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Kentucky Play-Party Games from Graves & Carlisle Counties

A project to identify tunes to the play-party songs and document the movements that accompanied them when they were played as play-party games in the late 1920s.

Toddy 'O

Hands all aroun’, toddy-o,
Toddy-o, toddy-o;
First to the left, then to the right,
Swing aroun’ ole toddy-o.

All hands up and circle to the left,
Circle to the left, circle to the left;
Break the chain, go promenade back;
Go promenade back, go promenade back;
And swing aroun’ Miss Toddy-o.

(Tune changes by some one or two quickly starting it)

O, this girl, this pretty little girl,
The girl I have beside me;
The girl I want, the girl I’ll have,
If ever I get married.

How old are you, my pretty little miss?
How old are you, my honey?
How old are you, my pretty little miss?
I’ll be sweet sixteen next Sunday.

Go jump in the well, my pretty little miss,
Go jump in the well, my honey;
Go jump in the well, my pretty little miss,
And I’ll jump in next Sunday.

First young gent step out to the right
And swing your opposite lady;
Give your partner your right hand,
And promenade left-han’ lady.

Next young gent lead out to the right
And swing your opposite lady;
Swing your partner by the right,
And promenade left-han’ lady.

All young gents all out in the ring,
All out in the ring, all out in the ring;
Next young gents all out in the ring
And balance to your partner.

Swing in chain and all run away,
All run away, an’ all run away;
Swing in chain an’ all run away,
An balance to your partner.

Skip To My Lou

(Tune changes)

Four in the middle and can’t get about,
Four in the middle and can’t get about;
Four in the middle and can’t get about,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

Little red wagon painted blue,
Little red wagon painted blue;
Little red wagon painted blue,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

Hair in the milk-churn four days ole,
Hair in the milk-churn four days ole;
Hair in the milk-churn four days ole,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

Fly in the buttermilk nine days ole,
Fly in the buttermilk nine days ole;
Fly in the buttermilk nine days ole,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

You steal mine an’ I’ll steal yours,
You steal mine an’ I’ll steal yours;
You steal mine an’ I’ll steal yours,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

Brown Jug

(Tune changes)

Take that brown jug down town,
Take that brown jug down town;
Take that brown jug down town,
Early in the mornin’.

Then come back an’ waltz aroun’,
Then come back an’ waltz aroun’;
Then come back an’ waltz aroun’,
Early in the mornin’.

Swap her off fer a bounce-aroun’,
Swap her off fer a bounce-aroun’;
Swap her off fer a bounce-aroun’,
Early in the mornin’.

(Each of the foregoing songs may be repeated several times, also the following)

Turn Cinnamon Turn

(Same tune as “Skip to My Lou”)

Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er ‘way fer a bale of hay,
Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er ‘way fer a bale of hay;
Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er ‘way fer a bale of hay,
O’ turn cinnamon, turn.

Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er up fer a box of snuff,
Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er up fer a box of snuff;
Wouldn’t giv’ ‘er up fer a box of snuff,
O’ turn cinnamon, turn.

My sugar lump, an’ won’t giv’ ‘er up,
My sugar lump, an’ won’t giv’ ‘er up;
My sugar lump, an’ won’t giv’ ‘er up,
O’ turn cinnamon, turn.

My sugar lump, you’ve rocked ‘er enough,
My sugar lump, you’ve rocked ‘er enough;
My sugar lump, you’ve rocked ‘er enough,
O’ turn cinnamon, turn.

Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees

(changes to a much slower tune)

Coffee grows on white-oak trees,
River flows with brandy-o;
Go choose the one to roam with you,
Sweet as ‘lasses, candy-o.

Coffee grows on white-oak trees,
River flows with brandy-o;
Go choose the couple to roam with you,
Sweet as ‘lasses, candy-o.

(Usually followed by the song, “Turn Cinnamon, Turn”)

Rouser

(Tune changes)

All go down to Rouser, Rouser, Rouser,
All go down to Rouser,
Where they keep good beer.

Never min’ the ole fo’ks, ole fo’ks, ole fo’ks,
Never min’ the ole fo’ks,
Because they’re not at home.

All go down to Rouser, Rouser, Rouser,
All go down to Rouser,
An’ get yourself a girl.

Never min’ the ole fo’ks, ole fo’ks, ole fo’ks,
Never min’ the ole fo’ks,
They will never care.

Fooling

(Tune changes)

You’d better quit ‘at foolin’, foolin’,
You’d better quit ‘at foolin’ me;
You’d better quit ‘at foolin’, foolin’,
Foolin’ in the fall.

Foolin’ in the summer time,
Foolin’ in the fall;
Foolin’ in the summer time,
The sweetest time of all.

Started out a sparkin’,
On a long summer day;
I didn’t know what to tell ‘er,
On a long summer day.

Tell her how you lov’ ‘er,
On a long summer day;
Lov’ ‘er ‘nough to tell ‘er,
On a long summer day.

Then gently try to kiss ‘er,
On a long summer day;
Break ‘er neck to kiss ‘er,
On a long summer day.

London

(Same tune)

Couple up four in London,
So I heard ‘em say;
Rights an’ left to London,
So I heard ‘em say.

Two han’s swing to London,
So I heard ‘em say;
Rights an’ left to London,
So I heard ‘em say.

Cut figure eight an’ all get straight,
So I heard ‘em say;
Rights an’ left to London,
So I heard ‘em say.

Liza Jane

(Sometimes called “Black ‘Em Boots,” “Sin an’ a Shame”)
(Tune changes)

Went up on the mountain,
To raise a crop of cane;
To make a barrel of ‘lasses,
To sweeten up Liza Jane.

I went up the new-cut road;
She went down the lane;
Threw my hat in the corner of the fence,
An’ scared up Liza Jane.

Black ‘em boots an’ make ‘em shine,
Good-bye, good-bye;
Black ‘em boots an’ make ‘em shine,
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

O’ how I love ‘er,
Sin an’ a shame;
O, how I love ‘er,
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

Saddle ole boy an’ ride ‘im aroun’,
Good-bye, good-bye;
Saddle ole boy an’ ride ‘im aroun’,
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

Ain’t ye mighty sorry?
Good-bye, Liza Jane.
Ain’t ye mighty sorry?
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

Black ‘em boots an’ make ‘em shine,
Good-bye, good-bye;
Black ‘em boots an’ make ‘em shine,
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

Up the river, ‘roun’ the ben’,
Good-bye, good-bye;
Up the river, ‘roun’ the ben’,
Good-bye, Liza Jane.

Bye, bye my darling girl,
Bye, bye I’m gone;
Bye, bye my darling girl,
With ‘em golden slippers on.

High Low Jack An' the Game

(Same tune)

I usta make my livin’,
By railroad an’ steam;
But now I make my livin’,
High, low, Jack an’ the game.

I usta make my livin’,
Plowin’ Lize an’ Jane;
But now I make my livin’,
High, low, Jack an’ the game.

Daddy had a pony,
Rode ‘im down town;
Swapped ‘im fer a nickel,
An’ got a dollar down;
Got a dollar down, got a dollar down,
Swapped ‘im fer a nickel, an’ got a dollar down.

I usta ride an ole gray mule,
But now I ride a roan;
If you get there before I do,
Leave my gal alone.

Some boys ride in automobiles;
Some boys ride on trains;
My beau rides an ole gray mule,
But gets there just the same.

I asked ‘at girl to marry me;
She said ain’t you ashame’;
Kicked by gray mule in the side;
Go home, Liza Jane.

(Some one starts the original tune of “I Usta Make My Livin’ ”)

I usta make my livin’,
By catchin’ rats an’ mice;
But now I make my livin’,
Shootin’ craps an’ dice.

I usta make my livin’,
Tamin’ Lize an’ Jane;
But now I make my livin’,
High, low, Jack an’ the game.

Rosa Betsy Lina

(Tune changes)

Whoa-haw, gee-haw, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Who-haw, gee-haw, Rosa Betsy Lina;
Whoa-haw, gee-haw, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Won’t you be my darlin’?

(Girls face boys. One couple starts from one end and meets the couple starting from the other end)

Lead ‘er up an’ down, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Lead ‘er up an’ down, Rosa Betsy Lina;
Lead ‘er up an’ down, Rosa Betsy Lina,
I want you fer my darlin’.

Swing ‘er all aroun’, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Swing ‘er all aroun’, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Swing ‘er all aroun’, Rosa Betsy Lina,
I want you fer my darlin’.

Take ‘er back home, Rosa Betsy Lina,
Take ‘er back home, Rosa Betsy Lina;
Take ‘er back home, Rosa Betsy Lina,
An’ get another darlin’.

Ole Dan Tucker

(Tune changes)

Ole Dan Tucker is jes from Murray;
Swing them girls in a hurry;
First to the right, then to the left,
Swing to the one that you like best.
Run away, all run away, Tucker,
You’re too late to get your supper.

Ole Dan Tucker was a fine ole man,
Washed his face in a fryin’ pan;
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died with the tooth-ache in his heel.
Run away, all run away, Tucker,
You’re too late to get your supper.

Pop Goes The Weasel

(Tune changes)

All aroun’ the market square,
The monkey chased the weasel;
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

Five cents a spool of thread,
Ten cents a needle;
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

Rise up my pretty little miss,
Present to me your han’;
I hope that I will meet you
In a far an’ better lan’.

The eagle shot the buzzard;
The buzzard shot the crow;
Rally ‘roun’ the cane-brakes,
An’ shoot the buffalo.
Shoot the buffalo, shoot the buffalo,
Rally ‘roun’ the cane-brakes,
An’ shoot the buffalo.

John Brown

(Tune changes)

John Brown had a little Indian,
Had a little Indian, had a little Indian;
Had a little Indian boy,
One, two, three little Indians.

Four, five, six little Indians;
Seven, eight, nine little Indians;
Ten little Indian boys.
(Repeat backwards).

Hurry, Boys, Hurry or 'Tain't Gonna Rain No More

(Same tune as popular piece “ ‘Taint Gonna Rain No More”)

Hurry, boys, hurry,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
Rained lass’ night, an’ night befo’,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

See that rabbit sittin’ on a log,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
Rabbit bit my rabbit dog,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

Little frog sittin’ on a lily pad,
Lookin’ up at the sky;
Lily pad broke an’ frog fell in,
Got water all in his eye.
Well, it ‘tain’t gonna rain,
‘Tain’t gonna snow,
‘ Tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

‘Tain’t gonna rain, ‘tain’t gonna snow,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
Well, how in the heck can I wash my neck,
If it ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

Whoa, mule, whoa, mule,
Whoa mule, I holler;
Tie a knot in his tail,
An’ he’ll jump thru his collar.
Well, it ‘tain’t gonna rain,
‘Tain’t gonna snow,
It ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
But how in the hell, can the ole fo’ks tell,
It ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

‘Possum up the ‘simmon tree,
Raccoon on the groun’;
Raccoon sez to the ‘possum,
Shak’ ‘em ‘simmons down.
Well, it ‘tain’t gonna rain,
‘Tain’t gonna snow,
It ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

I wouldn’t marry an ole maid,
I’ll tell you the reason why –
Her neck’s too long an’ stringy,
I’m ‘fraid she’ll never die.

I wouldn’t marry an ole maid,
I’ll tell you the reason why –
Hung my foot in the corner of the fence,
An’ tore down all her rye.

Hurry, boys, hurry,
‘Tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
When I get my new house done,
It ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
Give my olden to my son,
‘Cause it ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’.

Took my gal to church last night
An’ sat there like a fool;
She got struck on a kangaroo,
An’ wouldn’t go home with you.
Well, it ‘tain’t gonna rain an’ ‘tain’t gonna snow,
An it ‘tain’t gonna rain no mo’;
When I take ‘er to church again,
I hope it will rain some mo’.