Friday, January 29, 2010

Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden


Ah, the romance of a lover thought lost who finally comes home! One such, of course, is the Greek hero Odysseus, whose return to his wife Penelope after twenty years away (first to the Trojan War, then on wanderings brought on by having offended a god) is recounted, in Nigel Spivey’s 2005 book SONGS ON BRONZE, in a few brief sentences of such sensuality that—ahem. Let’s just say they’re very sexy.

No doubt that ancient tale lies at the root of many of our folk ballads about a lost lover come home. They go by various titles: "John Riley" is one such, while one could argue that "The Demon Lover" is another, with a supernatural twist. My favorite of them is "Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden" which exists in several variants, including this one by Tim O’Brien, from his CD FIDDLER’S GREEN.


Pretty fair maid was in her garden
When a stranger came a-riding by
He came up to the gate and called her
Said pretty fair maid would you be my bride

She said I've a true love who's in the army
And he's been gone for seven long years
And if he's gone for seven years longer
I'll still be waiting for him here

Perhaps he's on some watercourse drowning
Perhaps he's on some battlefield slain
Perhaps he's to a fair girl married
And you may never see him again

Well if he's drown, I hope he's happy
Or if he's on some battlefield slain
And if he's to some fair girl married
I'll love the girl that married him

He took his hand out of his pocket
And on his finger he wore a golden ring
And when she saw that band a-shining
A brand new song her heart did sing

And then he threw his arms all around her
Kisses gave her one, two, three
Said I'm your true and loving soldier
That's come back home to marry thee

Pretty fair maid was in her garden
When a stranger came a-riding by
He came up to the gate and called her
Said pretty fair maid would you be my bride

That’s only in the folk genre, though. There are others spread across the entire musical spectrum. Do you have a favorite lost-love-returned song? Start writing~~Fairweather

Painting by the English neo-Baroque artist John Godward.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Witty Love Lost & Found

Enough with as Linda says, "Grape Stomped Hearts". Now it's time for the funny side of love. Take your pick this week as both songs are gifts of clever lyrics to take an Oscar home courtesy of Bob Hope.

First up a Frank Loesser lyric and Oscar winner about how to have a happy divorce with "Thanks For the Memories". Sung with Shirley Ross in The Big Broadcast of 1938, it became Hope's signature song.

Thanks for the memory
Of candlelight and wine, castles on the Rhine
The Parthenon and moments on the Hudson River Line
How lovely it was!

Thanks for the memory
Of rainy afternoons, swingy Harlem tunes
And motor trips and burning lips and burning toast and prunes
How lovely it was!

Many's the time that we feasted
And many's the time that we fasted
Oh, well, it was swell while it lasted
We did have fun and no harm done

And thanks for the memory
Of sunburns at the shore, nights in Singapore
You might have been a headache but you never were a bore
So thank you so much.

Thanks for the memory
Of sentimental verse, nothing in my purse
And chuckles when the preacher said "For better or for worse"
How lovely it was

Thanks for the memory
Of lingerie with lace, Pilsner by the case
And how I jumped the day you trumped my one-and-only ace
How lovely it was!

We said goodbye with a highball
Then I got as "high" as a steeple
But we were intelligent people
No tears, no fuss, Hooray! For us

So, thanks for the memory
And strictly entre-nous, darling how are you?
And how are all the little dreams that never did come true?
Aw'flly glad I met you, cheerio, and toodle-oo
And thank you so much.

Next Fish Out of Water with the Oscar winning "Buttons & Bows". Two versions from two films, first with Hope & Jane Russell and then with Hope, Russell, and Roy Rogers.

East is east and west is west
And the wrong one I have chose
Let's go where they keep on wearin'
Those frills and flowers and buttons and bows
Rings and things and buttons and bows.

Don't bury me in this prairie
Take me where the cement grows
Let's move down to some big town
Where they love a gal by the cut o' your clothes
And you'll stand out, In buttons and bows.

I'll love you in buckskin
Or skirts that you've homespun
But I'll love ya' longer, stronger where
Yer friends don't tote a gun

My bones denounce the buckboard bounce
And the cactus hurts my toes
Let's vamoose where gals keep a-usin'
Those silks and satins and linen that shows
And I'm all yours in buttons and bows.

Gimme eastern trimmin' where women are women
In high silk hose and peek-a-boo clothes
And French perfume that rocks the room
And I'm all yours in buttons and bows.

Buttons and bows, buttons and bows...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Riffin' on Heartbreak

Last night I was warbling along with the studio recording of Emmylou's "Heartbreak Hill" (which is much more energetic than this live version) and thinking about heartbreak as a theme in music. Now as you know, my field of preference is classic country and bluegrass, and we've got a blue goodelin' of songs about heartbreak--but it's also a constant theme in other genres, from jazz, blues, rock, classical/opera.

So--what is your favorite song about heartbreak, and why? Start writing~~Fairweather

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm My Own Grandpa

Your wacky hosts at Take This Tune have had a severe attack of the sillies. Maybe last year was just a bit too serious. Old man 2009 has left and baby new year 2010 has appeared which put us in mind of relatives, descendants and the family trees that go with them. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Die Fledermaus - Im Feuerstrom der Reben

The link above will explain this light hearted operetta by Johann Strauss II.  Often performed on New Years Eve because the count does like to party and  "The Campagne Song" that closes Act II is a wonderful salute to the bubbly.

Despite the German, I'm sure you can figure out that all these folks had one whale of a ball. So What did you do for New Year's Eve?