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Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine

GUEST,Dianne 10 Nov 00 - 02:33 PM
Bud Savoie 10 Nov 00 - 10:17 PM
Night Owl 10 Nov 00 - 10:47 PM
Barbara 11 Nov 00 - 01:28 AM
Jim Dixon 14 Nov 00 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,dbruce@cswnet.com 11 May 02 - 12:01 PM
wysiwyg 11 May 02 - 01:19 PM
Jim Dixon 13 May 02 - 11:54 AM
Jim Dixon 13 May 02 - 01:07 PM
Jim Dixon 13 May 02 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Patti 06 Oct 02 - 04:05 PM
masato sakurai 06 Oct 02 - 08:31 PM
masato sakurai 06 Oct 02 - 10:33 PM
Louie Roy 07 Oct 02 - 10:52 AM
masato sakurai 07 Oct 02 - 11:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Apr 05 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Hellbilly 26 Jan 11 - 08:45 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,k3ang at yahoo dot com 10 May 11 - 09:00 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 11 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 11 May 15 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 May 15 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Guest: Loren 17 May 15 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Brian 13 Jul 15 - 01:28 AM
GUEST,Bubba 18 Nov 16 - 12:15 PM
leeneia 18 Nov 16 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,eddy brook 26 Jul 18 - 04:32 PM
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Subject: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Dianne
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 02:33 PM

My Dad is looking for the lyrics to this song. I believe it was written by T P Westendorf. I have searched the net unsuccessfully so far. Thanks in advance for any assistance.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WATERMELON HANGING ON THE VINE
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 10:17 PM

From memory:

See that watermelon, shining through the fence.
Wish that watermelon it was mine.
The folks around here say that if I had a lick of sense,
I'd leave that watermelon on the vine.

CHORUS: Oh, hambone am sweet, chicken am good,
Rabbit am so very, very fine.
But give me, oh, give me, I really wish you would,
That watermelon hanging on the vine.

I went to get that melon, it was on a Saturday night.
The moon and stars had just begun to shine.
When I left that farmer's field, I left it in full flight.
But I never left that melon on the vine.

CHORUS: Oh, hambone am sweet, &c.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 3-Aug-02.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WATERMELON HANGING ON THE VINE
From: Night Owl
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 10:47 PM

Verses I learned are:

You can talk about your peaches
Your apples and your pears
Your cinnamon hanging on the cinnamon tree (???)
But of all the fruit my honey
Of all that fruit that grows
That watermelon is the one for me

Chorus (same as Bud's but with "Possum meat instead of rabbit)

And when I went to fetch it
Was on a winter's night
The moon as yet had not begun to shine
When that farmer saw me, he shot me through the head
I never got that melon from the vine.

repeat chorus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Barbara
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 01:28 AM

'Simmons, dear, (persimmons), and this was the one I was NOT posting when we were talking about Gypsy songs, and how derogatory 'Mrs. Stein' was.
I learned the whole thing in heavy dialect [at church camp 40 years ago], with your first verse, Bud's first as the second with "Dat wite man mus'be crazy, he sure ain't got no sense or he'd nebber leave dat melon on de vine,
And the last lines of the last verse "But Oh dat white man saw me, an' shot me tru de fence (or pants), but I nebber lef' dat melon on de vine.
Chorus also has a lip smacking sound, as I recall, at the end of the first two phrases, and I'm sure this has some historical significance that escapes me at the moment, but it's right up there with 'Little Black Sambo', 'Aunt Jemima' and 'My Dear ol' Mammy'.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 03:04 PM

"The Watermelon Smiling On The Vine," Thomas P. Westendorf, ©1882.

Here is a page where you can hear a recording made by Sam Bell in 1939: Click here.

It's part of American Memory from the Library of Congress, which looks like a very useful website. I plan to bookmark it.

This seems to be a field recording which would be very hard to transcribe, but if you end up learning any more lyrics from it, please post them here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,dbruce@cswnet.com
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:01 PM

I recently ran across a Stoneman's recording of "Watermelon Smiling on the Vine". I was able to decipher most of the words, but need help on a couple of lines (???). The recording has great Clawhammer banjo accompaniment. I have posted it on my server @:

http://www.cswnet.com/~dbruce/other/watermelon.zip

It's in mp3 format. I've also posted just the words @:

http://www.cswnet.com/~dbruce/other/watermelon.htm

I know this is a pretty old post, but can anyone fill in the gaps?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 May 02 - 01:19 PM

i BET IT HAS FLOATING/ZIPPER VERSES (HAH, A FLOATING ZIPPER, FUNNY!).

oh damn capslock! (Lok at the screen when you type dummy, not the keys!!!!!)

Anyway if it does have floaters, there will never be THE one, right version, and it would then also be likely that the peson holding the copyright just happens to be the one that got a copyright slapped on it first-- even as minstrelsy, it may have been around in the vernacular long before that, with any old verse sneaking in there on any given occasion.

But I like it!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 02 - 11:54 AM

The All Music Guide lists the following recordings:

"Watermelon Hangin' on a Vine" recorded by Snuffy Jenkins on "Pioneer of the Bluegrass Banjo" Arhoolie CD #9027, 1998.
"Watermelon Hangin' on That Vine" recorded by The Monroe Brothers on "Monroe Brothers, Vol. 1: What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul?" Rounder CD #1073, 2000.
"Watermelon Hangin' on the Vine" recorded by David Crow on "As the Crow Flies" Pinecastle CD #1035, 1994.
"Watermelon Hanging on the Vine" recorded by Bill Monroe on "Live Recordings 1956-1959" Smithsonian/Folkways CD #40063, 1995.
"Watermelon Hanging on the Vine" recorded by the Lilly Brothers & Don Stover on "Live at Hillbilly Ranch" Hay Holler CD #1333, 2000.
"Watermelon Is Spoilin' on the Vine" recorded by Thomas Cartwright & The Boys on the collection "Bahamas: Island of Song" Smithsonian/Folkways CD #40405, 1997.
"Watermelon on the Vine" recorded by the Birmingham Jubilee Singers on "Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1927-1930)" Document CD 5346, 1995.
"Watermelon on the Vine" recorded by the Delta Rhythm Boys on "Dry Bones" Collector's Edition CD 28, 1996.
"Watermelon on the Vine" recorded by the Dillards on "The First Time Live" Varese CD #66057, 1999.
"Watermelon on the Vine" recorded by the Skillet Lickers on "Skillet Lickers, Vol. 1: 1926-1927" Document CD #8056, 2000.
"Watermelon on the Vine" recorded by the Stoneman Family on the collection "World's Greatest Bluegrass Bands" CMH CD #5900, 1995.
"Watermelon Smilin' on the Vine" recorded by the Hall Negro Quartette on "Unreleased Radio Programs (1936)" Document CD #5415, 1996.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WATERMELON SMILING ON THE VINE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 02 - 01:07 PM

I had another crack at that Library of Congress field recording, and this is what I came up with:

Oh, see that watermelon smiling through the fence
Oh, how I wish that watermelon it was mine
Oh, white folks must be foolish, ...(?) a heap o' sense
Or they wouldn't leave it smiling on the vine.

CHO: Oh the ham is sweet and the bacon good
And the possums am very, very fine.
Oh, give me, give me, oh, how I wish you would
At the watermelon smiling on the vine.

Oh, when the day drew dark and fallen then that melon's gwine to go
Oh, I knowed it would be most awful good or else I is a fool. CHO.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WATERMELON SONG & WATERMELON ON THE VINE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 02 - 01:56 PM

Here are 2 versions that illustrate how a song can be purged of its offensive elements without sacrificing any of its appeal.
1. Lyrics copied from http://www.fieldcamp.net/music.htm (a bunch of camp songs)

THE WATERMELON SONG

CHO: Hambone is sweet. Chicken is good.
Possum meat is very, very fine.*
So bring me, oh, bring me (I really wish you would)
That watermelon hangin' on a vine.

And when I went to fetch it, it was a rainy night
And the moon hadn't yet begun to shine, (begun to shine)
And when that fella shot me, he shot me in the oomph,
And I never got that melon on a vine (watermelon).

There's a little girl who lives down the holler from me.
She wishes that she could be mine (could be mine).
But she doesn't know, though she is very cute,
Is all I really want is that melon on a vine (watermelon).

My daddy made a livin' a-diggin' that coal,
Way down in that deep dark mine (deep dark mine).
So summer days I'd fetch him a sweet, sweet slice
Of that watermelon hangin' on a vine.

Well, fall days are pristine, and winter ain't so bad,
And springtime can be just divine (just divine),
But give me that summer with those crickets in the field
And that watermelon hangin' on a vine (watermelon).

[*This line is a lie, though. Poor people eat possum because they need the nourishment, not because they like it. –JD]

2. Lyrics copied from http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~motoya/W/Watermelon_on_the_vine.html

WATERMELON ON THE VINE

See that watermelon a-hanging on the fence.
How I wish that melon was mine!
Some folks are foolish. They just don't have no sense
Or they wouldn't leave that melon on the vine.

CHO: Hambone it is sweet. Chicken it is good.
Rabbit is so very, very fine
But give me, oh, give me, oh, how I wish you would,
That watermelon hanging on the vine.

You may talk about your peaches, your apples and your pears,
Simmons growing on the tree.
Folks have their favorites just most every where,
But that watermelon is the best for me. CHO.

I went to get that melon. I thought I'd have some fun.
The stars they had just begun to shine,
But when I heard some moving, I left there on the run,
But I didn't leave that melon on the vine. CHO.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Patti
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 04:05 PM

thank you thank you!! This site was really exactly what I was looking for! I heard this song years ago, but haven't found it again since. Thank you so much dbruce@csw.net for providing that mp3 link!!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: masato sakurai
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:31 PM

Hall Negro Quartette's "Watermelon Smilin' On The Vine" (1936) [sound clip].

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: masato sakurai
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 10:33 PM

From Country Music Sources (pp. 477-478) [which documents "the recordings ... during the 1920s through the early 1940s"]:

WATERMELON ON THE VINE
[Thomas P. Westendorf, w&m, 1882; Ref: (1) SFCF, p. ?; SOAC, pp. 22-3; (2) NCF, III, #468, 540-1; AT1004FS, p. 419; Harbison, p. 157; (5) Cantrell & Williams, ca. 1904, Edison Bell 5938; 'Laughing Song,' Seven Musical Magpies, 12/01/1924, Vi 19544.]

Watermelon Hanging On The Vine (S 72-982- ) - Henry Whitter (vcl w/gtr & hca) - 11/14/1924. NYC.
OK 40296 - 03/1925
Watermelon Smilin' On The Vine (683/84) - Uncle Dave Maoon (vcl w/bjo) - 04/14/1925. NYC.
Vo 15063 - 09/1925 Vo 5065 - 02/1927
Watermelon On The Vine (W 142038-1) - Gid & His Skillet Lickers (vcl w/2 vlns, gtr & bjo) - 04/17/1926. Atlanta, Ga.
Co 15091-D - 11/1926 Co 19004
Watermelon Hanging On The Vine (11059- ) - Emest V. Stoneman & The Blue Ridge Mountaineers (vcl w/gtr & hca) - 06/22/1926. NYC.
Ed 51864 - Ol/1927 Ed 5191 [16183] - 12/1926 (cyl)
Smiling Watermelon (W 80620-A) - Bill Chitwood & His Georgia Mountaineers (vcl w/vln, 2gtrs & bjo) - 03/23/1927. Atlanta, Ga
OK 4511O - 07/1927
Watermelon Hanging On De Vine (BVE 47098-2) - Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers (vcl w/vln, 2 gtrs & bjo) - 09/28/1928. Nashville, Tenn.
Vi uniss
Watermelon Hanging On De Vine (BVE 47098-3) - Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers (vcl w/vln, 2 gtrs & bjo) - 10/02/1928. Nashville, Tenn.
Vi uniss
Watermelon Smiling On The Vine (W 403129-B) - Bela Lam & His Green County Singers (vcl w/gtr & bjo) - 10/15/1929. Richmond, Ind.
OK uniss
Watermelon On The Vine (BS 102611-1) - J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers (vcl w/vln, bjo & gtr) - 06/15/1936. Charlotte. N.C.
Bb B6584 - 12/1936
Watermelon Hangin' On That Vine (BS 102739- ) - Monroe Brothers (vcl duet w/gtr & mdln) - 06/21/1936. Charlotte, N.C.
Bb B6829 - 05/1937 MW M7010

From Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943, 4th ed. (Oxford UP, index):
Watermelon On The Vine Birmingham Jubilee Singers (1927)
Watermelon Smiling On The Vine Arthur Anderson (1937); Hall Negro Quartette (1936)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Louie Roy
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:52 AM

You can find this song on the record ladies web page and tape it or down load it whatever suits your fancy.I play with a fiddler who is 85 and he played and sang this song in the late 1920s when he lived in Texas.Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: masato sakurai
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 11:13 AM

Louie Roy, thanks. Here's the link.
'Watermelon On The Vine' - Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers [Realaudio], from The Record Lady's site (Real Country Page 15).

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: GIB ME DAT WATER-MILLION (T P Westendorf)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM

GIB ME DAT WATER-MILLION
Words and music by Thos. P. Westendorf

1. Oh, see dat water-million a smilin' fro' de fence,
How I wish dat water-million it was mine!
Oh, de white folks mus' be foolish—Dey need a heap of sense,
Or dey'd nebber leave it dar upon de vine.

CHORUS: Oh, de hambone am sweet, An' de bacon am good,
An' de 'possum fat am berry, berry fine;
But gib me, yes, gib me, Oh, how I wish you would!
Dat water-million growin' on de vine.

2. You may talk about de peaches, de apples and de pears,
An' de 'simmons hanging on de 'simmon tree;
But, bless my heart, my honey! Dat truck it ain't nowheres,
Oh! de water-million am de fruit for me!

3. When de dew-drops dey is fallin', dat million's gwine to cool,
An' I know den it will eat most awfull fine!
So I'm gwine to come and fetch it, Or else I is a fool!
If I leaves it dar a smilin' on de vine.


With music, from Carmina Princetonia, 1894, Eighth Edition, p. 104.
I remember the expression, "That truck ain't nowheres," from the 1930s so it persisted for a long time, as did the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:35 PM

One of Thomas Westendorf's two best known songs, the other "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," about his wife's homesickness for Germany.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Hellbilly
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 08:45 PM

After careful listening, I have found the Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers version to sing:

"Oh de white folks dey are foolish,
But a nigger got a lotta sense
'Cos they wouldn't leave it hangin' on the vine"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM

You can hear this recording at The Internet Archive. Here's my transcription:


WATERMELON ON THE VINE
As recorded by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, June 15, 1936, Bluebird 6584.

1. See that watermelon; she's smiling through the fence,
Oh, how I wish that watermelon was mine.
White folks say I'm foolish; they shouldn't have lots of sense,
'Cause they wouldn't leave it hangin' on the vine.

CHORUS: Oh, hambone an' gravy, chicken am good.
Rabbit is so very, very fine. (Yes, indeed!)
Give me, oh, give me, oh, how I wish you would,
That watermelon hanging on that vine.

2. Talk about your apples, your peaches, and your pears.
Lemons am growing on a tree.
Bless your heart, little honey, you am the gal for me.
Lord, I wouldn't leave it hangin' on that vine.

3. I went to get that melon. It was one Saturday night.
The stars they had just begin to shine.
When I left that old man's field, I left there in a run,
But I never left that melon on that vine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,k3ang at yahoo dot com
Date: 10 May 11 - 09:00 PM

New link for this song. From 1924. The Seven Musical Magpies.
http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/recordings/detail/id/10156


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 07:08 PM

I'm thinking

Hambone am sweet, chicken am good, Possem meat is very, very fine, ain't is so, so give me, oh give me, I really think you should, that watermelon hanging on the vine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:48 PM

Oh Hambone is sweet! Chicken and Meat! Possum meat is might mighty fine. (yeehaw!) Oh give me, oh give me (I really wish you would) some of that watermelon hangin' on that vine.

One day I'd thought I'd fetch it. T'was on a rainy night. The moon had just begin to rise and shine. But, then the farmer saw me, and shot me through the fence and I never got that watermelon vine.

This is the version I sing at camp.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 May 15 - 12:41 PM

Somehow the song seems to assume that a person who lusts after a ripe watermelon must be a black person. This is far from the case. I can assure you as a card-carrying white person that I too would be tempted by a sweet and luscious watermelon, ripe for picking.

Ah, for those happy days when I sat on the front porch with brothers and sisters, and we ate watermelon and spat the seeds into the rose bush.

The blood center tells me that watermelon is a good source of iron, to boot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Guest: Loren
Date: 17 May 15 - 12:19 AM

AT LAST!!! My mother used to sing a portion of this song to me as a child in the '50's. It was one song she sang that I did not get committed to memory. In my previous online searches I have kept missing this site obviously.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:28 AM

This is the way my Grandmother used to sing it to me over 60 years ago

Oh see that watermelon a-smiling on the vine
how I wish that watermelon she was mine
oh the white folks damn foolish they need a heap of sense
or they wouldn't leave it there upon the vine

Oh the hambone am sweet and the bacon am good the possum fat am very, very fine, but its give me oh give me oh how I wish you would
that big watermelon smiling on the vine.

When the dew am fallin' that mellon mighty cool
then it will taste most awful fine.
Well then I's gonna fetch it, or else I is a fool to a-leave it there a-smilin' on the vine.

Talk about your peaches, your apples and your pears, and the cimmom that grows on the cimmom tree. Well bless your heart my honey for your trucket and your wares, but the watermelon am the fruit for me


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,Bubba
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 12:15 PM

When I was child up in northern Wisconsin, my grandmother had record with with watermelon smiling on on the vine on it. It was completely different though from the lyrics other people have posted. The song as I know it goes like this.

Watermelon smiling on the vine
It's summertime and watermelons fine
It's red in the middle and green on top
Makes your tounge go flippity flop

Old farmer Grey has gone away
And I know that his melons are sweeter than the hay
I hop rightover and get me one
Hear a shot and away I run

Watermelon smiling on the vine
It's summer time and watermelon's fine
Their white on the bottom and red in the middle
Sweeter than a tune on a fiddle

This is all I can remember, since it has been over 75 years since I heard this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 09:46 PM

Ya gotta wonder how anything as heavy as a watermelon could be hangin' on a vine. Watermelons don't hang, they lie on the ground.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Watermelon Smiling on the Vine
From: GUEST,eddy brook
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 04:32 PM

Ham bone am sweet, bacon am good, possum eat 'em very very fine,
But give me, oh give me, I really wish you would, that watermelon smilin' on the vine.

when first I saw that melon, was on a stormy night, the meat was ripe and oh it tasted fine,
Well, the boss man, he saw me and he shot me through the fence, but I never left that melon on the vine.

(My grandfather sang this selling patent medicines off Poke Miller's wagon in Goochland County, VA.)


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