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GUEST,Jack Warshaw Folklore: Origins of Hooka-Toka/Green Rocky Road (5) RE: Folklore: Origins of Hooka-Toka/Green Rocky Road 25 Jun 19

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Harold Courlander collected this song from the children of Lilly's Chapel School in York, Alabama. You can hear the original field recording on Smithsonian-Folkways 'Negro Folk Music of Alabama, Vol. 6: Ring Game Songs and Others.' It was a ring-game with kissing! Courlander describes it:

The children form a circle with the leader in the center, The group sings "Green, green" and the leader answers, "Rocky road, " skipping around the ring , As the chorus is sung the leader is deciding which person to choose . As he picks one, the group sings the first line of the verse, naming the child selected . The leader brings his choice to the center and kisses her at the line, "Give her a kiss and let her go."
Green Green was recorded by several of the 1960's folk revivalists, such as Dave and Len Chandler. One of these was Karen Dalton, a beautiful Cherokee woman from Oklahoma with a voice like an old lady blues singer. Karen played a haunting version on the twelve-string guitar and banjo and put it on an album titled 'Green Rocky Road.'

The children at Lilly's Chapel School only sang two verses. I wondered where lines like "Hooka dooka soda cracker" came from. In an interview, now on YouTube, Dave Van Ronk said that he and Len Chandler learned the song from beat poet Bob Kaufman one night at a coffee house. Maybe Kaufman wrote the words or perhaps he remembered them from his childhood in New Orleans.

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