The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107270 Message #3284507
Posted By: Joe Offer
04-Jan-12 - 03:03 AM
Thread Name: Song Req: 'There was China Man...'
Subject: ADD: In China there lived a little man
Although it's a song that comes from a history of ethnic bigotry, it's still worthwhile to study the song and its versions. Such songs are often true examples of the "folk process" because they aren't the kind of songs publishers would publish.
This song became a pop song called "Chickery Chick" in the 1940s, with lyrics that had nothing to do with anybody of any ethnic descent.
Here's an article about the song from Time Magazine, December 3, 1945:
In the '70s, collegians at Amherst set the l00-year-old jingle to music and sang it over pots of ale, when they wanted to prove that they could walk a musical straight line. One of the many versions ran like this:
In China there lived a little man Last week this old tongue twister, with new and even less intelligible lyrics, was the fast-climbing No. 2 seller in Billboard magazine's poll of record sales. It was well on its way to join Mairzy Boats and the Hut Sut Song in the jabberwocky Valhalla of the jukebox. Twenty-nine-year-old Arkansas-born Jo Proffitt had changed the Chinaman into a chick, and called it Chickery Chick. She sent the lyrics to Tin Pan Alleysmith Sidney Lippman, who added some new notes. Now it describes a chicken who got bored with saying "chick chick" all day, astounds his companions with some jived-up poultry poetry:
His name was Chingery-ri-chan-chan,
His feet were large and his head was small,
And this little man had no brains at all.
Chingery-rico-rico-day ekel tekel Hap py man.
Kuan-a-desco cartty-o gallopy-wallopy-china-go.
Chickery-chick cha-la cha-la, Check-a-la-romey in a ba-nan-i-ka... .Tin Pan Alley actuarians estimate that the U.S. will need about three months to get over it.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,852511,00.html#ixzz1iTSQUYHv
There's another version here: http://www.unp.me/f153/chingery-wangery-chan-108043/
"In China there lived a little man,
His name was Chingery Wangery Chan."
"His legs were short, his feet were small,
And this little man could not walk at all."
"Chingery changery ri co day,
Ekel tekel happy man;
Uron odesko canty oh, oh,
Gallopy wallopy China go."
"Miss Ki Hi was short and squat,
She had money and he had not
So off to her he resolved to go,
And play her a tune on his little banjo."
"Whang fun li,
Tang hua ki,
Hong Kong do ra me!
Ah sin lo,
Pan to fo,
Tsing up chin leute!"
"Miss Ki Hi heard his notes of love,
And held her wash-bowl up above
It fell upon the little man,
And this was the end of Chingery Chan,"