All folksongs begin with the phrase: ''I asked my love to
take a walk'
The walk should be:
Down by the riverside
Past the prison
Into the valley
Over the sea and far away.
It should NOT be:
To the store for a loaf of bread
Along the Champs-Elysee, Park Avenue, or Pennsylvania Avenue
The conversation along the way should be about:
The perfidious British
The revelation that you are her/his longlost
The inevitable baby
Places to be mentioned include:
The Mountains of ...
A Land called Honalee
All of the above in reverse order, Botany Bay always coming
All folk songs repeat the same words in each verse, but move
them around until one person is killed or the ghost appears. If the ghost
appears, it repeats the original verses and the process begins all over again.
This is known as revenge.
The chorus of all folk songs is half of the words of the
verse moved around some more, and with the addition of some poignant nonsense syllables,
all in a minor key. No new information is provided.
References to work in folk songs should include:
Hammers (visionary or steam)
Railroad trains, preferably on the same track hurtling
towards each other
Lots of whales
Sowing, reaping, harvesting, babies dropped in furrows, etc.
Job categories allowed in folk songs include:
Gypsying (especially kidnapping)
Blowing up British buildings.
References to work in folk songs should avoid the following
Work for any government agency except prisons
Words that can be sprinkled at random over folk songs:
and so on.... These apply mostly to ballads:
True loves are always either:
Missing (gone for seven years)
Dead (see Necrophilia element)
Your brother/sister (either known or unknown)
False (off chasing/married to another)
If it's a happy ending, it's a very rare folksong...
If your true love is dead, you must:
Long to kiss his/her dead lips or other portions of the
anatomy (The Tradition of Necrophilia)
Never love again
Have done her in yourself after spending all night diggin' of
Have done him in yourself because he done you wrong
If you are a sailor, and you meet a fair young lady, you
Wind up with no money and no clothes, wearing a dress (the
Get laid after pulling her string
Acquire a painful and unpleasant social disease
Get shot after she dresses in men's clothing and finds you've
(see Transvestite Element)
If you are a young lady, and you meet a sailor, you will:
Turn him down because he's dirty
Turn him down because you don't recognize him
Change your mind when you find out he's got money
Change your mind after experiencing his sexual prowess
Dress up in man's clothing (the Transvestite Element, yet
And LOTS of metaphors!! Refering to various actions,
body parts, etc., should be as circumspect as possible. Birds,flowers,alcoholic
beverages,(blud red wine, etc)... may be freely substituted for lips, breasts etc.
And for Male Parts...anything is ok as long as it is longer than it is wide.
Women who are NOT active heroines in the song may be given
away as prizes to men who achieve some goal...such as killing villians, saving ships, etc.
You are a bona fide folk singer if:
you have nine different guitar capos, including a
our first name is one syllable long, or at most is two
syllables that end in a vowel, e.g. Doc, Pete, Woody, Joan, Judy
you learned the song on a porch, preferably one with a sofa
with the insides sprung out
you refuse to make an anatomical pun about The
you have ''This X fights Y'' inscribed somewhere on your
e.g.''this E string fights sexism''.
you have a dog named after a color.
You are not a bona fide folk singer if:
you play the Hammond Organ
your first name is Brittany (unless you are a boy)
your last name is Rockefeller or Windsor
you learned the song from your chauffeur or housekeeper,
unless her name is Elizabeth Cotton
you have a sticker on your guitar that reads: Baby On
you have a cat (whether it comes back or not) or goldfish
(see Entry under whales). You can have a horse as long as you race it in England or