DESCRIPTION: A teasing song hints of a bawdy or ribald rhyme, but avoids it at the last minute, as in this example: Suzanne was a lady with plenty of class / Who knocked the boys dead when she wiggled her... Eyes at the fellows as girls sometimes do...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1615 (The Percy Folio Manuscript has one such teasing song, "A Friend of Mine.")
KEYWORDS: bawdy nonballad wordplay campsong
FOUND IN: Australia Britain(England) US(MW,So,SW) Canada
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Cray-EroticMuse, pp. 256-265, "Suzanne Was a Lady," "The Ship's in the Harbor," "There Once Was a Farmer," "Two Irishmen, Two Irishmen"; "Sweet Violets" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Legman-RollMeInYourArms II, pp. 649-652, "The Handsome Young Farmer" (7 texts)
Hopkins-SongsFromTheFrontAndRear, pp. 154-166, "Sweet Violets" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morgan/Green-RugbySongs, pp. 132-133, "Sweet Violets" (1 text)
LibraryThingCampSongsThread, post 4, "(My Father's a Lavatory Cleaner)" (1 short text, with this verse and the "Shine Your Buttons with Brasso" chorus, from user John5918, posted August 28, 2021; the lack of text makes it possible that it should be filed with "Teasing Songs" or "My God, How the Money Rolls In" or elsewhere, but it probably fits best here)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 131, "Sweet Violets" (notes only)
ST EM256 (Partial)
Roud #10232 and 10404
Anonymous singer, "Frankie and Johnny" (Zest record, matrix FJ, n.d.)
Ben Light & his Surf Club Boys, "The Girl from Atlantic City" (Hot Shots from Hollywood 0317/Hollywood Hotshots 317/Good Humor 2/Good Humor 10A/Good Humor unnumbered [the Good Humor records are anonymous]/Arrow 311/Kicks 5 /Kicks unnumbered [as "The Gal from Atlantic City"]/blank label, unnumbered [anonymoous; as "Atlantic City"], rec. 1936; on Doity1)
Anonymous singers, "Mamie Had A Baby" (on Unexp1)
Homer & Walter Callahan, "Sweet Violets" (ARC 6-07-51/OKeh 04363/Vocalion 04363/Conqueror 8682, 1936)
Bob Dickson, "Sweet Violets" (Victor 23633, 1930)
Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock, "Sweet Violets" (on McClintock02)
Norman Phelps & his Virginia Rounders, "Sweet Violets" (Decca 5191, 1936)
Joel Shaw, "Sweet Violets" (Crown 3271, 1932)
Dinah Shore, "Sweet Violets" (RCA Victor 20-4174, 1951)
Sweet Violet Boys [pseud. for Prairie Ramblers], "I Haven't Got a Pot to Cook In" (Vocalion 03402, 1937); "Sweet Violets" (Vocalion 03110, 1935); "Sweet Violets No. 2" (Vocalion 03256, 1936); "Sweet Violets No. 3" (Vocalion 03587, 1937)
cf. "Peter Murphy's Little Dog"
cf. "Down on the Farm"
cf. "At Brighton"
cf. "Shine Your Buttons With Brasso"
cf. "Butcher Town"
cf. "The Girl from Atlantic City"
NOTES [103 words]: Legman lumps all teasing songs together under the generic title of "The Handsome Young Farmer." - EC
I do the same thing (except for changing the name) because I can't tell them apart otherwise. (Hey, I got this job because nobody else would take it, not because I knew what I was doing.)
It seems to me that the "Sweet Violets" type could be split off. But Ed's expertise trumps mine.
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 131, claims that "Sweet Violets" goes back to an 1882 play Fritz Among the Gypsies by Joseph Kline Emmet. But, based on the Library of Congress sheet music, I would not consider it the same song. - RBW
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