The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73808   Message #2269221
Posted By: Azizi
21-Feb-08 - 11:37 PM
Thread Name: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
The first example that GUEST,frank from ny posted on 18 Dec 07 - 02:14 AM is quite similar to the Bang Bang Choo Choo Train rhyme/cheer that I've collected from a number of African American girls, ages 6-13 years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1999-2006. Bang Bang Choo Choo Train appears to be pretty widely known, judging by the number of different versions of this rhyme that have been sent to my website, www.cocojams.com.

Here's one example of this rhyme:

Bang Bang Choo Choo Train
Here's something you might find amusing. I learned it in 2nd grade. I'm 11 now in the 6th grade. Bang Bang choo choo train come on baby do that thang I can't. Why not? I can't. Why not? My back is aching, My bra's too tight, My booty's shaking to the right to the left left to the right
-Bianca; 10/28/2006
http://www.cocojams.com/cheerleader_cheers.htm

-snip-

Compare the "My back is aching, My bra's too tight, My booty's shaking to the right to the left left to the right" lines with these lines from Guest frank from ny's example:
"youre left
youre left
your left right left
my ass is shakin
my belts too tight
my balls are shakin from left to right"

-snip-

Btw, I wonder if that first rhyme that frank from ny sent in {and the 2nd rhyme} are really cadence chants. It's easy to see frank from ny's example-let's title it "You're Left, Right, Left" could have come from an adult cadence. Perhaps that cadence was the Duckworth chant, and perhaps it was some other cadence, or more than one adult military cadence. Frank from ny wrote that "a group of girls [would] sing[ing] it loud walking from school everyday from ps 156". frank from ny wrote that the girls sang this while walking. He didn't write that the girls said this rhyme while marching. And I don't think that the words have a marching rhythm. In my opinion, that "You're Left, Right, Left" rhyme has the structure and "feel" of a handclap rhyme or dance style movement cheer.

That rhyme is made up of strung together, potentially stand alone verses. Sometimes these verses are connected by seque, connecting lines {such as "umm funky nassau/umm funky nassau"} and sometimes these potentially stand alone verses may follow each other without any connecting phrase. Incidentally, I think "umm funky nassau" is a phonetic construct that has no real meaning, but is said because it sounds..shall I say "funky?". Of course, given that these girls who chanted this rhyme lived in the New York, the word "nassau" was probably familiar to them, and could have been a folk etymology for the word "nation" or some other word or phrase. Which one/s we'll never know. But it's interesting to speculate that that phrase may be related to the children's rhyme "How Funky Is The Chicken" or other children's rhyme that includes the lines "umm, ain't that funky now/umm, ain't that funky now/ umm ain't that/umm ain't that/umm aint that funky now. {See www.cocojams.com handclapping rhymes and cheers for examples of these rhymes].

Also, there are a number of children's rhymes that include the phrases "your baldheaded granny", "[concentration}/no hesitation", and "ring my bell."

The point of this shotgun analysis is to suggest that one children's rhymes may have a number of sources and lines from military cadences are often combined with lines from handclap rhymes, taunts, and movement cheers.

Kids are creative like that.