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Playground songs

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:55 pm
by judith
This is a carryover from the No Reason Episode 10 thread and a reference to 'The Clapping Song' by Shirley Ellis. The following Norman quote comes from this thread
posting.php?mode=quote&f=44&p=108075

NormanD wrote:

I remember when "The Clapping Song" was a radio hit in the UK, it brought back other kids' playground songs (with the usual vulgarity) such as "Once upon a time / The bird shit the line / The monkey chewed tobacco...." I just googled this line and I came up with http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/archive ... 55029.html which isn't my home town, but provides a regional example of similar kids' rhymes and songs. And ever a great read is "The Lore And Language of Schoolchildren" by Peter and Iona Opie http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lore-Language-S ... 0940322692 Hours of fun with this book.



One can certainly get a feel of a region by the children's songs and I am certain others have been as amused or even shocked as I have been to hear different regional versions of rhymes they sang in their childhood or even to how they have changed over the years. Norman's link above certainly tells me a bit about the culture, the weather...

Here's one we used to sing (region - Northern California above S.F. 1950's/60's).

"There's a place in France where the ladies wear no pants
and people stand in line to see them wiggle their behind..."
to this melody:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaDbHGusNgQ

I just found this site with an interesting history of the melody, the song, and snippets of other versions of the children's lyrics at the end of the page.
http://www.shira.net/streets-of-cairo.htm

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:59 pm
by NormanD
judith wrote:Here's one we used to sing (region - Northern California above S.F. 1950's/60's).

"There's a place in France where the ladies wear no pants
and people stand in line to see them wiggle their behind..."
to this melody:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaDbHGusNgQ
We sang that one, too. Northampton, UK - same era, same tune, some of the same lyrics, different playground. Probably from the same wars.

I think the Opies did some song mapping, looking at how quickly songs, rhymes and chants would travel from one area to the next, noting the lyrical variations, etc. No Youtube in them days.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:19 pm
by Hugh Weldon
From nearer my neck of the woods than Northampton, The Oldham Tinkers recorded a medley of kids songs on most of their records.

The ones I recall best went

"Holy Moses I am dying
Dying fer the want of bread
Stick the cat up on the table
Put some pepper on it's head"

or the parody of the Christmas carol which went

"Good King Wenceslaus looked out
From his bedroom winder
He fell out and burnt his snout
On a red hot cinder"

None on youtube I could see unfortunately, but a nice example on this page of their website:

http://oldhamtinkers.com/Itchycoo/Coalhole_Medley.html

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:55 pm
by Paul S
Ah, potential for crudity. Think I'll join in.
The Clapping Song down our way naturally was "...buy me a rubber johnny"
Chris Montez & Let's Dance suffered similar abuse with;
"Hey baby won't you take a chance, get your hand down me underpants"
Which I still sing today, should it ever be on the radio. Worked particularly well sung en masse in clubs in the 60's.

Earlier memories include;
"Come away, come away with William Tell
Stick a fork up his arse and run like hell"

and the following playground chant;
Diana Dors
Lost her drawers
In the British Home Stores
(it just didn't work without that definite article in the last line)

We didn't need the internet with stuff like that readily available.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:01 pm
by Alan Balfour
NormanD wrote:I think the Opies did some song mapping, looking at how quickly songs, rhymes and chants would travel from one area to the next, noting the lyrical variations, etc. No Youtube in them days.
Ah the Opies. In 1959 an aunt gave me a birthday present of their OUP The Lore And Language of School Children which kept myself and my younger brother entralled, especially the slightly 'smutty' verse. I still have this book.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:08 pm
by AndyM
One of the lesser of Herman's Hermits' hits (I realise this implies they hade greater ones, which might be contentious but I can defend the view if required) was a cod-Caribbean effort called 'Sunshine Girl'. If you recall it, you will appreciate the comedic genius of the lyrical reworking it was given at Albion Street Primary School, Rotherhithe:

Sunshine girl
I'm looking down your bra
I see two big things
I wonder what they are
Would you invite me
To squeeze them tightly
That would delight me
My sunshine girl

At the same educational hotspot, we rephrased Dave Edminds' biggest hit:

I hear you knocking
On the toilet door
You can't come in yet
I've gotta shit some more

While for reworked Christmas carols, surely the apogee is:

We three kings of Leicester Square
Selling knickers tuppence a pair
So fantastic
No elastic
Very unsafe to wear

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:28 pm
by NormanD
To the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas

"Oh, the yellow rose of Texas
And the man from Laramie
Invited Davy Crocket
To have a cup of tea.
The tea was so delicious
They had another cup
And then made Davy Crocket
Do all the washing up."

There was also a chant:

"Spit, gob and custard
Scab and apple pie
All mixed up
In a dead man's eye."

There was a big scrap between two kids in the primary school playground over the precise wording of this. One claimed "scabanapple pie", the other as above. It was settled with fists and blood. I only mention this as Fabscognoscenti will know that a variation of this figures in I Am The Walrus.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:47 pm
by Chris P
NormanD wrote:"Spit, gob and custard
Scab and apple pie
All mixed up
In a dead man's eye."


Hot snot & bogey pie
mixed together with a dead dog's eye
Put in a dish & bake it quick
and wash it down with a jug of sick

Masterchef 2012

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:25 pm
by Alan Balfour
I've just discovered I have on my shelves my brother's 1960 OUP copy of Children's Games In Street & Playground by the Opies. He probably wanted to chuck it out and I rescued it. We both certainly got much pleasure and entertainment from the contents of those Opie books given to us.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:55 pm
by judith
It is really interesting. Some of the lyrics remain the same this side of the pond which is astounding given how easily we misinterpret each other in conversation*. Others, well, I can only wonder if England's (all the UK?) separation of students by gender...

*I received a very funny email today titled 'British translated' that, given my experience, does hold true.

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:36 am
by Rob Hall
judith wrote:It is really interesting. Some of the lyrics remain the same this side of the pond which is astounding given how easily we misinterpret each other in conversation*. Others, well, I can only wonder if England's (all the UK?) separation of students by gender...

*I received a very funny email today titled 'British translated' that, given my experience, does hold true.


I'd bet that the majority - if not all - of the examples posted originated in mixed-gender schools. The attitudes displayed were (and remain?) cultural.

I'm embarrassed by the fact that the only remnant I can recall of a similar nature is this variation on an early Beatles hit:

If there's anything that you want (fish 'n' chips)
If there's anything I can do? (wrap 'em up)
Just call on me, and I'll send it along
With love, from me, to you...

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:10 pm
by NickH
It seems worth mentioning Mark Lamarr's Rock Your Bay compilation for Ace Records on this thread (' a new musical curriculum for the young and the simple of mind'). I wonder if The Johnny Cash Children's Album is still available? http://www.acerecords.co.uk/content.php ... lease=8855

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:54 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Rob

If there's anything that you want (fish 'n' chips)


Reminded me of the version of the Nat King Cole hit "They tried to sell us egg foo yung".

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:52 pm
by Jamie Renton
Chris P wrote:
NormanD wrote:"Spit, gob and custard
Scab and apple pie
All mixed up
In a dead man's eye."


Hot snot & bogey pie
mixed together with a dead dog's eye
Put in a dish & bake it quick
and wash it down with a jug of sick

Masterchef 2012


Gooey gooey custard
Snot n bogie pie
Dead dogs giblits
Cat's squashed eye
Worms on toast
Spread em nice n thick
All washed down
With a cup of cold sick

And while we're about it...

My friend Billy
Had a ten foot Willy
He showed it to the woman next door
She thought it was a snake
And cut it with a rake
Now it's only four foot four

I also recall mass choruses of Christie's Yellow River whilst standing at the urinals in breaktime at primary school (such is the stuff of memories).

Then there was The Worm Song. Here given a spirited punk rendition by The Yobs (AKA The Boys)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXYr6uOB6Io

Re: Playground songs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:07 pm
by Jamie Renton
I give you, Benny Bell's "Shaving Cream"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyNca5ZEuEQ

"I have a sad story to tell you
It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of -
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

I think I'll break off with my girlfriend
Her antics are queer I'll admit
Each time I say, "Darling, I love you"
She tells me that I'm full of -
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

Our baby fell out of the window
You'd think that her head would be split
But good luck was with her that morning
She fell in a barrel of
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

My old lady died in a bathtub
She died from a terrible fit
In order to fulfill her wishes
She was buried in six feet of -
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

When I was in France with the army
One day I looked into my kit
I thought I would find me a sandwich
But the darn thing was loaded with -
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

And now, folks, my story is ended
I think it is time I should quit
If any of you feel offended
Stick your head in a barrel of -
Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen"

If that wasn't sung in playgrounds everywhere, it bloody well should have been.

There is of course a long tradition of such songs in the Caribbean.

"Sixpence" by the Escorts from Barbados:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4gvPHh76Js

"Well I ask my mother for a sixpence to see the new giraffe
With wrinkles in he body and dimples in he…
Ask my mother for a sixpence to see the new giraffe
With wrinkles in he body and dimples in he…
Ask me no questions, you will hear no lies,
Put down molasses and it will catch no flies

Two little children were playing
Playing at Mr Hunt
One jump on the others back and push she on she…
Country girls, country boys
Sitting on a rock up came a bumblebee and bite them in their…
Cocktails, ginger ales, 10cents a glass
If you don’t like that you can kiss my hairy…
Ask me no questions, you will hear no lies
Put down molasses and it will catch no flies

Two little children were playing
Playing in the grass
One jump on the others back and cuff he in he…
Ask me no questions, you will hear no lies
Put down molasses and it will catch no flies

Two little boys were fighting
Fighting in a ditch one jump on the others back and call him a son of a…
Bishop had a dog, a pretty little dog was he
He lend him to a lady to keep her company
The little dog was wicked as wicked as can be
He jump up on the lady's leg and bite her on her…
Country girls country boys
Sitting on a rock up came a bumblebee and bite them in their …
Cocktails, ginger ales, 10cents a glass
If you don’t like that you can kiss my hairy…
Ask me no questions, you will hear no lies
Put down molasses and it will catch no flies

My sister had some money for a nasty man name Hunt
He said if you don’t pay me I want some of that…
Country girls country boys
Sitting on a rock up came a bumblebee and bite them in the…
Cocktails, ginger ales, 10cents a glass
If you don’t like that you can kiss my hairy….
Ask me no questions, you will hear no lies
Put down molasses and it will catch no flies"