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Origins: I Bought Me a Cat / Fiddle-i-Fee

DigiTrad:
BOUGHT ME A CAT
I HAD A ROOSTER
I HAD A WEE COCK
LITTLE ROOSTER


Related threads:
Chord Req: pete seeger rooster song? (4)
Tune Req: 'I had a little rooster by the barnyard (8)
Lyr/Tune Req: I Bought Me a Cat (20)
Lyr/Tune Req: I Bought Me a Cat (5)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Barnyard Song (from Lonesome Tunes: Folk Songs from the Kentucky Mountains (1916), collected by Loraine Wyman.)
I Had a Cat


Brenda 10 May 99 - 04:12 PM
skw@worldmusic.de 10 May 99 - 04:37 PM
Jon W. 10 May 99 - 04:54 PM
bigJ 10 May 99 - 07:23 PM
okscout 12 May 99 - 11:19 PM
Sorcha 13 Feb 00 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,actor04@sunrise-sunset.com 08 Sep 02 - 10:42 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Sep 02 - 01:25 AM
masato sakurai 09 Sep 02 - 03:11 AM
GUEST,Zoe 14 Dec 04 - 04:43 AM
Azizi 14 Dec 04 - 12:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 04 - 01:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 04 - 02:31 PM
masato sakurai 14 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM
masato sakurai 14 Dec 04 - 06:07 PM
Azizi 14 Dec 04 - 08:46 PM
Snuffy 15 Dec 04 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Matthew Maynard in NC 05 May 07 - 09:36 AM
Nigel Parsons 06 May 07 - 07:48 AM
Artful Codger 10 Jul 10 - 10:24 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jul 10 - 12:41 AM
GUEST 23 Jul 10 - 01:57 AM
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Subject: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: Brenda
Date: 10 May 99 - 04:12 PM

I am looking for the lyrics to a Song entitled I bought me a cat. It is included in the Aaron Copland work Old American Songs. If anyone knows the words if you could please post them I would be very greatful. The song begins:

I bought me a cat My cat pleased me I fed my cat under yonder tree And The cat said Fiddle I Dee

I then continues to other verses involving different animals and after each verse you repeat back all the animals and what they said (In the manner of old McDonald had a farm. The last verse is I bouhgt me a wife.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: skw@worldmusic.de
Date: 10 May 99 - 04:37 PM

The Watersons sing a song called 'I Went To Market'. I don't know if it includes a cat but the verses all start
I went to market to buy a [hen, pig etc.]
And the [hen, pig etc.] did very well please me
Every time I fed my [...] I fed him all under a tree ...
The list that follows at this point grows longer with every verse - like Old McDonald. I'm not sure I have the words but if it's any help I'll try and take them down and send them. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: Jon W.
Date: 10 May 99 - 04:54 PM

Click here to see a couple of versions that are in the DT database.

I may be able to get words to one or two more versions including Aaron Copeland's' from my wife who is not above singing this song once in a while. But really you've got about all you need - just substitute an animal name for "Cat" and the appropriate sound for "fiddle I dee" and you've got the song. For example "duck" and "wack, wack"; "horse" and "Neigh, neigh" etc. The last verse is indeed "wife" and the sound is "Honey, Honey" in the Copland version.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: bigJ
Date: 10 May 99 - 07:23 PM

One of the best versions of the the song that I ever heard was by Sam Hinton who called it 'The Barnyard Song' and recorded it on the Vanguard label on an LP called 'Newport Folk Festival' 1963. It might be available on CD now.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: okscout
Date: 12 May 99 - 11:19 PM

Had me a cat, the cat please me. Fed my cat under yonder tree. Cat went fiddle-i-fee, fiddle-i-fee.

Had me a hen, the hen pleased me. Fed my hen under yonder tree. Hen went chipsey, chopsy, cat went fiddle-i-fee, fiddle-i-fee.

Had me a sheep (baa-baa), duck, horse, cow, baby (wah-ah, wah-ah), wife (honey, honey) and the cat went fiddle-i-fee.

Heard it on PBS 20 years ago and have enjoyed singing it every since.


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Subject: ADD: I Bought Me A Cat^^
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 01:37 PM

The words I have are:
I had a cat and the cat pleased me, I fed my cat under yonder tree
Cat goes fiddle-i-fee.
I had a hen and the hen pleased me, I fed my hen under yonder tree
Hen goes chimmy-chuck,chimmy-chuck,
Cat goes fiddle-i-fee.
Duck goes quack quack,Goose goes hissy,hissy,Sheep goes baa-baa,etc.

Each time go through all the animals and sounds. Here is the basic "abc"format, and dulcimer frets:
Meter:2/4,(default)Note Length:1/16 Key:C (for dulcimer it doesn't really matter)
c8c4c4/G8G4G4/c8c8/G10G4/A8G4G4/E8D8/C8z8/C8C8/E4E4D8/C16/z16//
Dulcimer frets are:
11,11,11,7,7,7,11,11,7,7,11,7,8,7,7,5,4,3,//3,3,5,5,4,3. That is confusing 'cause there is no time!

About "abc":
I thought this was hard too, but it is not! Do you read standard notation? "C" is middle C,and "c" is an octave above that.So,"G,"is the G just below middle C. From there up the notes are:
A, B, C D E F G A B c d e f g a b c' d' etc. The commas and apostrophes are PART of the note. M: is meter (time sig) and L: is the default note length. In "Cat", this is a 1/16th note. Length of the note just uses a multiplier behind it, so c8=the note c one octave above middle C and it is a 1/16th note multiplied 8 times which makes it a quarter note. There are standard default note lengths for every meter and more symbols for accidentals, etc. Usually z means a rest. Great "abc" Tutorial at:Chris Walsh's site^^


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: GUEST,actor04@sunrise-sunset.com
Date: 08 Sep 02 - 10:42 PM

I have heard this song sung as a contest piece, however, I distinctly remember the goose saying "Quaw, quaw" and the duck saying "Quaa, Quaa." I just thought I'd add in my two cents.


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Subject: Add: BOUGHT ME A CAT (from Mike & Peggy Seeger)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 01:25 AM

From Ruth Crawford Seeger, American Folk Songs for Children (Doubleday & Co., 1948), as sung by Emma Dusenbury, Arkansas, collected by Sidney Robertson for the Library of Congress. Recorded by Mike and Peggy Seeger on American Folk Songs for Children, Rounder CD 11543, 1987.

BOUGHT ME A CAT

1. Bought me a cat, the cat pleased me
Fed my cat under yonders tree,
Cat went fiddle-i-fee, fiddle-i-fee.

Cumulatively, add:

2. hen, chipsy chopsy
3. duck, slishy sloshy
4. goose, qua
5. dog, boo
6. sheep, baa
7. cow, moo
8. horse, neigh
9. baby, mammy mammy
10. woman, honey honey

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: Lyr Add: I BOUGHT ME A CAT (Copland version)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 03:11 AM

The Copland version is HERE:

I BOUGHT ME A CAT
Children's nonsense song

I bought me a cat
my cat pleased me
I fed my cat under yonder tree
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a duck
my duck pleased me
I fed my duck under yonder tree
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a goose
My goose pleased me
I fed my goose under yonder tree
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a hen
My hen pleased me
I fed my hen under yonder tree
My hen says "Shinny shack, shimmy shack"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a pig
My pig pleased me
I fed my pig under yonder tree
My pig says "Griffey, griffey"
My hen says "Shinny shack, shimmy shack"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a cow
My cow pleased me
I fed my cow under yonder tree
My cow says "Baw, baw"
My pig says "Griffey, griffey"
My hen says "Shinny shack, shimmy shack"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a horse
My horse pleased me
I fed my horse under yonder tree
My horse says "Neigh, Neigh"
My cow says "Baw, baw"
My pig says "Griffey, griffey"
My hen says "Shinny shack, shimmy shack"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a wife
My wife pleased me
I fed my wife under yonder tree
My wife says "Honey, honey"
My horse says "Neigh, Neigh"
My cow says "Baw, baw"
My pig says "Griffey, griffey"
My hen says "Shinny shack, shimmy shack"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa"
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: GUEST,Zoe
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 04:43 AM

I used to have this song on an old nursery rhyme tape, loved it actually! just happened to be thinking about it and had a look on the net and i found this page, would just like to confirm that the hen definatly say "chimmy chuck -chimmy chuck"!


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOUGHT ME A WIFE (from Thomas W. Talley)
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 12:05 PM

Here's a version of that song from Thomas W. Talley's 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes:

BOUGHT ME A WIFE

Bought me a wife an' de wife please
me,
I feeds my wife un'er yon'er tree.
My wife go, "Row-row!"
My guinea go: "Potrack! Potrack!"
My chicken go: "Gymsack! Gysack!"
My duck go:"Quack-quack! "Quack-quack!"
My dig go: "Bow-wow"!
My hoss go: "Whee-whee"! Whee=whee!"
My cat go: "Fiddle-toe!" "Fiddle-toe!"
--
Does any one have any information on the origin of this song?
Are there any published versions earlier than this one?


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY HOUSEHOLD (from Vance Randolph)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 01:40 PM

Azizi, the song goes back a long ways, known in many European countries, according to Randolph in Ozark Folk Songs. You are interested in children's singing games, so here is a children's version from Georgia, Newell (1883, 1903), Dover reprint.

Lyr. Add: MY HOUSEHOLD

I had a little rooster, and my rooster pleased me,
I fed my rooster beneath that tree;
My rooster went- Cookery-cooery!
Other folks feed their rooster, I feed my rooster too.

I had a little lamb, and my lamb pleased me,
I fed my lamb beneath that tree;
My lamb went - Ma-a-a!
Other folks feed their lamb, I feed my lamb too.

and so on with other beasts.
"The names of animals being distributed among children, one, in the center of the ring, sings the words; at the proper point the child who represents the animal must imitate its cry; and as at each verse the animals who have already figured join in, the game becomes rather noisy."
Newell cites a German version, "When I was a poor woman, I went over the Rhine: my goose was called 'Wag-tail', my maid said 'So he said', my pig 'Lard-pot', my flea 'Hop-i'straw'," etc.

From W. W. Newell, "Games and Songs of American Children," no. 48.


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIDDLE-I-FEE (from Lomax)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 02:31 PM

Lomax, Folk Songs of North America, no. 230, has a version of "Fiddle-I-Fee" based on singing of Sam Hinton.

Lyr. Add: FIDDLE-I-FEE

"O I had a bird and the bird pleased me,
And I fed my bird under yonder tree,
And the bird went- (whistle) or Fiddle-i-fee.*
*Have heard this with whistle, whistle, in line three
and then a line repeat with Fiddle-i-fee.

O I had a cat--- and the cat went 'me-ow'
Dog--- bow-bow
Duck---   quack, quack
Goose--- honk, honk
Cow--- moo, moo
Ford--- get you there, get you there
Woman--- honey, honey
Baby--- mammy, mammy

Alan Lomax, "Folk Songs of North America, no. 230, pp. 440-441, with music.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM

See also:

I bought me a cat

I HAD A WEE COCK (in the DT).

From folktrax:
COCKS AND HENS - "I had a little cock and he pleased me" Ch: "Here's luck to all my" - Cumulative Children's Song - ROUD#544 - R CHAMBERS PROS 1841 new ed p31-2 - HALLIWELL 1849 p263 "My Cock, Lily-Cock"- GREIG FSNE 1909-14 #149 "I haed a hennie" (Renfrewsh) - GREIG-DUNCAN 8 2002 #1666 p199-200 (2var/m) "I bocht a hennie" - SHARP School 6 p14 coll Hammond arr RVW - SHARP-KARPELES CSC 1974 #336 nn, Witney, Oxfordsh 1912 (similar to Frank Roses's version) "I had a little cock" - NOVELLO School Ser 6 1912 Hammond adapted for school & arr RVW - WILLIAMS FSUT 1923 pp284-5 #202 Mrs Martin, Bampton, Oxfordsh "Here's luck to all my C&H" 8v (w/o) - REEVES EC 1960 #42 p111 Hammond: S Gregory, Beaminster, Dorset 1906 (w/o) - HAMER 1967 p66 Nick Broad, Cornwall "I had a little cock" - HAMER GG 1967 pp66-7 Nick Broad, Cornwall "I had a little C" - TOCHER 14 1974 p210 "I had a wee hen" from Betsy Whyte - KENNEDY 1975 #297 p652 George Blackman 1954 "I bought myself a cock" - PALMER BHE 1979 #115 p191 "I went to market" from Derek & Dorothy Elliott who got it from John & Hazel Browell of Bradford Yorks - RICHARDS-STUBBS 1979 p147 from Walter Pardon "Cock-a-doodle-doo" (Cf Bermondsey Bill's version) --- RICHARDSON AMS 1927 p77 Appalachians "Bought a cow" -- see also FARMYARD SONG -- Wm J HAY rec by James M.Carpener John Knox House, Edinburgh 1928-9 #19 "I feed my cock under yon hill" - Frank ROSE rec by PK, Swinbrooke, Burford, Oxon 16/10/52 RPL 18687 "Here's luck to all my cocks and hens" - George BLACKMAN rec by Bob Copper Sussex 20/10/54: RPL 22735/ CAEDMON TC-1225/ TOPIC 12-T-198/ 027 "I bought myself a cock" - Bill BURNHAM (voc) & Bill FRENCH (voc/ piano) rec by PK, "Cock and Monkey" Bermondsey, London 3/2/54: RPL 21158 "Cock-a-doodle doo" - Frank PURSLOW rec by PK, Bampton, Oxfordshire 26/11/61 - Cyril TAWNEY: ARGO ZFB-4 1969 "I had a little cock" Cornwall - WATERSONS: TOPIC 12-TS-415 1981 Bradford -USA - Almeda RIDDLE rec Alan Lomax 1959: ATLANTIC SD-1350 1960- "The Pioneer Strain" broadcast introduced by Alan LOMAX, 1960 rec off air by PK: 902 "My Little Rooster" - "American Folksongs for Children" Mike & Peggy SEEGER (ROUNDER C-8001 2 parts) 1987 CASS-1225 "Bought me a cat"


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 06:07 PM

The Watersons: I Went to Market


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 08:46 PM

Thanks Q & Masato.
Somewhat off topic:
If been wondering: Is the custom of singing cumulative songs like "Bought me a cat", "There's a hole in the bucket, and "There's a hole in the bottom of the sea" part of other folk tradition besides the English & other European nations? I take it all three of those songs I listed are of European origin, right?

There are some African folktales that have a cumulative element...
For instance, there's a Caldecott Award winning children's book by Verna Aardema there's a retelling of the Africn folktale "Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears"Dail Books For Young Readers, 1979?}. Here's one excerpt from that story:

"King Lion called th python, who came slitjering, wasawusu, wasawusu, past the other animals. "But King", he cried, "It was iguana's fault ! He wouldn't speak to me. And I thought he was plotting some mischief against me. When I crawled into the rabbit's hole, I was only tring to hide.".
The king said to the council:
"So it was iguana
who frightened the python,
who scared the rabbit,'who startled the crow,
who alarmed the monkey,
who killed the owlet-
and now Mother Owl won't wake the sun
so that the day can come."

end of quote
---
It turns out that the mosquito had told the iguana a big lie and so the iguana put sticks in his ears and frightened the python who scared the rabbit who startled the crow etc. The animals declared that the mosquito needed to be punished, but the mosquito hid because she had a guilty conscience. And to this day she buzzes in people;s ears, whining "Is everyone still angry with me?"

Does anyone know if there are any African folk songs that are cumulative?


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Subject: RE: Lyrics to I Bought Me A Cat
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:58 AM

Azizi,

cumulative songs seem to be spread over all civilisations. See this post about a story/song found in North & South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. I'm sure it's not the only one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Bought Me a Cat
From: GUEST,Matthew Maynard in NC
Date: 05 May 07 - 09:36 AM

You people have nothing better to discuss thatn a stupid old song ? GET A LIFE!!!!!!!

PS - How did the cat please the man?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Bought Me a Cat
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 May 07 - 07:48 AM

Worth adding the introduction to "The Barnyard Song" as written in "The American Song Book" (Contents listed yesterday in School Songbook Perma-Thread)

In 1620 the mayflower brought the first hundred British settlers to New England, and during the next twenty years shipload after shipload of courageous folk crossed the Atlantic in search of freedom and fortune in the New World. By 1640 there were probably around 65,000 of these emigrants in New England or on the islands around the Atlantic coast of North America.
These early settlers could take few of their possessions with them in the tiny ships that carried them to their new home, but among their memories of the old country would be many of the lovely folk-songs that were in those days being sung everywhere in England. We do not hear these old songs in our country now, except when they are sung by people who have learnt them from books. But a few years ago it was discovered that some old-fashioned people living in the Appalachian mountains on the Eastern side of the United States still knew by heart the old folk-songs that had been brought from England by their ancestors over two hundred years ago.
Tis amusing Barnyard Song is a folk-song from Kentucky. It will remind you of the English Farmyard Song, which you may have had fun singing with realistic animal noises. Other verses may be improvised. The tune of the Barnyard Song is pentatonic, that is to say, it is built out of a scale of five sounds only, thus:-
                      d r m s l


CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Barnyard Song
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Jul 10 - 10:24 PM

Here is the version from Lonesome Tunes: Folk Songs from the Kentucky Mountains (1916), collected by Loraine Wyman.


THE BARNYARD SONG

1. I had a cat and the cat pleased me,
I fed my cat under yonder tree.
Cat goes fiddle-i-fee.

2. I had a hen and the hen pleased me,
I fed my hen under yonder tree.
Hen goes chimmy chuck, chimmy chuck,
Cat goes fiddle-i-fee.

[Similarly until...]

9. I had a dog and the dog pleased me,
I fed my dog under yonder tree.
Dog goes bow-wow,
Horse goes neigh-neigh,
Cow goes moo-moo,
Hog goes griffy-gruffy,
Sheep goes ba-ba,
Goose goes swishy-swashy,
Duck goes quack-quack,
Hen goes chimmy-chuck chimmy-chuck
Cat goes fiddle-i-fee.

Source: Lonesome Tunes, pp. 6-13. Words collected by Lorraine Wyman, melody collected by Howard Brockway. New York: The H.W. Gray Company, 1916.
From Knott County, Kentucky.

ABC transcription:

X:1
T:The Barnyard Song
C:from Knott County, Kentucky
S:Lonesome Tunes. ed. Lorraine Wyman, arr. Howard Brockway, 1916.
M:2/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=200 "Con spirito"
K:Eb
%
%   First verse
z z/ B/ | e e | B3/2 B// B// | e e | B> B | e B | c B/ B/ |
w: 9.~I had a cat and the cat pleased me, I fed my cat un-der
G F | E z | E E | G/ G/ F | E2- | E z |
w: yon-der tree. Cat goes fid-dle-i-fee.
%
%   Last verse
z z/ B/ | e e | B3/2 B// B// | e e | B> B | e B | c B/ B/ | G F | E z |
w: 9.~I had a dog and the dog pleased me, I fed my dog un-der yon-der tree.
E E | G2 | G2 | E E | G2 | G2 | E E | G2 | G2 | E E | G B |
w: Dog goes bow bow, Horse goes neigh neigh, Cow goes moo moo, Hog goes griff-y
G B | E E | G2 | G2 | E E | G B | G B | E E | G z |
w: gruff-y, Sheep goes ba ba, Goose goes swish-y swash-y, Duck goes quack
G z | E E | G/ G/ B | G/ G/ B | E E | G/ G/ F | E2- | E z |]
w: quack, Hen goes chim-my chuck chim-my chuck, Cat goes fid-dle-i-fee.

The version that Sorcha posted in this message has a similar tune. I've corrected her ABC transcription below; the melodic part for all the other animals can be inferred from the Wyman/Brockway version.


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


Sorcha's version:


X:2
T:I Had a Cat
T:The Barnyard Song
S:no source cited
Z:Sorcha; revised by Artful Codger
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:1/2=180
K:C
c2 c c | G2 G G | c2 c2 | G3 G | c2 G2 | A2 G G |
%   5th measure inserted by AC.
w: I had a cat and the cat pleased me, I fed my cat un-der
E2 D2 | C2 z2 | C2 C2 | E E D2 | C4 | z4 ||
w: yon-der tree. Cat goes fid-dle-i-fee.


Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Bought Me a Cat
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 12:41 AM

For many years, the only version I knew of was sung by Brownan McGee back in the 70s. However, when I dug it out today, I found that I "remember" an entirely different start to the song—no idea where I picked it up:

X:3
T:The Barnyard Song
S:Artful Codger
M:2/2
L:1/4
Q:1/2=100
K:C
G, | C> E G E/ E/ | G A C z/ G/ |
w: I had a bird and the bird pleased me. I
c G A G/ G/ | E C D z/ C/ |
w: fed my bird un-der yon-der tree. The
C C E/ C/ D | C3 z | z4 ||
w: bird went fid-dle-i-fee.
%
% Ending of later verses:
[M:3/2] C C E z E z/ C/ | C C E/ E/ G E/ E/ G/ C/ |
w: duck when quack quack, the hen went chim-my chack, chim-my chuck, the
C C E3 z/ C/ | [M:2/2][L:1/4] C C E/ C/ D | C3 z ||
w: cat went meow, the bird went fid-dle-i-fee.

Brownan McGee's version was mostly like Sorcha's tune but with my rhythm and "fiddle-i-fee" jog, and all the sounds were amusingly "naturalistic". His animals were (in final order) turkey, goose, duck, dog, cat and bird; the bird sound he whistled (an octave higher than I've written). I thought he sang more verses, since in my mind's ear I hear the wife's plaintive "Honey, honey," but it's not on my recording.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Bought Me a Cat
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 01:57 AM

does anyone know the name of the cassette tape that had I brought me a cat, over in the meadow, all the pretty little horses, and a lot of other songs on it? It was like four tapes and I can not remember the name of them.


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