Thursday, June 13, 2013

"ABC It's Easy As 1, 2, 3" Playground Rhyme & Its R&B Record Source

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post features examples of playground rhymes that have the line "ABC, it's easy as 1,2,3" and their R&B record source.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.


Video Example #1: JACKSON 5 "ABC" on The Ed Sullivan Show

TheEdSullivanShow Uploaded on May 12, 2010


Playground Rhyme Example #1
It’s easy as 1.2.3.
My momma takes care of me.
My father don’t yell at me.
Caught you with your boyfriend.
Naughty, Naughty.
Didn’t do the dishes.
Lazy, Lazy.
Ate all the candy
Greedy, greedy.
Jumped out the window.
Man, you’re crazy!
-anonymous woman (White; Washington, D. C), collected by Azizi Powell,1999

Playground Rhyme Example #2
it's easy as 1 2 3
yer mama's got funky feet
oosh ahsh I want a piece of squash
sqhash too sweet I want a piece of meat
meat too tough I wanna ride a bus
Buss too full I wana buy a bull
bull too black I want my money back
money too green I want a limosine
Limosine too long
I wanna write a song
song too old I want a pot of gold
gold to yella' I wanna kiss a fella
fella too fat
and that's the end of that

gold too yellow I'll Tickle you with a feather (and you reach out and try to tickle the person who you're playing with)

that's all I can remember right now...
-Reebob; 2/12/2004; ; Children's Street Songs; 2/12/2004

Playground Rhyme Example #3 (with video)
ABC (it's easy as 123) hand game

juliacreates13, Published on Aug 12, 2012
A-B-C, it’s easy as 1-2-3.
My mama takes care of me.
My daddy watches MTV*
Ohh, ah, I wanna piece of pie.
Pie too sweet, I wanna piece of meat.
Meat too tough, I wanna ride a bus.
Bus too full, I wanna ride a bull.
Bull too black, I want my money back.
Money back too green, I wanna a jelly bean.**
Jelly bean not cooked, I wanna read a book.
Book not read, I wanna go to bed.
Bed not made, I want some lemonade.
Lemonade too sour, I wanna take a shower.
Shower too cool, I wanna go to school.
School to dumb, I wanna suck my thumb.
Thumb too dirty, I wanna ride a birdy.
Birdy too slow, and that's all I know.
Close your eyes and count to ten
Whoever messes up, starts all over again.
[transcription by Azizi Powell]

This is another version of the rhyme that is given as Example #2.

*"MYV" (an acronym that originally meant Music Television) is an American television station that in its early years almost exclusively showed videos of Pop songs. The television station "BET" (Black Entertainment Television) is sometimes used instead of "MTV".

**In some versions of this rhyme "jelly bean" is given as "lima bean" which makes more sense given the reference to cooking.

The "ooh ah ah i wanna piece of pie" line comes from the 1940 Blues record by Fats Waller.

Click for information about the Fats Waller song and for other examples of "ABC It's Easy As One Two Three".

The earliest source that I've found for those "trading" rhymes is the hort story, "Big Boy Leaves Home," from Uncle Tom's Children by Richard Wright (1938). The story concerns a group of black boys who entertain themselves by singing and chanting rhymes.

Bye 'n' bye, Ah wanna piece of pie.
Pie's too sweet. Ah wanna piece of meat.
Meat's too red. Ah wanna piece of bread.
Bread's too brown. Ah wanna go t' town.
Town's too far. Ah wanna ketch a car.
Car's too fas'. Ah fall 'n' break mah ass.
Ah'll understan' it better bye 'n' bye.
That story also includes an early version of the "Yo Mama Don't Wear No Drawers" taunting rhyme.

Playground Rhyme Example #4

ABC, easy as 123, my daddy drank Cocafee(don’t ask what that is) right off of my feet.
That’s how nasty people can be.
Judge, judge, call the judge!*
Mama’s gonna have a baby, a sweet little choc-o-late baby!
If it’s a boy, I’ll give it a toy.
If it’s a girl, I’ll give it a curl.
If it’s a twin, I’ll give them a spin.
Wrap it up in toilet paper,
Send it down the elevator.
First floor, STOP.
Second floor, STOP.

And then it would just go on until someone screwed it up….usually me.
- ChloeMireille, Shapely Prose; October 2, 2009
The word "Cocafee" is probably a form of the words cold coffee". It is given that way in another version of that rhyme that is posted on Cocojams's handclap rhyme page #1.

The line "judge judge call the judge" is usually given as "fudge fudge all the judge". Click for examples of the rhyme "Fudge Fudge Call The Judge (mama's having a baby etc.)

The line "That’s how nasty people can be" is a play on the line "that's how easy love can be" from the Jackson 5 record "ABC".

*Click for that rhyme example & other "ABC It's Easy As 1,2,3" rhymes.

Thanks to all those who contributed examples that are featured in this post. Thanks to those vocalists whose videos are featured in this post, and thanks to those who published those songs & that handclap rhyme on YouTube.

Thanks for visting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.