I love music. We play a lot of music during daycare days, and not all Raffi or Sharon, Lois, and Bram, either. (And no, not the Wiggles. I don't like them. Yes, it's true, and stop it: I can hear your gasps from here. I'm an iconoclast, I know.) And don't even talk to me about cutesy-poo singing animals and all other licensed auditory drivel. I am an unashamed kid-music snob. How can we expect them to develop musical taste, (or expect to have the right to criticize their adolescent musical tastes!), if we weaned them on a diet of musical junk food? I mean, really...
Okay. Enough ranting.
Here, the children listen to all sorts of music. This weeks we've heard a lot of:
Proclaimers, Sunshine on Leith,
Beethoven's 5th Concerto, first movement,
Mozart's Horn Concertos (particularly allergo movements)
Harry Manx, Wise and Otherwise
Mediaval Babes, Worldes Blysse
and a little Pete Townshend and Bruce Cockburn.
And then there was that day I decided I'd listen to the Lucille Bogan disk I'd been given. I had been amused that it had a “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content” label on it. I expected some raunchiness: it is an old blues album, after all, but I've listened to lots of that stuff: it's all double entendres and innuendo. Not generally very subtle ones, no, but I had no fear that the children would understand any of it. For most of the album, it appeared I was right.
There's stuff like “Barbecue Bess” on it:
I'm selling it cheap
Cuz I got good stuff,
And if you try one time
You cain't get enough.
I'm talkin' 'bout barbecue -
Only thing I sell.
And if you want my meat
You can come to my house at twelve.
It ain't subtle, and it's pretty rude, but there's nothing there that would corrupt the children, horrify their parents, (we hope!) or embarrass anyone were they to start singing it somewhere public. Though it might draw the odd quizzical look, I grant you.
So there we are, working on some jigsaw puzzles, with Lucille grinding away in the background. Suddenly, I become aware of the lyrics of the last track on the disk. Is she saying what I think
she's saying?? Good Lord!! Did she just sing “f*k? Was that “c*k that just rolled out of my speakers? And I can do what
to it?? (Hint: rhymes with f*k.) This song - “Till the Cows Come Home” - was written in what, 1928? 1932? Who used those words back then?
Heavens. I absolutely don't want anyone leaving my house having learned those words at daycare
!! Therefore, I am very careful not to react out loud. You know what happens if you make a fuss over something, don't you? One squawk of alarm from me, and it would have been a matter of seconds before every verbal kid in the house had made a few interesting additions to their vocabularies. With no fanfare at all, I very quickly and just as quietly flipped to the next disk; the soothing strains of “Only Then will Your House be Blessed” wrapped around the room (thank you, Harry Manx).
I've since learned that this song, written in 1933, was done for the musicians' own amusement in studio, never imagining that it could ever be sold to the public. Time rolls on, and now it's for sale - but I think we'll keep it from the tots' ears for a decade or two yet!