Back to camp for this rather saucy little number and Jon says, “A peculiar music-hall number only sung at FSCs as far as I know.”

There’s clearly more to these camps than I thought, although in fairness some of the bolder choices have come from that fireside setting. I don’t know whether this could perhaps be called topical, given the current interest in the burlesque. I can’t offer any links for this, should you wish to research the revival of interest in Queenie’s trade that will be up to you. Suffice to say that this one raised a chuckle with its church bell dénouement. I wonder how old this song is.
You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores.


32 Responses to “Queenie”

  1. Yer Gran says:

    This was my Dad’s party piece (to Mother’s disgust) from his RAF days in WW2.It’s an Andrews Sisters number(now we’re talking harmony!)written by Johnny Mercer and recorded by the Andrews in 1942.It was,”Take ’em off,take ’em off,cry the boys at the rear,pretty soon down the front that is all you can hear”.Shame Dad’s not around to sing along! Great version Jon,your plaintive tone adding delicacy!Many good memories here,thanks

  2. Joe Offer says:

    I’ve always know this song as “Strip Polka,” written by Johnny Mercer. Lyrics are in the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database at Mudcat:

    My understanding is that Mercer wrote the song in 1942, and it was popularized by the Andrews Sisters. Jon’s lyrics are quite different from the Mercer song, but I would think that Mercer’s song is the original source.

    I can’t think of an American songwriter I like better than Johnny Mercer.

    -Joe Offer, The Mudcat Cafe-

  3. David says:

    Excellent version of an unusual song. For a modern equivalent, try listening to Chris de Burgh’s “Patricia the Stripper” (as performed by Siobhan and I a couple of times at the Ring O’ Bells!)

  4. Katie says:

    Thanks for that one, off work sick today and that gave me a smile from beginning to end!
    (Congrats on the Bellowhead wins at the Folk Awards too).

  5. muzza (s.e.England) says:

    And here I am……patiently waiting for some of Cecil #’s lovely school songs…”Early one morning” “the Nightingale”, “Drink to me only”, “Strawberry Fayre”. Woe is me!

  6. Simon says:

    Muzza, perhaps we should set up a help line for people affected by issues arising from these songs??

  7. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    @Simon…….Naaaah….I’m the one out of step and so I’d better knuckle down and sing ’em meself on the old NForest82…….blimey 8mths since I did me last one! I’ll have another three up by sunday… the voice & arthritus willing.

  8. Gordon says:

    I’ve commented before on Jon’s apparent psychic powers when my wifes favourite Bellowhead song Fakenham Fair appeared on AFSAD on her birthday.

    Now we have more proof!

    Jo tells me that “Queenie” is very reminiscent of the saucy songs her Dad used to sing to her many years ago in her home town of Bridgwater.

    Guess where we’ll be travelling back to from the Black Country this weekend.

    See you on Saturday Jon!

  9. Joe Offer says:

    This song has led us to some ecdysiastical fun at Mudcat:

  10. Maureen Musson says:

    Whilst on the subject of risqué RAF songs, how about Follow the Band, as done at the Dirty Weekend show? Go on, Jon, I dare you!

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    Ecdysis = the act of casting off skin or outer covering, sloughing.
    Ecdysiast (facetious!) = a striptease performer.

    Good job I had the dickshunary out to anorak ‘rule’ and ‘ruler’ in the last song! Much prefer the queen in this to the kings in that one! Thanks for the Ditta von Teese, Jon. You are obviously a natural! I had some wonderful burlesque web links on my old pc which crashed, so you are thankfully all spared the out-of-place experience!

    How’s your arthritis, Muzza? Is it too much Morrisman flagcracking? If anyone has a penchant for such and lives in my not-too-far-away locality, the Craven Flagcrackers are looking for interested recruits of any age, no experience required, as recently requested in my local newspaper. There is an open day at Farnhill Institute on Sun 27th Feb between 10.30am & 3.30pm. Anyone interested, contact Squire Kevin on a number I can supply on request. Do not think there would be a problem posting it here, as he’s put in the Telegraph & Argus, but just being careful. I’m sure no-one will have to strip….

  12. Peter Walsh says:

    I’ve got those ‘lost’ links in an old email from you Jane — but let’s not go there, hahaha! We’ll never get any work done (says I, posting away when I should be repairing grease pumps). Any lady who appreciates Dita Von Tease is OK in my book! Thanks to Jon for keeping us all very entertained on this site. Maureen’s suggestion is a great idea!

  13. Eleanor Broadhurst says:

    Thankyou. They were dark days when this was removed from the FSC songbook.

  14. Eleanor Broadhurst says:

    Thankyou. They were dark days when this was removed from the FSC songbook.

  15. Diana says:

    Cheerful, cheeky and funny – Jon obviously enjoyed singing this one!

    Reynard noticed your pic appears on the Bellowhead et al site now.

  16. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    A year on and I have softened….poor old Queenie has dreams…
    and I didn’t notice this fact the first time round…..shame on me.
    @Diana……presume the Reynard photo on Bellowhead to which you refer is his little performer at the base of the home page!

  17. Diana says:

    Yep, that’s the one Muzza, although I would have thought you could have phrased it a little differently but what else could we expect from you, you mischief maker. It is on “Mainly Norfolk” though.

    Shouldn’t you be busy making things now?

  18. Linda says:

    Half way through the folk awards and time for a break. Jon always seems to do these music hall type songs really well and projects the fun of it all in his voice. Ta Jon enjoyed this one.

  19. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Every year, during the first week of May the streets of my home town are filled with fairground rides, arcades and stalls. During my early teens these attractions used to include a tent wherein ladies used to perform ‘exotic dances’. Eventually one year I plucked up courage, stuffed my school cap inside my jacket, and trying to look as tall as possible, paid my money and entered.
    Never judge a book by it’s cover. The beautiful nymphets portrayed outside the booth were nowhere to be seen. It would be kindest to say that the ladies performing on the small stage were not in the first flush of youth. I went and hid amongst a group of ‘Young Farmers’ at the back of the tent, who very soon took up the chant of, “Take em off, take em off”. This very soon died away however, as the dance progressed, to be followed by groans and cries of, “Put em back, put em back”.
    Goodness, the memories some of these songs bring back !

  20. Diana says:

    Had to chuckle at your reminiscences John, especially the last bit “put em back etc” – it conjures up such a vision of women past their prime where the laws of gravity apply.

  21. Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Would you believe that…this time round….I enjoyed this little song…
    probably helped by the vision of JB(WelshMarches)…… the image of my boyhood hero Nigel Molesworth…lurking around the back of Queenie’s Booth.

  22. Linda says:

    Still love this , so nice and cheerful/cheeky brightens up a rather dull overcast day, Cheers Jon

  23. Jan says:

    Oh yes Muzza, many Molesworth-isms have become part of our family traditions, as any fule kno!

  24. Jan says:

    And just try getting that past spellcheck.

  25. Diana says:

    Still a good one nice and happy.

  26. Jane Ramsden says:

    As Joe Offer says above, this song was written by Johnny Mercer with the title ‘Strip Polka’ and recorded by the Andrews Sisters in 1942. His Mudcat link gives the original lyrics and musical score, but there is also more about this and other striptease songs on Mudcat here:


    It mentions ‘In The Old Bazaar In Cairo,’ ‘The Wild Caribee’ & ‘The Roman Gladiator’ – the tune to which you will all be familiar, if less so the words, which are utterly filthy & I leave you to seek out yourselves! However, the words to ‘Fanlight Fanny’ should raise a titter:

    Fanlight Fanny

    ‘Up the West End, that’s the best end, where the nightclubs thrive,
    Down into a dive you go.
    There’s a jazz queen, she’s a has-been, has been Lord-knows-what.
    Every night she’s there on show.
    She dances underneath a magic spell,
    She’s full of charm and beer, and stout as well.

    She’s 66, but looks sixteen,
    Her friends don’t know her now her face is clean
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy night club queen.
    See her glide around the floor, then glide around into the pub next door.
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy nightclub queen.

    She looks well in the lime, a queen all the time, you get your money’s worth
    By day, you’d say, “It’s her second time on earth”.
    She waltzes in the West End shops, then waltzes out between two cops.
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy nightclub queen.

    She’s a peach, but understand,
    She’s called a peach because she’s always canned.
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy nightclub queen.

    When she’s dressed, she’s like Mae West,
    She wears two saucepan lids upon her chest.
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy nightclub queen.

    She looks well in the Lime, a queen all the time, you get your money’s worth.
    By day you’ll say “it’s her second time on earth”.

    Every morning at the break of day,
    They call for the empties and cart away
    Fanlight Fanny, the frowsy nightclub queen.’


  27. Jane Ramsden says:

    Googling for the possible original Queenie, I came across one Queenie Leighton, (18 July 1874 – 19 November 1943) who was a British music hall star of the Edwardian era. (She was more leading lady/principal boy than doffin’ mistress!)

    Wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queenie_Leighton)

    I particularly like her link with my home town, where Wiki says:

    “Leighton went on tour but, whilst appearing as Sinbad in Bradford, she had an accident, falling off a stage whale during the performance. (!!!) She recovered, but did not play the leads at Drury Lane any more.”

    I am not surprised… must have been the last leviathan…

  28. Jane Ramsden says:

    And here is an utterly wonderful website of mainly Edwardian music hall songs, incorporating some original recordings of stars like Marie Lloyd, Florrie Ford, Harry Champion and Vesta Victoria!


    It contains a link to another site called The English Music Hall, where the opening page says:

    “London is a large village on the Thames where the principle industries carried on are music halls and the confidence trick.” (Dan Leno – Victorian music hall comedian/actor/dame, born in St Pancras.)

    A case of ‘up to the rigs, down to the jigs’ no doubt…

  29. Diana says:

    Still a cheeky little song which Jon enjoys singing.

  30. Linda says:

    Perfect as a pick u up after one of those days

  31. Linda says:

    still have a chuckle at this one……

  32. Linda says:

    Just what we need at the moment…….good old Queenie

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