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'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank


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Lyr Req: Way Down Yonder in the Yankety-yank (5)

Pelrad 07 Oct 99 - 08:03 PM
dick greenhaus 07 Oct 99 - 08:42 PM
bigJ 07 Oct 99 - 08:57 PM
Bev and Jerry 08 Oct 99 - 12:55 AM
Songster Bob 08 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM
bigJ 13 Oct 99 - 06:57 PM
Pelrad 13 Oct 99 - 10:13 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Oct 99 - 12:05 AM
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Subject: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: Pelrad
Date: 07 Oct 99 - 08:03 PM

'Way down south in the yankety-yank
The bullfrog jumped from bank to bank
Just because he'd nothing better for to do
He stubbed his toe and he fell in the water
You could hear him holler for a mile and a quarter
Just because he'd nothing better for to do.

This is the chorus from a story told by Pete Seegar and recorded on his early albums. Does anyone know if he wrote this? If he didn't, does anyone know who did?? Thanks much...

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Oct 99 - 08:42 PM

Hi- The version Pete does is his rewrite of an old song that Mae Irwin used to sing around the turn of the last century; It's in DigiTrad (search for FROG or BULLFROG).
We don't haver the Seeger recitation/song simply because I can't remember all of it...If any Mudcatter can supply the words, we'll add it.

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: bigJ
Date: 07 Oct 99 - 08:57 PM

Until I get the chance to copy it out - and it lasts almost eight minutes - it appears on 'Pete Seeger - Story Songs' Phillips LP (1961) BBL7507; and also on 'Pete Seeger - Live at Newport' Vanguard CD (1995) VCD7708.

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 08 Oct 99 - 12:55 AM

This song, complete with recitation, appears in Pete's book "The Bells of Rhymney and Other Songs and Stories from the Singing of Pete Seeger" under the title "The Foolish Frog".

We learned it from this book and have been telling it for nearly thirty years, first to our children, then to hundreds of thousands of kids in schools. It's dynamite with kids up to about third grade (J. Offer are you listening?)

Because we misinterpreted what Pete wrote in the book, our version takes about thirteen minutes. It wasn't until about twenty years of telling this story that we heard Pete do it on a recording and realized our mistake. Too late to change, we guess.

Bev and Jerry

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: Songster Bob
Date: 08 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM

The original was called, BTW, "Mae Irwin's Coon Song," a bit of history which may give a turn to some Seeger fans.

Bob Clayton

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Subject: ADD: Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: bigJ
Date: 13 Oct 99 - 06:57 PM

To be honest, I'd forgotten about this until tonight I was browsing through the bookshelf and came across it, and since I can't find it in the database here it is:
(Pete Seeger)
from 'Hootenanny Tonight' - James Leisy (1964) published by Fawcett Publications Inc.

(Whistled introduction)

There was once a farmer, walking down the road whistling a tune to himself. He said, Dog-gone, I wish I had some words to that tune. But all I've got is the melody.
Just then he came to a little bridge, and he leaned on the railing looking down at the brook. There was a big old bullfrog, hopping from bank to bank. (Sound effects). Well, the bullfrog looked up and saw the farmer and decided to show off. He took an extra special big hop - z-z-z-z-tt! He landed, splash! in the water and got himself all wet. The farmer laughed and laughed and started singing :
Way down south in the yankety-yank, a bull frog jumped from bank to bank, just because he'd nothing better for to do! He stubbed his toe and fell in the water; you could hear him yell for a mile and a quarter, just because he'd nothing better for to do.
Now the farmer went walking down the road feeling mighty proud of himself for making up a song. He went down to the corner store, bought himself some groceries, a pair of work gloves and a plug of chewing tobacco, and said; Oh, before I go, I have to sing you my new song.
Go on home, says the storekeeper, I'm busy here, can't you see all these customer?
I won't pay you any money unless you let me sing you my song!
Well, sing it and get it over with then, said the storekeeper.
The farmer began to sing and the man in the store cried out; That's a w-o-o-nderful song, gather round everybody, we'll have a party. And he passed round the free Coca Colas and the free soda-crackers, and everyone was stamping on the floor.
Meanwhile, all the wives and children back home were sitting down to supper, and - where's father?
The mother said; Children, you better run down to the corner store and fetch your old man. He's probably down there wasting his time as usual.
So all the children run down the road. They run inside the corner store. You know, they heard all that music, they forgot about coming home. The children started singing (Song is repeated in a higher voice) And they were passing around the free Coca-Colas and .........
Now, in every farmhouse it was the same situation. The mother said to themselves; This has gone far enough. Supper's getting cold. 'Spect us to work all the day nobody show up?
They reached over on the stove and grabbed some heavy frying pans and start down the road with a mad look in their eyes. Somebody's going to get beaned. Well, they get near and they hear all that pretty music, and they forget all about being mad. They drop the frying pans in the gutter, walk into the store, and the mothers start singing! Way down yonder in the yankety-yank, a bullfrog jumped from bank to bank .......... And they're passing round the free Coca-Colas and the free soda crackers, and everybody is stamping on the floor!
Meanwhile out in the barns all the cows started talking; Where is everybody? We're supposed to be milked and it's getting mighty uncomfortable! So the cows left their stalls, they wobbled out of the barn, and down the road right into the corner store. And the cows started singing; Moo, moo, moo, moo, moo moo, moo, moo, moo, moo. (To tune). And the cow's tails were swishing out the windows, and they were stamping on the floor, and drinking the free Coca-Colas and eating the free soda .......
Out in the barnyard all the chickens said; Where is everybody? We're supposed to be fed and we're getting hungry! So the chickens hopped over the fence, hopped down the road, hopped into the store, and the chickens started; (Chicken imitation to tune). And the chicken were stamping on the floor and drinking the free Coca C ......
Meanwhile all the barns started talking to each other. We feel mighty lonely, they said, without any cows or any chickens. I guess we'll have to go find them. So the barns picked themselves off their foundations and galumphed down the road, and s-q-u-e-e-z-e-d themselves into that corner store, believe it or not. Did you ever hear a rusty hinge on a barn door? That's the way the barns sang; Eeeee, eeeeeeeeee.
Out in the fields all the grass says; Where is everybody? The cows are supposed to come and eat us. I guess we'll have to go find them. And the grass picked itself up and swished off down the road, and swished right into the store and started singing; Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh. Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh.
Of course, when the grass was gone, the fields were gone, so the brook didn't have any banks to flow between. It said; I've got to go someplace, so it bubbled down the road. It bubbled right up into the corner store and the brook started;

The brook was bubbling up and down the stairway! The grass was growing out the chimney! Feathers flying through the air! Cows tails swishing through the windows! Everybody stamping on the floor and drinking the free Coca-Cola and eating the free soda-cracker!

Meanwhile, there's the bullfrog in mid-air!

He looks down, there's nothing underneath him. He looks over and there's no bank to land on. He says; Where am I? And he starts hopping down the road. Hop! Hop! Hop! Hop! Hop!
Hey, what's all that racket down at the corner store? says the frog.
Why ........ they're singing! They're singing about ME! And he was so proud he puffed himself up with pride.
And he puffed, 
and he puffed,
and he puffed,

and he

He exploded. Cows, barns, chickens, farmers, the whole corner store went up in the air, and everybody floated down and landed right where they were supposed to have been all the time. They all sat down eating supper again, feeling kind of foolish for themselves.
Next day they went out to find the frog. They looked high, they looked low. Coca-Cola bottles and soda crackers in all directions. But no frog.
So all there is left of the frog is the song. We might as well sing 'er once again.
Way down yonder in the yankety-yank.........
(Whistle for conclusion)

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: Pelrad
Date: 13 Oct 99 - 10:13 PM

Thanks, everyone. What I was looking for specifically was who might own the copyright to the words. Seems to me that Pete Seeger probably does, as much as anyone would. Or Mae Irwin's family? Or is it truly folk, as in public domain? I ask because I have started illustrating it for my son, and want to know if I'll be stepping on any toes if I take it further than my own family. But I guess that's what they pay fancy copyright lawyers for, to figure that stuff out...

Thanks for all the background, because I did not even know that much!

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Subject: RE: 'Way Down South in the Yankety-Yank
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 12:05 AM

Pete's copyrights are held by Fred Leventhal and by TRO.
He's cooperative. They're not.

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