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Monday, August 20, 2012

The Duckworth Chant (Sound Off!) - Information & Examples

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about and examples of the military cadence known as "The Duckworth Chant", "Sound Off!", and "Cadence Count".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MILITARY CADENCES & THE DUCKWORTH CHANT
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_cadence [hereafter given as wikipedia:Military cadences]
"In the armed services, a military cadence or cadence call is a traditional call-and-response work song sung by military personnel while running or marching. In the United States, these cadences are sometimes called jody calls or jodies, after Jody, a recurring character who figures in some traditional cadences.

As a sort of work song, military cadences take their rhythms from the work being done (compare sea shanty). Many cadences have a call and response structure of which one soldier initiates a line, and the remaining soldiers complete it, thus instilling teamwork and camaraderie for completion. The cadence calls move to the beat and rhythm of the normal speed (quick time) march or running-in-formation (double time) march. This serves the purpose of keeping soldiers "dressed", moving in step as a unit and in formation, while maintaining the correct beat or cadence...

The Duckworth Chant (or Sound Off!)
A V-Disc issued in 1944 credits the origin of Sound Off (The Duckworth Chant) to Private Willie Duckworth, an African American soldier serving in the then segregated US Army.
...as a company ... was returning from a long tedious march through swamps and rough country, a chant broke the stillness of the night. Upon investigation, it was found that an African American soldier by the name of Willie Duckworth, on detached service with the Provisional Training Center, was chanting to build up the spirits of his comrades.

It was not long before the infectious rhythm was spreading throughout the ranks. Footweary soldiers started to pick up their step in cadence with the growing chorus of hearty male voices. Instead of a down trodden, fatigued company, here marched 200 soldiers with heads up, a spring to their step, and happy smiles on their faces. This transformation occurred with the beginning of the Duckworth Chant.

Upon returning to Fort Slocum, Pvt. Duckworth, with the aid of Provisional Training Center instructors, composed a series of verses and choruses to be used with the marching cadence. Since that eventful evening the Duckworth Chant was made a part of the drill at Fort Slocum as it proved to be not only a tremendous morale factor while marching, but also coordinated the movements of close order drill with troop precision.

This original cadence was recorded as "Sound Off:"
Sound-off; 1 - 2; Sound-off; 3 - 4; Cadence count; 1 - 2 - 3 - 4; 1 - 2 — 3 - 4.

This cadence, known as the "Duckworth Chant," still exists with variations in the different branches of the U.S. military. Duckworth's simple chant was elaborated on by Army drill sergeants and their trainees, and the practice of creating elaborate marching chants spread to the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy..
-snip-
From http://home.earthlink.net/~michaelacavanaugh/id3.htmlThe Duckworth Chant, Sound Off, and the Jody Call by Michael & Elizabeth Cavanaugh:
..."The first recorded versions [of what is now known as The Duckworth Chant] appeared on an unnumbered V-Disc (undated, but recorded at the Slocum auditorium, Raymond Hall, sometime in 1945). The V-Disc consists of three different versions of the Duckworth Chant, plus an introductory track by T. Sgt Henry C. “Jack” Felice (1914-2001)"...

..."the phrase “Sound Off” predates 1944 (as the title of a collection of Army songs edited by Edward Arthur Dolph in 1924, reissued in 1942; and even appears as the legend on a WWI-era postcard from Fort Slocum itself)...

Despite parallels or precursors, the fact remains that the Jody is not just any chant, work song, or the like. And the related phrases cited above also do not amount to the Duckworth chant. There is no record of the original chant as developed by Duckworth in mid-1944. As noted in the received narrative cited above, upon returning to post it was quickly embellished and added to; even early on there were significant variations in the verses, and this sort of innovation continues still. But think of the “Duckworth Chant” as like a jazz ballad: there is a basic core, around which the performers can still weave significant improvisations"...

FEATURED EXAMPLES OF THE DUCKWORTH CADENCE & OTHER MILITARY CADENCES THAT INCLUDE SIMILAR WORDS AS THE DUCKWORTH CHANT

WARNING: Websites that contain examples of military cadences often include examples that may be inappropriate for children.

Example #1: THE DUCKWORTH CHANT
Sound-off; 1 – 2
Sound-off; 3 – 4
Cadence count
1 - 2 - 3 - 4; 1 - 2 — 3 - 4.
-composed by Private Willie Duckworth, United States Army, 1944, quoted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_cadence

****
Example #2: SOUND OFF!
Hib-hub, hib-hub, hib-hub, hib-hub
The heads are up
The chests are out
The arms are swinging
And cadence count
Sound off (sound off)
Sound off (sound off)
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

Enie, Meanie, Minie, Moe
Let's go back and count some more

Sound off (sound off)
Sound off (sound off)
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

I had a good home, but I left (you're right)
I had a good home, but I left (you're right)
Jody was there, when I left (you're right)
Jody was there, when I left (you're right)

Sound off (1-2)
Sound off (3-4)
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

I left gal away out west
I thought this army life was best
Now she's someone elses wife
And I'll be marchin' the rest of my life

Sound off (1-2)
Sound off (3-4)
1-2, 3-4
1-2, (2-3-4)
1-2-3-4, (1-2, 3-4)

The captain rides in a jeep
The sargent rides in a truck
The general rides in a limosine
But we're just out of luck

Sound off
Sound off
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

Hib-hub, hib-hub, hib-hub, hib-hub
The heads are up
The chests are out
The arms are swinging
And cadence count
Sound off (sound off)
Sound off (sound off)
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

Enie, Meanie, Minnie, Moe
And let's go back and count some more

Sound off
Sound off
Cadence count
1-2-3-4 (1-2, 3-4)

1-2, 3-4)
(1-2, 3-4)
(1-2, 3-4)
Company halt
(1-2, 3-4)
Source: http://www.lyricstime.com/vaughn-monroe-sound-off-lyrics.html

-snip-
Here's more information about this version of "Sound Off!" from wikipedia:Military cadences:
"A musical version of the chant was recorded by Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra (Voc.: Vaughn Monroe & Chorus in New York City) on March 7, 1951. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-4113A (in USA)and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10086."

"Jody" is "Joe de Grinder" ("Joe The Grinder"), an African American folk character who steals other men's women. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/08/three-songs-about-joe-grinder.html for a Pancocojams post on "Joe The Grinder".

Here's a video of version of "Sound Off!":

Vaughn Monroe - Sound Off!



janschro | April 18, 2008

Sound off (Duckworth chant) from 1951 ,Vaughn Monroe.
Passing out parade, Pukapunyal, Australia 1969

****
Example #3: YOU HAD A GOOD HOME AND YOU LEFT
You had a good home and you left...YOU'RE RIGHT
You want to go home but you can't.....YOU'RE RIGHT
JODY was there when you left.....YOU'RE RIGHT
JODY was there when you left.....YOU'RE RIGHT
Aint no sense in goin' home, JODY's got you're gal and gone
Hip oh hop oh wring out the mop
Oh left oh right oh left.
-Cranky Yankee, Military Jodies?, http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2915 , May 21, 2001 [remembrance of basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Tex in the winter of 1947-48]

****
Example #4: GI BEANS AND GI GRAVY
GI Beans and GI Gravy,
Gee I wish I'd joined the Navy...
Sound Off....Sound Off....
Sound off 1-2...3-4,
ain't no use in lookin' down,
ain't no discharge on the ground...
Count Cadance, Count Cadence Count Cadence count!
-Tucker, http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10803 Cadence or Marching Songs, May 9, 1999

****
Example #5: SOUND OFF (If You Like Your Pork Fried Rice)
if you like your pork fried rice
stomp with your left and drag your right.
**stomp drag stomp drag**
sound off"1,2"
sound off"3,4"
"1,2,3,4"

let me here the sound of your left,*stomp*
the sound of your right*stomp*
the sound of em both*stomp stomp*
one more time*stomp stomp*
bring it all down *stomp stomp stomp stomp*
LEFT, YOUR LEFT, YOUR LEFT RIGHT, (SHOUT YOUR COMPANY) FOXTROT!!
-Guest, kara from nyma; Marching song; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8473&messages=45 ; May 6, 2008
-snip-
This blogger didn't explain the asterisks.

****
Example #6: PARTY HARDY (Version #1)
(Army Marching Cadence)

We are ____ platoon
and we like to party
party hardy
party hardy all night long

Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down
Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down
Now drop, and beat your face
___ platoon's gonna rock this place
Boom, check it out, check it out
Boom, check it out, check it out

My rifle, my rucksack, my bayonet, now get on down
My rifle, my rucksack, my bayonet, now get on down
Say one, twwwoooo,
three, four,
Eleven Bravo, hey
Eleven Bravo, hey
- http://www.army-cadence.com/Army-Marching-Cadences.php

****
Example #7: PARTY HARDY (Version #2)
(Air Force Marching Cadence)

We don't like the army
Army don't party,
party hardy
party hardy all night long

We don't like the Navy,
Navy don't party,
party hardy
party hardy all night long

We don't like marines,
Marines don't party
party hardy
party hardy all night long

We don't like the Coast Guard,
Coast Guard don't party
party hardy
party hardy all night long

We like the Air Force,
Air Force can party,
party hardy
party hardy all night long

** Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down
Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down

Now drop, and beat your face
___ flight's gonna rock this place

We said it, we meant it, and now we're here to represent it!
- http://army-cadence.com/Air-Force-Marching-Cadences.php

-snip-
The phrases "party hardy" (meaning "to really party hard"; to have a really good time at a party), "Boom, check it out", "gonna rock this place", and "we said it, we meant it, and we're here to represent it are lifted from African American R&B records and other African American cultural sources. For instance, the phrase "check it out", is found in a number of African American girls' foot stomping cheers.

****
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKS
Thanks to Willie Duckworth and others for the contributions to America’s folkloric repertoire. Thanks also to the uploaders of the video featured in this post.

Thanks for visiting Pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

4 comments:

  1. It may interest you to know that late in 2009, thanks to the kind offices of Mr. Rosby Gordon and a local committee of admirers, a granite monument was placed on the courthouse grounds of Washington Co., GA (home of T/4 Willie Lee Duckworth, Sr.), commemorating his Duckworth Chant; in addition, part State Road 342 running in front of his house was named for T/4 Duckworth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael, thanks for sharing that information.

      I appreciate it!

      Delete
  2. I'm a Marine veteran, 71, and from seven years of chatting every day with numerous veterans in my job (VA hospital), I can tell you that we all would give anything if we could march proudly in a formation again and hear that chant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I appreciate your comment.

      I'm not even associated with the Marine Corps and I love watching and hearing these chants.

      Thanks for your service in the Marine Corps and your service at the Veteran's Hospital.

      Delete