Monday, 4 January 2021

Abdul Abulbul Amir … and snowy bullfinches …

 

Bullfinch cards were on sale at the Towner Art Gallery … so I bought some … for some reason they always remind me of my father and our romping sing songs we had very early in our lives …


 

Bullfinches card by
Allen W Seaby


… one of those songs was Abdul Abulbul Amir … but I always sang abdul abul la mer (or something similar!) … while the bullfinches always take me back to those times.

 



Cartoon of Ivan and Abdul
I guess I’d never seen how the name of the song was written – hence my never being able to remember it exactly … equally having now looked I don’t think I’ll bother – other than to remember the fun lyrics and the delightful tune.


 

Record cover in the 1920s


So my first post of 2021 is a simple romping ditty … with variations galore … Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar is another major player in the lyric …

 



I give you the 1927 Youtube recording by Fred Crumit … using a real record player … not so badly scratched after all these years.

 

Stephen Fry in the advert

 While I was down south, South Africa, a beer advertappeared x 3 … if you stay watching …

 

 


As you’ll have gathered … I’ve enjoyed listening to Abdul and Ivan rather more often than is necessary recently … they’ve been enlivening my listless brain as 2021 kicks in …

 

Bullfinch - England
Here’s the link if you want to find out more about, and read the lyrics, this “music-hall song” written in 1877 by Percy French, while at Trinity College, Dublin …

 

 

While Allen W Seaby is the artist with a lot of credentials to his name … for more see here …


All of the best for this year

 

To all of you – a Gentle New Year … as each day goes forward … one hopes towards peace and relief that we can venture out freely again …

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


56 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
LOL - oh yes, my dad got us all joining in that one too... I think probably generated from those very beer ads!!! As we enter another lockdown here in Scotland (and probably your way too, depending what himself has to say tonight) such fun songs and reminiscences are probably as good as anything to keep us busy. All the best for 2021, Hilary. YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

I grew up with Abdul and Ivan. Many, many thanks for propelling me down this happy memory lane.
I love the bulfinch cards too.
Stay safe - and stay curious.

Liz A. said...

I've never heard of those songs. I'd click the links, but I'm rather afraid of another earworm. Maybe another time.

Botanist said...

Some of those old music hall songs are way too addictive for anyone's sanity :)

Hels said...

Listless brain? Oh yes, I know that very well. You have to do whatever you have to do, to drag up old memories and get the mind chugging along again. I love recalling and singing Leonard Cohen music from 1968-88.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, that song has been around a long time.
There are always those songs that you never can quite get the real lyrics right.
Happy New Year!

Joanne said...

Your listless brain is light years ahead of mine. Amusing post and song lyrics. Good kick off to the New Year. You are a hoot! And that's a compliment. Happy Monday

Bob Scotney said...

Happy New Year to you. Stay safe.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam – oh wonderful you remember joining in with your Dad too. I think it’s more likely it came back from the War … as the beer ads were in the 1980s … Yes – as life goes on we will need all the help and fun we can find for ourselves while we’re in lockdown , memories do come back though …

@ EC – wonderful … and so glad you too have come back down those memory lanes of our young years. I too love the Bulbul cards … sadly they’ve been sent out!

@ Liz – thank you … it’s a wonderful fun song … glorious words too …

@ Ian – I agree … at times it’s tricky to be weaned off them … but happy memories …

@ Hels - it’s not really listless – I think it needs some focusing … must do something soon! There are some glorious musical memories from over the years – especially as I’m so unmusical … but have happy memories … Leonard Cohen and others …

@ Alex – yes I was surprised it was written in 1877 – the story behind it was interesting … but complicated as things could be back in those early days of business/theft from someone else for their own benefit. So true about never exactly remembering the lyrics …

@ Joanne – thanks … my listless brain just needs to be brought to heel by its owner!: sad, but true. Just delighted you enjoyed the post and the links … thank you!

@ Bob – delighted to see you …

Thanks to you all – I do hope you all stay safe and keep cheery in these challenging times … Hilary

bazza said...

Happy New Year to you Hilary!
I remember hearing that song in the late fifties and being intrigued by what it was about. It seemed very exotic to a young child.
And as a bit of a bird-watcher (mainly in my back garden), I don't think I've ever knowingly seen a bullfinch - but the dreaded ring-tailed parakeets have been around lately!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s meaningfully minatory Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

David M. Gascoigne, said...

All of this is new to me, Hilary, but obviously great fun, and it has rekindled your inner child - not that it probably needed much rekindling. A mild puff from the bellows on the embers and I am sure it was aflame again. As for Bullfinch cards, I would be first in line to buy them!

Jacqui Murray said...

But I like your interpretation of the song, Hilary--La mer... maybe "par la mer"--by the sea. It makes a lot of sense.

Keith's Ramblings said...

They don't write songs like that anymore, simple, amusing and goes down well with a pint! Stay safe Hilary - not that we have a choice for the foreseeable future!

Inger said...

I got a little lost in here, entirely my fault, because I became so focused on trying to remember what a bullfinch is called in Swedish. What we would do without Google, I have no idea. In case you are curious: Domherre. Herre = man. Dom = a sentence imposed in court by a
Domare, so may be from there. In English it sounds like this bird is almost called a bully and in Swedish it's the opposite.

I'm rambling here sorry! Happy New Year, my dear friend.

Susan Scott said...

Ha ha, this could quickly become addictive. I don't think I knew it. Here's to a peaceful 2021 to you Hilary.

A Cuban In London said...

Gorgeous post. Your trip down memory lane roped me in, too. Thanks. :-)

Greetings from London.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bazza – yes I think that’s about the right time for us too … well the song stuck in my head … and the bullfinch always triggered that early memory. It’s quite selective … nuts, buds … and seems to live in family groups, or as a pair …

@ David – wonderful memories of years gone by – and yes my inner child is here alive and well! I love the cards … I might have to go back for another pack – once the Towner opens up again.

@ Jacqui – at least I had some idea of its name … even if I’d no idea how it was spelt or how I could write it … just one of those strange ones … Abdul, Abdul Amir and Ivan Stravinsky Skavar … totally befuddled me! The story behind the song even more so …

@ Keith – you’re right they don’t write songs like that one now … just good old comedic rhyme and lyric. I’m doing my best to stay safe, but as you say – not much else to do.

@ Inger – sorry … and your mind wandered to another subject completely. Please don’t count on me – oh well actually … I do know the answer – Linnaeus describes it in his ‘Systema Naturae’ – see the entry in Wiki – I’ll email you. It’s not a bully … by the sound of it: a family bird, and/or dedicated to its mate …

@ Susan – oh great … it is a wonderful ditty … and will always come to mind over the years – even if I didn’t know how to spell it!

@ ACIL – many thanks … and I’m glad you were roped in … it’s a wonderful little song …

Thanks everyone – lovely to see you all – here’s to a better 2021 for us all … in the meantime go gently … Hilary

Silvia Writes said...

I sing so many songs the wrong way, hearing something totally different than what's there. I understand old rock and roll songs take pride in that. The less understood a song the better, rockers say. Beautiful cards and story. Stay safe and a very gentle and happy New Year to you, Hilary.

Rhodesia said...

I would be so happy to see a Bullfinch in our garden, maybe one day!! As you know I cannot watch YouTube or any videos for that matter. Maybe one day they will improve our hopeless WiFi.
Happy 2021 to you and I hope now the vaccine is available numbers will stop rising, meanwhile, stay safe Diane

Denise Covey said...

I hope your 2021 is wonderful, Hilary, but according to the news you're in/heading for another complete lockdown. I think 2021 will have its challenges. Glad we all have things to make us happy, like recordings!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Songs that rang no bells for me, no matter 2021 is off to a good start let's hope good things continue

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never heard Abdul Abulbul Amir before. I did recognize that was a 78 record playing not a 33.

Murees Dupè said...

I hope you have a brilliant and safe 2021.

Those cards look rather beautiful and its rather special that it reminds you of your father and happy times, which you remember fondly.

Memories like that are truly what living is all about.




Deborah Weber said...

What lovely bullfinches, and how delightful they reminded you of those happy early years. I'm always amused by mis-heard/misunderstood lyrics, and how our brains manage to make sense of something that actually makes none at all. I must say it was a fun romp through very old music. And I especially appreciate a bit of light-heartedness as we begin this new year. May it bring us all plenty of laughter and good cheer.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I've never heard of Bullfinch Cards. What a very interesting post! You so often have something new to teach me- one of the things I really appreciate about you and your blog.

I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.

Janie Junebug said...

Such a rollicking, frollicking song. I learned recently that Jack White's song that's popular at sporting events is called Seven Nation Army because when he was a child that's what he called the salvation army.

Love,
Janie

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - I love remembering old songs that my parents sang to me when I was a child. Pistol Packing'Mama and Cuanto Le Gusta, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioxMX9r97bs)were two of my favourites. I don't remember ever hearing Abdul Abulbul Amir. I love that recording was of an actual record playing. Thank you for sharing this, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Silvia – thank you … I always sing songs with the wrong words … but the music and lyrics have grabbed me. I love those cards and artwork …

@ Diane – I know you can’t do much with your WIFI … a nuisance, but I’m grateful you pop in to comment. I’ve never seen a Bullfinch in real life either … but it’d be beautiful to do so …

@ Denise – yup another lockdown has clamped down – but it’s fine for me … I can cope thankfully. I just feel for so many …

@ Jo-Anne – thanks for being here …

@ Diane – I guess we all have favourite songs from our youth … and you’re right I couldn’t remember whether I was seeing a 78 rpm or a 33 rpm – so thanks for letting me know.

@ Murees – good to see you … the artwork is wonderful and it does take me back to those early years … happy memories – yes well worth remembering …

@ Deborah – yes I did love the bullfinches … so pretty. Funny how our brain’s threads can link themselves up, and bring back ‘old memories’ to the present. So glad you enjoyed the romp through my musical memories … yes we need light-heartedness don’t we … as well as laughter and cheeriness.

@ JLenni – thank you

@ Janie – glad you enjoyed the song … always amuses me. What fun to know about ‘Seven Nation Army’ … for the salvation army … wonderful!

@ Donna – thank you for the two links to Pistol Packing Mama, which I do remember, while I enjoyed Cuanto La Gusta … fun to remember those early, early memories. Great that you enjoyed the 78 rpm record playing Abdul Abulbul Amir …

Thanks so much for being here and commenting – great to see each and everyone of you … let’s hope 2021 is kinder to us all, and we and our families, and friends can stay safe … take care and look after yourselves - Hilary

Fil said...

Happy New Year Hilary :)
Percy French wrote some great silly songs - he's responsible for the Mountains of Mourne too. Lovely memories to have of your Dad. The bullfinches are delightful - there was one in our garden a few weeks ago but we don't usually see them here.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Happy New Year!

I don't want to think about all the words I mispronounced as a kid. And some I still do...

Though it's cute when my kids do it. :-) My daughter still calls crocodiles "croco-diallers" and my son used to say "You're Wel-mo" instead of "You're welcome."

Yolanda Renée said...

Happy New Year, Hilary!

Oh, yes, to get out and about once again. But first that vaccine! Trying to wait patiently. :)

I think music is so important, and it amazes me the songs that bring memories, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Love those that bring good memories. I can't even imagine enjoying music with my dad. He'd never go there. I've no idea if he liked music of any kind or what that might be. Sad! But I do have one happy memory of him. I was about five when he took me for a walk in my grandmother's pasture. The trees were turning and colorful leaves covered the ground. he held my hand and I even remember the birds and the bunnies. One magical moment that will live forever! Sadly it was just the one but so glad I had at least that!

Debbie D. said...

Happy New Year, Hilary! This was a fun post. ☺ That 1927 recording is remarkably clear, and I loved the beer commercial. Now I've got an earworm, though. It is a catchy tune. Cheers!

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Good fun stuff, and a happy 2021 to you!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Oh, a much gentler new year to you, too! That is so sweet. Wishing you many blessings.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I wish you the best and safest New Year, Hilary. You're amazing.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

A gentle New Year to you too :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Fil – yes … you would know more about Percy French’s ballads, fun silly songs etc … and I’d noted he wrote Mountains of Mourne – which is still very popular today.

Gosh – how lucky you were to have a bullfinch in your garden … they’re usually in pairs, or a small family group … so I guess a few were nearby. Must have been lovely to see it.

@ CD – thank you – yes I’m sure we all played around with words when we were kids … I don’t remember mine – but I do remember some of my brother’s and his take on ‘new words’ he’d come across at school … hilarious it was for us all.

How lovely you can remember those times with your children – ‘croco-diallers’ and ‘you’re wel-mo’ … fun to think about …

@ Renee – it will be so nice once we can go a-wandering again, waiting patiently is so necessary for now.
I have this problem as I have no sense of rhythm … so music always frightens me – yet I remember lots of songs – no idea who sings them, or where they came from …

That’s a lovely memory of your father – but so sad it’s only that one memory … but it seems to have lots drawn into it: you’ve described the briefest of times so well … autumnal leaves, pastoral surroundings, birds and bunnies – one beautiful magical momentous time with your father.

@ Rebecca – many thanks for coming by – good to see you.

@ Sheri – thanks … an easy post to start off the 2021 year …

@ Susan – thank you … so glad you enjoyed being here …

@ Lynda – we all need a gentler time … it will help us all … as the year proceeds.

Take care and all the best everyone – we can be kinder with ourselves as well as others … here’s to a more peaceful, understanding year ahead - Hilary

Jemima Pett said...

Oh, that takes me back!
And I love Bullfinches :)

Elsie Amata said...

The bullfinch is beautiful. I love the bright colors! I just bought a birdhouse because another blogger shares her pictures on Instagram and it inspired me.
Your childhood memory with dad is precious. Thank you for sharing it. It brought a smile to my face.

Warmly,
Elsie

Victoria Marie Lees said...

What a beautiful bird, Hilary. Like I said before, I learn so much when I visit your blog. The beer commercial was funny. I liked it when the monocle automatically flipped up to his eye. Have a beautiful 2021!

cleemckenzie said...

That was a special 2021 treat, Hilary. I loved hearing the song. Wow, it summarized a bit if Middle East history in that ditty. I was impressed. May you continue to frolic with memories of you and your father throughout the year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jemima - great ... so glad you remember back to those days ... it's such a fun ballad/ditty ... and yes bullfinches are delightful birds ...

@ Elsie - thank you ... I loved the cards - can't resist a card if it's got a bullfinch on. That's wonderful that you've now got a birdhouse ... I sure hope it brings fascinating birds to see you.

Thank you ... those parts of early life with one's parents when one remembers are special aren't they. Am happy it brought a smile to your face too ...

@ Victoria - the bullfinches stand out when one sees them here. So glad you enjoyed the beer commercial ... I expect some of your children will love these songs ... good to see you here ...

@ Lee - thank you - it made a change didn't it, and so glad you enjoyed the song. Yes ... Russo-Turkish history in a ballad ... pretty amazing. Not sure there are many more ... but one or two spring to mind ...

Lovely to see the four of you - thanks for commenting and for enjoying Abdul Abulbul Amir and the bullfinches ... stay safe - Hilary

diedre Knight said...

"To all of you...A gentle year" I love that. It's been more than difficult. I find I like Bullfinches too.

Happy New Year, Hilary!

Deniz Bevan said...

How fascinating! I hadn't heard of that song before. Those cards are lovely!

Sandra Cox said...

I've never heard that song before. What fun!
Thanks for sharing.
Happy New Year, Hil.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, Thanks for lifting my spirits with this light and frothy song! Your father seems like he was a wonderful fun-loving man, and I'm sure he was very proud of you. The brightly colored bullfinch cards make me long for spring. Leave it to you to even spread good cheer in the midst of a lockdown. Take care and be safe, my friend!

Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diedre - thank you ... we all need gentleness don't we - it's not getting easier either - we must just stay safe. The bullfinches will cheer me as they will be here for me to see as and when ...

@ Deniz - thanks ... I hope your kids will enjoy the song ... while the cards should amuse them ...

@ Sandra - I'm glad I've shared it ... seems the right year ... we need fun ...

@ Julie - they were fun times ... we were learning to read as we sang for some of the lines! I love those bullfinch cards and was so pleased to find them ... yes Spring is on its way ... today - we're in freezing fog! But safe ...

Thanks everyone ... lovely to see you and have your comments - take care and stay safe - Hilary

Steve said...

Very interesting and new to me, wishing yiu a happy new year.

Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you for introducing me to such a lovely song. It sort of set the pace of the day for me.
Wish you too a Happy 2021.

Jz said...

I've heard the song, tho' I'd forgotten it.
And now I need to forget it all over again because that is one sticky sucker of a song!
Gentle, yeah. Hoping...

Marja said...

I hope 2021 brings you lots of happy times Hilary. I never heard this song before but then it's a very old one. I had to laugh at the beer advertising one Love the card with the bullfinches as well. Pretty

Nilanjana Bose said...

To you too Hilary, a happier, gentler and healthier New Year 2021. Wishing you fun and peace and beauty and colour. Loved the visuals especially in this post - so lovely!

Patsy said...

Bullfinches are such attractive birds. Sadly we don't see them round here, but I've spotted them other places – and we get goldfinches which although different are just as pretty in their own way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Steve – many thanks … good to see you again …

@ Pradeep – that’s great it set you off for a fun day … it’ll cheer you whenever you hear it … I think I’ll be listening occasionally, probably fairly often.

@ Jz – I’m sorry about the earworm … but it’s a good listen – I rather wish I could remember all the words … but am hoping for that ‘gentle’ year …

@ Marja – thanks … it is a very old song, that must have caught on in WW2 … and then opened up the doors for some … eg the beer advert – I missed that as I was in South Africa. The bullfinches cheer me …

@ Nila – thank you … for us all a gentler, happier and most definitely healthier year ahead. Delighted the visuals appealed …

@ Patsy – yes they are beautiful aren’t they … but I don’t think I’ve seen one in real life. Bird colourings are extraordinary aren’t they – goldfinches are delightful … Greenwoodpeckers are delightful to see …

Thanks everyone – so glad to see you all … here’s to a 2021 that helps us all … take care - Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

Abdul Abulbul Amir is new to me.

Bullfinches are beautiful. Those are lovely cards.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Chrys - must be one of those family things ... it's a fun song. I agree the bullfinches give me heart-warming hugs as I see them ... all the best - Hilary