Re: CHAT: folk songs
|From:||Roger Mills <romilly@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, August 23, 2001, 22:14|
John Cowan wrote:
>Roger Mills scripsit:
>> Hmmm-- that's not the Sweet Betsy from Pike we sang in grade school!
>> her _lover_ Ike??? _divorce_??? Obviously updated. ;-)
>More likely the version you sang was censored. Burl Ives sings
>"her lover Ike" on the 78rpm records my parents had. And divorce
>is not a novelty.
A bowdlerized version for us kiddies is certainly a possibility-- but that
in itself is a sign of those times. No teacher in those days would have
wanted to have to explain what a "lover" was; and divorce was a Very Bad
Thing, barely discussed at all, and certainly not in front of the children.
I was into my teens before the marital history of an uncle was explained to
me (he'd had 4 wives in rapid succession). This of course may only apply to
Small-Town America; perhaps sophisticated (degenerate :-) ) New Yorkers and
movie-stars were more up-front about such things....
The raciest line I can recall from our version (not included in BJM's
version): Ike proposed to do something, or go somewhere (I forget what, but
it was dumb and sort of typically masculine), to which Betsy replied: "Said
Betsy, you'll go by yourself if you do." Chuckles all around. Clearly
Betsy was a feisty woman.
Perhaps there were two competing versions, one suitable for Methodies
Ladies, and a racier one more appropriate to saloons and music halls.......
Amusing sidebar: In the late 19th Cent., South Dakota (my dear homeland)
was the divorce haven of the US, Nevada having not yet been invented. Some
Robber Baron (I think it was J.J.Astor) came out there to shed a wife;
apparently he was Episcopalian, and needed the blessing of the Church, which
he got. In gratitude, he put up the money for the very lovely Cathedral
that still stands in Sioux Falls. (This I learned in 1985!!, from a
commemorative plate in my aunt's things-- it explained that the church was a
gift of (whomever), though not the exact reason why; that info came from