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Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)

Paul Mills 17 May 99 - 01:16 AM
Rick Fielding 17 May 99 - 01:43 AM
Rick Fielding 17 May 99 - 12:12 PM
LEJ 17 May 99 - 12:22 PM
Allan C. 17 May 99 - 05:01 PM
Paul Mills 17 May 99 - 11:27 PM
John Hindsill 17 May 99 - 11:35 PM
John Hindsill 17 May 99 - 11:37 PM
Paul Mills 17 May 99 - 11:41 PM
Allan C. 18 May 99 - 07:12 AM
Paul Mills 18 May 99 - 10:24 AM
Rick Fielding 18 May 99 - 05:53 PM
Paul Mills 18 May 99 - 09:51 PM
Rick Fielding 18 May 99 - 11:42 PM
rich r 18 May 99 - 11:46 PM
Dan Knudsen 19 May 99 - 04:52 AM
Rick Fielding 19 May 99 - 12:13 PM
Paul Mills 19 May 99 - 10:51 PM
ddw in windsor 20 May 99 - 12:37 AM
Rick Fielding 20 May 99 - 08:16 AM
Allan C. 21 Dec 00 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Mick Zellar 22 Dec 00 - 03:20 AM
mkebenn 22 Dec 00 - 08:17 AM
raredance 22 Dec 00 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,theoldfolky@hotmail.com 03 Jul 01 - 02:29 PM
GUEST 03 Jul 09 - 02:59 AM
Jim Dixon 04 Jul 09 - 01:00 PM
GUEST 04 Jul 09 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Bill Cobb 06 Aug 09 - 01:04 AM
GUEST,Guest, Carol Porembski Bennett 18 May 10 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,Guest 27 Sep 10 - 08:23 AM
GUEST 28 May 11 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Tamara 19 Jul 13 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,sed 23 Feb 16 - 09:08 PM
Janie 23 Feb 16 - 11:30 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Mar 16 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Sara 11 Feb 17 - 04:41 PM
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Subject: Sassafras
From: Paul Mills
Date: 17 May 99 - 01:16 AM

I hope someone can help me with this. I've just finished a record that included a version of a song called Sassafras which was learned fron a record by the Modern Folk Quartet released in the mid sixties. The only attribution on the MFQ record was the last name "Hargail" - nothing else. Does any one know the copyright info on this title? Digital Tradition has no such song and Our Canadian mechanical rights org. drew a blank.

Thanks,

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 May 99 - 01:43 AM

Hmmm, Paul, this looks like a tricky one...but...I'd be willing to bet that "Hargail" is Hargail Press which published a lot of folk music in the 50s and 60s. It's worth a try anyway. You can find them here click here


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 May 99 - 12:12 PM

Jeez Paul, couldn't your first request for a song be something like "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", or that one about "..your wife running away with the milkman?"
We're on the case though. I've contacted one of my spies. I DID find the song "Hot Sassafras", by the punk band "Scream", but I don't think that's the one you want!
rick


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: LEJ
Date: 17 May 99 - 12:22 PM

Or how about Hot Smoke and Sassafras by Bubble Puppy?


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Allan C.
Date: 17 May 99 - 05:01 PM

Would this be the song which begins, "Way down yonder in the tall grass, purty little thing called sassafrass..."? I would love to have the rest of the lyrics. Always liked the song but have no recollection of where I heard it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SASSAFRAS (Billy Edd Wheeler)
From: Paul Mills
Date: 17 May 99 - 11:27 PM

Hey LEJ...

That's the song alright. Here's the rest of the lyrics:

Way down yonder in the tall grass
A little bitty woman called Sassafras
A wiggle in her walk and a tickle in her talk
And a funny way of puttin' on the class

First day I kissed her in the swimmin' hole
I kissed her in the water and dontcha know
The steam from the water rose high as the sky
And the old swimmin' hole went dry

The next day I kissed her in the city park
The bells started ringin' and it got dark
The army and the navy couldn't keep the people calm
They thought it was a hydrogen bomb

So tell all the neighborhood boys
I'm the one that's makin all the noise
Cause a little cup of tea knocked the heart outa me
And that cup of tea was Sassafras.

Well I'm very sorry gotta go now
Me and my baby gonna make a vow
Gonna get married gonna raise a family
Gonna raise 'em on Sassafras tea.

(c)??? Words and Music by ??? Used without permission
(Heeellp!)

OK you song sleuths...get to work!

Cheers,

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: John Hindsill
Date: 17 May 99 - 11:35 PM

I seem to remember a refrain in a 5th Dimension song that went "...sassafras and honey...". Don't remember the name of the song, but I sure do remember Marilyn McCoo! But that's not your song either, and please stay out of my daydream.--John


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: John Hindsill
Date: 17 May 99 - 11:37 PM

Eureka! The title of the song is Stone Soul Picnic. It's still not your song, etc.


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Paul Mills
Date: 17 May 99 - 11:41 PM

That note to LEJ was intended for Allan C.

LEJ...what's a Bubble Puppy?

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Allan C.
Date: 18 May 99 - 07:12 AM

Thanks, Paul Mills. Those are the words I have been trying to remember. "So tell all the neighborhood boys...etc." is the chorus isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Paul Mills
Date: 18 May 99 - 10:24 AM

Allan...

Yup, that's the chorus. And it gets repeated at the end.

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 May 99 - 05:53 PM

Paul, any luck with Hargail press?


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Paul Mills
Date: 18 May 99 - 09:51 PM

Rick...

Found the website but no Sassafras. Lots of recorder music though! Very confusing website...maybe I'm missing something.

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 May 99 - 11:42 PM

You probably are. Their ukelele division.


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: rich r
Date: 18 May 99 - 11:46 PM

Wow, this brings back some memories. A folk group I sang in in high school (Monroe High School Folk Arts Society, 1964-65, pretty catchy name) sang that song and a relatively clean version of Reilly's Daughter as our "racy" songs. Now who wrote it? I am going out on a limb, becasue I can't find any documentation, and suggest that it might be Billy Edd Wheeler. It is not on any of the three BEW lp's I have. I just bought a BEW songbook last week, but it hasn't arrived in the mail yet. I know the hihg school group got the song from the Modern Folk Quartet album, but I also recall that the song was not new to me with that recording. I think it might have been recorded by him on an album that also had a song about a wasp ("Well a wasp is hardly bigger than a fly/ But oh man how he stings a guy/ Stings a guy and waves bye-bye...."). Unfortunately I am relying on synapses that have lain dormant for many years.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Dan Knudsen
Date: 19 May 99 - 04:52 AM

Hi Paul....I sang in folk group back in the 60's called "The New Olde Towne Alehouse and Gallery Singers" and we cuta "45" and one of the songs was "Sassafrass" And indeed the song was written by Billy Ed Wheeler...why we recorded that song was I guess we liked the song so much...unfortunately there was another group in south Minneapolis called "The Flinthill Singers" Anyone out there remember them? Anyway the same great writer who wrote the song called Coal Tattoo also wrote Sassafrass.


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 May 99 - 12:13 PM

Paul, these Mudcatters are amazin'. But now I'm hummin' that damn song all day long!! Oh well, for the last week I was humming "Where do you Go to My Lovely", so it's an improvement - I think.

Some little voice in my head keeps sayin' the old "Walk Right In (on a one song-CD) would start a new folk-revival. If we're still alive after all our current projects - wanna give it a try?
rick


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Paul Mills
Date: 19 May 99 - 10:51 PM

Thanks to y'all...Billy Ed Wheeler - I'll be damned! I'll do the necessary research to confirm this and then send Billy Ed the $35.50 (CDN) I owe hime for the records we pressed! By the way, the record in question was by MY old high school folk quartet, The Balladeers. We recently had a reunion and made not a bad recording in my studio. Sold a shit load to the fortieth reunion of our high school in London, Ontario a couple of weeks back.

This will probably close off this thread unless there are any other insights.

Rick...If you want to do Walk Right In with me, I'm there!!! Anytime, Buddy! I think our rendition would most certainly set off the next folk revival. After more than thirty years, its about time, dontcha think?

Cheers,

PM


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 20 May 99 - 12:37 AM

Paul, are you still there? You probably won't remember me, but we met about 25 years ago in Hamilton through our mutual friend Barry Chod when he and Carole were still an item. You also played at Campbell's Coffee House once or twice -- which was my base of operations at the time.

Anyway, the $.02 I wanted to put in here is that the last I heard -- a few years ago -- BEW was teaching at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. If you're not able to find out anything definitve about Sassafrass any other way, you might call there and see if he's still around.

If you run into Chod, tell him I said Hi.

David Whitaker


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 May 99 - 08:16 AM

Sounds good Paul. My Mom can sew the costumes, and we can use your Dad's barn. I think Grit has connections with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, if we need a back up band! By the way "Catters", if anyone can (even vaguely) remember the sixties, the name "Sassafras" wouldn't have been out of place. I knew a nice woman named "Topaz Amber Dawn". Still do actually.
Gotta run. I'm doing autoharp and banjo overdubs this morning on the new Glen Reid Album. (If Glen reads this - "I'll take my bribe money anytime!"


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: Allan C.
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 10:55 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: GUEST,Mick Zellar
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 03:20 AM

You guys are fabulous...Well I had some of the words right. Thank you for your response. Now I have to chase the music down. I remember it was a great song that stuck in your head all day long...Like "Walk Right In", which after reading the thread that mentions it, I can't get it out of my head. Thankyou again...Mick Zellar


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: mkebenn
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 08:17 AM

For any one who cares, Stoned Soul Picnic was written by the late, great Laura Nyro


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: raredance
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 06:14 PM

Since this thread came around the first time in the spring of 1999, I have found a copy of the old album by Billy Edd Wheeler with "Sassafras" as one of the tracks. The album is "Bill Edd: USA, Monitor Presents Billy Edd Wheeler and Joan Sommer" (Monitor Records MF 354). All but 3 of the 15 songs on the album were written (or substantially modified by BEW). Joan Sommer, who like BEW graduated from Berea College in Kentucky, sings on about half the numbers. Th liner notes introduction is by John Jacob Niles. The song notes themselves are by BEW. All the BEW songs are listed as copyright: Hargail Music Press, which explains the reference to "Hargail" on later recordings such as the Modern Folk Quartet.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Sassafras
From: GUEST,theoldfolky@hotmail.com
Date: 03 Jul 01 - 02:29 PM

Here's one more verse I just remembered and thanks to you all for the other verses.

They say white lighting's in a jar,
Clear like water, but it's hot as fire,
That may be true, but I'm telling you,
Ain't no glass gonna hold Sassafras


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 09 - 02:59 AM

Hey, I know that song!
The group called "West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band" has this song in their album. You cvan read about the group here: http://members.chello.nl/cvanderlely/wcpaeb/history/wcpaeb1.htm

A very nice song really) Thanks for the lyrics !!!

See you. =)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 01:00 PM

Allmusic.com says the Modern Folk Quartet's eponymous album, originally issued as an LP in 1963, has been reissued as a CD by Collector's Choice Music. It contains SASSAFRAS, and it still lists the composer as "Hargail." I listened to a sound sample and here's what I heard:

Way down yonder in the tall grass
A little bitty woman called Sassafras
A wiggle in her walk and a tickle in her talk
And a funny way of puttin' on the class

They say white lightnin's in a jar
Clear as the water but it's hot as fire
That may be true but I'm tellin' you
Glass won't hold Sassafras

So tell all the neighborhood boys
I'm the one makin' all the noise
'Cause a little bitty thing that...


The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, which Allmusic.com calls an "enigmatic psychedelic cult band", has also had their first album from 1966 reissued as a CD with additional material. It also contains SASSAFRAS, and it's obviously the same song, though it's credited to 3 members of the band: Harris, Harris, and Lloyd.

I listened to a sound sample, and I was able to decipher it with the help of the lyrics that have already been posted above, but the order is different:


...'Cause a little cup o' tea knocked the heart out o' me
And that cup o' tea was Sassafras.

First time I kissed her in the city park
Bells started ringin' and it got dark
The army and the navy couldn't keep the people calm
They thought it was a hydrogen bomb

Next day I kissed her in the swimmin' hole
I kissed her ...


Allmusic.com lists several other recordings called SASSAFRAS, but the ones that have sound samples are obviously different, unrelated songs, in a wide variety of styles. None of them is attributed to Billy Edd Wheeler.

ASCAP.com lists a song by Billy Edd Wheeler called SASSAFRASS (note spelling) but it doesn't say who recorded it.

Billy Edd Wheeler's web site mentions SASSAFRASS, and says "several artists" recorded it, but it gives no further information.

I did run across one other interesting song called SASSAFRASS recorded by the New Coon Creek Girls on their album "Our Point of View", and attributed to Si Kahn and Fred Koller:

... small thing that's all I ask
One tall glass of sassafras.
Junebugs dance in the heat of the evenin' and the fireflies playin' in the grass
Doesn't really feel like summer till I've tasted sassafras.
Sassafras goes down easy
Sassafras cools in the well
Sassafras wild on the mountain
One small thing that...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 04:46 PM

One of the members of MFQ was the great music photographer Henry Diltz - he was a good friend of John Stewart who passed away last year. Despite writing so many of his own great songs one of the few JS sang that was not his own was BEW's Coal Tattoo.

Eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,Bill Cobb
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:04 AM

I've enjoyed reading all of this about "Sassafras" and thought I'd put in my oar. I was in a group in 1965-1966 called The Firelight Singers. We did the song on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour, taped in August of 66 and shown in September. We had 90 seconds to do the song. Being young and inexperienced, we doubled the speed to get the whole thing in.
We lost to a tap dancer dressed like Mr. Potato-Head.
Thanks for the word on the composer. I still the sing the song and want to include it on my next CD.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,Guest, Carol Porembski Bennett
Date: 18 May 10 - 01:11 AM

I have been humming parts of Sassafras for over 40 years and finally thought to Google my quest for more lyrics. I sang this song often as part of a folk group while in high school in Warminster, PA back in the years ending in 1970. Thanks for bringing the mystery together and piecing all the lyrics. It's a fun, playful tune that I will enjoy sharing - finally!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 08:23 AM

you should try and listen to that song by Peter apo. Its good too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 11 - 08:37 AM

I heard it as the MFQ version in the 60's. Try searching for Henry Diltz, Cyrus Faryar, Jerry Yester or Chip Douglas for more information. Alternately, Rediscover Music in Naperville, IL; the owner is a wealth of "Folk Information."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,Tamara
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 11:16 PM

You've forgotten the first verse...


They say white lightning strikes in a jar.
It's clear as water but hot as fire.
That may be true but I'm telling you
a glass can't hold Sassafras.

I was looking it up for my mom... She used to sing it to me as a little girl... Never knew where it came from or where she'd heard it


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,sed
Date: 23 Feb 16 - 09:08 PM

In 1977 when I performed at the Connolly Branch Library, Jamaica Plain, MA the children's librarian, Karen Godoy, sang Sassafras into my cassette recorder. When digitizing the recording this past week I found this delightful song and decided to try to get all the lyrics and find out who wrote it. THANK YOU!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: Janie
Date: 23 Feb 16 - 11:30 PM

It was the same song, and can't say where I first heard it, probably on somebody's back porch in West Virginia, but had morphed into "Way down yonder in the Pawpaw Patch, met a little girl named Sassafras" and had been adapted to fiddle, banjo and bass such that we could do a square dance to it. We West Virginia Hillbillies tend to do that out of pride and prejudice. Billy Ed Wheeler Sassafras


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Subject: Lyr Add: SASSAFRAS (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Mar 16 - 10:25 PM

Might as well tie all the loose ends together. Here's the whole song. I listened to it on Spotify:


SASSAFRAS
As recorded by the Modern Folk Quartet on "The Modern Folk Quartet" (1963)

1. Way down yonder in the tall grass
A little bitty woman called Sassafras
A wiggle in her walk and a tickle in her talk
And a funny way of puttin' on the class.

2. They say white lightin's in a jar,
Clear as the water, but it's hot as fire.
That may be true, but I'm tellin' you,
Glass won't hold Sassafras.

CHORUS: So tell all the neighborhood boys
I'm the one makin all the noise,
'Cause a little bit o' tea knocked the heart out o' me
And that cup o' tea was Sassafras.

3. The first time I kissed her in the city park,
Bells started ringin' and it got dark.
The army and the navy couldn't keep the people calm.
They thought it was a hydrogen bomb.

4. Next day I took her to the swimmin' hole,
Kissed her in the water and, dontcha know,
Steam from the water rose high as the sky
And the old swimmin' hole went dry. CHORUS

5. I'm very sorry; gotta go now.
Me and my baby gonna take a vow.
Gonna get married; gonna raise a family.
Gonna raise 'em on sassafras tea. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sassafras (Modern Folk Quartet)
From: GUEST,Sara
Date: 11 Feb 17 - 04:41 PM

My brother used to play his gituar and sing about a pretty little girl named sassafras, with a wiggle in her walk and a giggle in her talk. HELP! I can't find this song anywhere!


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