Beery bass baritones

U 8.117-19: She used to say Ben Dollard had a base barreltone voice. He has legs like barrels and you'd think he was singing into a barrel. Now, isn't that wit.

U 8.121-2: Powerful man he was at stowing away number one Bass. Barrel of Bass. See?  It all works out.

Molly's pun involving a bass-baritone and Bass's beer is less original than Bloom thinks. The following two references date from the mid nineteenth century:

Chorals and Quarrels.

We have had forwarded to us a circular issued by the authorities of the ‘Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association Festival’.  It stated that, "some disorder having arisen at former dinners in the  distribution of the Beer, the committee are desirous of keeping it  entirely in their own management, and that of any friends who may assist  them," and a form of undertaking to assist in the distribution of the beer  is annexed. From this we are reluctantly led to conjecture that the choirs  exhibit a preference for Meyer-beer, that the trebles incline to treble X, the basses to Bass's, and the tenors affected a barrel-tone that made it difficult for them to pursue the even tenor of their way. We should recommend the committee to stop the distribution of the beer altogether if they would prevent the painful spectacle of a choir with twenty-four sheets in the wind.

Fun (1866) 16 June, p. 142

And slightly earlier, from Yankee-Notions (1859, no. 1, vol. 8, p. 303), where the caption reads: "Herr Wigge the great German (beer) barrel tone, charming the lungs of his Teutonic brethren with the song of "Was is dos Deitchers Vaterland".

Joyce himself tested out the wordplay on his brother Stanislaus in a letter of 8 November 1909:  "How is your barreltone tenor getting on?"

Harald Beck

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