The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73808   Message #1286064
Posted By: Azizi
01-Oct-04 - 11:00 AM
Thread Name: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
Thanks for the invaluable research/information that is being posted here..

I've discovered that trying to trace origins of African American children's rhymes can lead down some interesting, unexpected paths.

For instance, I have found several children's chants that include the line "If you see me just step aside". As an example, a Houston, Texas version of the handclap rhyme "Hollywood Rock Swingin" {Michels & White "Apples on A Stick: The Folklore of Black Children":New York, Coward McCann, 1983} has the line "So if you see me step aside/cause mighty Aniesha don't take no jive"

One of the military cadences that I read from the link provided above by Q also includes a "step aside" line. This cadence entitled "Barkin" is also interesting because one of the African American Greek letter university fraternities,Omega Psi Phi{whose members are coincidentally known as "Qs"}originated from a ROTC group. The Qs often perform in step shows {syncopated group routines that emphasize bass sounding foot stomps and body pats, and also includes chanting}in army fatigue pants and black army boots. Also the fraternity's members are called Q Dogs {"dog" here being a positive reference} and their call is a distintive dog's bark. Of course, this may have nothing to do with the military cadence "Barkin" . But then it might.

Here's the words to the Barkin running cadence as found on the website referenced in Mudcatter Q's post that was submitted by LCPL BRYCE LAWRENCE

1 Barkin' on the left foot (*1 Marine calling cadence)

2 "ROOF ROOF" (*2 Platoon is barkin)

1 Motivatied left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 What's that comin down the street

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Sounds like DEVILDOGS ready to eat

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 If you see us, step aside

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 If you don't we'll eat you alive

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Barkin' on the left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Motivatied left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

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Also, regarding the Hollywood Rock Swingin rhyme I mentioned above: there are a number of "Hollywood Swingin" children's rhymes. The title and first lines are lifted from the 1978 Kool & The Gang hit R&B record "Hollywood Swingin". But there is a line in most of the chants that says "If you see me walkin down the street, you better speak". This is taken from the classic R&B record "Cool Jerk", reflecting the mutiple sources for these rhymes.

Also it occurs to me that military cadences could be one source of the "Get Out of the Way" children's chants that I have collected. For instance, one rhyme chant from Indianapolis in the late 1970s, early 1980s is performed by the girls linking arms, walking down the street, and chanting

Hey Hey
Get out of the way.
I just got back to the USA.
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I thought this rhyme might be related to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Wild Indians {African American groups}who perform call & response chants while parading down the street in colorful feathered and intricately beaded outfits. One of their chant is "Get The Hell The Way". I've never seen the Wild Indian groups do their thing, but I bet they met what they said.