Archive for the 'Humor/games/children' Category



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

Fair Nottamun Town


h1 Friday, October 1st, 1999

This is one of those enigmatic songs with a lovely haunting melody. I first heard 'Fair Nottamun Town' performed in 1957, by Jean Ritchie on an Elektra Records Folk Sampler. The name of the town was originally Nottingham, and the lyrics got 'distilled' in the Appalachian Mountains. This is a great example of the folk process.

The lyrics are quite surreal, and may have originally been inspired by a battle of The English Civil Wars of 1642-51. The tension between Charles and Parliament was still great, since none of the issues raised by the Short
Parliament had been resolved. This tension was brought to a head on January 4th, 1642 when Charles attempted to arrest five members of parliament. This attempt failed, since they were spirited away before the king's troops arrived. Charles left London and both he and parliament began to stockpile military resources and recruit troops.

Charles officially began the war by raising his standard at Nottingham in August, 1642. This song may have been the bizarre observations of one of King Charles' mounted soldiers.

Jean Ritchie writes:

Dear Roger McGuinn,

This is Jean Ritchie here; I loved listening to your music on the web, and
appreciate your interest in folk music. Your singing of 'Fair Nottamun Town'
was especially fine and I felt I must write to give you my history with the
song. The version you perform is the Ritchie Family (Kentucky) version. I
have never heard JJ Niles sing it, nor has anyone else I know- I knew him
quite well; he visited and got songs from the family in his early days, and
it was there he saw his first dulcimer, but to my knowledge he never
performed, 'Nottamun Town.' The time you heard him must have been the only
one, and he certainly learned it from the Ritchies.

The song has been in our family back many generations, and was collected at
the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County, KY by Cecil Sharp around 1917
from the singing of my sister Una who was a student there (Una was 4th in our
family of 14; I'm 'the baby one,' and am 77 now). Our family ancestors came
over from England, Scotland, Ireland, the earliest ones we know of arrived in
1768. Our family still cherishes and sings the songs they brought with them.

If you will check in Sharp's book of Appalachian songs he collected, you will
find the Ritchie version- the one you sing- as notated from the singing of
Una and Sabrina Ritchie (Sabrina was our cousin). I added the 'mule roany
mare' phrase, instead of 'that was called a grey mare.' Also, it always
bothered me that one-half of one of the verses was missing- just filled in
with dots…. then the last two lines are the ones beginning, 'I bought me
a quart…' For years, I sang, 'la,la,la,' for those missing lines, but
finally just put in two of my own, 'They laughed and they smiled, not a soul
did look gay; they talked all the while, not a word did they say…'

In the sixties, when the Kingston Trio and others began performing and
copywriting (as writers) our family songs, I applied for several copyrights
for the family. A copyright for 'Fair Nottamun Town' was approved in 1964,
based on the changes I had made in the lyrics. I have contributed much of
the royalties (from Bob Dylan and others) to Kentucky charities over the
years.

Your suggestion that the song may have been inspired by the English Civil
Wars of 1642-51 is most interesting. I had heard another suggestion of it's
possible origins, years ago, saying that it may have been composed during
the Great Plague! When I did my Fulbright year, searching for sources of
our family songs,in 1952, I spent time researching in Nottingham, and could
find not a mention of it in the libraries, nor could any scholar tell me
anything. Douglas Kennedy said that it was most likely the 'magic song'
used in an early Nottingham mummrs' play. This could not be confirmed,
because I couldn't find in any historical account any news of mummers' plays
in that city. Douglas said that even though it was not now remembered, that
of course there HAD been a mummers' play, as every city had one… This
seemed to me to be the most likely explanation, as the words do go along
with the 'topsy-turvy' nature of the plays (clothing exchanged & turned
inside out to hide identities, etc). One old mummer in Marshfield, when I
asked him what the song might mean,
said, '…why, lass, if the meaning's found out- the magic is lost!'

Another interesting thing is that there is not another similar variant of
'Nottamun Town' in this country, or in England. An English group recorded it
years ago, but they had learned it from me, at Newport I think. Can't
remember the group's name, but it had Martin Carthy in it, and maybe Peter
Bellamy. Many folk scholars have noticed and commended our family on our
unique preservation of several old and rare ballads- one is our, 'Fair Annie
of the Lochroyan,' a mixing-up of the words, 'The Lass of Roch Royal.'

All the best,

Jean Ritchie

Lyrics:
[Em]In Fair Nottamun Town, not a soul would look [G] up

Not a soul would look [Em] up, not a [D] soul would look [Em]down

Not a soul would look [Em] up, not a [D] soul would look [Em] down

To [Am] show me the [Em] way to fair [D] Nottamun [Em]town

I rode a grey horse, a mule roany mare
Grey mane and grey tail, a green stripe down her back
Grey mane and grey tail, a green stripe down her back
There wa'nt a hair on her be-what was coal black

She stood so still, she threw me to the dirt
She tore my hide and she bruised my shirt
From saddle to stirrup I mounted again
And on my ten toes I rode over the plain

Met the King and the Queen and a company more
A-riding behind and a-marching before
Came a stark naked drummer a-beating a drum
With his heels in his bosom come a marching along

They laughed and they smiled, not a soul did look gay
They talked for a while, not a word did they say
I bought me a quart to drive gladness away
And to stifle the dust, for it rained the whole day

Sat down on a hard, hot cold frozen stone
Ten thousand stood round me and yet I's alone
Took my hat in my hand for to keep my head warm
Ten thousand got drownded that never was born

Repeat first verse.

(copyright notice here) Jean Ritchie 1964, 1971 Geordie Music Publishing Co. ASCAP

Sail Away Lady


h1 Wednesday, September 1st, 1999

Sail.jpg

'Sail Away Lady' is typical of the kind of dance music that was popular in America in the period between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. By the 17th Century the banjo had been introduced to this continent from West Africa. The European settlers generally used the violin unaccompanied for dancing, and sang unaccompanied or with a violin only. Increased social contacts of various kinds during the middle 19th century popularized the violin – banjo combination. This tune can be found in almost every collection of fiddle music.

I first heard 'Sail Away Lady' in the mid '50s at the Gate of Horn in Chicago, sung by Odetta. She had a big rolling style on this song with a huge crescendo on the choruses.

Lyrics:
G D G
Ain't no use to sit and cry
G D G
Sail away lady sail away
G D G
You'll be an angel bye and bye
G D G
Sail away lady sail away

C
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
G
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
D
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
G
Don't you rock 'im die – de -O

Well I've got a home in Tennessee
Sail away lady sail away
That is where I'd rather be
Sail away lady sail away

Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O

Now come along boys and go with me
Sail away lady sail away
We'll go down to Tennessee
Sail away lady sail away

Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O

Whenever I get my new house done
Sail away lady sail away
Love you pretty girls one by one
Sail away lady sail away

Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O

Hush little baby don't you cry
Sail away lady sail away
You'll be an angel bye and bye
Sail away lady sail away

Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O

Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O
Don't you rock 'im die – de – O

© 1999 McGuinn Music / Roger McGuinn

Boatman


h1 Sunday, September 1st, 1996

ohio.gif

After the War of 1812, thousands of people moved to Ohio from the eastern states. Many came from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania. Immigrants arrrived from Germany and Great Britain.

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.

I chose this song because we are on the road and traveling through Ohio. We stopped at Bill Lee's house in Dublin Ohio, and recorded this at his studio. We used a Martin D-41, 6-string and a 5-string banjo. The background vocals were provided by the Ohio River Boys.

Lyrics:
D
BOATMAN SING BOATMAN DANCE

A7 D
BOATMAN LOVE MISS MARY ANN

D
DANCE BOATMAN DANCE

D A7 D
DANCE BOATMAN DANCE

D G
DANCE ALL NIGHT 'TIL THE BROAD DAYLIGHT

G A7 D
GO HOME WITH THE GALS IN THE MORNING

G D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D A7 D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D A7 D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

D
BOATMAN DANCE BOATMAN SING

D A7 D
BOATMAN DO MOST ANYTHING

D
DANCE BOATMAN DANCE

D A7 D
DANCE BOATMAN DANCE

D G
DANCE ALL NIGHT 'TIL THE BROAD DAYLIGHT

G A7 D
GO HOME WITH THE GALS IN THE MORNING

G D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D A7 D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

G D A7 D
HEY HO BOATMAN ROW SAILING DOWN THE RIVER ON THE OHIO

To Morrow


h1 Friday, March 1st, 1996

train.gif

This is a recording of me at age 16, in 1958 (38 years ago) made on a Pentron reel to reel tape machine running at 7 1/2 inches per second. There is a tape stretch in the last verse, but the overall quality is quite good, considering its age.

I first heard this song from Bob Gibson at the Latin School of Chicago where I was a student. My music teacher was a friend of Bob's and asked him to perform an hour show for us, early in the fall of 1957. I hadn't been exposed to folk music prior to that and became so interested that I enrolled at Chicago's, Old Town School of Folk Music later that year.

To Morrow is a traditional American folk song with Irish roots and is here as a tribute to St. Patrick's Day.

Lyrics:
[D] I started on a journey, [G] about a year [D] ago
To a little town called Morrow in the [E] state of [A] Ohio
I've [D] never been much of a traveller, so I [G] really didn't [D] know
That [G] Morrow was the [D] hardest place I'd ever [A] try to [D] go!

I [G] went down to the [D] station for my [G] ticket and [D] applied
For [G] tips regarding [D] Morrow not [E] expecting to be [A] guyed (means fooled)
[D] Said he to me, 'Now let me see if [G] I have heard you [D] right–
You'd [G] like to go to [D] Morrow and return [A] tomorrow [D] night'

'You should have gone to Morrow yesterday and back today
For the train today to Morrow is a mile upon its way….
If you had gone to Morrow yesterday now don't you see
you could have gone to Morrow and returned today at three.'

'For the train today to Morrow if the schedule is right
Today it goes to Morrow and returns tomorrow night'
I was so disappointed I was mad enough to swear,
The train had gone to Morrow and it left me standing there.

The man was right in tellin' me that I was howlin' jay
I could not go to Morrow, so I guess in town I'll stay.