Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown

DigiTrad:
CHICKEN


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (63)
Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (from J Warner & J Davis) (14)


GUEST,OO_marshall@hotmail.com 15 Aug 01 - 06:17 PM
Sorcha 16 Aug 01 - 11:05 AM
MMario 16 Aug 01 - 11:08 AM
masato sakurai 16 Aug 01 - 11:31 AM
wilco 01 Sep 01 - 02:41 PM
Charley Noble 01 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,May J. 27 Apr 05 - 04:53 PM
RangerSteve 27 Apr 05 - 06:21 PM
Reiver 2 27 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,DMCOX 17 Sep 05 - 01:36 AM
Charley Noble 17 Sep 05 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 17 Sep 05 - 10:40 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 05 - 01:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 05 - 01:58 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Aug 06 - 07:31 PM
Charley Noble 25 Aug 06 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Paul 10 Apr 07 - 11:07 PM
Amos 10 Apr 07 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,Abigail Daume 10 Sep 07 - 04:12 PM
Charley Noble 10 Sep 07 - 04:42 PM
Azizi 11 Sep 07 - 02:39 PM
Joe_F 11 Sep 07 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,kevndayton 30 Dec 07 - 03:17 AM
Charley Noble 30 Dec 07 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,laryssa 05 May 08 - 03:54 PM
Jim Dixon 05 May 08 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Ken Brock 06 May 08 - 05:17 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM
Liam's Brother 05 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,rebecca 02 Dec 09 - 09:47 PM
beeliner 03 Dec 09 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,CowboyJohn-Brad 09 Apr 10 - 03:59 PM
GUEST 04 May 10 - 08:07 PM
Artful Codger 07 May 10 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Goof Gantry 08 May 10 - 02:23 AM
Artful Codger 08 May 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,BobbyO 10 Jun 11 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Betty Fountain Erickson 22 Jul 11 - 03:39 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 13 - 12:27 PM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 13 - 10:01 PM
Cool Beans 02 Mar 13 - 02:30 PM
Stringsinger 03 Mar 13 - 01:29 PM
Joe_F 03 Mar 13 - 08:18 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Rufus
From: GUEST,OO_marshall@hotmail.com
Date: 15 Aug 01 - 06:17 PM

Does anyone know the lyrics or know of a recording of "Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown"?
Ex. "Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
What ya gonna do when the rain comes down?
What ya gonna do and what ya gonna say
when you can't pay the rent at the end of the day?........"

Click for Rufus/Chicken thread


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown & Chicken
From: Sorcha
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 11:05 AM

Click here and choose one.......suppose I should copy all of them, huh? Too early yet, I know I would miss a bunch of line breaks, :)

Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown

There appears to be a number of similar versions of this song. Here's a number of them - I have no idea which is the original song. :-)

From Kendra Kelly:

Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown,
Oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down
Oh what ya gonna do and what ya gonna say
If you can't pay the rent 'till the rain goes away

C- thats the way it begins
H- is the next letter in
I- you're in the middle of the word
C- you've already heard
K- now you're roundin' the bend
E- you're nearin' the end
C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That's the way you spell CHICKEN!

(note: there is no line for "N")


From James Althaus:

Oh Roofus Rastus Johnson Brown
What ya gonna do when the rent comes round.
What ya gonna do? What ya gonna say?
What ya gonna do come the Judgement Day?
Oh you know, he know, we all know,
Landlord kick you out in the snow.
Roofus Rastus Johnson Brown
What ya gonna do when the rent comes round?

C- that's the way you begin
H- that's the second letter in
I- I am the third
And C is the fourth letter in that word
Well, O - K I'm fill'in in
E- I'm near the end.
Yea, C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That is the way you spell chicken


From Amy Reynolds:

Roofus Rustas Johnson and Brown
Whatcha gonna do when the rent comes around
Whatcha gonna do and whatcha gonna say
When you can't pay the rent 'till the break of day
You know, and I know and everyone knows
That you can't pay the rent if you ain't got the dough
Roofus Rustas Johnson and Brown
Whatcha gonna do when the rent comes around

C - that's the way it begins,
And H - that's the next letter in,
And I - that's the middle of the word,
And C - that you've already heard,
And K - that's the name of the hen,
And E - now we're nearing the N
C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That's the way you spell (clap) Chicken.


From Jennifer Ring:

Oh, Rofus Rufus Johnson Brown
Watcha gonna do when the rent comes round
Watcha gonna say, watcha gonna pay
Watcha gonna do on judgment day
Oh, you know I know rent means dough
Landlord throw you out in the snow
Oh, Rofus Rufus Johnson Brown
Watcha gonna do when the rent comes round

C - that's the way it begins
H - I'm the second one in
I - I am the third, and
C - I'm the forth letter of that bird, oh
K - I'm movin' in
E - I'm near the N
Oh, C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That's how you spell chicken.

(While singing each letter you sign the letter in sign language.)



Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus
From: MMario
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 11:08 AM

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music has a number of Rufus songs as well.
click for sheet music


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: RUFUS RASTUS JOHNSON BROWN
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 11:31 AM

Here's another one from a 1927 book:

Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?
What you goin' to say? How you goin' to pray?
You'll never have a bit of sense till Judgment Day;
You know, I know, rent means dough,
Landlord's goin' to put us in the snow,
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes round?

(Source) Sigmund Spaeth, Read 'Em and Weep: The Songs You Forgot to Remember (Doubleday, Page & Company, 1927, p. 231)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown Lyrics
From: wilco
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 02:41 PM

I'm a newbie. A friend of mine asked about the lyrics to a song called "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown." I've never heard it, but told her I would ask.

Thanks!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT...?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM

Sorcha, I didn't find as much stuff as I have on the threads so I'm dumping what I have here for all to admire:

What You Goin' Do When the Rent Comes 'Round?

This rent lament is a classic from the late 19th century minstrel song school, and is also known by the compound name of its protagonist, Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown. Music historian Sigmund Spaeth describes how the author became inspired to write this song:

Harry Von Tilzer was standing on the platform of the railway station at Miami listening to the conversation of two negroes. The woman was berating the man, and after using every possible adjective to describe his low-down shiftlessness, she worked up to a climax with the question, "What you goin' to do when de rent comes 'round?" The rest was easy.

WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT COMES 'ROUND?
Words, Andrew B. Sterling. Music, Harry Von Tilzer.
Publication: New York: Harry Von Tilzer Music Pub. Co., 1905.

1. Who dat a-knockin' at the door below?
Who dat a-shiv'rin' in the hail and snow?
I can hear you grumblin', Mister Rufus Brown.
Just keep on a-knockin', Babe. I won't come down.
I wants to tell you that you can't get in.
Have you been a-gamblin', Honey? Did you win?
What's that you tell me, coon? You lost your breath?
I hopes you freezes to death!

CHORUS: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?
What you goin' to say? How you goin' to pay?
You'll never have a bit of sense till Judgment Day.
You know, I know, rent means dough.
Landlord's goin' put us out in the snow.
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?

2. Keep on a-bangin' on the old front door.
In just a minute, Babe, you'll hear me snore.
If I goes to bed without a bite or sup,
You will be an icicle when I wakes up.
Where's all the money that you said you'd bring?
Melted all away just like the snow last spring.
Rufus, I loves you but this serves you right.
Guess that's sufficient. Good night!


Hope this is helpful!

Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble
Click for sheet music at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,May J.
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 04:53 PM

Rufus rustus johnson brown
ph watcha gonna do wen the rain goes down
oh watchu gonna do and watchu gonna say
if u cant pay the rent if the rain goes away

oh you know and i know and everybody knows
that u cant pay the rent if u aint got the dough
rufus rustus johnson brown oh wahca gonna do wen the rain goes down?

C-Thats the way it begins and
H-thats the next letter in
I-you're in the middle of the word and
C- you've already heard and
K- now you're nearing the end and
E-now you're rounding the bend

C-H-I-C-K-E-N thats the way you spell (clap clap) CHICKEN!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: RangerSteve
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 06:21 PM

The Chicken verse is from an entirely different song. I don't know how they got confused. Sam McGee recorded "Chicken" with its two verses, and I'm sure it's available somewhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: Reiver 2
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM

The lyrics as posted by Masato Sakurai are the ones I'm familiar with. They can be found in "The Gray Book of Favorite Songs" published by Hall & McCreary Company, Chicago, 3rd Revised Edition. (No date that I could find. I've had the book since sometime back in the late 1930s or early 40s.) A note after the song says, "Used by special permission of Harry Von Tilzer, owner of the copyright. Complete song with words and music, 50 cts., postpaid."

The song is printed in between two others, "Tangled Tunes" (Dat Am De Way To Spell Chicken) and "By The Watermelon Vine" with a note at the bottom of the page, "The three numbers on this page may be sung simultaneously and, given in that way, they make a fine stunt number for recreational singing. The few harmonic clashes will not detract from the fun of singing three different songs at the same time." Perhaps that's how the "Chicken" song got linked to "Rufus Rastus, etc."

I think the post above by Charlie Noble and the note in The Gray Book re. Harry von Tilzer, establishes the authenticity of this version, and that the lyrics you posted, Charlie, are the ones referred to as being available for "50 cts., postpaid." The other versions, I would guess are later adaptations. Thanks, Charlie.

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,DMCOX
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:36 AM

Okay, I know the lyrics to this song... I had to sing this live 20 years ago...so here goes..Thanks to R Rothnie for making me learn this stuff...I'll never forget it...and May J is correct!

Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
Oh watcha gonna do when the rain comes down
Watcha gonna do and watcha gonna say
If you can't pay the rent till the rain goes away

Oh you know and I know and everybody knows
That you can't pay the rent if you ain't got the dough
Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown, oh watcha gonna do when the rain comes down?

C- That's the way it begins
H- That's the next letter in
I- you're in the middle of the word...and
C- you've already heard
K- now you're nearing the end
E- now you're rounding the bend
C-H-I-C-K-E-N thats the way you spell (clap clap) CHICKEN!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for the further comments.

Landlady's Daughter


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:40 AM

That's ths shortest song I know!!

If you've never been in love with a landlady's daughter,
Then you cannot have another piece of pie!!

Art Thieme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:44 PM

I remember my grandmother had the sheet music to the very popular Sterling and von Tilzer song. I think most people who had a piano had a copy.
But who married Syerling's words to the "Chicken song?"

I think the best known words are:
"C" is for the little chick,
"H" is for the momma hen
"I" 'cause I love that bird
"C" for the cluck, cluck
"K" for the kackle, kackle
"E" and the little "N"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:58 PM

Oops- cut it off- (Sterling, not Syerling wrote the lyrics to "What You Goin' to Do When the Rent Comes 'Round?"))

C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That's the way to spell chicken
That's the way to spell checken.

At least that is the way I remember the nursery rhyme.

The verse given by DMCOX also is often heard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: (Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown) What You...
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM

Rufus Rustus Johnson brown oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down

What you gonna do and what you gonna say if you cant pay the rent till the rain goes away

Oh you no and i no, and everybody knows that u cant pay the rent if u ain't got the dough

Oh Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down

C-thats the way it begins
and H- thats the next letter in
and I- your in the middel of the word
and C- you've already heard
and K- now your rounding the bend
and E- now your nearing the N
C-H-I-C-K-E-N
Oh thats the you spell (CLAP CLAP) Chicken


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: (Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown) What You...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 07:31 PM

As noted, the chicken verse has nothing to do with the original song.
Words posted by Charley Noble are correct.
The date of copyright on the Sterling-von Tilzer song is 1905, Harry von Tilzer Music Pub. Co., Ny and Chicago.
Copies at http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: (Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown) What You...
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 04:15 PM

Q-

There's no discouraging them chicken plucking posters once their feathers get ruffled but thanks for the support.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:07 PM

It's funny, I was talking to my son about being in his school's play. He asked if I was ever in a play? I said yes, it was a high school play but I was in the 7th grade. I couldn't remember the title, but I remembered a line : A Rufus a Rastus a Johnson a Brown watcha gonna do when the rent comes around. WHAT'S THE TITLE?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
From: Amos
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:43 PM

The movie was called "Broadway Serenade".

"The film opens in the Naughty Nineties Club in Greenwich Village, where a new act, Hale and Seymour, is entertaining the elite who have come slumming. Jimmy Seymour (Lew Ayres) is at the piano in derby and false moustache while Mary Hale (Jeanette) prances alluringly in a shorter, fancier version of her dance-hall dress in San Francisco.

As the formally dressed patrons arrive, they are handed derbies and can-can bonnets and seated at small tables where they can drink, watch the show, join in the old time songs—and drink. One patron (Paul Hurst) has overindulged and becomes boisterous, irritating Jimmy no end. Mary makes little soothing gestures, but when the drunk aims a champagne cork and hits Mary in the face, Jimmy leaps up and slugs him. The scene has been followed with interest by a distinguished gentleman at a back table.

The manager, Mr. Parks (Morgan Wallace), tells Jimmy that three knockouts in one week are enough and fires him. Mary can stay on, he says, but she chooses to depart. In their dressing room, Jimmy pitches his hat across the room onto the hat rack, a gesture he will repeat throughout the film. Mary gives Jimmy a cigarette ("Same thing as counting ten, only easier"!) and consoles him. After all, he is a musical genius. All this will just make copy for his press agents when he is famous. Jimmy hugs her and tells her he's beginning to like having her for a wife.

At their colorful boardinghouse, full of colorful characters, a Christmas surprise is being planned by "the gang," Mrs. Olsen (Esther Dale), Herman (Al Shean, the "Professor" of San Francisco), and the rest. Although they are obviously supposed to be a unique and lovable group of individuals, neither the script nor the director gives them any background, so they are a faceless bunch. A small feast is laid out and a present, a water jug that plays "Auld Lang Syne," is being wrapped. When the couple arrives, Jimmy finds a letter announcing that he has won a scholarship for a year's study in Italy. If he and Mary can raise just one thousand dollars, they can spend a glorious year together on a belated honeymoon.

Old Herman starts a melody on his cello and ends up playing "The Blue Danube." It's that restaurant he works in, he complains. He has played "The Blue Danube" until he is blue in the face. "It's a good thing for you the 'Black Bottom' is out of date," comments Mrs. Olsen.

Jimmy is sure he can sell his new song for the thousand dollars they need. The trouble with people today, he says, is that they are too busy to learn new songs. As an example he plays "A Tisket, a Tasket," then enjoying current popularity in an Ella Fitzgerald recording. He, too, will give them an old one: Tchaikovsky's "None but the Lonely Heart." He pulls out his version and Mary sings "For Ev'ry Lonely Heart." Then they rush off to sell it to the biggest producer in New York, Cornelius Collier.

Mr. Collier (Frank Morgan) is busy, his secretary tells a group of costumed chorines. His business turns out to be another chorus girl, Pearl (Virginia Grey), who is protesting the concealing costume that has been assigned her. Now, if she had one more like this: she strips off the ruffled gown and is clad in a bathing suit.

Judith (Rita Johnson) walks in on this attempted takeover of her man, and the two square off. Judith seizes Collier's cigar and, as Pearl bends to retrieve her costume, the cigar follows her out of the picture. A loud yell from Pearl, and Judith comments that now she'll be known as "Lady Scarface." Pearl protests volubly. It will show in the bathing suit number. Judith coolly remarks that if that spot shows, the police will close the show. "I'll get the police after you!" cries Pearl. "For defacing public property?" sneers Judith."

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Rufus Rustus and chicken song
From: GUEST,Abigail Daume
Date: 10 Sep 07 - 04:12 PM

rufus,rustus,johnston brown
oh whatcha gonna do when the rain comes down
whatcha gonna do and whatcha gonna say
if you can't pay the rent till the rain goes away
i know and you know and everybody knows that
you can't pay the rent if you ain't got the dough
rufus,rustus,johnston brown oh
whatcha gonna do when he rain come down.

"c"    is the way it begins and

"h"    is the next letter in _____and

"I"    is in the middle of the word and

"c"    you already heard and

"k"    your nearing the end and

"e"    is rounding the bend and

   c-h-i-c-k-e-n
is the way you spell "clap clap" chicken.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Sep 07 - 04:42 PM

Abigail-

You may be new to this forum so you may not be aware that a similar post to yours was made above at 24 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM.

It's always good to check what people have already posted before posting something yourself.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:39 PM

GUEST,Abigail Daume,

What Charley said is true, but still, if you are new to Mudcat, welcome!

Also, may I suggest that it would be interesting if you and others who know the same lyrics to songs like this would add where and when you learned that song.

Fwiw, I've never heard this song or the chicken song. And I doubt very much that many contemporary African Americans sing this song as the name "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown" is quite stereotypical and the names "Rufus" and "Rastus" in particular remind folks of what weren't good ole days for many people. Maybe Rufus Rastus would have been able to pay his rent if there wasn't so much institutional and personal racism around.

And yes, I know this song is to be sung just for fun. But still....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:21 PM

In _A Death in the Family_ by James Agee, a little white boy whose name happens to be Rufus is taunted by the neighborhood bullies for having a "nigger name", and they use that song. That would have been about 1915.

Then there was

"What does you lahk bestes', Rastus?"
"Ah lahks asbestos, Rufus."

So, yes, the names carry some baggage. Maybe they will manage to shed it by & by.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,kevndayton
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 03:17 AM

My Dad played in Dixieland bands from the early Fifties through the Eighties
and my favorite song, which was recorded back in the mid-Sixties, was Rufus, Rastus, Johnson and Brown. The lyrics they used on that song follow (to the best of my recollection):

"Hey Rufus, Hey Rastus, Johnson and Brown,
Oh whatcha gonna do when the rent man comes around?
Oh, whatcha gonna do, and how ya gonna pay?
You'll never have a bit of sense, till judgement day.
Oh you know, and I know that rent means dough,
The Landlords gonna throw ya right out in the snow,
Hey Rufus, Hey Rastus, Johnson and Brown,
Oh whatcha gonna do when the rent man comes around?"

There were no lyrics in their rendition about a C-H-I-C-K-E-N.

The verse (above) was repeated following a solo on trombone, with the
rest of the band backing it up. My Dad had the "Hey Rastus" line.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 09:51 AM

Kevondayton-

Again, you are probably new to the Mudcat Forum. If you check out the earlier posts in this thread, before posting, you will find an abundance of verse variations and hard information on the source of the original song.

It's an interesting song with an interesting history. It is also a tongue-twisting song which can be fun to sing. And it does have a load of cultural baggage which anyone should be aware of before singing it in a public performance.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,laryssa
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:54 PM

Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown,
Oh, whatcha gonna go when the rain comes down?
Whatcha gonna do and whatcha gonna say
If you can’t pay the rent till the rain goes away?
You know and I know and everybody else knows
You can’t pay the rent if you ain't got the dough.
Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown,
Oh, whatcha gonna do (clap, clap) when the rain comes down?

That’s the lyrics no doubt; that song is burned into my head from music class in elementary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 May 08 - 07:05 PM

In case anyone is still confused about why some versions of RUFUS RASTUS… have verses about chickens and some don't—it's because two different Tin-Pan-Alley songs somehow got blended together by the folk process. The songs are:

DAT'S DE WAY TO SPELL CHICKEN by Sidney L. Perrin and Bob Slater, 1902;

and

WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT COMES 'ROUND? by Andrew B. Sterling and Harry Von Tilzer, 1905.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 06 May 08 - 05:17 PM

Fwiw the name Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown was used by Ira Gershwin in the song "Patriotic Rally" from the 1927 musical satire STRIKE UP THE BAND, in a long list of names, some famous and some representing various ethnic groups in the melting pot of America that inspired his brother's Rhapsody in Blue.

Other names in the song included (from memory) Bambino Ruth, (producer) Morris Gest, (banker) Leffingwell, (silent film star) Ben Turpin, (actors) Charlotte Cushman and Francis Bushman and someone named Finevessi.

This song was apparently revised for the 1930 version of SUTB as "Three Cheers for the Union" and "This Could Go On For Years" (both of which are phrases in "Patriotic Rally").


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM

you got the song all rong


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM

The name "Rastus," along with variants, comes out of the unfortunate tradition of the "blackface" minstrel shows and the portrayal of black people generally in early movies, burlesque performances and medicine shows, not to mention endless, tasteless "Rastus" jokes of the period. I heard more than a few as a youngster in the 1940's and '50's. On the other hand, for better or worse, I suppose it is a part of history in the context of the times. I'd probably not try to perform one of these songs without a short history lesson as preface.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM

100 years ago (perhaps it was 101), I bought a cylinder recording. It is to this day the only one I own and it is "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown." Fortunately, I once met a guy who had a cylinder player and I got to hear it on one occasion: "...what you gonna do when the rent comes 'round."

All the best,
Dan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,rebecca
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 09:47 PM

Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
Oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down
Oh what you gonna do and what you gonna say
If you cant pay the rent til the rain goes away

Oh you know and I know and everybody knows
That you cant pay the rent if you aint got the dough
Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down?

C that's the way it begins and
H that's the next letter in
I you're in the middle of the word and
C you've already heard and
K now you're nearing the end and
E now your're rounding the bend

C H I C K E N oh that's the way we spell
*clap clap*
CHICKEN!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: beeliner
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 07:34 PM

My dad used to sing this when I was a little kid, a LONG time ago.

Judy Henske sings it as "Lily Langtree Lucy Brown" on her eponymous Elektra LP.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,CowboyJohn-Brad
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:59 PM

I remember my parents' singing "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown" to my sisters and me when we were kids,and I'm happy that someone remembers
the lyrics,such as they are.(And I'm African Canadian,so it CERTAINLY isn't because I'm grinning about such a racist depiction of the black male.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 10 - 08:07 PM

Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown oh what u gona do when the rain comes down what gonna do and what u gonna say if you cant pay the vent till the rain goes away now you know and i know and everybody knows that u cant pay the rent if you aint got the dough Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown oh what you gonna do when the rain comes down C that's the way it begins and H that's the next letter in I your the middle of the word and C you've already heard and K now your near in the end and C now your round i n the bend C-H-I-C-K-E-N oh that's the way you spell chicken

p.s im African Canadian to


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 May 10 - 04:40 PM

Childlife Magazine added to the stigmatization of the name Rufus with their ongoing moralistic series "Goofus and Gallant", where Goofus was the boy who did everything wrong, and Gallant...figure it out. At least Goofus was "European-American", so no direct racial slur was involved. Of course, any kid with sense would have prefered to hang out with Goofus. Only a mother could love an angelic little snitch like Gallant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,Goof Gantry
Date: 08 May 10 - 02:23 AM

Goofus = goofy . . . where you find Rufus in this, fuck knows. But this is Mudcat, idiocy rules.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Artful Codger
Date: 08 May 10 - 03:50 PM

As your post shows. ;-}


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,BobbyO
Date: 10 Jun 11 - 06:05 PM

http://130.74.92.141/harris/MUM00682_142.pdf#view=Fit

The above site, from Ole Miss music collection has the words and music of the original song written in 1905 by Harry Tilzer.

When the page is accessed, click on the top line for the pdf. file.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: GUEST,Betty Fountain Erickson
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:39 PM

We sang this song in 1941-42 at Pearl Hill, a one room school, rural Webb City, Mo
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
What cha gonna do when the rent comes 'round?
What cha gonna say? What cha gonna pay?
You'll never have a dollar 'til the judgement day
You know, I know, rent means dough
Or the landlord kicks ya out in the snow,
Rufas Rastus Johnson Brown,
What cha gonna do when the rent comes 'round?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 12:27 PM

Greetings!

I'm posting this comment to make those who might be interested aware that I've published two posts on my Pancocojams cultural blog about the song "What You Gonna Do When The Rent Comes Round (Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown)".

Those posts include a hyperlink to this Mudcat thread, and a hyperlink to the Mudcat thread on the song "C.H.I.C.K.E.N". Selected comments from this thread are also included in that first post. My thanks to those whose comments I quoted.

Both of those Pancocojams post include information about a 1969 version of "Rufus Rastus..." that I wasn't aware of when I posted to this thread in 2007.

The first Pancocojams post includes my textual analysis of both songs. A sound file & lyrics of the original 1905 song, and a sound file & my transcription of that 1969 song are featured in the second Pancocojams post.

The hyperlinks to those posts are:
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-textual-analysis-of-two-versions-of.html A Textual Analysis Of Two Versions Of "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown"

And

http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-white-black-version-of-song-rufus.html A White & A Black Version of The Song "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown"

Comments are welcome on those posts.

Best wishes,

Azizi Powell


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 10:01 PM

Azizi-

Good to see you posting again here. I'm not around here much myself nowadays but I've always valued your thoughtful posts.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Cool Beans
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 02:30 PM

What Charley said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 01:29 PM

Azizi, happy to see you on Mudcat again.

The melody for the song was adapted to fit Teresa Brewer's 1950ish hit
called "Music, Music, Music". ("Put another nickel in........")


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 08:18 PM

Since my posting above has been quoted in Azizi's first link, it may be worth mentioning that Agee's book (_A Death in the Family_) has since appeared in a new edition, by Michael A. Lofaro (Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2007). It contains no new information about Rufus & Rastus, but it does include a chapter (about a visit to an amusement park) with further enlightenment about the terrible cost that institutional racism inflicted on decent white people. It also makes clear that the book, tho nominally fiction, was intimately autobiographical (Agee originally used the real names of his relatives) & so deserves additional respect as documentation. Whether or not you have read the original best seller, I recommend this edition highly.

There are some other passages along the same lines in Agee's earlier book _Let Us Now Praise Famous Men_.

It might be worthwhile to date the "asbestos" joke, but I do not remember when I heard it (probably the 1950s) or from whom.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 27 May 9:59 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.