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Origins: Ain't it great to be crazy: vaudville?

DigiTrad:
AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY


CapriUni 05 Feb 11 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 05 Feb 11 - 06:15 PM
CapriUni 05 Feb 11 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,Jflowers 26 Apr 14 - 10:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Apr 14 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,# 28 Apr 14 - 09:53 AM
GUEST 22 May 14 - 11:17 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 16 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jan 16 - 03:41 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 04:40 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 04:50 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 05:05 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 05:09 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 05:12 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 16 - 05:34 PM
Jim Dixon 14 Jan 16 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,Thomas 16 Apr 16 - 11:29 PM
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Subject: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 01:37 AM

This is my third attempt to try posting this. I hope it doesn't suddenly show up three times all at once.

I learned this song at Wagon Road Summer Camp (a camp for disabled kids run by the Childrens' Aid Society of New York), which was just outside NYC, in the 1970s. It half-popped into my head again the other day, and I went on an Internet search to find the lyrics I couldn't remember. The versions I found were slightly different than the one I learned, which isn't surprising. What has been surprising is that everywhere I've looked so far says that it's a "Traditional folk song." It sounds, to me, more like a vaudville song, and probably has a creditable author.

I figured if anyone could tell me who wrote it and when, it would be folks at MudCat.

Here's the version I learned:

Chorus:

Boom-Boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom-Boom! Ain't it great to be nuts like us?*
Giddy and foolish all day long.
Boom-Boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?

A horse and a flea and three blind mice,
Sitting on the curbstone shooting dice
The horse, he slipped, and fell on the flea.
"Whoops!" said the flea, "There's a horse on me!"

(Chorus)

Way down south where bananas grow,
An ant stepped on an elephant's toe.
The Elephant cried, with a tear in his eye:
"Why don't you pick on someone your size?"

(Chorus)

Eli, Eli, he sells socks --
A dollar a pair, and a nickel a box.
The longer you wear them, the stronger they get.
Put them in the water and the don't get wet!

(Chorus)

I bought a pair of combination underwear,
Guarunteed not to rip or tear...
Six months later, to my consternation,
I couldn't get 'em off 'cause I'd lost the combination!

(Chorus) -- repeat until whomever you're waiting for gets there.

*The YMCA Campfire song book, Sing Out! (And the version in the DT) repeat the first line.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 06:15 PM

The verses are old vaudeville chestnuts, borrowed from WWI-era songs such as "Tidle de Um" and the 1920s "The Story the Crow Told Me."

However, I've not been able to find any versions of the chorus apart from the camp song, which seems to date back to the 60s at least.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 11:24 PM

Thank you, Bob. I guess this could be considered a patchwork song, then.

Actually, I was reminded of this song after I found Leroy Pullin's I'm a Nut, and I got to thinking and wondering about the evolution of "nut" (1966) from being an edible tree seed, to being an insult, to being an almost-term-of-affection. And the chorus of this song was one of the strongest examples of the last.

...And then, I discover that most versions of this song don't even include the line "Ain't it great to be nuts like us?" (though I did find one YouTube vid of pre-schoolers in Texas singing it. So it's not just a lone counselor at the camp I went to).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST,Jflowers
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 10:45 PM

This was the first song that a friend and I sang on our grad school stage probably around 1949. At that time it went:


Arump aint it great to be crazy
Stump ain't it great to be crazy
Two more lines I don't remember

A dog and a flea and three blind mice
Were sittin' on a curbstone shooting dice
The dog rolled over and sat on the flea
Whoops said the flea there's a dog on me

And a couple more verses that I also don't remember.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 04:03 PM

To be off one's nut = insane dates in print from 1860.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 09:53 AM

AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY?

Chorus
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?

A horse and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a curbstone shooting dice
The horse he slipped and fell on the flea
"Whoops!" said the flea, "There's a horse on me!"

repeat chorus

Way down south where bananas grow
A flea stepped on an elephant's toe
The elephant cried, with tears in his eyes
"Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

repeat chorus

Way up north where there's ice and snow
There lived a penguin and his name was Joe
He got so tired of black and white
He wore pink slacks to the dance last night!

repeat chorus

from

http://www.wonderworkshopsongs.com/search_results.php?search_type=allsongs&search_string=140


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 14 - 11:17 AM

My dad used to sing this song all the time - this would be from the 1960s on (he loved silly songs).

The lyrics I remember are:

Boom boom, ain't it great to be crazy
Boom boom, ain't it great to be crazy
Happy and gay, all the day
Boom boom, ain't it great to be crazy.

A horse and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a tombstone shooting dice
The horsie slipped and fell on the flea
"Oops", said the flea, "there's a horsie on me!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 03:08 PM

I heard Jolly, foolish, all day long!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aint great to be crazy: is't vaudville?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 03:41 PM

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. My brother used to bellow this around the house when he was in Cub Scouts in the early '60's.


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Subject: Origins: Ain't It Great to be Crazy?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM

Nothing much in the Traditional Ballad Index:

    Ain't It Great to Be Crazy?

    DESCRIPTION: Nonsense with chorus: "Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy (x2), (Silly and foolish) all day long, Boom, boom...." Example: Way down where the bananas grow, A flea stepped on an elephant's toe... Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1988
    KEYWORDS: nonsense humorous animal nonballad
    FOUND IN: US
    REFERENCES (2 citations):
    Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 192, "Ain't It Great to Be Crazy" (1 text)
    DT, GRTCRAZY*

    Roud #15691
    File: DTgrtcra

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

That "earliest" date" (1988) is the earliest copyright of the books indexed that include this song.
-Joe-

Here's the version from the Digital Tradition:

AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy.
Happy and gay, all the day,
Boom, Boom, ain't it great to be crazy!

A horse and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a tombstone shooting dice
The horse he slipped and fell on the flea,
Oops! said the flea, there's a horse on me!

Chorus

There was an old doctor and his name was Peck.
Fell down the well and broke his neck
Served him right, he was doing wrong.
Should have tended to the sick, and let the well alone.

Chorus

Way down south where bananas grow,
A flea stepped on an elephant's toe.
The elephant cried, with tears in his eyes,
Why don't you pick on someone your size?

Chorus

Way up north where there's ice and snow
There lived a penguin and his name was Joe,
He got so tired of black and white,
He wore pink slacks to the dance last night.

Chorus

@kids @camp @animal
filename[ GRTCRAZY
TUNE FILE: GRTCRAZY
CLICK TO PLAY
JY


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Subject: ADD Version: Ain't It Great To Be Crazy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 04:40 PM

This version is almost the same as what # posted above, but I'm posting it because it's from a printed, dated resource.

BOOM, BOOM, AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY?

A horse and a flea and the three blind mice
Sat on a curbstone shooting dice,
The horse he slipped and fell on the flea,
"Whoops!" said the flea, "There's a horse on me!"

CHORUS
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through,
Boom, boom! Ain't it great to be crazy?

Way down South where bananas grow,
A flea stepped on an elephant's toe,
The elephant cried with tears in his eyes,
"Why don't you pick on someone your size?"

CHORUS

Way up North where there's ice and snow
There lived a penguin and his name was Joe,
He got so tired of black and white,
He wore pink slacks to the dance last night.

CHORUS

Source: Fireside Book of Children's Songs, edited by Marie Winn, musical arrengements by Allan Miller (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1962), page 143.
The book does not have an attribution or copyright acknowledgement for this song.


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Subject: ADD Version: Ain't It Great To Be Crazy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 04:50 PM

The Mudcat Café TM

Thread #82132   Message #1505952
Posted By: Tracey Dragonsfriend
21-Jun-05 - 09:14 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Oxymoronic songs
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oxymoronic songs

This one, that Grandad used to sing, any good to you?

AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY?

A horse and flea and three blind mice
Sat on the corner shooting dice
The horse, he slipped and fell on the flea
Whoops said the flea, there's a horse on me

Chorus:        Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy
        Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy
        Giddy and foolish the whole day long
        Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy

Early one morning in the middle of the night
Two dead boys went out to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

Bought a pair of combination underwear
Guaranteed not to rip or tear
Wore 'em six months without exaggeration
I wore 'em so long, I forgot the combination

Way down South where bananas grow
A flea stepped on an elephant's toe
The elephant cried with tears in his eyes
Why don't you pick on a fellow your size?


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Subject: ADD Version: Ain't It Great To Be Crazy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:05 PM

AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY?


CHORUS
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy!
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy!
Silly and foolish all day long,
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy!


Eli, Eli, he sells socks,
A dollar a pair, a nickel a box,
The longer you wear them, the shorter they get,
You put 'em in the water and they don't get wet.

Johnny, Johnny went out west,
Where he thought the food was best.
Now they lay him down to rest,
With a concrete meatball on his chest.

Horse and the flea and the three blind mice,
Were out in the barnyard, shooting dice,
Horse slipped, fell on the flea,
"Oops!" said the flea, "There's a horse on me!"

Source: Cub Scout Songbook, copyright 1969 by the Boy Scouts of America, 1996 printing. Page 19


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Subject: ADD: Boom! Boom! Gee It's Great to be Scouting
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:09 PM

The 1963 Boy Scout Songbook has a song titled "Boom! Boom! Gee It's Great to Be Scouting." I also have the 1995 printing of the book, and it's still there. The Powers That Be wanted me to teach songs from the Boy Scout Songbook in leader training workshops, but I refused. Need I explain why? The Girl Scout songbooks were so much better, and so were the ones from Cooperative Recreation Service.

BOOM! BOOM! GEE IT'S GREAT TO BE SCOUTING

Boom! Boom! Gee It's Great to be Scouting
Boom! Boom! Gee It's Great to be outing
Hiking and camping all day long
Boom! Boom! Gee It's Great to be Scouting!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ain't it great to be crazy: vaudville?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:12 PM

The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #82132   Message #3256791
Posted By: dick greenhaus
14-Nov-11 - 10:26 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Oxymoronic songs
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oxymoronic songs
One bright morning in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And beat the life out of the two dead boys.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ain't it great to be crazy: vaudville?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:34 PM

So, the earliest printed version I've found is from the 1960s. It must be older than that. Anybody find older versions?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ain't it great to be crazy: vaudville?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 01:17 AM

The Catalog of Copyright Entries has:

(BOOM, BOOM) AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY
Words, Josephine Moore Proffitt; music, Sidney Lippman
© Sidney Lippman, 24 Oct 1952, EU291897.

Billboard magazine from Feb 21, 1953 lists a record release:

AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY
b/w IF THE END OF THE WORLD CAME TONIGHT
Recorded by Ginny Gibson, Jubilee 6027.

Strangely, there is another listing in the Catalog of Copyright Entries:

BOOM, BOOM (AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE CRAZY?)
Words and music by Nick Noble & Dick Gleason
© Studio Music Co., 10 May 1962, EP163232.

There was an earlier listing in 1942, but I am unable to see the whole thing.

My guess is that it was already circulating in public domain when several people decided to copyright their own version of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ain't it great to be crazy: vaudville?
From: GUEST,Thomas
Date: 16 Apr 16 - 11:29 PM

I learned the song as a kid on Barney and Friends in the early 90s. It first appeared in the Barney franchise on the last video of the predecessor Barney and the Backyard Gang series, Rock with Barney, in 1991. I had wondered where this song originated and after reading this, it sounds like the 60s but it could have been earlier.


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