The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34787   Message #475141
Posted By: Abby Sale
02-Jun-01 - 11:39 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Dilly Song
Subject: RE: The Dilly Song

I'm still interested in this song & learning/relearning many things.  Eg, I'd plain forgotten it came through as a Christian adaptation of the Passover song, "Echod Mi Yodea."  "Echod Mi Yodea" first appeared in print in 1590 (not in the first printed Haggadah of 1526.)  It may be older.  It likely was intended for adults, not children.  Norm Cohen (of Long Steel Rail) gives an excellent background in his Haggadah.

I'm most interested in the one I just heard from Marais and Miranda.  Two reasons - they do a remarkable, if largely "art" rendition and also because I'm not very familiar with the actual "Dilly Song" branch.  It seems to be a much rarer segment of the "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh" family - mentioned in the literature but not printed.  It's not New Wave either (at least not the current New Wave) as it's mentioned at least back to 1890.

The few examples I have of "Dilly" give it as a counting song, not a cumulative one.  That is, while each verse answers 'I will sing you xx, oh' with a higher number in each verse, it does not recapitulate each earlier verse.  It is linear and just moves to the next higher number.

Stewie of Mudcat found a text from the English 'industrial techno' group, Current 93, which goes to 10 numbers.  After a bit of search and the help of Gnutella I downloaded their mp3 of it.  It is simply sung (linearly) by an English child with 'techno' sounds around it.  That doesn't help much, though.  (Current 93 seems much interested in techno settings to such trad songs.)

So:
1) Can anyone date "Dilly" further back than 1890?
2) Is "Dilly" always linear?
3) Is "Dilly" always non-Jewish, non-Christian, non-Pagan? (or
    nearly so - at least with little clear referencing)
Thank you.