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Lyr Add: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song

11 Apr 01 - 01:45 PM (#438244)
Subject: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Vienna

Please help! I am compiling a book of songs sung in the late '50's-earliest '60's at summer camp and need the lyrics to "Take Her Out of Pity." This is admittedly not a p.C., song, but it was very singable and is a part of camp history, Thank you!


11 Apr 01 - 01:49 PM (#438249)
Subject: Lyr Add: TAKE HER OUT OF PITY (from Kingston Trio)
From: mousethief

I found this on www.google.com by searching for "take her out of pity" (quotes included). First page up had it.

TAKE HER OUT OF PITY
Bob Shane / Nick Reynolds / John Stewart

I had a sister Sally, she was younger than I am.
Had so many sweethearts, she had to deny them.
But as for sister Sarah, you know she hasn't many.
And if you knew her heart, she'd be grateful for any.

Chorus:
Come a lands man, a pins man, a tinker or a tailor;
doctor, a lawyer, soldier, or sailor.
A rich man, a poor man, a fool or a witty,
don't let her die an old maid but take her out of pity.

We had a sister Sally, she was ugly and misshapen.
By the time she was sixteen years old she was taken.
By the time she was eighteen, a son and a daughter.
Sarah's almost twenty-nine, never had an offer.

Chorus

She never would be scoldin'. She never would be jealous.
Her husband would have money to go to the alehouse.
He was there a-spendin'. She'd be home a-savin'
and I leave it up to you if she is not worth havin'.

Chorus

(c) 1960 Atzel Music, Inc., New York, NY (used without permission)

Alex


11 Apr 01 - 01:59 PM (#438259)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: sheila

That sounds very like a song I knew in Edinburgh in the 60s - "The Auld Maid In The Garret".


11 Apr 01 - 02:01 PM (#438264)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: mousethief

Rats. 4 minutes. I'm losing my touch.

Alex


11 Apr 01 - 02:15 PM (#438284)
Subject: Lyr Add: OLD MAID IN THE GARRETT (Steeleye Span)
From: BEK

"Old Maid in the Garret" was also recorded by Steeleye Span on "TIME" CD. It's one of my favorites of their songs.

THE OLD MAID IN THE GARRETT

Definitely to be taken with a large pinch of salt, this is probably the first (and last) time this song has been sung by women!

I was told by my aunt. I was told by my mother
That going to a wedding is the makings of another.
Well, if this be so, then I'll go without a bidding.
O kind Providence, won't you send me to a wedding.

CHORUS: And it's oh, dear me, how will it be
If I die an old maid in a garret?

Now there's my sister Jean; she's not handsome or good looking.
Scarcely sixteen and a fella she was courting.
Now she's twenty-four. she's a son and a daughter.
Here am I, forty-four, and I've never had an offer. CHORUS

I can cook and I can sew. I can keep a house right tidy,
Rise up in the morning and get the breakfast ready.
There's nothing in this wide world that makes my heart so cheery
As a wee fat man to call me his own deary. CHORUS

So come landsman or come townsman; come tinker or come tailor.
Come fiddler, come dancer, come ploughman or come sailor.
Come rich man, come poor man, come fool or come witty.
Come any man at all. Won't you marry out of pity? CHORUS

They say that the women are worse than the men.
They go down to hell and they're thrown out again.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 2-Jun-02.


11 Apr 01 - 02:23 PM (#438296)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: MAG (inactive)

Actually, Womenfolk did it as "Take me out of Pity" in their heyday. And yes, through the used record grapevine, I've got my collection.

(Thanks to Crossroads and Vinyl Resting Place in Portland OR)


11 Apr 01 - 02:49 PM (#438319)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Giac

See this previous thread:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12058#92944

Tells how to look for it in the DT.


11 Apr 01 - 02:51 PM (#438321)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Giac

See this previous thread that tells how to find it in the DT:

take her out


11 Apr 01 - 02:55 PM (#438324)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Gary T

I recall this as a traditional(?) song titled "Old Maid's Lament." The DT lists it as "Old Maid Song."


11 Apr 01 - 04:25 PM (#438419)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

In the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website (www.erols.com/olsonw) you will find 17th century versions and later ones (click on 'Old Maid's Complaint'). As you will see, the modern form is no later than 1825.


11 Apr 01 - 07:02 PM (#438552)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Sheila

Like Meg, I learned this song as being sung in the first person: "Come a landsman, a tendsman, a tinker or a tailor, Fiddler or a dancer, a plowboy, a sailor, Gentleman, a poor man, A fool or a witty, Don't you let me die an old maid, But take me out of pity." Now where did I learn this? And the chorus ended on the 5th, which to me was so unusual. Sheila


11 Apr 01 - 07:07 PM (#438558)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

I don't think you learned it from the author, because Martin Parker died about 1650.


11 Apr 01 - 07:15 PM (#438566)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: McGrath of Harlow

I've never heard it except with "take me" rather than "take her". I don't know if that makes it more or less potentially offensive. I've never known anyone get offended by it anyway. And it's normally women who sing it anyway.

Has anyone ever written a version for a man who likes the idea of getting married, and can't understand why he never finds a taker?


11 Apr 01 - 07:33 PM (#438579)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

Yes, and I had it typed up yesterday to post on the Mudcat Forum and my word processor save didn't work right and I don't know where it went. I'll take another look for it.


11 Apr 01 - 07:58 PM (#438598)
Subject: Lyr Add: GO UP WEST
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

[Retyped. Songs of maids eager to be wedded or bedded are legion. This type is much rarer.]

GO UP WEST

Oh, where is the girl who will go up West with me,
And live in some deserted spot? Now happy we will be! [How?
We will build a little cottage, with the ground for the floor,
A deer skin for the window, and a slab for the door.

Chorus:
Will you go up West, will you go up West?
Oh, will you go up West with me?

I care not for riches, but a beautiful form,
I want her to be righteous and never raise a storm,
Her hair and her eyes, both black they must be,
Now if you know of such a girl, just speak to her for me.

She must not be afraid if a-hunting I should go,
To chase the bounding elk or the wild buffalo;
And if I should be reaping, and it looks like rain,
She must not be afraid to help get in the grain.

Come all you pretty fair maidens and list to what I say,
One year from this present time I am going far away,
And if I do not find such a girl to be my wife,
I am going out to "batch it" the rest of my life.

--- Potter Co., Pennsylvania, c 1881. [no tune]

[Cf. Going to the West thread]


11 Apr 01 - 08:04 PM (#438601)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: dick greenhaus

I refer all you seekers of equivalence to The Laird O' Cockpen.


11 Apr 01 - 08:13 PM (#438610)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

Dick, how about asking Murray on Saltspring for a history of "The Laird of Cockpen". I'm confused as to whether there's evidence that the song we have is the original song, or not.


11 Apr 01 - 11:56 PM (#438734)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Lin in Kansas

Does anyone recall what group did this one in the sixties or seventies? I seem to "hear" it being done by the Limelighters--??

Lin


12 Apr 01 - 12:15 AM (#438750)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: ddw

Don't think so, Lin. KT did it, but if the Limelighters did it in concert, they never recorded it as far as I know — and I think I still have all of their albums.

david


12 Apr 01 - 12:43 AM (#438766)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Night Owl

I "hear" the same thing Lin.....do you know who recorded "The Seine" in the sixties/seventies?? I hear the same voices singing this and knew it as "The Old Maid's Lament".


12 Apr 01 - 12:51 AM (#438773)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Bruce O.

Glenn Yarborough did it. Is that what you mean by Limelighter's? My recording, though is solo, not him singing with the Limelighters.


23 Nov 05 - 07:35 PM (#1612435)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity (Kingston Trio)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

The Bob Shane copyright is laughable. The Trio, like everybody else in the 50s, learned their version of "Come a Landsman, a Pinsman" from Peggy Seeger, who recorded it on her first LP c. 1956. Hers is the definitive contemporary version.


18 May 08 - 03:12 PM (#2343766)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Picnic Player

I just finished a play called Picnic by William Inge, in Hollywood. One of our players was a folk singer. During the intermission she sang this song, and two other very sad Appalachian folk songs.

Since the play is about a group of "old maid school teachers" in Kansas, (whose lives get turned upside down by the young stud that drifts into town and then leaves again with a young girl), it seemed like a very fitting song for the play.


19 Feb 11 - 02:49 PM (#3098657)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: GUEST,Mighty Hev

In the Kingston trio version of 'take her out of pity', they sing 'come a landsman a pins man...'
Does anyone know what, if anything, is a pins man? Or is it a misheard lyric...?


19 Feb 11 - 05:00 PM (#3098694)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: MGM·Lion

This is one of the few folksongs referred to by Jane Austen. In Northanger Abbey, a character asks "Did you ever hear the old song 'Going to one wedding brings on another'?"

The sentiment is also well documented as a proverb, appearing as such, with 4 references, under "Wedding" in The Oxford Dictionary Of Proverbs.

Another woman who used regularly to sing the Old Maid In A Garrett version was Isabel Sutherland, the Scottish resident in a folk club run in the late 1950s by Bruce Dunnett (who employed also an English resident, Shirley Collins; an Irish one, Dominic Behan; an American, Sandy Paton + Stan Kelly as compère & anchor-man).

~Michael~


05 Mar 20 - 04:32 PM (#4037766)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Jack Campin

Is there any written trace of a version of The Old Maid in the Garret that Austen might plausibly have heard? I've always thought of it as Scottish and can't imagine it sung in any other accent.


05 Mar 20 - 05:01 PM (#4037772)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: Steve Gardham

Although Pitts printed it this may have been after 1803. With so many versions in print it's hard to believe that there weren't versions floating about in the mid 18th century. However that line occurs in a late 17th century version printed by Jonah Deacon and if Jane is calling this an old song then that only makes it about a century old. About right I'd say. See Pepys Vol 5, p194 The Maid's call to the Bachelors.


05 Mar 20 - 10:37 PM (#4037796)
Subject: ADD Version: The Old Maid's Song
From: Joe Offer

The Peggy Seeger version is called "The Old Maid's Song." The YouTube video of the Smithsonian Folkways recording is here:

Album notes are here:

And here are Peggy Seeger's lyrics:

THE OLD MAID'S SONG

CHORUS
Come a landsman, a pinsman, a tinker or a tailor,
Fiddler, or a dancer, ploughboy, or a sailor,
Gentleman, a poor man, a fool or a witty
Don't you let me die an old maid but take me out of pity.

Oh, I had a sister Sally, was younger than I am
She had so many sweethearts, she had to deny them;
As for my own part I never had many
If you all knew my heart, I'd be thankful for any.

CHORUS

Oh, I had a sister Susan, was ugly and misshapen,
Before she was sixteen years old she was taken,
Before she was eighteen, a son and a daughter
Here am I six and forty and nary an offer.

CHORUS

Oh I never will be scolding, I never will be jealous,
My husband shall have money to go to the alehouse,
While he's there a-spending, well I'll be at home a-saving,
And I'll leave it to the world if I am worth having.

CHORUS


Notes: THE OLD MAID'S SONG· - The old maid tells of the success of her sisters, gives her own age as "six and forty", and makes unheard-of concessions to the man who will marry her and take her "out of pity".


05 Mar 20 - 10:41 PM (#4037797)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Take Her Out of Pity
From: John C. Bunnell

I'll need to check my vinyl when I get home, but I think the Highwaymen did a version of this, which I recall as a bit different from the Kingston Trio version.


05 Mar 20 - 10:42 PM (#4037798)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: Joe Offer

So, what's a "pinsman"? I always thought it was "kinsman," but it's pretty clear that I was. But I have no idea what a "pinsman" is.
-Joe-


06 Mar 20 - 03:36 AM (#4037813)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: GeoffLawes


Lizzie Higgins singing Auld Maid in a Garret


06 Mar 20 - 05:15 AM (#4037834)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: GeoffLawes


Old maid in the garret, song / Chris Miles, singing in English
lyrics here too


06 Mar 20 - 07:05 AM (#4037861)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: Newport Boy

@MGM-Lion - Another woman who used regularly to sing the Old Maid In A Garrett version was Isabel Sutherland, the Scottish resident in a folk club run in the late 1950s by Bruce Dunnett...

I always enjoyed Isobel Sutherland singing this. Her version was slightly different and she had a wonderful voice. I've tried to represent some of her Scots words.

AULD MAID IN THE GARRET
Isabel Sutherland

Now I've often heard it said frae my faither and my mother
That to gang to a wedding is the makings of another
Gin that be true then I’ll gang withoot a biddin’
Kind providence, ye’ll ask me to a weddin’.
And it’s oh dear me what will I do if I die an auld maid in a garret.

Oh my young sister Jean she's no’ handsome or good lookin’
Only sixteen and a fella she is courtin’
I am forty four and I havenae got a man
I dinna ken if I will or if I can.

And its oh dear me what will I do if I die an auld maid in a garret.

Oh come tinkler, come tailor, come soldier or come sailor
Come ony man at all that’ll tak me to my faither
Come rich man, come poor man, come wise man or come witty
Come ony man at all that’ll marry me for pity.

And its oh dear me what will I do if I die an auld maid in a garret.

Oh, for I can knit and I can sew I can mak’ the hoose right tidy
Rise up in the mornin’ and mak the breakfast ready
One thing in this wide world would make me half as cheery
Is a dear auld man to call me his wee deary.

And its oh dear me what will I do if I die an auld maid in a garret.

Oh, for I'll awa’ hame for there’s nobody heedin’
Naebody heeding to poor auld Annie’s pleading
I'm awa’ hame to ma wee garret
If I canna get a man then I'll surely get a parrot.

And its oh dear me what will I do if I die an auld maid in a garret -
Wi’ a parrot!

If Robin Hall was there, he would always tease Isabel by singing the tag line as "Wi' a carrot!"


06 Mar 20 - 08:54 AM (#4037872)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

I heard that sung at Auchtermuchty in one of their last festivals- would have been either Chris Miles or Sheena Wellington. She said she'd make up her mind whether it was going to be "carrot" or"parrot" at the last moment.


07 Mar 20 - 08:54 AM (#4038075)
Subject: Origin: OLD MAID'S SONG (Peggy Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon

THE OLD MAID'S SONG, as sung by Peggy Seeger, and posted by Joe Offer above, can be found in Lonesome Tunes: Folk Songs from the Kentucky Mountains collected and edited by Loraine Wyman (New York: H. W. Gray Co., 1916). The words match so closely, I don't think it's worthwhile to post another copy. But it has the notation: "Pulaski County, Kentucky" and it contains a musical arrangement for piano, which may be of interest to someone more musically literate than I am.


07 Mar 20 - 06:08 PM (#4038172)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: leeneia

If a lyricist made a black person or a Native American grovel like this, you'd all be furious. This song is nasty.


08 Mar 20 - 03:31 AM (#4038218)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: Joe Offer

I suppose you're right, leeneia. I wonder what Peggy Seeger would say now about the lyrics she sang Way Back When - I guarantee she wouldn't sing them now, since she seems to prefer same-sex relationships (and rightly so, quite likely). Still, it tells the awful truth about a time when women were nothing unless they married the proper man.

-Joe-


09 Mar 20 - 07:38 AM (#4038472)
Subject: RE: Old Maid's Song
From: John C. Bunnell

Memory is correct: The Old Maid's Song is in fact on "Hootenanny with the Highwaymen", from early in that group's career, and it's (mostly) the Seeger version...

...except that it turns out that there are a whole lot of performances floating around on YouTube, and the cross-pollination is, well, odd.

First of all, the lead on the Hootenanny version is actually a guest performer, introduced as Mayo Muir (but see notes below).

Second, the recording is notable in that it mostly adopts the lyrics of the Seeger version while applying them to the Kingston Trio arrangement of the tune (again, see notes below). "Mostly" is important: the Hootenanny version is unique in that Muir and the Highwaymen all clearly sing "tinsman" rather than "pinsman" throughout. Now I am curious as to the origin of that choice.

Musically speaking (though I see leeneia's point about the lyrics), I especially like this version; the Highwaymen's madrigal-like backup vocals are extremely deft, considering that according to their intro, Muir was a surprise last-minute addition to the lineup for this live concert recording.

NOTES

1. Further Googling establishes that she's much better known in the folk world as Ann Mayo Muir, and as 1/3 of a highly distinguished trio consisting of herself, Gordon Bok, and Ed Trickett.

2. The Seeger performances (Pete's here and Peggy's here) are a good deal livelier and less sorrowful than the slower, more mournful pace of the Kingston Trio arrangement. (Note that Pete gives the singer's age as six-and-twenty, whereas Peggy sings "six-and-forty"!)

3. If the upbeat banjo-picking on the Pete Seeger track startles you, consider the even livelier Clive Palmer banjo version from 1967; Palmer's iteration also adopts the novelty of singing both the verse line and the choruses in first person (that is, "I'm a landsman...." (!!)).

4. By contrast, the Glenn Yarbrough version is positively gloomy; like the Highwaymen, he merges what I'm calling the Seeger lyrics with the Kingston arrangement, but with two tweaks to the words: here, the singer is "seven and forty" (thereby the eldest on record) and substitutes "lover" for "offer" in the second verse (!).

5. For completeness, here's a link to the present-day Web site for the original Highwaymen (vs. the newer country-star group, which is a different animal entirely).


09 Mar 20 - 09:39 AM (#4038499)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: Rapparee

I believe the Clancys did all of these.


09 Mar 20 - 12:53 PM (#4038561)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: GUEST,Vic at home

Mr Offer, A Pinsman. I seem to remember that pedlars who sold "papers of pins" were sometimes called pinsmen.

Vic.


09 Mar 20 - 09:17 PM (#4038671)
Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Take Her Out of Pity/Old Maid's Song
From: Joe Offer

Ah....that makes sense.
Thanks, Vic.
-Joe-