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Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down

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BILE DEM CABBAGE DOWN


Related threads:
turn the ho'cakes round boys, turn the (44)
Lyr Req: Boil Them Cabbage Down (14)
Lyr Req: Bile Them Cabbage Down (30)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Bile Em Cabbage Down


Paul S 01 Dec 99 - 01:50 PM
Paul S 01 Dec 99 - 01:54 PM
Reiver 2 01 Dec 99 - 03:02 PM
Reiver 2 01 Dec 99 - 03:07 PM
Amos 01 Dec 99 - 07:17 PM
Amos 01 Dec 99 - 07:26 PM
Stewie 02 Dec 99 - 03:34 AM
Les B 02 Dec 99 - 09:10 PM
Sourdough 02 Dec 99 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,jspearl 27 May 04 - 02:54 PM
Flash Company 28 May 04 - 10:40 AM
kendall 28 May 04 - 05:11 PM
GUEST 28 May 04 - 06:36 PM
paddymac 29 May 04 - 12:04 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 May 04 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,PintoVega@aol.com 19 Jun 04 - 03:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jun 04 - 03:46 PM
Joe_F 19 Jun 04 - 07:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jun 04 - 08:01 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jun 04 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,MarkS 21 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Charly Ellis 12 Oct 04 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 12 Oct 04 - 09:07 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Jun 06 - 12:58 AM
Charley Noble 07 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Q as guest 07 Jun 06 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,tbecton 30 Jul 06 - 02:07 AM
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Subject: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Paul S
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:50 PM

I found the lyrics in the DT, but was hoping to find some in plain language. I hate trying to read things in someone's attempt at transcribing dialect. What in hell is a "hoecake"?

I'm trying to learn this to play it for my dad, because he said he loves the tune. If anyone can help me out with the melody (I've never heard it), that'd be swell too.

Thanks in advance, kids.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Paul S
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:54 PM

By the way, for anyone else who suffers from my inability to understand written dialect, the song's called Boil Them Cabbage Down

On a similar topic, about ten years ago, I bought the Robert Johnson, CD box set. The lyrics to all of the songs have been written out phonetically to try and match the sounds coming out of Johnson's lips. It really didn't do anything to help my understanding of the tunes.

Paul


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: BOIL THEM CABBAGE DOWN
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 03:02 PM

According to my Funk and Wagnalls a hoecake is "a thin, flat cake made from cornmeal, originally baked on a hoe." When my kids were small I used to play a few chords on the guitar and sing to them. "Bile (boil) Them Hoecakes Down" was their favorite, so your dad isn't the only one!

BILE THEM CABBAGE DOWN    

D G D A7
1)Raccoon has a bushy tail, 'Possum's tail is bare;

D G D A7 D
Rabbit's got no tail at all, just a little bunch of hair.

CHO: Bile them cabbage down, down; bake that hoecake brown, brown.
The only song that I can sing is Bile Them Cabbage Down.

2) Raccoon and the possum, rackin' 'cross the prairie.
Raccoon ax the possum, did she want to marry?

3) Possum is a cunning thing, he travels in the dark;
And never thinks to curl his tail, 'til he hears old Rover bark. (Rarf!)

4) Possum up a 'simmon tree, Raccoon on the ground.
Raccoon say to the 'possum, "Won't you shake them 'simmons down?"

5. Jaybird died with the whoopin' cough, Sparrow died with the colic.
'Long come a frog with a fiddle on his back, Inquirin' his way to the frolic.

Chords and tune are the same for the verses and chorus.
'Possum = opossum
'simmon = persimmon
rackin' = running with much accompanying noise (racket) ax = ask

I wish I knew how to transcribe the tune. Here is the sequence of notes, if that will help: (Key 2 sharps)
f f f f g g g f f f d e(e)
f f f f g g g g g f d e c d

It's in 2/4 time
8th, 8th, 16th, dotted 8th, 16th, dotted 8th, quarter, four 8th notes (the first two are 16th and dotted 8th in the chorus), quarter, quarter rest (substitute dotted 8th and 16th for the rest in the chorus).

seven 8th notes then two 16ths, four more 8ths, a quarter and a quarter rest.

I think I have these right (I haven't thought about written music for 40 years! So I hope from the above you can put the tune down on paper and play it. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 03:07 PM

Oooops! Sorry! The name of the song IS "Bile Them Cabbage Down", and NOT "Bile Them Hoecakes Down"! (That would make a pretty unappetizing mess! Not that boiled cabbage is a favorite of mine either.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Amos
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 07:17 PM

The words I learned originally, many years back, included these two verses:
--------------------------------
Of all the birdies in the sky, I love the mallard duck
He flies above the desert sands
And watches people holding hands

Of all the fishes in the sea I love the stripey bass
He climbs up on a beechie tree
And slides down on his hands and knees.
---------------------------------------------
Last month the local symphony youth group had a recital at which the haughty and somewhat affected concert mistress announced that her group of ten year old violin players would now perform a tune entitled "Boil Those Cabbages Down". I nearly blew it, sitting in the proper and proud parent audience, snorking over her version of Bile Them Cabbage Down.

A.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 22-Aug-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Amos
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 07:26 PM

As for the tune, send me your email address and I'll send you a rough version -- amos@san.rr.com


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOIL DEM CABBAGE DOWN
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 03:34 AM

For the purposes of comparison, here are 2 of the earliest recorded versions of the song. Fiddlin' John Carson's was the first version recorded - in 1924. Although 'Dem' is retained in the title of the song, Fiddlin' John definitely sings 'them'. However, the 'dem', the 'master', the 'yella girl' and the taking of the wife to 'New Orleans' (John was a Georgian chicken farmer) would seem to betray the song's minstrel/medicine show and black tradition connections. Carson's version was a reasonably sedate affair, accompanied only by his fiddle. Earl Johnson's version, recorded in 1927, is a much more spirited hoedown treatment - and it has totally different verses.

As an instrumental, 'Bile dem cabbage down' was part of the countryman's common stock - black and white - of traditional music that also included tunes like 'Old Hen Cackle', 'Turkey in the Straw', 'Sourwood Mountain', 'Leather Britches', 'Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy' and dozens of others. Clayton McMichen, the 'reluctant hillbilly' and member of the Skillet Lickers', said he won the national fiddle championship 16 times playing the tune. Evidently, he would improvise on the melody like a jazz soloist or modern bluegrasser. Some later fiddlers absorbed part of his improvisations as a normal part of the tune.

Anyhow, here are the lyrics of the 2 earliest recordings of the piece as a song. Like all transcriptions of early 78s, they are tentative and subject to correction by other ears - but I have done my best with the equipment at my disposal. Both are very different from that in the DT.

Cheers, Stewie.

BOIL DEM CABBAGE DOWN

Boil them cabbage down
Boil them cabbage down
The only tune that I can sing
Boil them cabbage down

Master had a little mule
And he called him silent slick
That mule it had such dreamy eyes
But how that mule could kick

Quit that ticklin' me
Quit that ticklin' me
Mule go away you let me be
And quit that ticklin' me

Feet was light as a feather
Face was made of lead
Mule's (?) kick you feel so quick
Land you on your head

Boil them cabbage down
Boil them cabbage down
The only tune that I can sing
Boil them cabbage down

Whisky by the gallon
Sugar by the pound
Great big bowl to put it in
Spoon to stir it around

Quit that ticklin' me
Quit that ticklin' me
Mule go away you let me be
And quit that ticklin' me

Wouldn't marry a yella girl
I'll tell you the reason why
She'd get up the very next morning
Be sure to tell a lie

Boil them cabbage down
Boil them cabbage down
The only tune that I can sing
Boil them cabbage down

If I had a scolding wife
I'd whup her sure as she's born
Tear her down to New Orleans
Trade her off for corn

Quit that ticklin' me
Quit that ticklin' me
Mule go away you let me be
And quit that ticklin' me

Now I got no money
Got no place to stay
Got nowhere to lay my head
Chicken a-crowin' for day

Quit that ticklin' me
Quit that ticklin' me
Mule go away you let me be
And quit that ticklin' me

Fiddlin' John Carson 73040-A-OK 40306 New York 18 December 1924. Reissued on Fiddlin' John Carson 'Complete Recorded Works Vol II' Document DOCD 8015.

BOIL DEM CABBAGE DOWN

Boil them cabbage down
Turn them hoecakes around
The only tune that I can play
Is boil them cabbage down

I went up on the mountain
(It is not known around) (?) Put me in a coffee pot
Blowed me through the spout

Boil them …

I asked that girl to marry me
She said she'd see me later
She mashed my nose all over my face
Like a great big hard potato

Boil them …

Wish I had a nickel
Wish I had a dime
Wish I had a redhaired girl
And I could call her mine

Boil them …

Wish I had a wide (?) brim hat
Push it in the crown
Go to see some pretty little girl
And turn my damper down

Boil them …

Greenback in my pocket
Whisky when I'm dry
If I come drunk and ragged
I'll live until I die

Boil them …

Earl Johnson and His Dixie Entertainers 80265-A-OK 45112 23 March 1927 Atlanta Georgia.Reissued on Earl Johnson 'Complete Recorded Works Vol I' Document DOCD 8005.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOIL THEM CABBAGE DOWN
From: Les B
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 09:10 PM

Sorry, had a senior moment !

Some of the verses to "Bile them..." seem to float between it and "Old Joe Clark" A few of the scurrilous ones I've heard include:

Wouldn't marry an old maid
Tell you the reason why
She'd blow her nose in cold corn bread
And call it Pumpkin Pie !

Took my gal to a blacksmith shop
To have her mouth made small
She turned around a time or two
And swallowed shop and all

Bought my gal a brand new watch
She swallowed it one day
Now she's in the old outhouse
A passin' time away

Line Breaks
added.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Sourdough
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 11:35 PM

Lster Flatt and Earl Scruggs used to sing a verse

My gal ran around the barn.
I run out to meet 'er.
She pulled up her petticoats
n'I pulled out .... for Georgia.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,jspearl
Date: 27 May 04 - 02:54 PM

my grandfather sang me on verse of this song every time we passed by our persimmon tree at our farm. i can sing the one verse, and the rest of them fit the music i know if you area still interested in it let me know.

by the way, i'm glad to have the whole song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Flash Company
Date: 28 May 04 - 10:40 AM

Kissed my sweetheart in the dark
So no-one could be peeking
Missed her lips and kissed her nose
And the goddam thing was leaking!

FC


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: kendall
Date: 28 May 04 - 05:11 PM

Very similar to WHoa Mule too.

I had an old gray mule,
his name was Simon Slick
Cocked his head and humped his back
And how that mule could kick.
How that mule could kick
He kicked 'til his dying breath
He drove his hind feet down his throat\And stomped his self to death.

Whoa mule whoa, whoa mule I say
Tie a knot in that mule's tail that mule gonna run away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 04 - 06:36 PM

Master had a little mule

And he called him *silent slick"

(probably "Simon Slick" as in the mule song above)

That mule it had such dreamy eyes

But how that mule could kick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: paddymac
Date: 29 May 04 - 12:04 AM

In the hill country of Kentucky, this tune was popular among moonshiners. During the bad old days of prohibition, it became the habit of some moonshiners to boil vats of cabbage at their still sites as the smell of it was thought to mask the tell-tale "aroma" of the still.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 04 - 12:52 AM

I always heerd tell that downwind of a paper plant was best.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,PintoVega@aol.com
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 03:13 PM

I wrote a few new verses.
Any and all brave people are welcome to use them.
Danny Walker: PintoVega@aol.com

I dreamed I went to heaven
And here is what I seen
Saint Pete standin' at the pearly gates
With a bowl of turnip greens!

The clouds were shaped like cabbage
And the biscuits grew on trees
The fountains flowed with gravy
And taters and pinto beans!

I'm hungry in the morning
Hungry night and noon
In case I dream of cabbage
I sleep with a spoon.

If I were a farmer
I'll tell you what I'd do
I have me a cabbage patch
From here to Timbuktu.

When I'm set to marry
Here's how I'll choose my wife
Any gal that can bake biscuits
Will get to be my bride!

Holler if you like biscuits
And gravy and pinto beans
And if you love boiled cabbage
You can come home with me.

If I were a rich man
Here is what I'd do
I'd mash a bag of taters
And give'em all to you!

Oh! Granny made some biscuits
And they were hard as lead
When I asked her to pass me one
She bounced it off my head.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 03:46 PM

Very good! You should substitute black-eyed peas for the pinto beans, though.

Now write the verses on an old sheet of paper, bile it with the cabbage, and sell it as traditional as tooken down by great great aunt Hepzibah.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 07:13 PM

Another drifter that has sometimes found lodging in this song:

Raccoon has a bushy tail,
Possum's tail is bare,
Rabbit ain't got no tail at all,
Just a little bitty bunch of hair.

The second tease stanza quoted by Amos also appears expanded as a recitation:

Of all the fishes in the seas,
The strangest is the bass.
It climbs into the tops of trees
And slides down on its hands and knees
To frolic in the grass.

The one quoted by Les B likewise appears as

Mary had a little watch.
She swallowed it one day.
The doctor gave her laxative
To pass the time away.
Mary took the laxative,
But the time, it would not pass,
So if you want to know the time,
You can look up Mary's aunt, who has a watch too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 08:01 PM

The raccoon verse is a really old floater. It appears in Thomas W. Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes," new ed. p. 191, no. 355 (received by him ca. 1920) and in Newman I. White. All the verses quoted here, except the new ones by PintoVega, are in previous threads and posts.

The raccoon has a bushy tail,
Possum tail, she bear,
The rabbit has no tail at all,
But a little bunch of hair.

The earliest version is in the minstrel song "Uncle Gabriel," pre-Civil War, but where it originally came from ??? See N. I. White, American Negro Folk Songs.
Verses submitted by Amos are well-known to Scouts. As noted in the DT, most verses are floaters added to extend the dance.

Would be interesting to find out when the "Bile dem....." verse came in. Much later, I think, than the floaters.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jun 04 - 05:48 PM

I've heard one of the verses above a little differently via Frank Warner:

If I had a scolding wife,
Sure as you are born,
I'd tote her down to New Orleans
Trade her off for corn.

Another favorite verse from the same source:

Love it is a killing thing,
Beauty is a blossom,
If you want your finger bit,
Poke it at a possum.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,MarkS
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM

I gave my girl a bicycle
She learned to ride it well
Till she rode into a telephone pole
And broke it all to pieces


Grandma had an old grey hen
A sittin hen you know
She sat it on two Buzzard eggs
and hatched out one old crow.

there are as many variations as there burbon bottles at blue grass festivals!!

Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,Charly Ellis
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 11:51 AM

Has any one heard these verses?

Wish I was an apple,
Hanging on a tree,
And every time my pretty gal passed,
She'd take a bite of me.

Wish I had a banjo string,
Made of golden twine,
And every time I'd pick on it,
I'd wish that gal were mine.

Wish I had a needle,
As fine as I could sew,
I'd sew that gal to my coat tail,
And down the road we'd go.

My gal, she got religion,
She had it once before,
But when she hears my old banjo,
She's the first one on the floor.

Boil them cabbage down, down,
Turn them hoe cakes 'round, 'round,
Only song that I can sing is
Boil them cabbage down.


It was in my guitar book, but I've not seen these ones listed in your website.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 09:07 PM

Charley--
I agree those verses are floaters, but I associate them more with "Cindy" than Cabbage.

Of all the variants I know, my favorite is Lowe Stokes' "Rocking My Sugar Lump" which never mentions cabbage but is the same tune with many of the same verses.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HANNAH BOIL DAT CABBAGE DOWN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Jun 06 - 12:58 AM

From The Library of Congress American Memory Collection:

HANNAH BOIL DAT CABBAGE DOWN
Sam Lucas, 1878

1. Oh, Hannah, boil dat cabbage down—Hannah, boil 'em down—
And turn dem buckwheats round and round—Hannah, boil 'em down.
It's almost time to blow de horn—Hannah, boil 'em down—
To call de boys dat hoe de corn—Hannah, boil 'em down.

CHORUS: Hannah, boil 'em down,
De cabbage just pulled out de ground.
Boil 'em in de pot
And make him smoking hot.
Hannah, boil 'em down,
De cabbage just pulled out de ground.
Boil 'em in de pot
And make him smoking hot.

2. Some like de cabbage made in kraut—Hannah, boil 'em down.
Dey eat so much dey get de gout—Hannah, boil 'em down.
Dey chops 'em up and let dem spoil—Hannah, boil 'em down.
I'd rather hab my cabbage boiled—Hannah, boil 'em down.

3. Some say dat possums in de pan—Hannah, boil 'em down—
Am de sweetest meat in all de land—Hannah boil 'em down—
But dar is dat ole cabbage head—Hannah, boil 'em down.
I'll prize it, children, till I'se dead—Hannah, boil 'em down.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM

"Bile Them Cabbage Down" was probably one of the first songs I ever learned in a jam at a friend's house in the early 1960's. I came well-prepared with "Tom Dully" and "Cripple Creek."

Nice lyrics, Jim.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,Q as guest
Date: 07 Jun 06 - 01:23 PM

Many thanks for the lyrics.

Sam Lucas was a famous African-American minstrel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
From: GUEST,tbecton
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 02:07 AM

This the song my Father sang to me as he bounced me on his knee.
Whoa mule whoa mule whoa I say, Get out of the road there girl this mules runnin away. Old man Johnson had a mule his name was Simon Slick, ill bet ya a doller that,that mule would kick. He would back his ears and wall his eyes and meet you with a smile telegram that left hind leg and kick you a half a mile.

Thread closed temporarily because it's been a target for a heavy barrage of Spam. If you have something to add to the discussion, contact me and I'll reopen it.
-Joe Offer-


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