A Lover And His Lass, from As You Like It (Day 63)

Today’s Shakespeare jam is the last of the songs I composed for the 1998 UArts production of As You Like It, A Lover And His Lass.

IT was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green corn-field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

And, therefore, take the present time
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crown`d with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Big River 1For some reason, I thought of the songs of Roger Miller when I faced the challenge of setting this text. My musical tastes have always been wonky, even from my teenage years, and I owned an LP of Roger Miller’s songs. Musical theater types know Roger Miller wrote the songs for Big River (which D’Arcy and I appeared in with Forrest McClendon a few years ago), and music lovers of a certain age may recall King Of The Road, but I got a real kick from his comedy novelty songs like Chug-A-Lug, Doo-Wacka-Doo and You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd. (This, by the way, is the magic of the Internet – that I can think of Roger Miller and be looking at a list of 22 of his albums in no time at all.) My collection of LPs also included Tiny Tim (“Tiptoe Thru the Tulips” was weirdly intriguing to me after I saw Tiny Tim sing it on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In) and The Bee Gees (actually, pretty mainstream in 1970), along with the discs of Stravinsky and Samuel Barber that I borrowed from the county library. God bless my parents, they never seemed too alarmed by my abnormal musical curiosity. Anyway, the ding-a-ding-ding part of Shakespeare’s text got me thinking about Miller’s playful use of funny sounds and words, and the result is what you hear here. As with the previous demos, you need to supply the proper instrumentation using your imagination – guitar and banjo would be the ideal combination, with a thumping upright bass on 1 and 3.

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