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Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]

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ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR


GUEST,Jamie 19 Feb 02 - 12:29 AM
nutty 19 Feb 02 - 03:00 AM
khandu 19 Feb 02 - 03:05 AM
DougR 19 Feb 02 - 03:31 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 02 - 06:22 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 19 Feb 02 - 06:46 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Feb 02 - 06:56 PM
Mark Cohen 21 Feb 02 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Jamie 21 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM
little john cameron 21 Feb 02 - 08:30 PM
little john cameron 21 Feb 02 - 08:50 PM
Jamie B 22 Feb 02 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Dan Schatz 22 Feb 02 - 04:03 PM
CapriUni 22 Feb 02 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Karen Zethmayr 05 Feb 11 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Feb 11 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Feb 11 - 06:52 AM
GUEST 21 Jul 13 - 11:10 PM
PHJim 22 Jul 13 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Jul 13 - 10:19 AM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 14 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Sep 14 - 04:43 AM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 14 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Sep 14 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Sep 14 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Sep 14 - 10:59 AM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 14 - 03:43 PM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 14 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Sep 14 - 04:28 PM
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Subject: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: GUEST,Jamie
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:29 AM

Can anyone tell who the author is? Thanks.

Yes, the lyrics are in the database. But my memory is bit faulty on the tune. Any help here?

My daughter came home from 2nd grade with the written lyrics to "Water Spout Song" about "Alfred" the alligator. When she started singing it, I said "Oh, you mean Albert the Alligator". So now I owe her the "correct" version. My murky recollection is Mark Cohen singing it at PSGW many years ago.


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Subject: ADD: Albert the Alligator
From: nutty
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:00 AM

The lyrics are here .......ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR
    ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR
    Songwriter??

    Did you ever slip down a water pipe
    Right down to the bottom of the water system
    There you'll find a little alligator
    Who goes by the name of Albert, if you do, he's mine
    I lost him

    I lost him down the water pipe
    Right down to the bottom of the water system
    He was gettin' kind of big for his britches
    But now I'm feeling kind of lonely and blue 'cause he's gone
    I miss him


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: khandu
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:05 AM

Albert was a character of Dr. Seuss. I do not know if he wrote the song.

khandu


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: DougR
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:31 PM

Wasn't Albert the alligator a character in Walt Kelly's "Pogo" comic strip? I'm sure he was. Maybe this is a different Albert though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:22 PM

Got that right, Doug. THE Albert the Alligator was created by Walt Kelly, but I think this is another Albert here...it's a popular name for alligators. When I was a kid I created an alligator character of my own...his name was Albert Ashley, and he was a gumshoe like in the Mike Hammer books. I drew cartoons of him, and still have some of them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:46 PM

Is this the same Albert that had a stick with a horses head handle?


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:56 PM

No, John no - I just checked the lyrics for Albert the Alligator and the rhythm is all wrong for the sort of Albert you had in mind.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 01:24 PM

Jamie, I'm flattered that you'd think I wrote it, but I didn't. And I don't know who did. Though I do sing it, and I'm pretty sure I did learn it at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (it would most likely have been 1986!), since it was there and at Camp Harmony where I learned most of the rounds I know. Of course, now I can't remember the names of most of the members of the rounds gang. Albert's a good one...if I have the time, I'll try to put the tune into a MIDI, but don't hold your collective breath! It's good to "hear" from you again.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: GUEST,Jamie
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM

Thanks, Mark.

You could be right about 86. I do remember "apple maggot quarantine area - do not transplant homegrown fruit". Did I get that right? Does that date it?

best regards, Jamie


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: little john cameron
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 08:30 PM

Here are a few Albert stories in Real audio.Albert


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: little john cameron
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 08:50 PM

btw,the hisory of commercial radio is here,for instance Radio Luxemburg AND LOTS OF ACCORDION MUSIC.LJC


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: Jamie B
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 03:06 PM

Mark Cohen,

Opps - that should be "transport" not "transplant". That was your round, was it not?

"apple maggot quarantine area - do not transport homegrown fruit"

(as sung in student concert)


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: GUEST,Dan Schatz
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 04:03 PM

Here in New Hampshire we sing it "Alfred" - which I kind of like a little better. I can imagine him wearing a bow tie....

Dan


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: CapriUni
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 06:38 PM

I think this may be one of those true bits of children's folklore -- passed from word of mouth and generation to generation of 7 & 8 year-olds.

I first heard this round performed on the PBS children's show called "Zoom" -- a sort of variety show "hosted" by a group of 7 kids, that perform songs, demonstrate games, tell riddles, try science experiments, etc., which have been mailed to them by children throughout USA and Canada...

I just did a search of the ZOOM website, and no sign of Albert ... Oh, well...


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: GUEST,Karen Zethmayr
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 01:41 PM

I'm also striking out on author- composer-ship. Would love to know, because I want to include it in a book of sing-and-play rounds for string students.

Got a midi on my site: Midi and words for A--- the Alligator (definitely not Albert)


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Subject: RE: author of ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 06:11 PM

People, especially children, and alligators don't mix. I have just been to Florida and have seen the alligators and crocodiles lying about. These animals are quite capable of killing a person, and their range is spreading.

I think it is right to have a strict policy of separatism between children and these animals, whether they are big or small. In other words, if your child sees one, he should head right for your side and stay there. I think that giving them names and singing cute songs about them is inadvisable.

A small alligator, such as the one in the song, is quite capable of ripping your child's arm open.


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 06:52 AM

Here is my ABC essentially following Karen and other internet sources:

X:1
T:Alfred the Alligator
P:Round for (up to) 16 parts
C:(Author yet unknown)
M:4/4
L:1/16
Q:1/4=160
K:G
"1." d2 d2| d2 d2 B4 c4 "2." A4| B4 G4 A4 "3." D4| \
w: Have you e-ver been down the wa-ter-spout? Right
G4 G2 G2 A2 A2 "4." c2 c2| B4 G4 A4 "5." D4| \
w: down to the bot-tom of the wa-ter sys-tem?
E4 E4 F2 F2 "6." F2 F2| G2 G2 G2 G2 "7." A4 A4| \
w: There you'll find a litt-le al-li-ga-tor that goes
B4 B4 c4 "8." c4| B2 B2 G2 G2 D2 D2 "9." F4| \
w: by the name of Al-fred. If you see him, he's
G4 z4 z4 "10." d4| B4 G4 z4 "11." d4| \
w: mine. I lost him. I
d2 d2 B2 B2 c4 "12." A4| B4 G4 A4 "13." D4| \
w: kind-a threw him down the wa-ter-spout, and
G4 G4 A4 "14." c4| B4 G4 D4 "15." F4| \
w: now I'm real-ly lone-ly, 'cause he's
G8 z4 "16." d4| B4 G4 z4:|]
w: gone. I miss him.

I think it was in the 1980s when I read that in NYC young alligators were the latest ladies' fashion pets. When they grew too big, many owners flushed them down the toilet. In the sewerage they proliferated, feeding on the rats. It sounds like the prototype of an urban legend, but was reported for a fact.

Leenia, of course you're right, but most children will detect the ironic self-criticism in the phrase "I kinda threw ...". With a little help, they will learn by the bad example that owning a pet is a responsibility.

In my opinion, the composition (as a round) is certainly not the pinnacle of sophistication, but the idea and the lyrics are a notable achievement, fun for children and adults.


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jul 13 - 11:10 PM

still need the composer's name please


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: PHJim
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 08:29 AM

leeneia, I must agree, and just think of all those kids with teddy bears. Those things could gobble down a little kid in no time.


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 10:19 AM

Here in the Kansas City area, a baby boy recently lost almost all his fingers to a ferret. They didn't say it in court, but I figure the ferret was starving and the baby's fingers were the only thing that looked like food to it.

Live animals have real needs. That family should have stuck with teddy bears.


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 03:09 AM

Here's a recording that calls it "Alvin the Alligator":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbwUaCUnyjQ

and another:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38NNawUZ4Ho

Another recording: http://thebirdsings.com/songs/alfred.html (Alfred, as a round)

I think I found the author's name. One source I found said it was by Peter Tork. This Monkees Book says the song was titled "Alvin," and was written by Peter Tork's brother Nicholas Thorkelson. Recording can be found on later editions of the 1968 album, "The Birds, the Bees, and the Monkees."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: author of 'Albert the Alligator'?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:43 AM

A friend of mine who is a keen collector of rounds is also still very interested.

There is a track ("previously unpublished") titled "Alvin" on a Monkees sampler CD, sung by a single singer a cappella - presumably meant for a "looper", either tape or software, which would render it as a round of 16 parts. (Did it myself, with software: great fun!) There is no indication that the Monkees ever claimed authorship, rather to the contrary. See Tork's song list.

"Alvin the Alligator" is the title of a children's book about tooth hygiene. Peter Tork or someone else may have transferred the name erroneously.


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 05:57 AM

Yeah, it looks like Alvin the Alligator Learns a Lesson: A Story about Brushing and Flossing Teeth was published in 2005. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the song.

This Wikipedia page for the 1968 album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees gives credit for the song to Nicholas Thorkelson, and I found several other sources crediting the song to Thorkelson. It song was recorded for the album, but then dropped from the first issue of the album. It was included as a bonus track in some reissues of the album.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 08:16 AM

Joe, I read the same. Anything Google yields us is traceable back to one single source of information related to "The Birds ...". It may be correct, but may also be an error, as so many similar items of information. For example, brother Nicholas may have posed as "the arranger of a traditional song" for copyright reasons.

The sources say that the track was recorded in 1968 but first published on the 2004 CD as a "bonus track". The questions that arise are:
  1. Why should a song that was certainly designed to be a round (of at least three parts) be first published one-part, without even mentioning its property of being a round?
  2. Was the round really unknown before 2004? Did a mere decade suffice to establish it as a folk round, including folk processing of the name?
If N.T. is indeed the author, it seems much more plausible that he had published the music before the recording, in some songbook. Corroboration would be welcome. Whoever the lyricist and composer, Peter Tork did not do them full justice.

As I wrote, the recording published in 2004 seems to be the raw result of a "looper" recording. I guess the original intention in 1968 was to process it into a round, but that has gone lost. Nowadays, fans of famous bands are supposed to appreciate raw material as "bonus" - see the loads of Beatles waste material now sold for good money.


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 08:24 AM

PS: We need not look very far to find that the popularity of the round predates 2004: this thread was started in 2002.


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:59 AM

In an attempt at "experimental research", I tweaked those raw data found on YouTube into a round. The result is:
  • The overall tempo is quite constant, as required for a round. This may have been achieved by a looper, but a simple ticker into the earphones would suffice.
  • Intonation is also quite good, suitable for the purpose.
  • However, the tempo varies internally, in both versions, in a way that forbids publication as a round.
  • Moreover, the tune is not exactly the same as the one in my above post, it contains notes (e.g. around measure 8) that are barely tolerable even if sung with only three parts.
  • To sum up, the result is not fit for publishing.
Now we have further problems:
  1. Was the song originally meant to be a round at all? I would certainly believe so; otherwise, for example, the longish rest would not make much sense.
  2. Assuming it was, did P.T. sing note for note what the original composer had written (and presumably published on sheet music)? If so, it was a blunder by the composer, later corrected by "folk process".
  3. If P.T. changed the music, for sake of more "pep" and Monkeeish syncopation, did he think it would make an equally good round? That would have been bad judgment.
  4. Or was he just experimenting, more or less privately, and eventually saw that the result would be unpublishable? That seems most likely to me, and most forgivable. It was a mistake not to destroy the tape. (On the other hand, if he had done that and his brother was indeed the author, even fewer people might know that now).
We must hope for insiders leaking more details; after all, claiming authorship for a popular round is a step to "immortality".


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 03:43 PM

Hi, Grishka,
Up above, Mark Cohen says he learned the song as a round in about 1986. Here's a recording of the song as a round:
http://thebirdsings.com/songs/alfred.html

I found a March 1967 magazine that says that Peter Tork sang two songs written by his brother Nick Tork:
    ...I must tell you about one particularly funny night when I dropped into the Playhouse Cafe while Peter was working alone.

    "And now, ladies and gentlemen," I heard him saying, "I'm going to sing you a couple of original tunes. You may not know it, but I have a little brother who is a great songwriter. As a matter of fact, he's working on a complete musical score for the theatre right now. His name is Nick Tork, and you'll be hearing a lot about him one day." Then he launched into one of the most ridiculous and funny tunes I have ever heard. All I can remember about it is its title?"Under The Undertaker Gah Goo-Gah." When the audience "revived", Peter launched into another of his brother's ditties?all about an alligator named Albert (sic), who got flushed down the toilet! Well, some of the Village cats may have sneered at that, but the audience ate it up?and Peter got even more "clinks" and "swishhhs" in his banjo!

Monkee Music by Andrew Hickey says "Alvin" is a 24-second a cappella recording of a song written by Peter Tork's brother Nicholas Thorkelson, about missing a pet alligator who's been flushed down the toilet. Lead singer on the recording was Peter Tork (and I hear only one voice on the recording.

-Joe-


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Subject: Corr: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:08 PM

Here's the Digital Tradition version of the song:

ALBERT THE ALLIGATOR (DT)

Did you ever slip down a water pipe
Right down to the bottom of the water system
There you'll find a little alligator
Who goes by the name of Albert, if you do, he's mine
I lost him

I lost him down the water pipe
Right down to the bottom of the water system
He was gettin' kind of big for his britches
But now I'm feeling kind of lonely and blue 'cause he's gone
I miss him

@kids @animal @round
filename[ ALBRCROC
MC



And here's my transcription of the Monkees recording:

ALVIN
(Nicholas Thorkelson)

Did you ever step in a water pipe, pipe
Fall to the bottom of the water system;
And there did you meet a little alligator
Who answered to the name of Alvin, if you did, he's mine.
I lost him.

I threw my Alvin down the water pipe, pipe
Down to the bottom of the water system,
Because he was getting too big for his britches,
But now I'm getting lonely since he's gone.
I miss him.

Recorded by Thorkelson's brother Peter Tork for the 1968 album The Birds, the Bees, and the Monkees, but cut from the original pressing of the album. Released on later reissues of the album.

@kids @animal @round
filename[ ALBRCROC
MC

Here's a YouTube video of the Monkees recording. Anybody have corrections to my transcription?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW5guN6J_Ps


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Subject: RE: Info: Alvin (the Alligator) (N Thorkelson)[Albert]
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:28 PM

Joe, that looks indeed like an explicit claim from Peter Tork's mouth, albeit by hearsay. Some questions remain, e.g. why he later sang "Alvin". Most importantly: what was the exact original melody? Was it meant as a round, and if so, with how many parts? If, as it now seems (judging from the changed title), the 1968 recording differs from the original, why so? Was it by chance just from memory? Did the composer communicate the song otherwise - as can be assumed by the fact that the name Alfred survived? Where and how?

Although I now find the claim for Nicholas Thorkelson's reasonably credible, similar cases are known which turned out to be innocent misunderstandings. "My uncle composed the ..." - often read at Mudcat.


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