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Origin: Four in the Middle

Richie 26 Feb 09 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Gerry 26 Feb 09 - 10:08 PM
Richie 26 Feb 09 - 10:51 PM
Richie 27 Feb 09 - 10:29 AM
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Subject: Origin: Four in the Middle
From: Richie
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 09:16 PM

Hi,

I've been looking at play party song "Four in the Middle" that was popular in the midwest.

The earliest version I could find was collected in 1939 by Lomax. I'm not sure how this song relates to "Two in the Middle (Raging Canal) and "Raging Canoe" found in the DT.

There are two version of "Four in the Middle" in the Max Hunter collection.

Anyone have any info or related versions? Like a version of Hello Sally Brown?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Four in the Middle
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 10:08 PM

Did you see the Hello Susan Brown thread here from a few years back? http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=29975#384097


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Subject: RE: Origin: Four in the Middle
From: Richie
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 10:51 PM

Hi tahnks,

I did look through the DT briefly. I was curious how about this set of lyrics and where they originated:

Railroad, steamboat, river and canal
Yonder comes a sucker and he stole my gal
And she's gone, gone, gone
Gone, gone, gone,
And I wish her a last farewell.

The lyrics are combined at times with the Four (Two) in the Middle lyrics:

Two in the middle and I can't dance Josie
Two in the middle and I can't get around
Two in the middle and I can't dance Josie
Hello Susan Brown

Four in the Middle usually starts with the Pretty Little Pink/ Coffee Grows play party lyrics:

Coffee grows on white oak trees,
The river flows with brandy-o.
Go choose the one to roam with you,
As sweet as striped candy-o.

When did these get connected?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Four in the Middle
From: Richie
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 10:29 AM

Hi,

It seems clear that "Raging Canoe" is a mishearing of "Raging Canal."

The 1844 minstrel comic song "Raging Canal" was very popular in the 1800s. This song is clearly a different song and that the title has appeared as a lyric in the "Four in the Middle" songs.

Richie


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