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Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'

Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Old Grey Mare (She Ain't What She...) (17)
Lyr Req: Old Yeller Dog (5)
Lyr Req: Old Gray Mare (50)
Req: Old Gray Mare is Back Where She Used to Be (6)
Lyr Req: The Old Grey Mare (3) (closed)


autoharper 21 Jul 09 - 01:41 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jul 09 - 02:40 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jul 09 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,mg 21 Jul 09 - 09:21 PM
autoharper 22 Jul 09 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,jrock 30 Dec 09 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Jean 19 Oct 11 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Autoharper 10 Nov 14 - 07:54 PM
Bert 10 Nov 14 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 15 - 11:52 PM
Mark Ross 01 Oct 15 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,Stu Cole 20 Apr 16 - 08:47 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 16 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Jeanette Cirignano Ohio/West Virginia 12 Sep 16 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Guest, R. Layton, Western Pa 07 Apr 17 - 11:12 PM
Mark Ross 08 Apr 17 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 09 Apr 17 - 12:03 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: autoharper
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:41 PM

First published in 1915, "The Old Gray Mare" melody has enjoyed various sets of lyrics (as an 18th century black spiritual, an 1860 campaign song for Abe Lincoln, and a 20th century civil rights anthem). The earliest published use of the melody that I know of is 1867, as an Oklahoma play-party song "Go In The Wilderness".

Sam Hinton collected this parody of "The Old Gray Mare" as a boy in growing up in East Texas in the early 1930's:

"The old gray mare went swimming in the Delaware
In her yellow underwear and said she didn't give a care
The old gray mare went swimming in the Delaware
Many long years ago."

Please post the parodies of "The Old Gray Mare" that you grew up with and indicate the approximate year and region or state in which you learned it.

Thanks,
-Adam Miller


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:40 PM

Adam, it looks like you and I are looking at the same source. Sam Hinton did a wonderful album on Folkways called The Wandering Folksong, studies of a number of different songs, through the development of different versions and parodies. Adam has given part of Sam's information on "Old Gray Mare," but maybe it's worth posting the notes on the song completely.


    1. The Old Gray Mare
    There are probably more people that know one verse of this song than there are that know any other non-patriotic song in America. It's been around quite awhile, and has moved repeatedly back and forth between the popular and the folk traditions. In 1858 J. Warner published a piece called, "Down in Alabam," later known as "Down in the Wilderness." In 1915, Frank Panella published it as a fox trot or schottisch for orchestra, calling it "The Old Gray Mare." There can be little doubt, however, that the Warner version was based on earlier folk material.

      The Old Gray Mare came a-tearin' out the wilderness,
      Tearin' out the wilderness,
      Tearin' out the wilderness.
      The Old Gray Mare came a-tearin' out the wilderness
      Many long years ago.


    Old Abe Lincoln
    This was a campaign song used the first time the Republicans put up a presidential candidate, in 1860. It worked, too!
      Old Abe Lincoln came a-tearin' out the wilderness,
      Tearin' out the wilderness,
      Tearin' out the wilderness.
      Old Abe Lincoln came a-tearin' out the wilderness - -
      Way down in Illinois.

      Old Jeff Davis tried to tear down the gover'ment,
      Tear down the gover'ment,
      Tear down the gover'ment.
      Old Jeff Davis tried to tear down the gover'ment,
      Many long years ago.

      And Old Abe Lincoln had to come build it up again,
      Come build it up again,
      Come and build it up again.
      Old Abe Lincoln had to come build it up again,
      Many long years ago.


    Swimming the Delaware
    This verse is typical of the many floating nonsense stanzas that have attached themselves to the "Old Gray Mare" tune.

      The Old Gray Mare went swimming in the Delaware,
      In her yellow underwear --
      Said she didn't give a care!
      The Old Gray Mare went swimming in the Delaware,
      Many long years ago.


    In the Wilderness
    This play-party song was collected in Oklahoma by Ber Botkin.
      The first little lady come in the wilderness,
      Come in the wilderness,
      Come in the wilderness.
      The first little lady come in the wilderness --
      Down in Galilee.

      Hands up! 'Round my lady,
      'Round my lady,
      'Round my lady.
      Hands up! 'Round my lady - -
      Down in Galilee.


    I Wait Upon The Lord
    The precursor of J. Warner's "Old Gray Mare" was almost certainly a religious song, although it is not quite certain whether it started as a Negro song or a white one. The version given here is certainly an early one, having first appeared in print in 1867 in Slave Songs of the United States by Allen, Ware, and Garrison; they got it from singers in the Carolina Sea Islands.
      CHORUS:
      I wait upon the Lord,
      I wait upon the Lord;
      I wait upon my God,
      Who take away the sins of the world.

      CHORUS:
      If you want to get to Heaven,
      Got to go in the wilderness,
      Go in the wilderness,
      Go in the wilderness.
      Mornin', brother, go in the wilderness,
      Got to go in the wilderness,
      And wait upon the Lord.

      If you want to meet Jesus. . ETC.

      If you want to be a Christian. . . ETC.

      Afflicted sister. . . ETC.

I learned the "ain't what she used to be" version of this song (one verse only) when I was growing up. That, and "Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts.".

Be sure to look at the threads that are crosslinked above. So, are "Hoosen Johnny" and "Sam Houston" and "Little Black Bull" related? I guess they're at least cousins.
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: A DOLLAR AIN'T A DOLLAR ANY MORE
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:52 PM

Adam,
First, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet with you when you were touring through this part of the country a week or two ago. Carol's aunt is not very good, as I said, but she's some better than she was and is back at her nursing home.-- Onward!

There is a song to the tune of Old Gray Mare that is on a CD I did with Folk Legacy. You have it already I'm thinking. It is an old song I learned from a 78 rpm record by The Union Boys. It is a gently hard-hitting song that would work well with modern audiences. ------- Called "A DOLLAR AIN'T A DOLLAR ANY MORE."

I was feeling mighty hungry and thought I'd buy some bread
I went down to the local grocery store,
Put down the usual money but the grocer shook his head,
Said "A dollar ain't a dollar any more!!"

chorus)
A dollar bill don't buy what it used to,
Don't buy what it used to, don't buy what it used to,
No, a dollar bill don't buy what it used to
And a dollar ain't a dollar any more.

I was living in a boarding house the room was awful small,
2 walls, a ceiling, and a floor,
The landlord raised the rent and now I'm living inside the wall
And a dollar ain't a dollar any more.

From the tree that grows in Brooklyn to the California shore,

Well, the words elude me right now. I'll have to go listen to my own record --- and get back to this thread later.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:21 PM

We used to sing:

Old grey mare she crossed the Delaware
lost her underwear
couldn't find it anywhere
six years later she found it on a polar bear
many long years ago.

mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: autoharper
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 07:36 AM

Dear Art,

I am laughing out loud. I know the feeling of having to listen to one's own recording to remember lyrics now forgotten.

I have known "A Dollar Ain't a Dollar Anymore" most of my life, but this is the first time I realized it employs the "Old Gray Mare" melody. Thanks!

Frank Hamilton once pointed out that the spiritual "Down By The Riverside" also uses the "Old Gray Mare" chord progression. I am reminded of reading a story where Pete Seeger pointed out to Woody Guthrie that Woody had (once again) used the "Goodnight Irene" melody for his "Roll on Columbia" song. And it was a surprise to Woody, so organic was his songwriting method.

-Adam


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,jrock
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 03:57 PM

The old grey mare came trotting down the Delaware
Pulling up her underwear
seeing what was under there
the old grey mare she ain't what she used to be
many long years ago


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Jean
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 02:43 PM

did you remember the rest of the words to that parody? I'd love to have them1 Thanks,
Jean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Autoharper
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 07:54 PM

Autoharpist and folksinger Roz Brown of Denver, Colorado, remembered one from a Nebraska childhood:

The old gray mare she [raspberry] on the whiffletree,
[raspberry] on the whiffletree,
[raspberry] on the whiffletree,
The old gray mare she [raspberry] on the whiffletree,
Many long years ago

-Adam


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: Bert
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 08:11 PM

Here we sit like birds in the wilderness...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 11:52 PM

The old gray mare she burned off her underwear
had to buy another pair,
had to buy another pair.
The old grey mare she burned off her underwear
many long years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Oct 15 - 01:31 AM

To the same tune;

Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat
Little birdies dirty feet
A whole quart jar of greasy grimy gopher guts
And I forgot my spoon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Stu Cole
Date: 20 Apr 16 - 08:47 PM

The Old Gray Mare - She ain't what she used to be...

The Old Gray Mare - She went to the County Fair,
Sat on the 'Lectric Chair,
Wore out her underwear.

The Old Gray Mare - She ain't what she used to be
Many long years ago.

NOTE: Sung to us when we were kids by our parents in the late 1930's, 1940's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 16 - 06:18 AM

And old Grey Mare of a different colour, from Ireland.
Jim Carroll

The Old Grey Mare
All you young men both great and small take counsel and be wise,
Attention pay to what I say, my lectures don't despise,
Let patience guide you on every side, of traitors now beware,
There is none but men that's sound within can ride my Old Grey Mare.

Granuia's sons great wonder done, they set olid Ireland free,
Joshua and Diavid's sons, likewise M.cAbee,
Constant the Great will ever shine and be our standard rear,
There's none but men chat's sound within can ride my Old Grey Mare.

Buonaparte on her did sitant, he rode full fast, it's true,
At Moscow plain she got lame and was beat at Waterloo,
She sailed o'er to' the Shamrock shore where Dan he did her care,
The very next chase, she won the race, my sporting Old Grey Mare.

In Erin's Isle, when fortune smiled, there lived Brian Borue,
Phelan O'Neil, Carlinton Miles, Sarsfieild and Munroe;
Bold
Roderick you know, not long ago, ranged Wexford aod Kildare,
Tandy, Sheares and other peers, they rode on my Grey Mare.

In mutual love, as pure as a dove, when we do each other greet,
Beware of scrapes., broils and spars, or quarrels when you meet,
Don't probe old sores, nor conquer Job*, let patience guide you there,
Lest in a fog that you might bog and drown my Old Grey Mare.
*[cankered jobs]

These three hundred years, as it appears, no steady statesman did her ride,
'Til Providence had gave due sense and reared the people's guide,
Brave noble Dan, ,he now rides on, Erin's right's his only care,
The Parliament for to be sent -back on my Old Grey Mare.

O'Donovan Rossa, who learned this song in his childhood, was certain that the wonderful horse meant Ireland (Rossa's Recollections), but, as Georges Zimmermann points out, "this does not stand the reading of the whole song.
The different texts would rather evoke confused ideas of glory, victory, perhaps justice or liberty.
In fact, the song has probably no emblematic meaning."
It was said to have been a great favourite of Irish revolutionary leader Padraig Pearse.
Napper Tandy and John and Henry Sheares were leaders of the United Irishmen.
Phelim O'Neill was a rebel leader executed in 1653
Eoghan Rhuadh O'Neill was one of the Earls of Ulster who left Ireland in 'The Flight of the Earls' returned with 300 veterans to aid the Irish Rebellion of 1641
Lord Edward FitzGerald was an Irish aristocrat and revolutionary who died in Newgate Prison, Dublin of wounds received while resisting arrest on a charge of treason in during the 1798 rebellion
Ref:
Songs of Irish Rebellion. Georges-Denis Zimmermann 1967


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Jeanette Cirignano Ohio/West Virginia
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 12:04 PM

The old gray mare she took off her underwear, out in the open air, said she didn't care!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Guest, R. Layton, Western Pa
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 11:12 PM

She may be old and lean
but she don't need gasoline
she flips her tail at a ford and a cadillac
runs like a maniac, jumps like a jumping jack
the ole gray mare, she ain't what she use to be
many long years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Apr 17 - 01:22 PM

Steve Goodman's THE 20TH CENTURY IS ALMOST OVER uses the tune of THE OLD GRAY MARE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ_3wJuLIdk


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Parodies of 'The Old Gray Mare'
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 09 Apr 17 - 12:03 PM

From my childhood...a long time ago!

Here we sit like birds in the wilderness
Birds in the wilderness, birds in the wilderness
Here we sit like birds in the wilderness
Down in Demerara


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