Kay Swift wrote “Piggie” as a “nursery song.” The original song (the first audio file featured below) is so inaccessible to adult ears that I cannot comprehend how this was ever construed as a nursery song. Swift was the first woman to ever score a complete Broadway show, so we know she had the capacity to write songs that people would leave the theatre humming. Her classical version of “Piggie” is anything but hummable.
Having recorded my rendition of her original manuscript, I struggled mightily to create an accessible song out of it (the second audio file featured below). Fortunately, Kay Swift had notated a few of the chords that corresponded to different bars of the song, and that made my job a little easier. But having transcribed a few of her songs, I know that her primary goal wasn’t to make the transcriber’s job easy, but rather to keep the music interesting, to her and maybe to posterity.
Download the fake-book style sheet music to “Piggie” here: Piggie
Here is Kay Swift’s “Piggie” as notated in her manuscript:
And here is “Piggie” arranged for jazz trio:
Lyrics to “Piggie” by James Warburg:
Verse 1: My plump, pink piggie, when I squeeze him,
he makes the most insulted little squeal.
It’s always very difficult to please him.
You never know just how he’s going to feel.
I love him, but I also love to tease him
and squeeze him just to hear his squeaky squeal.
Verse 2: He goes most anywhere I lead him.
When left behind, he makes a woeful wail.
And, oh, you ought to see him when I feed him.
He puts his naughty feet inside the pail.
He’s not polite, my piggie, but I need him.
He lets me tweak his twisty little tail.