Edgar Leslie and James V. Monaco: "Masculine Women! Feminine Men!" 1925

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History of the song "Masculine Women! Feminine Men!"

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The earliest-know reference dates this song to 1925:

From the catalogue of the National Library of Australia

Monaco, James V., 1885-1945. Contributor: Leslie, Edgar. Hugh J. Ward (Firm)

Title: Masculine women! Feminine men! [music] / words by Edgar Leslie ; music by James V. Monaco.

Date: 1925

Published: Melbourne : L.F. Collin, c1925.

Subjects: Popular music -- 1921-1930.

Musicals -- Excerpts -- Vocal scores with piano.

Material Type: Music

Physical Description: 1 score (3 p.) : ill., port. ; 31 cm.

Notes: Caption title.

Portrait of singer May Beatty on cover. "Featured by Miss May Beatty in Hugh J. Ward's musical comedy, Lady Be Good".

Ukulele charts provided.

Pl. no.: L.F.C.

Also available in an electronic version via the Internet at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.mus-an6301650

Amicus Number: 6301650

To cite this item use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.mus-an6301650

From: QueerMusicHeritage.us, a website by J.D. Doyle, http://www.queermusicheritage.us/af2001a.html, on Dec. 28, 2008, 12:49 pm

Masculine Women, Feminine Men

Written by Edgar Leslie/James V. Monaco, and recorded by Merrit Brunies & His Friar's Inn Orchestra on Okeh 40593, 3/2/26

Note: these are the complete lyrics, from the piano roll version of the song. Only some lines were used in the recorded Brunies version.

Hey Hey women are going mad, today

Hey Hey fellers are just as bad, I'll say

Go anywhere, just stand and stare

You'll say they're bugs when you

look at the clothes they wear

Masculine women, feminine men

which is the rooster which is the hen

It's hard to tell 'em apart today

And SAY...

Sister is busy learning to shave

Brother just loves his permanent wave

It's hard to tell 'em apart today


Girls were girls and boys were boys

when i was a tot,

Now we don't know who is who or

even what's what

Knickers and trousers baggy and wide,

Nobody knows who's walking inside

Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

Masculine Women Feminine Men

Which is the rooster which is the hen

It's hard to tell 'em apart today

And SAY...

Auntie is smoking, rolling her own,

Uncle is always buying cologne

It's hard to tell 'em apart today


You go and give your girl a kiss in the hall

But instead you find you're kissing

her brother Paul

Mama's got a sweater up to her chin,

Papa's got a girtle holding him in

Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

Stop, Look, Listen and you'll agree... with me

Things are not what they used to be... you'll see

You say hello to Uncle Joe,

Then look again and you find it's your Aunti Flo

Masculine Women Feminine Men

Which is the rooster which is the hen

It's hard to tell 'em apart today

And SAY...

Wifey is playing billiards and pool,

Hubby is dressing kiddies for school

It's hard to tell 'em apart today


Ever since the Prince of Wales in

dresses was seen,

What does he intend to be the King or the Queen

Grandmother buys those tailor-made clothes

Grandfather tries to smell like a rose

Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

[End lyrics]

Background on Merritt Brunies Merritt Brunies led this orchestra at the Friars Inn at 1834 Wasbash Street at Van Buren in Chicago. They got the gig after Merritt's brother George Brunies' band Friar's Society Orchestra vacated the job in 1924. Merrit's band stayed on at the Friar's Inn for three years before leaving for the Cinderella Ballroom. The Brunies' family produced several jazz musicians. Harry Brunies played trombone in the Friars Inn Orchestra and another of the Brunies brothers, Abbie was the leader of the Halfway House Orchestra back home in New Orleans.

Chronology: Recordings of "Masculine Women! Feminine Men!"

"Masculine Women! Feminine Men!" has been recorded by a number of artists, and was apparently quite popular in the late 20's. Here are releases that J.D. Doyle found listed on the internet; he has a few of these in his collection, but would love to hear about more. Users can click on his site to hear what he has put online.

Joy Boys (UK, 1926)

Bill Meyerl & Gwen Farrar (UK, 1926)

Frank Harris (Irving Kaufman) (Columbia 569D, 1/29/26)

Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks (UK, 2/13/26)

Merrit Brunies & His Friar's Inn Orchestra (Okeh 40593, 3/2/26)

Hotel Savoy Opheans (HMV 5027, UK, 1927, aka Savoy Havana Band)

Norah Blaney (in a British newsreel, 1929. She was the sometimes stage partner of Gwen Farrar)

True Endeavor Jug Band ("The Art of the Jug Band," 1963)

Spencer Washboard Kings (UK, 1965) ("Masculine Women Feminine Men" )

George Melly (UK, 1984)

Margret Roadknight ("Living in the Land of Oz," 1984, Aussie lesbian artist, issued in the U.S. on Redwood Records)

Rio Trio (UK, 45 rpm, 1990)

Ian Whitcomb ("Comedy Songs," 1996)

Tom Robinson ("Castaway Club Vol. 7," 2000)

Bill Brooker ("Bill Brooker's Best," 2000)

Dirdy Birdies Jug Band ("Tracks," 2001)

"Aint We Got Fun" Soundtrack (private, 2005)

An artist named Jon Strongbow also recorded a song by that title on his 1989 cassette "A Normal Sort of Guy." It's not the same song, though interesting.