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  #1  
Old 26 December 2011, 01:38 AM
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Icon106 Buffalo Gals

Comment: I just watched the movie IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. In it was the
song BUFFALO GIRLS. Wikopedia says it has to do with prostitutes in
Buffalo, NY along the Erie Canal. It said that "Buffalo girls won't you
come our tonight" is a call for prostitutes to come out. What's the truth
about this very popular song of the 1920's?
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Old 26 December 2011, 02:16 AM
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Number one, the song is "Buffalo Gals," not "Buffalo Girls." Two, the song is not from the 1920s, though I guess it was popular then; it's from 1844.

Here's another source of dubious quality.

Here's a more acceptable one, but Google Books won't display all of the relevant pages.

My search of Google Books returns a whole lot about this. It looks legitimate to me.
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Old 26 December 2011, 02:30 AM
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Were prostitutes really so reserved about soliciting customers that they had to be coaxed into it by a song?
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Old 27 December 2011, 11:23 PM
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This is the one I was talking about:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Here's a more acceptable one, but Google Books won't display all of the relevant pages.
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Old 28 December 2011, 10:29 PM
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It seems to give some very circumstantial evidence but, as far as I could see, doesn't really make the claim about that particular song. (Are there missing pages?) None of the lyrics give any hints although the feet taking up the whole sidewalk thing is a pretty interesting clue. Wonder what that's all about. I also have to wonder why the whole thing about taking her home to marry but, of course, that could be the song simply making fun of the darkies again.
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Old 29 December 2011, 11:58 PM
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Part of the lyrics refer to dancing with a girl with a hole in her stocking. I doubt if a prostitute would have a hole in her stocking.

Also, about 50 years ago there was a weekly animated cartoon TV show about Alvin and the Chimpmunks. One episode feature Buffalo Bill--or someone who resembled him--longing for an old girlfriend, and he sang with song, "Buffalo Gals," only he called in "Buffalo Gal." Well, the Chimpmunks sing this song on TV, and the old sweetheart is watching as they show a picture of her. She rushes to the TV station and meets Bill who exclaims, "You've changed." She talks in a coarser voice and has gained weight.

No doubt, this was a children's presentation of the song.

Barb Rainey
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Old 30 December 2011, 12:13 AM
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Why wouldn't a prostitute have a hole in her stocking?

ETA: Wasn't there a line in a Joni Mitchell song like that? "Dance with a lady with a hole in her stocking/and feel good. . ."
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Old 31 December 2011, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbrainey View Post
Part of the lyrics refer to dancing with a girl with a hole in her stocking.
Sorry this is totally OT but that reminds me of this song.
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Old 26 December 2011, 02:27 AM
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I thought 'buffalo girls' referred to black women, the way buffalo soldiers referred to black soldiers, based on the coarse, black, curly hair reminiscent of that of bison.
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Old 26 December 2011, 02:32 AM
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Doesn't seem so. The song has had lots of different names; "Buffalo Gals" was the one that stuck, but there have been any number of locales referenced: "Cincinnati Gals," "Louisville Gals," "Charleston Gals," etc., if you believe this source.

ETA: It's just a song about prostitution, I think, snopes, not an actual means of soliciting their services.
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  #11  
Old 26 December 2011, 02:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
It's just a song about prostitution, I think, snopes, not an actual means of soliciting their services.
Yeah, I get that, but the supposed conceit of the lyrics is about asking prostitutes to come out and make themselves known. Why sing a song about that, even if it's just fanciful?
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Old 26 December 2011, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Yeah, I get that, but the supposed conceit of the lyrics is about asking prostitutes to come out and make themselves known. Why sing a song about that, even if it's just fanciful?
Why sing drinking songs? They interfere with drinking.

Sometimes the point of a song is to celebrate vices, rather than facilitate them
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Old 26 December 2011, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Why sing drinking songs? They interfere with drinking.
Or as I like to put it: “why bother?” “Why not?” It’s fun for fun’s sake.
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Old 26 December 2011, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I thought 'buffalo girls' referred to black women, the way buffalo soldiers referred to black soldiers, based on the coarse, black, curly hair reminiscent of that of bison.
The origin of the term "buffalo soldiers" is disputed (link -- scroll down to "Etymology"). And as Avril points out, the name of the song varied based on where it was sung, "Buffalo Gals" being the Buffalo, NY version.
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