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Self righteous prats

29 Dec 98 - 09:15 AM (#51233)
Subject: Self righteous prats
From: Bill@Australia

Hi.

How many of you have been put off folk music by the 'absolute prats' that it seems to attract. (Sorry but they're often school teachers) A few years ago I visited a folk club and sang a song I liked. In one line of the song it said something about "Fishing for the Whale". When I'd finished my little rendition I was told that the song was nonsense because the whale is a Mammal and not a fish. They said it should say Hunting for the.... BLAH...BLAH...BLAH.. BLAH... Several of the small gathering agreed. I wished I'd stayed at home... and did in future. Well, from that little gathering anyway.

Happy New Year to you all.

Bill

PS Thought I'd start the New Year with, hopefully, a healthy argument.


29 Dec 98 - 09:42 AM (#51236)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Ralph Butts

Keel-haul the lot of 'em......Tiger


29 Dec 98 - 09:49 AM (#51238)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Steve Latimer

Folk music and music in general has to have poetic license. A good rhyming lyric is more important than being absolutely correct. This is art, not science, let's remember that. By the way, was the song Willie Nelson's "Denver" ?


29 Dec 98 - 10:13 AM (#51241)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Dear Bill,

Aye...matey..!!!!.It were indeed the hearty lads of the "Bonnie Ship the Diamond"....who went a-"fishin' for the whale".

And sad as it were....that fitting masters of of book larnin' were few on board the whalers decks.

And when they heard that Jonah....."was swallowed by a great fish"....I am tempted to think those poor ignorant souls envisioned a whale.......


29 Dec 98 - 10:25 AM (#51243)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: catspaw49

Alright Benson, was the Diamond canary powered? Sorry. Bill...yep, been there, done that. Ought to be an entertaining thread. If not,Benson and I will deal with the story of the Great Clinch River Whale. catspaw49


29 Dec 98 - 10:51 AM (#51249)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Liam's Brother

You just have to laugh at people like that, Bill. That's what the hands on the "Diamond" would have done.

Folk music is the history of Man as written by Man (with all the the warts and frailties), not Superman.

All the best,
Dan


29 Dec 98 - 10:52 AM (#51250)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

I guess we need to change the words to some of our songs.......for the sake of literal "correctness"

Let's see...."It ain't Necessarily so..."......hmmmmmm that could be changed to .."It isn't necessarily Historically Factual"......

"Old Jonah he lived in the whale...."......Hmmmmm..well, actually he lived in a fish.....so we could use those words and make up some others to go with it....But who's gonna buy either version......????

Then it says..".He made his home in that "fishes'" abdomen".........Is that a contradiction or what?????.....

Anyways.....a whale sorta looks like a fish......


29 Dec 98 - 11:12 AM (#51253)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Dr John

My dictionary defines "to fish" as to "search for something in a body of water": so you can fish for cod, whales, crabs, three old rubber boots a Ford radiator and a Chevrolet coup if you want to. All aspects of life seem to attract pendants who are only too happy to share their ignorance with you.


29 Dec 98 - 11:18 AM (#51254)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill@ Australia

Got to hit the sack folks. It's midnight here in the wild west of Aussie. Anyway!!! What fun is there when folks agree. Come on Teachaaaassss... Where's Ya fightin' spirit.

G'night World.

Love ya really.

Bill


29 Dec 98 - 11:23 AM (#51255)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill@Aussie

Isn't it funny how PRATS almost always start their sentences with.......My dictionary...........

Now I really must go to bed.


29 Dec 98 - 11:26 AM (#51258)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Dr John, Now that WAS funny!!!!!! And quite appropriate......however, could it be that you were, in fact, just "fishing for compliments"...????


29 Dec 98 - 11:37 AM (#51261)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: SteveF

Well... sometimes these prats are not self-righteous, merely right. A singer may occasionally invert lyrics, as in, "Lift that barge, tote that bale..." Have you ever tried to lift a barge?
Oops! I shouldn't have used that example. From now on there will be an entire generation of Mudcatters who will be unable to do "Ol' Man River" without glancing at the notes pinned to their sleeves!

-- SteveF


29 Dec 98 - 11:42 AM (#51263)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: catspaw49

So how do you "tote" a barge. Art may have an answer to this based on his "pundits" experience on the Mississippi River. catspaw49


29 Dec 98 - 11:43 AM (#51264)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Actually it is "tote that barge"....lift that bale...........

"tote"...as in to pull.......

And I once heard a version of "Elderly man River"...but somthing was lacking.......


29 Dec 98 - 11:48 AM (#51265)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: catspaw49

Benson, you're a stronger man than I. My barges{or tows}as they're called, have to be free. You tote the barge and I'll have a frito. catspaw49


29 Dec 98 - 12:08 PM (#51266)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Where to go with this...???? Hmmmmm Ok.......If you will notice the songs under "Erie canal"....the mention in many songs of the mules...... The mules were used to pull the barges....barges were generally "poled" down the rivers....or pulled by mule ....as they had little or no power of their own.

The singer...In "OLD MAN RIVER"...was (I believe) a dock worker....."available" to do the job at hand....be it loading bales of cotton.....or whatever...The song is a form of lamentation.......backbreaking drudgery......but as long as the river is there...he will be also.....

When the barges needed to be pulled into the dock....guess who got the job??????...wasn't me.....


29 Dec 98 - 12:54 PM (#51270)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Barbara Shaw

At the risk of sounding prattish, I have to join in the fray. I call your example an example of the "Nerd Factor" in folk music. It doesn't put me off, though. Been guilty once or twice myself, cool as I am . . .


29 Dec 98 - 02:58 PM (#51280)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: dulcimer

It might be kind of interesting to see how many of our best folk songs would be made politically correct by prats. I have a feeling prats miss and may ruin the important part of the experience of hearing folk music. I don't enjoy songs which by design are to offend or cause harm, but doing a folk song in pretty much it's traditional form with original words gives me a lot of insight into the lives and events of others. I don't have like or agree with the perspectives, but I can appreciate the perspectives. So using the definition of 'prat' as found in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, we might well know where to effectively deal with such a person.


29 Dec 98 - 03:23 PM (#51282)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: catspaw49

hey dulcimer, this same thing was coming up on the RUS thread and as you probably know, the great tradition of dulcimer building {either Hmd. or Mtn.} says to be non-traditional is the tradition. If folk songs tell a history, then that history needs to be accurate in the context of the time period. PC shouldn't enter into it...and yet it does. This has become a real problem in school courses. Trying to be PC and whatever centered in history courses dilutes history and the many worthwhile, enlightening people who lived in THEIR times...NOT OURS! The pendulum has swung too far and our efforts to be PC have changed the history to be less offensive and give self-esteem to others. I suppose that's to be expected as all history is philosophy and told from a subjective point of view. Maybe Ambrose Bierce was right and History is "an account, mostly false; of events, mostly unimportant; brought about by Rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools. catspaw49


29 Dec 98 - 03:40 PM (#51287)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Ian Kirk

Ok I'm up for this.

1) Bill I hope those folk prats were not pomms. If they were send em back to where they came from. We'll tell them where to put their sanctimonious claptrap. Though I thought Aussies were good enough at that - where's the fight in ya.

2) Folk Prat Type 2. Usually bearded blokes who run folk clubs that are soooo traditional that unless your floor spot is a turgid ballad with 93 verses sung ala Ewan MacColl with your eyes shut and your finger in your ear you get frowned at and ignored for the rest of the evening and not asked to sing again. Transport them I say.

3) Part Type 4 Again blokes, usually young, who complain that the folk club audience only like old stuff and he only does his own stuff and he doesn't do covers.

Ian


29 Dec 98 - 09:04 PM (#51333)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Mary Ann

Thnere useta be a buncha what you're talking about at the U. of Chicago Folk Fest workshops -- folks who'd chew you out for whispering like it was church or something.

(OK, well, sometimes it was, but only the liberal kind ...)

And there were folk clubs like that in Chi-town, which, much as I miss them, you couldn't talk in.

I now live where it's beautiful and drive 60 miles to song circles, and debate with myself all the time whether the package is worth it.


29 Dec 98 - 09:15 PM (#51337)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Mick Lowe

All I can say folks is BOLLOCKS.. sorry but music is there to be played/sung and enjoyed.. If it offends anyone in the process then tough shit. So a piece was written a hundred years or so ago and now doesn't fit into our "political" way of thinking.. so what.. It had meaning when it was written and it should have meaning to us now, no matter how trivial/urbane the sentiments may seem to us. Folk songs are as mush a part of history as digging up old bones. They are a part of what we are today.
Being English and to answer Ian Kirk (yes indeed a pomm i.e. not descended from an old convict), I have a devoted love of Irish music. I play/sing all the songs that purport (and some indeed do) describe how my country has kept the Irish under the thumb. I might be tempted to "alter/abridge/political correct" some of the lyrics but I don't.. it wouldn't be right. I am voicing the sentiments of the person who wrote the song and that is what is important, not what I feel, not what the audience may feel.. especially any prats who may be sitting amongst them..
Keep folk music alive.. it's what made us what we are today... God forgive it..
Mick


29 Dec 98 - 10:19 PM (#51354)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: schmuze

Hi there Mudcatters Yep I agree, there's always some prat who comes up to you at a gig/singer's nite to give you their considered opinion on what the lyric should have been, mind you, they're always the ones who stay cemented to their seats and haven't the b-----ks to get up and sing themselves, they just have to make our lives a misery as well!! I have no objections to being corrected lyrically by another singer/artist who I am sure may know better or have heard a more accurate version, but these people who come up and patronise you with "That was quite a nice version, BUT......" and my heart goes boot-wise,,,anyone else suffered similarly??


29 Dec 98 - 11:22 PM (#51360)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Duane D.

If all our songs were politically correct AND written in the Queen's English would they still be folk songs (by definition)???


30 Dec 98 - 12:11 AM (#51369)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Don Meixner

Protect me from well meaning ninnies who feel that it is necessary to update a traditional tune and indulge in some self important nitpickery over the particular version of a song being sung. To rewrite a tune that may have the odd "offensive" line in it is to deny it's history. I'm sure (sarcasm implied) Percy French meant to be insulting when he wrote:

"I've loved the young women in every land, Its always been easy for me, Just barring the belles of the Eskimo land s and chocolate shapes of Fiji."

The Victorian Age was enlightened in as many ways as it was endarkened. I'm sure in the near future we will be considered a chauvinistic and bigoted age and our current songs will condemn us by their lyrics. Then as now F%$K EM if the can't take a joke.

(I will admit that the coward in me has me singing ".. The island shapes of Fiji..." when ever we do BallyJames Duff but that's only to save my skin and or the potential embarrassment of one or two people in the crowd. Not for reasons of political correctness. I still enjoy greatly singing "The Natural Girl For Me" and "Rhue".)

Regards

Don


30 Dec 98 - 05:26 AM (#51390)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Joe Offer

I think that if you're putting on a performance for people, it doesn't work very well to take a hard line on anything. A little gentle editing of a traditional song can bring the song back to life. Otherwise, it's likely to become a museum piece.
Sometimes, it doesn't harm a song to clean up parts that have become offensive. Somebody was talking about Darkies' Sunday School in another thread. the song had been changed to "Baptist Sunday School," or just "Sunday School." You can sing it as "Darkies" if you want to perform it for its historical interest. If, however, you want it to be a living song, I think you have to do away with racist or sexist or other bigoted terms in the song, or at least tone them down. You certainly can't get away with teaching a classroom of kids a song about "darkies" and expect to be favorably received nowadays. I can't stand people who take political correctness to ridiculous extremes, but I don't think it's wise for performers to believe they have "poetic license" to offend or defame other people.
As for grammar and archaic language in songs, I see no problem in cleaning it up a bit, if it makes the song more understandable to the audience - I think that sort of editing has to be done very judiciously, though.
As far as I can see, there aren't any grammatical mistakes that bother me in "Bonnie Ship the Diamond." Now, if we're talking about the songs of Neil Diamond (click if you dare), now that's another story.
Song you sang to me - Songs you brang to me
Words that rang in me - Rhymes that sprang from me
Aaaaaarrrrrgh!!!!!
-Joe Offer-


30 Dec 98 - 06:02 AM (#51395)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Animaterra

Joe, I couldn't resist this story, even if it commits the sin of digression: my autistic son, having read Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs, found the Neil Diamond site, and created a sound file to shut down the computer from the first strains of "I Am I Said" followed by a big explosion!! There goes Neil!! BOOM!


30 Dec 98 - 08:47 AM (#51406)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bert

I agree with you Joe. I leave out verses or entire songs that could be racially offensive.

It's a fine line sometimes though. I find it OK to sing Congo River with it's line 'Black Sheep breaking the embargo'.

I refuse to sing any of the songs on 'The Exit Visa' (which is a collection of songs that are a British view of Saudi Arabia), funny though they are. I find them offensive.

I change songs according to the audience, I don't feel comfortable singing a 'real' version of Liverpool Judies to some audiences, but it's a good rollicking song so it gets a 'rascal' instead of a 'bastard' here and there.

I just love bawdy songs though and enjoy a get together with a mature group of singers.

Bert.


30 Dec 98 - 09:01 AM (#51409)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: AndreasW

I think it does not matter whether you sing of hunting or fishing for whales.
Both is wrong!!!
You should sing about protecting whales!!!
;-) ;-)

Apart from that, a language is a thing that changes over time and distance, so what seems incorrect here and now was or is perhaps correct somewhere else at another time.
Andreas


30 Dec 98 - 09:06 AM (#51411)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Shouldn't that read...."Both ARE wrong"...instead of is???


30 Dec 98 - 09:33 AM (#51418)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Steve Latimer

My uncle has played music for approximately 60 years, many of the tunes passed on from his Dublin born father. I find it interesting that he has no problem singing Rebel songs, although a very accurate portrayal of Irish history they are full of violence and hate, but when I sang Stan Rogers' "Barrett's Privateers" he was very upset with the line "God Damn Them All" as he feels there is no need for cursing in music. I don't know how you guys feel, but "gosh darn them all" just wouldn't have the same impact.

Andreas, I hope you were being sarcastic about songs about saving whales, as comments like these are exactly what started this thread. I believe that whales should be saved, but when these songs were written, whaling was a difficult way of life for many people. I don't agree with murder, bank robbing, gambling etc., but should we stop singing "Tom Dooley" or "Jesse James" or "House of the Rising Sun" to name only a very few?


30 Dec 98 - 10:21 AM (#51422)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: AndreasW

Sorry Benson,
you are right, in English it is Both are right,
in German it is Beides ist falsch,
not Beides sind falsch
(where "Beides" means "both", "ist" means "is""sind" means "are""falsch" means "wrong")
So I made this mistake because I was thinking in German (this is the default language which was installed in my brain by my parents) and writing in English...

Hi Steve, didn't you notice the smilies on the fourth line of my previous posting which mean it is a joke?

Andreas

Andreas


30 Dec 98 - 11:52 AM (#51426)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: catspaw49

I kinda' hate to post this as I'm leaving town for a few days and I think this thread will keep drawing a lot of diverse opinion. Probably none of us wants to be blatantly offensive, but where do you put that fine line? Individual opinion and your ability to sorta' analyze your audience has a lot to do with it, but "you can't please all the people ,all the time." Honesty blended with humor goes a long way for me, but there is always some SRP who takes issue to some degree. I find myself in more trouble when a new PC appears and some of them take me totally unawares.

I'm going to miss not following this, but Karen says we're leaving...NOW!!! Best of the season to all of you and I'll see you next year. catspaw49


30 Dec 98 - 01:03 PM (#51436)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Joe Offer

Ya know, "Barrett's Privateers" is the kind of song that would work just great with the Cub Scouts. It really would. Trouble is, I'd be tarred and feathered, and charged with offending the family values of the Great State of California. And no, there isn't any way to change the song that would work. I couldn't bring myself to sing,
Gosh darn it all, anyhow
which was pretty severe language where I was brought up in Wisconsin. No, I couldn't do that, but gosh darn it all, anyhow.
-Joe Offer-


30 Dec 98 - 01:38 PM (#51441)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: MMario

re: Barrett's Privateers ---"Condemn them all!" ?? sounds ALMOST the same - and if ya' slip. . .

(Which is what I THOUGHT was being sung the first time I heard it - until I got closer...)

MMario


30 Dec 98 - 05:56 PM (#51460)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Duane D.

There is a parody version of Barrett's Privateers all about the Mickey Mouse Club with the chorous going:

Gosh darn them all! I was told, We'd watch TV 'til we grew old. The same old show, every year! Now I'm a broken man with a pair of ears, the last of Mickey's Mousecateers!

(I know this is a little off the subject, but you reminded of it. There are a bunch of verses to it also. I believe it was written by Bob Pasquerello, perhaps best known for his piano playing in contra dance bands in the northeast.)

Regards, Duane. :)


30 Dec 98 - 07:43 PM (#51469)
Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T CRY LADY^^
From: Roger in Baltimore

I think we all have the right to censor our singing however we wish. It is censoring others that is the problem.

Cursing is unusual in my vocabulary, but I recognize it as a part of the idiom. I recently sang at an open mike held in a church social hall. A large proportion of the audience was composed of members of that church. Well, I really wanted to sing Chuck Brodsky's ode to road rage, "Blow 'Em Away". Chuck elected to put "son of a bitch" in the song twice and noted that he gave one driver "the finger". I censored the song due to what I call "respect for the audience." The song offends others, because it describes the killing on several people and one dog, but that didn't bother me in this venue.

The response from the audience was very positive. Several people sought me out for more information about the song. Now, I would not sing this song at all at a "peace rally" (of course, I'm not likely to be invited, either). It would certainly offend most of that audience.

I think offending is the key. My life has gone much smoother since I gave up the notion of not offending anyone, it is a Sisyphian task. I think we can choose to some degree how many we are willing to offend in a particular audience.

Jerry Silverman published a collection of 62 songs called "The Panic is On". I like the book because it seems to contain enough irreverent songs that everyone would be offended by at least one of them. They are mostly humorous (to my mind), but clearly have the power to offend.

Here's one I never sang outside of my own house.

Chorus:
Don't cry, lady, I'll buy your Goddamn violets.
Don't cry, lady, your pencils, too.
Don't cry, lady, take off those colored glasses.
Hello, mother, I knew it was you.

Hooray, hooray, my father's gonna get shot,
Hooray, hooray, that dirty drunken sot.
For he was very mean to me when I was just a tot.
Hooray, they're gonna shoot my father.
CHO:

Hooray, hooray, my uncle's gonna get hung.
Hooray, hooray, that dirty drunken bum.
For he was very mean to me when I was very young.
Hooray, they're gonna hang my uncle.
CHO:

Hooray, hooray, my brother's gonna get hurt.
Hooray, hooray, that dirty sex pervert.
For he was very free with me when I was just a squirt,
Hooray, they're gonna hurt my brother.
CHO:

Hooray, hooray, my cousin's gonna get destroyed.
Hooray, hooray, that no good anthropoid.
For he would always try on me the things he'd read in Freud.
Hooray, they're gonna wreck my cousin.
CHO:

So, I think this has capability to offend. So much so, I've never sung it in public. When I feel very angry, I sometimes sing it for myself.

Roger in Baltimore ^^


Click for related thread


30 Dec 98 - 08:31 PM (#51471)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Big Mick

Another good thread that I have been lurking on.

When we do "Barrette's Privateers" we just say "So damn them all, I was told....". Not quite as hard, and still conveys what you want.

As far as the whole PC issue goes, another example of how certain folks can take an otherwise good idea and muck it up beyond repair. Somehow we have taken the good idea that in our everyday speech we should be aware enough to eliminate words that are patently offensive; and we have turned that into a "speech police" concept that has caused people to reject the whole notion. As a performing artist, I know what music is patently offensive, usually because it offends me. I simply won't perform it. That is not to say that my music won't offend someone. I simply apply my values, and read the audience as to what will or won't fly. But I will not change the character of the song. If it is not right in the venue I am performing in, I don't sing it.

As to those that would criticize me for performing my music in something other than what they perceive as the "right" way, well......they are entitled to that opinion. And I am entitled to ignore them, as I usually do.

All the best,

Mick


30 Dec 98 - 09:36 PM (#51473)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: MissMac

Back to Barrette's Privateers I learned it as" Well, hang them all". It was'nt untill last year that I heard the uncensored version of it. because it is what I learned first it works well for me.


30 Dec 98 - 09:43 PM (#51474)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: MissMac

Duane do you have the rest of the lyrics for the Mickey mouse club parody? I know the Garrnet's home made beer parody and it would be really great to confuse my music partner with a third version. :')

MissMac


30 Dec 98 - 11:45 PM (#51482)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: DonMeixner

Re: "Barret's Privateer's", I don't have a problem with "God Damn them all..." One of the other men in my band does. We don't sing the song. Thats an editorial policy on our part. It's not censorship. Only nitwits with a deathwish will take it upon their selves to do "Peach Pickin Time In Georgia" and sing "When the pickininnies, they pick the the cotton." But the choice should be theirs to sing it that way or not. And when goodsense changes the lyrics in a song to the point where it means the same thing with only slightly different and much less offensive words then the folk process will have taken place. The big problem will always be that in the back of the crowd some joker will always yell, " Ya went to the trouble to learn the song why didn't you learn it right?" These are the people who think their's is the only version thats any good. They don't realize that "A Trooper Cut Down in his Prime", "Bang The Drum Slowly",and "Streets of Laredo" are variations of the same song and if they do, their's will surely the definitive version. In general when we play someplace we do our best to be unoffensive. We try to be rascally and a little over the edge as a part of the show. But we generally find that those who wish to be offened by something will find something offensive in anything. We had a fellow come up to us after a show and complain that tempo which we do "The Leaving of Liverpool" in was overtly militaristic! (?? ??????) and he thot we were not setting a good example. I wonder what he thot of "The Boys of The Old Brigade" or "The Outlawed Rapparrees"? You go to hear a rebel band and pay your money to get in, I'd think you would expect some politics with your music. Well we've toned down the politics considerable of late. Peace in Ireland is foremost in our hearts so we sing historical songs instead.

Regards and a happy nondenominational and gender unspecific New Year to all my new friends out there at the end of the wires.

Don " The only Scot in an Irish Rebel Band" Meixner


31 Dec 98 - 08:53 AM (#51517)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: hank

I've always been uncomfortable singing Barrette's Privateers. Now I got some alternatives that will allow me to sing that lovely tune. Thanks everyone. And to those who think I shouldn't change Stan's work, because it is true to life (sailors talk like that, and would use those words): Just picutre me with my tounge out, my thumbs in my ears, and fingers like moose antlers. Maybe a little plubbubutbtbtbt too.

I sing personal songs of my own, and if I happen to sing a song I call Barrette's Privateers that sounds suspiciously like a song Stan Rogers wrote that he called Barrette's Privateers, it is all coincidence.


31 Dec 98 - 01:27 PM (#51552)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From:

It was years ago that, driving through the American South, I heard a radio station play "Big, bad Leroy Brown, baddest man in the whole town." It took me a few verses to figure out that the reason that the meter and rhythm was off was that the word "damn" was missing. It's a much more boring song that way, even if the rhythm is interestingly irregular.

-Charlie Baum


31 Dec 98 - 01:51 PM (#51558)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Benson

Dear Bill D.......

Yes.....I would love to hear you point out the difference between a Chevrolet coup....and a coupe'........

Assuming there is such a thing a a Chevrolet coupe'......Yes.....if you would point out the difference, I would love to know........I really LIKE that kind of stuff!!!!

Would you do that for me??????


31 Dec 98 - 01:52 PM (#51559)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca

"There's a whale, there's a whale, there's a whale-fish he cried" and "There's ice and there's snow and the whale-fishes blow" -- better not sing Greenland Whale Fisheries to the Prats.:)

I remember years ago hearing a recording of the Newfoundland ditty, "I'se The Bye", sung by a group from California who had corrected it to "I Am The Boy."

If the Prats and the Politically Correct get to you, sing the full version of Congo River, or The North Atlantic Squadron, or one of the parodies of Barnacle Bill The Sailor.:) I would change lyrics to suit no-one, and "God damn them all" is pretty tame compared to some of them I know.

(Northwest Passage is a better song than Barrett's Privateers anyway, but perhaps I am biased in that regard because I am Canadian and every tuneless pub band here insists on trying to bleat out Barrett's Privateers. Few of them are possessed of the deep, deep voices required to do the song justice.)


31 Dec 98 - 05:30 PM (#51578)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill Cameron

Singing shanties/trad songs in school can be tricky...you want to be as historically accurate as possible for educational reasons, but presumably you also want to get invited back. Of course when you remove or cleanse the songs that involve violence, incest, seductions and swearing, you end up with...pretty much the same stuff we all learned in grade school. I can't imagine singing Barretts Privateers other than the way it was wrote, but hell its a good yarn and entering the tradition, but not a fully mature folksong yet. So for whatever reason, there

A few years ago my buddy and I did some sea songs for a grade six class...all well and good, but the alarming part was when we got the class to make up new verses to "Drunken Sailor." Do not try this unless you're in a school with a very liberal attitude towards freedom of expression.

Went to the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Fest a few years ago, and the day after the pub sing, someone told me "you can always tell the Canadians at the pub sing. They stand around looking sullen, then all burst into 'Barrett's Privateers'." Since that was exactly what we had done, I decided it would be well to learn some new shanties....

Bill


31 Dec 98 - 06:35 PM (#51584)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill D

why, SHORE, benson! here you go...(coup has several meanings, but this is the usual..)

coup...coup n 1: a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force [syn: {coup d'etat}, {putsch}, {takeover}] 2: a brilliant and notable success

coupe...coupe n : a two-door car with front seats and a luggage compartment

now, I suppose, that if your life and government are threatened by a small 2-door Chevy, the distinctins might begin to blur...;-)


31 Dec 98 - 06:46 PM (#51586)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill D

(the silly thing is, neither word is pronounced 'coop'..)

coup is 'coo', and coupe' is 'coo-pay', approximately

(and I suppose there is some aspect of all this that I have missed, but we self-righteous nit-pickers are also careless sometimes.....)


01 Jan 99 - 03:05 PM (#51664)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Joe Offer

Well, us chickens out here in the coop wish y'all a happy new year!


01 Jan 99 - 05:43 PM (#51680)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill D

Joe, the last coupe' I saw also had chickens living in it! 'Twas sittin' beside a barn..


03 Jan 99 - 05:38 PM (#51862)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Duane D.

To Joe Offer,

I trust you know that a chiken coop only has two doors. If it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan. Regards, Duane. :)


03 Jan 99 - 08:06 PM (#51871)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: KickyC

Bill in Australia wanted to hear from some teachers. Here you have one with a fighting spirit!

Now you must remember that every profession has good qualified people in it, but that occasionally a jerk or two sneaks in. Also, that by the very nature of any job, there are certain qualities that develop. My husband, for example, is a draftsman in an engineering department. When all the wives get together we laugh at how preoccupied with detail they all are in their private life. That is just a carry over from their professional life where it is important. Teachers often have the same problem. Just remember that we are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens with young people. If they don't know a certain bit of information so they can reproduce it on a national exam, then it is our fault, and usually there is a national outcry about our lack of ability. Therefore, we just fall into a natural pattern of making sure that all information that passes before us is correct to the best of our ability, and unfortunately, that will sometimes carry over into our personal life. Next time you are corrected by a teacher, just have a little more patience. You see, this poor soul who cannot restrain himself/herself (PC is a MUST in education) from correcting a mistake is probably a poor, over-worked soul on the verge of a nervous breakdown from carrying the weight of this enormous task.

On a more serious note, I use a lot of folk music to teach high school students for whom English is a second language. We use it to study grammar, history, just about anyway I can work it in. It is a great teaching tool. Now some of the grammar is not always correct, and we use that to look for errors and make corrections, but we don't change it when we learn the song. There is a poetic beauty and a lot of feeling that is lost in a song when you do that. Historically, too, I think you need to be careful. When we talk about the 60's and the Vietnam War, etc. , there was a lot of profanity in the songs, chants, etc. We discuss the reason for that and the anger that was being expressed at the time, although we don't go around reciting "The Fish Cheer" from Woodstock, it helps them understand how angry everyone was. I guess it just all boils down to what you want to accomplish and how you present it.

(English teachers understand the need for expression and free thought unencumbered by the need for exactness. You must have been performing for a science teacher!)

KickyC


04 Jan 99 - 11:33 AM (#51914)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Kris

Going back to the original prat...

Perhaps he didn't mean you to take it that seriously. Its just a thought, but sometimes words don't come out as quite the witty reparte they were trying to be.... I can just imagine some poor guy curling up with embarrassment and wishing the ground would open up.

Being a mean witch of a woman, the thought is really making me giggle.

Kris


04 Jan 99 - 04:03 PM (#51931)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: colin

I love Mississippi "mud pie". How 'bout you Kris?


04 Jan 99 - 04:06 PM (#51932)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Shecky

I really love the Mississippi Mud Pie with the little cherries and stuff. How bout you Colin & Kris?


04 Jan 99 - 04:09 PM (#51933)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Colin

Hey Kris whose this Shecky gettin in. Back-off Shecky, I am the Mudcat.


04 Jan 99 - 04:17 PM (#51935)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Pete M

I would agree with those who have said that it comes down to personal attitude and intent, both in the singer and the audience. "Prats" are not confined to folk clubs, or teaching, and not even to Australia,(a lot of Kiwis would argue the last point). As Kris has pointed out, there is a world of difference between a comment on a particular version of a song, and a pontification of correctness. Similarly I would agree that one should not intentionally set out to offend and I would omit verse or songs in a particular venue if I thought this likely, but certainly not to the extent of destroying the meaning of the song in its original context. If in doubt I find that an explanation of the origin and that the song represents a particular time and place defuses any potential problem.

I suppose my reaction to Bill@Oz's protagonist would be to point out, in a politically correct way of course, that although his identification of the taxonomy of cetacea was correct, his knowledge of etymology and ethnology was sadly lacking!

The thing I find most fascinating about this thread is the variation in what is considered "acceptable" with locality.

I was particularly struck by the lyrics which Roger felt unable to sing outside his house. This seems to me to be an updated version of Hanging Johnny, which is generally one of the most popular of the shanties I inflict on trainees when sailing.

Incidentally Tim, the Tin Pan Alley version of "Barnacle Bill the sailor" is a cleaned up version of older songs not the other way round. (For example "Abraham the sailor" published in Tawney's Grey Funnel lines.)

There's nowt so queer as folk, as they say.

Pete M


04 Jan 99 - 04:32 PM (#51937)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Colin

Pete M.....interesting.....very interesting.....how bout gettin a job


04 Jan 99 - 04:36 PM (#51939)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Shecky

Hey, I thought this was the mindless prattle site. Where the hell is this thread? Australia. Whose that Butt guy? Colin's right-on, brother. Pete M. is a mindless bonehead who does not know anything about chattle.


04 Jan 99 - 04:43 PM (#51940)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: D' Bagoneshreeshrogneche

You are a moron. Try to find some small meaning to your otherwise meaningless void that you refer to as your "life"


04 Jan 99 - 04:48 PM (#51943)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Justice

Hey, you new guys ought to knock it off. You are the ignorant ones. Love the thread, love it. Get off if your not serious about being a Prat. All I see is that Colin is the real bagone and Shecky is a worthless...well you know.


04 Jan 99 - 04:50 PM (#51944)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Steve Latimer

My, My, play nicely now folks.


04 Jan 99 - 04:53 PM (#51945)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Colin

Screw you guys. What the hell is wrong with a little mindless chattle.

I'll find a new and better thread where freedom of expression is valued.


04 Jan 99 - 10:29 PM (#51995)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Don Meixner

Pete M,

I enjoying hearing people who share with me a similar view. Point well made.

A nondenominational and gender nonspecific holiday felicitation to you Sir.

Don


05 Jan 99 - 12:55 AM (#52011)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Bill@W.Aussie

Hi.

I had not intended to intrude on the debate my original comments might initiate, nor will I too much, except to say thanks to you all for your views. Especially the many positive comments. My comments were largely (but not totally) 'tongue in cheek'. As I said originally. "I hoped for a healthy argument. I love Folk Music and always will.

Thanks again,

Bill


05 Jan 99 - 01:41 AM (#52014)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: BSeed

What a breath of fresh air old Shecky and Colin aren't. Flaming is not sharing opinions, guys. You added nothing whatever to the discussion. --seed


05 Jan 99 - 04:10 AM (#52025)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Steve Parkes

It's time somebody put in a good word for the SRPs. Any body know one?
Meanwhile, here's a few observations of my own.
I've always liked Herman Melville's treatment of the whale/fish dispute: basically, he says if it looks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck - it's a fish!
Benson - Bill Oddie did a pc version of "Elderly Man River" (He doesn't say anything, etc.) on the BBC radio show "I'm sorry I'll read that again" years ago.
My favourite hate is mangled grammar, such as "the clouds roll by/for you and I" - they might roll by for you, but they certainly don't roll by for I! Interestingly, I find I don't seem to object to bad grammar in traditional songs. And where I come from it's quite proper to say "them belong to we". Maybe I'm a latent SRP?
Steve


05 Jan 99 - 05:21 AM (#52026)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Kris

Strange interlude back there! Still, each to their own I suppose...Anyway - to put all mud(pie)slinging behind ...

How does everyone feel about changing lyrics according to the gender of the singer? I can never quite decide. On the one hand it feels a bit odd for me to sing a love-song about a woman (not that there's anything wrong..). But on the other hand substituting a male name can just feel stupid, and would it jarr on people who know the real lyrics and are mentally (or actually) singing along? I am sort of beginning to lean toward the idea that singing the song is a bit like acting the part - hence doesn't have to be realistic for me personally. Does anyone else squirm about such things, or is it just me?

Kris Kris


05 Jan 99 - 07:48 AM (#52033)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Steve Parkes

I think I'm finally starting to lose it ... I meant to add, re hunting wales, that regardless of how wrong it is (and it IS!) it would take a very much braver man than I to stand up in an open boat and harpoon several hundred tons of whale. I reckon it ought to be pc to sing about people who spent months in arctic waters in great discomfort and very real danger ... Compare them, say, with coal miners - so far, I haven't heard anyone complain about global warming after listening to mining songs. Unless, as they say, you know different?

Steve


05 Jan 99 - 08:48 AM (#52037)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: hank

kris,
I've done it both ways. Some songs I change to fit my gender, some I don't. It depends on the song, and how I feel.

Some songs don't work well changed (very few men on a farm wash clothes while their wife is out behind the horse with a plow, at least not in 1870) On the other hand some songs aren't gender specific except for a few "him"'s, "He's my true love" and such things which can be easily changed in which case I will.

Personally I enjoy challenging myself and everyone else by changing it. Although it comes as surprise to to those who know the song, I think the change is good, it gets you to really pay attention to the song again. The song actually becomes fresher when you hear it done a little wrong. So don't be afraid to change it. Besides, this is folk music here, it will change over time and you need to do your part!

For the few songs that don't work as the other gender, that is why I call myself Rachel. :) Just pick a name, pick an identity, and run with it. It is much easier for me to sing about holding a baby while washing clothes while my husband is out plowing if I can imagine myself in those shoes. Sometimes I even change the words to fit. (my husband doesn't come in and say honey, it is "my beautiful Rachel" which no real man would say, but which women either want to hear, or hear in their mind. All of course depending on how it fits.


05 Jan 99 - 01:44 PM (#52067)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Colin

What the hell is "seed". What do ya mean like watermelon seed, like punkin seed, or demon seed? .


06 Jan 99 - 04:31 AM (#52238)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: McMusic

Took a song writing seminar with Robin and Linda Williams at the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, WV this past summer: Each day they gave us a project--use one sense and try to come up with lyrics. On the day we employed "sight", after reading mine aloud to the group, one "folk" pointed out to me that my syntax was wrong, to which I replied, rules were made to break; really wanted to tell her to return to her little academic circle where the grammar book ruled. Some just don't get it": if it works, it works, and the rules be damned! These people would (and did!) sneer at Dylan Thomas and James Joyce. And in keeping with the later comments on this thread, some friends of mine (we're still at Augusta) grouped themselves together as the Ovarian Cysters--all were female, ya see--and took that great old classic "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing", and turned out the whitest version you ever heard--"It Does Not Mean A Thing If It Has Not got That Swing." It was absolutely hilarious! Just goes to show what can happen when macadamians involve themselves with the creative process. My friends were on a lark, grinning all the way; my fellow workshopmate was serious.


08 Jun 19 - 08:43 PM (#3995702)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: GUEST,paperback

Benson
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 10:13 AM

Dear Bill,
Aye...matey..!!!!.It were indeed the hearty lads of the "Bonnie Ship the Diamond"....who went a-"fishin' for the whale".
And sad as it were....that fitting masters of of book larnin' were few on board the whalers decks.
And when they heard that Jonah....."was swallowed by a great fish"....I am tempted to think those poor ignorant souls envisioned a whale.......

Absolutely right Benson, that matches JRR Tolkien's interpretation of Jonah in the New Jerusalem Bible discussed here with his son Michael in a 1957 letter:

Incidentally, if you look at Jonah you’ll find that the ‘whale’ – it is not really said to be a whale, but a big fish – is quite unimportant. The real point is that God is much more merciful than ‘prophets’, is easily moved by penitence, and won’t be dictated to even by high ecclesiastics whom he has himself appointed.

http://file770.com/tolkiens-translation-of-jonah-finally-escapes-the-belly-of-the-estate/

--------------

From: Benson
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 11:43 AM

Actually it is "tote that barge"....lift that bale...........
"tote"...as in to pull.......
And I once heard a version of "Elderly Man River"...but somthing was lacking.......

Absolutely right again Benson

Elderly man River [YouTube]

--------------

From: Bill@Aussie
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 11:23 AM

Isn't it funny how PRATS almost always start their sentences with.......My dictionary...........
Now I really must go to bed.

Absolutely right Bill@Aussie

Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) indicate the range of actions that tote can apply to:

tote vt {prob fr. an English-based creole; akin to Gullah & Krio tot to carry, of Bantu origin; akin to Kikongo -tota to pick up, Kimbundu -tuta to carry} (1677) 1 : to carry by hand : bear on the person : LUG, PACK : HAUL, CONVEY
The original meaning of "carry by hand" is the only one listed for tote in Merriam-Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1852):

TOTE v. t. To carry or bear {A word used in slaveholding countries ; said to have been introduced by the blacks. ... It is most used in the Southern and Middle United States, is occasionally heard in New England, and is said also to be used in England.}
But Webster's New University Pronouncing Dictionary (1856) includes the more-general second definition as well:

TOTE v. t. To carry or convey {Local.}
An example of toting in the sense of "conveying"—or more precisely, "towing" appears in Elbert Hubbard, "The Gentle Art of Defamation," in the Washington [D.C.] Herald (October 11, 1914) in a discussion of the hazards of transporting poorly manufactured gunpowder on board ships:

France has learned a bitter lesson in the line of manufacturing powder for itself. To date it has lost three battle ships.

...

And so we have the peculiar spectacle of a French battle ship going out for target practice, toting behind it a barge on which its powder was stored, this because the sailors would not take any chances. The powder was then carried on board, in small quantities and fired without delay. And what was left after the target practice was carefully carried back and deposited on the barge, which was pulled by a hawser of a generous length.

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/263175/origins-and-history-for-phrase-tote-that-barge


08 Jun 19 - 10:48 PM (#3995709)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Gurney

I used to enjoy sailing in my powerboat.


09 Jun 19 - 03:33 AM (#3995714)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Dave the Gnome

Self righteous prats is a great name for a band.

I hope they don't tell me off for telling the Grandkids we are going ratting for ducks though.


10 Jun 19 - 01:07 PM (#3995841)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: leeneia

Anybody who thinks tote is obsolete had better check the Internet (or the family) for references to tote bags, the ubiquitous rectangular fabric bag which a woman uses to carry items too big to fit in her purse.


10 Jun 19 - 01:43 PM (#3995846)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: mg

Back to 1999. I hate it when gender is changed. I would never in any circumstance do that. I also hate when grammar is changed. I would change for racist language and awkward scanning
If you consider your changes necessary or superior at least tell people what you did.


10 Jun 19 - 06:05 PM (#3995878)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: leeneia

Gender, eh? Recently I tried to ask for the pepper in German. I was informed that pepper is masculine, "Bitte geben Sie mir DEN Pfeffer," not DAS.

Why didn't they get rid of arbitrary genders when they got rid of blackletter type?


11 Jun 19 - 09:25 PM (#3996046)
Subject: RE: Self righteous prats
From: Joe_F

It is perhaps worth mentioning here that the story of Jonah was written in ancient Hebrew and that its authors had no opportunity, linguistic or anatomical, to allude to our modern sophistication in distinguishing fish from whales. Their phrase was "dag gadol" -- "big fish", and "fish" is the word used in the KJV. George Orwell, in his essay "Inside the Whale" was misled by the common anachronism to state that that meant it could not be a whale.