Please note:

  • All these street organ arrangements for my modifed Topsy 3 are home-made. Contact me if you want a custom arrangement - whether a modification of a number below or something new - for your own street organ, musical box, barrel piano, or whatever.
  • The MP3s below use Virtual Studio Technology: this is NOT the real sound, and someone needs to sing!
  • Lyrics or translations can be displayed live on a screen, karaoke-style.
The becksThe Singing Organ-Grinderen2022Song suitable for young and old about Leeds's streams. Based on De Beken by Fred van de Ven.
Brave Sir RobinMonty Pythonen1975Packing it in and packing it up / And sneaking away and buggering off / And chickening out and pissing off home / Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge. See also John Grubb, St. George for England.
King of RomeDave Sudbury / June Tabor / The Unthanksen1970s?A pigeon race from Rome to England in 1913: On the day o' the big race a storm blew in / A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again.
De Soldatenmoeder / The Soldiers' MotherZangeres Zonder Naam / Singing Organ-Grindernl en1969A Dutch neo-broadside ballad about the Vietnam War in my translation. Probably unintentionally, its theme is similar to Brecht's Mother Courage, but the treatment is more startling and profound.
Ballad of Sigmund FreudChad Mitchell Trioen1960Well, Doctor Freud, oh Doctor Freud / How we wish you had been differently employed / But the set of circumstances / Still enhances the finances / of the followers of Doctor Sigmund Freud
The Irish balladTom Lehreren1953Parody that says it all: About a maid I'll sing a song, / Sing rickety-tickety-tin, / About a maid I'll sing a song / Who didn't have her family long. / Not only did she do them wrong, / She did ev'ryone of them in, them in, / She did ev'ryone of them in.
Complainte pour l'orgue de la nouvelle barbarieLouis Aragonfr1940Wartime poem from after his conversion to Marxism: Ceux qu'arrêtèrent les barrages. / Sont revenus en plein midi. / Morts de fatigue et fous de rage.
The tale of Custard the dragonOgden Nashen1936Very childish: the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard
Complainte de FantômasRobert Desnos / Kurt Weillfr1933Allongeant son ombre immense / Sur le Monde et sur Paris / Quel est ce spectre aux yeux gris / Qui surgit dans le silence? / Fantômas, serait-ce toi / Qui te dresse sur les toits?
Seven skeletons found in the yardLord Executor aka Felix Garcia (ca.1878-1952)en1930From a calypso genius and the king of extempo: Hideous discoveries and monstrous crime / Always happen at the Christmas time.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Mackie Messer / Mack the KnifeBertolt Brecht / Kurt Weillde en1928Originally intended for performance with barrel organ.
The lonesome roadNathaniel Shilkret / Gene Austin / Joan Baezen1927
El nuevo FordCubanoes1920
El chincatapunchincógrafo, etcéteraAntonio Rodríguez Martínez / Coro “Los Abanicos”es1897Song about the marvels of electricity: En la época presente / no hay nada tan floreciente / como la electricidad... Hasta yo creo que un aparato de inventará / para fabricar chiquillos / por medio de la electricidad.
Manantiales de nitroglicerina (Nitroglycerin springs)Anónes1873Anarchist song: Nivelacion social!... Rota la valla / No más habrá, no más ladrones; / Partirémos sus bienes, sus millones / Cuando llegue su hora á la canalla.
The Organ GrinderArthur Lloyd / G.W. Hunten1865Some guy's girlfriend, a banjoist, eloped with one. References Babbage and Bass's campaign against organ grinders.
El amor bajo la luz eléctricaAnones1865Don't rely on electric light if you're looking for cloth or a woman: No elijas mujer ni tela / Á la luz artificial, / Porque la una y la otra / Grandes chascos suelen dar.
Daar kom die AlibamaTrad.af1863Commemorates the visit of the legendary Birkenhead-built Confederate Navy commercial raider CSS Alabama to Cape Town during the American Civil War.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Poor Bill BrownAnonen1860sThe popular, London, revenge version of the ballad of an 18th century Brightside (Sheffield) steelworker and poacher, who was fatally shot and stabbed by a gamekeeper near Rotherham
When Birmingham is a seaport townAndy Casserley / Trad.en1851?Set to a lively tune.
Coplas novas y divertidas las cuals esplican los mals ratos que solen donar las pusas los polls y las chinchas com nu veurà lo que no sirà siegoRamon Barrull (Lérida / Lleida, C19th, printed by Coromines) / The Singing Organ-Grinderca1850Broadside ballad about vermin: Las chinchas es cosa bruta, / Conforme hos he dit; / Perque se solen posar, / A los pots y banchs dels llits.
Trobo divertit sens pecar de la merda y del cagarAnon (Lérida / Lleida, C19th, printed by Coromines) / The Singing Organ-Grinderca1850An utterly filthy song in happily impenetrable Catalan: Lo vostre cul cuan cagueu, sembla unas castañolas / Your arse when it shits, sounds like castanets.
ChirivíAnónca1843Cannibal song from Barcelona's Jamancia revolt: á Cristina y Narvaez / y á tots los moderats / dintre de una paella / los freixirém plegats.
Per fi ya enarbolat / veyem lo san pendó, / quens diu Societat, / Fraternitat y Unió.Societat de Teixidós de Barcelonaca1840Himno del primer sindicato en España, la (barcelonesa) Sociedad de Tejedores / Anthem of the first trade union in Spain, the (Barcelona) Society of Weavers
Grace Darling, a balladGeorge Lindleyen1838A great Victorian ballad for a great Victorian heroine: The danger past, her heart beats lightly, / Her silent transport no pride betrays, / Tho' grateful tears are round her falling, / And hearts are throbbing to her praise.
Bullangas de Barcelonaes1835Barcelona's bull-fight rebellion, during the First Carlist War: Muy espantoso es Bullánga / Lo mismo es que Satanás, / Y este con la cruz se abate / Y aquel con la ley no mas;
Complainte de FualdèsMoreau et Catalan / Trad.fr1818In 1817 a judicial official was murdered in Aveyron and hurdy-gurdies or barrel organs were used to drown out his cries.
Marmotte (Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern / Op. 53 no. 7)Goethe / Beethovende en1805Parody of a Savoyard organ grinder and his marmot at a fair: It's many a land I've travelled through, / Avecque la marmotte, / And I always found some thing to chew, / Avecque la marmotte.
The Maudlin Fair at HedonAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1800Here’s wrestling and vaulting, and dancing on wire, / With fiddling, and juggling, and men eating fire, / Bold sergeants recruiting, lads ‘listing for life, / And family lessons from Punch and his wife.
El lobo devoradorTrad.es1800A ravenous wolf in 19th century Spain. I don't think it's a metaphor for George Borrow: Es posible, justo cielo / que permita tu bondad / que contra el hombre se ensañe / una fiera sin piedad?
El cura enfermoAnones1800Priestly love, Cadiz style: Estando un curita malito en la cama, / a la media noche llamó a la criada. / -¿Qué tiene el curita, tan deprisa llama? / -Quiero chocolate, lo quiero en la cama.
Los ayres fijos: poema didáctico en seis cantosJosé Viera y Clavijoes1784Ode to a hot-air balloon: Moradores de Nesle ¿Que es aquello / Que veis venir rasgando el Horizonte? / No es la ascencion de Ganimedes bello, / Ni el precipicio del audaz Faetonte, / Del Iris matizado no es destello, / Ni el Pegaso que dexa el doble monte; / Es la Nave Aërostática velera / De Argonautas que surcan la atmosféra.
La locura más discreta que se dice executó la villa de Níjar del obispado de Almería, el día trece de septiembre de este presente año de 1759Diego Ventura Rejón y Lucases1759Vía Ortega y Gasset, a tale of popular madness: Con aquestos desbaratos / toda casa esta assolada, / no dejando tales tratos, / cazos, sillas, platos, nada, / ni aun la nada entre dos platos.
The dragon of WantleyTrad.en1740ishZoomorphication of Sir Richard Wortley, persecutor of his neighbours: To see this fight, all people then / Got up on trees and houses, / On churches some, and chimneys too, / But these put on their trowses.
St. George for EnglandJohn Grubben1688The story of King Arthur old / Is very memorable, / The number of his valiant knights, / And roundness of his table
The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield, with Robin Hood, Scarlet, and JohnMilbourn / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1685Late 17th century broadside ballad.
Here, here, here is pig and porken1680sIrish anti-Catholic song: Giving an Account of a Father Wifely, the Popish Bishop of Kildare in Ireland, and a Shop-keeper's Wife in High-street, Dublin.
Barbara AllenJoan Baez / Jim Morayen1660s?Great song: Young man, I think you're dying.
The World Turned Upside Down (melody: When the King Enjoys His Own Again)Anon / Martin Parkeren1646A protest from the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts against Parliament's proscription of Christmas traditions. Not to be confused with the Leon Rosselson song made famous by Billy Bragg.
The wanton wife of CastlegateThe WatersonsenC17th ballad, Roud V14112: Tinkers they are drunkards, / And masons they are blind, / And boat-men they make cuckolds, / Because they'r used kind.
La fiera malvada de JerusalénTrad.esBallad about mythical monsters: Dos cuernos en la cabeza / también alas que volaba / vestida como una tortuga / no la hería ninguna bala.

Update: 2023/03/06