Children's rhymes (1969); Old Maid Lemonade (1878)

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Thu Feb 10 04:28:34 UTC 2005

I think that I missed the possibility of what this could be WRT "The
Booty Green" because of the spelling, "booty." Some may recall that I
contend that the spelling should be "boody." So, yet another example of
what I consider to be wrong sort of went in one eye and out the other,
so to speak.

In any case, with a little research, I found three old R&B sounds with
the title, "B[insert your preferred spelling] Green." The version that
I remember from 1959 was by Robert "Bobby Marshan" Marchand," formerly
a vocalist with the band, Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns. Elder
statesmen on the list may recall "Sea Cruise" and "The Rockin'
Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu," which are Huey Smith originals.
In any case, the Marshan version is basically the nursery rhyme set to
music with the refrain, "The booty green / the craziest dance / that
you ever seen" added.

There was another song from 1961 entitled "The Boo-Dee Green," by The
Olympics. (Remember "Good Lovin'" by the Young Rascals? It was
originally recorded by The Olympics.) This one has the refrain, "Let's
do the boo-dee green" and its words have no connection with the nursery
rhyme, but they are about dancing.

Finally, I found, from 1950, "Boodie Green" by Tiny Bradshaw, who also
originally recorded, "The Train Kept a-Rollin'". This version of "B.
Green" also has the refrain, "The boodie green / the craziest dance /
that you ever seen."

  O.K. We have at least three different spelling. The kind of word most
likely not to have a fixed spelling is one that is not normally
written. The usual reason for this is that the word is "dirty" or
"nasty." (Naturally, I have in mind the pre-rap/hip-hop era.) Even when
the word has a fixed spelling, that spelling tends to be distorted when
the word is written, as is the case with, e.g. P-Funk's "Tear The Roof
Off The Mothersucker" and "All Funked Up." Sometimes, the word isn't
used at all, again cf. P-Funk's "Up For The Down Stroke" or the Ohio
Players' "Fire": "I'm about to choke from the smoke. Got to tighten up
my stroke." And the imagery of the old dance, the "twist" goes all the
way back to the ancient jazz tune, "Windin' Boy." (Yes, I know that the
canonical spelliing of the first word is "Winin'.")

I have not the foggiest idea why "green" appears. I can't relate it to
anything except, possibly, the game "red light," which itself has
inspired some R&B tunes. But, in any case, I'm satisfied that all of
these songs are about sex. As the late Eddie Kendricks, formerly of the
Temptations, said of his first solo effort, disarmingly entitled
"Truckin'," "It's about fucking." And, of course, trucking is a form of
dancing. When I was a teenager back in St. Louis, we had a dance called
the "cheek-to-cheek bucket o' blood." Anyone not knowing the name of
this dance would simply have called it "dry-humping,"

On Feb 9, 2005, at 10:09 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Children's rhymes (1969); Old Maid Lemonade (1878)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Wilson, does "The Booty Green" (1959) contain an ex. of "booty" = sex?
> JL
> Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Wilson Gray
> Subject: Re: Children's rhymes (1969); Old Maid Lemonade (1878)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> On Feb 9, 2005, at 1:59 AM, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>> Little Sally Saucer
>> Sitting in the water
>> Rise, Sally, rise
>> Wipe off your eyes Sally.
> An alternative version from East Texas (I learned it there, but, given
> that variations of this variation appear in black pop music, e.g. the
> couplet, "Put your hands on your hips / And let your backbone slip"
> occurs in the 1959 song, "The Booty Green," I think that it is/was
> universal amongst the colored. Since I learned this from my mother,
> who's now 91, I'd guess that this version is probably at least a
> century old.)
> Little Sally Walker
> Sitting in a saucer
> Rise, Sally, Rise
> Wipe your weeping eyes
> Put your hands on your hips
> And let your backbone slip
> Shake it to the east
> Shake it to the west
> Shake it to the one
> You love the best
> -Wilson Gray
> ---------------------------------
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