“Teasing Songs”


A teasing song hints of a bawdy or ribald rhyme, but avoids it at the last minute, as in this example: Suzanne was a lady with plenty of class / Who knocked the boys dead when she wiggled her... Eyes at the fellows as girls sometimes do...."


Legman lumps all teasing songs together under the generic title of "The Handsome Young Farmer." - EC

I do the same thing because I can't tell them apart otherwise. (Hey, I got this job because nobody else would take it, not because I knew what I was doing.) - RBW

Cross references


  • Anonymous singer, "Frankie and Johnny" (Zest record, matrix FJ, n.d.)
  • Ben Light & his Surf Club Boys, "The Girl from Atlantic City" (Hot Shots from Hollywood 0317/Hollywood Hotshots 317/Good Humor 2/Good Humor 10A/Good Humor unnumbered [the Good Humor records are anonymous]/Arrow 311/Kicks 5 /Kicks unnumbered [as "The Gal from Atlantic City"]/blank label, unnumbered [anonymoous; as "Atlantic City"], rec. 1936; on Doity1)
  • Anonymous singers, "Mamie Had A Baby" (on Unexp1)
  • Callahan Brothers, "Sweet Violets" (Perfect 6-07-51/Conqueror 8682, 1936)
  • Bob Dickson, "Sweet Violets" (Victor 23633, 1930)
  • Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock, "Sweet Violets" (on McClintock02)
  • Norman Phelps & his Virginia Rounders, "Sweet Violets" (Decca 5191, 1936)
  • Joel Shaw, "Sweet Violets" (Crown 3271, 1932)
  • Dinah Shore, "Sweet Violets" (RCA Victor 20-4174, 1951)
  • Sweet Violet Boys [pseud. for Prairie Ramblers], "I Haven't Got a Pot to Cook In" (Vocalion 03402, 1937); "Sweet Violets" (Vocalion 03110, 1935); "Sweet Violets No. 2" (Vocalion 03256, 1936); "Sweet Violets No. 3" (Vocalion 03587, 1937)


  1. Cray, pp. 256-265, "Suzanne Was a Lady," "The Ship's in the Harbor," "There Once Was a Farmer," "Two Irishmen, Two Irishmen"; "Sweet Violets" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
  2. Randolph-Legman II, pp. 649-652, "The Handsome Young Farmer" (7 texts)
  4. Roud #10404
  5. BI, EM256


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1615 (The Percy Folio Manuscript has one such teasing song, "A Friend of Mine.")
Keywords: bawdy nonballad
Found in: Australia Britain(England) US(MW,So,SW)