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Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)

voyager 11 Jul 16 - 12:21 PM
Steve Parkes 11 Jul 16 - 02:50 PM
Helen 11 Jul 16 - 03:27 PM
Steve Parkes 11 Jul 16 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 11 Jul 16 - 06:22 PM
Joe_F 11 Jul 16 - 10:11 PM
Hrothgar 11 Jul 16 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 12 Jul 16 - 04:34 AM
eftifino 12 Jul 16 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 12 Jul 16 - 05:49 AM
mkebenn 12 Jul 16 - 08:54 AM
leeneia 12 Jul 16 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,CathyB 14 Jan 17 - 06:44 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 17 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,KO 21 Mar 18 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 21 Mar 18 - 05:37 PM
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Subject: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: voyager
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 12:21 PM

My research starts here -

"Shave and a haircut,
two bits!" Where did this musical couplet come from, and is there more
to it?

The first recorded occurrence of the tune (with no lyrics) is in an 1899song by Charles Hale, called "At a Darktown Cakewalk." In 1914, JimmieMonaco and Joe McCarthy released a song called "Bum-Diddle-De-Um-Bum,That's It!" in which that line was featured in the last two bars of thesong. In 1939, the same musical phrase was used in a tune called "Shaveand a Haircut - Shampoo" by Dan Shapiro, Lester Lee, and Milton Berle.Somewhere along the line the phrase permutated into "shave and a haircut, bay rum."

Thought that mudcatters could add a bit of story-line here.

voyager


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 02:50 PM

This doesn't answer your question voyager, but the rhythm is well-know in the UK in more than one form. The 'shave & a haircut' part is often used for knocking on doors; I know it was familiar in WWII radio programmes, and 'two bits' would usually be knocked in response. Verbally, it goes 'How's your father?' -- 'All right!'

I have no idea at all where these come from!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: Helen
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 03:27 PM

The first time I ever heard the words to that rhythm was in the animated movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? where the crook tries to lure Roger out from hiding by knocking out the first part of the rhythm on the bar, the wall, and then sings the first part. Finally Roger can't resist the temptation any longer and comes out singing the words, "two bits" and does a music hall-type end-of-song gesture. Very funny, especially watching Roger when he is trying to resist.

I suspect that the rhythm/tune was used in music hall or similar shows to signal the end of a song. A similar type of phrase is used in a lot of different types of music, including classical music, jazz, swing, etc. It's the resolution of the musical melody, like the resolution of a chord progression. In classical music - e.g. I've heard it at the end of some of Bach's pieces - I think it's to stop people applauding until it's finished. You know, someone nods off, wakes up, says, "Is it over yet?", and starts clapping and then gets the evil eye from everyone in the theatre.

My Dad used to sing it with nonsense words, maybe bom-diddly-om-pom, bom, bom.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 05:02 PM

Just remembered this:

Eye tiddly eye-tie, eat brown bread.
I saw a sausage fall down dead.
Up jumped a saveloy and bashed him on the head.
Eye tiddly eye-tie, eat brown bread!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 06:22 PM

Q: What do you say to a drunken Italian?

A: Hi, tiddly Itie!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 10:11 PM

The Dirty Song Book by Jerry Silverman (Stein and Day, 1982) has

Have you got a hardon? Not yet.
Are you gonna get one? You bet.
Listen to the whorehouse quartet:
Our balls hang low.

"...may be used as a coda for any number of songs..."
Widespread in the US.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: Hrothgar
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 11:20 PM

Ducks in the long grass - pea soup!

Can't remember where I first heard that, but it must be over fifty years ago.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 12 Jul 16 - 04:34 AM

From a friend who spent time in the merchant navy:

"Drunk with a hard-on All Night"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: eftifino
Date: 12 Jul 16 - 05:00 AM

From the '50s in Dublin:

How's your Oul' Wan( wife) - Game Ball!( fine!)
Out in the Back yard - Playin' Ball
Who is she playin for? - Donegal
What is the score now - 2 All!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 12 Jul 16 - 05:49 AM

My parents said Bum tiddly batch-cake, brown bread


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: mkebenn
Date: 12 Jul 16 - 08:54 AM

I think the Roger Rabbit thing is a reference to Looney Toons sign off with Porky Pig. Mike


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 16 - 10:43 AM

Hello, Voyager. I'm impressed that your research goes back to 1899. That's 117 years of transmission.

The main thing about it, I think, is that it signals to listeners that the tune is over. This is esp. important for dancers, who like to know that the musicians are stopping, so they can stop dancing gracefully, not be in doubt and looking like klutzes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST,CathyB
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 06:44 AM

Bum tiddly batch cake brown bread,the parson looked at me and said, this is the 5th time you've been wed,where the hell do you bury your dead, bum tiddly batchcake cake brown bread!

Recited by my grandfather in UK he was a WW1 veteran so wondered if it could be army ditty?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 07:30 AM

Knocked on wooden wall of barack type camp cabins in the dark.

It would send young 11 - 14 y.o. boys into gales of laughter as it was interpreted as ....

Give Me a BJ


Responce ....... OK


Those were also the times of:

Titty Whistle (grab a boys specs and do not let go until he whistles.)


Bull Weep (grab between the biceps muscles and pull up fast and hard - of course it hurts but the muscle does a peculiar, slow motion cramp and rise-up spasm.)

Pink Belly - (hold a kid down and quickly slap his belly until it turned red)

Indian Burn (spit into you hand and rub it quickly, in a circle on the victim's fore-arm. It gets hot and leaves the almost invisible hair in tight knots)

Milk a Mouse (press the little finger joint down and back into itself - excruciating pain that will drop you to your knees)

Dumpster - (press the back corner of books being carried under the arm)

Clumsy - (knell behind someone while their friend pushes them back)

Wedgies and Atomic Wedgies

The beauty of these, and a dozen more is that the person will have usually willingly OK'd / consented to "the joke."

In today's world PC...(and cry baby losers) such actions might be construed as bullying but they were just part of childhood in the 50's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST,KO
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 10:41 AM

My understanding is that the beat comes from the song At a Darktown Cakewalk, which comes from a post Civil War minstrel show. Cakewalks, dance competitions held for the slaves, were held by plantation owners in the antebellum South, with a cake as the prize. It is also my understanding that some of the participating slaves would use the competitions as a chance at mild subversion, lampooning whites' dancing of the minuet.

Bo Diddley, whose stage name comes from the African one-stringed diddley bow, used the "shave and a haircut, two bits" beat in his music, effectively turning what was once a bit of a song from a genre derogatory toward African Americans to a beat which became very popular in R&B/Rock and Roll music.

Listen to just about any mainstream Bo Diddley song and you'll hear it. Below is a short list of songs by other artists who've used the, "Bo Diddley beat."

Willie and the Hand Jive - Johnny Otis
Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly
I Want Candy - The Strangeloves, Bow Wow Wow
She's The One - Bruce Springsteen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shave and a Haircut (Two Bits)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 05:37 PM

In Brooklyn in the 1950s it went "Boom dah-dee-AH-dah, Boom Boom!"


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