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Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea

Greengal 25 Feb 08 - 06:10 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 06:22 PM
Greengal 25 Feb 08 - 06:41 PM
Joe Offer 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM
meself 26 Feb 08 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,K8i 25 Mar 08 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,iancarterb 26 Mar 08 - 12:55 AM
GUEST,Sil 26 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,PAT 15 Jul 08 - 11:25 PM
Azizi 16 Jul 08 - 02:10 AM
Azizi 16 Jul 08 - 02:17 AM
GUEST,Jessy 27 Jul 08 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,Guest.Kel 14 Oct 08 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,g 20 Nov 09 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,g 20 Nov 09 - 10:21 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Nov 09 - 12:02 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Feb 10 - 11:05 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Feb 10 - 03:54 PM
GUEST 13 May 11 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,L 18 Mar 13 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,h.b. 19 Mar 13 - 11:18 PM
GUEST 30 Aug 15 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Fiona 09 Feb 16 - 09:27 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 16 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,lbrobin 24 Apr 16 - 10:48 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 17 - 01:50 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 17 - 08:15 AM
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Subject: Origins: Down by the Sea
From: Greengal
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:10 PM

There's a song I hear grade schoolers sing, and it goes something like:

Down by the sea
where the watermelons grow
back to my home
I dare not go


etc.

I never heard it when I was young however, and wonder if any mudcatters know the origin of the song and if it's relatively new.

Thanks.


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Subject: ADD: Down By the Bay
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:22 PM

Greengal,

This song is usually titled "down By The Bay". I'm not sure where it comes.

Here's two online references to it:

Wikepedia:

"Down by the Bay" is a traditional children's song. A famous version was performed by Raffi and Randy Luxton.

The song lyrics usually are as follows:

Down By the Bay

Down by the bay (repeat),
Where the watermelons grow (repeat),
Back to my home (repeat),
I dare not go (repeat),
For if I do (repeat),
My mother will say:"
Usually follows some kind of variation on "Did you ever see a _____, _____ing a _____", with rhyming words, for example:

"Did you ever see a goose, kissing a moose?"
"Did you ever see an ant, eating a plant?"
"Did you ever see a whale, with a polka-dot tail?" (this is the original variation)
"Did you ever see a bear, combing his hair?"
"Did you ever see a llama, eating his pajamas?"
"Did you ever see a fly, wearing a tie?"
"Did you ever see a bee with a sunburned knee?"
"Did you ever have a time when you couldn't make a rhyme?"
"Did you ever see a rhino kissing a dino?" (Barney and Friends)
"Did you ever see a goat standing in a boat?"
"Did you ever wonder why, I've always sounded high?"
..."Down by the bay."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_by_the_Bay

-snip-

kididdles:

"Down By the Bay

Written By: Unknown
Copyright Unknown

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
"Did you ever see a bear
Combing his hair
Down by the bay?"

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
"Did you ever see a bee
With a sunburned knee
Down by the bay?"

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
"Did you ever see a moose
Kissing a goose
Down by the bay?"

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
"Did you ever see a whale
With a polka dot tail
Down by the bay?"

http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/d007.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Sea
From: Greengal
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:41 PM

That's the song, Azzizi. Thanks.

So now I have the words, but what I'm wondering is when this actually became commonly sung, and in what areas of the country.

I never heard it as a child.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Sea
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM

I've always heard this song associated with RAFFI (CAVOUKIAN), but the Harry Fox Agency (songfile.com) does not show him claiming rights to the song. There is a song by this name by STEVEN PULLARA, but I don't think it's the same song.
Is this song truly in the public domain? Whatever the case, it's one kids really love. I have to admit I haven't learned the song well enough to sing it without referring to a "cheat sheet" or to Rise Up Singing. I sure like it, though. I learned it about 15 years ago from Mary, who is now about 28 years old. She's mentally challenged, but she's a treasured member of the Sacramento Song Circle.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: meself
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:32 PM

It's one of the first songs I learned, from my mother, circa 1960 ... don't know anything about its origin.

She sang, 'Down by the SEA' - but everyone else I've heard sings, incorrectly of course, BAY.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,K8i
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 06:54 AM

We used to sing it as a call and response ie:

Leader: Down by the sea
Group: Down by the sea
L: Where the watermelons grow
G: Where the watermelons grow
L: Back to my home
G:Back to my home
L: I dare not go
G: I dare not go
L: For if I do
G: For if I do
L: My Mummy will say..
G: What will she say?

Together:Oh, Jonny-get-your-gun-theres-a-bear-in-the-garden-lying-on-his-back-with-his-belly-to-the-sun
Singing...
Old MacDonald had a farm,
Ei Ei O
etc

It was a warmup along with 'My Brother's got a Head Like a Ping Pong Ball' etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 12:55 AM

I learned this song FROM the kids I thought I was bringing the songs to. (Well, the teachers contributed some:)) I'll check against Azizi's list and refresh this thread when I ask some of the relevant teachers for other verses we used to sing when my now 23 year old was in kindergarten through 5th grade.
Carter B


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,Sil
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM

My sister who is around 15 years older than me sung this song to me when I was about 5 or 6. I'm 33 now and sing it to my kids. I use Down by the sea. It a nice little song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,PAT
Date: 15 Jul 08 - 11:25 PM

WHAT ARE THE RHYMES FOR DOWN BY THE SEA?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 02:10 AM

The author or authors of that Wikipedia page that I quoted earlier in this thread write that "Down By The Bay" is traditional but fails to define what "traditional" means. "Traditional to which culture/s?

Even if the article had said the United States, that's probably too broad. If indeed this song does come from the United States, what population and regions within the United States did the earliest version of this rhyme come from? And what are the dates [by decades} of these early versions? What are the words? Has the tune changed or has it remained relatively constant? Are any accompanying body movements such as hand clapping or foot stomping done while singing this song? Some of these questions may be unanswerable, but imo, they still should be asked.

The lyrics for the song that are posted on Wikipedia on 7/15/2008, are slightly different the ones that I previously posted from that page. Here's the 7/15/2008 lyrics:

The song lyrics usually are as follows:

"Down by the bay (repeat),
Where the watermelons grow (repeat),
Back to my home (repeat),
I dare not go (repeat),
For if I do (repeat),
My mother will say:"
Usually follows some kind of variation on "Did you ever see a _____, _____ing a _____", with rhyming words, for example:

"Did you ever see a goose, kissing a moose?"
"Did you ever see an ant, climbing a plant?"
"Did you ever see a whale, with a polka-dot tail?" (this is the original variation)
"Did you ever see a bear, combing his hair?"
"Did you ever see a llama, eating his pajamas?"
"Did you ever see a fly, wearing a tie?"
"Did you ever see a bee with a sunburned knee?"
"Did you ever have a time when you couldn't make a rhyme?"
"Did you ever see a rhino dancing with a dino?" (Barney and Friends)
"Did you ever see a goat riding in a boat?"
"Did you ever see a gator with a polka-dot potater?" (version from florida, word of mouth)
"Did you ever see a car going to a bar?" (made up by a former 12 year old student)
Did you ever see a chicken get a lickin'?" (made up by a former 12 year old student)
..."Down by the bay."

-snip-

And btw, how does the author know that the lines he or she or they designate as the original version are really the original version?

I bet they mean that it's the first version they hear or read.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 02:17 AM

hear=heard

Down by the bay
where the watermelons grow
back to my bed
I'm gonna go.
For if I don't
I'll keep on making dumb typing mistakes and I'll be grouchy the whole next day and nobody will want to talk to me let alone hear me sing. So Gooood Night!



Note: This is NOT a new verse to this song :o}


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,Jessy
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 08:50 PM

my assumption is that it had the same fate as many other rhymes and fairy tales, which is that it was originally an adult song with adult subject matter. for instance, ring around the rosey is about the plague, and rock a bye baby is about a baby falling out of tree... etc. eventually adults get sick of them or forget where they started and pass them on to the kids and the meaning is lost. i'm guessing in this rhyme, the person that is "down by the bay" doesn't want to go home because his mother is talking about crazy things, like whales with polka dot tails, possibly due to drugs or alcohol. that's my interpretation, i could be completely off the mark...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,Guest.Kel
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 04:21 AM

Not sure if this helps any but I live in Australia and we have a music programme for schools called Sing! which has run for 40 years or more. Down by the Sea appeared in the 1978 and 1979 Sing books and was attributed as a Traditional Maori (New Zealand) song.

I remember my favourite phrase was "Did you ever see a fish, do a hula in a dish, down by the sea".

Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,g
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 10:18 AM

the main part of this song is very similar if not identical to an old traditional song from the Ionian islands in greece.   See from 0:28 in the following link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhJrtOmlI4I

I'm Greek and Canadian, and for years I've wondered about this similarity. I have just read that the greek song was recorded/documented around the 1930's, but had existed for a long time before that as a traditional song passed down the generations. My father, born in the 30's, knew it as a child.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,g
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 10:21 AM

I'll just add some more specific info, especially since the youtube link may disappear.
The Greek song is called "gialo gialo", is associated with the island of Kefalonia, and in the 30's the lyrics were finally written down by Mihalis Sougioul.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 12:02 PM

Tha paro to gialo-gialo.
Downloads available but no lyrics found.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM

Hmm, no one seems to have much to say about the history of this in English-language culture before the "children's song" phase. And I am having a tough time finding information! (Raffi keeps popping up.)

It seems this must be from 1920s-30s-40s....? Just guessing by the sound of it and how it seems like something that would have been popular amongst international servicemen.

Well, why I am wondering now is because Stan Hugill collected a chantey that he labels "Johnny Come Along," which is a sailor's adaptation of this popular song.

See , here pg 286

But which song is the source? It sounds so familiar. I'm surprised that no old timers remember anything....which means I might just be imagining it all! Mind you, I understand the Greek song *may* be an original source, but what *English* song came after that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 11:05 PM

I was surprised, when asking today, to find my mother didn't know the tune. But when I was humming it later, my nephew (17 yrs) jumped in with the words! Well, he must have know it due to the kid's song programs. But who knows the pre-1950s versions of this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 03:54 PM

OK, here is a rendition of the chantey version, as offered by Stan Hugill in SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS (1961)

Johnny Come-A-Long


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 11 - 05:12 AM

I am 52 and grew up in Australia with my grandfather (who was Welsh born 1906) sing a very old version Down by the Sea which seemed to have a slightly racist tone.

It was called Moonlight and contained the phrase, ";˙ou can hear those darkies singing". I think it developed into a modern children's version as old songs often do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,L
Date: 18 Mar 13 - 12:43 AM

I grew up with this song at school and we sang it as "down by the sea". My fav line was "have you ever seen a snake do a hula in the lake". Lots of different versions around :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,h.b.
Date: 19 Mar 13 - 11:18 PM

For me, it was a camp song from about 1957 - the first verse ending with:

"Did you ever see a cow, with a green eyebrow, down by the bay?"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 15 - 06:10 PM

My dad taught it to me as

"Early in the morning
as the day was dawning
See the little engines all in a row
see the little drivers pulling out the levers
chuff chuff chuff and away they go
down to the sea
where the watermelons grow.
I dare not go,
for if I do,
my mother will say
"did you ever see a cow with a green eyebrow, down by the sea?"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,Fiona
Date: 09 Feb 16 - 09:27 AM

This brings back so many memories my nanny always used to sing

Early in the morning as the day is dawning
See the little engines all in a row
See the little driver
Pull the little leaver
Choo choo choo
And away we go
Down by the sea
Where the watermelons grow
But too my home

I dare not go
For if i do
My wife will say
Have you ever seen a cow
With a green eyebrow
Down by the sea

My nanny was welsh and she used to sing it in welsh afterwards and we loved it as kids, just wish i could remember it in Welsh i sing the above version


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 16 - 04:24 PM

My father sang this version to me on 1950's and that was in Devon, UK, always sea and the cow with the green-eyed version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST,lbrobin
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 10:48 PM

I am 74 and know quite a few folk songs but had never heard this song until a few days ago, sung by a kid age 3, who learned it at daycare. His mother age mid-late 30s had learned it as a kid in Minnesota. This is the Bay version. He sang the line about the goose kissing the moose.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 17 - 01:50 PM

My father used to sing it to us as you have put it but finish by saying "Have you ever seen a cow with a green eyebrow, down by the sea"! He was born in 1916, so don't know whether it has Edwardian origins.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Bay / Sea
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 08:15 AM

Thank you all for your research! I teach a program called Rock Your World Kids and my students and I want to locate the song on our world map. I had no idea it would take us all the way back to Welsh with a detour in Australia!

Armelle For Kids


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