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Lyr Req/ADD: Huckleberry Picnic / Kickin' Mule

Dave 12 Apr 97 - 02:28 PM
Joe Offer 03 Jun 02 - 06:28 PM
Joe Offer 03 Jun 02 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Les B. 04 Jun 02 - 06:10 PM
masato sakurai 04 Jun 02 - 08:22 PM
masato sakurai 04 Jun 02 - 08:30 PM
masato sakurai 05 Jun 02 - 08:32 AM
masato sakurai 05 Jun 02 - 12:31 PM
Joe Offer 05 Jun 02 - 07:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 06 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Oct 06 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Nancy 07 Aug 09 - 08:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 09 - 09:20 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Aug 09 - 04:34 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Aug 09 - 09:52 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Aug 09 - 12:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Aug 09 - 12:46 PM
semi-submersible 12 Aug 09 - 05:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Aug 09 - 07:34 PM
semi-submersible 13 Aug 09 - 01:57 AM
GUEST,Terry SoRelle 10 Mar 12 - 04:35 PM
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Subject: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Dave
Date: 12 Apr 97 - 02:28 PM

I remember my grandfather singing a song called Huckleberry Picnic. The corus wengt something like

"Oh come, join the huckleberry picnic.
It's going to take place today.
I'm on the committee to invite you all
but I havent got long to stay.

There were several verses to the song. Does anyone have the lyrics?


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Subject: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 06:28 PM

This is a request that was lost in another, unrelated thread since 1997. Guess we should add it to "unanswered requests."
I'll transfer the request here so it won't remain lost.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: KICKIN' MULE
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 07:11 PM

Well, I found this here (click):



KICKIN' MULE

As I went down to the huckleberry picnic
Dinner all over the ground
Skeppers in the meat was nine foot deep
And the green flies walking all around
The biscuits in the oven was a-baking
Beefsteak frying in the pan
Petty gal sitting in the parlour
Lord God A'mighty, what a hand I stand

    Whoa there, mule, I tell you
    Miss Liza, you keep cool
    I ain't got time to kiss you now
    I'm busy with this mule

My uncle had an old mule
His name was Simon Slick
Bove anything I ever did see
Was how that mule could kick
Went to feed that mule one morning
And he met me at the door with a smile
He backed one ear and he winked one eye
And he kicked me half a mile

* Refrain


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 06:10 PM

I hadn't thought of, or heard this song for a good long time. Can anyone explain what the "skeppers in the meat" or "skippers" (?) refer to ?? I have an idea, but am not sure my sense of it is correct.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE KICKIN' MULE
From: masato sakurai
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 08:22 PM

This song is in The Folk Songs of North America by Alan Lomax (Doubleday, 1960, pp. 441-442) as "The Kickin' Mule".

THE KICKIN' MULE
("Recorded by Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin from singing of Henry King and Family, Visalia, Calif. AAFS 96 B-I. SEE: Brown III, 567; White, 157, 227. A universally popular folk song among southern white singers, this has didtinct overtones from provincial theatre and minstrel show background."--Lomax)

1. As I went down to the huckleberry picnic,
Dinner all over the ground,
Skippers in the meat was nine foot deep
And the green flies walking all around.
The biscuits in the oven was a-baking,
Beefsteak frying in the pan,
Pretty gal sitting in the parlour,
Lord God A'mighty what a hand I stand!

CHORUS:
Whoa there, mule, I tell you,
Miss Liza, you keep cool,
I ain't got time to kiss you now,
I'm busy with this mule.

2. My uncle had an old mule,
His name was Simon Slick,
'Bove anything I ever did see
Was how that mule could kick.
Went to feed that mule one morning
And he met me at the door with a smile,
He backed one ear and he winked one eye
And he kicked me half a mile. (CHO.)

3. The mule he am a kicker,
He's got an iron back,
He headed off a Texas railroad train
And kicked it off the track.
He kicked the feathers off a goose,
He pulverized a hog,
He kicked up three dead chinymans
And swatted him a yellow dog. (CHO.)

4. When I seen Miss Dinah the other day,
She was bent all over her tub,
And the more I'd ask her to marry me,
Well, the harder she would rub,

CHORUS:
Well, whoa there, mule, I tell you,
Whoa there, mule, I say,
Just keep your seat, Miss Liza Jane,
And hold on to that sleigh.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 08:30 PM

A version entitled "SIMON SLICK" is in the DT (Click here).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Jun 02 - 08:32 AM

Previous thread: Req Lyric: Whoa Mule.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Jun 02 - 12:31 PM

"The original of this song ["The Kicking Mule"] was titled 'Simon Slick,' and that is the name sometimes used even today. Probably the first printed version appeared in John M. Turney's The Coons Around Our Block Songster, issued in New York in 1879. It possibly predates the Turney printing because he doesn't claim authorship, and it appeared in several subsequent songbooks without an author's credit. These include George S. Knight's Songs and Recitations (1880), Andy Collum's Latest and Best Banjo Songs (1881), John Walsh's Gems of the Emerald Isle Songster (188), and Murphy and Mack's Jolly Sailor's Songster (1883). Some collectors have thought the song had African-American origins, but that seems unlikely. [...] Even though the song did not originate among black Americans, it certainly is sung by them." (W.K. McNeil, Southern Mountain Folksongs, August House, 1993, pp. 180-181)

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: DE HUCKLEBERRY PICNIC (Frank Dumont, 1879
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jun 02 - 07:52 PM

DE HUCKLEBERRY PICNIC
(Frank Dumont, 1879)

I float along on wings of peace, I feel as slick'ry as axle grease
Go tell Ulysis to fetch along Saul, Dar's lots of room for de short and tall.
We'll pass you in, 'twon't cost a cent, No landlord's round to collect de rent
It's free to all to 'xamine de ground, But don't dodge de hat when it's pass'd around.

CHORUS
Come, jine de huckleberry picnic, It's gwine to take place today
I'm on de committee and invite you all, But I ain't got time to stay.
Come, jine de huckleberry picnic, It's gwine to take place today
I'm on de committee and invite you all, But I ain't got time to stay.

De wicked stand in a slipp'ry place, De good man always holds an ace
Cross de river, put on your gown, An' swim like a fish, or you'll surely drown.
A p'liceman's like a wicked sin, If yer don't look out, he'll scoop yer in
Denounce dishonesty of every sort; But steal like an artist, don't get caught
CHORUS


Source: Library of Congress, American Memory Collection
African American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 (from Brown University)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 05:39 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 06:09 PM

Additional to ~msato's lyrics

You see that mule a-coming,
He's got about a half a load,
When you see a roomy mule,
Better give him all the road.

Lead in spoken - "Folks, this is the King Family playing 'The Kicking Mule' with a tenor banjo lead."

"The Kicking Mule" was recorded by Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin from the singing of Henry King and family at Visalia, California, 1941. Library of Congress record LP20.

Emrich, Duncan American Folk Poetry - An Anthology, Little Brown and Company, 1974, "Banjo and Fiddle Pieces," pp 66-68.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: GUEST,Nancy
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 08:17 PM

The mule song is not the Huckleberry Picnic song - who has the verses with the animals attending the picnic?

The refrain is "Come joint the H.P. it's going to take place today"

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 09:20 PM

Guest Nancy, where did you see or hear the song?
Don't know of one where the animals attended.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 04:34 PM

An advertisement in The American Bookseller, Jan. 15, 1880, mentions "29. Goss & Fox's Huckleberry Picnic" in a list of "The Favorite 10¢ Song Books" published by "N. Y. Popular Publishing Co." of New York.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HUCKLEBERRY PICNIC
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 09:52 PM

From A History of Rome and Floyd County, State of Georgia, United States of America by George Magruder Battey (Atlanta, Ga.: The Webb and Vary Company, 1922), page 562:

THE HUCKLEBERRY PICNIC.

(An old Virginia animal song, as played on the guitar and sung by E. L. Wright, headmaster of Darlington School, to the delight of many young Romans.)

1. I looked down the river 'bout the crack of day.
I heard a big commotion 'bout a mile away.
The critters from the fields and the forests had come.
All had collected for to have a little fun.
'Twas the badger and the bear, the fox and the hare,
The otter and the coon, the mink and baboon,
The 'possum and the kangaroo, the wolf and weasel, too;
The monkey and the owl were a-settin' up a howl!

CHORUS: "Come jine the huckleberry picnic,
'Tis gwine to take place today;
I'm on the committee for to 'vite you all,
But I ain't got long to stay!"

2. 'Long about noon the table was set.
They brought out to eat everything they could get.
The badger and the bear took hash Française.
The fox and the hare took consommé.
The otter and the coon took 'simmons a-la-frost.
The mink and baboon took fish cream sauce.
The mule had a fit and the groundhog died,
And all were chuck full 'when the hyena cried: CHORUS

3. Buffalo and hogs hollered "Right hand across!"
Jenny and Jack hollered "Left hand back!"
It looked sorter strange in the ladies' change
To see the nanny goat swapping places with the shoat.
They tried to "grand change" over and again,
But a little cur pup kep' a-mixin' 'em up.
'Bout to be a fight in the "ladies to the right,"
When the cats began to bawl, "Promenade all!" CHORUS

4. 'Long about night the varmints took sick,
Sent for the old snake doctor mighty quick.
Like the railroad cars his wings did hum.
The varmints all hollered, "Yon he come!"
Started for to open the head of the hoss,
When the varmints all hollered, "Hold on, Boss!
It ain't no use to do like dat.
Dat ain't de place whar de misery's at!" CHORUS

5. Tied the tail of the monkey with a rope,
Looked down his throat with a microscope.
You just ought to seen that monkey's tail.
'Clare 'fore goodness it turned right pale!
Rubbed it and he rubbed it, but 'twa'n't no use,
So he greased it all over with pokeberry juice.
When that ugly monkey up and died,
He turned right over and softly sighed: CHORUS

6. Animals went down the river for to bathe,
Just couldn't make the baboon behave.
When it came time to look for a towel,
They had to wipe off on the little screech owl.
The screech owl screeched and the bullfrog hopped.
The tadpole wiggled and the terrapin flopped.
The monkey he then run out and hid.
The elephant spied him and said, "O, you kid!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 12:33 AM

Can anybody explain what a huckleberry picnic is? I've found lots of quotes but none of them defines the term:

"But at a huckleberry pic-nic, we had a better appetite, even, than usual."
--from A Budget of Willow Lane Stories by Francis Channing Woodworth, 1852.

"...when, suddenly surrounding the top of the mountain, they captured a place where some of your boys and girls had been having a huckleberry picnic; and that was all they ever did find."
--from American Bastile: A History of the Illegal Arrests and Imprisonment of American Citizens during the Late Civil War by John A. Marshall, 1869.

"When I was fourteen and Nelly was eleven we went one day to a huckleberry picnic."
--from More Bed-Time Stories by Louise Chandler Moulton, 1875

"Guess yer bin on a huckleberry picnic from the looks o' yer togs."
--from "A Difficult Trust" by H. S. Atwater, Chapter XIV, in Arthur's Home Magazine, December, 1885.

"...I hasten to a pest-hole of diphtheria with the same joyous alacrity that I would drop in on a Dutch dance or a huckleberry picnic."
--from Transactions of the Minnesota State Medical Society, 1885.

"On Saturday last 'Oak Grove Creamery,' in the suburbs of the city [Boston], gave five hundred newsboys a huckleberry picnic."
--from Unity. Vol. XXI, No. 24, August 11, 1888.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 12:46 PM

Not in Lighter, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang." Many slang uses of huckleberry, but not that one.

To me, those quotations sound like there has been more than one use.

When the huckleberries were ripe, we would go into the bush and gather them, with accompanying picnic, but the quotations, other than those from Woodworth and Moulton, suggest other meanings.

(Huckleberry train- one that stops at every station. From Lighter's Dictionary.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: semi-submersible
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 05:07 PM

Love that image of a "huckleberry train" travelling as slowly and erratically as a berry-picker.

Just a guess, but when wild fruit is plentiful, even children and others without money to buy provisions could contribute to a feast with their gatherings.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 07:34 PM

Money or not, picnics combined with berry-picking were not uncommon. Often lovely, clear fall weather, and a day in the wild, was healing to mind and body.

Other meanings for the phrase are suggested by some of the quotes.
The one from Arthur's Magazine seems self-explanatory, since clothes would be messed after a day of berry picking, and that seems to be the comparison in the article.

The quotes from the Minnesota Medical Soc. Trans. ant the one from Unity are difficult to translate without context and explanation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: semi-submersible
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 01:57 AM

The first quote wants a little more context, but all instances (including the three songs above) seem to describe a popular and innocent social pastime.

The doctor seems to be saying he finds his work so rewarding that even in the midst of pestilence he loves what he's doing. Helping people in need brings as much joy as a dance party or a country picnic.

The newsboys were being treated to a day in the country, something most of them had probably never experienced. It featured a dinner, country-style food, no doubt, presumably planned and catered for them. (Was "Unity" a church publication?) I'll bet the organisers deliberately borrowed the familiar "huckleberry picnic" phrase in the same nostalgic spirit that bills such a day trip today as a "country fair" complete with motorised "hayrides," or would advertise a catered dinner as a "potluck." (Yes, I've seen the latter word misused this way.)

In every example except Frank Dumont's pseudo-hymn (?) and Woodworth (1852) where the participants' ages are not implied, the huckleberry picnic seems to be a celebration associated with youth (or animals acting like kids):
* In Kickin' Mule it's a place to meet a girl.
* The quotes from 1865, 1875, and 1888 feature children there.
* It's hard to know without more context, but I'd conjecture the people addressed in the "Arthur's Home Magazine" quote were younger than the speaker.
* The doctor in 1885 couples it with another fun social pastime especially enjoyed by youths.

What were the "skippers" or "skeppers" on the meat? Greenflies attack people, not food. Dinner on the ground also implies an outdoor event with too many dishes to fit on the table, or else no table present, though they seem to have set up oven as well as cookfire at this picnic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Huckleberry Picnic
From: GUEST,Terry SoRelle
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 04:35 PM

My guess about skippers is the little fly called "Cheese Skipper" or "Ham Skipper" a member of the Piophilidae family that infects cheese and meat with their larva. Not an appetizing idea but goes with green flies I suppose.


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