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Lyr Req: Chamber Lye / John Harloson's Saltpeter

DigiTrad:
CHAMBER LYE


Related thread:
Dirty Civil War songs about chamberpots (12)


Sourdough 17 Aug 00 - 12:57 AM
Bluebeard 17 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM
Sourdough 16 Aug 00 - 04:34 AM
Lin in Kansas 16 Aug 00 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Ole Bull 15 Aug 00 - 03:52 PM
Noreen 15 Aug 00 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Fedele 15 Aug 00 - 06:08 AM
Bill D 14 Aug 00 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Fedele (in Germany now) 14 Aug 00 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Penny S. 14 Aug 00 - 05:29 AM
Lonesome EJ 14 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM
Sourdough 13 Aug 00 - 05:39 PM
Uncle Jaque 09 Aug 00 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,Allan Janus 09 Aug 00 - 09:06 PM
Bert 09 Aug 00 - 07:03 PM
SINSULL 09 Aug 00 - 11:41 AM
Bud Savoie 09 Aug 00 - 07:23 AM
Sandy Paton 09 Aug 00 - 02:12 AM
Lonesome EJ 09 Aug 00 - 01:49 AM
Joe Offer 09 Aug 00 - 01:44 AM
Sorcha 08 Aug 00 - 10:44 PM
catspaw49 08 Aug 00 - 10:26 PM
catspaw49 08 Aug 00 - 10:07 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Aug 00 - 10:05 PM
Bill D 08 Aug 00 - 08:27 PM
Bill D 08 Aug 00 - 08:23 PM
Bill D 08 Aug 00 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Joe Fogey 08 Aug 00 - 07:51 PM
Bill D 08 Aug 00 - 07:35 PM
ol'troll 08 Aug 00 - 07:09 PM
SINSULL 08 Aug 00 - 05:15 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Aug 00 - 04:31 PM
Bert 08 Aug 00 - 03:44 PM
paddymac 08 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM
catspaw49 08 Aug 00 - 12:49 PM
Burke 08 Aug 00 - 12:10 PM
Giac 08 Aug 00 - 09:25 AM
Sorcha 08 Aug 00 - 09:15 AM
catspaw49 08 Aug 00 - 02:40 AM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 00 - 02:37 AM
catspaw49 08 Aug 00 - 02:30 AM
Stewie 08 Aug 00 - 01:52 AM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 00 - 12:07 AM
catspaw49 07 Aug 00 - 11:28 PM
MarkS 07 Aug 00 - 11:24 PM
CamiSu 07 Aug 00 - 11:17 PM
Charlie Baum 07 Aug 00 - 10:54 PM
catspaw49 07 Aug 00 - 10:18 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 00 - 09:39 PM
Elise 07 Aug 00 - 08:58 PM
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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sourdough
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 12:57 AM

Yes,

When it is good, it is very, very good.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bluebeard
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM

As a re-enactor with the 10th Louisiana and a member of the 1860's band Hardtack and Harmony, may I say how great the Mudcat Cafe is. I found this thread last week,our unit put on the biggest CW event in Canada and I came back to find another great period song.Thanks everyone !


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sourdough
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 04:34 AM

Ole Bull:

Thank you for pointing out the mythical effects of saltpeter. When I was in high school, it was believed wholeheartedly by us that the school put saltpeter in our food although no one knew exactly why we believed this so firmly. Even so, I was astounded at how widespread the belief was. I would think that if there were enough saltpeter used to dampen the spirits of the adolescent males of the world, at least those gathered into groups such as schools and armies, there would be none left for shooting at each other.

Hmmm. I guess that would be a good bargain.

A reflective Sourdough


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHAMBER LYE (WWI Version) ^^
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 01:39 AM

Words as per Sandy Paton 08-Aug-00 - 10:05 PM appear in "SingOut" Vol 4o No 3 page 113, under the title "Chamber Lye" with alternates "The Saltpeter Song" or "John Harrolson, John Harrolson" This is from Faith Petric's column "The Folk Process."

The Southern version is credited to Homer Smith for lyrics, Tune unknown.

The Northern version is listed as lyrics and tune by 'unknown.'

The WWI version, under title " Chamber Lye" or "Von Hindenberg" may be found in "A Book Of Vulgar Verse" by 'A Gentleman about Town,' Published by Checkerbooks, Inc., Toronto, ISBN 0-89009-411-X, page 101:

CHAMBER LYE (WWI Version)

Von Hindenberg, Von Hindenberg,
You are a funny creature;
You've given the cruel war
A new and funny feature.

You'd have us think while every man
Is bound to be a fighter,
The women, bless their hearts,
Should save their pee for nitre.

Von Hindenberg, Von Hindenberg,
Where did you get the notion
Of sending barrels 'round the town
To gather up the lotion?

We thought a woman's duty
Was keeping house and diddling,
But now you've put the dears
To patriotic piddling.

Von Hindenberg, Von Hindenberg,
Pray do invent a neater
And somewhat less immodest way
Of making your saltpetre.

For fraulien(sic) fair of golden hair,
With whom we all are smitten,
Must join the line and jerk her brine
To kill the bloomin' Briton.

Von Hindenberg, Von Hindenberg,
We read in song and story
How many tears in all the years,
Have sprinkled fields of glory;

But ne'er before have women helped
Their braves in bloody slaughter,
'Til German beauties dried their tears
And went to making water.

No wonder Von, your boys are brave
Who would not be a fighter,
If every time he shot his gun
He used his sweetheart's nitre.

And vice versa, what would make
An allied soldier sadder,
Than dodging bullets fired from
A pretty woman's bladder?

We've heard it said a subtle smell
Still lingers in the powder,
The battle-smoke grows thicker still,
And the din of battle louder;

That there is found to this compound—
A serious objection—
A soldier cannot take a sniff
Without having an erection.

And it is clear now why desertion
Is so common in your ranks;
An Arctic nature's badly needed
To stand Dame Nature's pranks.

A German cannot stand the strain.
When once he's had a smell,
He's got to have a piece or bust—
The Fatherland to hell.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 03:52 PM

Here's a last word on saltpetre, FYI.

That saltpetre, potasium nitrate, is put in institutional foods to quell the sexual urge is one of the classic urban legends, old wives tales, superstitions or whatever you want to call it. In addition to being a nitrogen source for the making of gunpowder it was for years a curing agent to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration and especially necessary for military rations; in salted pork and salt beef (known fondly to the soldiers as "salt horse"). It has since been replaced by sodium nitrate, the cure of choice for foods such as bacon.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Noreen
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 07:00 AM

NH3 is ammonia, Fedele. Good explanation.
Bill D,- true up to a point, depending on what sort of beer you drink! The more water you drink the better for your kidneys for that reason, but alcohol is a diuretic, so strong beers and spirits make you lose more liquid from the body than you have drunk which is BAD for the kidneys and evereything else(dehydration being one of the main causes of hangovers).

So that's why they make all those GP beers- it's for your own good!

Noreen

[GP= gnat's piss]


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Fedele
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 06:08 AM

That´s what I´m gonna say to all my patiens when I´ll be a doctor.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 12:41 PM

**deep thought and analysis**......so, the more beer you drink, the more you go...therefore the fewer bacteria get a foothold (so's to speak) to create infections.. and the safer everything is....hmmmm...as if I NEEDED another reason to have another beer..


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Fedele (in Germany now)
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 05:57 AM

Just to tell you that urine is useful if a mosquito or something bites you because it contains a bit of NH3 (don´t know the English word). If you can´t avoid... But it works.
Urine is sterile when it´s in the bladder; when it gets out, it gets contaminated by bacteria that are further on; so if you need sterile urine, just start pissing and you can say you´re pissing sterile urina after a few seconds. That´s the way you do if you´re collecting your urine to see if you have a bladder or kidney infection.
It´s not really a matter of male or female, but women usually get infections in their bladder much more often than men because their duct is shorter, so it´s more probable their urine is not sterile.
Well, I should not have complained when I studied these things when I had that Microbiology exam. You see, they´re useful also outside my university.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 05:29 AM

On the manufacture of alum, a tale I heard from the Open University on a Summer School at Durham. The recipe was acquired from a Vatican factory by spies. The Pope had the monopoly, and having just pronounced a fatwa on Elizabeth 1, buying the stuff from him was clearly a no-no. Burn the alum rich clay with seaweed. Mix the results with urine, and then boil the liquid until an egg floats in it. The alum will then crystallise out. How did they invent these processes?

Penny


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 12:25 AM

Sourdough,there must be sites that have more about urine than the Mudcat,although it's true that the more beers I drink,the more often I post. I'm also finding that I sometimes get up in the middle of the night with an overpowering urge to post,but by the time I get to the computer,it's passed.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sourdough
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 05:39 PM

Sometimes I think I spend too much time on the Internet. While researching something totally different, I stumbled across this site, more about urine than anyone could possibly want to know. However, if you have not yet had your fill, so to speak, .....

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: P. for LEE!
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:04 PM

As a Civil-War reenactor with the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry Fife & Drum Corps, Camp Balladeer and collector of this sort of music, I can assure you that this song may well find it's way to the circle of friends around the campfire of our illustrious Unit. A similar tune, "The Atrocity Song" to be found amidst the Mudcat collection, is a favorite of the Old 3rd's, a rousing rendition of which may be heard lustily rendered at nearly any gathering of the Company Loyals. Thanks to all who dug this one up - I trust it will be entered into the Archives.(?)


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Allan Janus
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 09:06 PM

Thank you very much - everyone - for all your help - the net remains a wondrous place!

Sandy, thank you for the lyrics - I've passed them on to my buddy. And it's very nice to make your acquaintance. Joe, thanks for the email this morning - I had been keeping track of the discussion, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Allan Janus


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bert
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 07:03 PM

Joe, What are those OTHER two guys gonna think when they receive the lyrics in the mail?


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 11:41 AM

And I am saved a trip to the library. Bless you, Sandy. We should find a way of getting this into the hands of rappers. Think of the possibilities.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 07:23 AM

Absolutely fantastic! How come none of us have heard of this song before now?


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 02:12 AM

Write a few more verses to contribute to the pot, Lonesome (pun intended). Then post 'em here for us.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 01:49 AM

Great lyrics,Sandy, but I think the author missed some obvious targets by not calling for "a squat and a pee for General Lee" or demanding "fill up them jars for the stars and bars". A classic nonetheless..


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 01:44 AM

I went to Switchboard.com and found three people named Allan Janus. I e-mailed all three of them.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 10:44 PM

I actually don't believe this!! Is Mudcat GREAT or what? Marvelous, wonderful results from nothing but a possible title!! Do we have any way to send GUEST ajanus the sets of lyrics that Sandy and Bill D came up with? Joe, Pene, or Max the Belaguered, could you do that? My gods, the things you learn on the 'Cat...........


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 10:26 PM

Well now as you would expect the WWI version is an interesting composite with some mods.....the folk process in action!

Now we need a pair of our reenactors, a blue and a butternut, to perform the originals at a reenactment.

Banjer??? Irish Sergeant???

Spaw....thanks Sandy...and Bill . Much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 10:07 PM

Thanks Bill......some really funny lines, and that last verse is a riot! Hopefully we can see what changed from the CW version.

Spaw


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOHN HARLOSON'S SALTPETER^^^
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 10:05 PM

Two Civil War versions in Randolph's Blow the Candle Out. Here's the first (Confederate):

JOHN HARLOSON'S SALTPETER^^^
Montgomery, Alabama, 1864

NOTICE: The ladies of Montgomery are respectfully requested to save all the chamber lye that accumulates on their premises, so that the saltpeter can be extracted from it to be used in making gunpowder for the Army. A barrel will be sent around each morning to collect it.
John Harloson
Agent, Confederate Army


John Harloson, John Harloson,
You are a wretched creature,
You've added to this bloody war
A new and useful feature.

You'd have us think that every man
Is bound to be a fighter,
While the ladies, bless the pretty dears,
Must save their pee for nitre.

John Harloson, John Harloson,
Where did you get the notion
To send your barrel 'round the town
To gather up the lotion?

We thought the girls had worked enough
In making shirts and kissing,
But you have put the pretty dears
To patriotic pissing.

John Harloson, John Harloson,
Do pray invent a neater
And somewhat less immodest way
Of getting your saltpeter.

For it's an awful idea, John,
Gunpowdery and cranky,
That when a lady lifts her skirts
She's killing off a Yankee.

(The confederate wits had a lot of fun with the "John Harloson" poem. Then the Federals got hold of it, and some Yankee wrote his version:)

John Harloson, John Harloson,
We've heard in song and story
How women's tears through all the years
Have moistened fields of glory.

But never have we heard, John,
That 'mid such scenes and slaughter,
Your southern beauties dried their tears
And went to making water.

No wonder Rebel boys are brave;
Who wouldn't be a fighter
When every time he fired his gun
He used his sweetheart's nitre?

And vice versa, what could make
A Yankee soldier sadder
Than dodging bullets fired by
A pretty woman's bladder?

They say there is a subtle smell
That lingers in the powder,
And as the smoke grows thicker
And the din of battle louder,

That there is found in this compound
One serious objection:
No soldier boy can sniff it
Without having an erection.


During World War I this song and its reply were revived, with the same story and most of the same lines, but now all run together as of the hard-pressed Germans being forced to use the ladies' "chamber lye" after the American entry into the war in 1917. See the Ed Cray text above, sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum," or "Maryland, My Maryland."

Sandy ^^


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 08:27 PM

This still does not get the Civil War version, but I'm sure it will surface...*grin*


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 08:23 PM

Ok..that seems to work when I click on it...there is some option for viewing it at a larger size, but maybe this will do


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song ^^
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 08:20 PM

lets see if this stupid thing works..I put it in one of those online photo albums, and they make it a 9 step process to SEE it full size!...but just 'maybe' I have it

Chamberlye ^^


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST,Joe Fogey
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 07:51 PM

Urine was transported from London to Yorkshire where it was used in the manufacture of alum. It was also used for tanning leather 9and was up to the 60's in Afganistan - did you ever get too close o a cheap afghan jacket?

People used to earn their livings collecting dog shit on the streets of London. It was called "pure" and used for tanning fine leathers.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 07:35 PM

I have just scanned it from Erotic Muse....am uploading it now...hold on


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: ol'troll
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 07:09 PM

Urine was used in the middle ages to clean woolen clothing.The garmets were first soaked in urine to disolve the grease and grime and then rinsed in cold water.Both human and animal urine were used.

Urine is also used by the Ituri Forest Pygmies to treat the effects of an attack by the spiting cobra which, when disturbed, spits an uneering stream of venom into the eye of its victim. Apparently the prompt application of urine neutralizes the venom, thereby saving the victims eyesight. Wonder how they figgered that one out?

troll


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 05:15 PM

I'll try to get there this weekend. Or maybe I can get them to FAX it to me.
Wasn't there an episode of Seinfeld or Friends where someone gets stung by jellyfish and the others pee on her? Nasty business.

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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 04:31 PM

I'll type in the text as it is printed in Ed Cray's The Erotic Muse (First Edition) tonight, if some one like Charlie Baum doesn't get to it first. It's there, Charlie, under the "Chamber Lye" title, p. 140. (Wanna save me some typing?) Has to be the first edition though. Joe Offer tells me it's not in his second edition. Right now, however, I've gotta fly to the post office!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Bert
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 03:44 PM

I can't believe this thread has got this far without anybody mentioning Tom Paxton's "Filling a Bottle for Ronnie".

Bert.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: paddymac
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM

Just to contribute to the collective edification on the myriad uses of urine, it is/was also useful in tanning hides.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 12:49 PM

We need a NYC 'Catter.........Sinsull, Larry Otway (InOTB)...who else?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Burke
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 12:10 PM

New York Public has The Lay of John Haroldson 15p. on microfiche in its Humanities Microforms collection. Anyone in New York City who can go look at it?


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Giac
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 09:25 AM

When I was in boarding schools too far back to mention, it was common practice to put saltpetre in the food in both the boys and girls schools, to inhibit sexual urges. It had more of an effect on the boys, in that respect, but could have disastrous consequences for girls during their cycles. It was a barbaric practice and I hope it has long since been discontinued.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 09:15 AM

I would too!! And as for urea, go look at the labels on the stuff in your bathroom--skin lotion, some shampoos, shaving gels, LOTS of products have urea in them.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 02:40 AM

LOL Joe......Prude??? ME??? Hey, I was the first one (way back up there) to mention it as a great cut healer! I really would like to see the words to this one.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 02:37 AM

Spaw, you give up too easily. Could it be you're becoming prudish on this subject?
Could it?
I KNOW Dick Greenhaus must know this one. I sent him a personal message, pleading with him to post the lyrics. And to hedge my bet, I sent a message to Sandy, too...
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 02:30 AM

Well Joe, I dunno, unless someone buys the recording and transcribes it or someone has access to the material Stewie referenced. I liked the use of the word "purported" use of ...chamber lye. I think we've all read enough now to be assured that the manner of use is true and not "purported."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 01:52 AM

G.Legman gives a little information at page 378 of his 'The Horn Book' Jonathan Cape 1970:

Most other such songs surviving, or even now being written, are entirely on political and military personages, as in the humorously scatological song - on the purported use of patriotic ladies' 'chamber-lye' to make gunpowder, and the erotic results resulting therefrom - known during the Civil War as 'John Haroldson', and revised during World War I with the change simply of the satirised general's name to 'Von Hindenburg' (printed in 'Immortalia' 1927, p 101, still entitled 'Chamber-Lye'). The original Civil War version had been printed earlier in a rare contemporary booklet under the title of 'The Lay of John Haroldson', probably in Philadelphia. (Copy New York Public, and others located by the Union Catalogue, Library of Congress).

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 12:07 AM

Well, so, are we gonna get the lyrics to this song? I admit that I could have bought Randolph-Legman for a song five years ago, but that was before I started collecting songbooks and I didn't know what I was passing up. Darn, again.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 11:28 PM

Well, it does kinda' make you wonder why there are wash basins in restrooms doesn't it?

I wonder if brain surgeons wash up with whizz?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: MarkS
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 11:24 PM

As long as we are on the subject, there used to be a custom in northeast Pennsylvania years ago. In the coal region here, the men would urinate on the hands of the boys to toughen the skin so they could do the hard manual work in the coal breakers, sorting out the coal from the rock in the tipples. Glad time has changed for that custom!


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: CamiSu
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 11:17 PM

My husband tells me his grandfather told him that during WWI the food the soldiers were given was laced with saltpeter to "keep them home at night". Apparently it causes erectile dysfunction...


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 10:54 PM

I had a chance to look through the songbooks and jog my memory--alas, what I recalled was a song about women contributing to the Southern war effort by not buying fabric from the North, but wearing homespun dresses. "The Homespun Dress" can be found in Randolph's Ozark collection, and Hudson's Folksongs of Mississippi, Belden's Ballads and Songs (Missouri) and probably elsewhere.

Lisa Null recalled the saltpetre song as being in the repertoire of David Jones of New Jersey.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 10:18 PM

While I was looking, I got a real education in "chamber Lye".......Some very interesting usages TODAY!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 09:39 PM

Wow! Thanks to everyone who contributed, and especially to Sorcha - we're tracking the CD doen now.

Allan Janus


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Subject: RE: A Curious Civil War Song
From: Elise
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 08:58 PM

In case anyone really wants to know, urine is also used in dying. Certain colors required the urine of pre-pubescent boys. The really lovely part is that it has to be saved up for a few days, and fiber soaked in it. I'll stick to Rit, thanks.


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