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Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant

DigiTrad:
IF A LADY'S WEARIN' PANTALOONS
I'LL TELL YOU WHERE THEY ARE
JODY CHANT (SOUND OFF 2)
JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE MOTHER 2
SOUND OFF (CADENCE COUNT) (DUCKWORTH CHANT)


Related threads:
Songs You Learned in the Service? (95)
Marching song/Cadence Count (92)
Lyr Req: Reveille (14)
Lyr Req: Airborne Ranger Song (US Army 82nd) (71)
Cadence or Marching Songs (148)
Folklore: jodies (8)
Military Jodies? (141)
jodies/cadences, especially non-us cadence calls (20)
Counting Cadence... (31)


Azizi 28 Sep 04 - 09:05 AM
Joe Offer 28 Sep 04 - 12:46 PM
Joe Offer 29 Sep 04 - 02:50 AM
Azizi 29 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM
Joe_F 29 Sep 04 - 06:56 PM
PoppaGator 29 Sep 04 - 07:08 PM
artbrooks 29 Sep 04 - 07:37 PM
Azizi 29 Sep 04 - 10:34 PM
Bert 30 Sep 04 - 12:23 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 04 - 10:32 PM
artbrooks 30 Sep 04 - 10:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM
Azizi 01 Oct 04 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Jay 29 Dec 04 - 04:23 PM
NH Dave 30 Dec 04 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Dec 04 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Dec 04 - 09:42 PM
The Walrus 31 Dec 04 - 05:37 AM
Azizi 31 Dec 04 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Ray Ray 19 Apr 05 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Lighter 19 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Apr 05 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,NicoleJvon 20 Mar 07 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,NicoleJvon 20 Mar 07 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,GUEST meganSCHUM 01 Jun 07 - 04:36 PM
Azizi 23 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM
Alice 23 Jun 07 - 08:57 PM
Azizi 23 Jun 07 - 09:27 PM
EuGene 24 Jun 07 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,Rumncoke 24 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,stacey rowson welsh wing air ca 03 Sep 07 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Ron 13 Nov 07 - 07:30 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 07 - 12:53 PM
Azizi 29 Nov 07 - 02:00 PM
Barry Finn 29 Nov 07 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,Gunny Burdue 05 Dec 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,frank from ny 18 Dec 07 - 02:14 AM
GUEST 21 Feb 08 - 10:40 PM
Azizi 21 Feb 08 - 11:37 PM
Azizi 21 Feb 08 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,Brogan 03 Jul 08 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Cadet Hamilton JROTC. 20 Oct 08 - 07:46 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 10 - 10:05 PM
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Subject: Jody's children
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Sep 04 - 09:05 AM

Yesterday after reading an old thread on Jody military cadence chants, I realized that I had to expand my research on the origins and meanings of African American children's hand clap rhymes and foot stomping chants to include the influence of {sanitized?} army rhymes such as "Sound Off, 1,2 etc." This counting chant is found in several children's rhymes that I've collected. I've also collected two handclap rhymes from Pittsburgh, PA area that start with the rhyme "Mama Mama, can't you see/what that army's done to me". I would appreciate any help with the origin of that rhyme. I would also appreciate examples of any other children's rhymes {Black or otherwise} from the USA or elsewhere that reference the military or that may be influenced by Jody military chants. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Sep 04 - 12:46 PM

Interesting question, Azizi. When I was a kid in Detroit in the 1950's, we all knew "Sound Off" from the Vaughn Monroe record - but we sang it as close as we could to what we heard on the record.
I didn't really have any other contact with military cadence counts until Uncle Sam gave me an 8-week, all-expenses-paid seminar on the subject in 1970 [grin].
Seems to me that kids during WWII would have been more likely to have done this. Maybe some of our "better-seasoned" participants will have something to contribute.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 02:50 AM

This needs a refresh. There must be some kids who made up rhymes for cadence count. I guess we knew some "Bo Diddley" cadences, too. All I can remember is:
    Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, have you heard,
    We're gonna fly in a big iron bird
    If that iron bird don't fly
    Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, we're gonna die.
I think I heard that during the Vietnam war, when I was a bit older.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM

Thanks Joe.

When I read this chant, I sing-songed it to the Hambone beat which I guess makes sense given Bo Diddley's use of the traditional Hambone {pattin Juba} beat.

Yesterday I went to an ice cream party that my daughter held for her 2nd grade class. After we had eaten, I asked the children did they know any cheers or rhymes. Some girls in the class responded by doing cheerleader cheers and some of the boys showed off their dancing ability}. Then I asked the class if they knew specific rhymes. One of the rhymes that I asked about was "Mama,Mama Can't You See". Two girls {7 & 8 years old) performed a semi-competitive handclap rhyme while they chanted these words in unison:
    Mama Mama can't you see
    What the army's done to me
    He took away my MTV
    He made me watch Barney
    Tic Tac Toe
    Three in a row
    Your mama got killed my GI Joe
    Don't stop till your hands get hot
    Don't stop till your hands get red.

The girls then did a fast hand slapping routine. The girl who did the routine with the wrong motion, or moved her hand back {presumably because the slap hurt) was "out" and the other one "won", although the girls didn't say "Winner!" or "Gotcha!".

In the two other versions that I had collected of "Mama Mama Can't you see", the girls said "Barney got killed by GI Joe". But, at least with these two girls, that line was changed to "your mama.." I asked them to slowly repeat the words so I could make sure that I had gotten them right". As you know, "ya mama" insults are a central part of The Dozens.., but here they were just part of the chant, and not used to test someone's cool.

I still would love to know if "Mama Mama can't you see" is {or was}part of the US army's Jody military chants.

On another note, I remember singing this song as a child in Atlantic City, New Jersey:
    You're in the army now.
    You're not behind a plow.
    You'll never get rich
    by digging a ditch
    You're in the army now.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Is it from an army chant?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Joe_F
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 06:56 PM

Azizi: We had "You're in the army now" in southern California during W.W. II. My impression was that it was a real army song, and that the real fourth line was "You son of a bitch".


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 07:08 PM

I'm sure I've heard the song "You're in the Army Now" in at least one Hollywood movie. I'll bet it is copyrighted, with a known composer and lyricist, etc.

I have learned from links found within earlier threads on this subject that cadence chants were introduced to the US Army in the mid-20th-century by a particular African-American unit, whose leader's name is known and remembered for this unique contribution. (I was surprised -- I'd have thought the origins would have been more obscure and further in the past.)

By "mid-20th-century," I mean that I can't remember exactly when, whether it was sortly before or during WWII. But not that long ago!

Has anyone considered that the children's songs might not come from the "Jodies," but the other way around? That is, that the black soldiers who introduced the practice of cadence-singing might have adapted play-party songs from their own childhood?


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: artbrooks
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 07:37 PM

I can't remember ever hearing Mama Mama can't you see, but Airborne, Airborne have you heard was certainly a familiar running cadence call in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for sharing your memories.

I just realized that I had a "family" resource in my ex husband, Wade. Wade was in the Army {Vietnam} and is in the National Guard (Air force). He said that the words "Mama, mama can't you see" were used in cadences, although he couldn't really remember the rest of the words. Wade said that the words were often changed to reflect the division you were in.. so I guess "Airborne, Airborne" fits this pattern.

Artbrooks, do you remember anymore words to "Airborne, airborne have you heard"?

By the way, Wade also said that he doesn't recall these chants being called "Jodies", though he does remember "AIn't no use in goin home/Jody's got your girl and gone". He said that the chants were just called "cadences".

Re: "You're in the army now". Thanks for the info that it was chanted in World War II and in at least one movie. It wouldn't surprise me if that song and even "Sound off" were copyrighted... .

As to United States military cadences originating in African American {and other?}play songs...maybe...But, in addition to African American drill sargents, squad leaders etc, I would also suggest these other African/African American sources: traditional West African/Central African call & response chants "sung" during religious processionals, African America work songs; Kunnering {John Canoe} processionals; New Orleans Wild Indian chants; Joe D. Grinder songs & "rips". I also think that post Civil War African American mutual aid associations & Black secret societies and their youth & adult parade/drill groups were important incubators for the style if not for the actual cadences.

For instance, the Elks were known to have some of the best youth drill teams. In the mid 1950s or so, the Elks had a number of conventions in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At least for me, the best thing about their conventions was the different drill teams doin their thing as they paraded down Atlantic Avenue. Exciting!

But, now that I think of it, did they chant??? I can't remember.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Bert
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 12:23 AM

Hmmm, when I was a kid in WWII. we sang (or more accurately chanted)...

In 1944 the soldiers went to war
they used their bums instead of guns
in 1944.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 10:32 PM

I remember seeing a 'Jody' drill team at Fort Sam Houston in the 1940s. I don't remember if it was called that, but I think it was. The earliest reference to Jody that I can find is from 1944: A. Lyon, "Unknown Station 28
Ain't no use in going home,
Joady's got your girl and gone.
Gonna get a three-day pass,
Just to kick old Joady's ass."
Subsequent references (Beecher, i945, etc.), spell it Jody.
From J. E. Lighter, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang," vol. 2. Jody is the mythical character who takes care of the wives of men away on military service. Himes, 1945 in "If he hollers," spoke disparagingly of a "black jodie in his fine jodie clothes."

The team we saw was not from there, but was brought in from another base, possibly Ft. Benning. It seems to me (a long time ago, my memory is uncertain)) that this black drill team performed all over the country. At the time, the forces were not integrated. (Tried on google; nothing before 1950 found).

The History Channel.com has some Jody cadences: http://boards.historychannel.com/threadedout.jsp?forum=89&thread=300018494

It does seem likely that the "Mama" cadence chants came from a children's rhyme, but no firm evidence.
Here is a "Mama, mama, can't you see" from the USMC; submitted by HM3 Rembert, ER:
Mama, Mama, can't you see,
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to drive a Cadillac,
Now I wear a cammy pack.

Mama, mama, can't you see,
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to go outdoors to play,
Now I'm humpin' every day.

Mama, mama, can't you see
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to ride my cousin's hog,
And now, I'm just a DEVIL DOG.

Mama, mama, can't you see,
What the Corps has done to me,
Cammies pressed and boots are clean,
Cause I'm a U. S. MARINE!

Put me in a barber chair,
And they shaved off all my hair.

Put me in a silver jet,
The ground was cold, the air was wet.

Took away my faded jeans
Now I'm wearing cammie green.

This and more jodies at Special Operations.com: Jodies
Click on USMS and USAF, the USA and USN sites are under construction.

Here is an advisory about a 'run' at Fort Bliss; cadences permitted, but they must be from the "Air Defense Artillery Jody Cadence Book."
The jodies seem to be alive and well. Fort Bliss Post Run

I couldn't find anything on the history of Jody teams, WW2. Perhaps in these volumes:

Johnson, Sandee Shaffer, ed: Cadences: The Jody Call Book No. 1, Canton, Ohio, Daring 1983, 152 pp.
---"--- Cadences: The Jody call Book No. 2, Canton, Ohio, Daring, 1986, 153 pp.
The US Army Infantry Center, Ft. Benning, GA, has a booklet: Jody Calls, 1984, 46 pp.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: artbrooks
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 10:42 PM

As best as I can recall it:

Airborne, airborne, have you heard?
We're going to jump from the big iron [pronounced 'arn'] bird.

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door.
Jump right out and count to four.

If my main [parachute] don't open wide
I got me another one by my side.

If my reserve [RE'serve] fails me too,
Then look out boys, I'm a'comin' thru.

If I die on the old drop zone,
Then box me up and ship me home.

Pin my wings [insignia of a parachutist] upon my chest
And bury me in the leaning rest [the pushup position].


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM

Several Air Force jodies at the Special Operations site that I linked.
A "Mama" chant is there.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Oct 04 - 11:00 AM

Thanks for the invaluable research/information that is being posted here..

I've discovered that trying to trace origins of African American children's rhymes can lead down some interesting, unexpected paths.

For instance, I have found several children's chants that include the line "If you see me just step aside". As an example, a Houston, Texas version of the handclap rhyme "Hollywood Rock Swingin" {Michels & White "Apples on A Stick: The Folklore of Black Children":New York, Coward McCann, 1983} has the line "So if you see me step aside/cause mighty Aniesha don't take no jive"

One of the military cadences that I read from the link provided above by Q also includes a "step aside" line. This cadence entitled "Barkin" is also interesting because one of the African American Greek letter university fraternities,Omega Psi Phi{whose members are coincidentally known as "Qs"}originated from a ROTC group. The Qs often perform in step shows {syncopated group routines that emphasize bass sounding foot stomps and body pats, and also includes chanting}in army fatigue pants and black army boots. Also the fraternity's members are called Q Dogs {"dog" here being a positive reference} and their call is a distintive dog's bark. Of course, this may have nothing to do with the military cadence "Barkin" . But then it might.

Here's the words to the Barkin running cadence as found on the website referenced in Mudcatter Q's post that was submitted by LCPL BRYCE LAWRENCE

1 Barkin' on the left foot (*1 Marine calling cadence)

2 "ROOF ROOF" (*2 Platoon is barkin)

1 Motivatied left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 What's that comin down the street

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Sounds like DEVILDOGS ready to eat

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 If you see us, step aside

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 If you don't we'll eat you alive

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Barkin' on the left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

1 Motivatied left foot

2 "ROOF ROOF"

---
Also, regarding the Hollywood Rock Swingin rhyme I mentioned above: there are a number of "Hollywood Swingin" children's rhymes. The title and first lines are lifted from the 1978 Kool & The Gang hit R&B record "Hollywood Swingin". But there is a line in most of the chants that says "If you see me walkin down the street, you better speak". This is taken from the classic R&B record "Cool Jerk", reflecting the mutiple sources for these rhymes.

Also it occurs to me that military cadences could be one source of the "Get Out of the Way" children's chants that I have collected. For instance, one rhyme chant from Indianapolis in the late 1970s, early 1980s is performed by the girls linking arms, walking down the street, and chanting

Hey Hey
Get out of the way.
I just got back to the USA.
--
I thought this rhyme might be related to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Wild Indians {African American groups}who perform call & response chants while parading down the street in colorful feathered and intricately beaded outfits. One of their chant is "Get The Hell The Way". I've never seen the Wild Indian groups do their thing, but I bet they met what they said.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Jay
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 04:23 PM

wow this is an awsome website, i love the military and there chants. Thanks.......


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: NH Dave
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 02:33 AM

Another use for chants of this type is in the military version of Hank Snow's song, Movin' On, which first got adapted during the Korean war with various references to events of the day.

Verses like,

The old tom cat was feelin'mean
When he caught his tail in a sewing machine.

He's movin's on
He'll soon be gone

mutated to . .

Charley chink Commin' through the pass,
Playin' burp-gun boogie on I Corp's ass,

They're movin's on
They'll soon be gone

This referred to I Corps disasterous retreat back down the Korea penninsula after the entry of the Red Chinese Army into the war, ca 1950-51.

Other similar versions had . .

Mama San comin' down the track
Tits hangin's out and kid on her back

Or . .

The pitter patter of little feet
The First Cav's in full retreat

Later on we had verses like,

C-130 runnin' on the strip
Airborne goin' on a one-way trip

   which referred to the fact that many Airborne Infantry personnel jumps were made from C-130's, while the larger aircraft dropped the tanks and and heavy equipment they would need on the ground. Songs of the Viet Nam War, by Les Cleveland has other verses and songs that were current back then.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 09:34 PM

Phillipine Islands

Circa 1956

Hey! Hey! Get out of my way!
I just got back from the U. S. A.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 09:42 PM

NICE THREAD Azizi



Sincerely,

Gargoyle




When there are threads .... digging ..... (and sometimes deep) for classical NORTH-AMERICAN traditions PLEASE - Joe/Max/Sue/ create a web-page where the genius of Dick can meld the the lyrics/melodies into something that surpasses Child's. It IS here...for those that can hear.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: The Walrus
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 05:37 AM

Azizi,

Sorry for so late a response, but I've been away from the site for a while.

"You're in the army now.
You're not behind a plow.
You'll never get rich
by digging a ditch
You're in the army now."

As has been stated by Joe_F, the fourth line is more often quoted as "You son-of-a-bitch" (presumably you heard the bowdlerised vesion).

While, as PoppaGator says, the song may have appeared in a Hollywood film of the WWII period, a version also appears amongst the 'dialog panels' of King Vidor's silent masterpiece "The Big Parade" (in the version I saw, the musical accompanyment actually made reference to the familiar tune to the above - whether this was a 'back reference' or not, I can't say).

Walrus.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 09:44 AM

Thanks to all for your examples, comments, and links.

I've been interested in the origins of children's rhymes for some time and never thought that military cadences could be a source for these rhymes. Neither did I think that spirituals such as "Aint Gonna Grieve, My Lord, No More" could be a source for these rhymes.

I had found that contemporary children's rhymes use lines from Mother Goose rhymes, other children's rhymes, cheerleader cheers,
TV/radio commercial jingles and script lines, commercial product jingles {like McDonald's "You deserve a break today..", signature phrases from TV characters; Mardi Gras Wild Indian chants, and titles and lines from recorded dance music, particularly R&B and hip hop.

Thanks to Mudcat posts, I now include military cadences and spirituals to that list of sources for children's rhymes. Since I hadn't previously studied military cadences, I also wasn't aware of how many of the lines from those chants were "inspired" by spirituals and children's rhymes.

As a result of reading the Mudcat threads on "Jodies" and reading additional examples of these chants on other websites, it seems to me that similar to children's rhymes, the anonymous composers of military cadences appear to be be alert to any source that can be used to make up their chants.

My thanks to you all for helping me to broaden my horizons, in more way than one!

Happy New Year!
Azizi


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Ray Ray
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 01:09 PM

Hey I love this site its awesome I'm in Rotc its cool and fun we go on alot of trips such as walk wall trips and VMI


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM

"You're in the Army Now" was a popular refrain among World War I doughboys. The "SOB" version was standard.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 10:49 PM

Left my gal in Pasadean
(Pasadena CA)

With sixteen kids and a bag of beans
I left - you're right!
I left
Left
Left

Now if you come too near that house
You could smell the farts flying in and out
So I left - you're right!
I left
Left - you're right
I left.

circa 1960

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,NicoleJvon
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 04:11 PM

Mama, Mama, Can't You See,
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to drive a Cadillac,
Now I where a cammy pack,

Mama, Mama, Can't You See,
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to go outdoors to play,
Now, I'm humpin' every day,

Mama, Mama, Can't You See,
What the Corps has done to me,
I used to ride my cousin's hog,
And now, I'm just a DEVIL DOG,

Mama, Mama, Can't You See,
What the Corps has done to me,
Cammies pressed and boots are clean,
'Cause I'm a U.S. MARINE!!!!!!!!!

Put me in a barber chair,
And they shaved off all my hair.

Put me on a silver jet,
The ground was cold, the air was wet.

Took away my faded jeans
Now I'm wearing cammie green.

Momma, momma, don't you cry
two hundred thousand if I die


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,NicoleJvon
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 04:12 PM

Mama Mama Can't you see...

Mama Mama Can't you see,

what this corps had done to me.

Put me in a barber's chair,

Snip - n - Snap and I had no hair

And if I die in a combat zone

Box me up and ship me home

Put my in a set dress blues

Comb my hair and shine my shoes

Pin my medals upon my chest

Tell my Mama I did my best

My Mama don't you cry

Marine Corps motto is 'Do or Die'


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,GUEST meganSCHUM
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 04:36 PM

didn't know but it's been said
(didn't know but it's been said)
bein an officer is such a dread
(bein an officer is such a dread)
Hoo-rah!
(Hoo-rah!)
HA HA!
(HA HA!)
i got a B in ROTC
(i got a B in ROTC)
but in algebra it was a C
but in algebra it was a C
Hoo-rah!
(Hoo-rah!)
HA HA!
(HA HA!)
R-O!
(R-O!)
T-C!
(T-C!)


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM

"Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" is a children's foot stomping cheer* that I first observed African American girls do in 1997 {Pittsburgh, PA area}.

Judging from the number of examples that I've received on my website Cocojams ,
"Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" now appears to be a fairly widely known cheerleader cheer. Apparently, "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" is also often performed as a handclap rhyme, especially when its words are combined with a very popular rhyme "Brick Wall Water Fall" which was popularized and spread world wide by the 2003 movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star .

The basic words to the "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" foot stomping cheer are:

Group:
Bang, Bang Choo Choo Train.
Watch Indonesia do her thang.
Soloist #1:
I can't.
Group:
Why not?
Soloist #1:
I can't.
Group:
Why not?
Soloist #1:
Because my back is achin.
{And} My bra's too tight.
My hips keep movin' from the left to the right
Group:
Her back is achin.
Her bra's too tight.
Her hips keep movin from the left to the right.

{repeat the entire cheer with the next soloist who says her name or nickname. Continue with this pattern until everyone has had one turn as soloist}
-African American girls ages 7-12 years old, Duquesne, Pennsylvania; 10/1997; Alafia Children's Ensemble {children's after-school program}; collected by Azizi Powell

Note: "train" is pronounced like "trahn" to rhyme with "thang" {which is the hip-hop pronunciation for "thing"}.

-snip-

I've been trying to find source material for this cheer since 1997. I'm guessing that the "Bang Bang" part originally came from the adult rhyme "Bang Bang Lulu" @displaysong.cfm?SongID=477 . But where did the "booty shakin from the left to the right" part come from?

[I should interject here that my ten years informal research of children's rhymes & cheers-particulary those rhymes and cheers done among African American children/youth-has led me to conclude that contemporary children's rhymes and cheers aren't created from thin air. Children, teenagers {or somebody} usually combine fragments of material from various sources to make up children's rhymes & cheers. Many children's rhymes & cheers include lines from R&B songs, Pop songs and well as other musical genres, other children's rhymes {though not generally Mother Goose rhymes}, television commercials, tv character's lines, cheerleader cheers,etc etc etc.]

So it was with a great deal of interest that I read an example that Mducat member EuGene posted on 23 Jun 07 - 04:29 PM in this thead:

thread.cfm?threadid=2915&messages=92#2085062 "RE: Military Jodies?"

Two lines of that example "sound" a lot like lines from "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train". Those lines are:

"Your pants pulled up, your belt's pulled tight,
Your balls are swingin from left to right."
-snip-

In response to another poster's query, EuGene indicated that he was "in the Army going through Basic and AIT in 1966 - 1967".

Thanks for posting that example, EuGene!

More research is needed to determine which came first-the children's cheer or the lines from the military jodie. But if I were a betting person-which I'm not-my money would be put on children picking up these lines from the military jody [chanted by someone who was in the military]. My guess is that after hearing those lines some child or teenager took them up for their own rhythmic use/s.

Since cheerleader cheers, foot stomping cheers, and handclap rhymes are mostly performed by girls, it makes sense that "your belt's too tight" would be changed to "my bra's too tight" {or "my skirt's too tight"}.

Also, since these cheers/rhymes are mostly performed by girls it stands to reason that "my balls swingin from left to right" would be changed to "my hip's shakin from left to right". Nowadays, it appears that that line is more often given as "my booty's shakin from left to the right" or "my butt's shakin from the left to the right." "Booty" or "butt" may have been the words that the girls really said in 1997, but they changed that word to "hips" when they recited in front of me and other adults, including some of their parents/guardians. Maybe we got the "clean" version...But maybe not. Maybe "hips" was the word that they always used. After all, they didn't mind saying "my bra's too tight" in front of their parents-and in front of the boys and men who were also present at that rehearsal...

I didn't think to ask whether they said any other word except "hips" and-unfortunately-I've lost touch with all of those girls.

However, though I'm sure that children and youth may not care about this, it seems to me to be little doubt that military chants {jodies} are another source of lines for children's rhymes & cheers.

* for more information on and examples of "foot stomping cheers", click Cocojams: Foot Stomping Cheers


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Alice
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 08:57 PM

interesting thread, good to see you again azizi


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:27 PM

Thanks, Alice.

It's good to be back and exchange information & conversation with friends from all around the world.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: EuGene
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 12:31 AM

Golly, I never though about our soldiers marching chants being picked up by kids for their chants, but it makes sense. A lot of Army brats living and going to school on many Army posts . . . they would very likely hear many of the chants that the soldiers yelled out as they marched around the post ("...Little pitchers have big ears." from "Sam Stone" by John Prine).

These same kids moved about often, generally attending many different schools, both on and off post schools, so the chants they overheard, and their own adaptations of same, could very easily have been spread throughout the country in short order.

Hmmm! Maybe the fluttering of a butterfly's wings in Podunk really does have an effect on the winds and weather pattern in Shanghai! Eu


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Rumncoke
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM

Same as the nursery rhyme Tom Tom the pipers son is probably derived from a verse and the chorus of over the hills and far away?


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,stacey rowson welsh wing air ca
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:18 PM

im in air cadets and our marching is starting to get boring our officers had a few lillte songs but could only remember half of them any ideas anybody
stacey rowson
14
welsh wing air cadets


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Ron
Date: 13 Nov 07 - 07:30 PM

Hey. Im in AFJROTC and we got beat by another flight in a jolie off. I need chants.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 12:53 PM

As a teaching assistant we have used the jody calls to get students to remember information for class. This is an example of one of the calls we made up as a class for history. This may sound dumb, but the kids really got into it.

Mama,mama, did you know
5 Allies were in the 2nd World War
United States, France & China
Soviet Union and Great Britain

We fought against dictatorship
To keep the government with people's consent
World War II lasted 6 long years
On August 9th we dropped the atomic bomb

Japan received a new constitution
East germany became watched by the Soviet Union
United Nations was formed for peace & security
The headquarters are in New York City


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for sharing that chant, Guest 29 Nov 07 - 12:53 PM.

I applaud your students and you for coming up with a creative way to learn and remember historical information.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 11:39 PM

From the prison work song "Jody"

Ain't no use in writing home
Ya, ya,
Ya, ya,
Jody got your girl an' gone
Ya, ya,
Ya, ya,

Ain't use use of you feeling blue
Ya, ya,
Ya, ya,
Jody got your sister too.

This was used as a cross cutting song. John Lomax collected from Irvin Lowery of Gould, Arkansas "Joe The Grinder", whose's also known in African-American folklore as "Jody" & "Jody the Grinder".
It's recorded on 'Afro-American, Blues & Songs' AAFS L-14

Barry


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Gunny Burdue
Date: 05 Dec 07 - 03:54 PM

i need to know the lyrics to "Napalm sticks to Kids" the original rude and crude vershin


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,frank from ny
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 02:14 AM

i remember a song girls would sing more than the guys..in the polo grounds projects 155th 8th ave.. a group of girls singing it loud walking from school everyday from ps 156 i think it was..it went
youre left
youre left
your left right left
my ass is shakin
my belts too tight
my balls are shakin from left to right
umm funky nassau
umm funky nassau
your momma
your poppa
youre greasy nanny
youre awful nanny
you toot and toot ?
dont prostitute
dont try to switch
you dirty bitch
no hesitation
no revelation
just go to hell
and ring my bell

it was 1970 I remember, another one was

judy
you make my heart fine
you make a stink down the bowl
you make it easy greasy baby judy
my heart will testify
her ass is bigger than
that shit is funky baby
5 10 15 balls
my dick got stuck in the bathroom door
the shit turned green
my mother screamed
thats the end of my ding a ling ling

where that came from is anyones guess, though earlier song had a reference to funky nassau which was an r and b hit sometime 1970, maybe 1971...anyway, i have no clue why those chants are still fresh in my head!!


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:40 PM

i was walkin down the hall
scratchin my balls
when my dick got stuck in the elevator door
my dick turned green
and my sister screamed
thats the end of my ding a ling!!


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 11:37 PM

The first example that GUEST,frank from ny posted on 18 Dec 07 - 02:14 AM is quite similar to the Bang Bang Choo Choo Train rhyme/cheer that I've collected from a number of African American girls, ages 6-13 years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1999-2006. Bang Bang Choo Choo Train appears to be pretty widely known, judging by the number of different versions of this rhyme that have been sent to my website, www.cocojams.com.

Here's one example of this rhyme:

Bang Bang Choo Choo Train
Here's something you might find amusing. I learned it in 2nd grade. I'm 11 now in the 6th grade. Bang Bang choo choo train come on baby do that thang I can't. Why not? I can't. Why not? My back is aching, My bra's too tight, My booty's shaking to the right to the left left to the right
-Bianca; 10/28/2006
http://www.cocojams.com/cheerleader_cheers.htm

-snip-

Compare the "My back is aching, My bra's too tight, My booty's shaking to the right to the left left to the right" lines with these lines from Guest frank from ny's example:
"youre left
youre left
your left right left
my ass is shakin
my belts too tight
my balls are shakin from left to right"

-snip-

Btw, I wonder if that first rhyme that frank from ny sent in {and the 2nd rhyme} are really cadence chants. It's easy to see frank from ny's example-let's title it "You're Left, Right, Left" could have come from an adult cadence. Perhaps that cadence was the Duckworth chant, and perhaps it was some other cadence, or more than one adult military cadence. Frank from ny wrote that "a group of girls [would] sing[ing] it loud walking from school everyday from ps 156". frank from ny wrote that the girls sang this while walking. He didn't write that the girls said this rhyme while marching. And I don't think that the words have a marching rhythm. In my opinion, that "You're Left, Right, Left" rhyme has the structure and "feel" of a handclap rhyme or dance style movement cheer.

That rhyme is made up of strung together, potentially stand alone verses. Sometimes these verses are connected by seque, connecting lines {such as "umm funky nassau/umm funky nassau"} and sometimes these potentially stand alone verses may follow each other without any connecting phrase. Incidentally, I think "umm funky nassau" is a phonetic construct that has no real meaning, but is said because it sounds..shall I say "funky?". Of course, given that these girls who chanted this rhyme lived in the New York, the word "nassau" was probably familiar to them, and could have been a folk etymology for the word "nation" or some other word or phrase. Which one/s we'll never know. But it's interesting to speculate that that phrase may be related to the children's rhyme "How Funky Is The Chicken" or other children's rhyme that includes the lines "umm, ain't that funky now/umm, ain't that funky now/ umm ain't that/umm ain't that/umm aint that funky now. {See www.cocojams.com handclapping rhymes and cheers for examples of these rhymes].

Also, there are a number of children's rhymes that include the phrases "your baldheaded granny", "[concentration}/no hesitation", and "ring my bell."

The point of this shotgun analysis is to suggest that one children's rhymes may have a number of sources and lines from military cadences are often combined with lines from handclap rhymes, taunts, and movement cheers.

Kids are creative like that.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 11:42 PM

As for the second rhyme that frank from ny posted and that GUEST Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:40 PM posted, particularly the part where the dick gets stuck in some door and it or something else turns green and someone screams, and that is the end of the person's ding a ling...well, that kind of testing the limits is also part of children's rhymes. And it seems very likely that the ding a ling part came from the Chuck Berry song.


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Brogan
Date: 03 Jul 08 - 07:45 AM

My back aching my belt too tight my booty shakin from left to right my ush cush my leo bra ush cush my arh!


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,Cadet Hamilton JROTC.
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:46 PM

Birdy Birdy In The Sky.

Whats that dropping in my eye.

It aint rain and it aint spit.

Must be little birdy [stomp ur foot]


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:05 PM

Who rocks the house!
platoon-we rock the house and when we rock the house we rock it all the way ALL THE WAY ALL THE WAAAAAAAAYY DOWN! (STOP YOUR FEET)


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military c
From: GUEST,bayato kiti vede
Date: 12 May 10 - 02:55 AM

MAMA WHAT STINKS IN THE STREETS PERHAPS THE INFANTRY HAS PASSED SPIN, SPIN, SPIN THE PROPELLER ROAR THE MOTOR THIS IS THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST,gigi
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 07:53 PM

hi im 11 and bang bang chow chow train cuz my back is acking and my belts too tight and my boots


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Subject: RE: Jody's children - kids' rhymes from military chant
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 03:44 AM

bang bang choo choo train (x2)
wacth 'em gurlsz do thm thang
to the left to the left
to the right to the right
my back is aching my bras too tight my booty shaking frm the left to the right
to the left to the right
now let me hear that one more time !
bang bang choo choo train (x2)
wacth 'em gurlsz do thm thang
to the left to the left
to the right to the right
my back is aching my bras too tight my booty shaking frm the left to the right
to the left to the right


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