I Wish They'd Do It Now

DESCRIPTION: The singer recalls how, when he was a child, the girls would run to kiss him, cuddle him, bathe him, etc. Unfortunately, he is grown and their attentions have ceased; he remarks, "I've got itches in my britches and I wish they'd do it now."
AUTHOR: E. Freeman Dixey? (author cited in the sheet music)
EARLIEST DATE: 1865 (sheet music for "Why Don't They Do It Now?" published)
KEYWORDS: courting youth loneliness humorous
FOUND IN: Australia US(MW) Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
GreigDuncan7 1447, "How I Wish They'd Do It Now" (1 fragment)
Dean, p. 81, "I Was Born in Killarney" (1 text)
Gilbert, pp. 111-112, ""Why Don't They Do So Now?" (1 text)
Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 186-189, "They were very very Good to Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, DOITNOW*
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 20, #5 (1971), pp. 16-17, "I Wish They'd Do It Now" (1 text, 1 tune, the Bob Davenport version)

Roud #1401
RECORDINGS:
Arthur Collins, "I Wish They'd Do It Now" (CYL: Edison 5412, c. 1898)
Steve Porter, "I Wish They'd Do It Now" (American Record Co. 031354, c. 1906)
Teddy Simmons, "I Wish They'd Do It Now" (CYL: Columbia 32895, c. 1906)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Three Acres and a Cow" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
Three Acres and a Cow (File: PaPl021)
NOTES: [The original of this is] from "C.P. Hyland's I Wish They'd Do It Now Songster" published in [New York City] in 1869 [Michael Cooney in Sing Out says 1879]. It was an American song. Not very good either, in the original, but the [folk] processed version was/is a gem. - MC
Those wishing to see something like the original version (as I understand it), with only minimal folk processing, are referred to the Meredith/Covell/Brown text. It is indeed rather less than inspired. The tune we tend to hear nowadays is much like "The Wearing of the Green." - RBW
You think those words are insipid? You should see the ones from "Why Don't They Do It Now?" (1865) from which this song is clearly derived. Without seeing the words from the 1869 "I Wish They'd Do It Now Songster", I can't tell whether those were a folk-processing of "Why Don't They Do It Now?" or a parody, if the distinction can even be drawn. - PJS
Last updated in version 3.7
File: Gil111

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.