Lyrics to Agnes Bernelle’s album “Father’s Lying Dead On The Ironing Board” (1985)

Chansonette | Bertha de Sade | Hafen-Kneipe | Tootsies | The Horse | Ballad of the Poor Child | The Hurdy-Gurdy

Chansonette (Joachim Ringelnatz)

There are warts on the body of my blue-blooded lord
And the sight of a skirt sends him screwy
Father’s lying dead on the ironing board
And he reeks of Lux and Drambuie

If the holy man peeks underneath my dress
I’ll be rich you say –don’t kid me
Remember my brother, the one who’s good at chess?
They’ve just taken out his kidney

Have you lost your faith and do you play bezique
My sister’s baby’s due in September
That man is a cad and looks an utter freak
I’ll pay you back that quid if I remember

By the way I need a corset with a zip
And a season ticket out of season
I’d like to be a nun, or learn to do a strip
Sometimes I start crying without reason

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Bertha de Sade (Joachim Ringelnatz)

The marquesa Bertha de Sade
Who lived in a castle of course
Concealed in her gothic pissoir
A lion as large as a hobbyhorse

And at her notorious, much-cherished
and hair-raising orgies, we hear
The female carousers all turned out in trousers
And plied all the men with absinthe and with (???)

Eventually all the males perished…
When no more men came crawling
She trampled her lion to bits
And strangled her ladies, the darling,
and knocked out two gents who came calling
in plain clothes to serve her with writs

In the end she drank petrol and then she ate
plum pudding and wrote to the Fire Brigade
Now all is void, all gone, decayed
And nothing is left but her gothic two-seater
For nothing will grow on the lion’s excreta
The ruined seat is weed-infested

And this is terribly sa-a-d
For here lies Bertha de Sade
Entombed and much-digested
(Entombed and much-digested)

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Hafen-Kneipe (Joachim Ringelnatz)

In the seamens’ pub in Wapping
See them sitting if you’re stopping
Hand in hand

While you’re getting quietly pissed there
They will offer you their sister
Though the girl is black and from a foreign land

In the seamens’ pub in Wapping
You can often see a fight
There’s a roughhouse every night

But the sailors who drop in there
Drown their sorrows in their gin, they’re
Buying rounds and feeling glad

There’s much coming and much going
With the beer mugs overflowing
Absent guests remember and are sad

And the memories of long-forgotten faces
You may have adored there or ignored there
Come to haunt you with their ghostly traces

In the seamens’ pub in Wapping
See them sitting if you’re stopping
Hand in hand

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Tootsies (Klabund)

Mother’s pregnant in some clinic
Brother Ernie is a spiv
Uncle Alfred says (the cynic)
We’re too Catholic to live
Sister Suzy’s always praying
To the statues on the shelf
And I’m dangling my tootsies
While I’m singing to myself

I was picked up with my dolly
By a lovely gentleman
He bought me an ice cream lolly
Took me to the park and then
He drew out his bulging wallet
And he told me “Help yourself!”
Soon I’m dangling my tootsies
While he whistles to himself

Father’s lost a year’s remission
And his moll is hopping mad
Solitary’s his condition
Mother’s feeling awful bad
Father’s never had it better
Mugs of cocoa on the shelf
And he’s dangling his tootsies
While he’s locked up by himself

Sometimes when the moon is rising
Then I feel all queer and limp
And my Bill I’m visualizing
He was my boyfriend and a pimp
And I dream that they will hang him
And that I’ll stay on the shelf
And he’s dangling his tootsies
While he’s swinging by himself

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The Horse (Joachim Ringelnatz)

There lived within the city walls of Bremen
A most peculiar undertaker’s drayman
Who proved he was the nastiest of males
By pulling off his helpless horses’ tails

And this addiction was a dreadful curse
He was no longer fit to drive his hearse
He took to drink and started up afresh
And learned to slaughter horses for their flesh

And if you saw him sitting in his kitchen
With headless horses’ tails that still were twitchin’
And if you asked him what he charged per ounce
He’d throw a fit and scream and yell “To hounds! Tally ho!”

And as he made a really bad impression
He was obliged to give up the profession
And he became at last, the silly fool,
A porter in a body-building school

And there he learned to lead a life monastic
Amongst the implements of high gymnastic
Until one night he fell down roaring drunk
Next to the wooden horse and other junk

When midnight struck he started realizing
Each single hair upon his head was rising
And suddenly he saw –this made him quail–
A handsome horse quite without head or tail

And very soon the phantom nag’s proportion
Had undergone a curious distortion
It grew gigantic, fabulous and fat
Until it stopped, quite suddenly, like that!

And then for lack of proper horse’s droppings
It squirted sawdust at him without stopping
And shouted “Daddy, who can torture beasts,
Get with it, and jump over me at least!”

And so he jumped across the wooden charger
And as he jumped his jumps grew large and larger
He fell and jumped and jumped and fell in tears
It seemed that he was doing it for years!
Hopla! Hopla! Hopla! Hopla! Hopla! Hopla!

When morning broke the time came to release him
The phantom horse at last broke down beneath him
He woke and swore he’d stop this nightly boozing
But found while sweat from every pore was oozing
That on his chin so carefully shaved of course there
Sprouted an enormous beard of horsehair!

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Ballad of the Poor Child (Frank Wedekind)

There was a child so good and kind
The child was poor, the child was blind
Yes, both its eyes were blind

One rainy day there did appear
A poor old man who couldn’t hear
He simply couldn’t hear

They both went on together then
The poor blind child, the deaf old man
The poor blind child, the deaf old man

One night they passed a little hut
From which emerged a lame old slut
A dirty, lame old slut

She’d been run over in the street
Whereby she’d lost one of her feet
She lost one of her feet

They all went on together then
The poor blind child, the deaf old man
The lame old slut, who left her den

An old maid in her 40th year
To stay a virgin was her fear
It was her dreadful fear

To punish her who was so weird
God struck her with a goaty beard
A real, a goaty beard

She pleaded, “Let me go with you
Dear people let me go with you
A miracle might still come true”

A mangy dog, no longer smooth
Was left without a single tooth
Without a single tooth

He found a bone, it was no good
He could not masticate his food
Not masticate his food

He trotted with the other four
The lame old beast so ill and sore
The poor old dog so lame and sore

A poet lived in dire need
He never had enough to eat
Not half enough to eat

He poured his heart, his soul, his head
Into his work, which noone read
‘Twas worse than being dead

The poor old dog who licked his hand
And followed him across the land
Was now his one and only friend

His luck changed suddenly one day
He wrote a most amazing play
A most amazing play!

He made immortal with his pen
The poor blind child, the deaf old man
The child and the old man

The lame old slut, the virgin weird
The virgin with the goaty beard
The virgin with the goaty beard

They made an energetic start
For each one was to play a part
To learn that part by heart

And the production, slick and smooth
Was by the dog without a tooth
The dog without a tooth

The stage was set, on went the light
The curtain rose on the first night
The critics raved, as well they might

The audience cheered them long and loud
The dog was carried by the crowd
And everyone was proud

The royalties began to flow
And people queued to see the show
Wherever they would go

In Europe, Asia, Africa
and even in America
In North and South America

The moral of this little tale
It’s awful to be sick and pale
And poor and old and frail

The Poet’s Dream, the Muse’s Kiss
Will turn adversity to bliss
To pure and lasting bliss

Then courage and the belly swell
The virgin’s belly swells as well
For they have conquered Bloody Hell

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The Hurdy-Gurdy (Jacques Prevert)

“I play the piano” said one
“I the fiddle” another
“I the banjo”, “I the harp”
“I the clarinet”
“I play the bagpipes”, “I the flute”
“And I the flageolet”

And they all began to talk talk talk talk
Of what they played
Nobody heard any music
For their talk-talk talk-talk talk-talk
And nobody played

But in the corner a man sat silent
“What do you play, good sir?” they said
“Who sit so silently with nothing at all to say”

“I play the hurdy-gurdy
The knife I also play”
Said the man who sat so silently
With nothing at all to say
And he advanced with knife in hand
And solemnly killed the entire band
And he played the hurdy-gurdy
And his music was so true
So pretty and so new
That the master’s little girl came out
from under the piano stool
Shaking her sleepy head and said
“Oh –I’ve played at hoop and hide-and-seek
At hopscotch too I’ve played
And once I played with a bucket
And once I played with a spade
But that’s all over and done done done
I want to play at murder
But that’s all over and done, I want to
Play the hurdy-gurdy”

He took the little girl by the hand
And both went on ahead
Through street and house and garden
And struck the people dead
Where after they were wed
And they bore a great many chi-i-i-ldren

But… the first one learned the piano
The second the violin
The third learned the bagpipes
The fourth the clarinet
And the fifth the flageolet

And they all began to talk talk talk talk
And… then… nobody played any music
And it all began again
it all began again
it all began again
it all began again…

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