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Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?

GUEST,RedCloseCurling 28 Mar 13 - 09:08 PM
Elmore 28 Mar 13 - 09:34 PM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 13 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Julia L 28 Mar 13 - 10:51 PM
MGM·Lion 29 Mar 13 - 01:42 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 13 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 29 Mar 13 - 04:39 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Mar 13 - 05:08 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 13 - 05:35 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Mar 13 - 07:16 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 13 - 07:45 AM
MartinRyan 29 Mar 13 - 10:53 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Mar 13 - 11:14 AM
Mrrzy 29 Mar 13 - 11:23 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Mar 13 - 11:44 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 13 - 12:47 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Mar 13 - 03:38 PM
Phil Cooper 29 Mar 13 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 13 - 06:57 AM
Marc Bernier 30 Mar 13 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,brooko 30 Mar 13 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 30 Mar 13 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,henryp 30 Mar 13 - 05:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Mar 13 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Eliza 31 Mar 13 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,henryp 01 Apr 13 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Nick 01 Apr 13 - 07:46 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Apr 13 - 03:18 AM
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Subject: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,RedCloseCurling
Date: 28 Mar 13 - 09:08 PM

Hi! I'm looking for references to men cross-dressing in
traditional and folk music!

I'm building a recital of classical songs and opera arias
for tenor that feature discussion of cross-dressing, or which
are female character roles written for a male singer.

In folk music I have already "Brown Robin", "Skye Boat Song"
(A bit of a stretch, I know!) and "Robin Hood and the Bishop".
I've the got the text for - but not the melody, can anyone help there -
"The Crafty Maid, or the Bachelor (Batchellour) Outwitted", but I
haven't been able to find much else.

Any leads?

Thanks!

Isaiah


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Elmore
Date: 28 Mar 13 - 09:34 PM

The Merchant's Son, Peter Street.


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 13 - 10:22 PM

Prince Charles Edward Stuart was often referred to as "Morag" in Gaelic folklore, possibly from the time when he was on the run after Culloden in women's clothes.

http://www.bagpipe-tutorials.com/in-praise-of-morag.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/40459/4


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 28 Mar 13 - 10:51 PM

The brisk young tailor

It's of a brisk young tailor a story I'll relate
he lived at an inn they call the Ram and the Gate
The Ram and the gate was the place where he did dwell
And wine and women's company he loved exceeding well

Oh well, oh well, oh well me boys oh well
It's wine and women's company he loved exceeding well
------
The girl teases him to exchange clothes and she dances off with his britches and all his money


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 01:42 AM

Peter Street aka Patrick Street or Barrack Street. As a Londoner, I song it as Radcliffe Street. Sometimes also called The Shirt & The Apron.

~M~


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TAILOR'S BRITCHES
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 03:45 AM

"Peter Street aka Patrick Street or Barrack Street."
Wonderful Yorkshire version called The Tailor's Britches can be found in Tish Stubbs' and Sam Richards' 'The English Folksinger' from Arthur Wood of Middlesborough, Teesside

THE TAILOR'S BRITCHES.
From Arthur Wood aged 82, Middlesbrough, born in Goathland.

O, ladies and gentlemen, and if you listen unto me,
I'll sing you a song of the North Counteree.
In the village near to Whitby Town a tailor once did dwell,
And women, wine and company, he love them right well.

A dance one New Year's evening the tailor did attend;
I'm sure that he would ne'er have gone if he could have seen the end.
O, that it jolly little tailor, he will ne'er forget that night;
For never yet was tailors seen in such a sorry plight.

O, he danced and he sang, he had whisky, many a tot,
The jolly little tailor was the merriest of the lot.
To a lady he was dancing with, the tailor he declared,
If you lend to me your petticoat I'll dance like a maid.

Now his britches he put off and her petticoats put on,
The maid, the tailor's britches she quickly did adorn.
O, and the fiddler he played to them a merry little tune,
She danced his money, watch and britches clean out of the room.

O, bring me my britches back, the tailor loud did call,
O, bring me my britches back, my money, watch and all.
O, the company there assembled with laughter they did roar
When the little tailor's petticoats fell down upon the floor.

O lord, said the tailor, wherever thou may be,
O lord, said the tailor, take a pity now on me.
What to do the little tailor, he really didn't know,
For his little shirt was far too short to cover all below.

'Twas then the fiddler played a tune for all that he was worth,
The tune he played the tailor was the famous Cock of the North.
All the ladies were delighted, and they loudly shouted, No,
When the tailor took his trilby off to cover Uncle Joe.

When at last the little tailor got out into the street,
A bevy of fair damsels he chanced for to meet.
O the ladies screamed with laughter when the tailor did appear,
They wished him a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

The poor little tailor those ladies did address;
Said he, it is not ladylike to laugh at my distress.
Said the ladies to the tailor, give us no more of that;
If you call yourself a gentleman, why don't you raise your hat

In that village near to Whitby Town there's old men living yet,
They'll tell you of that famous dance they never will forget.
Old ladies too, will tell you the dance they loved the best,
Was the dance the little tailor showed his Cuckoo's Nest.

That it jolly little tailor, from that day to this,
For women, wine, and company, he gave them all a miss.
At a dance, the little tailor they never more did catch,
Since the lady pinched his britches, his money and his watch.

Also nice Scots version called The Beggar Lass which starts;
Oh do you know the merchant's son,
To the begging he has gone
He's mounted on his milk-white steed
And awa' for pleasure he has gone.

My particular favourite is the much-neglected ballad; 'The Duke of Atholl's Nurse', where the young man, having rejected the eponymous heroine for another, agrees to meet her for the last time and is forced to take flight from her offended brothers.
He ends up in the kitchen, where he is given a disguise of a suit of servants clothes and told to "get on with her baking"; he receives a kiss from each of the brothers as they search the kitchen.
They don't write 'em like that any more!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 04:39 AM

I think "The beggar wench from Hull" also fits the category. I can't remember the actual text.

Don


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 05:08 AM

Jim ~~ The Tailor's Breeches is not the same song as the Barrack/Patrick/Peter/Ratcliffe Street series: altho distantly related as having theme of the girl pinching the protagonist's trousers, leaving him to do the best he can with the castoffs she leaves behind, [tho not in this version of yours, where he is left with only his hat to preserve his modesty, leading to jokes like "If you call yourself a gentleman Why don't you raise your hat?', & about Cock o the North, Cuckoo's Nest &c], the situations in which this enormity occurs are quite different.

Agree that The Duke Of Atholl's Nurse a fine song, esp as sung by the great Frankie Armstrong.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 05:35 AM

"The Tailor's Breeches is not the same song"
You're right of course - never really thought about it and am not sure what the significant enough differences are that make it two songs rather than two versions.
The Tailor's Britches has been given Roud number 1610, while the Wee Croppy Tailor et al is 311
Thanks for the head-up.
Don
"The beggar wench from Hull"
Also found in Scotland as 'The Beggar Wench' beautifully sung by Norman Kennedy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 07:16 AM

I don't think tho, Jim, that either of the Tailor songs you mention is more than distantly related to the Barrack/Patrick/&c Street family you relate the Tailor to in your post of 0345 AM. Not sure how to find their Roud #.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 07:45 AM

"Not sure how to find their Roud #."
Typing in Barrack Street in the search box and selecting 'title' comes up with 2 references numbered Roud 1902, different again to the two I've already given, though they seem to be more or less on the same theme.
Got no response from Patrick Street.
From memory, the BBC index lists a version of the song you refer to as 'Sailor Jack From Kilaloe Town' sung by Bess Cronin's brother/cousin(?) Michael Cronin.
If you put the Roud 1902 number into the search box and select Roud number in the drop box it opens 19 references under different titles.
I'm pretty sure you know this and I have misunderstood your question
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 10:53 AM

Just a hint in The Belfast Shoemaker:

She told me if I would desert, for to come and let her know
She would dress me up in her old clothes, that I might go to and fro


I seem to remember singing that line one night and a guy beside me whispering "confidentially"" - " You'd like that, would you?!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 11:14 AM

The DT gives the song under title Peter Street, Jim; + a link to an old thread calling it Patrick Street to which Steve Shaw & I contributed some posts. A Laws # is given, tho not Roud, for which many thanks. I have actually never used the Roud index before. Thanx for hints as to usage.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 11:23 AM

What about the woman who dressed in men's array to rob her lover and test his resolve?
Jackaroe
I am having trouble with men in ladies' clothes...


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 11:44 AM

Many more on women in men's clothes, which I am sure have been dealt with in several previous threads ~~ all the Solvays, Polly Olivers, Handsome Cabin Boys, William Taylor's girls, &c &c &c &c. Better have yet another thread if we are going into all those again!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 12:47 PM

"I have actually never used the Roud index before."
Stuck in the West of Ireland we would have been totally banjaxed without the Roud - it is the most useful tool for research since Child and Bronson as far as I'm concerned - though it does help to have a substantial book collection.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 03:38 PM

Try The Duke of Athol's Nurse (Child #212, I believe)
Also the American Civil War "Jeff in Petticoats"


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 03:48 PM

The song Give the Fiddler a Dram has the line "Pretty little girl with a red dress on/she put it off, I put it on/In come Johnny with the big boots on." At least the version done by the Holy Modal Rounders had that verse.


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM

There are recordings of ' The Merchant's Son of York and the Beggar Wench of Hull' and 'The Tailor's Britches' at www.yorkshirefolksong.net

I strongly suspect that Arthur's version was a lot of his own invention. There are only a few other fragmentary versions in the Hammond-Gardiner Collection online. No broadside has surfaced yet.

And what about those cross-dressing men in traditional customs, sword dancing Bettys, and in mummers plays?


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 06:57 AM

"I strongly suspect that Arthur's version was a lot of his own invention."
I think there is a note to the collectors original ms. saying that Arthur Wood claimed the song as his own composition - so much for the suggestion that "English rural workers were far too busy earning a living to spend time making songs", as somebody once suggested - can't remember who, for the life of me!!
Not intending start a 'thread drift' of course - perish the thought!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 03:23 PM

Might I suggest The Close Shave by Bob Bickerton. It's not "trad" but might be someday.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY FRIEND GEORGE IS A DRAG QUEEN CALLED N
From: GUEST,brooko
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 03:58 PM

MY FRIEND GEORGE IS A DRAG QUEEN CALLED NANCY by Richard Digance


My friend George is a drag queen called Nancy;
pray tell me, which are you tonight?
If you're George, let's have a game of snooker,
if you're Nancy let's turn out the light.

For George is a foreman in a coal mine
but changes when the hooter goes at five
from a snooker-playing friend of yours truly
to a man I would like to make my wife,

for Nancy brings me midnight satisfaction
and stays with me until the morning light
then he's off to his work down the coal shaft
where he ain't such a delicate sight.

Oh Nancy, you're the girl that I think of
but George, I know she's part of you,
but it's Nancy, not you, that I fancy
tell me George, tell me what could I do?

I'm in love with half a man that's a lady
and the half that ain't no lady is my best friend.
Nancy I would like to share my name with,
but George is not the type I could offend.

So George, take off your dress put on your trousers
I've gotta shake your Nancy from my head
so tonight I am dining with another
one half's called Freda and the other half is Fred.


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 04:12 PM

I was going to make a suggestion of 'The Close Shave, but was beaten to it.

Andy Irvine singing 'The Close Shave'


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 05:47 PM

The Close Shave is a rewriting of Patrick Street, replacing the sailor with an Australian gold miner.

I believe it was written with a performance by Andy Irvine in mind. He is, of course, a member of the group Patrick Street.


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 06:52 PM

I can remember an elderly folksinger in Nottingham one night singing a song

My name is Clarence, but you can call me Clare
something something something.... and frilly underwear!


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 05:46 PM

"He's a lumberjack and he's OK..."
(He wears his hair in curlers, suspendies and a bra,
He'd like to be a girlie, just like his dear old ma..."
John Cleese, Monty Python. Not exactly folk, but long enough ago now to be almost legendary!)


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 03:02 PM

From Wikipedia;

Men dressed or disguised as women have featured in traditional customs and rituals for centuries. For example, the characters of some regional variants of the traditional mummers play, which were traditionally always performed by men, include Besom Bet(ty); numerous variations on Bessy or Betsy; Bucksome Nell; Mrs Clagdarse; Dame Dolly; Dame Dorothy; Mrs Finney; Mrs Frail and many others.[4]

The variant performed around Plough Monday in Eastern England is known as the Plough Play[5] (also Wooing Play or Bridal Play)[6] and usually involves two female characters, the young "Lady Bright and Gay" and "Old Dame Jane" and a dispute about a bastard child.[7]

A character called Bessy also accompanied the Plough Jags (aka Plough Jacks, Plough Stots, Plough Bullocks, etc.) even in places where no play was performed: "she" was a man dressed in women's clothes, who carried a collecting box[5] for money and other largesse.

"Maid Marian" of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is played by a man, and the Maid Marians referred to in old documents as having taken part in May Games and other festivals with Morris dancers would most probably also have been men.

The "consort" of the Castleton Garland King was traditionally a man (until 1956, when a woman took over the role) and was originally simply referred to as "The Woman".[8]

Then there are the songs Lola by The Kinks and Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed.


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Subject: RE: Cross-dressing Men in Traditional Songs?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 07:46 PM

By now I do think of both Walk on the Wild side and LOLA as traditional.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DANDY MAN
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 03:18 AM

This from the singing of Walter Pardon - it touches on the subject in verse two
Jim Carroll


THE DANDY MAN

When I was twenty years of age a-courting I did go,
All with a dandy barber's clerk; he filled my heart with woe.
I never ceased to rue the day when I became his wife.
He can't do right by day nor night; 'tis true upon my life.

Young women all, take my advice and mark what I do say,:
If ever you wed with a dandy man you'll ever rue the day.

And when he goes to bed at night, like an elephant he lays.
He never takes his britches off; he sleeps in women's stays.
His mouth is like a turnpike gate, his nose a yard and a half,
And if you saw his dandy legs I'm sure they'd make you laugh.
Young women all....

It was upon last Christmas day, as true as I'm a sinner,
And as he stayed at home that day he swore he'd cook the dinner.
He took out all the plums and flour and mixed them in his hat,
And in the pot upon the lot, the rogue he boiled some fat.
Young women all....

It was last Sunday morning, all by his own desire,
My leghorn bonnet and my cap he took to light the fire.
He took the tea things off the shelf to clean off all the dirt.
He washed them in the chamber pot and wiped them on his shirt.
Young women all....

One day when I was very ill, he went to buy a fowl.
He bought a pair, I don't know where: a magpie and an owl.
he put them in the pot to boil, tied in a dirty cloth.
He boiled the lot, all feathers and guts and called it famous broth.
Young women all....

As we were walking up the street, 'twas arm in an together,
It very first began to snow; he said, "what rainy weather,"
And if he saw a hackney coach, he'd swear it was a gig.
He cannot tell, I do declare, a donkey from a pig.
Young women all....

Now you may talk of dandy wives, but tell me if you can,
Where there's a dandy woman who can match a dandy man.
He's a dirty rogue and a lazy fool, and how I bless the day,
If they would send my dandy man straight off to Botany Bay.

Young women all take my advice and mark what I do say:
If ever you wed with a dandy man you'll ever rue the day.


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