The Wild West Show

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Occasional Papers in Folklore: Number Four, by Ed Cray. Paperback, 150 pages.

"The Wild West Show," best known in its modern form as a bawdy rugby song, seems at first glance little more than a loose collection of scatological verses linked together by an almost unrelated chorus; but there is more here than meets the eye: a history stretching back to a 1614 comedy of Ben Jonson, with detours through popular song, vaudeville, and oral tradition. Ed Cray, author of The Erotic Muse: American Bawdy Songs, traces the long and baffling trail of this, possibly the oldest extant bawdy song, through four centuries of evolution down to the modern day.

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Author Ed Cray
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