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Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead

Tug the Cox 09 Jun 09 - 08:30 AM
Azizi 09 Jun 09 - 09:34 AM
Tug the Cox 09 Jun 09 - 11:20 AM
Azizi 09 Jun 09 - 01:00 PM
Tug the Cox 09 Jun 09 - 06:59 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:30 AM

Does anyone remember the rest if this irreverent song my older brother and his pals used to sing in the early 50's

Poor old Nelson is dead
Poor old Nelson is dead
he slipped on some soap
and broke his telescope
Poor old Nelson is dead.

There were several more verses all folowing the same scheme.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:34 AM

Hi, Tug the Cox,

It occurs to me that your "Poor Old Nelson is Dead" is probably a variant of the old song "Poor Roger Is Dead" which is also known as "Old Ponto is Dead" and "Old Pompey is Dead".

Here's the first verse of that song-using the Poor Roger phrase instead of the "Old Ponto" or "Old Pompey":

Poor Roger is dead and he lies in his grave,
Lies in his grave, lies in his grave,
Poor Roger is dead and he lies in his grave,
Lies in his grave.

See the "complete" words as posted on thread.cfm?threadid=30159#385507
Irish kids songs

**

Also, here's an excerpt of a post I wrote about this song:

Subject: ADD LYR: OLD PONTO IS DEAD
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 03:24 PM

Tom Bliss, "Old Ponto's Dead" is a song that is included in Dorothy Scarborough's 1925 collection of "Negro" children's game songs
(I put that referent in parenthesis since the formal referent now is "African American").

Here's a footnote about this song from a message that a Professor Kittrege wrote to Dorothy Scarborough:

"Your Old Ponto is Dead is an English song-still popular as a game-song. The person who is dead (in English and in American versions) is Oliver Cromwell (Old Crumpy, Old Crony, Old Pompey, Old Grundy, Old Grumley, Father Adam, Grandaddy, Sir Roger, Little Johnny Wattles, etrc. See my note in the Journal of American
Folk-lore, XXXV, 407."
-Dorothy Scarbourgh, On The Trail Of Negro Folksongs (Hatboro, Pennsylvania; Folklore Associates, 1968; originally published Harvard Univ. Press, 1925), pp.136

Here's the words to the version that Scarborough included in that book:

OLD PONTO IS DEAD

Old Ponto is dead and laid in his grave,
Laid in his grave, laid in his grave.
Old Ponto is dead and laid in his grave.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

There grew a large apple tree over his grave,
Over his grave, over his grave.
There grew a large apple tree over his grave,
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

The apples got ripe, beginning to fall,
Beginning to fall, beginning to fall.
The apples got ripe, beginning to fall.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

There came an old woman a-picking them up,
A-picking them up, a-picking them up.
There came an old woman a-picking them up.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

Old Ponto jumped up and gave her a thump,
And gave her a thump, and gave her a thump.
Old Ponto jumped up and gave her a thump.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

It made the old woman go hippity-hop,
Hippity-hop, hippity-hop.
It made the old woman go hippity-hop.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

The bridle and saddle are on the shelf,
On the shelf, on the shelf,
The bridle and saddle are on the shelf.
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

If you want any more you can sing it yourself,
Sing it yourself, sing it yourself.
If you want any more you can sing it yourself,
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

Sources: W.H. Babcock in "Games of Washington Children" in American Anthropologist", July 1888 (the title of 'Babcock's' version is "Old Humpsy"; and Ella Oatman of Houston, Texas (the title of 'Oatman's' version is "Old Ponto". Oatman wrote that "As children we added the bridle-and-saddle verse. I don't know if it belongs or not".

Scarborough wrote that "This also is a ring game. Three players are discovered inside the ring, one standing up straight represent a tree, one-Old Humpsy, or Old Ponto-crouched besides the tree,and the third representing the old woman. As the song proceeds, the players dramatize the actions sung of, and when the end comes, each of the three selects in succession and the game and song begin all over again."
Dorothy Scarbourgh, On The Trail Of Negro Folksongs (Hatboro, Pennsylvania; Folklore Associates, 1968; originally published Harvard Univ. Press, 1925), pp.136-137...

thread.cfm?threadid=119812#2602491
RE: Wanted: Traditional Songs for Kids


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:20 AM

Hi Azizi, thanks for your interest.
I know variants of that song, sung to the tune of here we go gathering nuts in May. The Nelson one is different, with a tine something like Popeye the sailor man. Thanks for the leads. jeff


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 01:00 PM

Oh. Okay.

I know the Popeye the sailor man tune but not the "Here we go gathering nuts in May" tune. Do I understand you correctly that the "Poor Roger Is Dead"/"Old Ponto is Dead" song uses that "Nuts in May" tune?

Not to beat a dead horse (I hate that saying) but couldn't the song you know have been based on the "Poor Roger Is Dead"/"Old Ponto is Dead" song but use the "Popeye the Sailor man" tune because it is more familiar (at least I think it is in the USA-but you're not in the USA or are you?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Old Nelson is Dead
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:59 PM

I wouldn't be able to verify that. The Roger/Ponto variations use the tune to the kids rhyme

here we go gathdring nuts in may
nuts in may, nuts in may.

Which is also used for thr kindergaten action song
This is the way we brush our teeth

   comb our hair
   wash our hands etc.
On a cold and frosty morning.

The Nelson song seems to follow a different structure, but is coincidentally about death.
Cheers, Jeff


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