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Origins: Foolish Questions (W Lee/A B Sloane)

Related thread:
Lyr Req: silly questions (3)


Jon W. 21 Jul 97 - 05:54 PM
Gene 21 Jul 97 - 08:46 PM
Jon W. 22 Jul 97 - 11:42 AM
PattyG 22 Jul 97 - 11:49 AM
glatter22@worldnet.att.net 26 Aug 98 - 11:13 PM
Joe Offer 26 Aug 98 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Clay 29 May 00 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Gene 29 May 00 - 11:12 AM
Joe Offer 16 Jan 07 - 02:04 AM
Leadfingers 16 Jan 07 - 06:48 AM
GLoux 16 Jan 07 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Jim 16 Jan 07 - 04:46 PM
Peace 16 Jan 07 - 07:52 PM
Peace 16 Jan 07 - 07:55 PM
Peace 16 Jan 07 - 07:57 PM
Celtaddict 16 Jan 07 - 07:59 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jan 07 - 08:38 PM
Bev and Jerry 17 Jan 07 - 02:05 AM
Bugsy 17 Jan 07 - 07:15 PM
alanabit 18 Jan 07 - 11:32 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Mar 08 - 12:28 PM
Marc Bernier 22 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Mar 08 - 07:37 PM
Nick E 22 Mar 08 - 09:10 PM
Lin in Kansas 23 Mar 08 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,David Richoux 02 Feb 09 - 12:34 AM
topical tom 02 Feb 09 - 10:53 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 02 Feb 09 - 11:20 PM
Gene 03 Feb 09 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Sam 04 Sep 10 - 02:56 AM
Stewart 04 Sep 10 - 04:49 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Visitor 08 Sep 10 - 07:55 PM
Tug the Cox 09 Sep 10 - 07:15 AM
Jim Dixon 30 Jul 18 - 07:33 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Jul 18 - 10:33 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Jul 18 - 09:49 AM
topical tom 31 Jul 18 - 12:22 PM
topical tom 31 Jul 18 - 12:25 PM
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Subject: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Jon W.
Date: 21 Jul 97 - 05:54 PM

I had a recording by Woods Tea Co. of a song called Foolish Questions. It was about foolish questions people ask - for example a girl asking "is that for me?" when her boyfriend brings her candy. Anyway, I lent the tape to a friend, who lost it. Now he wants the lyrics. Anyone got them?


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Subject: Lyr Add: FOOLISH QUESTIONS (Arthur Smith)
From: Gene
Date: 21 Jul 97 - 08:46 PM

FOOLISH QUESTIONS
- Recorded by Sheb Wooley - -(aka Ben Colder)
Written by Arthur Smith

Y'all have heard about Foolish Questions, and no doubt you've wondered why
The person who would ask them, expects a sensible reply
Did you ever bring your girl a box of candy, say, right after tea
D'ja notice how she'll grab it, and she'll say "Is this for me?"

Foolish Questions, you should answer when you can
No, the candy's for you daddy and mama and John the hired hand
I just wanted you to see it, now I'm gonna take it away
Wasn't that a Foolish Question, you'll hear 'em nearly every day.

You all have seen the man, who meets you on your way
He'll ask you, "Where you are goin", and he'll listen while you say
"That you're goin' to the funeral, of poor old Brother Ned"
And just as soon as you told him, he'll say, "Is Ned dead?"

Foolish Questions, this should be your reply
No, we'd thought we'd have the funeral and then later on he'd die
Brother Ned is so original, he wanted it that way
Now wasn't that a Foolish Question, you'll hear 'em nearly every day.

Suppose an elevator boy forgets to close that door
And you should tumble down the shaft, say, like twenty-seven floors
As you reach the bottom, and you're layin' there inert
The first person that comes along, will say, "Are you hurt?"

Foolish Questions, your dyin' words are "No-o-o"
"I was in an awful hurry, and this elevator runs too slow
I find I save an awful lot of time, by comin' down this way"
Now wasn't that a Foolish Question, you hear 'em nearly every day.


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Subject: ADD: Foolish Questions
From: Jon W.
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 11:42 AM

Thanks, that's the one.
The version I heard had another verse which goes like this, as near as I can recall it:

I was riding on a bus, it was a cold and breezy day
So I sat down on a newspaper to keep the chill away
A fellow sees the paper on which I just barely sat
and he speaks right up and says to me
Say, are you reading that?

Foolish question, so these words to him I spoke
As a matter of fact I am, I said, but he took that for a joke
So I got up and turned the page, and sat back down again
Foolish questions, you know you hear 'em now and then.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: PattyG
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 11:49 AM

Thanks for the chuckle:) Now I need to go sit down and read my newspaper!


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Subject: looking for lyrics:
From: glatter22@worldnet.att.net
Date: 26 Aug 98 - 11:13 PM

Has anyone come across a song in their travels called: "Foolish questions?" I heard it a long time ago. It had humerous lyrics which I'd like to find, either on line or by buying a tape or CD. Any ideas? THANKS. Myles


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Subject: RE: looking for lyrics:
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Aug 98 - 11:32 PM

Hi, Myles - that one came up once before - Click here. Great song, isn't it?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,Clay
Date: 29 May 00 - 06:29 AM

Once again I am need of help. The lyric;s list didn't have a title "Foolish Questions"

As I remember it snatches of went..."Foolish questions, you hear them everyday" "You lather up your face, and someone asks Are you going to shave?" "Your going to ned's funeral, and are asked is Ned Dead?

Can any of you help.

Thanks

Clay


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Subject: RE: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 29 May 00 - 11:12 AM

You will find A VERSION here - * Previous Mudcat Post *


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 02:04 AM

Refresh - just because I like this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 06:48 AM

Looks like fun - All I need now is the tune , unless I fake one of my own for it !


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: GLoux
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 08:09 AM

The Canote Bros. sang this with Sandy Bradley as the Small Wonder String Band and again on their Thinga-ma-jig CD.

Great song...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 04:46 PM

Jackie Washington does a wonderful version of this song. He has recorded it, but I can't remember the name of the record. I can't imagine it without his delightful giggle at the end.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Peace
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 07:52 PM

FOOLISH QUESTIONS
(A. Baldwin Sloane / William Lee)

Bil Haley - 1949
Johnny Cash - 1965
Sandy Bradley & The Small Wonder String Band - 1982
Jackie Washington - 2000
Ken Galipeau - 2001

Also recorded by:
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith; Walt Brown; Woods Tea Co.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Peace
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 07:55 PM

Found this also:

From the production The Beauty Spot

FOOLISH QUESTIONS. William Lee (w) -- Chas. K. Harris (m). Chas. K. Harris, New York: 1910. 4 pp.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Peace
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 07:57 PM

I would guess that different melodies were used and therefore there is more than one copyright.


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Celtaddict
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 07:59 PM

I learned a similar song, evidently a variant on the one written by A. Smith, in the 60s. It had another verse about rushing to answer the telephone, and when you do so, the voice on the other end asks, "Are you there?"
Each verse in that one took the form

Foolish questions, the answer is of course
"No, this is a recording and you're talking to my horse."
Foolish questions, what is there to say?
Foolish questions, you hear them every day.

(The Uncle Ned verse, for example, said,
Foolish questions, you might as well reply,
"We thought we'd have the funeral first then later on he'll die."

I never heard the newspaper verse until Woods Tea Company but I love it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 08:38 PM

Anybody here perform this song?
I've had difficulty making it "work" for myself. The only recordings I've heard had an instrumental accompaniment, and I sing a cappella.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 02:05 AM

We do, but we think we learned it from Sam Hinton and we do the second part of each verse, the part that starts with "Foolish Questions", a little differently. We sing the first line, speak the second and skip the third and fourth lines.

Anyway, Joe, we always accompany it and wouldn't think of doing it a capella. Next time our paths cross, ask us to do it.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: Bugsy
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 07:15 PM

Good song, what's the tune like?


Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Lyr?Foolish Questions
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 11:32 AM

Gypsy Dave Boots, who plays the Irish Pub circuit here in Germany does a fine version of this. It's a hoot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 12:28 PM

Here's another verse found at AllExperts.com:

And then most every morning, there is someone 'round the place
Who sees you take the shaving brush and lather up your face,
And as you give the razor a preliminary wave,
This fool will always ask you, "Are you going to take a shave?"
Foolish questions! And your answer is, I hope,
"No! I ain't prepared for shaving. I just like the taste of soap!
I just like to take my shaving brush and paint myself this way."
Now there's a foolish question. You'll hear 'em most every day.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM

Great song. I haven't heard it in years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 07:37 PM

A year ago, Joe asked 'Anybody here perform this song?
I've had difficulty making it "work" for myself.'

It's a song worth saving, but the tune seems to be lost. If I wanted to perform it, I believe the first thing I would do is tidy up the rhythm. Then I would compose a spunky tune for it.

I would change this:

Foolish Questions, you should answer when you can
No, the candy's for you daddy and mama and John the hired hand
I just wanted you to see it, now I'm gonna take it away
Wasn't that a Foolish Question, you'll hear 'em nearly every day

to:

Foolish Questions, you answer when you can
'The candy's for your ma and pa and John the hired hand.
I wanted you to see it; now I'm taking it away.'
That's a foolish question; you hear 'em ev'ry day.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Nick E
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 09:10 PM

I heard/saw Wood's Tea do this song 2 years ago on the Green In New Milford CT, a nice show. I was looking forward to the concert last summer and I think they did play, but it was a week after the founder of the band passed.
And there were roses


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 23 Mar 08 - 05:33 AM

The CD is "The Woods Tea Co. - Live, Collector's Edition." You can order it from their website Here.

The lyrics they use are not quite those given above, but close. Since they were doing it live, I have a feeling it "adjusts" itself each time they perform it.

Great group. CD info is: copyright 1999 Lightening Ridge Music [sic] and address for ordering is: Wood's Tea Co., P.O. Box 4063, South Burlington, VT 05406, phone (802) 658-4246.

Their CD doesn't list any attribution for this song.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,David Richoux
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 12:34 AM

There is a 1909 Edison Cylinder recording with Billy Murray on this Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0qeqXFV_H4


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: topical tom
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 10:53 PM

GUEST, David Richoux: Thanks for much for that fabulous link! I saw Wood's Tea Company perform that song on a PBS station years back and loved it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 11:20 PM

The Canotes have a verse with an 'ins' rhyme, in which of course the foolish question is "are you twins?" An excellent version.
Carter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Gene
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 01:00 AM

Arthur [guitar boogie] Smith --
originator of [dueling] banjos/guitars/tubas/harps/fiddles....etc

also recorded this and other funny songs

ie conversation with a mule....hlarrrrious...

Gene

will post them later...also have mp3s of them...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,Sam
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 02:56 AM

The Wood's Tea Co. made up a few of their own verses for live shows where the audience would ask the question.

Now the phone rings in the morning it's about 5:25
You're sleeping awfully soundly you're just barely alive
As you stagger to the telephone you break a coffee cup
And the voice on the other end will ask, "Did I wake you up?"
Foolish questions, here's what's said by you
Hell no, I get up every mornin 'bout twenty after two
That's when I'm gonna call you tomorrow
Foolish questions, y'know that's what I would do.

We were playin' at an alehouse, it was a lowdown kind of place
When some biker staggers to the stage and he looks me in the face
And though I'm playin' loudly with my guitar in my hand
This guy shouts, "Hey buddy, are you in the band?
Foolish questions, I looked at him and grinned
No, I'm the bouncer. How did you get in?
You're gonna have to leave now, he swung at me, I ducked
Foolish answers, y'know, that one really was dumb.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Stewart
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 04:49 PM

Here are the Canote Brothers
singing their version of this song.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: Lyr Add: FOOLISH QUESTIONS (W Lee/A B Sloane)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM

From the sheet music at the UCLA Archive of Popular American Music:


FOOLISH QUESTIONS
Words, William Lee. Music, A. Baldwin Sloane.
New York: Chas. K. Harris, 1909.
"As sung by Jefferson De Angelis in DeKoven & Herbert's great success The Beauty Spot"

1. You've heard of foolish questions, and no doubt you've wondered why
A person who will ask them can expect a sane reply.
Did you ever bring a girl a box of candy after tea,
And notice how she grabs it, then says, "Is this for me?"
Foolish question! You should answer when you can:
"No! the candy's for your father or your mother or for John, the hired man!
I just wanted you to see it. Now I'll take it all away."
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.

2. Or if you've been away from town for sev'ral days or weeks,
What is it that a friend will ask the first time that he speaks?
He'll rush along to meet you and your shoulder he will whack,
And almost knock you silly as he hollers, "Are you back?"
Foolish question! and to answer in that line,
You should say, "Oh no, I haven't yet got back. Why, I'm at Bingen-on-the-Rhine!
I am traveling in Europe, and I won't be back till May!
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.

3. And then most ev'ry morning, there is someone 'round the place
Who sees you take a shaving brush and lather up your face,
And as you give the razor a preliminary wave,
This fool will always ask you, "Are you going to take a shave?"
Foolish question! And your answer is, I hope:
"No! I'm really not at all prepared for shaving, but I like the taste of soap!
I just like to take the shaving brush and paint myself this way."
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.

4. And then you all have met the man who stops you on your way.
He asks you where you're going, and then listens while you say
You are going to the funeral of poor old Brother Ned,
Then, as soon as you have told him, he will say, "Why, is he dead?"
Foolish question! And you might as well reply:
"No! He always thought that first he'd have the funeral. Then after while he'd die.
Brother Ned was so original, he wanted it that way."
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.

5. Or, if you should have a caller, say, some afternoon at five,
And, as you sit conversing, if the doctor should arrive,
Would your visitor be silent? Do you think that she'd be still?
Or, when she saw the doctor, would she say, "Is someone ill?"
Foolish question! And you answer with a shrug,
"No! There's no one ill; we simply have the doctor come to beat the parlor rug!
Sometimes, too, he tunes the grand piano when we want to play."
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.

6. Suppose an elevator boy forgets to close his doors,
And you should tumble down the shaft past twenty-seven floors,
And as you've reached the bottom and are lying there inert,
The first one who approaches will exclaim, "Why, are you hurt?"
Foolish question! And your dying words are, "No!
I was in an awful hurry and this elevator runs too blooming slow!
I have found I save a lot of time by coming down this way."
Now there's a question that you'll hear 'most ev'ry day.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: GUEST,Visitor
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 07:55 PM

I recall Jon Walmsley singing a verse of this in an episode of 'The Waltons.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 07:15 AM

This foolish question got the answer it deserved.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/video/video.php?v=418739863688


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foolish Questions
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 07:33 PM

You can hear Billy Murray singing FOOLISH QUESTIONS in a 1909 recording at YouTube. He sticks pretty close to the lyrics from the 1909 sheet music (see above) but he only sings verses 1, 3, and 6.


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Subject: Lyr Add: FOOLISH QUESTIONS (from Ada Reeve)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 10:33 PM

YouTube also has a 1915 recording by Ada Reeve, a British music-hall performer. Since she gets a little more creative with the lyrics, I'll post her version here. I have boldfaced the words that are different from the sheet music (see above). Note that there is one whole new verse.

FOOLISH QUESTIONS

1. You've heard of foolish questions, and no doubt you've wondered why
The person who will ask them can expect a sane reply.
Did you ever take a girl a box of choc'lates after tea,
And notice how she grabs it, and then says, "Is this for me?"
Foolish question! And you answer with a smile:
"No! The sweets are for your father, little girl, but you will hold 'em for a while.
I wanted you to see the box because the ribbon looks so gay—that's all."
"Is it for me?" As if she didn't know! There's a silly question, eh?


2. And then you all have met the man who stops you on your way
And asks you where you're off to, then listens while you say:
"I've just come from the funeral of my poor old school chum Fred,"
And
then, as soon as you've told him, he'll say, "Why, is he dead?"
Foolish question! And you might as well reply:
"Oh, no! He always thought that first he would be buried and then afterwards he'd die.
Poor Fred was so original, he wanted it that way."
"Is he dead? Is he dead?" And you've just come from his—well, well, I mean, there's a silly question, eh?

3. Then early in the morning, as your wife sits 'round the place,
She sees you take a shaving brush and lather up your face,
Then as you give the razor a preliminary wave,
She's sure to say: "Hello, dear; are you going to take a shave?"
Oh, foolish question! But you don't get cross, I hope.
No! You smile and say: "Huh! Am I going to shave? No, I like the taste of soap!
The razor? Yes, I'm going to chop the wood with it today.
'Am I going to shave?' Get out or I'll cut your throat!" Well, there's our silly question, eh?

It would serve her right if you meant it, wouldn't it?

4. You're thinking thoughts of marriage, so you find the proper girl,
And you take her to the altar with your brain all in a whirl.
Then the parson asks the silliest thing you've heard in all your life.
He says: "Will you this woman take to be your wedded wife?"
Foolish question! And you'll feel you want to say:
"No, I brought her in to see the decorations and to hear the organ play.
But I don't mind marrying her while I'm here, to pass the time away."
"Will you? Will you?" With her family standing round you? There's a silly question, eh?


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Subject: Lyr Add: FOOLISH QUESTIONS (from Johnny Cash)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 09:49 AM

I have transcribed this exactly as Cash sang it, even though his narrative gets confused due to confusion of pronouns. I have put my suggested corrections at the end. You can hear the recording on YouTube.


FOOLISH QUESTIONS
As recorded by Johnny Cash on "Bootleg Vol. II: From Memphis to Hollywood" (2011)

Well, now, you've all been asked foolish questions and I think that you all know
That you're bound to run into 'em most, most anywhere you go,
And you all know the story of the man you meet on the way.
You say to him: "Hey, how's tricks?" and you listen to 'im while he'll say:[1]

Say, he's just been to the funeral of poor old uncle Ned,[2]
And the next question he's gonna ask is: "Is Ned dead?"
Foolish questions—you might as well reply:
"No, Ned thought he'd have a funeral and then later on sometime he'd die.
You know, he's so original that he wanted it that way."
Foolish questions—you'll hear 'em ever' day.

Then there's the woman that always gives your phone a ring.
She'll talk two hours about anything, especially her bad kinfolks that are goin' to the ruin an' ever'thing.
You set there half asleep an' brewin', stewin',
And she says fin'lly: "Hey, what you doin'?"
Foolish questions—you ought to tell 'er that you're gone.
"And just about an hour ago, I thought I heard the phone.
It couldn't 'a' been you, though, 'cause I'd been asleep; why don't you call me sometime?"
Silly questions get a silly answer ever' time.

Then you just got out o' the hospital after about a three-month stay,
Had ever' bone in you broken, and you're tryin' to make your way.
An old friend steps right up to you and he says: "Hey, how's tricks?"
You been in the hospital three long months an' he says: "Hey, you been sick?"
Foolish questions—he says: "Naw, I like my meals in bed.[3]
Cost ain't a lot, and I'm curin' up pretty good now.
Why don't you go break your leg? That traction there is fine."
Foolish questions gets a silly answer ever' time.

Well you step into an elevator and you open up the door.
You walk right into the shaft and fall down forty floors,
And when you hit the bottom, and you're layin' there in the dirt,
The first person that's gonna come along's gonna say: "You hurt?"
Foolish questions—your dyin' words are: "No.
I was kind o' in a hurry an', well, a elevator's too slow.
I find I save a lot of time comin' down that way."
Foolish questions—yeah, you'll hear 'em ever' day.

* * *
I suggest the following changes to the lyrics:
1. He'll say to you: "Hey, how's tricks?" and he'll listen to you while you say:
2. Say, you've just been to the funeral of poor old uncle Ned,
3. Foolish questions—you say: "Naw, I like my meals in bed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Foolish Questions (W Lee/A B Sloane)
From: topical tom
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 12:22 PM

Joe: Would you please change the title to :Foolish Questions? Sorry about the error. Memory tricks one at an older age!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Foolish Questions (W Lee/A B Sloane)
From: topical tom
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 12:25 PM

Ignore my last post.


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