DESCRIPTION: "In Carmel Bay the people say we feed the lazzaroni On caramels and cockle-shells and hunks of Abalone." The virtues of this mollusk are extolled: It cures pain, tastes better than the finest foods, and can be transmitted faster than electricity (?!)
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
KEYWORDS: nonsense nonballad animal
FOUND IN: US(SW)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Sandburg, p. 333, "Abalone" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 32, #4 (1987), p. 90, "Abalone" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: The anonymous Book of Vulgar Verse credits a version of this to George Sterling. But the book is apparently some five decades newer than Sandburg, and does not list a more detailed source. In support of this claim, K. LaRoe writes, "I had recently read a reference to The Abalone Song, written by the poet George Sterling in the early 1900s while staying in an artist's colony in Carmel California."
There seems to be a strong tendency for singers to rewrite this; I suspect Sandburg's hand in his version, and Sam Hinton confesses to adding four verses to the Sing Out! version. - RBW
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