect that, as in many traditional songs such as "The Trumpeter of Fyvie."


01 Feb 19 - 06:49 PM (#3974469)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST

Inappropriate.


02 Feb 19 - 02:56 AM (#3974506)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: leeneia

I have a simple test for this kind of thing. Change the victim from female to male and see if it's still funny.

For example, there's a parody that goes

Rudolph, with your gun so bright, won't you shoot my wife tonight?

Change that to this:

Rudolph, with your gun so bright, won't you shoot my SON tonight?

Suddenly it's sickening. Well, it was sickening before.


02 Feb 19 - 05:21 AM (#3974525)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes

Folk song is a living museum of former times, and sometimes the representatives of the past are no more welcome than the ducking stool. Therefore they must be framed appropriately.

But, I do think there is value in retaining them. When the shadow of domestic violence has entirely receded from the real world, how will people learn about how society tolerated it? Perhaps the Wee Cooper of Fife will enlighten them.


02 Feb 19 - 05:49 AM (#3974530)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Senoufou

Well said leeneia.
I'm usually the first to moan about political correctness, but some things go beyond what's acceptable and this is one of them.
Forced marriage and physical violence towards a young person? No.


02 Feb 19 - 09:48 AM (#3974547)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: wysiwyg

Leenia, I agree.


02 Feb 19 - 11:43 AM (#3974558)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge

I `ad Lesley from "Me Too" in my cab the other night. `ow did I know? She `ad it all over `er "T" shirt. She `ad a face like thunder and was tut-tutting quite loudly.
I said, " Evening Duchess, you just got a saucy post card from Weinstein or something?"
She said, "No Jim. Iv`e just come from that folk club up near Kings Cross. One of the singers did that Arthur Godfrey song, "Slap `er Down Again Paw". Most uncomfortable and misogynistic. Jim, you and your band `ave been on the circuit for years. You wouldn`t do songs like that, would you?"
I said, "We do worse than that. We do "Marrowbones"
She said, " Well, that`s not bad"
I said, "It is. `e pushes `er under the water with a barge-pole eventually!!"


Whaddam I Like??


02 Feb 19 - 01:07 PM (#3974574)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself

Black/gallows humour is never appropriate for a general audience - most of your audience will not perceive the irony the way you (presumably) intend. And/or, irony or no, certain audience members will be reminded of personal trauma, which, presumably again, is not what you're after as a performer.


02 Feb 19 - 03:33 PM (#3974593)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST

It is difficult isn't it? The first song I ever sang in public was the Cooper of Fife. I was nine years old and had been stood on a table in the Miners Institute in Fife to do my party piece. The audience applauded the little English girl singing a traditional Scots song, joining in every syllable of the rollicking nonsense chorus. I think we all thought was about the wife getting what she deserved for being posh, snobbish, and lazy. I do not sing it these days, because I do not think wife beating is OK, or something to laugh at.
Many, perhaps most Child Ballads and a lot of traditional songs are about murder, war, or seduction. They do not necessarily condone it. None of the characters in Little Musgrave are particularly attractive, but it is a fine song.
One I have trouble with is The Two Magicians. I still sing it, as a terrifying song that shows that when you are being stalked, sometimes not even magic will save you, but some people feel it is on the side of the rapist.
I didn't know Slap her Down Again Paw until I read the lyrics her but is part of the problem that we are meant to find it funny?


02 Feb 19 - 03:41 PM (#3974596)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: meself

You are "meant" to find the attitude of the speaker, his family, his social group, so stupid as to be funny, with the assumption that collective mockery will in some small way ameliorate the situation - but you probably think that you're "meant" to find violence against women funny. Which is why I say black/gallows humour should not be presented to a general audience.


02 Feb 19 - 03:59 PM (#3974599)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: GUEST,Andy7

There are so many countless thousands of songs to choose from, I'm not sure why anyone would spend the time and trouble learning and performing a song that an audience of today will find offensive and repulsive. Even if it was originally written as 'tongue in cheek' humour.

I agree, such songs can have valuable historical value. So let's keep them in the archives, as a resource to be studied by students of social history.


02 Feb 19 - 04:51 PM (#3974603)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: leeneia

"Folk song is a living museum of former times"

Well, no. A museum curator tries to preserve history and respect the truth. Music reflects what people thought (sometimes). It also reflects what composers thought would sell and what drunks thought was funny.

Meanwhile, I'm a free citizen of the free world, and I refuse to use my time, money and instruments to promote or condone bad things.


03 Feb 19 - 02:24 PM (#3974694)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: leeneia

and also...

Beware of pretend humor.

We're all smart enough to know what I mean.


03 Feb 19 - 03:34 PM (#3974706)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Joe Offer

Still, I think there is serious danger in whitewashing the past. Songs like this one must not be celebrated, but neither should they be hidden. We need to know about the cruelty of our ancestors.


03 Feb 19 - 06:44 PM (#3974720)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Jeri

The song seems to be a sort of screenplay where dumb-ass sons are ridiculed. It's making fun of the ignorant, sexist sons, and Bess wins in the end.

I think people who don't pay attention, or can't get the underlying meaning, are going to think the song's about the worst possible thing. The fact is, though, that we're living in a time of people who "don't get it" thinking they should be running things.

And for the record, I wouldn't sing this song because of them.


03 Feb 19 - 09:49 PM (#3974739)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Bill D

After 15 years we STILL have mixed opinions on the song. Some see it as a horrible example of touting totally unacceptable behavior... and some see it as mocking unacceptable behavior and painting a picture of what NOT to do. Some would sing it only after a disclaimer.

Some point at Arthur Godfrey and suggest that HE was semi=serious about it, while others note that Patsy Montana sang it... and others that it was even earlier.

Some note that many, many 'folk' songs relate behavior that is much worse, but that 'history' is sorta, kinda different from folks WE might know.
   
Me? I know an Irish song about glorifying ther murder of a member of the *other* religion. THAT one I only sing... rarely... as an example, because I heard it sung seriously almost 60 years ago. I would NEVER add it to a general session of Irish songs.
   ...so..I think this song, where, as someone points out, the girl gets advice about avoiding'Paw' is pretty innocuous by comparison.
Somehow, it all reminds me of debates about 'pornography', where ANY writings or images of intimate behavior are condemned by some and defended by others...


04 Feb 19 - 12:18 AM (#3974757)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: rich-joy

It is perhaps, worth remembering :

•        That in 2018, Domestic Violence – in Australia alone – resulted in the deaths of 63 women.
•        That “DV” is NOT a thing of “days gone by” nor perpetrated just by “the lower classes” as has been postulated.
•        That it involves a multitude of races, creeds, colours, ages, alcohol/drug users & abstainers, sexuality orients, – & genders – over a wide range of socio-economic and educational stratum, living in most countries on the planet.

At this point, whilst considering the future of the world and its peoples, words fail me.
….. sigh …..

R-J (Down Under) - who is strongly considering not reincarnating on Earth next time round.

Oh, you want this to be a music post?? Hmmmmm.   Well, I s’pose Mike Waterson’s “A Stitch in Time” springs to mind (and Thomas Hardy’s related poem) – they’re both in Mudcat already!


04 Feb 19 - 09:06 AM (#3974805)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: wysiwyg

Part of the societal problem we've all inherited is that saying what's funny is up to the power group, not the members of the group over whom they hold power-- institutional, structural power.

As a woman, my tolerance for this sort of song and its title, and a discussion of it, will directly relate to how many times I've been hurt on any given day at the hands of male power. My daily experience of that doesn't leave much room to see humor about it. Today, zero.

~S~


06 Feb 19 - 06:49 AM (#3975093)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Thompson

Feel absolutely free to sing this song about a father beating his daughter.

I won't be going to any of your performances after that, though.


07 Feb 19 - 10:35 AM (#3975304)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: leeneia

I'm with you, Rich-joy, Wysiwig and Thompson.


10 Feb 19 - 02:10 AM (#3975818)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Seamus Kennedy

Arthur Godfrey also had a hit with the “Too Fat Polka”.


10 Feb 19 - 09:12 AM (#3975887)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: wysiwyg

And I'd boycott anyone doing what Godfrey did. Read up on Ragen Chastain FMI, esp her work on misfiagnoses.


10 Feb 19 - 05:37 PM (#3975998)
Subject: RE: Is this song appropriate?: Slap Her Down Again Paw
From: Richard Mellish

> Feel absolutely free to sing this song about a father beating his daughter.

> I won't be going to any of your performances after that, though.

Does the same apply to someone singing Mill o'Tiftie's Annie? Or is that OK because the narration is on Annie's side and (mildly) critical of her family ("Woe be tae her brither")?

Or what about the ballads (two of them) where a Scots girl is burnt at the stake for refusing to abandon her love of an Englishman?