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Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?

Grab 18 Apr 00 - 01:48 PM
Mbo 18 Apr 00 - 01:58 PM
Amos 18 Apr 00 - 01:59 PM
The Shambles 18 Apr 00 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Mrr 18 Apr 00 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,jw 18 Apr 00 - 03:24 PM
Art Thieme 18 Apr 00 - 04:06 PM
Irish Rover 18 Apr 00 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,jw 18 Apr 00 - 05:55 PM
Homeless 18 Apr 00 - 07:41 PM
Irish sergeant 18 Apr 00 - 07:54 PM
Art Thieme 18 Apr 00 - 08:39 PM
Grab 19 Apr 00 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Marisaupa 09 Nov 10 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Billson 05 Dec 12 - 01:50 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 15 - 03:47 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 15 - 08:24 AM
Lighter 29 Mar 15 - 09:13 AM
Jim Brown 29 Mar 15 - 09:45 AM
Rumncoke 29 Mar 15 - 10:55 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 15 - 11:43 AM
Gda Music 29 Mar 15 - 04:03 PM
Stanron 29 Mar 15 - 08:30 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 15 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 01 Apr 15 - 03:16 PM
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Subject: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Grab
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 01:48 PM

Slightly strange question, I know, but - does anyone know the meaning of the word "cokey"? The obviously use is in the "hokey-cokey", but the song which prompted this request is "Minnie the Moocher" with the line "She loved him, though he was cokey". Is this just Cab Calloway desperately trying to find a rhyme, or is this actually a word which has been lost? From context in Minnie the Moocher, it could just mean "dodgy" or "dubious". Or it could refer to him being black ("a guy named Smokey"), although I don't know if Cab would have written it like that. Or even Chinese, from the rest of that verse. Or a druggie (smoking coke)? If he's just after a rhyme, you'd have thought he could just have changed her boyfriend's name, though.

I don't know. Any ideas, folks? I'm not too bothered, cos I can just sing it, but sooner or later some bugger's going to ask me what it means, and then I'll be right up plop creek with no visible means of propulsion...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Mbo
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 01:58 PM

I've wondered about the word too, Grab!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 01:59 PM

It means he was a cocaine user, I would say. It was a pretty common complaint in Cab Calloway's Harlem.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 02:04 PM

Well I have always thought it to be that.

There is some wonderful nonsense on the dance here Hokey pokey and the druids.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 02:17 PM

Coke as a nickname for cocaine and the abuse thereof post-dates the song. Cokey referred to black, as in from the coke of coal mining. See Tintin's "Coke en Stock" (which I think was titled in English something about the Red Sea sharks, because of the new meaning of Coke in English by then).


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,jw
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 03:24 PM

If you study up much on 20s/30s black jazz and swing, you'll see that the prevailent theme is sex and drugs. Minnie the Moocher is a perfect example of this. Minnie the "moocher"? Get it? As in "coke whore".

Look at the characters in the song. "Smokey"? Yep, a reefer head. "Bang the Gong around"? Know what a "gong" is? They call them bongs nowadays.

Indeed, cokey means he was a coke head. "High-de High-de High-de Ho". Are you getting the picture? Pretty thinly disquised lyrics, very common for the period.

If you want a real kick, watch Betty Boop's animation of Minnie the Moocher. Is virtually an acid trip...


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 04:06 PM

"cokey" = a settler in Oz.

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Irish Rover
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 04:31 PM

earlier in this thread some one said that coke post dates the song. not hardly, just read Sherlock Holmes, a real user. 7% sol. cocaine and water. to deal with the blues. hi Art long time no see.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,jw
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 05:55 PM

Indeed coke does not post date that song. Cocain was a big time recreational drug in the 20s. Heck, what do you think Coca-cola was originally made from in the 1800s?

-jw


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Homeless
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 07:41 PM

Read Mrr's post again guys. It says the term 'coke,' not the drug, post dates the song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 07:54 PM

Great thread. OK, The song Minnie the Moocher dates to the early thirties anyway. I do however have references dating to the late 1800s refering to a harlot by the name of "Cokey Flo" For the reason of cocaine use. Sigmund Freud also did research into cocaine both academic and recreational if I recall in the 1890's. Certainly by the turn of the century it was common enough usage for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to mention Sherlock holmes' predeliction for its abuse. Hope this helps, Neil


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 08:39 PM

Irish Rover,

Who are ya??

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Grab
Date: 19 Apr 00 - 08:28 AM

Re Mrr's note, I think 'coke' for cocaine predates the song. Some of Agatha Christie's books written around the same time use the word 'Coke' for cocaine, including the upper-case initial. Good job it predates Coca-Cola's lawyers...

So it looks like the body of opinion is on it being a druggie song. Nice to know I can get the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll into my local folk club (or 2 out of 3 anyway :-)

Cheers for the feedback folks,

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,Marisaupa
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 04:14 AM

Cokey referred to a heavy user of cocaine. Here are the meanings for the other key words in "Minnie the Moocher."

Hoochie-koocher was a term used for a trampy woman that would dance provocatively, show some skin,etc.

"Kick the gong around," refers to smoking opium in opium dens often located in Chinese neighborhoods within major cities of the time.

In the second verse of the song, Calloway uses the term jelly roll;" in the jazz context of the time, that phrase refers to a woman's genitals.

PS- Here is the second verse, as many people are only familiar with the first verse:

Now Min and Smokie, they started jaggin'
They got a free ride in a wagon
She gave him money to pay her bail
But he left her flat in the county jail

Whoooa, yeaaaah
Hey de he de he he
Whoa Whoa

Poor Min met old Deacon Lowdown
He preached to her that she ought to slow down
But Minnie wiggled her jelly roll
And Deacon Lowdown yelled, "Lord save my soul!"

Hi de hi de hi de hi
Ho de ho de ho de ho
Skiddley doodley doodly do
Skiddly diddly day

They took her where they put the crazies
Now poor Min's kicking up those daisies
You've heard my story this is her song
She was just a good gal, but they done her wrong

Hi de hi de hi de hi
Skooby de be do )
He de he de he de he
Whoa, Whoa Whoa

Poor Min, Poor Min, Poor Min.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,Billson
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 01:50 PM

The sources I consulted (I don't remember what they were) indicated that 'jelly roll' meant whatever your favorite sexual thing was.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 03:47 AM

Wondering what Deacon Lowdown means? I know what a Deavon is but the Lowdown part?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:24 AM

Whatever 'cokey' means/meant could be several things, as with most words, particularly colloquialisms. Jimmy Kennedy was Canadian and whilst he based the song loosely on similar French and English children's games (e.g.,Looby Loo) it might be worth looking to Canada for the answer. I can't believe he deliberately included a reference to drug taking in a 40s pop song.

I don't know how old the usage 'okey cokey' is as an extension of 'okay' for instance, might be a remnant of the song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 09:13 AM

Steve, hereabouts we say "okey-dokey."


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Jim Brown
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 09:45 AM

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang gives plenty of cocaine-related uses of "coke" going back to the early 20th century, and for "cokey", the second definition given is "pertaining to cocaine" (1940s+). However the first definition of "cokey" is nothing to do with drugs: it is "foolish, silly" (US, 1930s - 40s).

One of the other meanings given for "coke" (aoart from "cocaine" that is) is "an eccentric, a fool" (1930s), which I guess is probably where "cokey" in this sense comes from.

The same dictionary gives "cokey" used as a noun as an alternative spelling of "cokie" = "a habitual user of heroin or opium" (1910s+) (as Marisaupa said above), but in the song it's clearly an adjective, so my guess is that "foolish, silly" is the most likely meaning here.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 10:55 AM

Probably totally unconnected but the Italian ice cream sellers here in England used to call 'oakey coaky' as they went along on their adapted bicycles with ice boxes on the front - maybe the actual phrase is something in Italian?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 11:43 AM

Jim,
I think the 'foolish/silly' reference is much more apt looking at the action that goes with it.

In the 19th century on broadsides ice-cream is 'Hokey pokey'.

There's a children's rhyme that starts 'Hokey, pokey, penny a lump....


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Gda Music
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 04:03 PM

"Has a Cokey eye" (East Caribbean region) relates to a cast or strabismus, cross eye or squint.

GJ


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: Stanron
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:30 PM

Try Googling 'The Great Binge'. 1870 to 1914. Happy Days?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 03:11 PM

"However the first definition of 'cokey' is nothing to do with drugs: it is 'foolish, silly' (US, 1930s - 40s)." If it was well known that people acted silly when on cocaine, then that definition wasn't necessarily "nothing to do with drugs." Compare acting like a "dope."

"To some persons, nothing is more fascinating than indulgence in cocaine.... Some physicians have already fallen victim to the cocaine habit...." -- "The Dangers Of The Cocaine Habit," _The Weekly Medical Review_, Dec. 5, 1885.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'cokey'?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 03:16 PM

L.J. Farmington remembered hearing this from a medicine-show performer in Arkansas in about 1900:

"... Went up Ellum, come down Main,
Begging for a dime to buy cocaine,
Ah, baby, take your leg off mine.
Went in the drugstore, store full of smoke,
Seen a sign hung up: There's No More Coke.
Ah, baby, take your leg off mine...."


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