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GUEST,Steve Gardham Origins: 'Once in China there lived a great man... (269* d) RE: Lyr Req: 'Once in China there lived a great man... 17 Mar 08

This thread has been running for 3 years now and nobody has bothered to post the original. What a wonderful collection of variants though!

I'd be interested to know if they all go to the same tune. My parents sang their version to the ubiquitous first strain of 'In and out the windows'/'So early in the morning'/'Blue-tail fly' etc.
I'd say it dates at least from 1840 if not earlier as the earliest printer on broadside I have record of is John Pitts of 7 Dials London and he was in business before 1800. The usual title is 'Chinaman with a/the/his Monkey Nose'

This is the version printed by Bebbington of Manchester c1850

In China once there dwelt a great man
His name was Chick-a-chack-tan-ran-tan,
His legs were long and his feet so small
this Chinaman couldn't walk at all,
His servants used to carry him out,
Upon their backs, and the folks would shout,
O, lookee here comes!'--oh, dere he goes!
'The Chinaman with a Monkey Nose.

    So Chickara-Choo-Chi-Cho-Chut-La
    Chokolo roonee, ning o ping nang,
    Padoger was dusta canta kee,
    Gunnee po hutto pi China coo!

There are 4 more double verses
Looking at line 7 above I would guess it originated as an early solo minstrel-type song. It predates the Virginia Minstrels but there were plenty of solo blackface performers in Britain even back as far as the 18thc.

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