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Origins: Polly Wolly Doodle

DigiTrad:
POLLY WOLLY DOODLE
THE THOUSAND LEGGED WORM


Related threads:
Lyr Req: fare thee well my darling hair (24)
Lyr Req: Grasshopper Sitting on a Railroad Track (2) (closed)


Ewan McV 03 Sep 98 - 08:00 AM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 98 - 02:24 PM
Ewan McV 03 Sep 98 - 06:32 PM
Deskjet 19 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM
catspaw49 19 Feb 01 - 01:32 PM
Amos 19 Feb 01 - 01:39 PM
fat B****rd 19 Feb 01 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Feb 01 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,DrWord 20 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM
LR Mole 21 Feb 01 - 02:55 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 08 Nov 01 - 06:46 PM
catspaw49 08 Nov 01 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Nov 01 - 01:12 AM
Genie 09 Nov 01 - 01:39 AM
LR Mole 09 Nov 01 - 08:51 AM
catspaw49 09 Nov 01 - 09:22 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Nov 01 - 01:31 PM
Bill D 09 Nov 01 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Guest 09 Nov 01 - 05:32 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jul 04 - 03:10 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jul 04 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 27 Jul 04 - 04:28 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jul 04 - 04:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jul 04 - 06:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jul 04 - 12:42 AM
Jim McLean 28 Jul 04 - 06:11 AM
Jim McLean 28 Jul 04 - 06:12 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jul 04 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Spookymike 11 Aug 04 - 01:10 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 04 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Steve 09 Sep 04 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,bilgeratt 16 Dec 04 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 16 Dec 04 - 10:34 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 04 - 12:59 PM
Azizi 17 Dec 04 - 11:58 AM
masato sakurai 17 Dec 04 - 07:06 PM
Azizi 17 Dec 04 - 07:31 PM
masato sakurai 17 Dec 04 - 07:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Dec 04 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Lighter 17 Dec 04 - 11:15 PM
Azizi 17 Dec 04 - 11:20 PM
Azizi 17 Dec 04 - 11:57 PM
Azizi 18 Dec 04 - 12:34 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 04 - 01:02 AM
Walden 14 Nov 05 - 08:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 05 - 08:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 05 - 08:52 PM
Wayne Mitchell 15 Nov 05 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Nov 05 - 10:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Nov 05 - 12:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Nov 05 - 12:17 AM
s&r 16 Nov 05 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 16 Nov 05 - 05:43 PM
Snuffy 17 Nov 05 - 08:43 AM
Kaleea 17 Nov 05 - 07:35 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Nov 05 - 08:26 PM
Azizi 18 Nov 05 - 09:19 AM
Azizi 18 Nov 05 - 09:30 AM
MissouriMud 18 Nov 05 - 04:21 PM
Azizi 18 Nov 05 - 06:50 PM
Mr Happy 10 May 09 - 07:16 AM
Mr Happy 11 May 09 - 05:43 AM
Mr Happy 11 May 09 - 09:41 AM
Uncle_DaveO 11 May 09 - 09:58 AM
GUEST 21 Sep 09 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Sep 09 - 07:20 PM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 09 - 02:19 AM
Mr Happy 22 Sep 09 - 06:24 AM
GUEST 31 May 11 - 07:38 AM
The Sandman 23 Jun 17 - 03:15 AM
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Subject: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Ewan McV
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 08:00 AM

I'm exploring the increasingly confusing links between old British and American songs. I'd have a bunch of help re some of Stephen Foster's songs and their possible traditional sources of inspiration.

Now I'm scratching my grey matter raw trying to recall PWD - did Foster write it, or who?

Please advise.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 02:24 PM

I visited the Stephen Foster Memorial in Florida last fall and brought home a list of Foster's published works. "Polly Wolly Doodle" isn't on the list. In the process of looking for information, I found this site (click here). Take a look.
I found the song in several books, but none had a songwriter listed or any historical notes. It wasn't even in the Burl Ives Songbook, if you can believe that. The only remark I found anywhere was in the Fireside Book of Fun & Game Songs, which said it was a "popular minstrel song." I coulda guessed that - my guess is it was written in the mid-1900's by a white male, for a minstrel show.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Ewan McV
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 06:32 PM

Joe Offer

You are confirming my thoughts, that PWD is maybe an actual trad song - i.e. nobody knows who wrote it. Mind you, we could both probably name a half dozen songs that we've heard called trad because no-one bothered to look in a book. My favourite is a Swahili pop song called Malaika (click) which was in the Top Twenty in Nairobi when I lived there in 1963, written by a guy called Fadhali William, I think. It keeps appearing as a traditional Tanzanian lullaby, and FW never gets any royalties, because the singers claim the arrangement. I've read that in the Swedish copyright index there are twenty different claimed composers of Malaika - in Swahili! The composers include all four members of Abba. It's a jolly old world.

Thanks for looking. Ewan


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Subject: polly wolly doodle
From: Deskjet
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM

Does anyone have the lyrics to polly wolly doodle as sung by Burl Ives?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: polly wolly doodle
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:32 PM

Isn't it pretty much like the one in the DigiTrad?

Spaw

Link fixed. --JoeClone, 9-Jul-02.


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Subject: add version: polly wolly doodle^^^
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:39 PM

Oh, I went down south for to see my Sal,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.
My Sally am a spunky gal,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.

Cho: Fare thee well, Fare thee well,
Fare thee well, my fairy fay,
For I'm goin' to Lousiana, For to see my Susyanna,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.

Oh, my Sal, she am a maiden fair,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.
With curly eyes and laughing hair,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.^^^


    This is the version in the DT
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: polly wolly doodle
From: fat B****rd
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 02:50 PM

The usuual verse, went down south etcetc

There's a bullfrog sitting by the railroad track
Polly etc etc
Picking his teeth with a carpet tack
Polly etc etc
Fare thee well etc etc

Well I went to the river and I couldn't get across
Polly etc etc
So I floated in a fish 'cos I thought it was a horse
singing Polly wolly etc

Maybe not as traditional as some of our catters would like but I hope it's of some use. All the best
fB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: polly wolly doodle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 10:38 PM

Oh, I went to bed but it weren't no use.../My feet stuck out for a chicken roost....

When I was little, I marveled at how many girlfriends this fellow had. Sal, Polly, Faye (fey). Then I looked up fairy in the dictionary and learned that in Stephen Foster's time, "fairy" was black people's slang for a white person.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: polly wolly doodle
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM

Thanks for that info, leeneia ! Here's another line that may amuse folk on this thread: it's from Joyce's Finnegans Wake: "...for you've jolly well dawdled all the day ..." Smilez Dennis


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: polly wolly doodle
From: LR Mole
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 02:55 PM

I always thought Pali Walidudl was a tabla player; played ragas with Ravi Oli.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 06:46 PM

This thread is over 3 yars old but there were no answers. Maybe there is none, but PWD was first noted in 1880 in Harvard Student songs- Traditional Ballad Index, csufresno.
Here are some verses of the dozens not in DT
    Behind the barn, down on my knees
    Sing Polly wolly doodle all the day
    I thought I heard a chicken sneeze,
    Polly etc.

    He sneezed so hard with the whooping cough, etc.
    He sneezed the head and the tail right off, etc.

    Oh, a grasshopper sittin' on a railroad track, etc.
    A-pickin' his teeth with a carpet tack, etc.

    I came to a river an' couldn't get across, etc.
    I jumped on a gator and thought he was a hoss, etc.

    Oh, a cockroach perched on the Sunday roast, etc.
    Said old *Catspaw is a mighty fine host, etc.

    (This old *farmer, in expurgated versions)


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 07:05 PM

Hmmmm.....I see I've entered the tradition. Wasn't Polly the illegitimate daughter of some yankee named Macaroni? I think he went by Mac Doodle. Anyway, he ended up paying a lot in child support and lost his pony when it was repoed by the bank.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 01:12 AM

Ah...Joe...Nairobi in the 60's....a major "listening post" ......by any chance did you know Kimsey and his family?


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Genie
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 01:39 AM

I read somewhere -- maybe at the Public Domain website or at a site devoted to traditional American songs -- that PWD goes back to the Revolutionary War.
If I figure out where I got that info, I'll update it. Maybe someone else knows, too.

Ewan, Do you have the words to Malaika? I know it goes, "Malaika, na ku penda(sp?), Malaika," ( "I love you, Malaika"). I'd love to have all the words and the translation.

Genie
Click for Malaika


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: LR Mole
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 08:51 AM

I thought the authorship was credited to noted Indo-European minstrel Pahli Walidudl, who was frequently accompanied by sitar virtuoso Ravi Oli. But maybe that was poor scholarship on my part.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 09:22 AM

Yeah Mole, it appears we are both a bit below standards in the scholarship department.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 01:31 PM

Lou'sana was French (with Spanish entrepreneurs) until the US of A bought it, so the chorus would have had to be different if the song went back to revolutionary war days. Or would I be gastronomically correct (if incorrect in other ways) in saying polly wolly doodle was an indirect reference to the French?


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 02:38 PM

tsk...and I thought it was derived from a parrot who lived with an Italian famile and developed a fondness for uncooked pasta...."Polly Wanta Noodle"

no, actually, I didn't think that...I just needed to purge myself of the line, before it sat there are festered in my brain...


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 05:32 PM

In Fuld's 'The Book of World Famous Music' he says the song first appeared in the 1883 edition of Harvard's 'Student Songs', and is not in the 1880 or 1881 edition. No author credited. Book compiled and edited by William H. Hills and copyrighted May 14, 1883, by Moses King.

Fuld - 'is believed to be American in origin, perhaps Negro or minstrel'.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 03:10 PM

Maybe we can glean some more lyrics out of the sources cited in the Traditional Ballad Index:

Polly Wolly Doodle

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, I went down south for to see my Sal, Sing polly wolly doodle all day...." Sal is described in nonsense terms ("curly eyes and laughing hair"). Floating verses may describe the difficult journey
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1880 (Harvard "Student's Songs")
KEYWORDS: love courting nonsense floatingverses
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
BrownIII 462, "Sing Polly Wolly Doodle" (1 text)
Hugill, p. 42, "Polly Wolly Doodle" (1 verse of a shanty version)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 82-83, "Polly-Wolly-Doodle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 274, "Polly Wolly Doodle" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 240, "Polly Wolly Doodle" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 434-435, "Polly-Wolly-Doodle"
DT, POLYWOLY

Roud #11799
RECORDINGS:
Vernon Dalhart, "Polly Wolly Doodle" (Edison N-20001, 1929)
Louise Massey & the Westerners, "Polly Wolly Doodle" (Vocalion 05296, 1939)
Pete Seeger, "Polly Wolly Doodle All Day" (on LonesomeValley)
Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers, "Polly Woddle Doo" (Columbia 15200-D, 1927; rec. 1926)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Fiddler's Bitch" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
The Big Fat Boss and the Workers (Greenway-AFP, pp. 250-251)
The Fiddler's Bitch (File: RL346)
The Thousand-Legged Worm (Pankake-PHCFSB, pp. 51-52)
File: SRW082

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 03:27 PM

SING POLLY WOLLY DOODLE
'Negro Song.' From Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Wayne County, North Carolina; without date.

I'm going down South for to see my gal,
Singing Polly Wolly duoll doll da.
My Sal is a spunky gal,
Singing Polly Wolly duoll doll da.

Chorus:
Farewell, farewell, my fair fae,
Goin' to Louisiana to see my Susiana,
Singing Polly Wolly duoll doll da.

I went to the river and couldn't get across, etc.,
Jumped on a nigger, thought he was a hoss, etc.

Grasshopper sitting on a railroad track, etc.,
Picking his teeth with a carpet tack, etc.

I went to bed, but it was no use, etc.,
My feet stuck out for the chicken roost, etc.

That chicken sneezed so hard with the whooping cough, etc.,
He sneezed his head and tail right off, etc.

Source: Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Volume III, #462

    Notes: Probably of minstrel origin, this song has been familiar to one of the editors of this volume since his boyhood days in Mississippi, where he knew the refrain as 'Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all day' and stanzas much like those below. There is a printed version of it in Spaeth's Read 'Em and Weep, 92; another in Plantation Songs, Arranged for Baritone Solo and Chorus of Mixed Voices with Pianoforte Accompaniment by Stanford Robinson (London and Philadelphia, c. 1928), pp. 14-15. With stanza 2 compare No. 193, above.


#193 is a jingle. Here's the entire text:

    Went to the river and I couldn't get across.
    Jumped on a nigger's back and thought he was a horse.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 04:28 PM

Well, Gus Meade's earliest date is 1882 in the "Yale Songster" so maybe Yale WAS aheard of Harvard if GUEST's datee of 1883 is correct. WHen I sing it I use a conglomerate of verses from Harry C. Browne (CO A2502) and the Skillet Lickers (CO 15200-D) with some bowlderization for political correctness.
Pete Peterson
PhD. Yale 1970 (but that was in another life)


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 04:32 PM

Hey, Pete - can we talk you into posting the version you sing?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 06:28 PM

Seven verses and chorus with sheet music are found in "Heart Songs, Dear to the American People," World Syndicate Co., 1909, pp. 436-437. They are the usual ones.
The song doesn't seem to be represented in school songbooks until the 1930s.
I remember Burl Ives sang it, but it is not in his "Burl Ives Songbook," 1953.


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Subject: ADD Version: Polly Wolly Doodle (Shirley Temple)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:42 AM

Golly Gee, no one has posted the Shirley Temple version.

Polly Wolly Doodle
(Shirley Temple)

Oh I eat watermelon and I have for years
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day
I like watermelon but it wets my ears
Sing etc.
Maybe grass tastes good to a moo cow's mouth
Sing etc.
But I like chicken cuz I'm from the South
Sing etc.

Chorus:
Fare thee well, fare thee well,
Mr. Gloom be on your way
If you think you're gonna worry
You can stop it in a hurry
Sing polly wolly doodle all the day.

Oh the woodpecker pecks till he gets his fill
Sing etc.
But the woodpecker pays cuz it's on his bill
Sing etc.
Oh I feed my pigs from molasses yam (jam?)
Sing etc.
So they should be sweeter than they really am
Sing etc.

Chorus
Fare thee well, fare thee well
Mr, Gloom be on your way
Though you haven't any money
You can still be bright and sunny
Sing polly wolly doodle all the day.

Oh, I hate to hear a chocolate drop
Sing etc.
But I like to hear a lollipop
Sing etc.
Everything went wrong but it turned out right
Sing etc.
The skies were grey but the future's bright
Sing etc.

Chorus
Fare thee well, fare thee well
Mr. Gloom be on your way
Never listen to the devil
Simply be a little rebel
Sing polly wolly doodle all the day!

A polly is a parrot, we all know well
But just what a wolly is, I can't tell
I wouldn't know a doodle, if one came along
But polly wolly doodle, makes a darn good song!

Chorus

Polly Wolly Doodle


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 06:11 AM

I can hear 'D'ye ken John Peel' in the chorus melody.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 06:12 AM

Sorry, I meant the VERSE melody!


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Subject: RE: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 10:47 AM

One line works, but the next one doesn't
Sing polly wolly doodle all the day.
They're in four-four time, so march right along
Sing etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Spookymike
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 01:10 AM

PWD popped into my head tonight for no reason, and after I mentioned it to my wife, she made me look up the lyrics. Interesting that this thread had been dormant since 2001, came to life the last two weeks, and independently popped into my noggin. I should add that I've never visited this site before.

Anyway, regarding "fairy fay," one of the definitions of "fay" is fairy! Another definition of "fay" is a slangy shortening of the very derogatory "ofay," but ofay only dates back to the 1920s. Obviously very few white people who sing PWD realize they are using derogatory language about themselves.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 04 - 04:18 AM

Faye from feo ugly, Polly wolly parlour walli(inside help) a corruption of hindi As opposed to a field slave. The poor slave that worked inside had it good,he only had to schtupp the ugly white mistress.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 11:39 PM

This site gives the lyrics to the Burle Ives version, as well as the recording itself. www.ziplo.com/Polly.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,bilgeratt
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 03:18 AM

Well now, I go looking for the lyrics to PWD, and I'll give you folks one guess where I wound up!

I think what I'll do is copy and paste every verse here and teach it to my children that way. If people keep posting verses they remember, soon this thread might be long enough to keep your kids busy on a trip from L.A. to NYC.

Anyways, I just had to comment, especially since this thread is so old.

Course, I'll forget it by tommorrow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 10:34 AM

It was written by Billie Holliday for her sister, Polly Wolly Doodle Holliday.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 12:59 PM

Happy Holiday?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:58 AM

But seriously, folks..

A number of verses to "Polly Wolly Doodle" that Joe Offer gave in his July 27,2004 are floating verses that can be found in various songs from Thomas W. Talley's 1922 book "Negro Folk Rhymes".

I'm studying this collection and "offer" these examples to you for your study or just for the heck of it... The page numbers that I cite are from the 1968 Kennikat Press reissue. I believe there is a newer edition out now...The cited verse found in "Polly Wolly Doddle is preceded by a star or stars and the examples that I found are placed under it.

*I went to the river and couldn't get across:

"Crossing The River" p.6 has this line and these 2nd verses:
1."I jumped on er mule an' I thought 'e wuz er hoss"
2nd verse: "So I mounted on a ram, fer I thought ie wus er hoss"
3rd verse: "So I give a whole dollar fer a ole blin' hoss"

"Crossing The River doesn't have the "jumped on a "N-" verse . However, it does include the infamous "N" word in the second couplet of the first verse "Dat mule 'e walk in an' git mired up in de san'/You'd oughter see'd dis N- make back fer de land"
---

The verse "I went to the river an' I couldn't get across/paid five dollars for an old blind {or ole gray} horse" is also used as a verse in a number of other songs that are included in Tally's collection. For instance, the song "Gray And Black Horses", p.45 is composed using a formula in which the person trades one defective item for another:

I went down to de wooods an' I couldn' go 'cross
So I paid five dollars fer de ole gray hoss.
De hoss wouldn' pull, so I sol' im fer a bull.
De bull wouldn't holler, so I sol' im fer a dollar.
De dollar wouldn' pass, so I throwed it in de grass.
Den de grass wouldn't grow. Heigho! Heigh!
---
You can still hear very similar versions of these verses in contemporary hand-clap rhymes.

Here's two more examples of "river/get across":
"The Negro And The Policeman", p. 66:
I runs to the river, I can't git 'cross
Dat Police grap me an'swim lak a hoss.
---

"Walk Tom Wilson", p. 69
Tom went down to de river, an' he couldn't go 'cross.
Tom tromp [jumped?] on a 'gater [alligator] an'e' think 'e wus a hoss.
---

**Grasshopper sitting on a railroad track, etc.,
Picking his teeth with a carpet tack, etc.:

I didn't find that exact verse but did find these examples from Tally's collection:
"Grasshopper Sitting On A Sweet Potato Vine" p. 173
Grasshopper a settin' on a sweet tater vine,
'Long came a Blackbird an' nap him up behind.
---

"Young Master And Old Master, p. 169
De monkey 's a-settin' on de end of a rail,
Pickin his teeth wid de end of his tail.
Mulberry leaces an' homespum sleeves!
Better known dat ole Mosser's [Master] not
easy to please.
---

***I went to bed, but it was no use,
   My feet stuck out for the chicken roost,

"The Alabama Way", p. 164
'Way down yon'er 'in de Alerbammer way
De N-s goes tp wo'k [work] at de peep o' de day
De bed's too short, an' de high posts rear;
De N-gs needs a ladder fer to climb up dere.
De cord's wore out, an
De bed-tick's gone,
N-g's kegs hang down fer de chickens t' roost on
---

****That chicken sneezed so hard with the whooping cough, etc.,
    He sneezed his head and tail right off, etc.

I didn't find this verse, but found verses that I've seen in publications preceding it: 'I went to the henhouse/and' I fall on my knees/I thought I heard that chicken sneeze'

One song in "Negro Folk Rhymes" that has that verse is "Dinah's Dinner Horn", p. 18. Instead of "I thought I heard that chicken sneeze, the line is given as "It's 'nough to make a rabbit laugh /To hear a chicken sneeze"

And "Frightened Away from A Chicken Roost", p.95 has this verse:
I went down to the hen souse on my knees,
And I thought I heared dat chicken sneeze"
---

Finally, there are a number of dance songs in "Negro Folk Rhymes" that make references to dyin with a whoopin cough. One of these examples is titled "Jaybird Died With The Whooping Cough", p. 36-37.


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Subject: Lyr Add: POLLY-WOLLY-DOODLE
From: masato sakurai
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:06 PM

Seemingly, "Polly-Wolly-Doodle" spread as a college song. It was included in The Most Popular College Songs (New York: Hinds, Hayden & Eldredge, 1904, 1906, p. 72) and Carmina Princetonia: The Princeton Song Book (New York: G. Schirmer, [1898]; 21th ed., 1927, p. 136). Both, along with the Heart Songs version, are the same, with seven verses:

POLLY-WOLLY-DOODLE

1. (Solo) Oh, I went down South for to see my Sal,
(Chorus) Sing Polly-wolly-doodle all the day;
(Solo) My Sally am a spunky gal,
(Chorus) Sing Polly-wolly-doodle all the day.

    (Chorus) Fare thee well, (Farewell,) fare thee well, (farewell,)
    Fare thee well, my fairy fay,
    For I'm goin' to Lousiana, For to see my Susyanna,
    Sing Polly-wolly-doodle all the day.

2. Oh, my Sal, she am a maiden fair,
With curly eyes and laughing hair.

3. Oh, I came to a river, an' I couldn't get across,
An' jump'd upon a nigger, an' I tho't he was a hoss.

4. Oh, a grass-hopper sittin' on a railroad track,
A-pickin' his teef wid a carpet tack.

5. Oh, I went to bed, but it wasn't no use,
My feet stuck out for a chicken roost,

6, Behind de barn, down on my knees,
I thought I heard that chicken sneeze.

7. He sneezed so hard wid de 'hoopin'-cough,
He sneezed his head an' his tail right off,
       And so on, ad infin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:31 PM

Thanks, Masato.

Do I understand correctly from your post that "Polly Wolly Doodle" is not credited to any song writer in the song books you mentioned, but is said to be a song sung by college students?

I suppose we'll never know where these anonymous college students got the words for that song...

It's possible that the African Americans who used these verses in multiple dance songs got them from those college students. But I think that it was more likely to be the other way around. Unfortunately, I have no way to prove this.

Thomas W. Talley wrote that many of the songs in his 1922 collection were generations old, but unless someone had transcribed them way back when, who is to tell how old they really were when he included them in his book?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: masato sakurai
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:44 PM

Azizi, no credit or source is given in those books at all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 08:42 PM

Found 1880s in Harvard songbook, according to the Traditional Ballad Index, and as noted by Masato.
The problem with making any attribution of these simple rhymes with simple meters is that they are common to both black and white cultures, and floated among dance and party songs of both groups. With few exceptions the rhymes were collected in the 20th century, except for those in the minstrel songbooks (and in this case, school songbooks).
Even in the 20th c., collectors like Randolph, Cox, Belden and others mostly ignored them or did not collect them, except for a few like Old Dan Tucker and Buffalo Gals which, as far as we know, mostly derive from minstrel roots.

That there must have been many among whites is evident if one goes through websites such as the one hosted by the Bluegrass Messengers for fiddle tunes and lyrics: Fiddle Tunes
Here again, few collections were made of rural dance music until well into the 20th c.

These lines are found in "Cum Along John" and other minstrel songs of the 1850s.
Milk in de dary nine days old
Rat an' skipper gettin' mity bole,
Long tail rat in a pail ob souse, etc.

Dey go to bed wid all dar clothes on,
Dere legs hang out for chicken to roost on.

Ole cock crows, de young wuns larn

Opossum up a gum tree
His tail has body follow

Way down souf on de beever kreek
etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:15 PM

"Tromp" is not "jumped" but "tramped." (Like "stamp" and "stomp.") Tom tramped on, or trod on, the 'gator. Not recommended.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:20 PM

Thanks again, Masato, and Hello, Q.

It's interesting how we three keep meeting up like this!

I have appreciated receiving information, feedback, and links from you both and from other Mudcatters.

Q, I have visited the Fiddle Tunes website and will certainly bookmark it. You wrote that " Even in the 20th c., collectors like Randolph, Cox, Belden and others mostly ignored [these rhymes} or did not collect them, except for a few like Old Dan Tucker and Buffalo Gals which, as far as we know, mostly derive from minstrel roots."

end of quote..
Given this fact, it seems to me that a critical question that should then be considered is "What are minstrel roots?"

One mistake I will admit to making is that I thought that only Whites were minstrel performers. Actually, as I'm sure you know, a number of African Americans "blackened up" [put cork on their skin to darken it in the "honored" minstrel tradition] and performed on the minstrel stage, sometimes in mixed Black-White revues, and also in all Black minstrel revues. One book on South African music, African Stars {Veit Erlmann:Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1991} has a chapter on the tremendous influence on 20th century {Black} South African music of the Virginia Jubilee Singers, an African American minstrel group. That group, under the leadership of Orpheus McAdoo, performed in South Africa from 1890-1898. Erlmann suggests that since many of the songs were translated, the popularity of the songs may have been because of their tempo and the off stage presentation of the Black peformers who were considered success stories. One example of this "success" was that while they were in South Africa, the members of the Virginia Jubilee Singers were given the designation of "honorary Whites". . But all of that is another story...      

Back to the good ole U.S.of A... There are many resources on the Internet and elsewhere on United States minstrel music. I have taken the liberty to quote extensively from the website Angel Fire
[Sorry. I don't know how to hyperlink}
http://www.angelfire.com/sc/bluesthesis/minmed.html

HOW THE BLUES AFFECTED RACE RELATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
                Minstrels & Medicine Shows
"Minstrel and medicine shows gave whites an opportunity to be introduced to and explore the culture of blacks with the excuse of show business to fall back on. This section describes how these shows began improving the relationship between blacks and whites by stretching it beyond the master and slave relationship even before the Civil War. Minstrel shows were musical events often featuring white performers who painted their faces and dressed up like blacks. Beginning in the 1830s, minstrel shows were popular all over the United States and their influence on race relations remains ill-defined. On the one hand, they gave many Americans their first sampling of black music1. Whites in blackface traveled the country playing music that they had heard performed by blacks living on plantations in the South2. On the other hand, they operated to feed the white stereotype of blacks. However, if it is true that imitation is the utmost form of flattery, then these shows were evidence of white's attraction and fondness for black culture....

Medicine shows were extremely popular in America around the turn-of-the-century. Many white country blues performers started out as traveling songsters. Among these are Roy Acuff, Dock Boggs, Fiddling John Carson, Frank Hutchinson, and Uncle Dave Macon. These shows influenced race relations because they featured and entertained blacks and whites. One of the most famous medicine show songsters was Jimmie Rodgers, also known as the father of hillbilly or country and western music. Rodgers's career began in medicine shows where he occasionally put on blackface and frequently played with Frank Stokes, a black songster of Memphis from whom he is thought to have acquired much of his song collection. He demonstrated his indebtedness to black music in songs such as his "Blue Yodels." While borrowing techniques and learning from blues artists, Rodgers was also influential to bands such as the Mississippi Sheiks. In 1930, the Sheiks did "Yodeling, Fiddling Blues" which could be a tribute to Rodgers6

Like the minstrel shows, the medicine shows often involved blackface performances and were also a place where whites and blacks could share something - music and entertainment. Their popularity in America began around the turn-of-the-century and continued after the Civil War (1860-1865) and through the Reconstruction period (1865-1877). These shows were the birthplace of both country and blues. The emancipation of slaves gave the black musicians, typically referred to as songsters, the power to travel around and actually make a living playing music. Their song collection included tunes both black and white in origin. They played country dance pieces, minstrel songs, spirituals, and ballads7. William Ivey of the Country Music Foundation confirms the existence of a common repertoire between the early country musicians and the early blues musicians forcing a type of business relationship even at the peak of segregation8. The noted blues historian, Robert Palmer, says "the music of the songsters and musicians shared a number of traits with white country music, with musicians of each race borrowing freely from the other. But even though many white and black songs were similar, black performing style, with its grainy vocal textures and emphasis on rhythmic momentum, remained distinctive9." It was this distinction that made black entertainers indispensable and continued to cultivate white appreciation for black music.

end of quote.
The footnote sources are found on the website as are other articles, and a listing of the books that were used as resources...

Some may consider this a serious case of thread creep. To you I apologize, but I feel strongly about this subject and also beleive that this information might be of interest to others reading this thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:57 PM

Um, well I have to admit another mistake or two.

The Virginia Jubilee Ministrels were in South Africa from 1890-1898 so I meant to say that they had a tremendous influence on 19th century South African music, not the 20th century.

And I spelled "believe" wrong in that post, and maybe other words too.
I wanted to make those corrections before people started virtually tromping on me for carelessness.

[Thanks GUEST,Lighter for giving the correct meaning of "tromp".
I know you said the use of that word wasn't recommended, but some people think that anything goes on the Internet...Of,course I'm not one of them...]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 12:34 AM

Well, I just don't know what came over me. Call it a senior moment or senior hour or senior day.

This is what I get for doubting myself. The Virgina Jubilee Singers were in South Africa from 1890-1898 which was the 19th century but their influenced the 20th century {and the very tail end of the 19th century}.

Okay, Okay... I promise no more thread creep.

I'm sorry, or as the hip hop generation says "My bad!" which is not the same thing as Michael Jackson meant when he sang "I'm Bad", but maybe he should have meant it the other way or.. Oh well never mind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 01:02 AM

In Christy'S Songster, c. 1850, on line, just noticed
Behine de hen hous on my knee
Tinks I hear the chicken sneeze,
Turkey plaughin hard on de punkin vine,
Goose dhaw baccer and duck drink wine.

Cho: Den cum along John, oh, cum along John,
Den cum all along John, de piper's son,
Ain't you mity glad your works most done.

Piper's son? In the English rhymes, Tom was the piper's son.

The Songster is here: Christy

The Christy Minstrels were important, but in the 1840s, the "Ethiopian Serenaders" were deemed by many as the most influential performance troupe in the world. In demand everywhere, they were engaged in London for six months in 1846 at the St. James, in 1844 performed in the White House, and in 1849, one year after gold was discovered in California, they appeared in San Francisco. Charles Dickens commented on their influence on English fashions in his "The Uncommercial Traveller."
A few examples of their repertoire are found in sheet music at American Memory and elsewhere, but one of their songsters is yet to appear on line.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Walden
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:31 PM

I transcribed this tune from an old paperback gospel hymnal from around the Turn of the Century. It had no attribution but arranged by F. M. G. This may be F. M. Graham, but I don't know.

Either way, the chorus is the well-known chorus "By and By We'll See the King" (AKA "Oh the Blood of Jesus"), and the verses are the widely popular hymn by Edward Perronet, "All Hail the Power," set to the same tune as Polly Wolly Doodle.

http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/200/byandbywellseetheking0ze.gif

1. All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

CHORUS: By and by we'll see (surely see) the King,
By and by we'll see (surely see) the King,
By and by we'll see (surely see) the King,
And crown Him Lord of all.

2. Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all.

3. O that with yonder sacred throng
We at His feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:50 PM

Interesting! The Peronnet hymn, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," with music (more suitable) by Oliver Holden, at Cyberhymnal. No chorus.
Cyberhymnal


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:52 PM

Cyberhymnal
(Too much single malt!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Wayne Mitchell
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 06:16 PM

In my childhood we also had a couple of riffs that were sung to that tune but never considered as part of Polly Wolly Doodle:

Oh, there was a little nigger
And he wouldn't grow no bigger
So they put him in a five-cent show;
But he tumbled out the winder
And he broke his little finger--
Now he can't play the old banjo.

***

Oh, there is a little chigger
And he isn't any bigger
Than the head of a very small pin;
But the lump that he raises
Just itches like the blazes,
And that's where the rub comes in.

***

Of course, growing up in Maine, I didn't know what a "nigger" was and I didn't know what a "chigger" was.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 10:40 PM

RE Obviously very few white people who sing PWD realize they are using derogatory language about themselves.

I don't see anything derogatory about "farethewell, my fairy fey." Just because it's slang doesn't mean it's offensive.

I think if I were doing this with children, I would resurrect some of Shirley Temple's verses. They were clever, some of them, and would appeal to children. As a kid, I never could see the big thrill in the grasshopper and the chickens.

Chickens! Have you ever watched them walking around with their twitchy necks and beady eyes?

Wayne Mitchell, if you didn't know what a chigger was, you were fortunate.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 12:01 AM

Fay, as it is spelled in older versions, has many meanings, but a common one was faith, or faithful.
Fay itself also was used for a fairy. Was the author just re-inforcing the line?
Fey commonly means a little 'touched'- odd, crazy, doomed, etc.

On the other hand, it could have been used by the writer as a meaningless word to fill out his rhyme with day.
Fairy was used as a term of endearment in the 19th c. Fairybabe also a term of endearment (was the original "Fare thee well, my fairybabe?). See OED for these meanings and variations.

To interpret the meaning of words in an old song in this manner is, of course ridiculous.

Ofay, origin unknown, possibly pig Latin for foe, is a modern (since WW1) word, hence does not apply to this song.
Lighter, J. E., 1997, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, vol. 2.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 12:17 AM

Mudcat's own "Lighter", no less (see above), unless the late hour has quite confused me. Perhaps he will comment.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: s&r
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 08:16 AM

'Fey' other-worldly, elfin, clairvoyant

Stu


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 05:43 PM

Hi, Malcolm & Azizi. There's nothing wrong with the word "tromp." What's not recommended is doing it to alligators.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 08:43 AM

Wayne, that first verse is commonly known in England as part of Not For Joe. See these threads for more details:

ADD: Not For Joseph (Not for Joe)
Lyr Req: om si the gom
Lyr Req: Not For Joe

All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name was a staple of boozy student/Rugby club singing in the late 60s early 70s, but we never used Polly Wolly Doodle. We used the proper hymn tune, but after the first verse sang a couple of verses of I Tawt I Taw A Puddytat instead


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Kaleea
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 07:35 PM

I originally learned this song from my grandparents of Irish ancestry who lived in eastern Oklahoma. They were originally from Arkansas. There were several "old timey" songs which my cousins & I learned from them that they said they had sung as kids, which certainly could have been a generalization.
   However, when I sometimes accompanied Granddad to the fishin' hole (in the very early 1960's), there were often a couple of gentlemen who fished just up the bank and were from a nearby black community. The two fellows were true gentlemen, and because I was a Music loving child, would always oblige when I requested that they sing. If I was really lucky, it would be a day when one of the gentlemen brought his old guitar, which he plunked as they sang. One of those songs was Polly Wolly Doodle. I no longer recall the differences, but I do recall that they sang a verse with the "n" word, which made me wide eyed as my mother would have washed out my mouth with Lava soap for using that word.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 08:26 PM

In the 1950s, the enlightened refered to the bugs as "Chegroes"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 09:19 AM

It occurs to me as I read this thread that the fact that this song is first documented in Harvard or Yale songbooks does not mean that it is not of African American {Southern slaves] origin. First of all, some students attending Harvard and Yale during that time lived on plantations, were raised by African Americans, used to play with African Americans, and had otherwise had opportunities to hear African American singing.

Furthermore, I read {somewhere} that it was the practice of well to do Southern 'gentlemen' to bring at least one slave to the North with them to tend to their housekeeping needs. Therefore, students other than those coming from the South could have heard and documented that song.

****

Upthread, I note that Masuto had a post saying that the songs included in Talley's 1922 book Negro Folk Songs have no source. Talley, an African American professor at Fisk, indicated in his book that these rhymes were from his childhood memories as well as collected from his [African American] students. He also writes that many of these songs were very old..

Beyond that, no other sources are cited {for instance, Talley didn't say that x song was from y student from a specific state who heard the song in a specified year under specified circumstances. While these kind of demographics would have been great to have, I'm very grateful that Talley documented these songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 09:30 AM

dick greenhaus wrote that:

"In the 1950s, the enlightened refered to the bugs as "Chegroes"

-snip-

I'm not sure which prior post this comment refers to..[meaning what bugs were referred to by that name].

I was a kid in the 1950s and I never called any bugs "Chegroes".
Nor do I remember any one else doing so.

"Chegroes" sounds to me alot like "Negroes".

So if "the enlightened" refered to certain bugs as "Chegroes" it would seem to me that that would put into question the definition of who is [or was] "enlightened".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: MissouriMud
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 04:21 PM

I'm assuming the reference was to "Chiggers" (being referred to as "chegroes" , although I dont know if that was serious or tongue in cheek). Chiggers are tiny nasty biting bugs that live in grass and shrubs in the south and midwest and I daresay many other parts of the US - they tend to make a series of bites in hard to get places that itch like crazy for days.

http://www.agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic/diagn/pest/chigger.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Nov 05 - 06:50 PM

MissouriMud,

The play on words gets worse and worser.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 May 09 - 07:16 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrqfGqBA


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:43 AM

Does anyone know who wrote the Shirley Temple version?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:41 AM

more lyrics to the tune http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioX5GN9kozY


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:58 AM

Dicho wondered:

Or would I be gastronomically correct (if incorrect in other ways) in saying polly wolly doodle was an indirect reference to the French?

Only if it was poached, in a light cheese sauce. Chopped parsley optional.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: ADD Version: Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 06:21 PM

The version of "Polly Wolly Doodle" I recall most distinctly from childhood had the hated 'n' word in it, but as kids were blissfully unaware of how awful it was. However, I have a question about other parts of those lyrics that I'd like to ask in case someone out there knows. Here's what I DO remember after changing the hateful part to something socially acceptable:

POLLY WOLLY DOODLE

Well, I came to a river an' I couldn't get across
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day
So I jumped on a pickle 'cause I thought it was a horse
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day

CHORUS

Fare thee well! Fare thee well!
Fare thee well my fairy Faye
'Cause I'm goin' to Loosiana for to see my Susieanna
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day

CHORUS

Oh the horse wouldn't run, so I traded for a gun
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day
But the gun wouldn't shoot, so I trade for a boot
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day

CHORUS

Oh the boot wouldn't wear, so I traded for a hare
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day
But the hare wouldn't holler, so I trade for a dollar
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day

CHORUS

But the dollar wouldn't pass, so I threw it in the grass
Sing Polly-Wolly Doodle all day
----- and here are where the lines go that I can't recall -----
----- any answers would be welcome. Thanks!! ------

FINAL CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 07:20 PM

That's 'fairy fey.'

fey = having the air of one under a spell or doom, elfin, visionary

fairy = 1. fairy 2. white person

I don't see anything derogatory in simply saying farewell to a white person cause I'm goin to Lousiana.

Remember Morgan la Faye from the tales of King Arthur?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 02:19 AM

I think it was the pickle that was objectionable...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 06:24 AM

It's a euphemism


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Subject: RE: Origins: Polly Wolly Doodle
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 11 - 07:38 AM

I am so pleased with your writing about this well remembered folk song which is not so easy to sing. I don't remember who wrote this song but I think some of the words were written about the time of the US war in the 19 century. The first time I heard that tune was about the time I started school in 1986 but I didn't know what song one of my friends were singing. Many of my mates knew the tune but not as the song most folks know today. I also heard a thing that is a writing credited to Steven Foster on the song but even I know that is not true. I think Dan Emmett wrote some of the verses but not all. For all you folks who heard about the song and the names of who wrote it, you were very knowledgeable about some names of the writers. The writers may well never be found at all, but what you will find is more songs written to the same tune with names of difrent singers and writers the year they were written. The reason you it hard to find a proper name who wrote Polly Wolly Doodle is that the song could date back to the 1850s or before.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Polly Wolly Doodle
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jun 17 - 03:15 AM

how about changing nigger to ligger, so amended version could be "i looked for a ligger and i floated like a hoss"


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