Archive for the 'Humor/games/children' Category



Housewife’s Lament


h1 Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

I learned “Housewife’s Lament” at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago around 1958. It’s kind of a bitter portrayal of the lot of women in the not-so-distant past. There is a verse at the end where the poor housewife dies and gets covered with dirt, which is supposed to be funny, but I thought there was enough hardship in this song without adding insult to injury, so I left it out.
Lyrics:
[G] One day I was walking,
I heard [Am] a complaining,
I saw a [D] poor woman
The [C] picture of [G] gloom.
She gazed in the mud
On her [Am] doorstep (’twas raining),
And [D] this was her song
As she [C] wielded her [G] broom:

Chorus:

[G] O life is a trial,
[D] And love is a trouble,
[G] Beauty will fade
[D] And riches will flee,
[G] Wages will dwindle
And [Am] taxes will double
And [D] nothing is as I
Would [C] wish it to [G] be.”

In March it is mud,
It’s slush in December,
The midsummer breezes
Are loaded with dust.
In fall the leaves litter,
In muddy November
The wallpaper rots
And the candlesticks rust.

Chorus:

It’s sweeping at six
And i’s dusting at seven, ( I know I sang 11 but it should be 7 :)
It’s victuals at eight
And it’s dishes at nine.
It’s potting and panning
From ten to eleven.
We scarce break our fast
Till we plan how to dine.

Chorus:

Last night in my dreams
I was stationed forever,
On a far distant rock
In the midst of the sea.
My one task of life
Was a ceaseless endeavor,
To brush off the waves
As they swept over me.

Chorus X2

Katie Morey


h1 Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Bob Gibson sang this on his “Folk Songs of Ohio” album in the early 1950s. It’s funny because it points out the age old adage that a man will chase a woman until she catches him. Men think they have it all under control and are always amazed to find that they have invariably been outwitted by clever, creative women. But hey, what a way to go!
Lyrics:
A] Come all you young and [E] foolish lads who [A] listen to my [E] story
I’ll [A] tell you how I [E] fixed a plan to [B7] fool miss Katie [E] Morey
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-ry e-do-[C#m] dandy
[E] I’ll tell you how I [A] fixed a plan to [B7] fool miss Katie [E] Morey

I told her that my sister Sue was in yon lofty tower
And wanted her to come that way to spend a pleasant hour
But when I got her to the top, say nothing is the matter
But you must cry or else comply, there is no time to flatter
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

She squeezed my hand and seemed quite pleased
Saying “I have got no fear sir, but father he has come this way
He may see us here sir. If you’ll but go and climb that tree
Till he has passed this way sir, we may gather our grapes and plumbs
We will sport and play sir.”
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

I went straight way and climbed the tree not being the least offended
My true love came and stood beneath to see how I ascended
But when she got me to the top she looked up with a smile sir
Saying “you may gather your grapes and plumbs
I’ll run quickly home sir.”
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

I straight way did descend the tree coming with a bound sir
My true love got quite out of sight before I reached the ground sir
But when the fox hide did relent to see what I’d intended
I straight way made a wife of her, all my troubles ended
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

Time to stop this foolish song, time to stop this rhyming
Every time the baby cries, I wish that I was climbing
Come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-two-dit-a-ray come-a-two-dit-a-rye-do-dandy
I’ll tell you how I fixed a plan to fool miss Katie Morey

Mary Had A Little Lamb


h1 Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

marie.jpg

Thomas Edison, the father of audio recording recited the first stanza of this poem in testing his new invention, the phonograph in 1877, making this the first audio
recording to be successfully made and played back. It was all done on tin foil.

They say the song springs from a true story:

As a girl, Mary Sawyer (later Mrs. Mary Tyler) kept a pet lamb, which she took to school one day at the suggestion of her brother. A commotion naturally ensued.

Lyrics:
Written By: Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, 1830's
Copyright Unknown

[G] Mary had a little lamb,
[D] Little lamb, [G] little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
Its [D[ fleece was white as [G] snow

And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

It followed her to school one day
School one day, school one day
It followed her to school one day
Which was against the rules.

It made the children laugh and play,
Laugh and play, laugh and play,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school

And so the teacher turned it out,
Turned it out, turned it out,
And so the teacher turned it out,
But still it lingered near

And waited patiently about,
Patiently about, patiently about,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear

'Why does the lamb love Mary so?'
Love Mary so? Love Mary so?
'Why does the lamb love Mary so?'
The eager children cry

'Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.'
Loves the lamb, you know, loves the lamb, you know
'Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.'
The teacher did reply

There's A Hole In The Bucket


h1 Saturday, October 1st, 2005

leakyBucket.jpg

There's A Hole In The Bucket

A circle song is one that comes back to where it started and begins again. It can go on indefinitely. This is the amusing story of Henry and Maria. Their bucket leaks and she wants him to fix it, but that never happens.

A true 'catch 22.'

Lyrics:
There's a [A] hole in the [D] bucket Maria, Maria
There's a [A] hole in the [D] bucket Maria, [E] there's a [A] hole

Then why don't you fix it dear Henry, dear Henry
Then why don't you fix it dear Henry, dear fix it!

With what shall I fix it Maria, Maria?
With what shall I fix it Maria, with what?

With straw dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
With straw dear Henry, dear Henry with straw.

But the straw is too long Maria, Maria
The straw is too long Maria, too long

Well cut it dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
Well cut it dear Henry, dear Henry just cut it!

With what shall I cut it Maria, Maria?
With what shall I cut it Maria, with what?

With an axe dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
With an axe dear Henry, dear Henry, with an axe!

But the axe is too dull Maria, Maria,
The axe is too dull, the axe is too dull

Then sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
Then sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry then sharpen it!

With what shall I sharpen it Maria, Maria?
With what shall I sharpen it Maria, with what?

With a stone dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
With a stone dear Henry, dear Henry, with a stone!

But the stone is too dry Maria, Maria
But the stone is too dry Maria, to dry

Then wet it dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
Then wet it dear Henry, dear Henry dear just wet it!

With what shall I wet it Maria, Maria?
With what shall I wet it Maria, with what?

With water dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
With water dear Henry, dear Henry with water.

But how shall I get it Maria, Maria
But how shall I get it Maria, but how

In the bucket dear Henry, dear Henry dear Henry
In the bucket dear Henry, dear Henry in the bucket

There's a hole in the bucket Maria, Maria
There's a hole in the bucket Maria, there's a hole

Erie Canal


h1 Monday, August 1st, 2005

Erie.gif

This is a comic story about a tragic boat ride down the Erie Canal. I decided to sing this in the style of the late 50s – early 60s college folk groups. I can see the audience sitting an a large hall, the men wearing three button jackets and skinny ties and the ladies in pretty dresses.

The Erie Canal opened in 1825. The Ohio and Erie Canal, joining Cleveland and Portsmouth, was completed in 1845. For 25 years these canals were busy trade routes, piloted by burly, aggressive boatmen on long narrow craft. These keelboats were sharp at both ends, built on a keel and ribs.

Gradually the railroads replaced the keelboat as a form of commercial transportation and the canal traffic was greatly reduced.

Lyrics:
E-RI-E CANAL

[A] We were forty miles from Albany
Forget it I [E] never [A] shall.
[A] What a terrible [E] storm we [A] had one [D] night
[A] On the E-ri-e [E] – [A] Canal.

chorus:
O the E-ri-e was a-rising
And the gin was a-getting low.
And I scarcely think we'll get a drink
Till we get to Buff-a-lo-o-o
Till we get to Buffalo.

We were loaded down with barley
We were chock-full up on rye.
The captain he looked down at me
With his gol-durned wicked eye.

Two days out from Syracuse
The vessel struck a shoal;
We like to all be foundered
On a chunk o' Lackawanna coal.

We hollered to the captain
On the towpath, treadin' dirt
He jumped on board and stopped the leak
With his old red flannel shirt.

The cook she was a grand old gal
Stood six foot in her socks.
Had a foot just like an elephant
And her breath would open locks.

The wind begins to whistle
The waves begin to roll
We had to reef our royals
On that ragin' canal.

The cook came to our rescue
She had a ragged dress;
We h'isted her upon the pole
As a signal of distress.

When we got to Syracuse
Off-mule, he was dead;
The nigh mule got blind staggers
We cracked him on the head.

The cook is in the Police Gazette
The captain went to jail;
And I'm the only son-of-a-sea-cook
That's left to tell the tale.

Go Tell Aunt Rhodie


h1 Friday, August 1st, 2003

goose.gif

This is a very popular children's song in spite of its rather dark lyrics.
Lyrics:
[G] Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
[D] Go tell, Aunt [G] Rhodie
Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
Her [D] ole gray goose is [G] dead

Th one she's been savin'
Th one she's been savin'
Th one she's been savin'
T' make a feather bed

Th goslins are dyin'
Th goslin is cryin'
Th goslin is dyin'
Because his Mama's dead

Th gander is weepin'
Th gander is weepin'
Th gander is weepin'
Because his wife is dead

Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
Her ole gray goose is dead

Railroad Bill


h1 Sunday, September 1st, 2002

RRB.jpeg

Lyrics:
[C] Railroad Bill [E7] Railroad Bill

He [F] always worked

And he [C] always will

[C] Ride [G] Railroad [C] Bill

Railroad Bill, up on a hill

Lightin’ a seegar

With a ten-dollar bill.

Ride Railroad Bill

Old policeman sold him a train

Never did lose boys

Always did gain

Ride Railroad Bill

Mounted them train cars all piggyback

Some on the road boys

And some on the track

Ride Railroad Bill

Sometimes a freight train sometimes a van

If anyone gets there

You know that he can

Ride Railroad Bill

One time he had to fill in for this guy

Bi!! had to bless that

Old train goin’ by

Ride Railroad Bill

Got off the rails and got into wine

Now he goes off

To France in his mind

Ride Railroad Bill

Waltzing Matilda


h1 Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

Waltzing Matilda is an Australian icon. It is quite likely that more Australians know the words to this song than the national anthem. There is probably no other song that is more easily recognised by a populace: young or old: ocker or a newly arrived immigrant.
Lyrics:
[G] Once a jolly [D] swagman [Em] camped by a [C] billabong,

[G] Under the [Em] shade of a [Am] coolibah [D] tree,

[G] And he sang as he [D] watched and [Em] waited 'til his [C] billy boiled

[G] 'Who'll come [Em] a-waltzing, [Am] Ma- [D]tilda, with [G] me?'

[G] Waltzing [Em] Matilda, [C] Waltzing [Am] Matilda

[G] Who'll come [Em] a-waltzing, [Am] Matilda, with [D] me

[G] And he sang as he [D] watched and [Em] waited 'til his [C] billy boiled,

[G] 'Who'll come [Em] a-waltzing, [Am] Ma- [D]tilda, with [G] me?'

Swagman – a drifter, a hobo, an itinerant shearer who carried all his belongings wrapped up in a blanket or cloth called a swag.

Billabong – a waterhole near a river

Coolibah – a eucalyptus tree

Billy- a tin can with a wire handle used to boil water in

Along came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,

Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,

And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,

'You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me'.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

'Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?'.

Jumbuck – a sheep

Tucker Bag – a bag for keeping food in

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,

Down came the troopers, one, two, three,

'Whose is that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?'

'You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me'.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

'Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?'.

Squatter – a wealthy landowner.

Trooper – a policeman, a mounted militia-man.

Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,

'You'll never catch me alive,' said he,

And his ghost may be heard as you pass by the billabong,

'Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me'.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

'Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?'

The Riddle Song


h1 Thursday, February 1st, 2001

I wonder if this song from the 17th Century inspired the following poem by Walt Whitman?

A Riddle Song
By Walt Whitman
1819-1892

That which eludes this verse and any verse,
Unheard by sharpest ear, unform'd in clearest eye or cunningest mind,
Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth,
And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world incessantly,
Which you and I and all pursuing ever ever miss,
Open but still a secret, the real of the real, an illusion,
Costless, vouchsafed to each, yet never man the owner,
Which poets vainly seek to put in rhyme, historians in prose,
Which sculptor never chisel'd yet, nor painter painted,
Which vocalist never sung, nor orator nor actor ever utter'd,
Invoking here and now I challenge for my song.

Indifferently, 'mid public, private haunts, in solitude,
Behind the mountain and the wood,
Companion of the city's busiest streets, through the assemblage,
It and its radiations constantly glide.

In looks of fair unconscious babes,
Or strangely in the coffin'd dead,
Or show of breaking dawn or stars by night,
As some dissolving delicate film of dreams,
Hiding yet lingering.

Two little breaths of words comprising it,
Two words, yet all from first to last comprised in it.

How ardently for it!
How many ships have sail'd and sunk for it!

How many travelers started from their homes and neer return'd!
How much of genius boldly staked and lost for it!
What countless stores of beauty, love, ventur'd for it!
How all superbest deeds since Time began are traceable to it–and
shall be to the end!
How all heroic martyrdoms to it!
How, justified by it, the horrors, evils, battles of the earth!
How the bright fascinating lambent flames of it, in every age and
land, have drawn men's eyes,
Rich as a sunset on the Norway coast, the sky, the islands, and the cliffs,
Or midnight's silent glowing northern lights unreachable.

Haply God's riddle it, so vague and yet so certain,
The soul for it, and all the visible universe for it,
And heaven at last for it.

Lyrics:
The Riddle Song

[G] I gave my love a [C] cherry that has no [G] stone,
I [D] gave my love a [G] chicken that has no [D] bone,
I gave my love a [G] ring that has no [D] end,
I [C] gave my love a [Am] baby with [C] no [G] crying.

How can there be a cherry that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken that has no bone?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby with no crying?

A cherry, when it's blooming, it has no stone,
A chicken when it's pipping, it has no bone,
A ring when it's rolling, it has no end,
A baby when it's sleeping, has no crying.

Traditional

Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase


h1 Friday, September 1st, 2000

Bear.jpg

In the late 60's Peter Fonda would call me up and say, 'Jim, would you come over with your banjo, Justin wants to hear that song about Old Blue again.' I'd drive over the hill to Peter's house and jam a little, and play this song for his son.
Lyrics:
Well once upon a time there was a little boy.
And he wanted to go hunting with his pop and the
hound dogs. He said, 'Dad, can I go hunting with
you and the hound dogs?' Father said, 'No, son
I'm sorry but your legs are much too short. You
could never keep up with us. Awe the little boy
pleaded with his father, he said, 'Oh please dad,
can I go hunting with you and the hound dogs?'
'I'm sorry son, you're just too small to go with us.'
Well the little boy kept on pleading. He said, 'What
if I brought Old Blue along? That way if I got lost he
could come and find me.' Well his father thought about
it for a second, he said, 'OK son, you bring Old Blue,
then you can come along.' So they were off! Over
the hills and down through the meadow. Little boy
was keeping up pretty well too! And Old Blue was right
out there in front. Oh they started to get a little further away,
but the little boy wasn't worried, cause he had Old Blue with
him. And they got a little further away. Finally they were
so far off there that he could hardly hear 'em anymore.
So he pulled out his horn and called for Old Blue.
'Old Blue, where are you?'
But all he could hear were the
crickets, and an old bullfrog in the pond.
He tried one more time.
'Old Blue, where are you?'
Just the crickets, and the bullfrog.
It was getting cold outside now, he
wasn't sure what he was going to do, he tried one more time.

'Old Blue, where are you?'
And he thought he heard somethingway off in the distance. He wasn't sure what it was,
But it was Old Blue, and here they come!
Way away we're bound for the mountain
Bound for the mountain
Bound for the mountain
Over the hills the field and fountain
Today we chase away
Rover Rover see 'em see 'em
Rover Rover catch 'em catch 'em
Way away we're bound for the mountain
Today we chase away