Friday, May 11, 2018

My mother told me






Three six nine, the goose drank wine.
The monkey chew tobacco on the street car line.
The line broke, the monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little rowboat.




Clap pat, clap pat, clap pat clap slap!
Clap pat clap your hand, pat it on your partner's hand
Right hand.
Clap pat clap pat clap your hand. Cross it with your left arm.
Pat you partner's left palm.
Clap pat, clap your hand, pat your partner's right palm
With your right palm again.
Clap slap, clap your hand, slap your thighs and sing a little song.





My mother told me, if I was goody.
That she would buy me a rubber dolly.
My aunty told her I kissed a soldier,
Now she won't buy me a rubber dolly.
Three six nine, the goose drank wine.
The monkey chew tobacco on the street car line.
The line broke, the monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little rowboat.




Clap clap (clap your hands and prepare to pat)
Pat (take your right arm put your partner's right palm with your right palm)
Clap (take your hand back and clap)
Pat (take your right arm, cross your right arm with your left arm. Pat
Your partner's left palm with your left palm)



Clap (take your hand back and clap)
Pat (take your right arm, cross your left arm pat your partner's right
Palm with your right palm.)
Clap (now back, with a clap)
Slap (take the pats of your palms and slap your thighs and watch the
Fun materialize as you sing this little song





My mother told me, if I was goody.
That she would buy me a rubber dolly.
My aunty told her I kissed a soldier,
Now she won't buy me a rubber dolly.





Three six nine, the goose drank wine.
The monkey chew tobacco on the street car line.
The line broke, the monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little rowboat.




Clap pat, clap pat, clap pat clap slap!
Clap pat, clap pat, clap pat clap slap!
Clap pat, clap pat, clap pat clap slap!
Clap pat, clap pat, clap pat clap slap!



Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.


POSTBLOGSCRIPT. Just a tiny bit about Sun Rubber dolls, which I had never heard of before. These were a particularly creepy form of soft rubber doll, the earlier models being squeaky toys such as you'd give your dog to play with. Many of them drank and wet. 

The shortest history I can find (because who wants a long history of a rubber toy company?) is this:

Sun Rubber Toys of Barberton, Ohio was founded in 1923, in the midst of a rubber boom for the area, as wartime rationing ended for companies. The Sun Rubber Toy Company produced rubber toy and squeak dolls, including many licensed characters like Gerber Baby dolls, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck.





I am right now trying to fathom the ramifications of a rubber boom. When I think of the fact that condoms used to be made out of rubber, before they were made out of whatever-they-'re-made-out-of-now, "rubber boom" takes on whole new dimensions. I am also reminded of poor George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (basically, a festive Christmas movie about a man on the verge of suicide reflecting on how useless and pointless his entire life has been), who could not serve during WWII because he caught a chill saving his brother from drowning and sacrificed an eardrum. He had to stick around town ringing curfew every night around 6:00 p.m., which was late for old George, and take part in various drives - drives being not urges, but great efforts to beat the bushes and gather up something you need for the war effort, like - I'm guessing here - rags, tin, glass, rubber. Yes, there were rubber drives, and George was in charge of them. 

So I don't know how Sun Rubber Co. held on as long as it did. If there were rubber drives going on during the war, then rubber dollies would surely have to be melted down. A couple of the dolls pictured here look like they HAVE been partially melted down, or at least run over. 

The clapping song - I never could make any sense of the lyrics, and to learn the clapping sequence you'd have to slow it down so far it would make no sense. Yet we DID use "my mother told me" as a clapping rhyme, with a slightly different tune. We were singing this long before the record came out, and I suspect it's old, if not very old.





I am now reminded of something else, damn it, because I don't feel like transcribing this and the only reference I can find is in a book! While researching his masterpiece opera Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin visited Southern black churches, "one-room shacks called praise houses". With typical Gershwin brashness, he didn't just sit in the back row but jumped right into the middle of their rituals. "He did not hesitate to join in as the congregation sang and clapped their hands and engaged in a local ritual called shouting. It was an activity that involved not just the voice but also the slapping of one's chest, knees, and thighs in complex rhythmic patterns." To make a long story short, George kicked ass at shouting and astounded everyone. This complex folk-rhythm seeped into his music in all sorts of ways. And I see hints of the shouting tradition in the pat-clap-pat-slap of The Clapping Song. History hides inside the enigma of music.


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