Mudcat Café message #2034103 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #101024   Message #2034103
Posted By: sian, west wales
24-Apr-07 - 04:52 AM
Thread Name: Anti Henrietta o Chicago
Subject: RE: Anti Henrietta o Chicago
I'd be very surprised if it WAS in the Traditional Ballad Index! (But tickled pink.)

I think it has been performed by a number of groups, but probably originally composed for Bois y Frenni, a men's 'party' or small choir in North Pembrokeshire.

Re: the tune at the link, that's "Rally round the Flag" or "Marching Through Georgia" yes? (I'm not sure of the title.) If you've heard the recording, I guess you understand that it's a bit inaccurate to use the tune 'straight up' as it were. It's been adapted for 'Anti Henrietta'.

W. R. Evans wrote the words, and he was a north Pembrokeshire poet - around Crymych I think. He wrote a lot of stuff along these lines and I have one of his "slim volumes" published in 1940. Some great comic stuff including "Lord Ho Ho", "Y Gas Mask" and "Ffarwel Sospan". I won't translate, as they're pretty obvious, particularly if you remember that these are from the early war years. A good number of them are written to tunes which would have been popular ones of the day - Community Song Book and music hall stuff. Many which we would consider 'American' - "Little Brown Jug", "Oh Susannah", "John Brown's Body" - something which is a tradition in itself in maritime Wales.

Gomer Press republished some of his work in Cerddi Bois y Frenni a few years - with a forward by poet Dic Jones.

Anyway, the words:

I have an aunty who lives across the sea,
Aunty Henrietta from Chicago;
And when she comes to us on a vist, I'm afraid to see her, sure enough,
Aunty Henrietta from Chicago.

A fine old lady she is, remember,
A kind old lady, full of fun and sport and spree,
But when she comes to visit us, I try to stay away from
Aunty Henrietta from Chicago

Henrietta never says, "How are you," or "Hello"
But plants a smacker of a kiss to each of the family in turn

It would be better if she just said, "So long now" or "Good-bye"
And believe me or not but I get all shy.

When she gives me a kiss I shut my eyes tight
And when she's finished I pretend to call the dog**

She really slaps on the lipstick, like every woman cutting a dash;
There will be red spots under my nose mixed up in my moustache.

It's horrible to be kissed when you're in a crowd
But that's just the way Aunty is, I make her quite proud

No matter what I'm wearing, rags or corduroy,
Aunty will give me a big kiss, saying, "Lovely boy"

And even though she gives me cigarettes galore
I still give thanks for the great Atlantic, and the vast distances of the ocean.

When I take her to catch the train, to the station in the trap,
In front of the guard and all the swanks, she gives me a kiss slap!

It would be a blessing if she would just find herself a husband
And give all her soft molly-coddling to him, across the sea

(**well: literally 'bitch', but I don't think there's a double reference intended; not sure what the reference is, actually, but it may be something idiomatic which I just don't get)

Hope that helps.