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Monday, November 23, 2009

Nursery Rhyme Crime

This weekend, the crew has been 40 kinds of hither and yon over the great state of Texas.  We caught my family's Thanksmas, basically a portmanteau where there's brisket.  It was great in a lot of ways to get to see Our People once again.  And also my Uncle's cows [MUH!] were immensely popular with the Captain.  It was quite muddy up there, and HMS Tahoe looks like it's been wrestling in a two-piece bikini.

On the road, Jack (not Kerouac) and his fabulous mood eventually deteriorates.  So we do what just about everybody does:  We toss what dignity we have left and switch over to the CD of children's songs*.  I was VERY impressed as the frighteningly perky lady on the CD covered The Drunken Sailor (you'll recognize this one from the chorus, Way hay and up she rises, early in the morning!).  But I guess little kids can't sing sea shanteys about (sloshed) salty seafaring sailors, so it morphed into What do you do with a silly sailor?  I guess that's fine, but it kinda lacks the genuine imitation rum flavor.  Needless to say they didn't make the drunk drink bilge water, either.

The CD's next unexpected break from tradition came from Dry Bones (Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...).  Substituted for "Hear the word of the Lord!" was, "These are the bones you know."  Hmmm.  Being who I am, I didn't really think of the original being remotely, in any way shape or form objectionable, but considering today's climate, it's not surprising. It does make one wonder if anybody gave much thought to the story itself being inconveniently, ah, Biblical.
Really Peppy Recording Artist:  Hey I know, let's sing that Delta Rhythm Boys' song about Ezekiel's vision.  It's catchy.  And it's even on the Rain Man soundtrack!
Less than Peppy Producer:  Well, yeah, that Bible thingy's great for song ideas and all, but better scrub all the God stuff out of it.
In just about every nursery rhyme where something goes awry, be it breaking crowns or whatever, this lady sings a saccharine new verse.  In Sing a Song of Sixpence, the poor maid gets a much nicer ending, with the blackbird only sitting on her nose.

So let's review.  Children's songs shouldn't reference such questionable subjects as:
1.  God
2.  Drunken Sailors
3.  Disease
4.  Animal Attacks**
I don't know what to think about this.  But it annoys me.  It's kind of like why I don't buy abridged books, and why I roll my eyes at Looney Tunes edits and Tom and Jerry overdubs.  Must everything be watered down?

Even with nursery rhymes, I want the straight dope.

*That would be Disc 3, in between No Line on the Horizon and The Black Keys' Magic Potion.
**Accidents involving large talking eggs are okay.

1 comment:

Courtney Robertson said...

Ahhh... the always enjoyable children's cd's. My Jack loves them too... Ours aren't quite as "edited" as yours though, the 3 Blind Mice are still getting attacked by the farmer's wife with knife. Justin and I always crack up laughing when the guy with the crazy, happy voice sings that one :)