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DTStudy: Abdul Abulbul Amir (Percy French)

DigiTrad:
ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
ABDUL EL BULBUL, EMIR!
ABDUL-A-BUL-BUL-AMIR (A SEQUEL)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Ivan Skavinsky Skivar/Abdul Abulbul Amir (17)
Lyr Req: Ivan skavinski skavar (50)
Abdul Abul bul amir--PC? (14)
Lyr Add: Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir (Sequel) (14)


Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 12:44 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 12:46 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 12:47 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 12:47 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 12:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 May 02 - 12:53 PM
Genie 25 May 02 - 01:04 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 02 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 May 02 - 02:11 PM
Dead Horse 25 May 02 - 03:21 PM
Gareth 25 May 02 - 03:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 May 02 - 06:12 PM
JohnInKansas 26 May 02 - 04:32 AM
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Subject: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:44 PM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

Search for other DTStudy threads


ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR

The sons of the prophet were hardy and bold,
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest of these was a man, I am told
Named Abdul Abulbul Amir.

This son of the desert, in battle aroused,
Could spit twenty men on his spear.
A terrible creature, both sober and soused
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.

When they needed a man to encourage the van,
Or to harass the foe from the rear,
Or to storm a redoubt, they had only to shout
For Abdul Abulbul Amir.

There are heroes aplenty and men known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar;
But the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

He could imitate Irving, play Euchre and pool
And perform on the Spanish Guitar.
In fact, quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

The ladies all loved him, his rivals were few;
He could drink them all under the bar.
As gallant or tank, there was no one to rank
With Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

One day this bold Russian had shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer
Downtown he did go, where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir

"Young man" quoth Bulbul, "has life grown so dull,
That you're anxious to end your career?
Vile infidel! Know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

"So take your last look at the sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar;
By this I imply you are going to die,
Mr. Ivan Skavinsky Skivar."

Quoth Ivan, "My friend, your remarks, in the end,
Will avail you but little, I fear,
For you ne'er will survive to repeat them alive,
Mr. Abdul Abulbul Amir!"

Then this bold mameluke drew his trusty chibouque
With a cry of "Allah Akbar!"
And with murderous intent, he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

Then they parried and thrust and they side-stepped and
cussed
'Till their blood would have filled a great pot.
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on that spot.

They fought all that night, 'neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar;
And great multitudes came, so great was the fame
of Abdul and Ivan Skivar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life -
In fact, he was shouting "Huzzah!" - -
He felt himself struck by that wily Kalmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

The sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer;
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Czar Petrovich, too, in his spectacles blue
Rode up in his new crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

A loud-sounding splash from the Danube was heard
Resounding o'er meadows afar;
It came from the sack fitting close to the back
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skovar.

There's a tomb rises up where the blue Danube flows;
Engraved there in characters clear;
"Ah stranger, when passing, please pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
"Neath the light of the pale polar star;
And the name that she murmurs as oft as she weeps
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Written in 1877 by Percy French, an Irish music hall entertainer.
A London publisher ripped him off an printer copies of the song
with no author's name listed, so most sources say the authorship
of the song is "unknown'" which is a great shame. The setting is
the Crimean War in the 1850's. Few people take this song
seriously, so I'll suggest that you look carefully for the truths
behind the jest. - Bill Steel

Recorded by Bill Steel on Chocolate Chip Cookies, Swallowtail ST-
7.
Also see Shay ,Pious Friends and Drunken Companions. RG
@Russian @fight @soldier
filename[ ABDULBUL
Tune file : ABDULBUL

CLICK TO PLAY
DC




PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

Abdul the Bulbul Emir (I)

DESCRIPTION: The heroic Moslem Abdul and the gallant Russian Ivan Skavinsky Skevar chance to meet. It doesn't take them long to begin duelling, which inevitably results in the deaths of both. Their burials and the mourning for them are described
AUTHOR: credited to Percy French
EARLIEST DATE: 1877 (copyright under the title "Abdulla Bulbul Ameer")
KEYWORDS: humorous death foreigner
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1853-1854 - Crimean War
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Sandburg, pp. 344-346, "Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 341-343, "Ye Ballade of Ivan Petrofsky Skevar" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 128-131, "Abdul Abulbul Amir" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Silber-FSWB, p. 21, "Abdul, The Bulbul Amir" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 84, "Abdulla Bulbul Ameer"
DT, ABDULBUL*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Abdul the Bulbul Emir (II)" (tune & meter)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Abdul, The Bulbul Ameer
Ivan Skavinsky Skevar
Notes: Often listed as being of unknown authorship -- probably because French's original composition (set in the Crimean War) was stolen and printed without his name.
Conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was almost constant in the nineteenth century, as the Tsar sought to expand his realm and the feeble Turks tried to hold onto their European possessions. Full-fledged wars were few, however, making it clear that this song refers to the Crimean War (which pitted England, France, and the Ottomans against the Russians).
Abdul's cry, "Allah Akbar," means "God is great," and is a common Islamic slogan. "Bülbül Amîr" means "nightingale chieftain" in Turkish -- but it is far from certain that French knew this. - RBW
File: LxA341

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL EL BULBUL, EMIR!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:46 PM

ABDUL EL BULBUL, EMIR!

In the harems of Egypt it's good to behold
The fairest of harlots appear,
But the fairest, a Greek
Was owned by a sheik!
Named Abdul el Bulbul Emir!

A traveling brothel came into the town
Run by a pimp from afar
Whose great reputation
Had traveled the nation:
'Twas Ivan Skidavitsky Skavar!

Abdul the Bulbul arrived with his bride
A prize whose eyes shone like a star
He claimed he could prong
More cunts with his dong
Than Ivan Skidavitsky Skavar!

A day was arranged for the spectacle great;
A visit was planned by the Czar!
And the curbs were all lined
With harlots reclined
n honour of Ivan Skavar!

They met on the track with their tools hanging slack
Dressed only in shoes and a leer,
Both were fast on the rise
But folks gasped at the size
Of Abdul el Bulbul Emir!

The cunts were all shorn, and no rubbers adorned
The prongs of the pimp and the peer,
But the pimp's steady stroke
Soon left without hope
The chance of the Bulbul Emir!

They worked thru the night til the dawn's early light
The clamor was heard from afar
The multitudes came
To applaud the ball game
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar!

When Ivan had finished, he turned to the Greek,
And laughed when she shivered in fear
She swallowed his pride,
He buggered the bride
Of Abdul el Bulbul, Emir!

When Ivan was done, and was wiping his gun,
He bent down to polish his gear;
He felt, up his ass,
A hard pecker pass;
'Twas Abdul el Bulbul, Emir!

The crowd loudly howled that it was a foul,
They were ordered to part, by the Czar,
But fast they were jammed;
The pecker was crammed
In Ivan Skidavitsky Skavar!

Now, the cream of the joke, when apart they were broke
Was laughed at for years by the Czar:
For Abdul the Bulbul
Left most of his tool
In Ivan Skidavitsky Skavar!

The fair Grecian maiden a sad vigil keeps
With a husband whose tastes have turned queer...
She longs for the dong
That once did belong
To Abdul el Bulbul, Emir!

@parody @bawdy @contest
filename[ ABDULBL2
Tune file : ABDULBUL

CLICK TO PLAY
AJS

Abdul the Bulbul Emir (II)

DESCRIPTION: Abdul the Bulbul Emir and Ivan Stavinsky Stavar engage in a duel to see who can have intercourse with the greatest number of women. At the moment of triumph, Ivan bends over, with dreadful results.
AUTHOR: original version credited to Percy French, 1877
EARLIEST DATE: original version copyright 1877 as "Abdulla Bulbul Ameer"
KEYWORDS: bawdy parody humorous sex contest homosexuality
FOUND IN: Australia Canada England New Zealand US(NE,SW)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Cray, pp. 210-212, "Abdul the Bulbul" (2 texts, 1 tune)
DT, ABDULBL2*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Abdul the Bulbul Emir (I)" (tune & meter)
Notes: The ballad here is a bawdy parody of the original, reportedly written by French at Trinity College, Dublin. - EC
For a discussion of the Crimean War setting of the original "Abdul," see that song - RBW
File: EM210

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:47 PM

Corrections for ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL EL BULBUL, EMIR!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:47 PM

Corrections for: ABDUL EL BULBUL, EMIR!


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Subject: ADD Version: ABDULLA BULBUL AMEER
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:49 PM

Thread #2011   Message #58540
Posted By: Tiger
14-Feb-99 - 08:45 AM
Thread Name: Lyr? Ivan Skavinsky Skivar/Abdul Abulbul Amir
Subject: RE: Abdul Abulbul Amir link?

For you historians, the following is an excerpt from a note to me last fall regarding this song, and I credit Andrew Coyston as the source. We had both been researching the song, and he found the following info, including, supposedly, the original words. There are, of course, many variations.

......Tiger

excerpt follows......

I have since found a book about French, author of Abdul Abulbul Amir. It is "The Songs of Percy French" by James N Healy, published by The Mercier Press, Dublin, in 1983, reprinted 1985, '88, '90. The author was connected with French's family and gives a brief history. William Percy French was born in Ireland on 1 May 1854, spent the first half of his life in Ireland, then moved to England and died in Lancashire, England in 1920. He was trained as an engineer and originally worked as an "Inspector of Drains". In his spare time he was an artist, songwriter and writer and later worked full-time in those roles and also as an entertainer on the stage.

Abdulla Bulbul Ameer is his earliest known work, written and composed by him for a smoking concert while he was a student at Trinity College, Dublin in 1877. He sold it to an unscrupulous publisher for five pounds and it later became very popular, with other names often appearing as author; French never received any royalties.

He was a prolific songwriter, responsible for many well known Irish songs, and this book gives the words and music of 44 of the better known ones. According to the author the following are the original words of Abdul...

ABDULLA BULBUL AMEER

Oh the sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold
And quite unaccustom'd to fear
But none were so reckless of life or of limb,
As Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.
When they wanted a man to encourage the van
Or to harrass the foe in the rear
Or to take a redoubt they would always send out
For Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.

There are heroes in plenty, and well known to fame
In the ranks that were lead by the Czar,
But the bravest of all was a man by the name
Of Ivan Potschjinksi Skidar.
He could imitate Toole, play Euchre and Pool
And perform on the Spanish guitar.
In fact quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Potschjinski Skidar.

One morning the Russian had shouldered his gun
And assumed his most truculent sneer
And was walking down town when he happened to run
Into Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.
"Young man," says Bulbul, "can your life be so dull
That you're anxious to end your career? -
For, infidel, know - you have trod on the toe
Of Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.

Take your ultimate look at sunshine and brook,
Make your latest remarks on the war;
Which I mean to imply you're going to die,
Mr Count Cask-o-whisky Cigar."
Said the Russian, "My friend, my remarks in the end
Would avail you but little, I fear,
For you'll never survive to repeat them alive,
Mr Abdulla Bulbul Ameer."

Then the bold Mameluke drew his trusty chiboque
And shouted "Il Allah Akbar."
And being intent upon slaughter, he went
For Ivan Potschjinski Skidar.
But just as his knife had abstracted his life
(In fact he was shouting "Huzza!")
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Potschjinski Skidar.

The Consul drove up in his red-crested fly
To give the survivor a cheer,
He arrived just in time to exchange a goodbye
With Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.
And Skobeleff, Gourko and Gorsechekoff too
Drove up on the Emperor's car.
But all they could do was cry "Och-whilliloo!"
With Ivan Potschjinski Skidar.

There's a grave where the waves of the Blue Danube roll
And on it in characters clear
Is: "Stranger, remember to pray for the soul
Of Abdulla Bulbul Ameer."
A Muscovite maiden her vigil doth keep
By the light of the true lover's star
And the name that she murmurs so sadly in sleep
Is Ivan Potschjinski Skidar.

(Notes: 1. A footnote to the words says that "Potschjinski" is pronounced "like a sneeze".
2. According to the Oxford English Dictionary a "chiboque" (which has various spellings) is a long Turkish smoking pipe! I suspect that this is one of French's little jokes.)

.....end of excerpt


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:53 PM

But I don't think Percy French wrote that second version.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Genie
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:04 PM

Joe, since the original copyrighted title was "Abdullah Bulbul Ameer," why not write it that way in the DT, instead of using one of the later folk-process variations?
Hi, Genie - Generally, the Digital Tradition titles are the titles furnished by the person who furnished the lyrics. We're interested in all versions of the song, especially the folk-processed versions. When we have the original version of the lyrics and can document it as such, then we should use the original title.
To avoid confusion, I'm going to ask that we title these DTStudy threads exactly the same as the first song in a series in the Digital Tradition (there are two songs in this series).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD: Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir a sequel^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:24 PM

Thread #15150   Message #133515
Posted By: kendall
08-Nov-99 - 10:29 PM
Thread Name: Add: Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir (Sequel)
Subject: Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir a sequel

Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir a sequel

By the sea of Sargotha I wandered one night
The stars were shining so clear
For no reason at all I heard someone call
For Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir
I pondered the moon beams descending so low
Casting shadows ghostly and then
I discovered that I was standing close by
The tombs of these two famous men.
Then from the tombs shadow there rose from the grave
The form of a Russian Tzar
My skin nearly peeled as he stood there revealed,
It was Ivan Skovinski Skovar

It was he who was calling I hardly dared breathe
My heart most stopped beating from fear
When out of the grave in need of a shave
Stepped Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir.
Would you speak to me Ivan says Abdul quite low
"I would replied Ivan quite clear, that qurrel we had
Was all to the bad, friend Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir."
Oh

"Oh, friend, thou art blameless" said Ivan Skovar "The fault lies in my hands alone,"
But Abdul said "Nay, it was never that way
The fault was no ones but my own."
"Do you call me a liar?" said Ivan Skovar
"Step forth and I'll slice off thine ear."
"Why you son of a cat, you'll never do that
said Abdul-a-bul-bul-Amir
So, once more they battled and fought as before the multitudes came from afar
These lords of no fear, thses bold buccaneers
A Turk and a Russian Tzar. And just at that moment each sword found its mark
I heard a blood curdling screem
And to my surprise, I opened my eyes
And found it was only a dream.
^^
I dont know the author. I collected it from Smokey Green, and he got it from Doc Williams


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 May 02 - 02:11 PM

Given that the song first appeared in 1877, I think it is much more likely that it was inspired not by the Crimean War, a generation earlier, but by the fact that in that year there was a war between Russia and Turkey,arising out of an uprising in Bulgaria. The press would have been full of it at the time, stories of atrocities and all.

What sem to clinch it is that the song specifically mentions the Danube, which is a long way from the Crimea, but became the Northern border of the principality of Bulgaria which was established in that war.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Dead Horse
Date: 25 May 02 - 03:21 PM

I had always thought it was a reference to the Russo-Turkish war of 1878, and its battles between cossacks & bashi bazouks (always loved that name, conjours up fantastic visions of berserk tribesmen!)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Gareth
Date: 25 May 02 - 03:45 PM

Interestingly part of the lyrics, and the tune of Joe's original posting were used as a TV commercial for the Whitbread Brewery in the UK in the 1970's.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 May 02 - 06:12 PM

The Russo-Turkish war actually started in April 1877 I think.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:32 AM

Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag, 1990 edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., indicates an original copyright (of the Sandburg book) of 1927, gives the following rather fanciful intro to the song:

The American Songbag, Carl Sandburg
ABDUL, THE BULBUL AMEER
When the Ahkoond of Swat passed away after a lingering illness, his last words were a message of felicitation to Abdul the Bulbul Ameer, his kinsman and host, that the reign and sway of that potentate might be long, illustrious, and filled with deeds of distinguished valor. This wish would have come true, in all likelihood, but for the sudden and dramatic entrance on the scene of Ivan Petruski Skivah, whose knife proved superior to the chibouque in the culmination of the violent conflict, the finish contest, or knockdown and dragout affair, as one might say, which ensued between these two bitter opponents in classical language and diplomatic procedure. . . . Of the victor's Muscovite morganatic bride, little is known save the fact that while prone on her couch and fast in the arms of Morpheus she was heard frequently to pronounce the words "Ivan Petruski Skivah." The song in which is enshrined this legend of two embittered opponents, is a familiar of robustuous and grandiloquent men in both metropolitan centers of urban activity and in wilderness outposts of the Northwest Mounted, so to speak; it is vocalized con amore equally well in tuxedo vest, flannel shirt or duck canvas pants. . . . As a serial tale it creates a climax which is hoist by its own petard . . . The plot gets thicker and thicker till it runs out of gas, discombobulates, and leaves two stuffed shirts in the wind.


The lyric is presented more like the 25-May-02 - 12:49 PM sample, particularly in the "double length" stanzas; but with some minor variations.

For the sake of completeness, the Sandburg lyric is:

ABDUL, THE BULBUL AMEER
1. The sons of the Prophet are hardy and bold,
And quite unaccustomed to fear;
But of all, the most reckless of life or of limb,
Was Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer.
When they wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or to shout "Hull-a-loo!" in the rear,
Or to storm a redoubt, they straightway sent out
For Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer,
For Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer.

2. There are heroes in plenty and well-known to fame
In the ranks that are led by the Czar;
But among the most reckless of name or of fame
Was Ivan Petruski Skivah.
He could imitate Irving, play euchre or pool,
And perform on the Spanish guitar;
In fact, quite the cream of the Muscovite team,
Was Ivan Petruski Skivah.

3. One morning the Russian had shouldered his gun
And put on his most cynical sneer,
When, going down town, he happened to run
Into Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer.
Said the Bulbul, "Young man, is your life then so dull,
That you're anxious to end your career?
For, infidel, know that you've trod on the toe
Of Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer.

4. Said the Russian, "My friend, your remarks in the end
Will only prove futile, I fear;
For I mean to imply that you're going to die,
Mr. Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer."
The Bulbul then drew out his trusty chibouque,
And, shouting out "Allah Aklar,"
Being also intent upon slaughter he went
For Ivan Petruski Skivah.

5. When, just as the knife was ending his life—
In fact, he had shouted "Huzza! "—
He found himself struck by that subtle Calmuck,
Bold Ivan Petruski Skivah.
There's a grave where the wave of the blue Danube flows,
And on it, engraven so clear,
Is, "Stranger, remember to pray for the soul
Of Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer."

6. Where the Muscovite maiden her vigil doth keep
By the light of the true lover's star,
The name she so tenderly murmurs in. sleep
Is "Ivan Petruski Skivah."
The sons of the Prophet are hardy and bold;
And quite unaccustomed to fear;
But of all, the most reckless of life or of limb,
Was Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer.


John


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 May 02 - 06:28 AM

And another glance at the words confirms that it couldn't have been the Crimean War in Percy French's mind. "He could imitate Irving" - Sir Henry Irving that would be, actor manager, born 1838. The Crimean War ended in 1856, long before anyone outside his family had ever heard of him, whereeas by 1877 he was at the height of his fame.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Ian Darby
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:04 PM

'Diz Disley' did a version of the above, (if it helps.)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:37 PM

Variant titles are: Abdullah Bulbul Amir; Abdul Abul Bul Ameer; Abdul Abulbul Amer; Abdul el Bul Ameer; Abdul, the Bulbul Ameer; Abdul, the Bulbul Amir; Abdulla Bulbul Ameer; Ye Ballade of Ivan Petrofsky Skevar; Ivan Scavinsky Scavar; Ivan Skavinsky Skavar; Ivan Skavinsky Skiva; Ivan Skivitzsky Skivar; Ivan Skizavitzsky.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Haruo
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:57 PM

When I learned this (Seattle, mid-1960s) from my dad (who probably used the Dick & Beth Best IOCCA(?) Song Fest of 1954 as a pony), the third line of the third stanza began "Storm fort or redoubt..."

Liland


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 May 02 - 10:48 PM

Percy French wrote two versions of this. (I'll post the other when I get a chance). In the true folk spirit it was changed, added to and reworked by six generations of singer who sang it for pleasure (and occasionally for profit). Actually, some of the changes improve the song, in terms of cleaning up internal rhymes:

The sons of the prophet were hardy and bold And quite unaccustomed to fear, But none were so reckless of life or of limb As Abdulla Bulbul Ameer

was French's original. He later changed the third and fourth line to:

But the bravest of all in the ranks of the Shah Was Abdul Abulbul Ameer

Neither, in my opinion at least, works as well as:

But the bravest of all in the ranks I've been told Was Abdul.....

This rhymes with "bold" in the first line.

and McGrath- In the original, "he could imitate Toole, play euchre and pool"...Apparently "Henry" was someone's update.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 02 - 12:29 AM

Consult the Rugby Song Thread


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Haruo
Date: 27 May 02 - 01:42 AM

But the bravest of all was a man, I am told, named...

Liland


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 27 May 02 - 05:29 AM

As Gareth has already pointed out, this oft parodied song has been used as a beer advert:
Whitbread Best Bitter advert, 1982
This was a parody on Abdul Abulbul Amir. One of a series of two or (possibly) three. The first concerned our two combatants arguing over whether beer should be drunk in "The Bar" which tended to be men only, and suitable for telling 'blue' jokes; or in "The Lounge" where one has the benefit of the presence of ladies.
The second is shown below, and was found, complete with video, at Whitbred Ad

Whitbread Best Bitter advert, 1982

Now stories are told of a brave man of old
Whose interest was Whitbread best beer
But he new a klutz who drove him nearly nuts
That was Abdul the Bulbul Amir

Now that snake in the grass was a pain in the neck
Claiming Whitbread tastes best from the jar,
And this man most irate, with his own glass quite straight
Was Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Well those boastful old goats went out canvassing votes
But one thing they both did forget,
Be it straight glass or jar, Whitbread's not particular,
'Cos the best "Best" needs no etiquette.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 27 May 02 - 07:10 AM

The song was also made into a "Looney Tunes" cartoon in the early 1940s, with a cartoon Groucho Marx narrating the fight as an outside broadcast.
Can anyone confirm whether it stuck to the original words ? or, if not, can the replacement words be noted ?
The song would,presumably, have still been in copyright at that time. Do the titles credit the author? or was it treated as 'Traditional'.
Anyone got it on video and care to comment please.
Nigel


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Tiger
Date: 27 May 02 - 07:37 AM

Frank Crumit also sings this sequel.

Minnie Skivinski Skivar

I was standing one day, in a shop in Bombay.
I could hardly believe mine own ear,
When a lady in black
Said "Charge the whole rack
To Mrs. Abubul Ameer."

As I opened my eyes with a gasp of surprise
My nerves got another slight jar.
When the clerk said (said she)
"Dost thou knowest not me?
I am Mrs. Skivinski Skivar."

Then said Mrs. Skivar, "Well at last here we are."
And her voice sounded dangerously queer.
"For most of my life
I have hated the wife
Of Abdul Abubul Ameer."

Then Mrs. Abdul said "Nay, do not hate me that way."
On her cheek was the trace of a tear.
"When Abdul broke ground,
It was then that I found -
His insurance had lapsed for a year."

"Thou thinkest I'm rich, but I'm sunk in the ditch,"
Said Mabel (the fairest by far).
"When Abdul gave up the ghost
I was left at the post,
With the payments still due on my car."

"Well, it seemeth to me, we are in the same boat, We've been left high and dry on the bar.
So why should we quarrel?
The fault was not ours,"
Quoth Minnie Skivinski Skivar.

"Well, thou hast taken the wording from my very mouth.
We must be good friends always my dear.
And you must come to my house
For contract some night,"
Replied Mabel Abubul Ameer.

"Ooo, dost thou playest contract?" Quered Minnie with joy.
"Then the gods have sent you from afar.
Let's make a date now,
For I love it, and how!"
Said Minnie Skivinski Skivar.

That night 'round the table, four people sat down,
To play contract (and Fate stepped in here).
For when they cut for partners
'Twas Minnie Skivar
Played with Mable Abubul Ameer.

As the evening progressed, (all were playing their best)
Came a hand that was way below par.
Fourth hand, like a chump,
Said "I bid two no-trump."
It was Minnie Skivinski Skivar.

When the hand was played out, they went 600 down.
Then I heard someone say with a sneer:
"With a trick and a half -
And you bid? What a laugh."
It was Mabel Abubul Ameer.

"Now listen, my dear, let me tell you right here -
My bridge game is known near and far.
All you do is say 'Pass -
Oh, alack and alas.'
Why I once played bridge with the Tsar!"

With faces so dour they fought for an hour,
As the others stood wathcing the fray.
And though murder was done,
It was only with words,
So that everything came out okay.

And now every night, they renew the old fight,
As two kibitzers watch from afar.
And the spirit of Abdul
Abubul looks down -
Joined by Ivan Skivinski Skivar.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 May 02 - 08:48 AM

John Lawrence Toole Well, he waspopular during the Crimee. But also in 1877.

And since Percy French was only born himself in 1854, I think it's a lot more likely he was thinking in terms of the war that started in 1877, the year it was published.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: kendall
Date: 27 May 02 - 09:11 AM

I first learned this song when I was in grammar school; and, the line I learned was...he could sing like Caruso both tenor and bass..spanish guitar etc.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Willie-O
Date: 27 May 02 - 09:33 AM

There's a bit in the movie "Alice's Restaurant" where the "lord of the manor", Ray, sings part of Abdul Abulbul Amir while renovating the interior of the building. Quite appropriate to his character, since he is portrayed in the movie as an overblown patriarchal bullshitter.

WO


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 May 02 - 10:19 AM

You mean, Willie-o, that anyone who sings Abdul is likely to be an overblown patriarchal bullshitter? Or just that the song is about those kind of people?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 May 02 - 12:33 PM

Here's the version that French's estate finally got copyrighted:

ABDUL ABULBUL AMEER

Later version of the original

The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah
Was Abdul Abulbul Ameer.
If you wanted a man to encourage the van
Or shout "attahoy" in the rear
Or storm a redoubt, yon had only to shout
For Ahdul Abulbul Ameer.

Now the heroes were many and well-known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar
But the bravest of these, whom no man could appease
Was Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
He could imitate Irving, play Poker and Pool
And perform on the Spanish guitar.
In fact, quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.

One day this bold Russian shouldered his gun
And donned his most cynical sneer
Down town he did go, where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Ameer.
"Young Man" quote Abdul "Has your life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career-
Vile infidel, know you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbnl Ameer".

Said Ivan:" My friend, your remarks in the end
Will avail you but little, I fear,
For you'll never survive to repeat them alive
Mr. Abdul Abulbul Amneer."
"Then take your last look on sunshine and brook,
And send your regrets to the Czar
By this, I imply, you are going to die
Count Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.

Then the bold Mameluke drew his trusty shibouk
With a cry of "Allah Akbar"
And with deadly intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
They fought through the night in the pale yellow light
The din it was heard from afar
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame
Of Abdul and Ivan Skivar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life
(In fact he was shouting "Huzza")
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck
Count Ivan Skivnsky Skivar
The Sultan drove by in his red-crested fly
Expecting the victor to cheer
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul Abulbul Ameer.

Czar Petrovitch, too, in his spectacles blue
Drove up in his new-crested car,
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
A tombstone arose where the Blue Danube flows
And graved there in characters clear
Are: "Stranger, pass by, but contribute a sigh
For Abdul Abulbul Ameer"

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps
'Neath the light of the pale polar star
And the name that she murmers, so oft as she weeps
Is Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.


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Subject: Lyr Add: YE OLDE BALLAD OF SOMETHING OR OTHER
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 02 - 08:45 PM

Thread #43566   Message #640216

Posted By: GUEST,Bob Nelson, with no more cookie ... help!

01-Feb-02 - 04:33 PM

Thread Name: Haywire Mac Songs

Subject: RE: Haywire Mac Songs


I'm going to post another song I know was written by the late Haywire Mac. It was taught to me by Willi Waw Willy, in the fishing village of Westport, Washington, about 1950. I know I've screwed up one line, so I hope that someone out there can correct me. I never wrote the words down, so this is all from memory ... I've never heard it it sung by anyone and I've never seen it in print. This is a wonderful parody of Abdull the Bull Bull Ameer.

YE OLDE BALLAD OF SOMETHING OR OTHER

(sung to the melody of Abdull the Bull Bull Ameer).

A minstrel once sang me a sad rondelay,
A song of the brave days of olde,
How two mighty heros once had an afray,
And each laid the other out cold.

They met and they quarreled, such things shouldn't be,
But the sparks from their swords flew like fire,
Their names were Alphonzo Cornelieus McGee,
And Alonzo Fitzpatrick McGuire.

"GADZOOKS"cried Alphonzo, don't look at me so,
Don't you see you're arousing my ire,
But there 'neer was a man by the name of McGee,
Who would back down from a man named McGuire.

So the knights sallied forth dressed in armour of proof,
While the populace shouted "HEY HEY," And each made a noise like a galvinized roof,
As he mounted his steed for the fray.

Now never was seen such a furious fight,
Never heard such a hideous din,
As each hero labored with main and with might,
At the others kimono of tin.

They cried out "AVANT!" and "HAVE AT THEE FOUL KNAVE,"
As the sparks from their swords flew like fire,
Then the mighty Alphonzo Cornelious McGee,
Smote Alonzo Fitzpatrick McGuire.

From sunrise they fought 'till the pale yellow moon,
Shown down, and lo there in the mire,
Stone dead lay Alphonzo Cornelious Mcgee,
And Alonzo Fitzpatrick McGuire.

So boys, take warning from these luckless knights,
Beware of their terrible fate,
Collect half a million each time that ye fight
With fourty per cent of ye gate.

Be like ye prize fighter and go for ye dough,
If you to great riches aspire
Don't be like Alphonzo Cornelious McGee
Or Alonzo Fitzpatrick McGuire

CHEERS, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 May 02 - 12:53 PM

I had this by Ed McCurdy, slight variations on the lines and some omitted verses. And the Akond of Swat, if I recall correctly, was a poem by Edward Lear in his Book of Nonsense - who or why or (something) or WHAT is the Akond of Swat?


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Subject: Thread Drift: Edward Lear & Newman Levy
From: Haruo
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:33 PM

The Akond of Swat

Reminds me of the mighty bailiff of the caliph of Kelat in the Newman Levy song "Bluebeard" (also in the DT, here (and with MIDI) but with less certainty in the attribution... I learned it as a kid from Song Fest, myself. If it is in fact by Newman Levy then it may still be under copyright. Haven't investigated yet.

Liland


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:19 AM

The version Given By John in Kansas, and found from Sandburg (1927) can be dated earlier that that. "The Scottish Students' Song Book" 6th edition (Dec 1897)gives identical words, including the repetition of the last line, as a chorus. No name is given for the author, but the composer is listed as "Ali Baba", with some variations on what I remember to be the tune.
The SSSB were rigorous in checking copyright (if possible) and this song appears "By special permission of Mr John Blockley, 3 Argyll Street, Regent Street, London W" Can we assume that this is the person, or firm who had 'appropriated' the song direct from French ?
I am not au fait with posting music, but if required I can scan the two pages and send them as an e-mail attachment

Nigel


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:27 AM

Attempts to localise this song in the Crimean War (or any other specific conflict) seem essentially a waste of time. It is set in the mythical world of conflict between Christian powers (basically Russian) and Islam (basically Ottoman Turk) of the 19th century, and surely that is as close as we need to get. References to the Shah and the Danube in the most standard versions show a vagueness of locality and allegiances: Percy French was drawing on a long tradition of adventure stories, poems, history books, anecdotes and newspaper articles, and came up with a brilliant and enduring parody of the conflicts involved, which is incidentally extremely relevant to the current world political scene. That is surely as far as we need to go.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:51 AM

My friend Phil Thomas is desperately looking for information concerning the TUNE of Ivan. Does anyone know whence it comes, and does anyone know any other songs (not close parodies as most of these things are) which use the tune? Many thanks, Mudcatters!

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 04:03 AM

Jon:
If you see Joe's entry above:
Subject: ADD Version: ABDULLA BULBUL AMEER
From: Joe Offer - PM
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:49 PM

You'll see that French is quoted as both author and composer. This obviously gives the origin of the tune, as that does not appear to be queried anywhwere else. The tune was written for the song.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 05:07 PM

Thank you, Nigel. I have "Prose, Poems and Parodies of Percy French edited by his sister Mrs. De Burgh Daly", published by the Talbot Press of Dublin in 1929 (repr. 1954). The book gives 37 titles under "Songs and Poems", 6 under "Parodies", 36 under "Further Songs and Poems" and 8 under "Short Plays and Dialogues". These include all his well-known pieces (Eileen Oge, Shlathery's Mounted Fut, Mountains of Mourne, "Are ye right there, Michael?",, etc.) but there is no mention (in the body of the text or in the introduction by Alfred Perceval Graves) of Abdul. I wonder why this is? Is Healy our only authority for French's authorship? Neither Spaeth nor Sandburg give an author, though Spaeth does give two tunes (did French make them both?).

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 05:44 PM

In the next to last verse, I long ago learned the line about the Danube as ...."where the Danube doth roll", which I believe is probably the original, because it rhymes.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: ard mhacha
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 02:19 PM

I was listening to a programme on RTE Radio this morning on the life of Irish Tenor Brendan O`Dowda.
O`Dowda was a great interpeter of Percy French`s songs, and he stated that he had gone to the London Music Publishers who had all of those years ago pilfered the song.
O`Dowda stated, he produced proof that Percy French had indeed written the song while a student at Trinty College in Dublin,
The Music Company obliged O`Dowda and credited French with the song.
Percy French`s daughters had told O`Dowda that their father in those early days was ignorant of copywrite and after Abdul Abulbul Ameer was stolen, he never made the same mistake again. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: GUEST,dcrehr@earthlink.net
Date: 03 May 03 - 09:51 AM

I found this year-old thread and hope some of you are still reading.

I am researching a TV documentary on Dwight D. Eisenhower. Among the facts I have uncovered is that "Abdul" was Ike's favorite song. I believe his son is quoted in one of the books as saying his Dad knew 37 different verses. I wonder if he ever sang the dirty version?

Darryl Rehr
Los Angeles


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 May 03 - 02:15 PM

I just managed to buy an old vinyl of this song, by the aforementioned Brendan O'Dowda for the princely sum of 10p in a charity shop. It's an EP, remember them? It has "Abdul" and "The Oklahoma Rose" [P French] on one side, with "The Hoodoo" [Collison-French] and "That's why we're burying him" [P French} on the other side. It's a bit scratchy but it's nearly 40 years old, so who wouldn't be a bit worn after all that time. It's good nostalgic stuff......Giok


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: ard mhacha
Date: 03 May 03 - 03:18 PM

Giok. The cassette is still available in most retailers in Ireland. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 May 03 - 04:50 PM

Yes but to an old bugger like me the nostalgia of vinyl is sensuous. Well we got to get our thrills where we can........Giok


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 May 03 - 11:34 PM

I have to say that I'm still not thoroughly convinced that French is the author. Ninety percent sure, perhaps - but there still is a tiny, nagging whisper of incredulity in my mind. The proof of authorship is quite a bit weaker than what we have to prove authorship of other songs. Healy's explanation (above) sounds credible, but I'm still not thoroughly convinced. I learned the song from the Boy Scout Songbook where it was unattributed.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 08 May 03 - 10:23 AM

Joe

There's a short biography of French HERE where, BTW, it says he wrote Abdul under a pseudonym, when a student.

Far be it from me to be sceptical of scepticism - but I have never heard his authorship of the song questioned in Ireland. Healy can be tolerably vague and unreliable about some things, but his biography is very thorough. For that matter, the alternative would be that French was obsessively claiming it for base or other motives. That seems totally at variance with his known character.

Wonder if Collinson, who composed some of his tunes and arranged others, says anything about it? He wrote a book describing a "concert tour" of ireland at the beginning of the 20th c. Don't think he mentions Abdul, of the top of my head.

Regards


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 May 03 - 04:49 PM

He doesn't.

Regards


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: ard mhacha
Date: 21 May 03 - 08:26 AM

Martin and Joe, I still believe his daughters, that would be the missing ten per cent Joe. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 May 03 - 09:14 AM

Reading through the whole thread again has reminded me of G W Hunt's song of 1878, performed by G H ["The Great"] Macdermott on the British Music Halls:
We don't want to fight, by by jingo if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too!
We've fought the Bear before, and while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople!

The song gave rise to "jingo", meaning the brainless patriotism which was still in evidence in the Falklands War, and probably in the current unfortunate business in the Gulf.

Leslie Stuart, in his 1895 song "Soldiers of the Queen", has a dig at it:
When we're roused we buckle on our swords,
We've done with patriotic lingo.
We'll do deeds to follow on our words,
We'll show we're something more than "jingo" ...


It didn't catch on until the first Boer War in 1899, which suggests most people were quite satisfied with "jingo".

Steve


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 21 May 03 - 10:22 AM

From the orientalist's point of view:
- Abdullah, usually Abdallah: Servant of God (Abd = servant, Allah can be substituted by any other of his 99 names)
- Bulbul, turk. bülbül: the nightingale
- Amir, emir: a commander i.e. a military superior from sergeant to general

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Abdul Abulbul Amir (Percy French)
From: GUEST,threelegsoman
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 04:28 AM

I was delighted to find the lyrics to Abdul Abulbul Amir by Percy French on this discussion site and even more so to find Frank Crumit's sequels. I have uploaded them all on youtube should any of your readers be interested. (I hesitate to sing the rude version though!!) I first came across the original song in a book of songs a friend had when I was at college and also remember having seen a cartoon version of the story which was accompanied by the song itself.

The playlist can be found by following the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=BAE9CC2D81EC6EE1


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Abdul Abulbul Amir (Percy French)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 05:51 AM

For the record: a variant of my own.

I learned this song just after WWii, in 1946, when I was 14. That year, the recently-founded, all-conquering Moscow Dynamo football team triumphantly toured UK, winning lots of matches, with their famous goalkeeper Tiger Khomich their star. They were of course feted as representatives of our gallant wartime ally agaist the powers of Axis darkness: just about before Cold War was declared. They beat Cardiff City 10-1! Concessions were made as the offside rule wasn't applied in the Soviet league in those days; but even so they did pretty well.

Anyhow, I learned Abdul/Ivan/Whoever about then: so it made sense to state in verse 2 that Ivan was "The cream of the Dynamos team"; which, from habit or loyalty or whatever I still do if ever I have occasion to perform it, or even when I just sing it over in my head — & even tho Spartak have now probably taken over from Dynamo as the pre-eminent Muscovite team.

Just thought I'd mention it...


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