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Lyr Req: Children's rhymes in dance songs

22 Dec 04 - 12:02 AM (#1362773)
Subject: Children's rhymes in dance song lyrics
From: Azizi

Wandering around cyberspace as I sometimes do, just googling different subjects, I found a version of Rufus Thomas'1964 hit song "Walkin The Dog". This song starts with the Mary Mack childen's rhyme and includes other verses of that rhyme.

I'm wondering what other dance songs are out there that also include children's rhymes?

For example, for the life of me, I can't remember all the words or even the singer of a contemporary jazzy type song that I listened to on a CD about three years ago. The song starts with:

"Last night and the night before
25 robbers at my door
I got up to let them in"
[I don't think she sings "Hit'em in the head with a rollin pin", but maybe she does. I distinctly remember the singer said "25 robbers, instead of the "24 robbers" which I believe is the usual number given.]

At some point the words of that song are
"I won't let it get me down, clown
turn my smile into a frown

And I think she sings...
all is fair in love and war
what are you waiting for.   

That's the end of my recollection :0(

Does anyone know this song/singer and/or other contemporary or older dance songs that contain lyrics of children's rhymes?


22 Dec 04 - 01:24 AM (#1362798)
Subject: RE: Children's rhymes in dance song lyrics
From: Metchosin

I seem to recall there were a few of them from the early 60's. One which comes to mind was Chubby Checker's Hooka Tooka

Hooka tooka my soda cracker
Does your mother chaw tobacca

If I remember correctly that was a kid's rhyme

Also, not a dance song but Lonnie Donnegan included

"ABCD XYZ Cat's in the cupboard and he can't see me", in Rock Island Line.

22 Dec 04 - 01:30 AM (#1362799)
Subject: ADD: Walkin the Dog (Rufus Thomas)
From: Azizi

Just for the record, there are a lot of incorrect words to Rufus Thomas' 1963 hit song "Walkin The Dog" on song lyrics websites. These versions have words like "Baby's back, dressed in black"; "I asked the fellow for fifteen cents to see the fellow jump the fence", and "she got silver bells and cocktail shells". I think that some of these lyrics may be due to unfamiliarity with the "Miss Mary Mack" handclap rhyme...

For a while there I started to doubt my memory of the song. It got so bad that I hunted up and found a CD of Rufus Thomas singing "Walkin The Dog". I carefully listened to the song a couple of times and here is what I heard:


Mary Mack dressed in black.
Silver buttons all down her back.
How low, tipsy toe? [tip to toe?]
She broke a needle
and she can't sew.   

Walkin the dog
Justa walkin the dog
If you don't know how to do it,
I'll show you how to walk the dog [whistle sound and then spoken}*
Come'on now, Come on. Come on."            

Asked my momma for fifteen cents
t'see the elephant jump the fence.
He jumped so high, he touched the sky
never got back t'll the fourth of July.


Mary Mary, quite contrary
Tell me, how does your garden grow?
You got silver bells and you got cockle shells
An' pretty maids all in a row..


[approximation of lyrics]
Oh-oh, justajustajusta walkin [multiple repetition]
If you don't know how to do it
I'll show you how to walk the dog.

end of lyrics

The whistle and the words the "Come on now, Come on." are spoken by the singer to the dog that he is supposedly walking.

Both the first verse and the second verse come from the Mary Mack handclap rhyme, although most kids now say 50 cents instead of fifteen cents. Maybe this is a result of inflation, I don't know.

But one thing this experience of looking up the lyrics to "Walkin The Dog" has taught me is to be extremely cautious about accepting text versions of songs from Internet sources since all websites are not like Mudcat Cafe.