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Lyr ADD: Crazy Old Man From China

DigiTrad:
JOHN CHINAMAN, MY JO
THE CHINEE BUMBOATMAN


Related threads:
Origins: Ching Chong Chinaman Song (75)
Lyr Req: Heilan' King o' China (Miller & Campbell) (25)
Origins: In Chinaland there lived a great man (64)
Req: Children's song -Chinaman came knocking (8)
Origins: 'Once in China there lived a great man... (269)
Song Req: 'There was China Man...' (113)
(origins) Origins: Chink a Boo Man (21)
John the Chinaman (5)
Lyr Req: China Trade Song for 1st graders (10)
Lyr Req: Long John, Chineeman (7)


Jacob B 18 Jan 07 - 02:22 PM
Azizi 18 Jan 07 - 04:54 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Jan 07 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Dave Bishop 19 Jan 07 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Lisa Null 20 Jan 07 - 11:41 PM
Charlie Baum 21 Jan 07 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,carol 16 Mar 07 - 02:55 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 07 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,pemalu 29 Jun 09 - 05:55 AM
Jim Dixon 30 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,cheryl s. 04 Sep 09 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,A 30 Mar 10 - 06:28 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 10 - 12:38 AM
GUEST 11 Jul 10 - 09:09 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 10 - 12:18 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 10 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Mary in Pennsylvania 05 Nov 10 - 08:48 AM
Jim Dixon 06 Nov 10 - 10:52 PM
Joe Offer 06 Nov 10 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,betty 20 Jan 11 - 08:08 PM
GUEST 21 Feb 11 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Wanda 24 Feb 11 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,dave 08 May 11 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,CA 01 Jun 11 - 10:32 PM
GUEST 19 Mar 12 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Pam A 21 Mar 12 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Pam A 21 Mar 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 24 Mar 12 - 06:56 PM
Bug Girl 16 May 12 - 04:56 PM
GUEST 27 Jul 12 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Karri 26 Nov 12 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,BRoman 27 May 13 - 11:28 PM
Jim Dixon 28 May 13 - 10:17 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 13 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Crazy old woman from china 26 Sep 14 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,It's Just For Fun, That's All 27 May 17 - 11:27 AM
Jason Xion Wang 27 May 17 - 12:46 PM
Nathan in Texas 05 Jan 18 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Anonymous 05 Mar 18 - 06:06 PM
GUEST 05 Apr 18 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Anonymous 27 Apr 22 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,Cmack 11 Aug 23 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Azizi 17 Aug 23 - 05:28 AM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 23 - 01:51 AM
GUEST,Squeakymarm 26 Nov 23 - 01:34 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Nov 23 - 03:13 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Nov 23 - 03:43 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Jacob B
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 02:22 PM

I remember the first and last verse of a children's song from my youth in Boston (Massachusetts) in the 50s. Does anybody remember the middle?


My mother told me to open the door
But I didn't wanna
I opened the dool
He fell on the floor
The crazy old man from China


...

My mother told me to bury him
But I didn't wanna
I buried him
He popped up again
The crazy old man from China


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 04:54 PM

I posted my childhood memory of a song "The Little Bald headed Chinese in this Mudcat thread: thread.cfm?threadid=73889 Songs your parents didn't allow :

My mother she told me to open the door.
The little bald headed Chinese nese nese.
I opened the door.
He fell on the floor.
The little baldheaded Chinese nese nese.

My mother she told me to get him a drink.
The little bald headed Chinese nese nese.
I gave him a drink.
He peed in the sink.
The little bald headed Chinese nese nese.

My mother she told me to give him a dance.
The little bald headed Chinese nese nese.
I gave him a dance.
He pulled down his pants.
The little bald headed Chinese nese nese.

-snip-

I also added this comment in that post:

"My apologies to Chinese;I mean no disrespect. Also, I think that sometimes adults "get" the full intent of some songs much more than children, and sometimes they don't explain to children the real reasons why a song is a "no no"."

**

In that same thread is this song that Joybell's partner posted on 01 Oct 04 - 08:04 PM at under the title: Lyrics add Old Shoes and Leggings":

old ______?_______* came courting one day
all three girls wouldn't have him
came courting one day and we wished him away
with his old shoes on and his leggings

mother told me to give him a chair
all three etc
i gave him a chair and he jumped in the air
with his etc

mother told me to get him a drink
i got him a drink and he sat in the sink

show him the saw
danced rye straw

put him to bed
stood on his head

send him away
left us to stay


* i sing "old fiddle-faddle"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 06:33 PM

A very popular theme, with lots of minor variations...
Old shoeboots and leggins..
Old Grey Beard a-waggin'...

Apparently arranged marriages, while prevalent, weren't always popular.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Dave Bishop
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 08:56 AM

My friend Terry Whelan, of Manchester, UK would have loved this thread(sadly, Terry died last October). He used to sing this song and learned it from his young son, Connan, back in the 1970s. Apparently Connan, who was about 7 or 8 at the time, came home from school one day with the song. Terry attempted to explain to him that there were other songs like it ('An Old Man Came Courting Me', 'Old Grey Beard A'Wagging etc.) and about the oral tradition. Connan would have none of this and insisted that 'The Crazy Old Man From China' had been "written by a girl in his class". Anyway, Terry was always proud of the fact that he had actually learned a traditional song from a (younger!) member of his family.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Lisa Null
Date: 20 Jan 07 - 11:41 PM

My Mother told me to open the door
Gee I don't wanna
But I opened the door and in stepped the man,
The dirty old man from China,

My mother told me to take him to a dance
Gee I dont wanna
But I took him to a dance and he peed in his pants
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to take him to school
Gee I don't wanna
But I took him to school and he acted like a fool
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to take him to bed
Gee I don't wanna
But I took him to bed, and I screwed off his head
The dirty old man from China

My mother told me to bury his head
Gee I don't wanna
But I buried his head and that was the end
Of the dirty old man from China.

Collected by Lisa Null from her nieces who learned it in a school playground, early 1970s, in West Glover or Barton, Vermont.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 12:07 AM

Many other variants discussed at the Traditional Ballad Index.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: ADD: The Poor Bald Headed Chinese
From: GUEST,carol
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 02:55 AM

Dad used to sing this to us when I was a little. It was the 1950's. I never found out where he heard it. But he knew the lyrics backwards and forwards. He called the song "The Poor Bald Headed Chinese":

THE POOR BALD HEADED CHINESE

My mother she told me to open the door.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I opened the door.
He fell on the floor.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to get him a drink.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a drink.
He fell in the sink.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to give him a dance.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a dance.
He pulled down his pants.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to put him to bed.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I put him to bed.
He fell on his head.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to give him a ride.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I gave him a ride.
He fell off and died.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to bury him deep.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I buried him deep.
He stuck out his feet.
The poor bald headed Chinese.

My mother she told me to cut off his feet.
The poor bald headed Chinese.
I cut off his feet.
He laid there in peace.
The poor bald headed Chinese.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 03:33 PM

My mother told me to take off his coat
gee I don't wanna (southern version)
I took off his coat
he smelled like a goat
that crazy old man from china


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,pemalu
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 05:55 AM

chika raka chee chai cho chukolorum condemanoram mempi nah eto toogo eti keti kai, dinner pie chinesese khoo, kooblah!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

There seems to be a large family of related songs.
See, for instance, Penguin: The Old Man From Lee. From there you can follow links to other threads and songs in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,cheryl s.
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 02:16 PM

I grew up in Chicago in the 60s and our song was very similar.

My mother told me to open the door
But I didn't wanna
I opened the door, he fell on the floor
Crazy Bald Headed Chinese, Chinese
Crazy Bald Headed Chinese

My mother told me to give him a fish
But I didn't wanna
I gave him a fish,he ate the dish
Crazy Blad Headed Chinese, Chinese
etc.

Lots of the same verses: gave him a drink, he ate the sink; took him to church, he ate his shirt; took him to a dance, he pulled down his pants;
Last verse: Take him for a ride, he fell out and died.

I was glad to see these posts today and learn I'm not the only one with that song still stuck in her head.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,A
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:28 PM

All my life I thought a family member had made up this song. I learned it as a small child and have never forgotten. It seems that everyone has a slightly different version.

My mother she told me to answer the door
The crazy bald headed Chinese man
I opened the door, he fell on the floor
The crazy bald headed Chinese man

My mother she told me to feed him some pie
The crazy bald headed Chinese man
I fed him some pie, but he ate a fly
The crazy bald headed Chinese man

My mother she told me to put him to bed
The crazy bald headed Chinese man
I put him to bed, he fell on his head
The crazy bald headed Chinese man

My mother she told me to take'm the show
The crazy bald headed Chinese man
I took'm the show, he stubbed his big toe
The crazy bald headed Chinese man

My mother she told me to take'm the fair
The crazy bald headed Chinese man
I took'm the fair, he cut off his hair
The crazy bald headed Chinese man


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 12:38 AM

this song has been hgoing through my head for severl days. I did the propr lyrics


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 09:09 PM

Our version is a bit different.

My mother she told me to open the door
Indeed I don't want to.
I opened the door and he fell on the floor
The crazy bull headed Chinese.

Most of the rest seems to be similar as the rest though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 12:18 AM

It was sang to me as the dirty man from china.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 08:13 AM

my mother she told me to take him for a ride the crazy bald headed Chinese I took him for a ride and the poor fellow died the crazy bald headed Chinese my mother she told me to bury him deep the crazy bald headed Chinese I buried him deep and he stuck out his feet the crazy bald headed Chinese I cut off his feet and they ran down the street the crazy bald headed Chinese!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Mary in Pennsylvania
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 08:48 AM

Back in the 60's, we use to sing this version ... possible varied because we didn't remember the right words?!? This is what I remember now ...

My Mother told me to open the door, But I didn't wanna!
I opened the door, he fell on the floor...
The Crazy Man from China.

My mother told me to give him a drink, but I didn't wanna!
I gave him a drink, he swallowed the sink ...
The Crazy Man from China.

My Mother told me to put him to bed, but I didn't wanna!
I put him to bed, he fell on his head...
The Crazy Man from China.

My Mother told me to bury him, but I didn't wanna!
I buried him, he grew a limb...
The Crazy Man from China!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 10:52 PM

I am sick and tired of all this "Chinaman" crap.

It is all racist drivel.

OK, I get it: you all thought it was "cute" when you learned it. And you are nostalgic for the days when you didn't know any better.

Well, now you do know better. Or you ought to.

It is no longer cute. It is disgusting.

I propose all these "Chinaman" threads be closed immediately.

We already have more versions than anybody could possibly have the patience to read.

Give it a rest. Permanently.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 11:54 PM

Well, Jim, the message previous to yours has two verses not posted before. This thread has only 18 posts, so we really haven't exhausted the song. I'll admit that songs like this make me cringe, but I think they're the most recent true examples of the folk process, since they're not apt to be affected by publishing. Not many books are going to publish songs like this. Lingenfelter and Dwyer Songs of the West has a number of "Chinaman" songs, but that's about the only printed source I can think of. I share your disgust with this type of song, but I think it's essential to preserve them and worthwhile to see how many versions have developed.

I don't think people have done THIS song to death, but I can't figure out why so many people have posted to the Once in China thread. That thread has 218 posts, and has been going since 1998.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,betty
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 08:08 PM

My mom taught it to me as a kid in the 90s.

My mother she told me to open the door
but I didn't wanna
I opened the door, he fell on the floor
the bald headed man from China

My mother, she told me to take off his coat
but I didn't wanna
I took off his coat, he smelled like a goat
the bald head man from China

My mother, she told me to take off his hat
but I didn't wanna
I took off his hat, he looked like a rat
the bald head man from China

My mother, she told me to take off his shoes
but I didn't wanna
I took off his shoes, he sang the blues
the bald head man from China

My mother, she told me to take off his pants
but I didn't wanna
I took off his pants, he started to dance
the bald head man from China

My mother, she told me to take off his shirt
but I didn't wanna
I took off his shirt, he fell in the dirt
the bald head man from China

That's all I remember. I always wondered why my mom (born in the 60s) told me to undress a bald head man from China who showed up at my door


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 07:35 PM

My mama told me to open the door,
but i didn't wanna.
I opened the door, he fell on the floor,
That crazy old man from China.

My mam told me to take his hat,
but I didnt wanna,
I took his hat, and there went a rat,
That crazy old man from China.

My mama told me to take his coat,
but i didnt wanna.
I took his coat, and he smelt like a goat,
That crazy old man from China.

My mama told me to fix him some tea,
but I didnt wanna.
I fixed him some tea, and he spit it at me.
That crazy old man from China.

My mama told me to fix him some steak,
but I didn't wanna.
I fixed him some steak, and he ate the plate,
that crazy old man from china.

My mama told me to put him to bed,
but I didn't wanna.
I put him to bed, and he chopped off his head.
That crazy old man from china.

My mama told me to bury him deep,
but I didn't wanna.
I burried him deep, and out popped his feet.
That crazy old man from china.

My mama told me to chop off his feet,
but I didnt wanna.
I chopped off his feet, and they ran down the street.
That crazy old man from China.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Wanda
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 03:33 AM

My mom and aunt always sung it as the crazy bald headed chinese instead of the poor bald headed chinese.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,dave
Date: 08 May 11 - 03:54 AM

A few differences

My momma told me to open the door
but I didnt wanna
I opened the door and he fell to the floor
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to take off his hat
but I didnt wanna
I took off his hat, there stood a rat
that dity old man from China

My momma told me to take off his coat
But I didnt wanna
I took off his coat and he smelt like a goat
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to get him a drink
But I didnt wanna
I got him a drink and he pissed in the sink
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to give him a bath
but I didnt wanna
I gave him a bath and he still smelt like ass
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to put him to bed
But I didnt wanna
I put him to bed and he chopped off his head
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to bury him deep
but I didnt wanna
I buried him deep and he stuck out his feet
that dirty old man from China

My momma told me to bury him again
but I didnt wanna
I buried him again and that was the end
of the dirty old man from China


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,CA
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 10:32 PM

I was always told it was this...

My mother she told to open the door
But I didn't wanna
I open the door and he feel on the floor
That crazy old man from China

My mother she told me to get him a drink
But I didn't wanna
I got him a drink
And drank out the sink
That crazy old man from China

My mother she told me to put him to bed
But I didn't wanna
I put him to bed
And he rolled over dead
That crazy old man from China

My mother she told me to bury he deep
But I didn't wanna
I burried him deep
And he stuck out his feet
That crazy old man from China

My mother she told me to cut off his feet
But I didn't wanna
I cut of his feet
And they ran down the street
That crazy old man from China!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 03:57 PM

Hmm, maybe we can modify this to have the "but I didn't wanna" rhyme with "The crazy old Obama!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Pam A
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 02:12 PM

My grandfather taught me this song back in the late 40's (it was Crazy Baldheaded Chinese). I would sing it at bedtime and it drove my parents nuts because I had to sing every verse I knew. Would take forever for me to finish - thus prolonging my bedtime. Great memory.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Pam A
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 02:23 PM

Does anyone remember the tune? Did it have it's own or was it from something else?

Looking back at some of the earlier posts - I serioulsy doubt that there was any intent to insult anyone with this song. No more so than say - This Little Piggy, etc. Children's songs don't have to do anything else but entertain. Young children have no bias. They only learn about bias from the adults and older children around them. Can't they just be silly without everyone worrying about offending someone or something?

I was out of the country a couple of years ago and it was a pleasure to hear three children happily singing "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" with no thought of hurting anyone's feelings except maybe the person looking to buy wool.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 12 - 06:56 PM

~I Applogize if this may offend anyone, but this song my mom taught to me, and I think this is the coreect words~

My mother, she told me to open the door
But I didn't wanna
I opened the door, and he fell on the floor
Crazy old man from China!

My mother, she told me to pick up his hat
But i didn't wanna
I picked up his hat, and out popped a rat
Crazy old man from China!

My mother, she told me to hang up his coat
But I didn't wanna
I hung up his coat, and it smelled like a goat
Crazy old man from China!

My mother, she told me to put him to bed
But I didn't wanna
I put him to bed, and he fell on his head
Crazy old man from China!

My mother, she told me to give him a kiss
But I didn't wanna
I gave him a kiss and he fell in a tiss
Crazy old man from China!

My mother, she told me to give him a wed
But I didn't wanna
I gave him a wed, and that was the end
Crazy old many from China!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Bug Girl
Date: 16 May 12 - 04:56 PM

I learned it this way in the early 70's, it was definitely not to tune of Blow The Man Down. There was a girl at school who knew a lot of these types of rhymes. I can't remember her name at all. We were not best friends or anything like that.

That Silly Chinaman

My mother told me open the door, I did not, did not want to
I opened the door, he fell on the floor, that silly Chinaman
My mother told to take off his coat, I did not, did not want to
I took off this coat he smelled like a goat, that silly Chinaman
My mother told me to give him a bath, I did not, did not want to,
I gave him a bath, he showed me his ass, that silly Chinaman


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jul 12 - 05:39 AM

Isnt the little boy from china?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Karri
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 01:54 PM

My mommy told me to answer the door,
Gee I didn't wanna.
I answered the door and he fell on the floor,
The Little Green Man From China.

My mommy told me to get him a drink,
Gee I didn't wanna.
I got him a drink and he fell in the sink,

My mommy told me to give him a ride,
Gee I didn't wanna.
I gave him a ride and he fell down and died,
The Little Green Man From China.

My mommy told me to bury him deep,
Gee I didn't wanna.
I buried him deep and he stuck out his feet,
The Little Green Man From China.

My mommy told me to cut off his feet,
Gee I didn't wanna.
I cut off his feet and they ran down the street,
The Little Green Man From China.

This is how I remember it


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,BRoman
Date: 27 May 13 - 11:28 PM

My grandmother sang this to me when I was a child. Our version is a little different, but as Ive been reading everyone seems to have different verses. To whom ever ridiculously blew their top over a children's song well it's stupid. Im sorry, but when I heard it as a child and even now to this day when I sing it to my children I do not think of it as racist nor do my children. It was a funny song that I remember growing up. Get over yourself. To everyone else thanks for the other versions I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and knowing that other people have had the pleasure of enjoying it as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 May 13 - 10:17 PM

I stand by my previous remarks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 13 - 12:13 PM

my mama told me to take him swimming,oh i didnt want to,i took him swimming and he kissed all the women.that crazy b
ald headed chinese


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Crazy old woman from china
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 08:09 PM

Lol Jim Dixon calm the fuck down
its assholes like you who vote yes to ban soda

racism exists
it always has
and always will

as a child however who sang this

I was not racist - I was a fucking kid enjoying a funny song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,It's Just For Fun, That's All
Date: 27 May 17 - 11:27 AM

Jim Dixon told me to close this thread,
But I didn't wanna.
I closed the thread, he filled me with lead,
The P.C. man from China.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 27 May 17 - 12:46 PM

I think Patrick Sky should have included this song in his Songs That Made America Famous album, it would fit perfectly.

I'm so sick of all these Chinaman shit that I actually enjoy its sickness. Could drive my fellow Chinamen nuts.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 06:49 PM

When I learned this in elementary school in the 60s, the tune was almost the same as "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Anonymous
Date: 05 Mar 18 - 06:06 PM

I heard this song performed in concert, probably in the 1980s, as "The Dirty Old Man from Fresno." (The performer had changed it to remove the anti-Chinese slur, which I fully approved of. It doesn't really matter to the song where the old man came from--it just needs two syllables. I kind of like the idea of replacing the placename with "Nowhere.") The performer also sang the English folksong it descended from, which I remember as "Old Shoes and Leggings."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 02:41 PM

I learned it as Poor little boy Chinese.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Anonymous
Date: 27 Apr 22 - 01:17 AM

I learned a version of this song in the early 2000s in the Girl Scouts in rural Northwest Connecticut. Thinking back, the fact that they were singing this in Girl Scouts is disturbing


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Cmack
Date: 11 Aug 23 - 09:36 PM

I heard this song differently growing up. Instead of the Old Bald Headed Chinese it was The Old Bow Legged Chinese. I’m sure it was probably sung the same way. But a lot of the lyrics were changed. Still very similar.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,GUEST, Azizi
Date: 17 Aug 23 - 05:28 AM

Greetings.

I've been thinking about songs that my sisters and I sung when we were children, and one of those songs is the one we called "The Little Baldheaded Chinese". (Read my 18 Jan 07 - 04:54 PM comment).

I agree with the comment that GUEST,Anonymous Date: 05 Mar 18 - 06:06 made in which they recalled hearing a concert performer "remove the anti-China slur" by changing the referent in that song to "The Dirty Old Man from Fresno". That commenter wrote "I fully approved of [this]. It doesn't really matter to the song where the old man came from--it just needs two syllables."

In a current post on my pancocojams blog I suggested that people could change the word "Chinese" to the word "neighbor"

Corresponding to my 1950s childhood memories of this song, people could sing:
"My mother she told me to open the door
The little baldheaded neighbor bor bor
I opened the door. He fell on the floor
The little baldheaded neighbor bor bor"
-snip-
For the record (no pun intended), the tune that my sisters and I used for what we called "The Little Baldheaded Chinese" song closely fits the "Blow The Man Down" shanty (not that we knew "Blow The Man Down" when we were 7, 6, and 5 years old).

I should also mention that repeating the end of the word "Chinese" was the way that my sisters and I sung that song, but I haven't come across that pattern in any other examples of that song. I only suggest it because I remember it being fun to do. (Regardless of how much fun it may have been, our mother didn't allow us to sing that song again because she said it was "nasty").

That said, I think that the word "neighbor" works pretty well as a replacement for the problematic word "Chinese" in that song because 1. the two syllable word "neighbor" isn't offensive and 2. the word 'neighbor" somewhat explains why the mother told told her child to open the door for that man who ended up doing those crazy things.

People teaching the "The Crazy Baldheaded Neighbor" could use it as a way of reinforcing the lesson that children should not only be aware of "stranger danger" but should also be alert to the possibility that people they know might cause them harm. Therefore, regardless of who asks them, children should always refuse to do something they know isn't right or they feel isn't right.

What do you think of that suggestion of replacing the word "Chinese" for that song?

Best wishes, Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 23 - 01:51 AM

Well, here's a (very poor) recording of "Crazy Bald-Headed Chinese." Can anybody identify the melody? I was very familiar with it, but I couldn't put a name on it.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/lThLaTjpb7o


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Crazy Old Man From China
From: GUEST,Squeakymarm
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 01:34 PM

When I was about 8, I lived in a small town about 3 hours from Indianapolis. One summer, my parents opened our house to a 10 year old Mexican girl Maria. She was participating in an inner city program to get kids out of the city for the summer.
Maria taught us this song: the old man from China, you just held the old longer. This version didn't say crazy or bald or boll legged like what I'm reading here.
I only remember a few verses, not sure of the order.
My mother she told me to open the door
But I didn't wanna
I opened the door, he fell through the floor
The old man from China.
My mother she told me to take off his coat
But I didn't wanna
I took off his coat
And out popped a goat
The old man from China.
My mother she told me to take off his hat
But I didn't wanna
I took off his hat, and out popped a rat
The old man from China.
The rest:
...to get him a drink
He swallowed the sink
That's all I remember


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 03:13 PM

Joe, as far as I can see it's a variant of 'Polly-Wolly-Doodle-all-the day'. We used as kids in the 50s the exact tune for reciting the alphabet and this from my mother born in 1923. (Hull, Yorks)
as in A-B-C-D-E-f-G
H-I-J-K-L-M
N-O-P-Q_R-S-T-U
V double-u-X-Y-Z

It also could be related to the last part of the tune for singing limericks, and the Music hall song 'The Hole in the Elephant's Bottom'.

Regarding the PC issues broached here, I have some empathy with both sides of the argument. First I would not encourage anyone to sing it as it stands in today's world. BUT, as an item for research, which is my forte, I would say threads like this need to be kept as repositories for versions. Once you cancel history it has a tendency to repeat itself.

If you start censoring items like this on Mudcat you'll end up with nothing but the anodyne syrupy stuff. My group a few years ago put out a CD of whaling songs. These are historical records and in no way do they mean that we as a group condone whaling in the modern world. Also in my next book I am contemplating including several hunting songs as part of historical records of our county, but that does not mean that any of us involved support hunting in any way, and we will forcefully present that view in the book.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Crazy Old Man From China
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 03:43 PM

Come to think of it there is some affinity with the tune of the older song 'Long grey beard a wagging'/The Old Man from Lee' Roud 362. The oldest version I have goes back to 1730, but may be older.

The 1730 version in The Musical Miscellany has its tune but I don't read music well enough to say that recent versions are related. Early versions are all Scottish and closely related, though it seems to have become quite widespread in Britain and America early on in anglicised forms.

THE YOUNG LASS CONTRA AULD MAN

The Carle he came o'er the Craft,
And his beard new shav'n,
Glow'rd at me's gin he'd bin daft,
The Carle trows that I'll ha'e him,
Hows awa' I wonna ha'e him,
Na forsooth I'll no ha'e him!
New hose, new shoon,
And his Beard new shav'n.

(3 more stanzas)


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