American Negro Folklore (1968)

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Sat Feb 12 23:39:11 UTC 2005

On Feb 12, 2005, at 1:38 AM, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bapopik at AOL.COM
> Subject:      American Negro Folklore (1968)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> "Hawkins," "made in de shade, sold in de sun," and others of interest
> here.
> by J. Mason Brewer

J. Mason Brewer

Old friend of my family down in Texas. A few other notes are below.

-Wilson Gray

> Chicago: Quadrangle Books
> 1968
> Pg. 189 (Slave Seculars and Work Songs):
> _I Went to Atlanta_
> I Went to Atlanta
> Never been dere a-fo'
> White folks eat de apple
> Nigger wait fo' co'
> (Other verses are "White folks sleep on feather bed" and "White folks
> wear de fancy suit" and "White folks sit in Lawd's place"--ed.)
> Pg. 304 (Cold Weather Signs): If turkeys roost high in a tree, it's a
> sign of cold weather. You will hear the old folks say, "Look out,
> children. Hawkins is coming."
> Pg. 323 (Creole Proverbs):
> Great to speak, little to do.
> One goes everywhere with fine clothes.
> Ox who comes first always drinks clear water.
> Pg. 324:
> That is not the baptism of a doll. (No laughing matter.)
> When the tree falls the goat climbs it.
> The best swimmer is often drowned.
> When one is very hungry one does not peel the sweet potato.
> His tongue knows no Sunday.
> I keep nothing hidden in the sideboard. (I keep nothing back.)
> Set your type before you go and then read it. (Have on your tongue
> what you are going to say.)
> Pg. 338 ("Dirty Dozens" Rhymes):
> Yo' mama's in de kitchen; yo' papa's in jail;
> Yo' sister's round de corner, hollerin' "Hot stuff for sale."

Clearly, the last line above has been bowdlerized.

How's yo' mama?
She[my mama]'s a sco'. How's yo' 'ho'?

Fucked yo' mama on a red-hot stove
Baby come out sellln' Post* 'n' Globe.* *Local newspapers in St. Louis.

> Pg. 339 (Street Cries):
> I sell to the rich,
> I sell to the po';
> I'm gonna sell the lady
> Standin' in that do'.
> I got water with the melon, red to the rind!
> If you don't believe it just pull down your blind.
> You eat the watermelon and preee-serve the rind!
> Pg. 340:
> We sell it to the rich, we sell it to the poor,
> We give it to the sweet brownskin, peepin' out the door.
> _Tout chaud, Madame, tout chaud!_
> Git 'em while they're hot. Hot _calas_!
> The Waffle Man is a fine old man.
> He washes his face in a frying-pan.
> He makes his waffles with his hand.
> Everybody loved the waffle man.
> Char-coal! Char-coal!
> My horse is white, my face is black.
> I sell my charcoal, two-bits a sack--
> Char-coal! Char-coal!
> Pg. 342:
> Porgy walk; Porgy talk,
> Porgy eat wid a knife an' fork;
> Porgy-e-e-e-!
> Vanilla, chocolate, peach cream
> Dat surely freezed by de stream.
> It was made in de shade, an' is sold in de sun.
> If you ain't got a nickel, you can't get none.
> Any rags, any bones, any bottles today?
> The same old rag man comin' this a-way.
> Swimp man, swimp man, raw, raw, raw.


Shreveport (Louisiana) is often pronounced "Sweepo" in the local BE.
(In Texas, we say "Sreepote."

> Fifteen cents a plate, two for a quarter.
> Raw, raw, raw.
> Pg. 343 (Jeering and Taunting Rhymes):
> A bushel o' wheat, a bushel o' san',
> Ah'd rather be a nigger than a po' white man.
> You bowlegged, lazy,
> An' almo' half crazy.
> Pg. 367 (Autograph Album Rhymes):
> You can kiss beneath a grapevine, you can kiss beneath the rose,
> But the best place I know of is to kiss beneath the nose.
> Pg. 368:
> Apples on the table, peaches on the shelf,
> If you don't love nobody, keep it to yourself.
> Up the hickory, an' down the pine;
> Good-looking boys is hard to find.
> Sugar is sweet, an' coffee is strong;
> Write me a letter, and don't be long.
> It takes a rocking chair to rock,
> A rubber ball to roll,
> A tall, skinny papa
> To satisfy my soul.

Football cheer used by Sumner High School in St. Louis:

It takes a rocking chair to rock
It takes a football to roll
it takes a team like Sumner
To groove my soul
Oh, yes, yes, yes
Oh, yes, yes, yes

> Orange is a city, Lemon is a state;
> I wrote you a letter, but I forgot de date.
> Pg. 369:
> My papa is a butcher,
> My mama cuts de meat.
> Ah'm de little weiner-wish
> Dat runs around destreet.
> If the ocean was milk, and the bottom was cream,
> I'd dive for you like a submarine.
> Cream cheese, cream cheese floatin' in the air,
> That bald-headed man ain't got no hair.
> Pg. 373 (Ring-Game Songs):
> Ooka dooka soda cracker,
> Does your father chew tobacco?
> Yes, my father chews tobacco.
> Ooka dooka soda cracker.

I know only the "Acka backa soda cracker" version

> Copy cat, copy cat, sittin' on duh fence,
> Trying' tuh make a dollar out o' fifteen cents.
>    Trenton Times  Monday, October 17, 1904 Trenton, New Jersey
> ...of whioti starts off with "ANY RAGS, ANY BONES, ANY bottles today."
> Of course.....Fred Barlow, asked, "Have you ANY rags today''" H
> happened that Just..

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