Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus

DigiTrad:
THERE AIN'T NO BUGS ON ME
THERE ARE NO FLIES ON US


Haruo 14 Feb 08 - 05:28 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Feb 08 - 07:26 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Feb 08 - 02:15 PM
Joe Offer 14 Feb 08 - 03:19 PM
Haruo 14 Feb 08 - 11:14 PM
Deckman 15 Feb 08 - 04:30 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 15 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM
Joe Offer 15 Feb 08 - 01:05 PM
wysiwyg 15 Feb 08 - 01:11 PM
Haruo 15 Feb 08 - 01:44 PM
Ross Campbell 15 Feb 08 - 06:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM
Haruo 16 Feb 08 - 04:38 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 20 Feb 08 - 08:54 AM
Jim Dixon 23 Feb 08 - 03:00 PM
A Wandering Minstrel 26 Feb 08 - 08:27 AM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Feb 08 - 02:12 AM
Haruo 27 Feb 08 - 03:56 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 27 Feb 08 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,WSelover 07 Jun 09 - 10:56 AM
wysiwyg 07 Jun 09 - 11:14 AM
Joe_F 07 Jun 09 - 08:06 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Haruo
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 05:28 AM

A friend just offered me a hymnal that contains (he says) a shaped-note edition of "The Royal Telephone", the hymn (using the term very loosely) that starts "Central's never 'busy', always on the line" and that has the refrain beginning "Telephone to glory, O what joy divine!" In discussing this with my wife, the topic shifted across "Turn your radio on!" and came to rest on "There are no flies on Jesus". Unfortunately I don't know the lyrics to the latter, and a Google search only turned up a couple of lines. Could anybody find and post the whole thing, and maybe some indication of the tune. In a thread from 2000 about my "Salvation Army Song", i.e. "I was lyin' in the gutter, all covered up with beer" aka "Put a nickel on the drum, save another drunken bum" I said that I thought "There are no flies on Jesus" was sung to "Webb" aka "Morning Light" aka "Stand up for Jesus", but on further consideration I don't think that is the tune. Not that I have any idea what is the tune... This would make a nice Valentine...

Haruo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 07:26 AM

Useful Quote 1

No flies on ...
If you have no flies on you, you are active, alert and know what is going on, like the livelier cows in a field whose twitching and tail-swishing means the flies do not settle on them but choose the dull, sluggish ones instead. The expression is recorded from the mid-19th century in both the USA and Australia (which suggests it was in use by immigrants from the UK, though it is unrecorded there). By 1900 it was so well established in the USA that there was a Salvation Army hymn entitled 'There Are No Flies on Jesus' which contained the immortal lines, 'There may be flies on you and me, / But there are no flies on Jesus'. -   
http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/sayingsn.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Useful Quote 2
: Somebody at Word-detective.com posted this back in 2000: 'In the 19th century, to say that "there are no flies on him" of somebody meant that the person was alert and active, probably by allusion to cattle that move around enough to deny flies a landing place.'

I dimly remember there was a song which began (perhaps was entitled) "There's flies on me, there's flies on you, but there ain't no flies on Jesus." For all that's worth. -
http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/42/messages/1195.html
~~~~~
Note: the claim that "there was a Salvation Army hymn entitled" probbaly should be taken with a grain of salt - but if anyone has the resources to check that out, it would probbaly be Mudcatters... :-)

Robin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 02:15 PM

The "Song Book of the Salvation Army," 1987, "issued by Authority of the General," Verona, NJ, contains no such song.
An interesting song book, many songs and hymns, excellent indices.

Thanks for the quotes. I'll check for more.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia traces it to 19th c. music hall influence on early gospel.

A later song used in advertizing- "Ain't No Flies on Jesus 'Cause He's Sprayed with DDT."

Army song-
There are no flies on you
There are no flies on me
There ain't no flies on Jesus Christ
So far as we can see.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: There Ain't No Flies on Jesus^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 03:19 PM

I posted this in another thread, but it fits better here. I stole it from The Brothers Frail Songbook
-Joe Offer-
NO FLIES
(Patrick Adair, words; Music by Patrick Adair, Jeff Gillis, Brian Toole, Wes Canaday)

--VERSE 1
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead
Those are angels, not big buzzards
That are circling 'round His head
Well, if on Jesus you saw a fly
Then you'd be seein' wrong
'Cuz, yes, sir Jesus He did die
but He didn't stay that way for long

--CHORUS
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
No, there ain't no flies on Jesus
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
No, there ain't no flies on Jesus
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead

--VERSE 2
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
'Cuz Jesus ain't deceased
He was barely in there long enough
For Him to get His grave-clothes creased
Yes, sir, Jesus is not dead
And Jesus does not stink
If that's the thought that's in your head
You better think another think

--CHORUS

--VERSE 3
Well, there ain't no grave for Jesus
'Cuz Jesus, He's alive!
Although He was beaten and cursed and mocked
And then was crucified
I know they put Him in the ground
But after that 3 day weekend
Jesus rose, my soul to save
He's my live and kickin' friend!

--CHORUS

I dare somebody to come up with the music for this. Apparently, it's from a 1969 musical called Salvation.
-Joe Offer-
Chords:

  --VERSE 1 
C
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
G
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead
F
Those are angels, not big buzzards
C G
That are circling 'round His head
C
Well, if on Jesus you saw a fly
G
Then you'd be seein' wrong
F
'Cuz, yes, sir Jesus He did die
C G
but He didn't stay that way for long

--CHORUS
F
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
C G
No, there ain't no flies on Jesus
F
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
G C
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead
F
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
C G
No, there ain't no flies on Jesus
F
Well, there ain't no flies on Jesus
G C
'Cuz Jesus He ain't dead


The Digital Tradition has a couple - see the crosslinks above.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Haruo
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 11:14 PM

I remember a reference to "There ain't (or aren't, or are) no flies on Jesus" from childhood, I think in the introduction to some other Sally Ann song in one of the Boni Fireside books, probably Fireside Book of American Songs. This comment probably dated to the early 1950s or late 1940s, so definitely earlier than 1969. Of course this doesn't prove it ever existed, or that if it did it was actually sung by the SA. But its absence from a 1987 SA songbook proves nothing. It's fairly obviously not the sort of song that would have a long shelf life in an increasingly conventional and increasingly well educated denomination.

Haruo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 04:30 AM

I learned it as just a couplet: "There may be flys on other guys, but there ain't no flys on Jesus". I learned it in the basement of a church from the preacher's daughter. Actually, as I recall, I learned several things down there. Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM

I know this is horribly irreverent but every time I see this thread title I think of Lenny Henry's wonderful cod spiritual "When Jesus puts his Reeboks on"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM

I remember one line of a song, "Yes, bejesus, I am safe in the arms of Jesus- I think it was a parody of a camp meeting song.
Anyone know it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 01:05 PM

Wandering Minstrel, don't titillate us with just a line from a song like that. We need the whole enchilada.

http://asdfriendly.org/blog/grumpyoldman/2003/01/ had this, but it doesn't scan:

    When Jesus puts his Reeboks on,
    For the Holy Race,
    They test him for drugs
    But he is clean,
    Because he is trained by God!


I need those lyrics!!
(Please???)

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 01:11 PM

Oh... my... GOD.

~S~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Haruo
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 01:44 PM

(off topic a bit)

Wanderin Minstrel, what does "cod" mean as you used it to describe the Reebok piece? My allusive reading mind flew to the Lutheran T-shirt that says

Lutefisk

the Piece of Cod that Passeth Understanding


but I can't quite see how that applies to even the most sublime spiritual spoof.

Haruo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 06:04 PM

Cod in this sense means fake (usually for a humorous end).
The related term "codology" covers tall tales, shaggy dog stories etc.

Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM

Ross is correct.
cod- a take-off, a parody, a leg-pull, mock, burlesque.
In use in UK since 1905; examples in OED.

Rarely heard or used in North America.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Haruo
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 04:38 AM

And I am, indeed, in North America. Have only spent a couple days in the UK in my life (summer of '68), and don't recall hearing it then.

Haruo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 08:54 AM

Hi Haruo, the explanation for cod as given above is correct its an old english theatrical term for a piece of fakery.

Joe, I think that what you have above is just about it. Its part of a long monologue Henry does about his childhood with a whole raft of character impersonations. In this instance he is recounting his memories as an altar boy in an evangelical church which had this elderly lady given to making up spirituals on the spot hence the reeboks example. I don't think it is meant to scan and should be rendered in a high quavery voice to the tune of Amazing Grace.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 03:00 PM

From Handy-book of Literary Curiosities By William Shepard Walsh, 1892, page 378:
    Flies. There are no flies on him, an American term of jocular commendation. It is sometimes extended to the form "There may be one or two on you, but there are no flies on me," or on Jones, or Robinson. … Even the negative form has been used seriously in certain portions of the simple-hearted West, if there be truth in the newspaper-story of the camp-meeting hymn that began,—
      There are no flies on Jesus.

From: Music: A Monthly Magazine, 1895, page 602:
    There are two strong tendencies now at work in American psalmody; one pushing vigorously in the direction of the vulgarization of thought and feeling which finds its lowest expression in the music of the "Salvation Army," (I need only instance "Run, Devil, Run," and "There Is No Flies on Jesus") and the other pressing upward toward the nobility, dignity and refinement of the words of the great masters and of the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church.

From The Treloars (fiction), By Mary Fisher, 1917, page 51:
    Therefore, there was nothing for me to do but either join the Salvation Army, sing 'there ain't no flies on Jesus' (actually heard that sung here once) and drive a spavined horse around to pick up cast-off finery for the poor, or admit that I had been mistaken….

From The Beginning of Wisdom By Stephen Vincent Benét, 1921, page 225:
    As his stock of money was dwindling again like hot wax, he spent the night at a Salvation Army shelter, singing "Sometimes I Grow Homesick for Heaven," and "Sinner, There Are Flies on You and Me But There Are No Flies on Jesus" with profound enjoyment….

Another song using the same expression: Lyr Req: Ain't No Flies on Auntie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 08:27 AM

Joe

A little further research turned up the following link from a Parkinson interview. Bear with it, the song comes towards the end :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlmi0QZX9GE

(any mudelf care to blueclicky please)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:12 AM

For those of us with dialup and who find youtube unusuable, can someone give a quick precis of the relevant content please?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:56 AM

Second the motion. We have DSL but no sound at the moment.

It certainly sounds like there was a song (hymn may give it too much dignity) containing the phrase that was in the Salvation Army repertoire in the late 1800s... but I sure wish I had more evidence, including the actual text of at least one complete stanza, and at least one actual tune.

Haruo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 08:16 AM

Apologies.

The sequence is an interview between Lenny Henry and Michael Parkinson. Henry is remarking that he has been to a number of funerals recently and impersonates some of the more curious people he has seen at them. Towards the end of the piece he mentions the elderly lady who wanted to sing and then performs the 'reeboks' song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: GUEST,WSelover
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 10:56 AM

In the L.A. Times today, there is a reprint of an 1889 article concerning the simultaneous booking of a minstrel show and Salvation Army band concert in the same hall. The unknown author quotes the hall manager as telling the minstrel leader, "The army will be there in force, and when your first part opens up tonight the army will sing --

    'There are no flies on Jesus;
    There's two or three on you and me,
    But there are no flies on Jesus.'

"The audience will be delighted, and we'll capture the town."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef011570cabf83970b-pi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 11:14 AM

Made my day-- AGAIN! :~)

~S~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: There are no flies on Jesus
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 08:06 PM

There is also an entirely secular song,

There ain't no flies on me.
There ain't no flies on me.
There may be flies on some of you guys,
But there ain't no flies on me.

continuing with

There may be bugs on some of you lugs,

There may be ticks on some of you hicks,

etc., etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 July 7:56 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.