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 Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go BerserkLe Vostre GCen2014Nyne vikinges and a mightye troll / Joyne eight moore for sea patrol.
Gacela del amor imprevistoLorca / Sans Rancune / The Singing Organ-Grinderes1998Lorca as universal revolutionary instead of reinventor of the Castilian romance: La sangre de tus venas en mi boca, / tu boca ya sin luz para mi muerte (reggaecito cojito con tango)
Copla del viudo del submarinoJuan Antonio Cantaes1996From the last Andalusian avant-gardist: En el fondo del mar tengo yo / Una novia en silencio / Un poquito de pescaito frito / Me trae su recuerdo
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Theme from Terminator1984Next project: Arnie-style organ.
My Granny is a cripple in NashvilleBilly Connollyen1981
Willow's Song, aka The Wicker Man SongPaul Giovanni / Rachel Verneyen1973
Jan Klaassen de trompetterLennaert Nijgh / Boudewijn de Groot / Rob de Nijsnl1973The life and loves of Jan Claesen, a legendary Dutch figure, supposedly trumpeter in the army of Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau, afterwards a type of Punch figure.
Veerpont / The Floating BridgeDrs. P (Heinz Polzer) / The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1973The proprietor of a floating bridge over the River Lea at the Anchor & Hope philosophises, in my translation, regarding the good times and the bad: We stand here on the banks of a river swift and hot / The other shore is over there and this one here is not.
Plegaria para el senador Robert F Kennedy después de su asesinatoHermanitos Garcíaes1970
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.
Poisoning pigeons in the parkTom Lehreren1959
ZuiderzeeballadeWilly van Hemert / Joop de Leur / Oetze Verschoor / Sylvain Poonsnl1959
El baile de los pajaritos / The birdie song / De vogeltjesdansEl payo Juan Manuel / Werner Thomas / Johnny Hoeses nl en1955
When you are old and greyTom Lehreren1953On request only. Virtual excerpt:
I hold your hand in mine, dearTom Lehreren1953I press it to my lips / I take a healthy bite / From your dainty fingertips.
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.
I know an old lady who swallowed a flyBurl Ivesen1953I think she'll die.
Santa Bárbara Benditaes1950Emblematic mining accident at the Pozo María Luisa, Asturias in 1949.
Enjoy yourself (it's later than you think)Guy Lombardo / Prince Buster / Specialsen1949Because when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn't kiss you back.
Karussell (Wir reiten auf hölzernen Pferden) / Carousel (We ride on wooden horses)Leo Straus / Martin Romande en1944Translation of a song from the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. When you get off, will you be able to stand up? Quotes the Wiener Praterleben waltz by fellow-inmate of Death's waiting-room, Siegfried Translateur.
Stalin wasn't stallin'Golden Gate Jubilee Quarteten1943An American gospel quartet lauds Uncle Joe's revenge on his old friend Hitler. Not sure whether this will ever work again, after the Ukraine war.
KetelbinkieAnton Beuving / Jan Vogelnl1940When we from Rotterdam departed / In the Edam, an ancient hulk. Tragedy of a Dutch (colonial) ship's boy who misses his mum but doesn't know how to tell her. Illegitimate offspring of Thackeray's maritime parody?
That's all folksLooney Toons1940
With her head tucked underneath her armRudy Vallee / Cyril Smithen1937Comic Anne Boleyn ghost song. Tenuous Yorkshire connection: the 2021 Channel 5 period drama was filmed entirely in Yorkshire, featuring Bolton Castle, Markenfield Hall (Ripon), Ripley Castle, Fountains Hall and Castle Howard, Oakwell Hall, Harewood House, East Riddlesden Hall and St Michael’s Church, Emley.
Утомлённое солнце (Weary sun)/To ostatnia niedziela (This is the last Sunday)Jerzy Petersburski / Zenon Friedwald / Iosif Alvek / Pavel Mikhailovru1935Polish tango about failed love, also done in a Russian, Black Sea-ish version. Featured in Yuriy Norshteyn's stunning Tale of Tales.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Stalin epigramOsip Mandelstam, trans. Dmitri Smirnov, music Singing Organ-Grinderen1933We are living, but can’t feel the land where we stay, / More than ten steps away you can’t hear what we say.
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?
ZuiderzeeLouis Davidsnl1932The consequences of the construction of the Afsluitdijk dam, which turned the Zuyder Zee from a North Sea inlet into a fresh-water lake.
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.
Lavender cowboyHarold Hersey / Burl Ivesen1923A gayboy & western classic: He died with his six guns a-smoking / But only two hairs on his chest.
Paternal. Tornant del Liceu en la nit del 7 de novembre de 1893Joan Maragall / The Singing Organ-Grinderca en1893I've done this a few times in Catalan and English but don't really know where to take it next.
Epitaph for James Bosworth, who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and died, aged 70, a stationmaster at Northam, SouthamptonBen Trovatoen1882His name was actually John Hacker/Hucker Bosworth and his service overseas in the 1850s doesn't seem to include Balaclava, but still a splendid thing: Though shot and shell flew around fast, / On Balaclava’s plain, / Unscathed he passed, to fall at last, / Run over by a train.
Erev-Yonkiper nokhn halbn tog / 'Twas on the eve of Yom KippurAnonen yi1880Yiddish ballad of forbidden love between a Goy & a Yid, Singing Organ-Grinder's translation: 'And now is come the time of love: / Say unto me but yea or nay.' / 'Lov'st thou me yea, or lov'st me nay, / We must now part, my parents say.' Whereupon he shoots her.
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.
LimericksRanjit Bolt, Edward Lear et alen1846-2014High-class doggerel.
Little Billee aka Little Boy BillyWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Bob Robertsen1845Cannibal shanty based on Thackeray's parody of La Courte Paille / Il était un petit navire (C16th?). There are also Catalan and Italian versions, but the best are the Portuguese Nau Catarineta, sung ceremonially in parts of Brazil, and the Dutch Ketelbinkie. I believe the latter is also based on Thackeray. The best-known English melody is that of Bob Roberts and has much in common with that in Harold Scott's English Song Book (1925). Ralph Steadman did a nice piratey version.
ChirivíAnónca1843Cannibal song from Barcelona's Jamancia revolt: á Cristina y Narvaez / y á tots los moderats / dintre de una paella / los freixirém plegats.
¡Año fatal! ¡Año atroz! – (Pre)juicio del año 1833Anones1832Premonitions of the First Carlist War from an almanac: ¿Oís zumbar el cañon? / ¿Oís como cruje el parche? / ¡Quede estragos! ¡Qué de horrores! / Temblad míseros mortales.
Mary had a little lambSarah Josepha Hale / Lowell Mason / Afferbeck Lauderen1830 / 1965In 19th century English and then in 20th century Strine: So Mary Header little lamb / With vedgies and mint sauce. / 'Oh dearest lamb,' she cried, 'I am / As hungry as a horse.'
Der Leiermann (Winterreise)Wilhelm Müller / Franz Schubertde1827The owner of a hurdy-gurdy, which is not the same as a barrel organ.
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.
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?
O du lieber Augustinde1799
Ring a ring o' rosesTrad.en1790sGames and dances
Who killed Cock Robin?Trad.en1744One of the greatest murder songs in English: Who killed Cock Robin? / I, said the Sparrow, / with my bow and arrow, / I killed Cock Robin.
When that I was and a little tiny boy (Hey, ho, the wind and the rain)William Shakespeare / John Harle1601Feste the Fool's closing song from Twelth Night. Version of Elvis Costello's version of the traditional version sung by Alfred Deller.
Sweetest love, I do not goeJohn Donne / Ralph Steadman / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1600?It cannot be / That thou lov'st me, as thou say'st, / If in thine my life thou waste, / That art the best of me.
Coventry CarolRobert Crooen1534 (lyrics) 1591 (tune)Herod is slaughtering the Innocents: Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, / And ever mourn and say; / For Thy parting, nor say nor sing, / By, by, lully, lullay.

Update: 2023/03/06