Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Let Your Backbone Slip" Phrase In R&B Music & Children's Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the verse "Put your hand on your hips / and let your backbone slip" or "put your hands on your hips / and let your right foot slip".

Part II provides selected text excerpts & videos of the children's singing game "Little Sally Walker" and several R&B songs that include the "let your backbone slip" form of this verse. My guess is that "let your right foot slip" is a later version of the phrase "let your backbone slip".

Part I provides an overview of this featured verse and its performance movements.

Click for Part I of this series.

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

[These videos are presented in chronological order. Notice that the studio dancers in these 1960s videos are all White. For the most part, their dance movements should not be considered the correct dance movements for those dance songs.]

Example #1: Major Lance - Monkey Time (1963) HQ Audio

JORGE HITS OFFICIAL, Published on Mar 30, 2014

This biographical information about Major Lance is from a summary of the video that was initially used for this post but is no longer available.
"Major Lance (4 April 1939, 1941 or 1942 -- 3 September 1994) was an American R&B singer. After a number of US hits in the 1960s, including "The Monkey Time" and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um", In the 1970's he became an iconic UK figure among followers of Northern soul. Although he stopped making records in 1982, Major Lance continued to perform at concerts and tours until his death in 1994."
(written by Curtis Mayfield)

Do the Monkey, yeah (do the Monkey Time)
Do the Monkey, yeah (do the Monkey Time)
Ah-twist them hips (twist them hips)
Let your backbone slip (let your backbone slip)
Now move your feet (move your feet)
Get on the beat (get on the beat)
Are you ready (are you ready)
Well, you get yours, cause-a I got mine
For the Monkey Time (Monkey Time)


Example #2: Little Sally Walker - Bessie Jones [Children's Singing Game]

Little Sally Walker Bessie Jones

ichagall | April 20, 2010
This clip was filmed in the USA in 1970s or 1980s.


Little Sally Walker
Sittin in a saucer
A weepin and a crying for a nice young man
Rise, Sally , rise
Wipe your weeping eyes
Put your hand on your hip
And let your backbone slip
Oh, shake it to the East
Oh, shake it to the West
Oh, shake it to the one
that you love the best.

This version of "Little Sally Walker" is from multiple sources including Step It Down edited by Bessie Jones & Bess Lomax Hawes.

Pianist/vocalist Billy Preston also recorded the song "Little Sally Walker" in 1965. Unfortunately, that YouTube video is private. The lyrics of that song are very similar to the text that is given above.

Version of the children's singing game "All Around The Kitchen" may contain the rhyming couplet "put your hands on your hip/and let your right foot slip". "All Around The Kitchen" was first collected in the 1940s in Alabama from African American children. Visit Part I of this series whose link is given above for a lyric excerpt & information about the performance activity that I've used for that game.

Example #3: Jackie Wilson - Baby Workout (Shindig 1965)

moondancerfarm, Uploaded on Jul 23, 2011

(written by Jackie Wilson & Alonzo Tucker)

Now when you get out here
Don't you have no fear.
Put your hands on your hip
And let your backbone slip
And work out.


Example #4: Wilson Pickett - Land of a Thousand Dances (HQ)

Edmilson Guermacoski,Published on Dec 16, 2013
This video replaces the one that was initially featured in this post, but is no longer available.

Here are selected comments that were posted in this video's discussion thread (These comments were apparently made in reference to a question about why the women danced separately from the men in this film- I can't find the initial question):
Audrey Quaye, 2016
"I am from Ghana. Women would typically not mix in a crowd with men. I believe the concert was held at Black Star Square. The women would be sitting in the stands and not with the men in front of the stage. I hope this helps.:

Finley Quaye, 2016
"That's correct Audrey, Black Star Square aka Independence Square.
I suggested organizing a similar event for 6th March 2017."

Nelson Cloud, 2017
"Ok that explains a lot"

flyinspirals, 2017
"That's okay as long as the women were able to get up and dance! Separate m/f spaces can be fun & healthy at times, it doesn't always mean we're being oppressed."

(written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962)

Ow! Uh! Alright! Uh!

Got to know how to pony
Like Bony Maronie
Mash potato, do the alligator
Put your hand on your hips, yeah
Let your backbone slip
Do the Watusi
Like my little Lucy
Hey! Uh!


Example #6: otis redding - shake (ready, steady, go! 1966)

vitolska, Uploaded on Jan 22, 2009

otis redding eric burdon shake ready steady go!
The video that was initially used for this post is no longer available. This summary is from that video.

"Shake" is a song written and recorded by Sam Cooke.
Otis Redding's version was selected to the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll " by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

In 1966, the now cult '60s British pop show Ready Steady Goes Live, devoted a whole programme to a live performance of Soul singer Otis Redding, who regularly covered many of Cooke's songs. One of the highlights was a rousing version of "Shake" on which Redding was joined by British Soul legends Eric Burdon, lead singer of The Animals, and chart topper Chris Farlowe. The programme is acclaimed by many as the best episode of the whole series.
(written by Sam Cooke)

You move your body all around
And just shake
That's the way you do it
Shake, shake, shake it baby
Shake it like a bowl of soup
Let your body loop de loop
Put your hands on your hip
Come on and let your backbone slip
Move your body like your hip
And just shake!


Thanks to all the composers, vocalists, and musicians of these featured songs. Thanks also to the uploaders of these videos.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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