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Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah

DigiTrad:
I'VE BEEN RAILING AT THE WORKLOAD
I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: I've Been Working on the Railroad (39)
Lyr Req: Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah (20)
(origins) Author: I've Been Working on the Railroad (6) (closed)


glauber 16 Dec 03 - 05:34 PM
PoppaGator 16 Dec 03 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Nigel Parsons 16 Dec 03 - 05:50 PM
Joybell 16 Dec 03 - 05:52 PM
masato sakurai 16 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM
Joybell 16 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM
glauber 17 Dec 03 - 05:20 PM
PoppaGator 17 Dec 03 - 05:53 PM
Joybell 17 Dec 03 - 06:21 PM
Joe_F 17 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM
Joybell 17 Dec 03 - 06:42 PM
Amos 17 Dec 03 - 06:55 PM
Joybell 18 Dec 03 - 02:44 AM
Joe_F 18 Dec 03 - 06:35 PM
glauber 19 Dec 03 - 01:30 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM
PoppaGator 19 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM
Amos 19 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 03 - 05:54 PM
Amos 19 Dec 03 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM
Amos 19 Dec 03 - 10:24 PM
glauber 24 Dec 03 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,earl 27 Dec 03 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 28 Dec 03 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,zerta_fiabel 15 Sep 04 - 10:37 PM
masato sakurai 15 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Sep 04 - 02:35 AM
GUEST,Kay 12 Nov 04 - 06:30 PM
masato sakurai 12 Nov 04 - 07:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Nov 04 - 08:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Nov 04 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,Kay 12 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM
Genie 12 Nov 04 - 09:27 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 04 - 11:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Nov 04 - 12:36 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Nov 04 - 07:14 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Nov 04 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Miller 09 Oct 07 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Oct 07 - 10:07 AM
Barry Finn 10 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Oct 07 - 01:22 PM
Joe_F 10 Oct 07 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Oct 07 - 08:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Oct 07 - 12:53 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 11 Oct 07 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 11 Oct 07 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM
Kent Davis 13 Oct 07 - 01:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 07 - 02:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 07 - 02:57 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Jan 09 - 07:48 AM
olddude 26 Jan 09 - 02:32 PM
olddude 26 Jan 09 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,IM AWESOMES 14 Oct 09 - 06:56 PM
Joybell 14 Oct 09 - 07:37 PM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 09 - 10:12 PM
Peace 14 Oct 09 - 10:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Oct 09 - 10:24 PM
Peace 14 Oct 09 - 10:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 09 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 09 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 09 - 04:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 09 - 08:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 09 - 08:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 09 - 09:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,rusty 15 Nov 09 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Andrea 17 Nov 11 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 11 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Nov 11 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Tizmarelda 18 Nov 11 - 02:30 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 11 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Dec 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 11 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,josepp 24 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,matiainn 03 Dec 12 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Dec 12 - 03:25 PM
GUEST 18 Jan 13 - 02:25 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 13 - 05:26 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Jan 13 - 05:49 PM
Sanjay Sircar 18 Jan 13 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,gilgamesh 20 Sep 15 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,lemme a. dollah 06 Oct 16 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,TaxHack 13 Mar 17 - 01:08 AM
leeneia 13 Mar 17 - 01:40 PM
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Subject: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: glauber
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:34 PM

Hello, if there's anyone who knows, she or he is probably in this forum, so i'll ask: why is the locomotive called Dinah? My guess is it has something to do with "dynamite", but maybe there's a better explanation?

Another question: are there any additional meanings on "someone's in the kitchen with Dinah playing on that old banjo"? I have a feeling that there may be sexual overtones, as in another old song (Irish) where it says "i took my fiddle out and played my love a song".

Thanks for indulging my curiosity.

glauber


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:38 PM

It never occured to me that Dinah, with whom someone is strummin' on the old banjo in the kitchen, might be a *locomotive*!

So, Glauber, maybe you already know more about this than the rest of us!

Fee fye fiddle-ee i-o


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:50 PM

Obvious Steam train connection is "Dinah won't you blow your horn"

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:52 PM

No Dinah's the cook. There is the line earlier which goes "... Dinah blow your horn" ie. the dinner horn to call in the workers to eat. My husband and I sang "I've Been Working on the Railroad" just recently on a tourist train. He learned it as a child in America. I'm Australian so I had always thought that the horn was somehow on a train and that Dinah was a train. It always puzzled me too. My true-love set me straight. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM

Some info is at the thread Lyr Req: Someone's in the Kitchen with Diana.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM

Just another note. My husband's grandfather worked on the railroad in Wyoming and songs like this one - "I've Been Working on the Rairoad" have a special place in his heart. Also it's great for barbershop harmonies. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: glauber
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 05:20 PM

Of course, Dinah is the cook! Thanks!

g


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 05:53 PM

NOw I know why they kept repeating:

"Dinah wontcha blow, Dinah wontcha blow, Dinah Wontcha blow your ho-o-orn"

They were hungry!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 06:21 PM

A pleasure. The song's a good one. Fun to sing. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM

If you sing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" at the same time as "Old Black Joe", not only does it harmonize, sort of, some of the time, but there is a salacious synchrony, which I leave it to you to discover.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 06:42 PM

Oh Joe! How very naughty you are! We just tried it together. This very moment. The song that is. How did you come up with that? The harmony sounds good too. Joybelle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 06:55 PM

THe reason they're impatient is it is past dinnertime, but the horn hasn't been sounded yet, the reason being that someone is in the kitchen with Dinah doing something other than preparing dinner!

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:44 AM

So they were singing this song and "Old Black Joe" at the one time Amos? Dinah and her friend? No wonder the dinner was late! Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:35 PM

Joybell: I forget who I heard that from.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: glauber
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 01:30 PM

(Here's a slightly longer answer, now that i have time to sit at the computer.)

Thank you all again. You have once more demonstrated your immense knowledgeableness and resourcefullness and helpfulness. :-) As i've come to expect.

It makes sense, Dinah being the cook. I'm not sure why i ever thought she was the train (i thought the "kitchen" was the boiler room). But i think i've seen at least one American animated short in which they featured this song with Dinah as the train. This could have been caused by ignorance or embarassment at the racial overtones of the name. Or it could be a false memory. :-) But Dinah has become a favourite name for trains in child stories.

So back to lurking. I have limited access to the Internet at the moment.

Many thanks,

glauber


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM

Dinah is not the cook, dinah is dinner! its "some one is in the kitchen with dinner" the spelling it "dinah" was some person hearing the song and writting dinner phonetically. The "someone" is probably the cook who the worker on the railroad doesn't know personally. When they use dinah in "dinah won't you blow your horn" they are personifying dinner, invoking it, so to speak, to call them too it. In other words "I have been working hard all day since five o' clock in the morning and I am hungry. I wish the dinner horn would sound so I could eat... but all I hear from the kitchen is some idiot on a banjo not making me dinner." It really makes no sense any other way.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM

GUEST -- that's a good theory, but I'm buying Amos' summary of 6:55 yesterday evening.

It is quite plausible that someone might have written "dinah" where they really should have written "dinnah" as a representation of how a southerner, or black person, or minstel performer, would have pronounced "dinner." Stranger things have happened. But I don't think you're correct in arguing that "It really makes no sense any other way" -- it makes perfect sense that Dinah the cook may have been distracted from her culinary duties by a suitor, strummin' on the old banjo.

That way one need not stretch credibility by arguing that "dinner," personified, is being asked to call the gang to itself (to dinner).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Amos
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM

Guest, your turn is ingenious but unrealistic. Dinah was a well-established female given name by the time Stephen Foster was born -- you will recall, for example that it was the name of Alice in Wonderland's cat -- and it is unusual for phonemes to slide from lower to higher energy requirements (it is physically easier to say dinner than Dinah).

The overtones of "someone in the kitchen with Dinah strumming on the old banjo" are off-color, in case this was not obvious. I leave it to you to interpret what strumming on the old banjo might consist of.

A


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 05:54 PM

Granted it could be a double entandre, but why should it be? What honestly makes everyone think that it must be woman? You are making things incredibly harder then they need to be by bringing in ideas that are not in the song unless you put them there! Folk songs when they want to be off color, are not subtle about it. Even if they meant it to be woman and it is a sublte off color song, why would anyone be singing about it? It goes nowhere! What would you think about a song that went.
"someones in the kitchen with mary,
someones in the kitchen I know,
someones in the kitchen with mary,
strumming on the old banjo"
Mary won't you blow
Mary won't you blow
Mary won't you blow your horn?
Mary won't you blow
Mary won't you blow
Mary won't you blow your horn?"

While it could seem off color it is not that impressive or memorable. Unless I was in the kitchen with Mary, or Mary is my Wife or daughter, I dont care what she is doing enough to sing about it. Dinner after a hard days work on the other hand, that is somthing to sing about!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Amos
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 06:03 PM

Sigh.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM

Or....from the Rugby Song thread....

Someone's in my sister's vagina,
Someone's in my sister, I know.
Someone's in my sister's vagina
Pumping like a dy-na-mo
And she goes down, down, down....down, down, down, down.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Amos
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:24 PM

Thanks, Garg -- that makes it much better....



...



Sigh....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: glauber
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 05:03 PM

Hmmm, now Amos confirms my suspicions about a second meaning to that old banjo. I think it's the first time in this thread someone agreed with me on that, but it definitely sounds like it has a sexual meaning to me. Can't say why, it just sounds that way. "I'm working since 5 in the morning, the horn is not sounding, someone must be in the kitchen doing something non-culinary with the cook." :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,earl
Date: 27 Dec 03 - 02:40 PM

The banjo was of course a frying pan..... strumming the movement made to make the contents move about and fry evenly.

This person in the kitchen with dinah "dinner" would have been the chef.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 10:35 AM

Yes, of course the old banjo is the frying pan - or at least can resasonably be thought of as such, as well as the words being taken literally. Isn't there a model of banjo referred to as a frying pan? This song gets deeper and deeper.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,zerta_fiabel
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 10:37 PM

Wow. The universe works in mysterious ways.

I sat down to pen something profound - a story with the lead-in being the song, "I've been workin' on the railroad." The lyrics were easy to find, but I sensed there was more to the song than met the ear.

Bussongs.com suggests that: [The song] Appears to have been first printed in 1894 in CARMINA PRINCETONIA. May be a derivative of an old Irish song: "I've been working on the Levee"

Who is Carmina Princetonia was what I needed to know and I was led here, to the Mudcat Cafe.

There is a God and God has a sense of humour. Of this I am sure.

Thank you all for this delightful meandering. Nearly one year later and the energy is still here to make someone like me laugh. Now what I want to know is this:

Why would someone work all the live long day (on a railroad, to boot) just to pass the time of day? A linear thinker, given to riveting, transcontinental thoughts? Further,what about misplaced commas? Like the book that's in bookstores at this writing (September 2004) Eats, Shoots and Leaves? Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah, someone's in the kitchen, I know? Or could it be someone I know is in the kitchen with Dinah? Fee-fie fiddle e i o would seem to seem to point the possibility of a giant who may have leapt in from Jack's little time with the beans and the cow, you know? (Comma intended.)

Sigh indeed.

Now I need to go look up Old Black Joe and see if I can figure out how to sing them together, alone, and then see what's up at the Levee. Maybe drive my Chevy there. It'd be faster and I could blow my horn, too ....

Now, if I could only remember what I sat down to write about.

=)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM

zerta fiabel, CARMINA PRINCETONIA is a songbook. Go to another thread linked to above (Date: 16 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM), where I posted the LEVEE SONG lyrics.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Sep 04 - 02:35 AM

Long Steel Rail, Cohen, 1981 p540.

"I've Been Working on the Railroad" is often followed directly by some other ditty - generally, "Some's in the Kitchen with Dinah," doubless suggested by the last line of the chorus. "Dinah, won't you blow your horn. "Fuld has discussed the sources of this song noting that the words with a different melody from the usual one were published under the title "Old Jow, or Somebody in the House with Dinah." about 1834-1845. The usual melody is probably a variation on "Goodnight Ladies." (8) The latter piece itself derives from an 1847 publication. "Farewell Ladies, " but the more usual form was first printed in 1867. (9)

8. Fuld, World-Famous Music, pp. 513-14.

9. Ibid p. 255.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Kay
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 06:30 PM

The song "Somebody's in de House wid Dinah" was evidently a minstrel show tune/skit. It appears in a banjo instructional book called "Phil Rice's Banjo Instructor", which was published in 1858. Phil Rice was a minstrel banjoist who worked the riverboat circuit and died in 1857, before the book was published.

The book has the song tune, the banjo accompaniment to go along with it, and dialogue to be spoken between verses of the song. The tune is not the same as the one I know, but it does have the same rhythm and a similar tune. The singer/speaker is suspicious that another man is in the house "making lub wid my Dinah." Since this is is an 1850's minstrel show skit, it has exaggerated dialect. Here are the three verses in the book (with some word substitution):

Oh, somebody's in de house wid Dinah,
Somebody in de house, I know,
Somebody's in de house wid Dinah,
A playin on de old Banjo.

I know dere's a fella in de house wid Dinah,
Dere's a fella in de house, I know,
If I cotch a fella in de house wid Dinah,
I'll knock him on de head wid dis Banjo.

Dere's a big ol' fella in de house wid Dinah,
Show me dat fella in de house, by Jo,
Bring me dat fella in de house wid Dinah,
I'll show him the size of my big toe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: masato sakurai
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 07:32 PM

"Old Joe" (with verse 2: "There's/Dere's some one in the/de house with Dinah") is at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads.

      old joe [title]


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD JOE (from Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM

A lot of speculation but little factual in the remarks about Dinah.
She appears in early minstrel songs, and had crossed to England probably about 1840. She appears there in several broadsides in the song "Old Joe," sung with some differences in the lyrics. I think that this is the one to whicn Masato referred. Note lines suggestive of "Old Dan Tucker," which seems to be older.

Lyr. Add: OLD JOE (1)

Old Joe sat at de garden gate,
He couldn't get in kase he'd com'd too late;
He up wid a stone and knock at de door:
"I wants to come in," says dis black Joe.
"Who's dere?" "Old Joe." "What de Joe?"
"Yes, de Joe"--
Old Joe kicking up behind and before,
De yaller gal kicking up behind old Joe.

"Dere's some one in de house wid Dinah,
Dere's some one in de house, I know;
Dere's some one in de house wid Dinah,
Playing on de old banjo."

Out come Dinah,--"What for you dere?"
"I want a gun to shoot dat *hare;"
"Come, old nigger, dat game won't do,
You'd better go home and mend your shoe"--
                      Old Joe, &c.

He came to town in shocking fright,
For he heard a noise, and he saw a fight;
Some boys were running up and down,
Shouting, "Old Joe is just come to town!"--
                      Old Joe, &c.

In come a nigger with a blue tail'd coat;
"Can you give me a change of a five pound note?"
"About your notes I do not know,
But I'll give you a note on the old banjo."--
                      Old Joe, &c.

* hare becomes bear or bare in other printings.
Bodleian Collection, Harding B11(4341). Printed between 1797 and 1834 by Walker, Durham. [My guess is about 1835-1840]. Printed on the same sheet with "Buffalo Gals" and "Ye Mariners of England." Obviously revised from American original to suit an English audience. Broadsides crossed the water as fast as sailing vessels could carry them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 08:43 PM

A somewhat different "Old Joe," sheet music dated 1847, at Levy Sheet Music Collection.
Chorus:
Ole Joe, Ole Joe, a kicking up a hind and a foe,
And a yellow Gal a kicking up a hind ole Joe,
Ole Joe a kicking up a hind and a foe;
And a yellow Gal a kicking up a hind ole Joe.

No mention of Dinah in this version printed by Firth and Hall, as sung by the Ethiopian Serenaders. Also another printing, 1848, in a group called The Dark Sett, "The Celebrated Negro Quadrilles...."


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD JOE (from Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 09:03 PM

Lyr. Add: OLD JOE (2)

Old Joe sat at the garden gate,
He couldn't get in for he was too late;
He up wid his foot and kicked wid his toe
I want to come in 'Cried ole black Joe.'
          Ole Joe, Ole Joe, Ole Joe.

Chorus:
Ole Joe kicking out a hind and a fore,
And a yellow girl kicking out a hind Ole Joe.

Out came Dianah what you doing dere,
I want your gun to shoot dat bear;
Stand back nigger, dat game won't do,
Joe got so wild dat he burst his shoe.
                Ole Joe, Ole Joe, Ole Joe etc.
Very early the next morn,
Joe went in the fields to hoe some corn;
He worked so hard that he got it done,
He finished all by the smash of the sun.
                Ole Joe, Ole Joe, etc.

The whiskey got in Joe's head,
He staggered and fell down under a shed;
He was taken home and put to bed,
In three months after poor Joe was dead.
                Ole Joe, Ole Joe, etc.

Sung by Mr. T. Dunn. Printed by J. Sharp, London, c. 1845. Johnson Ballads 1149, Bodleian Collection.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Kay
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM

The spoken dialogue that begins the Phil Rice version of "Somebody's in the House wid Dinah" also mentions Old Joe:
   DIALOGUE.
1st.--(Three or four loud raps at the door.) Who's dare?
2d. --Why, do'nt you know who I is, I's old Jo.
1st.--Why, is dat you Jo?
2d. --Why, yes, hurry up and let us in.
1st.--Now, go away. If you do'nt I'll throw a whole cellar full of hot taters right down your froat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Genie
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 09:27 PM

hmm... All these theories are very interesting -- and in some cases pretty funny, to boot!

But I'm still wondering if there's any credibility to what I had been told about "Dinah" -- namely, that "she" was the train and being "in the kitchen" with her meant being in the engine room putting coal into the firebox.

I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD

I've been working on the railroad
...
Just to pass the time away

Can't you hear the whistle blowing,
Rise up so early in the morn?
Can't you hear the captain shouting
"Dinah, blow your horn!"? [Sounds like a train to me.]

Dinah, won't you blow...
Dinah, won't you blow your horn

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah ... Strumming on the old banjo, and singing

Fie, fi, fiddly i o ,,,
Strumming on the old banjo.


I know it's hard to tend to the "kitchen" [firebox] this while playing the banjo -- which might account for all those banjo jokes §;-D -- but it really does make sense.

So have we definitively ruled out this theory of Dinah's identity?



BTW, as to "Dinah" being racist, wasn't it a pretty common "Biblical" name for girl children of born-again Christians, whether white or black? (Dinah was the sister of Joseph and the other 11 brothers who became the 12 tribes of Israel. Her story is one of great tragedy, intrigue, and treachery.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 11:02 PM

The information in this thread and the related ones makes it clear that the current version of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is made up of parts of at least two different songs. "Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah" predates the railroad part of the song and originally had nothing to do with trains. So I don't think there is any basis for thinking being in the kitchen with Dinah means putting coal in the firebox of a train.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Nov 04 - 12:36 AM

The song "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is best followed through threads 511, 32615 and 50253. It is much more recent than "Dinah," as previously noted.

50253: Posted here is the original song that was the basis for "I've Been Working on the Railroad," called the "Levee Song," from "Carmina Princetonia," 1894, (The Princeton Songbook), copyright Martin R. Dennis & Co. There is no evidence of the song before 1894 (Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail, p. 538-539) although Theodore Raph claimed that it occurred before that date. Levee, in about 1900, was often applied to almost any construction requiring laborers.
The full text is quoted by Masato. Dinah Levee Song

The 'horn' is the wake-up or go to work call for the workers. Why it is called Dinah is not known, although an unwelcome shrill blast might well be given a female name.

Thread 32615: Working on the Railroad: Working on the Railroad

Thread 511: Working ....: Working


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Nov 04 - 07:14 AM

Could word 'levee' be an old corrupted spelling of 'levy' taking into account the 'levy-ing' of labourers?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Nov 04 - 01:58 PM

The two principal dictonaries (OED and Webster's) provide two basic meanings; an assemblage of people (17th c.) and the building up of an embankment or the embankment itself (18th c.). The latter was extended to other constructions (in informal usage). The latter sometimes was spelt levy or levie.
There are slang usages I have run across that stretch these meanings. In the south I have heard an assemblage of workers, e. g. gathering for possible work on the docks, called a 'levee.'
Sometimes, out of their day's pay, the selected laborers had to pay a percentage- a 'levy'- to the gang boss who made the selections.

I don't think that levee is a correption of levy, but would illiterate laborers know the difference?
In other words, Foolestroupe may be right about a possible (slang) usage.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Miller
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 09:54 PM

It sounds sexual to me!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:07 AM

The reason it's hard to figure Dinah out is that the song is a medley, a combination of two different songs. In the first song, Dinah has something to do with the horn. In the second, she's in the kitchen, listening to a banjo. Could be the same person, or not.

When I was in grade school, our songbooks had similar medleys. They consisted of short, old songs artfully strung together. We enjoyed singing them, and I still remember them.

'I've been working on the railroad' first appeared in 'Carmina Princetonia." This means 'Songs of Princeton.' I picture some Princeton students putting on a revue and stringing these two songs together in order to make a more satisfying act.

The song linked above, about the Levee, is obviously a medley of that nature.

I also picture them cleaning it up. I bet the original was something like

    I been workin on the railroad,
    all the goldern day!

I mean, has the word 'livelong' ever occurred anywhere else? No. They made it up, probably to replace 'goddamn.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM

My stepfather's name was Levertt Bent but to all who knew him well, he was Levy. He came from Nova Scotian stock from the town of Bentville, home of the dwaft & the gaint.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 01:22 PM

leeneia is correct in that "I've Been Working..." is a put together song, or medley. Like Topsy, it jes' grew. This has been discussed by several writers.

"Someone's in de kitchen, ....strummin' on de ole banjo" was not in the "Levee Song" as published in "Carmina princetonia," but was cobbled in later (I have forgotten when or by whom, if known, perhaps mentioned in one of the threads).
We used to sing that verse with its own little chorus-

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
(or Rachel, in a common variant)
Someone's in the kitchen I know -o-o-ow
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Strummin' on the ole banjo.
Cho.
An' singin',
Fee, fi, fiddli-i-o
Fee, fi, fiddli-i-o-o-o
Fee, fi, fiddli-i-o
Strummin' on the old banjo.

More likely 'Gab-rel' blew the horn, not Dinah. This appears in versions including the "Eyes of Texas (1903)."
(Speculation- "The Eyes..." revision appeared in a University of Texas Cowboy minstrel show done in blackface. 'Dinah' and other obvious minstrel references may have been changed to Gabriel in later, printed editions)

leeneia makes a serious error regarding 'live-long'. This is still sung in "The Eyes of Texas;" it is common to and not foreign to the tongues of educated university students, although it might be to folk singers. (Harrumpff!)

It is fun (although not productive) to speculate about the minutiae of a song, more than likely the original composer(s) didn't think about them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:15 PM

Leeneia: "Livelong" goes back to the 15th century, and the OED's first citation of it is "Alle the lefe longe daye".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:53 PM

Well, that's twice in 450 years. I doubt if it was in the vocabulary of anybody who worked upon the railroad.

But it's not a biggie, that's for sure.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:53 AM

THE EYES OF TEXAS
"The eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live-long day.
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
You cannot get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn-
The eyes of Texas are upon you
'Till Gabriel blows his horn.

Sung by some 50,000 starry-eyed (all right, who's the bum who said spaced-out?) Texas fans each weekend during football season, and sung at other times when hoisting cool ones. One heck of a lot of live-longs!

Robert Burns- 1786, in his poem "Twa Dogs" -
Or lee-lang nights, wi crabbit leuks,
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks.
and in Mother's Lament-
So I, for my lost darling's sake,
Lament the live-long day.

Emerson in his poem -
Where arches green, the live-long day,
Echo the blackbird's roundelay.

In gardening books- Livelong, a common name for Sedum, and plants of the Antennaria complex.

Silbers' "Folksingers Wordbook," p. 103

(G)I've been workin' on the railroad,
(C)all the live-long day;
I've been workin' on the railroad,
just to (A7)pass the time (D7)away.
Don't you hear the whistle (G)blowin,
(C)rise up so early in the (B7)morn,
(C)Don't you hear the captain (G)shoutin':
(D7)Dinah, blow your (G)horn.

Now as to the song being sung by railroad workers-
"The opening couplet was collected from black railroad workers at Auburn, Alabama,..." (1915-1916), "the earliest evidence for the song's currency in oral tradition." See Norm Cohen, 1981, "Long Steel Rail," Univ. Illinois Press, p. 539.

The song was collected as folk in North Carolina; Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Vol. 5, The Music of the Folk Songs, pp. 146-148, with musical score. First two lines:
"I've been workin' on de railroad,
All de live-long day, ....
Anon. singer, no date or place.
(Dinah spelled as Dina)

Cowboys yowled it to the moon, to the disgust of nearby coyotes. Collected by Ellwood Adams and sent to John A. Lomax in the 1920s or earlier. Collected in Utah, sung by an old time plainsman, who said it was "just a few words of an old trail song that they used to sing in the Big Bend country of Texas in the 'cow days.'" (Lomax Papers; E. Adams, St. Louis, MO; quoted by Norm Cohen in "Long Steel Rail, p. 539-540).

I've been out upon the round-up
All the LIVE-LONG day;
I've been out a-punchin' cattle
Just to pass the time away;
Don't you hear the cattle lowing,
We get up so early in the morn;
Don't you hear the foreman calling,
"Cook-ee do blow your horn."

Fuld traces the kitchen verse to "Old Joe, or Somebody in the House with Dinah," published in the period 1835-48; The melody, a variant of "Goodnight Ladies," was first published 1847 as "Farewell Ladies," reaching final form in 1867. Quoted from Norm Cohen's discussion, p. 540. I haven't checked Fuld's references.

An important recording was by the Blankenship Family of North Carolina, sung as a vocal trio with accompaniment, 1931, Victor 23583.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:03 AM

J.E. Lighter (RHDOAmericanSlang) notes:

Dinah - short for dynamite.

Kitchen - RR the engineer's cab of a steam locamotive

Banjo - short handled shovel

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:34 PM

This was one of the "evergreen" campfire and schoolroom songs of all time in the U.S., at least through the early 1960's. I doubt many of us contemplated its origins as we sang it. What I do learn from this thread, though, is to be careful of simply asking the time from this crowd; you may well learn how to build a watch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM

It really doesn't matter how many copy-cat versions with "livelong" in them ya'll quote. "Livelong" sounds bowdlerized and I believe it was bowdlerized. You can sing "livelong" all you want, but I'm going with "goldern."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Kent Davis
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:14 PM

If someone has an older version with something other than "livelong day", I would like to see it.

Regarding the idea that "livelong" couldn't be the original word in the song ("I mean, has the word 'livelong' ever occurred anywhere else? No." and "Well, that's twice in 450 years" and "It really doesn't matter how many copy-cat versions with "livelong" in them ya'll quote."), consider the following:

From "Bold Robin Hood and the Three Squires" @displaysong.cfm?SongID=792

Go home, go home," said bold Robin Hood.
And weep no more to-day
And I will stand hangman this LIVELONG DAY
To hang the Squires all three."

From "Julius Ceasar" 1.1.38-40 (Shakespeare)

Marullus. Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The LIVELONG DAY, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.

From "I'm nobody. Who are you?" by Emily Dickenson

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the LIVELONG DAY
To an admiring bog!

From "The Child-Christ on the Cross"
By Henry Nutcombe Oxenham (1819–1888)
   
The LIVELONG night, the LIVELONG DAY,
My child, I travail for thy good,


From "The Leaves Are Turning Red" (1 Oct 1853)
Canzonet
Written by Henry C. Watson
Composed by William Vincent Wallace, 1812-1865.

No more the summer's fervent heat,
O'ertakes us on our way;
We roam at will with tireless feet,
Thro'out the LIVELONG DAY!
We roam at will with tireless feet,
Thro'out the LIVELONG DAY!

Kent


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:54 PM

The famous Civil War song, by John Ross Dix, "Here in Belle Isle's Dreary Prison," has the lines:

"Here in Belle Isle's rebel prison,
Pining through the livelong day,
I am dreaming sad and lonely
Of the dear ones far away:..."

The old ballad, "Little Jenny Dow":
She greets the blushing morn, like a dew-drop bright,
And carols through the livelong day;..."

The 19th c. minstrel song, "Dig, dig, dig, or Hush-a-bye Baby," which contributed the well-known chorus:

"But I dig, dig, dig, dig dig, a-dig
Dig all the liveling day,
The worst of all troubles, to a darkey is to dig,
Though he ain't troubled, much with the pay.
Chorus-
Hush-a-bye, baby, upon the tree-top,
When th wind blows, the cradle will rock;
When the bough bends, the cradle will fall--
Down comes rock-a-bye, cradle and all."

We all know the chorus, but the song is regarded as politically incorrect.

Mustn't forget the English ballads;
Doubtful Robin (Constant Johnny)

"Now the lovers are united,
Fast in wedlock's chains secure:
Happy as the livelong day
Often to each other say,Oh john my dearest,O Molly,
Now we part no more."

The musical for schools, "All the Livelong Day," has this bit of song near the beginning, sung by the Men:

"Just like the song say
All the livelong day
Everybody done know that song
Working for a living the whole day long
All the livelong day."

Time Magazine has used the caption "...All the Livelong Day" twice, at least, in articles about strikes on the railroads.

Anyone who has read "The Odyssey" by Homer, will remember the line "Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped on the beach."

Teaching music and literacy to children, there are "Music All the Livelong Day," by Eva Moravcik, and "Literacy All the Livelong Day,..." by Bowden (Kindergarten teaching and learning).

In Communication News, the article "Railroad System Employs Faxes that Work All the Livelong Day."

An article on dieting is titled: "Stop snacking all the livelong day."
An important study, "To Toil the Livelong Day, American Women at Work, 1780-1980."

It is obvious that LIVELONG LIVES!
(and in everyday use by everyone but Leeneia)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:57 PM

Minstrel song- livelong, not liveling.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DERE'S SOME ONE IN DE HOUSE WID DINAH
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 07:48 AM

These lyrics and tune are given in Davidson's Universal Melodist By George Henry Davidson (London: G. H. Davidson, 1853):


DERE'S SOME ONE IN DE HOUSE WID DINAH
As Sung by the Ethiopian Serenaders.

[First 4 verses essentially the same as the Bodleian version OLD JOE quoted by Q above at 12 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM.]

5. Ole Joe was a nice young man,
He used to ride ole dobbin Dan;
But he sent him spinning down de hill,
And I calculate he lies dere still.
                      Ole Joe, &c.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: olddude
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 02:32 PM

It about a train
Dinah is the Diner Car


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: olddude
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:55 PM

Heard old timers call the diner car dinah (for dynamite)
cause the food gave you the revenge.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,IM AWESOMES
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 06:56 PM

But! Who was actually in the kitchen with Dinah? Or is it someone we don't even know? And Dinah is not a freaking train! OMG! Trains are cool but Dinah is not one. Dinah gets love in the kitchen and I don't think trains can do such things. Dinah is an enslaved African American woman. Truth. Dinah is a train. False.

Also banjos are not frying pans and strumming does not equal frying good eats in the dinner car of the train that people seem to think is named Dinah.

Also I make wonderful sentences!

K

Thanks

Bye

Also Guten Tag! Das Walross ist dicklich!

The end

<3 im awesomes!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 07:37 PM

Ah! the richness of the Mudcat community.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:12 PM

Oy, so what do I do with THAT one?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Peace
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:19 PM

Decipher it and let us know, us know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:24 PM

Someone has been drinking the diesel fuel.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Peace
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:42 PM

It's NOT ok to yell
    "BUT!!!! WHO WAS ACTUALLY IN THE KITCHEN WITH DINAH? OR IS IT SOMEONE WE DON'T EVEN KNOW? AND DINAH IS NOT A FREAKING TRAIN!!!! OMG!!!! TRAINS ARE COOL BUT DINAH IS NOT ONE. DINAH GETS LOVE IN THE KITCHEN AND I DON'T THINK TRAINS CAN DO SUCH THINGS. DINAH IS AN ENSLAVED AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN. TRUTH. DINAH IS A TRAIN. FALSE.

    ALSO BANJOS ARE NOT FRYING PANS AND STRUMMING DOES NOT EQUAL FRYING GOOD EATS IN THE DINNER CAR OF THE TRAIN THAT PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK IS NAMED DINAH.

    ALSO I MAKE WONDERFUL SENTENCES!

    K

    THANKS

    BYE

    ALSO GUTEN TAG! DAS WALROSS IST DICKLICH!

    THE END

    <3 IM AWESOMES!!! "

in a crowded theatre.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 01:16 PM

das walross (walroß) ist dicklich! =the walrus is corpulent.

and everyone should know that dinah is where one puts on the nosebag.

joe,
come back from your lighthouse spotting; knock two heads together


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 04:12 PM

I, too, disbelieve the metaphorical interpretation.

"I've Been Workin' on the Railroad" is demonstrably the joining together into a medley of at least two songs.   "Levee Song" is a third, if you use that, in the old style, to introduce it. And if you use "Goodnight Ladies" to end it, as has been done by college singing groups for a century or so, that's four songs.

Medley. Not a single song. That more or less removes the need to think a banjo means a shovel, Dinah is the horn, the engine, the nearby cotton gin, the hotel downtown, or any of that. She's a real woman, and she's got a working role in the Dinah song, which (to repeat) is separate and not originally part of the Workin' on the Railroad song at all.

1.   It seems clear that Dinah is cooking in a real kitchen, perhaps a shanty kitchen near the track.

2. Seems plausible that she may be cooking for railroad workers.

3. She may very well be amorous, keeping company with somebody who's hanging around the kitchen, and that's slowing up the meal, which is why the horn is late in blowing.

4. The horn she blows is the well-known dinner horn, not unlike a foghorn on a ship, audible at a considerable distance. When she blows it, dinner's ready. Or lunch. Or breakfast. Till she blows it, it ain't.

Gosh, Dinah seems complex enough without turning her into something industrial. Bet she wouldn't have stood for it if she could post a reply here.

I can't think of much good to say for medleys. They disrespect the songs they contain, which ought to be worthy of singing entire, or why were they songs in the first place. And when people forget their origins and tend to think they are a single song, confusion results ... as above.

End of rant, grrr grrr.

All hail to Dinah. And to that song about her, which I wish we knew more of.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 04:35 PM

Oh yes, and as to the imputation of racism re Dinah —

To say the name is associated with black women is only part of the truth. Fact is, Dinah, rare now, was a common name in bygone days (uh, 20th century) for both white and black.

When the very white Frances Rose Shore took the stage name Dinah. it certainly didn't hurt her marketability in any part of America. She became a wildly popular singer, one of the few former band warblers ever to headline her own TV show.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Old Joe (minstrel)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:37 PM


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Old Joe (minstrel)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:42 PM

Lyr. Add: Old Joe
c. 1834

Ole Joe sat at the garden-gate,
He couldn/t get in, for it was too late;
He up wid him foot, and kick'd wid him toe;
"I want to come in," cried Ole black Joe.
"Who's dere?"- "Ole Joe?" - "What de Joe?"
"Yes, de Joe- Ole Joe, kicking up behind and before,
The yellow girl kicking up behind Ole Joe."

[Chorus, after each verse]
There's some one in de house wid Dinah,
There's some one in de house, I know;
There's some one in de house wid Dinah,
Playing on de ole banjo.

Out came Dinah.- "What you doing dere?"
"I want your gun to shoot dat bear."
"Stand back, nigger, dat game won't do."
Joe got so wild, dat he burst his shoe.

Now early de next morn-
Joe went in de fields to hoe some corn;
He worked so hard that he got it done.
He finished all by de smash of de sun.

The whisky got in Joe's head
He staggered and fell down under a shed,
He was taken home and put to bed,
In three months after, poor Ole Joe was dead.

Dinah definitely a person.
One of several versions in the Bodleian Collection, the earliest with a closing date of 1834.
This seems to be a reworked version, put together from earlier songs/versions.
Ole (Old) Joe, Harkness, Preston;
Harding B11(2755); c. 1840-1866.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Dere's Some One in de House Wid Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 09:33 PM

Lyr. Add: Dere's Some One in de House Wid Dinah

Ole Joe came to de garden gate,
He couldn't get in kase he com'd too late;
So he knocked at de door a terrible low,
I wants to come in says this black Joe.

[Chorus after each verse]
Who's dere? Ole Joe.
What de Joe! yes, de Joe,
Ole Joe kickin' up behin' an before,
De yaller Gal kickin' up behind Ole Joe.

Dere's someone in de house wid Dinah,
Dere's some one in de house, I know,
Dere's some one in de house wid Dinah
Playing on de ole banjo.

Den Dinah soon cum to de door,
Now what you want? for I tell you afore
You may put on him longtail blue an go,
I'll hab noting more to do wid you, Ole Joe.

I know an Ole Nig what am taller than you,
For to get up up de church to tie him shoe;
I nebber in my life knew dat you did so,
So don't yu come anigh me, Ole Black Joe!

I'd run a hundred miles, a berry long way,
To see you Dinah an at your feet to lay,
Him heart and him money, for him rich you know,
Says Dinah, what I care! be off Ole Joe!

Oh berry bell, Miss Dinah! if dat be all,
I'll marry some nice Yaller Gal, I will next fall,
But if I cotch de Nigger that cause dis woe,
I'll make him feel de arm of Ole Black Joe.

Dinah more in evidence in this version, but it still seems cobbled together.
J. Forth (Pocklington), no date, Harding B20(295), Bodleian Collection.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,rusty
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 03:08 PM

The song comes to me from somewhere in my past, I have no recollection but after the fe fi stuff I remember this.
She's my
one black
two black
shoe shine
shoe black
chocolate to the bone
if you see that gal
comin'
down the street
better leave that gal alone
she's got eyes like diamonds
teeth like pearls
guys don't cha mess
with that girl
she's my
one black
two black
shoe shine
shoe black
chocolate to the bone


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Andrea
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 02:53 PM

Dinah has a modern meaning for my family. We grew up singing the song at various family situations, but after we got a whistling teapot, we refer to Dinah as our teapot. "Go put Dinah on." means to put the teakettle on the stove to heat up. We sing the "someone's in the kitchen with Dinah...." as a reference to company. So........add this to your history lesson.

Things become fungible over enough time. Our early American History will soon become myth as in Robin Hood and Camelot levels if we don't educate and continue without being always so politically correct.

Here's something to banter about and speculate upon.....Origins of songs should not be bastardized. If only the early song masters and minstrels could have copyrights to what we carelessly toss about. Eenie, Meenie, Mynie, Moe, a phrase that was traded to "tiger by his toe" was switched to be politically correct. If the period it existed for is extinct, then maybe the song should be too or used only as in depth education for the history lessons on the developemet of the world. Clementine seems to have survived with better results. Go figure. Good luck. Is anyone researching this with the music departments of any university or corporate history libraries for journals by people like the Gershwin's or Copelands?

Think about it. Think about it. I would love to have the ORIGINAL words, unbastardized and notated as to meaning, too. So-where do we go for the truth???


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 06:00 PM

Somebody probably said this already, but 'I been working on the railroad' was a song sung at a musical revue at Princeton. It was probably a medley, produced by stitching together scraps of popular songs of the time.

When I was in the 7th and 8th grades (not in the same era as the Princeton boys, mind you) we had several such medleys in our songbooks, and we enjoyed them a lot. When my nieces were in grade school, they liked to hear me sing them.

I wonder if today's kids get to sing any medleys.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 08:26 AM

All this means, of course, that the Dinah who's in the kitchen has nothing to do with the Dinah who's supposed to blow her horn. Two different songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,Tizmarelda
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 02:30 PM

I have heard a story completely different from anything mentioned here. There is the song "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" and another, more boring song that we don't hear too often, called, "No one in the house but Dinah". These songs were used as codes during the Underground Railroad. If they heard "Someone's in the kitchen", they knew to stay hidden and not come out, because the house had people in it that may turn over the slaves. If they heard "No one in the house", then they knew it was safe to enter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 08:58 AM

The origins behind the song are sexual. Dinnah is actually a contraction of 'down there', 'the ole banjo' refers to the male sexual organs (as in Banjo string). 'In the kitchen' refers to the female genitalia. Hence over time the phrase 'somones in the kitchen going down there' has migrated to 'in the kitchen with Dinnah.'
See Herb Gusset's book 'folk lore songs and tails explained'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Dec 11 - 05:09 PM

It sounds like Herb Gusset's folklore is about as accurate as his spelling.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 07:34 PM

Yes I agree. Herb Gusset has not enjoyed popular acclaim and his spelling does in fact suck.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM

The song ties minstrelsy and mumming plays together. Mumming plays were held in people's kitchens and so were the original minstrel entertainments as Thomas Rice's "Clare de Kitchen" (1832) would demonstrate. So someone being in the kitchen with Dinah strumming a banjo is another reference. A black minstrel performer and writer named James Bland ("Golden Slippers") wrote a piece in 1880 called "Dancing on de Kitchen Floor." One verse goes:

Oh, the darkies all will have a jubilee
Such a gathering there never was before
Oh, happy everyone will be
As we dance upon the kitchen floor

There is an 1890 stereo-card called "Dancing in the Kitchen" showing five men—all in blackface, two dressed as women—singing and dancing in a kitchen. One man plays a banjo and the other, in suit and top hat, plays a fiddle. The fiddler is the only one seated.

In the Nast engraving below, we see Santa dancing with Mother Goose. We also see the cat with a fiddle, the little dog laughing, the cow jumping over the moon, the dish and spoon cavorting together but the whole thing is portrayed as a minstrel performance and appears to be going on a kitchen.

http://imagehost.vendio.com/preview/ha/haats/HW1880P1977.jpg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,matiainn
Date: 03 Dec 12 - 09:42 PM

Stop hack the program!!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 03:25 PM

Thanks for the information, Josepp. That was interesting.

In a more modern time, my brother's kids used to love to sing a song called "Singing in the Kitchen" while their daddy played guitar for them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:25 PM

You have obviously never heard of the bible story involving Dinah being raped by shechem, that someone in the kitchen is Shechem, and Dinah is getting her banjo strummed . . .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 05:26 PM

Wow! What an amazing and inventive thread!

Q the Bodl is not infallible when it comes to dates. We're working in on it currently. That 1834 date must be later. If it's Walker it's most likely printed by Walker Junior who was obviously printing later.

As those with greater knowledge than creative ability have said, this is a MINSTREL piece. Minstrel pieces were generally very basic and simple and rarely had any hidden meaning, although as someone has suggested it could easily have been adapted as an underground piece.

Also the enormous popularity of the Minstrel troupes from 1840 onwards meant that as soon as the current popstars brought out their latest piece, a multiplicity of adaptations hit the streets and the stage. It shouldn't be that difficult to find the earliest version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 05:49 PM

Anyone remember Mark Twain's comment on science--"I like Science . where else can you reap such a rich harvest of speculation from such a meagrer collection of facts?" (or words to thet effect---i'm quoting from memory)
Mr. Clemens obviously hadn't encountered folklore.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 07:38 PM

1. Alice-in-Wonderland's "Dinah" came from "Villikins and his Dinah" ("Villikins" as in Sam Weller's father's pronunciation) which was still in singbooks till the 1940s, but even in the colonies, "Dinah" did hve US-"coloured" overtones for some time. Wasn't the Bobbsey Twins' cook, who spoke in minstrelsy-diction right up to the end of the 1960s, caled that? (For thread drift: there is a Parsee [Zoroastrian] name" Dina", which in the interests of being whitened up mutated via "Dinah" to "Diana", asdid their "Rodah" into "Rhoda.]

2. A medley that still *looks* and *feels* like a medley is different in kind from something that started off as a medley, but then, consciously or by thoughtless association of similar diction/rhythm, became a homogenous unit (i.e. seen/thought to be such), despite any visible-upon-inspection fissures between parts (different "Dinahs" in consecutive sections). No?

3. If anyone is interested, there was an "Archie" comic in the 1960s in which the boys "working on the railroad" and singing the song, was depicted as them playing with a toy railway.

[4. If any expert on black-and-white minstrel images can give me pointers to illustrations, US or UK, which specifically resemble those in the work of Helen Bannerman, I would be most grateful, but pls PM me. I do not want to muddy this thread or introduce non-music into it.]

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,gilgamesh
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 12:42 AM

it refers to the biblical story of Dinah being raped in the kitchen. the old banjo is a reference to the male genitals. 'the horn' in Shakespeare's time is a reference to the penis. 'to fiddle' is a reference to masturbation, as in 'Nero fiddled while Rome burned'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,lemme a. dollah
Date: 06 Oct 16 - 11:55 AM

I know the old joe parts by a diffeant tune. I hate to say it but also thought there may be a hidden story there. Wanna get a Gun (phalic) and go shoot a Bear (furry). " says she old joe that game wont do. Joe got mad he busted his shoe. " Then Joe goes home where " his old wife laughed and childrens grinned. to see old joe come back again"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: GUEST,TaxHack
Date: 13 Mar 17 - 01:08 AM

Read all this looking for lyrics that ended with
Plink plank plinketty plank plunk (instead of fee, if...)
This is how my mom learned the song in school in the 30's


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Subject: RE: Origins: Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Mar 17 - 01:40 PM

Save time, TaxHack. Hit Ctrl+F, put "plink" in the box that appears, and your computer will tell you if the word occurs in the thread or not.

I can see how a teacher could use this technique to entertain the kids and teach about instruments. Have them imitate a violinist and sing "fee fi, diddley." Then play a banjo with "plink plank". Then a flute with "tweet, tweet." And so on till the final bell rings.


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