It is songwriting and your take on the song is your right.  I think you are 
missing an important point that the guy wrote the song, it is not a CNN 
reporting of an event. so a consistent POV is an important aspect to analyzing 
what the author intended. You are approaching it from a completely different 
angle than a musician performing it, who has to interpret the song by entering 
the POV of its author.  You are being as judgmental as any person hearing the 
song is welcome to be about the author.  I have a different agenda, I want to 
tell his story truthfully from HIS POV.  That is what my preservation job 
demands of me. I have performed it believing that she was raped and that she 
wasn't.  Although it is different internally they are both at a 10 emotionally. 
 This is a tragedy no matter which interpretation you choose.  And it feels 
that way to sing it.

But I object to this:

"at first blush I thought his retrospective was a tad self-serving."

What the fuck could you possibly mean by this?  I didn't write the song, I am 
not the subject of the song.  I am a preservationist who views this song as a 
critical piece of American musical history that links the use of the banjo by 
the African Americans who brought this instrument to our shores.  I am trying 
to understand the song as best as I can.

Self-serving in WHAT way?  Your predisposition to use everything as evidence 
that I am not a good person has betrayed you here.  

"it felt like spin to me", 

Spin of WHAT? Do you think I am pro gang rape?  Don't you think that if I 
believed that rape was its topic that I would just embrace that fact as 
something I had to deal with in the song too?  Do you really believe I have a 
personal investment in how this author comes out?  Do you think I might need to 
cover for a brother?  WTF?

There is no "self" for me to serve.  If you had just weighed in with your 
opinion on the song's meaning, you could have contributed to the discussion.  
But instead you took the low road and couldn't resist using it to bash me.  
Shitty choice. You are a poet who should know better.

I don't believe that this song is as driven by black culture as Emily did.  I 
think it is a more universal theme.  It is written by one guy who is interested 
in expressing HIS own POV.  That helps me piece together the consistency of HIS 
story, whether I agree with it or not.

I believe that the Hugging "IT" is a bad transcription.  I hear Some was 
hugging and some was kissing with no "it".  I believe your interpretation based 
on that was a stretch anyway. He loved her and shoed her pretty little feet and 
gloved her hand. She is leaving him.

No woman submits to "gang rape" obviously, but do you believe that no woman 
submits to group sex with a bunch of men at one time?  You should get out more. 
 Some do.  And when they do, it is not unusual for them to have a bit of 
payback in the mix. I am not condoning it or saying it is a self-esteem 
building choice.  But for some it is a choice. It would have been so easy for 
the author to add a hint of coercion.  He did not for a reason. And it may be 
that we are supposed to be conflicted about what really happened.  Maybe this 
ambiguity was intentional.  He may be playing our human emotions like a master. 
 Or it may be the result of shitty transcriptions from bad recordings that 
missed key words that would make it obvious.  This is the world of playing old 
songs that I live in.  We don't always know.   

This is a song, it is not a documentary of a real person's life.  It is 
exaggerated for effect.  The main thing is to stay connected to an author with 
a POV he is sharing in the song.  Otherwise we get caught up in our own stuff 
that has nothing to do with his intentions.  The chick in the story didn't 
write it.  The guy did.  Did he really just see her kissing another man and 
cooked up the whole gang scenario to play on our sympathies? We don't know.

The only part of your analysis I really liked was your nail down on "pine".  
That was beautiful and I missed it. Thanks. 



--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "raunchydog" <raunchydog@...> wrote:
>
> 
> 
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Emily Reyn <emilymae.reyn@> wrote:
> >
> > Raunchy, I think Curtis is correct in his interpretation, in terms of 
> > historical context and what the author of those lyrics was intending to 
> > communicate to his audience, at least that's how it hits me in the moment 
> > this morning.  The song lyrics contain, of course, a cultural element and 
> > there are many blues songs that speak to the black man loving his woman and 
> > how she "done him wrong", etc., etc.  The black culture also brings a 
> > different attitude towards sexuality than our puritan caucasian one does 
> > and it speaks to that as well.  And in the black culture, it is true that 
> > the woman is in charge.  Smile.    
> > 
> 
> I hadn't followed this thread, so when I read the lyrics this morning, I had 
> a visceral reaction of revulsion to what evoked an image of gang rape. I 
> din't buy Curtis' GF's take that it was not rape but "a woman in her power 
> blowing off her husband and living a hedonistic fantasy." Your initial 
> reaction that the lyrics were more sinister may have been similar to mine. I 
> didn't take time to explain how I felt about the lyrics to Curtis, first 
> because I didn't have the time and second, at first blush I thought his 
> retrospective was a tad self-serving. Perhaps I was wrong about Curtis' 
> motivations as he claims. Regardless, it felt like spin to me, so c'est la 
> vie.  
> 
> But now that you agree with Curtis' interpretation and added an attempted 
> layer of understanding on black culture, I'll take a shot at explaining why I 
> reacted to the lyrics as I did. True, the woman "done him wrong" but as I see 
> it, in no culture does a woman consent to gang rape, ever, and certainly not 
> just to piss off a cuckolded spouse. Further, I don't believe that black 
> women are any more capable of owing their sexual power than white women, and 
> seems rather stereotypical.   
> 
> No doubt the guy feels victimized wallowing in "poor me" as Curtis suggests, 
> but no matter the cultural background, I don't believe the lyrics imply that 
> the woman, vis a vis the man's property, was having consensual sex with a 
> gang of men. I could be accused of putting my white girl judgement on the 
> lyrics, but in this case, I think not.  So here's my interpretation:  
> 
> Oh you banjo roustabout
> When you goin to the shore
> I got a good gal on that other shore
> Baby don't you want to go
> 
> RD: He wishes his woman could go with him but since she can't, he expresses a 
> pang of guilt for cheating on her, "Oh you banjo roustabout," says he, in 
> slightly humorous self-deprecation, but, "Oh well, a man has needs and I'm 
> just missing you, Baby."  
> 
> If I had an old pairs of wings
> Like Noah's dove
> I'd sail from pine to pine
> Looking for my own true love
> 
> Indeed, he misses his woman. Noah's dove is a wonderful metaphor. He's on the 
> sea without sight of shore for many days, and perhaps "pine" is a pun for 
> longing.
> 
> I'd a listened to what my momma said
> I wouldn't be here today
> But me being young and foolish too
> women lead me astray
> 
> RD: He regrets he didn't listen to his momma telling him not to womanize but 
> rather than take responsibility, he blames women for leading him astray. 
> 
> Who's gonna shoe your pretty little feet
> And who's gonna glove your hand
> And who's gonna do your rockabye
> When your man's in a distant land
> 
> RD: Again, expressing his love and longing but perhaps he loves best from 
> afar, imagining all the things he believes he as a husband should do but 
> doesn't.
> 
> My wife left home last night
> 
> RD: Yep, that's what you get for being a lout.
> 
> I'll tell you where I found her
> 
> RD: He went looking for her and wants us to know he wasn't pleased with what 
> he saw. 
> 
> Lying down in the pines
> 
> RD: Was she conscious or not? Was she face up or face down? Was she forced or 
> not forced to lie down? Passively lying down does not imply consent. 
> Resisting an inevitable gang rape could mean being severely beaten into 
> submission. Had she been beaten into submission?    
> 
> A gang of boys around her
> 
> RD: She is surrounded. There is no escape. The boys have an agenda. The image 
> evokes impending harm. 
>  
> Some was higgin it
> Some was kissin it
> Some was huggin it
> 
> RD: This was the kicker for me. I got emotionally hooked by the use of the 
> word "it" instead of "her." Whether higgin or huggin, "IT" implies 
> depersonalization, thus, making it easier to assault another human being.   
>   
> Some was kneeling down
> 
> RD: They weren't saying their prayers. It's an image of guys getting ready to 
> take turns mounting her...getting ready to mount "it."
> 
> There more rascal hangin round
> Try to tear my kingdom down
> 
> RD: He's pissed she left him, doesn't care she got gang raped and got the 
> punishment she deserved. He's pissed these guys had sex with her, a woman who 
> done him wrong by leaving him and having sex with other men, consensual or 
> not.  It's all about *him,* his kingdom, his wounded pride and having to live 
> down the shame of other men, rascals he probably knows, having sex with his 
> woman. Never mind his dalliances as a roustabout.
> 
> > 
> > 
> > >________________________________
> > > From: raunchydog <raunchydog@>
> > >To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 
> > >Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 8:51 AM
> > >Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: Analysis of Routabout song
> > > 
> > >
> > >
> > >  
> > >
> > >
> > >--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "curtisdeltablues" 
> > ><curtisdeltablues@> wrote:
> > >>
> > >> This song is too beautiful to be subject to the FFL grinder.
> > >> I looked up the original discussion and I mentioned the last verse when 
> > >> I sent the song originally with Mike Seager singing it, not when Emily 
> > >> posted the lyrics.  I considered them interesting no matter what 
> > >> analysis you take, although now on closer examination, the whole context 
> > >> of the song makes the intention of the songwriter more clear. I was not 
> > >> sending Emily some dark message by pointing out the last verse for her 
> > >> comment.  Mike mumbles his words a bit and I wanted to make sure I got 
> > >> her take on the verse to see if it matched my GFs. At the time it did.
> > >> 
> > >> Emily:
> > >> 
> > >> "Interesting take from your girlfriend - I was curious as I wasn't sure 
> > >> how to interpret what I was reading and my first take was a more 
> > >> sinister nature. I prefer your girlfriend's thought and the last line = 
> > >> "try to tear my kingdom down" leaves room for exactly what she's talking 
> > >> about. Ha. 
> > >> 
> > >> 
> > >>   Here is my take on the meaning of the lyrics:
> > >> 
> > >> 
> > >> > >
> > >> > > Roustabout
> > >> 
> > >> Technical name of a job loading at docks.
> > >> 
> > >> > >
> > >> > > Oh you banjo roustabout
> > >> > > When you goin to the shore
> > >> > > I got a good gal on that other shore
> > >> > > Baby don't you want to go
> > >> > >
> > >> > > If I had an old pairs of wings
> > >> > > Like Noah's dove
> > >> > > I'd sail from pine to pine
> > >> > > Looking for my own true love
> > >> 
> > >> Idealism and romantic/naive hope expressed in those two lines.
> > >> 
> > >> > >
> > >> > > I'd a listened to what my momma said
> > >>  I wouldn't be here today
> > >> > > But me being young and foolish too
> > >> > > women lead me astray
> > >> 
> > >> This is the key to understanding why my GF's take was more reasonable 
> > >> than my initial take on the song. (In my defense I was a little caught 
> > >> up in mastering an old time banjo style, and that sucked up most of my 
> > >> neurons.)
> > >> 
> > >> In this verse we see that he had gotten played by the woman, not that 
> > >> she was a victim.  He is painting himself as a victim.
> > >> 
> > >> > >
> > >> > > Who's gonna shoe your pretty little feet
> > >> > > And who's gonna glove your hand
> > >> > > And who's gonna do your rockabye
> > >> > > When your man's in a distant land
> > >> 
> > >> Poor me, but when I leave you THEN you'll be sorry!
> > >> 
> > >> > >
> > >> > > My wife left home last night
> > >> > > I'll tell you where I found her
> > >> 
> > >> She left voluntarily.  Think of how different it would be to say : I 
> > >> threw my wife out last night...
> > >> 
> > >> She had an appointment.
> > >> 
> > >> > > Lying down in the pines>
> > >> 
> > >> "Lying down" lacks any sinister overtones.
> > >> 
> > >> > > A gang of boys around her>
> > >> 
> > >> 
> > >> This is probably what set me off in the wrong direction originally.  I 
> > >> suspect that "gang" was equivalent to "group" and had none of the modern 
> > >> overtones back then.
> > >> 
> > >> > > Some was higgin it
> > >> > > Some was kissin it
> > >> > > Some was huggin it
> > >> 
> > >> I never heard any sexual assault start by describing the initial contact 
> > >> this way.  News alert:  The suspect proceeded to hug and kiss the 
> > >> victim...
> > >> 
> > >> 
> > >> > > Some was kneeling down>
> > >> 
> > >> I've seen some porn.  (Always accidentally when I was a victim of a pop 
> > >> up ad, I promise.)  This created an image and may have been more of why 
> > >> I misunderstood it initially.
> > >> 
> > >> > > There more rascal hangin round
> > >> > > Try to tear my kingdom down
> > >> > >
> > >> > > Oh my lord.
> > >> 
> > >> 
> > >> He is the victim, not her.  He is expressing his own angst at how she 
> > >> just served his ass with a big old bucket of a man's worst nightmare for 
> > >> a woman he loves.  The songwriter brilliantly took a cuckolded spouse 
> > >> story and turned it into a Tarantino  thrill-o rama.
> > >> 
> > >
> > >So the woman leaves her man (poor sap ) and gets herself gang raped to 
> > >"serve his ass..." and *he's* the victim. Good one, Curtis. Thanks for 
> > >giving us an interesting peek into of how to change context and turn logic 
> > >on it's head. Your interpretation speaks volumes. 
> > >
> > >> Here is another version Mike used to do that is more lighthearted:
> > >> 
> > >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwEdMRCP3sc
> > >> 
> > >> I love the line: My old misses had a dog blind as he could be, but every 
> > >> night round supper time, I'd swear that dog could see!
> > >> 
> > >> He downplays the ending and I think now I know why.  I usually drop it 
> > >> out for my shows, unless I have an audience  who is really engaged in 
> > >> the meaning of the lyrics, like the group I played for last night.  I 
> > >> don't quiz them on their take at the end, but it definitely has their 
> > >> attention and they respond enthusiastically whatever their 
> > >> interpretation.  It is very emotional to perform, this is trouble with a 
> > >> capital T anyway you cut it. I step away from the mike and stand in the 
> > >> middle of the room and let them hear it in the natural way it would have 
> > >> been performed decades ago.
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > > 
> > >
> > >
> >
>


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