Mudcat Café message #496708 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36064   Message #496708
Posted By: M.Ted
02-Jul-01 - 01:41 PM
Thread Name: What makes a good bawdy lyric ?
Subject: RE: BS: What makes a good bawdy lyric ?
Every song or poem has its place--sadly enough, at least for those of us who like traditional, ethnic, and folk music, a lot of those places have disappeared--this is certainly true for wonderful epics like The Lehigh Valley and The Ballad of Eskimo Nell--

It wouldn't be possible to perform them as they were intended to be performed, which was on the far fringes of society, in the rough work camps, the hobo jungles, in skid road bars, in the God-forsaken sort of places that men alone go, when they must work or die--

When I was growing up, in a automobile factory town, there were a lot of fathers and grandfathers who had been on the road during the depression, had fought in the war, and kept the songs alive as cherished reminders of their miserable, but much loved past lives--For a boy, here was no pleasure quite as prized as hearing and learning to recite portions of these epics, among one's friends, of course.

Mothers and sisters never heard them, and it wasn't wise to let on to Dad that you knew them, either--We knew what must have been a variant of "Eskimo Nell" from my friend Wayne's Uncle (our informant has a verse that rhymes "vacuum cleaner" with "weener"), a man who, unaccountably, was forbidden to enter their house when his mother was home.

Most of the songs and verses were forgotten, even before college(many of the old pals didn't make it through high school) and it was a long time before I realized that they had any redeeming social value--Longer still before I realized that, far from being an eternal ritual of adolescence, these songs (or whatever they were) were dying, even as we learned them, and soon would be gone--