Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now

DESCRIPTION: The singer marries a woman who, from laziness, ignorance or slovenliness, does nothing right (milks the cow in the chamber pot, churns butter in a boot). In some versions she dies of shame (because "she pishit in the bed").
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1888 (Sumner-TheBesomMaker)
KEYWORDS: marriage food humorous husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,North,South),Scotland(Bord)) US(Ap,MW,NE,So)
REFERENCES (22 citations):
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2 150, "Robin o Rasheltree" (1 text)
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, pp. 92-93, "Robin-a-Thrush" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-EnglishCountrySongbook, #98, "Willie Went to Westerdale" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sumner-TheBesomMaker, pp. 15-16, "Hobbelty Bobbelty How Now" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 111, "Robin a Thrush" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck-FolkloreOfMaine, p. 112, "Nickerty, Nackerty Now, Now, Now" (1 text)
Randolph 439, "Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Arnold-FolkSongsofAlabama, p. 36, "Niggl'jy, Naggl'jy" (1 text, 1 tune, which must be this based on its form although there is little sign of the conflict between husband and wife)
LPound #118 pp. 236-237 "I Bought Me a Wife" (1 text)
Sackett/Koch-KansasFolklore, pp. 168-169, "Risselty Rosselty" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cox/Hercog/Halpert/Boswell-WVirginia-A, #13A-C, pp. 57-60, "The Wife Wrapped in Wether's Skin," "Dandoo" (3 texts, 1 tune, but the "B" text omits the beating and has the husband run away; it may well be a version of this although it might alternately be Child #277 mixed with "Devilish Mary" [Laws Q4] or something like it)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol1, p. 21, "Nicketty-Nacketty" (1 fragment, 1 tune, so short that it might be this or "The Wife Wrapt" or just some floating verses with this chorus)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 327, "He Courted Her in the Month of June" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 66-68, "Ti Risselty Rosslety"; Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 69-70, "John Dobber" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #61, #62}
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 34-36, "Ti Risselty Rosslety" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, p. 131, "Married Me a Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Lucille Burdine and William B McCarthy, "Sister Singers" in Western Folklore, Vol. IL, No. 4 (Oct 1990 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 408-410 "There's a Piece of Bread A-laying on the Shelf" (1 text)
James Orchard Halliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England (London, 1886 ("Digitized by Google")) #477 p. 243, ("I married my wife by the light of the moon") (1 text)
J.A.C. Leland, "Two Folksongs from Ohio" in Western Folklore, Vol. VII, No. 1 (Jan 1948 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 65-66 "The Shiftless Wife" (2 texts, including one added by the editors from Halliwell 1886)
Lucille Burdine and William B McCarthy, "Sister Singers" in Western Folklore, Vol. IL, No. 4 (Oct 1990 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 408-410 "There's a Piece of Bread A-laying on the Shelf" (1 text)
Lucy E. Broadwood and J.A. Maitland, editors, English County Songs, (London, 1893), pp. 92-93, "Robin-a-Thrush" (1 text, 1 tune) [Not yet indexed as Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs pp. 92-93].

Roud #2792
Chubby Parker, "Nickety Nackety Now Now Now" (Gennett 6077/Champion 15247 [as Smilin' Tubby Johnson]/Silvertone 5011, 1927; Supertone 9189, 1928) (Conqueror 7889, 1931)
Ridgel's Fountain Citians, "The Nick Nack Song" (Vocalion 5455, 1930; on CrowTold01)
Pete Seeger, "Risselty-Rosselty" (on PeteSeeger02, PeteSeegerCD01) (on PeteSeeger12)

cf. "The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin" [Child 277] (theme: difficult wife) and references there
The Cooper of Fife
The Wee Cooper of Fife
Gentle Virginia
Kitty Lorn
Kitty Alone
The Old Man Who Lived in the West
NOTES [614 words]: This song is usually considered a variant of "The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin" [Child 277]. We (PJS and BS) believe this is a different song.
A text is "The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin" if:
* the wife is beaten under a sheep's skin, or
* the wife's relatives and class are mentioned, or
* the wife states high-flown reasons for not working [for example, she fears "soiling a gay gold ring" or "high heeled shoe" or "shaming her gentle kin"] or
* the wife's high class is an issue, or
* when the husband asks for dinner she tells him to make it himself, or
* the wife mends her ways, or
* the husband is a "wee cooper", or
* as a last resort for a small fragment, the chorus is a "Dandoo, dandoo ..." or "For gentle, for Jenny, my rosamaree ... As the dew falls over the green valley" variation.
If the wife is beaten the sheep's skin is crucial to distinguish the song from other wife beating songs like "The Holly Twig" [Laws Q6], "The Wicked Wife o' Fife" [Greig/Duncan7], "The Daughter of Peggy-O," or even Sumner's version of "Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now" [he beats her in the chorus, to no effect].
A text is "Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now" if:
* the wife is ignorant, slovenly, or stupid, but not shrewish or too fine to work, or
* the wife dies in bed
A "Risselty, Rosselty" wife never improves.
Most refrains follow the pattern also found in "The Wee Cooper of Fife" version of Child 277 -
"Nickety, nackity, noo, noo ... Sing, hey Willy Wallachie, how John Dugal alane, quo' rushitie rue, rue, rue" (Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads) -
but the usually nonsense words vary widely. For example
* "Nickety-nackety now, now, now ... Nickety-nackety hey John Dafferty, willopy, wallopy, rusty coke wallacky, nickety-nackety, now, now, now" (Chubby Parker)
* "Nickety nackety, now, now, now ... High, willy, wally, and Jenny bang, doodle, sandy go vestego, now, now, now" (LPound)
* "Nickety Nackety, no, no, no ... Hi Willy Wally and Charlie Bill Doodle and Sandy go, Rusty go, no, no, no" (Leland)
* "Nickety nackety, now, now, now ... Nickety nackety, age of laffety, whillecky whollecky, rusco quality, Nickety nackety, now, now, now" (Burdine/McCarthy)
* "Risselty-rosselty now, now, now ... Risselty-rosselty, hey bom-bosselty, nicklety, knacklety, rustical quality, willaby-wallaby now, now, now" (Pete Seeger)
* "Risselty-rosselty now, now, now ... Risselty-rosselty, hey
bombosity, nickety nackity, retrical quality, willaby wallaby now, now,
now" (also Pete Seeger)
* "Moppety, moppety, mono ... With a high jig jiggety, tops and petticoats, Robin-a-Thrush cries mono" (Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs)
* "Neagletie, neagletie, now, now ... Heich, wullie, williecoat, bang John Douglas, Robin o Rasheltree, now, now" (Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2)
* "Hobblety bobblety how now ... With a heigh down ho down duffle green petticoat Robin he thrashes her now now" (Sumner)
* "A tidy housewife, a tidy one ... And I hope she'll prove a tidy one" (Halliwell)
The Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2 150 "Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now" text, "Robin o Rasheltree" [E. B. Lyle, editor, Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads and Songs, Volume 2 (1996)], includes verses like "My wife she's a hure of aw the sluts She roastit a hen baith feathers and guts." Maybe the common form of "Risselty, Rosselty, Now, Now, Now" was a bawdy text that editors and some singers cleaned up: "this song was made for gentlemen, If you want any more ...." [Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs]. Crawfurd seems never to censor a text. - BS, PJS
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs: "Sung by a nurse towards the end of 18th century." - BS
Last updated in version 6.2
File: C277RR

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