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Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man

DigiTrad:
DIRTY OLD MAN
THIS OLD MAN


Related thread:
(origins) Origins: This Old Man (29)


katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM
greg stephens 22 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 22 Oct 03 - 03:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 03:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 03:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 03:53 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 03:57 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 04:04 PM
greg stephens 22 Oct 03 - 04:07 PM
Blowzabella 22 Oct 03 - 04:12 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 05:35 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 05:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Oct 03 - 07:00 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 03 - 07:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 03 - 08:23 PM
Blowzabella 22 Oct 03 - 09:02 PM
mouldy 23 Oct 03 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 23 Oct 03 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,JOHN OF ELSIE`S BAND 23 Oct 03 - 06:34 AM
greg stephens 23 Oct 03 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,banjoman 23 Oct 03 - 06:45 AM
Pied Piper 23 Oct 03 - 07:51 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Oct 03 - 09:04 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Oct 03 - 10:08 AM
katlaughing 23 Oct 03 - 06:02 PM
Blowzabella 23 Oct 03 - 06:26 PM
greg stephens 23 Oct 03 - 06:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Oct 03 - 07:32 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Oct 03 - 02:33 AM
Joe Offer 24 Oct 03 - 03:50 AM
Mark Cohen 24 Oct 03 - 04:59 AM
katlaughing 24 Oct 03 - 10:01 AM
greg stephens 24 Oct 03 - 05:31 PM
katlaughing 24 Oct 03 - 05:55 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 25 Oct 03 - 10:41 AM
greg stephens 25 Oct 03 - 10:46 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 03 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,guest 25 Oct 03 - 01:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 03 - 02:51 PM
katlaughing 25 Oct 03 - 06:22 PM
Joybell 25 Oct 03 - 06:42 PM
Gareth 25 Oct 03 - 07:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 03 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,guested 25 Oct 03 - 09:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 03 - 09:54 PM
dick greenhaus 25 Oct 03 - 10:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 03 - 04:09 AM
Marje 26 Oct 03 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,guestedagain 26 Oct 03 - 11:26 AM
paddymac 26 Oct 03 - 11:30 AM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Oct 03 - 12:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 03 - 12:42 PM
Reiver 2 26 Oct 03 - 03:41 PM
katlaughing 26 Oct 03 - 06:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 03 - 07:42 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 27 Oct 03 - 05:17 PM
katlaughing 27 Oct 03 - 06:11 PM
Joe Offer 27 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM
Reiver 2 29 Oct 03 - 12:27 PM
Nigel Parsons 08 Nov 03 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Edna May 22 Apr 04 - 11:30 PM
Mark Cohen 23 Apr 04 - 12:52 AM
Davetnova 23 Apr 04 - 04:29 AM
semi-submersible 23 Apr 04 - 05:51 AM
Flash Company 23 Apr 04 - 10:19 AM
Lighter 23 Apr 04 - 10:48 AM
LindsayInWales 23 Apr 04 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Katherine 19 Mar 06 - 01:40 AM
Manitas_at_home 19 Mar 06 - 02:48 AM
Azizi 19 Mar 06 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,thurg 19 Mar 06 - 01:12 PM
Paul Burke 20 Mar 06 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Joe_F 20 Mar 06 - 09:09 PM
jeffp 21 Mar 06 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 06 - 12:54 AM
Billy Weeks 29 Aug 06 - 06:38 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 06 - 11:26 AM
Girl Friday 29 Aug 06 - 07:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Aug 06 - 07:41 PM
rich-joy 31 Aug 06 - 07:04 AM
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Subject: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM

I am curious as to the phrase knick knack patty whack in the child's tune This Old Man. I did a search and only came up with one reference in the threads: joke with a mondegreen.

Anyway, would like to hear what anyone might know of it and also if "patty" might've originally been "paddy?" For that matter, anything anyone might know about the whole song would be welcome, too.:-)

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM

Perhaps it is patty in America and paddy in England? Paddy is what i was brought up with, anway.(in England)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:23 PM

I'm with Greg on this. I'm sure they sung "Paddy" in Inn of the Sixth Happiness

Its a fairly standard children's counting song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:26 PM

Never heard patty- always paddy. You must have some girl scout version.

Lots of paddy versions, here's one from a 100% American site: Old Man

Origin of song? Durned if I know but you have made me curious. Will have to look.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:45 PM

There are several copyrighted arrangements. One of these is "The Childrens Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack) adapted and arranged by Malcolm Arnold, 1958. For the movie, "Inn of the Sixth Happiness"
(In Levy sheet music, not shown for copyright reasons).
Pete Seeger recorded it in 1953.

Haven't found anything old yet. Supposed to be American, says the Trad Ballad Index.
Anyone have Opie? if it is older, it may show up there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:53 PM

In thread 9306, Bruce O. says he doesn't know of the song in any British Isles material.
Not found so far before the 1950s in American sources but presumed to be American.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 03:57 PM

I had always heard it "paddy," too, come to think of it. Sorry, fellahs.:-) Some Girl Scout version, indeed!**BG**

I was wondering if the "paddy whack" was in anyway related to prejudice against the Irish? The rest of the info is really interesting, too, thanks a bunch!

kat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 04:04 PM

Oh, yeah, and just who is this old man?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knck Knack Patty Whack -This Old Man
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 04:07 PM

I would think that "Nick nack paddy whack" is like "Davy Davy Nick Nack", just a very successful marrying of nonsense syllables to a memorable bit of tune. Whether in the dim and distant past there may have been some unfortunate Paddies getting whacked in an early version I couldnt say, but I doubt if that is in the minds of many of the children who delight in singing it. But it could become that way, if someone uses the internet to start a legend that that is what the song is about, and then it will become a de facto anti-Irish song. Such things gave happened.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Blowzabella
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 04:12 PM

I know this isn't exactly of any intrinsic value as a source, but I seem to recall Daniel Hagman (John Tams) singing it in an episode of 'Sharpe', set in the Peninsula Wars, in the early years of the C19th. I know that he was not just engaged as an actor but was also heavily involved with the music for the series and I would be surprised (and a bit disappointed) if it was featured without evidence of some sort.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM

That's certainly not my intent, greg. I know that kids nowadays, nor in my children's day or my own, had anything such thing in mind, either. I just wondered if there was a connection. I figure this lot is so good on origins, someone would know. Thanks, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 05:35 PM

Yeah, Greg, Kat has that calumny in our minds now, it was already mentioned in that other thread (9306), and Irish (part, anyway) like me are all going to take umbrage. From now on we all sing Patty- until the gals and dolls ---


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 05:41 PM

Here's the part I didn't tell ya, Q....I learned it from a leprechuan! A transplant he was, plunked right down in the middle of ol' Wyoming; one of the Remittance Men, ya know...younger bro, couldn't inherit? 'Course he shucked that green outfit; changed into tiny boots, chaps, jeans, the whole bit...took up with the rodeo and rolled out the barrel for the bulls. In between bareback ridin' and steer-wrestlin' he'd provide musical entertainment along with Tall Tales. He came to visit our Girl Scout troop one time and that's when he told us the plight of his long-suffering peoples and taught us the PC version!!

katIswearit'strue!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 07:00 PM

Not in Opie, so far as I can see; but their index is not constucted on the most helpful of lines.

This is number 3550 in the Roud Folk Song Index. At present, only 7 examples are listed; 3 from England (1911, 1962, 1973), 2 from the USA (n.d. and pre-1948), 2 from Canada (1959, 1962). The earliest example there was noted by Cecil Sharp and a Mrs Stanton from children at East Dereham in Norfolk (September 1911); so far as I know, it has not been published. Not yet listed in Roud is Jack Jintle, learned by Anne Gilchrist from her childhood nursemaid, Elizabeth Piercy, in the 1870s (Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society,III (2) 1937 124-5), or the version in Kidson and Moffat's Eighty Singing-Games.

There are various titles: Jack Jingle, Old Joe Padlock, Old Joe Nigalock, Old Tommy Kendall... "Paddy Whack", though known as a dance-tune title since the 18th century, doesn't appear in the English versions I've seen (haven't seen the Sharp or Kidson sets) and likely derives in this context from the American set published by Seeger and popularised during the second half of the 20th century through numerous children's song books and commercial recordings.

To imagine some "anti-Irish" connotation is about as likely as another bizarre suggestion (made at the Mudcat, of course) that Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor might be racist because it featured a Brown Girl.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 07:27 PM

I said I was JUST CURIOUS, NOT implying anything. Sheesh!

Thanks for the further info.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 08:23 PM

Interesting. If the 1911 version is similar and can be dug out of MS. then we have a "no later than" date to shoot at. If these pre-Seeger versions are of this song, then it could well be from the British Isles.
Public knowledge of this rhyme blossomed with the 1858 movie.

It does not occur in Kane ed. Fouke, "Songs and Sayings of an Ulster Clildhood."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Blowzabella
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 09:02 PM

The reference to Anne Gilchrist brings it to Lancashire as she was a member of the Gilchrist family of Sunderland near lancaster (where I was leading my guided walk tody)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: mouldy
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 03:01 AM

Paddywhack, as far as I know, refers to the spinal cord (the springy white bit) down the middle of a cooked back-bone. I had never heard of it until my husband pointed it out in a piece of stewed lamb neck. Thus it fits nicely to the "give a dog a bone". I'm also sure I have seen it used as a name for a dog treat somewhere.

As to the rest, it more than likely is a nonsense rhyme that can be used to teach counting to children.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 03:17 AM

I have heard that it originated as a Sailors busking song. Begging was illegal but by playing the bones , or knick knacks, you became an entertainer. This is why the begging reference - give the dog a bone.
Paddy and wack are both terms akin to mate or friend.
Or thats the internet rumour I've heard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,JOHN OF ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:34 AM

The song
    "This old man, he played one"
    "He played nick nack on my drum"
    "With a nick nack, paddy whack, give a dog a bone"
    "This old man goes rolling home"
continuing through ten verses until the old man "played ten" on some part of the singer`s anatomy or possession has certainly been sung by the folks, especially children, in Britain ever since Adam was a boy.

Also an interesting question. Why do we say someone is in a "paddy" when they are not in the best of tempers?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:39 AM

Never mind the anti-Irish sentiments, there seems to me a distinct air of paeodophilia or violent child abuse about the song. Particularly as the "drum" is a euphemism for something that rhymes with it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:45 AM

I always thought this song had its origins in Liverpool - hence the "Paddy" a name given to both imigree Irishmen or Catholics by the Orange Lodge - known as "Proddy Dogs"
The term "Wack" is a very old term for a friend or aquaintance in the Liverpool vernacular "Or right there wack" is still a local greeting.
I may be wrong (probably am in light of the distinguished personnages who have replied before me) buts its a good thread topic anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Pied Piper
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 07:51 AM

I played at a Ceilidh for a Scottish couple in Cheshire the other week, and while I was tuning up my Pipes one of the kids asked me to play This Old Man. I obliged, the kids really loved it and I re-discovered what a great dance tune it is.
I would imagine that the tune is an 18th century Dance tune like so many other children's rhymes, but does any body know of a B part, or a related tune.
I think we take a lot of the children's tunes for granted, and don't play them in other contexts. These tunes must have been very popular in the general population to have survived this well and are the fundamental icons on which our understanding of the Trad dance form is based.
Over Hills And Fare Away is a great tune that I play regularly and I got the musical gist from John John The Pipers Son as a Kid myself.

TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 09:04 AM

No evidence as yet of the song prior to c.1870 (unless the Sharp MS or the Moffat/Kidson book have further information); it may well be older, but we don't know that. No evidence either, so far, to connect it either to sailors or to Liverpool, or that the term "paddywhack" occurs in English versions prior to Seeger. Gilchrist makes the same connection with bones or castanets (both often called "knackers") as has "Davetnova".

Anne Gilchrist's nursemaid was from Wales, but could have learned the song either there or in Lancashire; not from a printed source, though, as she didn't learn to read until later. The tune is not the same as that popular now. The tune given by Kidson is, according to Gilchrist, "the Italian Montferina - a dance-tune much used for nursery-songs and games since it came to England in 1810." I don't have any information on that at present.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JACK JINTLE (Manchester 1870s)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 10:08 AM

I missed a comment made by Gilchrist which would put the date of This Old Man as sung today in the UK back at any rate to the First World War period, so we now have at least anecdotal evidence, though not yet details (see below). My earlier comments should be revised in the light of that; an American import or re-import now seems much less likely. Here is Jack Jintle, as printed in The Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society:



JACK JINTLE

(From Elizabeth Piercy, Manchester, 1870s. Noted by Anne G. Gilchrist)

My name is Jack Jintle, the eldest but one,
And I can play nick-nack upon my own thumb.
With my nick-nack and pad-lock and sing a fine song,
And all the fine ladies come dancing along.


My name is Jack Jintle, the eldest but two,
And I can play nick-nack upon my own shoe.
With my nick-nack, etc.

(As before, substituting "three" and "knee", "four" and "floor").


X:1
T:Jack Jintle
T:(An old Action Song)
S:Elizabeth Piercy, Manchester, 1870s. Noted by Anne G. Gilchrist.
B:Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, III (2) 1937 124-5.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:6/8
K:D
A|D F A D F A|D F A d2 B|
w:My name is Jack Jin-tle, the eld-est but one, And
A F F F E D|C E E E2||
w:I can play nick-nack up-on my own thumb.
"Refrain"F/ E/|D F A D F A|D F A d2 G|
w:With my nick-nack and pad-lock and sing a fine song, And
F E F E A G|F D D D2|]
w:all the fine la-dies come danc-ing a-long.


Miss Gilchrist added:

"The rest is forgotten, but the numbers probably went up to ten. In the first verse the singer, suiting the action to the word, rapped with her knuckle on her thumb; in the second rapped on the sole of her shoe; in the third on her knee, and so on. Elizabeth Piercy was our Welsh nursemaid and illiterate when she came to us at the age of seventeen. She was a good singer, but one could make no sense of some of her scraps of English songs, though she sang well in Welsh and taught me to sing songs in that language.

"This old action-song, belonging to the day before such things were introduced into the school curriculum, is here printed in the hope that it may elicit other variants which may help to elucidate its origin. It belongs to the cumulative class of which This old man came rolling home is a war-time route march specimen. The only other version I have seen of Jack Jintle is set to the tune of the Italian Montferina - a dance-tune much used for nursery-songs and games since it came to England in 1810. Mr. Kidson's version is a stick-dance, but arrangd as such by himself - many of his games being adaptations. The 'nick-nack' may perhaps provide a clue. In the ballad of Burd Isabel and Earl Patrick occurs the verse:

"The Knichts they knack their white fingers,
The ladies sat and sang,
'Twas a' to cheer bonnie Burd Bell,
She was far sunk in pain.

"This suggests some finger-trick more than mere snapping. 'Knackers' is an old name for castanets or wooden 'bones'. Strutt quotes under Fool's Dance an allusion (1649) to a person dancing the Spanish morisco with 'knackers' at his fingers.

"A variant of the same tune was known in our nursery days to a child song As Tommy was walking one fine summer day."

-Anne Geddes Gilchrist, Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, III (2) 1937 124-5.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:02 PM

This is really interesting. Who knew!? Thanks all!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Blowzabella
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:26 PM

Malcolm - you really know how to write a post - it is clear, well thought out, interesting, intriguing, informing - academic yet in no way condescending- there must be a prize due for this surely.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 06:50 PM

Malcolm Douglas: you assume, and I think I do, that AG Gilchrist's reference to "This old man came rolling home" must be to the song we know now. But can we be absolutely sure of that, if we havent got an English version actually written or recorded. If it was familiar to Gilchrist as a first world war route march song, shouldnt there be a written version knocking around to confirm this, and that doesnnt seem to have shown up yet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 07:32 PM

That's what I'm hoping for; but it isn't likely to be in any source immediately available to me, I think. Meanwhile it can only be a tentative identification. I'm not assuming that it must be the song we know, but it certainly does suggest that we now have a potentially larger time-frame to look at, and that my earlier guess at an American source for this particular form is likely to have been wrong. That was partly based on the fact that the two American examples listed by Roud both begin This old man; but so, on the other hand, does the unpublished Sharp set.

The set in Peacock's Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, incidentally, also has "padlock" rather than "paddywhack", but that doesn't prove anything in itself. The tune is rhythmically closer to the form we are used to, but whether it's melodically related I couldn't say.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 02:33 AM

WITH A KNICK KNACK PADDY WHACK
KICK HIM WITH YOUR SHOE
THAT OLD DOG JUST PISSED ON YOU


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 03:50 AM

Gees, you guys are vicious. In the other thread, I said, "I learned it with what might be an anti-Irish "paddywhack" (vice "potterack"). When we were kids, we thought it meant hitting an Irishman with a stick, not that we were bothered by that. I thought I worded my conjecture as noncomittally as I could, but Kat and I sure got jumped on. Since "Paddy" is American slang for Irishman, I think it's quite possible that some people changed it to "patty" so as not to offend - even though the original intent was most probably not an ethnic slur.

Please note that neither kat nor I condemned the song as an ethnic slur. We merely threw out the question. Kat and I are tough enough to take it, but I wonder if the ferocity of the response might tend to stifle honest inquiries or comments. Like it or not, fifty years ago, some kids in Detroit thought "paddywhack" meant hitting an Irishman. Since this is a kids' song, I think that's a worthwhile observation.

-Joe Offer-

P.S. I can't find anything in Opie - Singing Game, Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Games with Things. Now Paddy and I will go cry in our beer.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 04:59 AM

A couple of observations on this interesting thread...one of those that makes the Mudcat worthwhile--thanks for starting it, kat!

The rhyming words I learned to the song (Philadelphia, early 60s) are as follows: "He played knick-knack on my..."
1 - thumb; 2 - shoe; 3 - knee; 4 - door; 5 - hive (I never liked that one, but there it was); 6 - sticks; 7 - up in heaven; 8 - gate; 9 - spine; 10 - He played knick-knack once again.

Others probably have variations, though I suspect ours came from the 1958 movie, which I don't believe I ever saw. (I know I never saw the 1858 movie!)

Regarding "paddywhack": when I was a kid, when you did something particularly egregious (among other kids, that is), the penalty was to "get paddywhacks." This meant that the others would stand in two lines facing one another. The offender would run the gauntlet, while his "friends" whacked him on the butt as many times as they could. We never thought about the derivation of the term, that was just what paddywhacks were. But I wouldn't be surprised if it originally had something do to with whacking an Irishman, or at least pretending to. My guess is that the newer version of the song substituted that word for the original (padlock, or whatever) just because it sounded good.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 10:01 AM

You're welcome, Mark, thanks!

Joe, thanks for putting into words what I've been feeling and didn't dare post at the risk of being villified. You said, "but I wonder if the ferocity of the response might tend to stifle honest inquiries or comments." Judging by PMs I've received over the years, that is exactly what happens from time-to-time, folks feel too intimidated to ask what they think will be perceived as a "stupid" question, and, to me that is one of the least attractive aspects of the Mudcat.

kat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 05:31 PM

katlaughing: i havent noticed anyone vilifying you in this thread, i certainly havent been. That's Joe offer's word: who's vilifying who round here? seems a remarkably interesting and good-natured thread to me. is this another example of Brit irony not working in America, or American honesty seeming more angry to us than it actually is?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 05:55 PM

I didn't say anyone had villified me, greg, merely agreeing with Joe that some people may feel too intimidated to post. And, this hick American had no problem with your Brit irony...ya didn't see me jump yer case over the child-bashing, did you?**bg**

katraisedinthewildbytheDriestofHumouredRelativesKnowntoHumankind


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 10:41 AM

Joe also used the word "vicious," Greg, but his post was surely light-hearted. It seems to me that this thread illustrates just how knowledgeable and resourceful some mudcatters are, and is way ahead of many other so-called music threads, which get cluttered with puerile banter. It's very rarely that I can add anything to threads like this one, but I do read them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 10:46 AM

Fionn: maybe you're right, but i took Joe Offer's terms "vicious" and "ferocity of response" as genuine complaints, which I thought were a bit over the top. But you may be right, maybe he was joking. This typing out stuff into the ether is fraught with misunderstandings, especially when talking across the pond. I know I wasnt vicious, anyway, and I'm pretty sure nobody else was either.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 01:05 PM

Joe, paddywhack is a slur on Asians. In the old rice paddy---. Nuttin' to do with us micks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 01:34 PM

First there are today songs which were 'lifted' both in Britain, and the USA, which I know are not original, because I wrote and sang em. Later I find other folks taped and rewrote parts of them. So much for where and who wrote popular songs.

The moral here is that you should take the written accounts of the origins of any song/tune with a pinch of salt. 99% of the time it is misleading and nearly always false.

The word 'whack' in the war years meant Pal, Buddy, Bro, even Dude; it did NOT mean kill. And here I have to remind the reader of the long history some here have of misrepresenting or fiddling about with folksy legends about music on this site, and the further absurd situation where these scribes use whatever reputation the site has to further their fame as experts.

The expression 'Paddywhack' - is a nonsense, it was never intended to mean anything, eventhough some folks here strive to make it appear as if it did or does.

Find that hard to believe. Ok here is a slang word I heard in Dublin Ireland used by little kids when gigling about US and Canadian visitors 'Wankies'

'Wankie Doodle came to town in a B1 Bummer'
'Bummed me ma, he did the dah, bummed me in the corner'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 02:51 PM

Whack in the war years was also part of bushwhacked, meaning ambushed, the term found from the 1860s.

Whack meaning hit them or slay them is 18th century, an old usage.

Whack was never applied to a pal or buddy in the American Army.

There is a thread on this somewhere in Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 06:22 PM

Here 'tis, Q: clickety


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 06:42 PM

"Paddy" was a well known name for Irishman here in Australia. It wasn't usually used as a derogatory sense by the time I was a child - 1950s. We did have Paddywagon - for police van. My Mum used the phrase "Paddy whack the drumstick" but I never knew what she meant.
We used "Mick", "Taffy", "Jack" or "Cousin Jack", "Scotty", "Yankie" or "Septic" - (rhyming slang for Yank - from Septic tank)and several other nicknames in the same way. I was raised in a working-class suburb of Melbourne and these names were used in a more or less affectionate sense, as they had been (except for "septic") from the goldrush of the 1850s.
Australians have a way of using reverse humour as a complement too, which may complicate the whole issue of whether or not a knickname is heard as a racial slur. My American husband was often told "Geez, you're not much good with that guitar are ya Septic!" when we played in working class pubs - which meant that they thought he was great.
I think it's important to look at which group is actually suffering discrimination as well as just the words that are used. A good example here would be the nicknames used for Aboriginal Australians which can be highly offensive.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Gareth
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 07:09 PM

What Fionn really means is he could not find anything in this thread to hang his usual "Political Correctness" and "Anti British" polemics to.

Joke on this music theme

Completely politically uncorrect.

Picture the scene -

Paddy Black's pawn shop in Liverpool.

In comes a french sailor, trying to raise cash on a bit of scrimshaw.

"Hmm," says Mr Black, " I dont think there is much demand for this sort of thing."

Just then his wife comes into the shop, she notices the dejected matelot, and views the scrimshaw.

"Oooooh !, A nik-nak Paddy Black, give the frog a loan!

Gareth - running from the bad joke only !


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 07:22 PM

Paddywhack was used for a "brawny Irishman" in England, in a lexicon of words published in 1811. Paddy for an Irishman was used as early as 1780 in print, and is probably quite a bit older (OED).
Grose lists it in his Buckish Slang and cant Dictionary of 1780 and says it derives from Patrick.

In a twist, a white man is referred to as a paddy in American Black English (Chester Himes, 1946), and later in Saturday Review, 1966, "Man, how I hate the Paddies." (OED)

Paddywhack appeared in Australian-New Zealand print in 1898- "Ah gev yon beggar paddywhack fer his sauce and he'll nut fergit it in a hurry" (B. Kirkby, Lakeland Words). Also later examples given in the OED.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: GUEST,guested
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 09:27 PM

"Whack was never applied to a pal or buddy in the American Army."

Doncha mean the US Calvalry or did you just read Clancy?

What a dufus

With a whack fal da diddle


and the rest

BTW This thread belongs in the Bullshit section.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 09:54 PM

I was in the army, my father in the cavalry- never heard the name applied to a buddy.
Only juveniles who collect whackbuddy icons.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 10:42 PM

At least as far back as the 1930's, a "paddywhack" was a slap to the derriere---a spanking.

There's a jig (don't know how old) called Paddy Whack.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 04:09 AM

In the Bodleian, Ballads Catalogue (Harding B28(210)), is a song called "The Irish Duel," c. 1820-1824, Liverpool.

The first verse:
Potatoes grow in Limerick, and beef at Ballymore,
And buttermilk is beautiful, but that you knew before;
And Irishmen love pretty girls, yet none could love more true,
Than little Paddy Whackmacrack, lov'd Kate O'Donohoo.
With his fal de lal, etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Marje
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 09:52 AM

This is going to make me sound (and feel) very old, but I can vouch for the song (complete with "paddywhack" and "This old man came rolling home") being in existence before Seeger recorded it in 1953, because I was taught it by my Mum in Scotland before then. '53 was the year I started school, and I knew it well before that. I think my Mum had it from some years earlier, possibly in a book, as she had been an infant teacher (that's kindergarten to you USians) and I think it was one of the songs she had taught to her classes in the 1940s.

I also think the song may have been broadcast on the BBC's "Listen With Mother" in the early 50s. This programme was resposible for the standardisation of the versions of many of the nursery rhymes and songs that many of us still know. Come on, there must be others out there who remember this!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: GUEST,guestedagain
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 11:26 AM

"In the Bodleian, Ballads Catalogue (Harding B28(210)), is a song called "The Irish Duel," c. 1820-1824, Liverpool.

The first verse:
Potatoes grow in Limerick, and beef at Ballymore,
And buttermilk is beautiful, but that you knew before;
And Irishmen love pretty girls, yet none could love more true,
Than little Paddy Whackmacrack, lov'd Kate O'Donohoo.
With his fal de lal, etc."

Now I know Q is not American and does not live in the USA

lol


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: paddymac
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 11:30 AM

It seems that the overlooked point here is that words, especially slang usages, often have or evolve alternative meanings, sometimes in the same historical period. Thus, the word "Paddy" can be an epithet when used by some folks in some contexts, and a more-or-less affectionate term when used among those meant to be disparaged by it. Much the same is true today of the word "Nigger." When white people use the word, it is usually presumed (rightly or wrongly) to be an epithet, but when American black people use the word among themselves it is more in the nature of an affectionate recognition of a kind of kinship. It stikes me as somewhat foolish to be overly pedantic about such things.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 12:08 PM

Quite so. It never does to read too much meaning into nursery rhymes, though what the Opies called "the happy guessers" persist in doing just that, so that there are any number of extravagent myths about them which circulate now as received wisdom, in spite of being completely groundless. There is always a risk that discussions of this kind may contribute overmuch to the huge bulk of material which must be examined before being once again discarded.

I remember This Old Man from the 1950s, too, under similar circumstances to Marje (though I wasn't born till '54). The Seeger references earlier may create confusion; while Q referred to a 1953 recording by Pete Seeger, my reference -which was ambiguous; my apologies for that- was to Ruth Crawford Seeger's book, American Folk Songs for Children (1948), which would have tied in nicely had it not emerged that my original guess was wrong by at least forty years. References in my earlier posts to a possible American source for this version should be disregarded in the light of my later comments.

I'm fairly sure that I also remember it sung on Listen with Mother in those days, though whether I learned it from radio or family I don't know. We may also have sung it at school, but my early childhood memories are not very coherent.

The term "Paddywhack" has been around a long while. I mentioned the dance tune of that name earlier on, and Dick has also referred to it; although that tune was current in the 18th century, it is unclear when that particular name was first applied to it; it has had others. As a slang term for a Large Irishman it was well-known; it can also refer to a rage (hence the still-used expression "getting into a right paddy"), and this would presumably be related to the reputation for fighting of which many people seem still to be quite proud (see any Disney film in which Ireland features for examples of that particular stereotype). There is also the nursery term for a slap already mentioned, which is clearly the sense in this song, as can be seen from the accompanying actions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 12:42 PM

Hi, guestedagain. Born in the USA, as the song goes. For the last some-odd years, been a Canuck.
Why would a quote from the Bodleian suggest I am not American? Most people who post on Mudcat use this resource if they have interests in old songs, nationality whatever.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Reiver 2
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 03:41 PM

I must say this has been an interesting thread. I don't remember where I learned that song, but I think it was in the 1940s when I was a kid in Wisconsin. I used to sing it to my kids when they were growing up, but I can't find it in any song books that I have. I never for a minute wondered about the meaning of Nick-Nack, Paddy Whack, whose dog we were giving the bone to, or why the old man was rolling home instead of walking. It was just a fun nonsense song with a catchy tune. While on the subject you might enjoy this:

A frog goes into a bank and approaches a teller. He can see by her nameplate that her name is Patricia Waque. So he says, "Ms. Waque, I'd like to borrow $80,000 to buy a yacht and take a vacation. She looks at the frog in disbelief, but asks his name. He says his name is Kermit Jagger, the son of Mick Jagger the singer, and that he's a friend of the bank manager.

The teller says $80,000 is a lot of money and he will need some collateral against the loan. The frog says, "No problem, I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain pink elephant. Very confused, the teller explains that she'll have to talk to the manager and disappears into a back office.

She tells the manager, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $80,000. And he wants to use THIS as collateral! She holds up the pink porcelain elephant and says, "I mean what the heck is this?" The bank manager looks at her in disgust. "It's a knick-knack, Patti Waque; give the frog a loan -- his old man's a Rolling Stone!"

I don't remember where I first heard that, either! But I'm just wondering, is katlaughing, or will Joe Offer to whack my paddy? :-)

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 06:39 PM

I haven't noticed any real paddy whacking in here, Reiver, why would we start now? You may have heard a variation on that in this old thread.

I think it is unfortunate people have focussed on Joe and me instead of our concerns about people being uncomfortable asking questions. Oh well, *sigh* as BillD might say.

Here's some interesting info about Paddy Whack which Masato posted a while back: clickety.


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Subject: Lyr Add: PADDY WHACK (ca. 1865-1875)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 07:42 PM

PADDY WHACK

Oh, here I am and that is flat,
I am just from the town of Bally hack;
And what a'ye say to that"
My name is gimlet-eyed paddy whack.

Chorus:
Di du mack whack,
And where are yee from?
The town of Bally hack
Where seven praties weigh a ton.

First my pedigree I'll let you know,
So that of me you man have a knack,
I'm descended from Brian Boru, now you know,
Who was the forefather of paddy whack.

I've aunts and cousins quite a store,
And uncles and brothers who drive hacks;
Including whiskey and who wants more?
But it don't suit loving paddy whack.

My fortune to make to this country I came,
But I'll not put up with any slack;
As long as I can twirl this Irish cane,
Faix, ye's better look sharp for paddy whack.

And when my fortune I do make,
And back to ould Ireland go;
And if any of ye's be there, to ould donny-brook fair,
You will see paddy whack there too.

H. De Marsan, publisher, NY. American Songs and Ballads, Ser. 3, vol. 3, American Memory. ?1865-1875 or thereabouts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 05:17 PM

For Christ's sake chill out, Kat. The guy did put a smiley on the end.... But maybe you expect a health warning any time you're in danger of blundering into a light-hearted witticism.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 06:11 PM

It's my thread and
I can bite if I want to,
cry if I want to,
you would cry, too,
if it happened to you!


**RBSEG**

Fionn, I've been putting smiley-faces all over in this thread and still am getting taken to task for expressing an opinion. Sakes alive! Once more, I think it's a shame folks choose to focus on Joe and me instead of the issue he raised. Other than that I think it's been a great thread and I, once, again thank all for their contributions.

kat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM

Reiver, you sound like you're related to Art Thieme. Hey, you could be a folksinger, or something....
Your story sounds like those groaners I used to hear the old guys tell when I was growing up in Racine, Wisconsin (I moved to Wisconsin from Detroit when I was nine, and I consider myself a Wisconsinite), Thanks for the trip back home.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Reiver 2
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 12:27 PM

You're more than welcome, Joe. I grew up in Milton, near Jansville, but have been in the West (U.S. and Canada) since 1955. No relation to Art Thieme, though. Yes, I've been a folk singer (not a particularly good one... but an enthusiastic one) for years. First with old standby folk songs and while in British Columbia I teamed with another bloke, called ourselves The Reivers, and began doing only Irish and Scottish music. I'm an amature historian, so began digging into the background of these songs and trying to learn as much as I can about the history and geography of the songs. "This Old Man" was part of my early singing experience. And, yes, I would qualify as one of the "old guys" who like to tell groaners.

Kat, my apologies. The only reason I singled out you and Joe was that I was trying to make a little play on words to end the post with, and the two of you had names that I could use that way (plus your names were familiar and you both had posted to this thread). I meant no offense in any way.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 09:35 AM

Marje & Malcolm:

Your memories of learning this in school set me off on a hunt through my bookshelves.

THIS OLD MAN

This old man, he played one
He played nick nack on my drum,
Nick nack, paddy whack, give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home


Two:Shoe, Three:Tree, Four:Door, Five:Hive, Six:Sticks, Seven:(on my) Devon, Eight:Gate, Nine:Line, Ten:Hen.

This appeared in print in "Time And Tune" the BBC Broadcasts to schools, Autumn term 1963.
Acknowledgements on the back cover give: " 'This Old Man':Penguin Song Book published by Penguin Books Ltd."

Jack Jintle, as quoted by Malcolm on the 23/Oct also appears in the booklet for the broadcasts "Spring Term 1961", with the variation that it reads "And all you fine ladies"
Again, ten verses are given, thumb, shoe, knee, door, hive, sticks, deben(?), gate, line & hen.

In both cases the pages are illustrated (but fudge verse 7) and accompanied by a simple staff notation of the melody (This Old Man in F; Jack Jintle in D)

If someone wishes to check these against the ABCs already quoted, then PM me & I'll e-mail the pages across


Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,Edna May
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 11:30 PM

This is my first time doing some research. I wanted to be sure I had the lyrics right to use in a pet parade in our community. One of our good humored neighbors will lead the parade and play a drum. The chldren will march behind him singing this marching song. The dogs with their owners will follow and I'll "bring up the rear" riding a golf cart with sign on it "popper scouper".   It will be fun for the children and their pets and at the same tim raise money for the humane society. Thank you again, although it was "more then I needed to know". It didn't discourage me to use it, it's a delightful childrens marching song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 12:52 AM

Edna, please make sure the sign says "Pooper Scooper" -- it will save you from having to explain yourself to all the pedants!

Referring to Joybell's post above about Australian usage, police vans were also called "paddy wagons" in Philadelphia in the 50's and 60's.

I also find it interesting that "Paddy" as a nickname for Patrick seems to be rare in the US but common in Ireland. In many areas of the US, "Paddy" is pronounced much like "Patty", which is always a woman's name, being a common short form of Patricia, and that may be part of the reason. In the US, a man named Patrick would be called "Pat" for short, rarely "Paddy." (Unless he was from Ireland.) "Pat" and "Patty" are both used for Patricia, confounding the issue.

I'm glad I made that clear.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Davetnova
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:29 AM

Just a thought. Could the paddy referes to in the song refer to a paddle rather than an irishman, i.e. a paddywhack - a whack from a paddle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: semi-submersible
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 05:51 AM

Picturing the bees' response to knocking on a hive, I sing "running" for "rolling" in the fifth chorus.

Re paddle into paddy: attractive, but I don't think Ls disappear easily.

My mother in the 1970s in Vancouver, Canada also told me "paddy wagon" was slang for a police van. But it may not have been local use. (More examples, please?) This use could derive from "paddy" as "paddock," a bounded field or pen. Who knows?

Re: "Why do we say someone is in a 'paddy' when they are not in the best of tempers?"
I've seen "in a pet" used the same way in English texts, though I don't know from what period: Victorian to 1950s books were on our family shelves, and I can't remember an exact source. "Petulant," however, is a standard word for the same.

I agree that fierce corrections (with an emphasis on who made what mistake) will scare some folk away from contributing to discussion. But of course, such a post didn't look so fierce to the sender...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Flash Company
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 10:19 AM

I learnt this in Primary School in the 1940's, in Cheshire

FC


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 10:48 AM

Learned at an elementary school assembly, NYC, in 1958 or so.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: LindsayInWales
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 01:26 PM

I play for a Welsh Border Morris (with attitude!) The Widders


We use the tune for our dance "Severn Tunnel Junction"

Silurian Morris also uses the tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,Katherine
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 01:40 AM

The reason I posted this question on "Ask Jeeves" was because I watching a show on "The History Chanel" entitled "Paddy-whacked: The History of the Irish mob in America" It seems to be around the early l900's through the 1920's or so. I didn't watch much of the show. But I know that in Ireland that the name Padriac was as common to them as the name John is to us, at least in days gone by. I immediately thought of the song, "This Old Man". I do know that the old, old game of "Ring Around the Rosie" was brought to this country by the English and it actually refers to the Black Plaque. (The stench of the decomposing bodies was so bad that they would put dried flowers in their pockets and then the bodies were burned.)..."pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, all fall down." At least, that's what I read a long time ago! Back to the original theme: We all know that to get whacked is to get killed, ("Goodfellas" et.al.) So I would assume that a person who was "Paddy-whacked" was indeed killed by an Irishman. I hope that I do not offend any Irish people out there; indeed I have great empathy for them because the show on that chanel before the aforementioned one was about how cruel the English were to the Irish people and how they had the poor Irish people completely under their cruel and inhumane thumbs. Just a thought....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 02:48 AM

Whacked doen't always mean to be killed. In England it usually means beaten.

The link between the Great Plague of 1665 (not the Black Plaque which is a dental problem) or the Black Death which was 300 years prior to the Great Plague has been debunked here http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.htm .

I found this http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/reading/periodicals/language_matters/1/word.htm on "paddywhack".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 12:21 PM

Not that this has anything to do with this song, but those interested in how words change their meaning might be interested to knowing [if they don't already know] these meanings of "wacked"

wack
        1) (adj) Negative: crazy or weird. Mostly this is meant
        2) (v) To kill someone. "So don't step to me 'cause you
               boys'll get wacked" -- Ice-T (Power).

Source:http://www.faqs.org/faqs/music/hip-hop/dictionary/part3/

-snip-

I'm assuming the first definition of 'wacked' came from the word "wacky" which also means "crazy".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 01:12 PM

Don't think this came up earlier - I always heard and sang "on my thumb" rather than "on my drum". Learned the song in kindergarten in Windsor, Ontario, circa 1960. We learned a set of hand-actions to go with it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 03:55 AM

They didn't burn plague corpses, at least in England. They were buried, and there are many references to this in contemporary or near- contemporary literature. Samuel Pepys' diary and Defoe's "Journal of the Plague Year" are both worth reading. Our ancestors, right up to the 20th century, had a horror of cremation as atheistical, beautifully evoked in M.R.James' ghost story "Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance".

The real meaning of Knick knack.. is from Irish, and refers to the legendary Irish hero Mick McPaddywhack, also known as Gifford Og O'Bone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 09:09 PM

According to the OED, the word can mean an Irishman (earliest quot. 1811), an unlicensed almanac (1886), a rage (1899), a severe thrashing (1898), or a ruddy duck (North Carolina, 19th c.).

It might be noted that most Americans pronounce "paddy" and "patty" the same: t between vowels gets voiced, as in Spanish. (Sounds vulgar to me, but never mind.) So the spelling, over a large swath the U.S., would be arbitrary.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Our memories may go back to the time we were fools, but not to the fact. :||


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: jeffp
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 11:08 AM

Paul, that's awful. LOL


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 12:54 AM

Does anyone of you Knows spanish? If so can you adventure a translation?

Jorge from Chile.

29/08/06


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:38 AM

I am regularly delighted and amazed by the way Mudcatters (I love you all madly) can spend so much time and effort on analysing and debating the precise meanings of words in innocent little songs, digging up historically improbable explanations and applying modern ideas to...         Oh, look! It's just a romping little number where the chorus words fit the tune and make it easy to sing.

I learned 'This Old Man' from my parents in the 1930s, when just about every working class child knew it. We didn't think of it as having any particular meaning, anti-Irish or otherwise - though I have to admit that those were unworried times when the seasons followed one another in proper order and everyone knew that the Irish were dimwitted comedians, the German had square heads and ate nothing but sausage, the Italians were dagoes and carried knives and only the Brits were really nice people.

We have all changed. The song hasn't.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:26 AM

I'm pretty sure that "Paddywhack" is the name of a dance tune in O'Neill's 1001, will try to check, but wouldn't expect it to have any relation to the children's song.

"Paddywhackery" is used in modern Ireland to refer to stereotypical "stage-Irish" portrayals of the Irish as feckless, garrulous but generally lovable rogues, as perceived by the British in past centuries during the intervals when we weren't being portrayed as bomb-throwing simians - the "Irish RM" type of reasonably harmless nonsense, as opposed to "Punch"'s style of racism.

Being "in a paddy" can reasonably be assumed to refer to the (purely stereotypical ;) ) reputation of the Irish for being hot-tempered.

It never even occurred to me to question the automatic assumption that the paddywagon is the vehicle used for removing drunken, brawling Irishmen from the scene of an affray.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Girl Friday
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 07:27 PM

In the Inn of the Sixth Happiness, the song is taught to, and sung by, Chinese children. They couldn't manage it, so it was dubbed with a recording. The singers were in fact, the choir from my primary school, "Willows" in Morden, Surrey. Were they ever paid? I don't know, I only remember the whole school going to the Odeon in Morden for a complimentary showing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 07:41 PM

'Paddywhack' has been mentioned several times in this (long, and now quite old) thread as a dance tune dating back to the 18th century. It isn't related to the children's song.

For 'Paddy' as a stereotypical term for bad temper, see my post of nearly 3 years ago (above).

'Paddywagon' may perhaps derive from the fact that so many policemen (in urban areas of the UK and USA, and presumably also in Canada and Australia, from earlier comments here) were Irish, from the early 19th century onward; some further commentary on that might be useful if anybody has any to offer, though it doesn't have anything to do with the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Knick Knack Patt/ddy Whack -This Old Man
From: rich-joy
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 07:04 AM

As Mouldy has mentioned, back in October 03, "paddy-whack" is also the unlikely? name given by some to the marrow in one's chop bones - I only learnt this from an Ex though, who hailed from the Kent and Windsor areas of the UK ... kept telling me I should eat it, coz it was good for me - urk!


Cheers! R-J
Down Under
(where paddy-wagons are common)
    Thread closed because it has become a target for a heavy barrage of Spam. Please continue discussion in this thread (click).
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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