Sunday, June 25, 2017

Compilation "Video" Of Ten African American Music Soundies (clips of the Delta Rhythm Boys, Fats Waller, the Jubalaires, The Cabin Kids, & Six Other Artists)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases a YouTube video compilation of ten "soundies" of vintage African American music.

"Soundies" are short films that were produced in the United States between 1940-1947.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these soundies. Thanks also to the publisher of this compilation of 1940s soundies.

Some of the artists and/or some of the songs that are featured in this soundie are also showcased on separate pancocojams posts such as this one: The Jubailaire's Noah - 1940s Gospel Rap.

To identify those posts use Google search or enter the artist name or the title of the song in pancoocjams's internal search engine.

"Soundies were three-minute American musical 16mm films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood, between 1940 and 1946, each containing a song, dance and/or band or orchestral number. The completed Soundies were generally made available for rental within a few weeks of their filming, in film collections of eight to a reel, primarily by the Soundies Distributing Corporation of America, from which the name "Soundies" was generalized to any similar film, including later, single pieces shot as "filler" for early television. The last true Soundies group was released in March 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox or machine music, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers.

Musical genres
Soundies covered all genres of music, from classical to big-band swing, and from hillbilly novelties to patriotic songs."...

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Soundies: Black Music from the 1940s

The Riverbends Channel, Published on Oct 22, 2012

From Internet Archives:
0:12:13 Delta Rhythm Boys in "Take the 'A' Train" (1941).
0:14:46 Fats Waller in "Your Feet's Too Big (1941).
0:17:45 Count Basie Orchestra in "Take Me Back, Baby" (with vocal by Jimmy Rushing) (1941).
0:20:19 "Preacher and the Bear" featuring The Jubalaires (vocal quartet)
0:23:23 "Ring Those Bells" (Black children vocal quintet, unidentified; Possibly The Cabin Kids.)
0:24:22 The Ali Baba Trio in "Patience and Fortitude" (1946) (featuring Valaida Snow singing and playing jazz trumpet - with trio of guitar, bass and accordion!)
0:27:06 "Rocco Blues" featuring Maurice Rocco (piano and vocal)
0:30:00 Gloria Grey sings "Oh By Jingo" (looks later, circa 1950 or so)
0:32:42 "I Want A Man", sung by Annisteen Allen and accompanied by Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra (huge big band)(1943).
0:35:36 Woman jazz harpist (LaVilla Tulos) playing "Swanee River" (a title list of Soundies has this entry as "Swanee Swing").
Selected comments from this video compilation's discussion thread:
Neil Soulman Hagan, 2013
"Classic. From hollywoods golden era. Very rare! Impeccable talent. Thanks for posting, I have much respect for these artists who shined even in the face of all the burdens and predjudace that prevailed in that day. Love the cabin kids. Thanks so much for posting."

pbrgma1, 2013
"The Cabin Kids clip is not from a Soundie. It is actually from their very first film appearance from a 20 minute comedy short from Educational Pictures titled "She my Lilly (I'm Her Willie)" from 1934.At the time of this film they were originally called THE 5 SPIRITS OF HARMONY and this was the way they were billed in this film.From their 2nd film on they were known as The Cabin Kids.The other songs they sang in this film were:"This Train" and 'Honey." 

George Sperry, 2014
"great music and a super entertaining snippet of music of the past!"

Brandon Lee Kirby, 2024
"I think it's more that that's what the white people in charge wanted and allowed. The novel Invisible Man touches up on the idea well.
The guy who wrote it was a huge fan of this music, Ralph Ellison."

Zillous Grom, 2014
NO ink spots!!??!

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nimbaya! (formerly known as the Amazones) Guinea, West Africa's First Female Djembe (Drum) Group

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post was first published in 2011. This version includes additional text and three additional videos.

Click to read comments that were posted to that 2011 post.

This is the first post of an ongoing pancocojams series on Black female drummers. This post focuses on Nimbaya! female djembe drummers of Guinea, West Africa. [revised June 24, 2017]

Click for the second post in this series.

Click for the third post in this series.

Also, click for a 2011 pancocojams post entitled "How Djembes Became The African Drum To Beat In The United States"

This post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Nimbaya! for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these YouTube videos.
If you know the language and the meaning of the word "Nimbaya", please add that information to the comment section of this post. Thanks!

"A djembe ... also known as jembe, jenbe, djbobimbe, jymbe, yembe, or jimbay, or sanbanyi in Susu; is a skin-covered drum meant to be played with bare hands...

It is a member of the membranophone family of musical instruments: a frame or shell (in the djembe's case it is a wood shell) covered by a membrane or drumhead made of rawhide or some other material...The primary notes are generally referred to as "bass", "tone", and "slap", though a variety of other tones can also be produced by advanced players. The slap has a high and sharp sound, the tone is more round and full, and the bass is low and deep...

There is general agreement that the origin of the djembe is associated with a class of Mandinka blacksmiths known as Numu. The wide dispersion of the djembe drums throughout West Africa may be due to Numu migrations."

"Nimbaya!, previously Amazones Women Master Drummers, welcomes in the new age, presenting West Africa’s traditional musical arts in a graceful proficiency that clearly differs from the masculine drumming style...

Before this group formed, no females in Guinea were permitted to learn the art of djembe drumming. In 1988, with the support of the Department of Culture of Guinea, group founder Mamoudou Conde brought together 15 women from the four different regions of Guinea. Some of these women faced disownment from their families by pushing the boundaries of tradition, but after training for years to become master drummers, the women began to tour the world…playing instruments that have traditionally been denied them."

"...From The creation and realization of “NIMBAYA!” aims to address three objectives, all of which are both diachronic and synchronic.

From the point of view of rehabilitating musical culture through the djembe, “NIMBAYA!” constitutes a response of sorts to the age-old traditions, which have demeaned the Djembe vis-à-vis other instruments such as the princely Cora or the ancient mythical Bala. “NIMBAYA!” is also daring considering the <> imposed on women concerning the practice of the djembe. Never before has a woman played this instrument in Guinea.

From the point of view of the economic liberation, which took place in Guinea following the change of political regime in 1984, the women are engaged in a fight for survival through the development of a lucrative art-form, capable of supporting its members. Each ‘NIMBAYA!’ has chosen to break with the uncertainty and the precarious lifestyle imposed on her by her individual social situation - woman without education; woman with an ‘undesired pregnancy’, sent away from the family home; woman-victim of the duplicity of a ‘bad-man’; young woman from a family struck by poverty... In choosing to become a djembe-player, each of these categories of women shows her desire to dignify herself by dignifying her instrument.

But it is with NIMBAYA! That a brave new adventure is beginning - a socio-cultural and economic departure from tradition, which is fired by a fervent determination to attain the level of the great djembefola and to live by the sweat of their own brows. Hence the name ‘NIMBAYA’, recalling the bravura and courage of the intrepid warrior-women of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey (now called Benin). Equally daring is their goal to ‘demystify’ the djembe, an instrument historically reserved for male players and for many years, an instrument without nobility or notoriety. With ‘NIMBAYA!’ all these preconceptions melt away and what is left is a powerful, energetic and grandiose spectacle, which sends to the world, its message of peace, optimism and serenity.
-Saidou Dioubate, National Director of Culture of the Republic of Guinea, Conakry and edited by Nathalie Roy & Mamoudou Conde".
Note: "Djembefola" means "djembe player. "Bala" is a traditional name for "balafon".

Nimbaya! The Women's Drum & Dance Company of Guinea

"It’s the drumbeat that pulls you in… These women are in demand around the world, as much for their prodigious choreographies as for their fiery djembe rhythms. Their unique concept and their energy drive the crowds wild!

NIMBAYA! is a daring response to taboos stretching back thousands of years. Never before had women played the djembe in West Africa, the instrument being historically reserved for male players. In 1998, while managing the world-renowned ensemble “Les Percussions de Guinée”, Mamoudou Conde realized the world was ripe for change and decided to create an all-women percussion and dance ensemble.

Chosen from among those living in the most difficult conditions - jobless and often with children to support - the women artists participate in the development of a lucrative art-form, one that has facilitated a change in their economic independence. Each artist strives to break free of the financially precarious lifestyle imposed upon her by society. In choosing to become a percussion player, these women have demonstrated their desire to control their destiny."...

Example #1: African Women Djembefola

Uploaded by chicagodjembeproject on Oct 11, 2006

African women playing djembe in Guinea, West Africa

Example #2: Amazones - Women Drummers of Guinea @ CCC 092007

Uploaded by rpmime on Sep 20, 2007

The Amazing "Amazones - Women Drummers of Guinea" performed at the 'One World Under One Roof', part of the World Music Festival (2007) last day here in Chicago.

Example #3: NIMBAYA!

Uploaded by Nathalie Roy on Jan 18, 2010

THIS IS STUDIO RECORDING - Formerly named Amazones Women Master Drummers, NIMBAYA! Drum & Dance Company is the first professional all-female ensemble on traditional drums. they have toured USA, Canada, UAE, Brazil, Europe, South Korea...


Example #4: Archives: Amazones Master Women Drummers in Philadelphia

GRIOTWORKS Published on Jul 23, 2009

Presented by the African Diaspora Arts Collective, Amazones women drummers of Guinea come to Philadelphia to bring hope and inspiration to youth, particularly young girls. Video by Jos Duncan [2007]

Example #5: NIMBAYA! EDUCATIONAL video

Sekou Conde, Published on Oct 23, 2011

Example #6: NIMBAYA!'s Auditions, Charleston SC - Im in Heaven!!!

BRENDA J. PEART, Published on Oct 29, 2012

Im lost in the drums, nearly forgot it was auditions.. They're JAMMIN'!!!
NIMBAYA! is an ALL Female Percussion group from Guinea, the first to tour the world!!!!
This is part of the auditions held in Charleston SC, even drawing in dancers from Charlotte, North Carolina!!!

Sitting in with them from Charleston by way of Buffalo NY, JAMES HARRIS, by way of Columbia SC, Thomas OLA Mosley....


Example #7: Beating the Odds: The Women of Nimbaya!

colacollkoalas, Published on Apr 9, 2015

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Double Negatives In The Children's Rhyme "Bazooka Bubble Gum" & Additional Comments About Double Negatives In English & In Other Languages

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides excerpts from a 2007 -2009 online discussion that I and other Mudcat folk music forum members and guests participated in. The discussion was about the use of double negatives in the children's rhyme "Bazooka Bubble Gum" and in other examples of English written and verbal communication.

The Addendum to this post presents excerpts from two other online sources about the use of double negatives in English and in other languages.

The content of this post is presented for linguistic and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Tha Heights for their performance of the official Bazooka Bubble Gum ad song, and thanks to the publisher of that YouTube video.
Click for a 2013 post on "The Chewin Gum Song & Rhyme (My Mother Gave Me A Nickel)".


"My mom gave me a penny
She said to buy a henny
But I didn't buy no henny
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a nickel
She said to buy a pickle
But I didn't buy no pickle
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a dime
She said to buy a lime
But I didn't buy no lime
Instead , I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a quarter
She said to buy some water
But I didn't buy no water
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a dollar
She said to buy a collar
But I didn't buy no collar
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a five
She said to stay alive
But I didn't stay alive
Instead, I choked on BUBBLE GUM

i learned that one in elementary school... not sure how i remembered it! have fun... whoever needs this
- i know hand games! ; December 22, 2005 [From - This website is no longer available.]


Bazooka Bubble Gum Song Official Music Video

Ana Lages Published on Apr 15, 2011
(as sung by Tha Heights)

Awwww yeah!

Yo, my Moms!
She gave me a dollar
She told me to buy a collar
but i aint buy no collar
Instead I bought some

Bubble Gum
Bazooka-zooka BubbleGum
Bazooka-zooka BubbleGum

My Moms!
She gave me a quarter
She told me to take the porter
But I aint take no porter
I bought some


Yo, my Moms!
She gave me a dime
She told me to buy a lime
But I aint buy no lime
Instead I bought some


my Moms!
She gave me a nickel
she told me to buy a pickle
But I aint buy no pickle
Instead I bought some

-Tha Heights
This song was transcribed by Azizi Powell from the video given above. Corrections & additions are welcome.
Here's an excerpt of a article about the Bazooka Bubblegum Company's ad campaign
From "Bazooka Relaunches With Bubblegum Song" By Sandra O'Loughlin, August 15, 2006 [The link that was given no longer leads to that article.]
"NEW YORK -- Topps' Bazooka Bubble Gum this week launched a global ad campaign that it hopes will stick in everyone's head. The campaign, via Duval Guillaume, New York, includes TV, online and a viral marketing effort that plays up a song and music video by Brooklyn-based music group Tha Heights.

The Bazooka Bubblegum Song and Dance is the center of five 15-second commercials in which people indicate their strong desire for the gum. One spot takes place on a baseball diamond where an umpire calls out, "Strike three!" After the batter argues with the call, the ump begins the rhyme, "Listen Kid, I said it was a strike, why don't you take a hike!" The batter responds with, "But I don't want no strike. All I want is bubblegum. Bazooka-Zooka Bubblegum."

"We want kids to make their own rhymes," said Helen Jackers, account director, which they can do by visiting to download the ads, play the music video, learn the dance and send in their own versions of the song...

"The Bazooka Bubblegum song has been sung at summer camps for years and years and was never really picked up by a big audience," said Tom Van Daele, creative director, in a statement. "Ever since we started to work on this catchy tune, it's been stuck in our heads."

The ads are set to run on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Nick at Nite and ABC Family for the next six weeks"."...

Pancocojams Editor's Note: These comments are numbered for referencing purposes only without any spelling corrections. Examples of "Bazooka Bubble Gum"/Chewing Gum" rhymes are also included in that discussion thread.


1. Subject: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:46 AM

"The children's rhyme "Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum" serves as an interesting case study of a children's camp song or rhyme that has its source in a pop song that may or may come from an earlier folk song.

What makes this rhyme so interesting to me is that it appears that an earlier kid's version of this song was appropriated by a corporate entity {Bazooka Bubble Gum} and used as a marketing tool for its brand name bubble gum. However, the kids' version {learned at summer camps, school yards, and elsewhere} appears to have prevailed or at least be fondly remembered by adults of certain ages.

Enter the same corporate entity in 2006 with a new marketing campaign to revive the brand name "Bazooka Bubble Gum". Will kids use the official version of this rhyme with its sappy, bland ending?
Or will they choose to sing the song their own way with its quirky somewhat counter-culture ending of choking on Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum? Inquiring minds want to know.

Inquiring minds {or my mind anyway} would also love to know who remembers this rhyme and when they remember it. I'd also like to know when [what year or decade] the rhyme changed from "I'm crazy about chewing gum" {or "bubble gum" or "choo'n gum"} to focus on the brand name "Bazooka Bubble Gum". Furthermore, I'm wondering why the corporate powers that be lashed on to a children's rhyme that uses AAVE {African American Vernacular English, otherwise known as "Black English" and "Ebonics" to market their product. I'm specifically referring to the line "I don't want no ____. I want Bazooka Zooka Bubblegum". For instance, one of the company's tv commercials had these lines "We don't want no Kumbaya. We want Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum"."

And finally {yeah, right} I'm interested in identifying other children's songs or children's rhymes {or adult songs?} in addition to "Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum" that include the line "my mother gave me a nickel/to buy a pickle".

Why? Well, why not? Being song & rhyme detectives can be an enjoyable pastime. And information gleaned from this type of research can shed light on the lifestyles, values, hopes, and concerns of populations of children, youth, and adults."...

2. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 02:50 PM


I'm not sure the "double negative" "I didn't buy no ____" is only part of AAVE. I was raised in a predominantly white area (less than 4% African-Americans) and educated in segregated schools (I was born in 1946) until the ninth grade of high school. Yet, I remember being drilled in avoiding double negatives. I believe I and my classmates were quite apt to use double negatives like "I didn't buy no...".

I remember Bazooka Bubble Gum, but I do not remember the song or the manufacturer's advertising.

Roger in Baltimore (which is not where I grew up).
"AAVE" = African American Vernacular English

3. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 09:59 AM

Roger in Baltimore,

I've just read your post from July 2008 about double negatives {as in this example posted above "my mom gave me some gold, she said im pretty old but i didnt want no gold"...

I agree with you that this grammatical construct is not just used by African Americans. While "negative concords" {more commonly known as "double negation" are often cited as a characteristic of African American Vernacular English {AAVE}, it is also a feature of nonstandard [non-African] American English.

However, I want to point out the possibility that at least one source for using double negatives could come from African languages where that usage isn't grammatically incorrect. To quote one sentence of this article on African American Vernacular English:

"It has been suggested that AAVE has grammatical structures in common with West African languages or even that AAVE is best described as an African based language with English words".

While, I don't know enough about the subject of African American vernacular English, it is interesting to read about the possibility of West African sources for not just various words that have entered the English language, but also for various grammatical features.
The words "this article" is a hyperlink to the Wikipedia page

4. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM

I am fairly certain, though I'm not sure that this can be proved, that the interpretation of a double negative as the negation of the negative is a feature of standardized languages and "educated" speech and is not part of colloquial speech in most if not all languages. I must admit that I don't know much about non-Indo-European languages.

Whereas conventional wisdom has it that standardized language is "real" language and colloquial speech and dialects are somehow suspect, it is very nearly the other way around: "real" language is what people actually speak, which is not to say that standardized language isn't useful.

Wherever I have run across it, it is always meant as intensifying the negation rather than negating it. In some languages it is even the standard form of negation. For example, "nit keyn" ("not no") is a normal kind of negation in Yiddish. This may be from the influence of Slavic languages, where, I believe, the double negative is also used for negation. However, it was a long time ago when I took a class in Russian, so I might be wrong about this.

5. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:53 AM

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare used the double negative as an intensifier so while grammarians and educators may discourage such usage we can contend that it's long been a part of colloqial English. The construction didn't have to be brought in from other languages as it was already there from the start.

6. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM


I appreciate the information about double negatives.

It's interesting to learn that double negatives were an accepted grammatically feature and may still be a grammatically, correct feature of Indo-European languages and other languages, including some African languages.

Still, I think that most people would agree that it's best not to use double negatives in academic and other formal English communication.

In the same token, it shouldn't be acceptable to chew Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum during formal occassions, such as weddings. But that doesn't stop some people from doing it.

7. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 03:15 AM

Azizi wrote:
"It's interesting to learn that double negatives were an accepted grammatically feature and may still be a grammatically, correct feature of Indo-European languages and other languages, including some African languages."

"Correct" is a problem when talking about language. Who gets to decide? The main object of the study of language is language as its really spoken, not standardized language, though there are people who study other aspects of language, including the latter. For medieval languages, which is what I specialized lo these many years ago, there was no spoken language to study, of course.

One distinguishes between "descriptive" and "prescriptive" grammar. It's relatively easy to make prescriptive rules for a standard version of a language, but it is impossible to make up a set of rules that completely describes a real spoken language. For one thing, one would have to account for regional dialects and even idiolects, i.e., the versions of a language spoken by individual people.

I could go on about this (and on and on), but I need to start work.

I remember Bazooka bubble gum, which I mostly bought for the sake of the little Bazooka Joe comics. I grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago and was born in 1963. I never heard of the song before and don't remember ever seeing or hearing and radio or TV advertising for Bazooka bubble gum. I don't remember if there were billboards, newspaper ads, or anything like that.

8. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 05:49 AM

I think Azizi is right to decry the use in formal language. It can be ambiguous and the idea of formal language is clarity.

9. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 06:46 AM

I'm not by any means suggesting that schoolteachers start accepting "not no", "ain't no", etc., in pupils' homework or denying that standardized language has its rightful place in the scheme of things. In fact, I think the standardizers have become a little too lax and also trendy in recent years, viz. the debacle of the so-called "orthographical reform" in Germany, where I live (don't get me started).

However (and this is a big however), language as it's really spoken by real people is the real thing and standardized language is an artificial construct. There is the additional problem of people speaking in an "unnatural" way for reasons of fashion, but that's another kettle of fish. Dialect speakers are still looked down upon and standard language is still generally considered to be "superior" in some way. From the point of linguistics, it is not.

10. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 09:28 AM

Who would have thought that a thread about bubblegum would spark such interesting comments about linguistics. This goes to show that just about anything is possible on Mudcat threads.

I'm just sayin...
[Which is a colloquial expression which means I'm implying more than I'm saying-or writing].

But-to use a hip-hop saying-it's all good.

In reference to my first sentence in this post, the hip hop saying "It's all good" means that I'm not going to "get on a set" {get annoyed or get angry} because folks have gone on off on a tangent and aren't providing examples from this family of children's rhymes or from related families of children's rhymes.

Not that it matters a hill of beans {or a pack of Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum} what I think about what comments other people post on this Mudcat thread or any other Mudcat thread...


11. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 09:53 AM

I just read this entire thread again and realized that I had mentioned African American Vernacular English and double negatives and mainstream English in my first post. So I guess posts about linguistics really aren't that tangental or aren't tangental at all.

I now formally apologize to Piers Plowman [I love your name btw] and others for implying that your interesting comments about linguistics were off topic.

The sad thing is that because these comments are posted to [in?] a children's rhyme thread, folks who might want to read about and/or discuss these linguistic features won't be able to find them.

Does anyone want to start a thread on this subject?

I'd do it but I've little energy to post on threads nowadays let along start threads. But if someone did start a thread on the aspects of linguistics that have been discussed so far in this thread, I would participate in that discussion.

12. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 11:31 AM

Azizi wrote:

"I now formally apologize to Piers Plowman [I love your name btw] and others for implying that your interesting comments about linguistics were off topic."

Don't worry, I'm not that sensitive. I've never been that bothered about threads going off-topic, here or elsewhere.

I chose the name "Piers Plowman" over on a message board for the British radio soap opera "The Archers", where something vaguely agricultural would be suitable. Since I was shamelessly plugging some things I posted over there when I first came here (having found out about Mudcat from other posters over there when I asked something about the song "English Country Gardens"), I thought I might as well keep the name.

I've never actually read "Piers Plowman", although I discovered I have it paperback, when I was going through my cartons of books some months ago.

For what it's worth, I don't think folklore can be separated from language and perhaps it serves some useful purpose to clear up misconceptions about language, though what one considers a misconception depends on one's point of view, of course.

Children's rhymes are hardly my area of expertise and I'd never heard of this family of rhymes. I would have just assumed that the brand of bubble gum had been there first.

13. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:36 PM

"I think Azizi is right to decry the use in formal language. It can be ambiguous and the idea of formal language is clarity. "

I disagree firmly. Very few people, when confronted with a statement like "I didn't buy no bubblegum", are honestly confused about what that statement means.

Furthermore, your premise is entirely flawed. Formal can be - and frequently *is* - used in a deliberate attempt to confuse others. Think of bureaucratic doubletalk! There is nothing inherent to standard English that makes it more or less confusing than other registers and dialects of the language. Some parts of AAVE are even clearer or simpler than their equivalents in Standard American English, in fact, such as the habitual use of the verb "be", much decried though it is among prescriptivists.

The only reason the standard is the standard is because it's spoken by the people who, well, make the standards - the people in power. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a good idea to know the standard so you can speak it when necessary, but there's no reason to call it more correct than other forms of English, any more than my version of Barbara Allen is "more correct" than your version. You use the right tool (or dialect, or song) for the right moment, and your life is richer for it in the end, of course.

14. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:14 PM

GUEST Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:36 PM, first let me say that I hope that your post isn't deleted because Mudcat has a relatively new policy of deleting comments of Guest posters who don't add another name with that Guest title.

Guest, I appreciate your comments, but I still don't think this thread is the appropriate one for an indepth discussion about linguistics. That said, let me note for the record that I agree with these points that you made:

1. Some parts of AAVE [African American Vernacular English] are even clearer or simpler than their equivalents in Standard American English.

2. The only reason the standard is the standard is because it's spoken by the people who, well, make the standards - the people in power. Nothing more, nothing less.

3. It's a good idea to know the standard so you can speak it when necessary, but there's no reason to call it more correct than other forms of English...

4. You use the right tool (or dialect, or song) for the right moment, and your life is richer for it in the end, of course.


With regard to point 4, I still believe that a double negative should not be used in formal conversations/writings."...
This was the end of that linguistic discussion in that thread. To my knowledge, no thread on double negatives was started on Mudcat.

These excerpts are given in no particular order.

Excerpt #1:
What is a double negative?
Is there a specific grammatical slip that’s guaranteed to make you wince? I bet there is! While it’s hard to say why certain linguistic errors cause our hackles to rise rather than others, everyone has their own bête noire. You could split your infinitives till kingdom come and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, but whenever I hear something like:
I don’t know nothing about computers.
It won’t do you no good.

I cringe and have to restrain a nitpicking urge to say, ‘two negatives make a positive: do you really mean that you know something about computers?’. However, as a Rolling Stones fan, I don’t come over all grammatically correct about ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. It’s completely illogical, I admit.


The perspective from the past and elsewhere on the double negative

Any linguists out there will be aware that in some languages (for example, Spanish, Portuguese, and French), double negatives are grammatically acceptable: rather than cancel each other out, they serve to strengthen the negative idea. Students of English language and literature will also know that, had you lived in England up to the 17th century, you’d also have been doubling your negatives with gay abandon and not incurring the wrath of the grammar police. The works of Chaucer and Shakespeare contain many examples of double and even multiple negatives:
Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous. (Chaucer, ‘The Friar’s Tale’)

I never was nor never will be. (Shakespeare, Richard III)

After the 17th century, certain writers attempted to make English spelling and grammar more systematic, and relate the rules of language to those of logic. The Oxford English Dictionary records that in 1775, Lowth’s A Short Introduction to English Grammar stated:
Two Negatives in English destroy one another, or are equivalent to an Affirmative.

This edict had an impressive staying power and remains the case today. Double negatives, when used to express a negative idea, aren’t acceptable in standard English and you should avoid them in all but very informal situations (or when singing along to pop songs).

It’s not unusual….singing the praises of some double negatives

Here’s where things are less clear cut: there’s a second type of double negative that’s considered correct. In this category, two negatives are used in the same sentence or clause to express a positive idea rather than a negative one. For instance, in the sentence:
Blake was not unaware of his appearance.

Other rhetorically positive and grammatically acceptable examples are:
When I look back I don’t regret not going to school.
[meaning: I’m glad that I didn’t go to school]

We can’t just do nothing in the face of this mounting threat.
[meaning: we must take some action to combat this threat]

I couldn’t not help him.
[meaning: I strongly felt I should help him]

If you really fret about linguistic issues, this means that in some cases you can sing along to pop songs containing double negatives and stay on the grammatically acceptable side of the tracks, as in the 1965 hit ‘It’s Not Unusual‘, recorded by the Welsh singer, Tom Jones. It’s a not inelegant way of expressing the fact that being in love is very usual indeed. Yay!"

Excerpt #2:

"Learning standard English negation is difficult because many languages and some English dialects use double negatives conventionally.

Though it’s easy to assume that double negatives are simply unnatural aberrations, this assumption is wrong. In many languages worldwide, it is grammatically incorrect to use anything but the double negative! (This is called negative concord.)

No hay ningun problema. (Spanish) “There isn’t no problem.” meaning “There isn’t a problem.”

Я не хочу нічого їсти. (Ya ne hochu nichogo yisty.) (Ukrainian) “I don’t want nothing to eat.” meaning “I don’t want to eat anything.”

To make it more complicated, it’s not just foreign languages that conventionally employ double negatives but some dialects of English do as well! African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Southern American English, and some British regional forms use negative concord constructions. Negative concord is even used several times in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. (For example, a line about the Friar, “Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous,” literally means “there wasn’t no man nowhere as virtuous.”)

So, while double negatives are not correct in standard English, that doesn’t make them any less useful in other dialects. We encourage writers to learn how to negate sentences using the standard grammar — especially for professional settings — but we love the diversity of English (and language in general) and think that use of dialectal grammar is fine in open, less formal environments."

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Visitor comments are welcome.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Selected Examples Of Referents For Black People In Children's Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Revised June 23, 2017]

This pancocojams post provides selected examples of referents for Black people in English language children's rhymes. The word "rhymes" in this post is a generic term "rhymes" that refers to multiple children's recreational compositions including jump rope rhymes, hand clap rhymes, singing games, parodies, "choosing it' rhymes, chants, children's cheerleader cheers, and the sub-set of cheerleader cheers that I call "foot stomping cheers" but which some people call "steps".

The following referents for Black people are included in these rhyme examples:
Soul sister
the spades
In addition, this post documents some examples of children's rhymes that include the line "step back jack/your hands are too black" and examples of children's rhymes that include the line "Get your black hands off of me".

Many children's rhymes from the past and the present include what is commonly known as "the n word" -either fully spelled out or given in some euphemistically represented form such as I've done. However, I've chosen not to include any children rhymes that include the "n word" in this compilation.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

This should not be considered a comprehensive listing of English children's rhymes that include references to Black people.

This post doesn't include any analysis of or comments about these examples except for my general editorial statement and comments about these rhyme examples:
1. [some versions of] "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" rhymes
2. the phrase "the spades go" [found as an introduction to some "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" rhymes]
3. the line "dark as the Black boy chasing me" [found in some versions of "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" rhymes]
4. the line "Get your black hands off of me."

These comments will be given after each of those entries.

Generally speaking, these referents can be given as
-a racial identification/ statement of fact, with likely positive connotations (one example: "This brown girl is going to boogie for you.")


-as a racial identification/ statement of fact without positive or negative connotations (one example: "I gonna get a black boy to beat your behind".), although this example might also have positive connotations.


-as a racial descriptor with negative connotations (examples: "Get your black hands off of me", "Your skin is too black/you look like a monkey on a railroad track", and "darker than the black boy chasing me").

It's my position that some White people and other non-Black people might use Black racial referents with negative connotations in children's rhymes not because they are actually racist, but as a reflection of societal norms and as a way of engaging in risque behavior with little or no real consequences (depending on where, when, and around whom they use those terms.

When Black people use Black racial referents with negative connotations we* are also reflecting societies negative connotations of our race, but I think that the element of engaging in risque behavior is less a factor- or is a different factor than when those referents are use by non-Black people.

*I use that inclusive pronoun although I can't recall myself doing this.

These examples are given under the rhyme name and are presented in no particular order. Multiple examples that are given within each listing are numbered for referencing purposes only.

The Black racial referents with their accompanying noun are given in italics to highlight that referent. Note that the racial referent "White" may also be include in some of these examples.

"Nineteen miles to Blackberry Cross,
To see a Black Man ride on a white horse.
The rogue was so saucy he wouldn't come down
To show me the road to the nearest town.
I picked up a turnip and cracked his old crown,
And made him cry turnups all over the town
-Guest, Children's Street Songs, 01 Jul 04 - 03:18 AM

"Ladies and gentlemen, children too
This brown girl
She gonna boogie for you
She gonna turn all around
She gonna wear her dresses up above her knees
She gonna shake her fanny just as much as she please.
I never went to college.
I never went to school.
But when it comes to boogie,
I can boogie like a fool.
You go in out, side to side.
You go in out, side to side.
- Barbara Ray (African American female), memory of childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1950s; collected in November 1996 & in August 2009 (second interview) by Azizi Powell

2. Partial introduction to The Pointer Sisters' performance of the Jazz song “Wang Dang Doodle” without any instrumental musical accompaniment
"Thank you!
Here we go:

Walkin down the alley, alley, alley
Shakin your jally, jally, jally.
Swingin your partner, partner, partner.
LADIES, and gentlemen, children too
These brown babies gonna boogie for YOU."...

III. I LOVE COFFEE I LOVE TEA, (also known as "I Like Coffee I Like Tea" and "Down Down Baby"
1. "This may be classed as un PC now but.this is what we sang ...

I like coffee
I like tea
I like sitting on a black man's knee

we sang it as a skipping song "
-sasbear [Female],, May 9th 2007, 12:03 am, #39

2. "I like coffee
I like coffee I like tea I like sitting on a black mans knee With a one and a two and a three on "three lift your skirt, turn tround quickly, bend over and show your bum< -, retrieved June 22, 2017
The directions given beginning with "with a one..." are given in italics in this example.

3. Down, down baby
Down, down the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I'll never let you go
Chimey chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pow
Chimey, chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pop
I like coffee, I like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So lets here the rhythm of the hands, (clap, clap) 2x
Let hear the rhythm of the feet (stomp, stomp) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the head (ding dong) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Put em all together and what do you get
(Clap clap, stomp stomp), ding dong, hot Dog!
-Yasmin Hernadez; 2004; memories of New York City {Latino/ African American neighborhood in the 1980s; [This was my website. It is no longer active.]

4. Down down baby
down down the roller coaster
sweet sweet baby
sweet sweet i love you so
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
take a peach
take a plum
take a stick of bubblegum
no peach
no plum
just a stick of bubblegum
I like coffee and i like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So step back whiteboy you don't shine
I'll get my colored boy to beat ya behind
He beat ya high
he beat ya low
he beat you all the way to Mexico
-Aiakya at April 4, 2006; [website no longer available], retrieved by Azizi Powell in 2006.

5. "I went to elementary school starting in 1980, in Bloomfield, Connecticut (adjacent to Hartford). The girls (including my sister) did clapping games on the bus everyday it seemed, and when they hung out in the street, etc. Demographic note: my family is White; Blacks (including many Jamaicans) are a majority in the town, and were most of our playmates.

The version to this one went:

I like coffee, I like tea
I like a Black/White boy an' he likes me
So step back White/Black boy, you don't shine
I'll get a Black/White boy to beat your behind."

The girls would switch the race of the boy, depending on who was singing. Sometimes there'd be confusion if a White and a Black girl were playing together, and they'd sort of get jumbled up on that word and try to push their version. Sometimes they would agree on a skin tone based on a previous conversion about who the girl whose "turn" it was actually "likes."
From GUEST,Gibb (, 05 Mar 09 - 12:21 AM,, Not Last Night But The Night Before-rhyme

6."Ina Lina Thumbelina
Two times Thumbelina
Iriatchee Liriatchee
I love you
Take a piece take a plum
not a piece of bubblegum
I like coffee I like tea
I like a Black/White boy
And he likes me
So step back White/Black boy
You don't shine
I gotta a Black/White boy
To kick your behind
See that house on top of the hill
Thats where me and my baby gnna leave
We gnna chop some wood
Eat some meat
Come on Babi
Lets go to sleep
- GUEST,17yr old kid at heart:), Children's Street Songs,20 Jul 10 - 11:47 AM
I reformatted this example from essay form and all capital letters.

This example reflects the much higher value placed on how fast a person can write something online than whether the comment contains correctly spelled words and the correct use of punctuation or any punctuation.

"gnna"= gonna [going to]

Read the above comment from Gibb about the meaning of "Black/White" in these "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" rhymes.

Also, hat tip to Patrick B. Mullen, author of The Man who Adores the Negro: Race and American Folklore for his comment [on page 171] that females of one race might indicate a racial preference for males of another race "as reflection of her individual preference." In the example that Mullen gives of that rhyme in his book [on page 170-171] two African American sisters chanted "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" and at the same time one girl said "I love a white boy" and the other sister said I love a black boy". Prior to reading this I thought that the [Black/White] referents in these rhyme examples meant that a Black girl and a White girl were chanting this rhyme together and that the Black girl said "I like a Black boy" and the White girl said "I like a White girl".

7."Went to a pretty racially mixed elementary school in Georgia in the early 90's. We white girls *definitely* knew Down Down Baby as a story of white aggression:

"I like ice cream
I like tea
I like a white boy and he likes me
So stand back, black boy
You don't shine
I got a white boy to beat ya behind!"

I don't remember ever seeing black girls doing that rhyme, so I don't know if they did it differently. But as a child it made sense to me that the rhyme would assert white dominance. It was just another example of the casual racism we were immersed in in rural Georgia. Even at that age my white friends and I understood that a white boy beating up a black boy for flirting with his girl was the expected norm, not the other way around.
- GUEST,mindy, 28 Feb 2015 Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
Here's a comment that I wrote in 2008 about contemporary (post 1970s?) racialized examples of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea":
From" "Not Last Night But The Night Before", Azizi Powell

" "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" {also known as "I Like Coffee I Like Tea"} handclap rhymes are unique among contemporary English language children's rhymes from the USA because of their references to race. This is a marked change from the "standard" versions of this children's rhyme. The standard version {meaning the version of this rhyme that is usually published in books} contains no references to race and no contentious encounters between the children. But these rhymes are also unique just because of their reference to race, a topic which is seldom mentioned in other children's rhymes that I have collected from {mostly} African American children, teens, and adults over the last twenty years.

Based on the number of examples that have been sent to my website on children's rhymes in the last five years, and also based on the examples that I have read elsewhere on the Internet, these versions of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" are rather widely known throughout the USA. In each of the examples that I've heard {in Western and Eastern Pennsylvania} and that I've read online, a Black girl rejects the offer of romantic friendship from a White boy and boasts that he doesn't shine*. The Black girl then threatens that White boy by saying she will get a Black boy to beat his behind**. It should be noted that to date, I haven't heard or read any example of this rhyme that contains the pattern of a White girl saying "step back Black boy". I have read one example in which the lines are "Step back White girl, you don't shine/I'mma get a Black boy to beat your behind". It's important to note that I've not found any examples of this "racialized" version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" in any off-line publication {books, magazines}, though examples of this version may be included in children's folklore journals.

The pattern for this "racialized" version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" indicates to me that it originated among Black people. That said, I've read online examples of this book that appear to have been recited by White children since they use the racial referent "colored boy", a racial referent that has been retired by African Americans for forty years or so {except for its retention in names of some organizations, especially the NAACP}. However, I that conclusion may not always be valid. For instance, I received an example of this rhyme that used the term "colored boy" from a Latino woman who indicated that she remembered the rhyme from her childhood in a Black/Latino borough of New York City in the 1990s.

I don't think that the use of the old referent {"colored"} means that the examples are from the time when that term was used as a group or individual referent by African Americans. Were that the case, it seems to me that some examples of that rhyme would have been included or referenced in books of American children's rhymes that were published during those decades or since. That doesn't appear to be the case.

I believe that the racial referents that are widely found in these contemporary versions of "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" rhymes reflect & document the racial tensions that were {are being?} experienced in newly integrated schools and/or other newly integrated social settings. For more commentary and examples of this rhymes, visit here.

* My interpretation of "don't shine" is that the girl is saying that the boy doesn't measure up to her standards; he's not someone whose personality or physical being shines brightly.

** "Beat your behind" means "fight you"; "beat you up" "
Since I wrote that comment, I've learned that the racial referents in versions of "I Love Coffee" aren't as unique as I thought they were. That said, with regard to another example of race in "I Love Coffee" rhymes, I believe that "I like sitting on a black man's knee" are older examples of this rhyme which may be "localized" in the United Kingdom.

Click for a few other racialized versions of "I Like Coffee I Like Tea" rhymes.

"Kids Dont jump rope to this song im in the fourth grade and we just sing it we dont do any movements to the song
Miss Suzie had a steam boat
The Steamboat had a bell
Mrs.Suzie went to heaven
The steamboat went to

Hello Operator
Give me number 9
if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from

Behind the refrigerator
there was a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little

Ask me no more questions
ill tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping down their

Flies are in the meadow
Bees are in the grass
The boys and girls
Are kissing in the

Darker than the ocean
Darker than the sea
Darker than the black boy
That's chasing after me

Dark is like a movie
A movie is like a show
A show is like a T.V. set
And that is all I...

Know my dad is a robber
I know my mom is a spy
I know that I'm the little brat that
Told the F.B.I.

My mom gave me a nickel
My dad gave me a dime
My sis' gave me a girlfriend
And I know she's is witch

she made me wash the dishes
she made me wash the floor
she made me wash her underwear
So I kicked her out the door

I kicked her over London
I kicked her over France
I kicked her to Hawaii"
Guest,, RE: Folklore: Lady's alligator purse? Her own thread, 27 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM
I reformatted this example to separate its strung together verses.

The example "dark as the Black boy chasing me" [which is usually found in some versions of "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat"] is probably has a negative racial connotation for non-Black people that it doesn't have for Black people. Also, the "dark as the Black boy chasing me" line probably doesn't have the same scary or titillating meanings for Black chanters as might have for White chanters.

Also, I don't think that any skin color tone (as in "dark skin" or "light skin" Black people) has any relevance to this particular children's rhyme.

[variant title: I AM A SECOND GRADER]
"Zing Zing Zing
at the bottom of the sea.
I am a little __ second grade*
as pretty as can __ be be. {"___" indicates one beat before recitation begins again}.
And all the boys around my house
go crazy over __ me me.

My boyfriend's name is __ Yellow.
He comes from Ala__bama
with 25 toes
and a pickle on his nose
and this is how the story goes.
One day I was ah __ walkin
I saw my boyfriend __ talking
to a very pretty girl
with cherry pie curls
And this is what she said
"I L-O-V-E __ love you."
"I K-I-S-S __ kiss you."
"I A-D-O-R-E __ adore you"
Get your black hands off of me!
-Diarra, K'azsa, and Michelle, Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pa, 2004; collected by Azizi Powell, 2004
*"Second grad" = "second grader", the girls' year in elementary school
"1,2,3,4" is usually given as the rhyming phrase "1,2,3".
In April 2010, I collected the same rhyme from two 9 year old African American girls (Takeya and Alexus) who live in the same neighborhood as Fort Pitt Elementary School (now titled Fort Pitt Accelerated Learning Academy). When the rhyme called for the girls to give their grades, one girl chanted "I am a second grader" and the other girl chanted "I am a third grader". Both girls said the "get your black hands off of me" line."

Note: This couplet could be a stand alone rhyme, but is often found in other children's rhymes such as "I Love Coffee I Love Tea".

1. "down down baby down by the rollercoaster
sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
I like candy, I like tea, I like a little boy
and he likes me.
so step off jack, your hands are black
your looking like a monkey on a rail road track
To the front to the back to the side by side
To the front to the back to the side by side,
Ladies and gentlemen children too
this old lady's gonna boogie for you
she's gonna turn around
touch the ground
boogie boogie boogie till her pants fall down!!!

this version i remember from when i was little..i loved it!!"
-GUEST,guest..jenna, Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes, 01 Oct 10 - 04:12 PM

2. "Lol. I'm a guy and I remember Black girls saying this in the 70s in Tx. They said "Step back Jack, your hands too black. Looking like a monkey on a railroad track"
-GUEST,Jj Peterson, Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes 26 Mar 16 - 04:45 PM

"I'll be. be
Walking down the street,
Ten times a week.
Un-gawa. Un-gawa {baby}
This is my power.
What is the story?
What is the strike?
I said it, I meant it.
I really represent it.
Take a cool cool Black to knock me down.
Take a cool cool Black to knock me out.
I'm sweet, I'm kind.
I'm soul sister number nine.
Don't like my apples,
Don't shake my tree.
I'm a Castle Square Black
Don't mess with me."
-John Langstaff, Carol Langstaff Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop!, A Collection of City Children's Street Games & Rhymes {Garden City, New York, Double Day & Co; p. 57; 1973}
"What is the story"/"What is the strike" = "What's happening". "What's up?".
"Take a cool cool Black to knock me down" = It would take a cool, cool Black [person] to knock me down. "Cool" is used in its vernacular sense and means "hip" (up to date with the latest street culture and also "unruffled", in control of her or his emotions.
"Castle Square" is probably a neighborhood or a housing development [a housing project] within a neighborhood known as "Castle Square".

1. "soul sister number nine stuck it to me one more time
said un, ungawa, we got the power
said un, ungawa we got the power
little sunny walker walking down the street
she don't know what to do
so she jump in front of me
and said go on girl do your thing,
do your thing,do your thing,
said go on girl do your thing, do your thing, stop!
ayraness,, This video is entitled "serbiiis" and is a poor visual quality video of two girls doing hand clapping routine in a car; on Sep 21, 2009

2. "My husband actually taught my daughter's a song that he remembered as a child in the late 60s/early 70s.

Hey you, over there, with the nappy nappy hair.
My back is achin' my pants too tight, my bootie shakin' from the left to right
M' Gowa, Black Power, yo' mama needs a shower.
Destroy, little boys, soul sister number nine, sock it to me one more time.
Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!"
GUEST,Shamiere,, Children's Street Songs, 24 Mar 04 - 02:25 PM

[with introductory phrase: "The spades go"]
1. "I remember parts of this song:

The spades go two lips together
tie them together
bring back my love to me.

What is the me-ee-eening
of all these flow-er-er-ers
they tel the sto-or-or-y,
the story of love,
from me to you.

I saw the ship sail away,
it sailed three years and a day,
my love is far far away,
and I love him so, oh yes I do.

My heart goes bump ba de dump bump,
bump ba de dump bump,
over my love for you.

You are my one and only,
I love you passionately,
Source: Guest, susan; I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes

"Nobody has mentioned my favorite one, which had a more complicated clapping pattern than most of the rest:

The spades go:
Two lips together, tie them forever
Bring back my love to me
What is the me-ee-eaning
Of all these flo-ow-owers
They tell the sto-o-ory
The story of love
From me to you

My [someone] bought a new car
He painted it red with a star
He crashed it into a rock
And now he’s dead, oh yes sirree

(and lots of other verses I don’t remember)"
-DemiGoddess,, October 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm
Here's a comment that I wrote in a 2012 pancocojams post "The REAL Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes":
"I believe that most children who chant rhymes that begin with the phrase "the spades go" didn't in the past and don't currently attribute any meaning whatsoever to those particular words. Instead, children say those words, if not the entire rhyme, by rote memory and focus more on the rhythm and the performance activity.

That said, it's my position that, early on, when a specific meaning was given to the introductory phrase the "spades go", that phrase meant "(This is the way) Black people go (say or do this rhyme). Unlike the idiom "calling a spade a spade"*, no pejorative connotations were/are attributed to the words "the spades go" in children's rhymes. Saying "the spades go" was a way of attributing the words of those rhymes or the way the rhymes were performed to Black people (or more specifically, to Black girls). That attribution lent authenticity to those rhymes and/or to their performance activities. That was because Black girls were (and still are) considered to be the arbiters of "the real way" that those songs or those hand clap rhymes were/are supposed to be sung, or chanted and performed...

[Furthermore] Black girls were/are considered to be the sources of many of these rhymes, or were/are considered to be the "coolest" or "hippest" examples of how those rhymes should be performed. This same dynamic can be found in the use of introductory phrases as "the Black people say" or "the Black people sing" in vaudeville songs. And this same dynamic can be found in past and current attitudes that mainstream American (i.e. White America) had/has about Black people being the "go to" population when it comes to learning how to do popular R&B/Hip Hop dances."....
This comment was reformatted by me for clearer readability.

1. ET. ET.
ET from outer space.
He has an ugly face.
Sittin in a rocket
eatin very tocket
watchin the clock go
Tick tock
tick tock shawally wally
You betta get your black hands offa me
You gotta smoooth cho
You gotta smoooth cho
You gotta smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth. Now Freeze!
(alternative last line: My mama said "Black eye peas").
-Kiera, African American girl, 8 years old, (Pleasantville, New Jersey) and Kion, African American male, 6 years old, (Pleasantville, New Jersey), 11/8/2008l collected by Azizi Powell
"You gotta smoooth cho" is also found in some "Miss Sue From Alabama" rhymes as "take a smooth shot".

2. E.T.::clap clap::
E.T.::clap clap::
E.T. from outer space
he had an ugly face
sittin in a rocker eatin betty crocker
watchin the clock go tick tock
tick tock she walla wala
tick tock she walla wala
A. B.C.D. E. F.G.
I gota smooth shaa(?)
I gota smooth shaa(?)
I gota smooth smooth smoth smooth shaa(?)
and then u say sumthin like ya name and then go FREEZE! LOL!
-SharmaineB: “HandClaps Throwbacks”; posted 2007; retrieved 9/15.2009
"smooth shea" probably means "smooth shot". People probably did a sliding side to side movement while chanting that line.

ET from outer space.
He had an ugly face.
Sitting in a rocket.
Eating chocolate.
Watching soap operas
All day long.
Get your black hands off of me.
Now freeze!
-Naijah S.; (African American female, 9 years old; Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; January 14, 2011; Collected by Azizi Powell 1/14/2011
[Note written January 2011] While waiting for others to come to an African storytelling session that I was commissioned to do for children of members of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority Inc. a historically Black sorority, I took the opportunity to collect rhyme examples from a little girl who had arrived early.
Naijah recited "ET" without my asking for it by name. She said that the "ABCDEFG" part is used in another rhyme which she later recited. (Read "I Am A First Grader" in this Hand clap rhyme series.

*I said to Naijah that I heard that "get your Black hands off of me line before in other rhymes and I
wondered if if meant that people were ashamed of being Black. Naijah looked shocked and said "I enjoy my heritage".
I've never heard of or read any children's rhyme with the line "Get your White hands off of me" or "Get your brown hands off of me". In spite of (then) nine year old Naijah's response to my question, I still believe that "black" in the line "Get your Black hands off of me" reflects some Black people's continued use of "black" as an insult.

To provide some background to some Black children's use of "black" as an insult, in 2005-2006 I worked as a substitute teacher at a predominately (99.9%) African American elementary school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania {Fort Pitt school]. On several occasions, I had to stop arguments between two Black students in which one student called the other student "Blackie". And, sometimes, the person calling the student "Blackie" was darker than the student that was being addressed by that term.

My daughter who was a teacher at that school, shared with me that some newly enrolled students at that school from Somalia, East Africa were being taunted by some African American students at that school because of their dark skin color.

XI. EENY MEENY SYSALEENY (also known as "Take A Peach Take A Plum"]
Hi I live in East Harlem in New York and hand games are very much alive.
Eeny Meeny
Sys a leeny,
ooh aah tumble leeny,
ochy Cochy Liver achy
I Love you.
Take a peach
take a plum
not a stick of bubble gum.
No peach no plum
just a stick of bubble gum.
I saw you with your boyfriend last night.
I looked through the window.
I ate a bag of cookies.
I didn't take a bath.
I jumped out the window .
Now I know you crazy.
I like icecream
I like tea
I like the color boys
and they like me
so step off white boy
you don't shine,
I'm gonna get my boyfriend
to kick your behind.
He'll kick you up,
he'll kick you down,
he'll kick you all around the town.

(very racial driven at the end I know)
-Guest, KLC (East Harlem, New York, New York) ; "Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?" ; July 10, 2008
Here's is part of the response that KLC posted on that Mudcat discussion thread to my request that she provide demographical information about who plays this rhyme and other rhymes she shared:
"The children that play these games range from 5 - 12 years old. Both boys and girls play these games but girls are more into it and know a lot more hand games then the boys. The children that I see playing these games are Hispanic, African American, Carribean, Caucasian and Asian because that is the population that I serve at my program."
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