Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part II of a two part series on the 19th century song "Sich A Gittin Upstairs" ("Such A Getting Upstairs"). This post provides several examples of lyrics for this song and three video examples of Morris dancing to this tune.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/such-getting-upstairs-history-of-song.html for Part I of this series. That post focuses on the history of this song in the United States and in England.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
The once highly popular 19th century song "Sich A Gittin Up Stairs" ("Such A Getting Upstairs") is now mostly known as the Headington (Cotswold) Morris dance "Getting Upstairs".
Here are some lyrics of different versions of this song.
WARNING: What is now known as "the n word" is fully spelled out in most version of this song.
Because I consider that word a pejorative referent, I don't fully spell it out even when I'm quoting old texts.
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=37741Such a Getting Upstairs [hereafter known as Mudcat: Getting Upstairs]
From pavane, 14 Aug 01 - 04:55 AM
"I have been looking for the full song to the Headington Morris Dance 'Getting Upstairs', which has the snippet :
Some likes coffee, some likes tea
Some likes a pretty girl, just like me [Just like I do, I suppose that means]
Such a getting upstairs and a playing on the fiddle]
Such a getting upstairs I never did see"
posted by masato sakurai, 15 Aug 01 - 04:26 AM
"Bits of info (not in The Fiddler's Companion) #2. There is a song sheet (without music) containing "Sich a Gitting Up Stairs" in America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets, Libray of Congress. This was "Sold by L. Deming, wholesale and retail, No. 62, Hanover Street, 2d door from Friend Street, Boston, and at MIDDLEBURY, Vt.," and begins with:
ON a Suskyhanner raft I come down de bay,
And I danc'd, and I frolick'd, and fiddled all de way.
Sich a gitting up stairs I never did see, &c.
Trike he to and heel--cut de pigeon wing,
Scratch gravel, slap de foot--dats just de ting.
Sich a gitting up stairs, &c.
"Such a Getting Upstairs" as a going-up-to-bed song from Indiana is in Ruth Crawford Seeger's American Folk Songs for Children (Doubleday, 1948, p.53) with music:
Such a getting upstairs I never did see,
Such a getting upstairs it didn't suit me.
In her notes, Ruth says: "It is the refrain of a play-party tune
whose second section can be whistled or hummed or played, or sung with varying words like the following from Virginia: Some love coffee, some love tea, But I love the pretty girl that winks at me." The Indiana version is sung by Mike and Peggy Seeger in their Rounder album with the same title as the songbook's (LP & CD)."
posted by raredance [rich r], 17 Aug 01 - 10:38 PM
"B A Botkin in "The American Play-Party Song" (1937, 1963 Frederick Ungar Publishing) has a couple unusual lyric versions and the following note:
Based on a minstrel song. See "Sich a Gittin Upstairs," in "The Negro Forget-Me Not Songster' (Fisher and Brother, 18?)
First gent out,
Swing that lady with a right hand about,
Partner by the left as you come around,
Lady in the center and you'll all run around.
Such a kitten (sic) upstairs,
Well I never did see.
Such a kitten upstairs,
Well she don't suit me.
I got up in the morning, the rain was pouring down.
I saddled up old Grady and bound for -----[name] town.
Honor to your right, honor to your left,
Swing your next partner and promenade to your left.
Such a getting upstairs I never did see.
Such a getting upstairs don't suit me.
six of seventeen verses that were reposted by Jim Dixon 22 Sep 10 - 09:56 AM
From The Quaver; or, Songster's Pocket Companion (London: Charles Jones, 1844), page 164:
6. N___r held a meetin, 'bout de clonization,
And dere I spoke a speech about amalgamation.
Sich a gittin, &c.
7. To Washington I go, dere I cut a swell,
Cleanin' gemman's boots, and ringing auction bell.
Sich a gittin, &c.
8. I called on yaller Sal, dat trades in sausages,
And dere I met big Joe, which made my dander ris.
Sich a gittin, &c.
9. Says I, "You see dat door? just mosey N____a Joe,
For I'm a Suskehannah boy, wot knows a ting or two."
Sich a gittin, &c.
13. Two behind and two before,
Wait till you get to the watch-house door.
Sich a gittin, &c,
14. Sal is sassy, I know what she means,
She's been to school, and is up to beans.
Sich a gittin, &c.
Explanation of certain words:
"yaller Sal" = “yaller” a light skinned Black woman
"mosey" = leave [usually given as "just mosey along"]
"wot knows a ting or two." = "what knows a thing or two" [who knows a thing or two]
“is up to beans” = colloquial for "is knowledgeable", related to the still heard colloquial statements "You don’t know beans about that” ["You don't know anything about that" and "to spill the beans” [share a secret].
I found verse #6 to be interesting since "amalgamation" [interracial mating] was an anathema. Therefore, a Black man making a speech about that would cause a commotion i.e. such a gettin upstairs.
From http://www.ceolas.org/cgi-bin/ht2/ht2-fc2/file=/tunes/fc2/fc.html&style=&refer=&abstract=&ftpstyle=&grab=&linemode=&max=250?getting+upstairs “Fiddler’s Companion”
..."Various ditties or rhymes have been collected with the melody in American tradition, including floating verses. Wilkinson (1942) printed these:
Old Molly Hyar, what you doin' dar?
Settin' in a cornder smokin' a cigyar.
Such a gittin' up sta'rs I never did see
Such a gittin' up sta'rs I neved did see.
Some love coffee, some love tea,
But I love the pretty girl that winks at me.
Such a gittin' up stairs you never did see,
Such a gittin' up stairs you never did see.
This rhyme was collected with one of Bayard's Pennsylvania-collected versions:
Went upstairs with a dollar and a half,
Came downstairs with a cow and a calf.
Such a gittin' upstairs I never did see,
Such a gittin' upstairs'll never do me.
"Old Molly Hyar, what you doin' dar?" is included in Thomas W. Talley's 1922 collection Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise And Otherwise http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27195/27195-h/27195-h.htm p. 22.
Example #1: Getting Upstairs - Hinton-in-the-Hedges
TheNewYdde, Uploaded on Mar 30, 2009
DDMM Ale 2009
Example #2: AMM - Getting Up Stairs Hinton - Swan Hill 2009
adelaidemorrismen, Uploaded on Sep 14, 2009
The Adelaide Morris Men dancing Getting Up Stairs Hinton at the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement Museum in August 2009.
Example #3: Getting Upstairs - Kennet Morris Men
Neil Stevens Published on May 27, 2013
Danced at Yattendon and Frilsham Fete 2013
ADDENDUM: "I LOVE COFFEE I LOVE TEA" PLAYGROUND RHYME
The line "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" is found in some versions of the song "Such A Getting Upstairs". That line lives on in the large family of contemporary playground rhymes that are known as "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea", "Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa", or "Down Down Baby".
The earliest documented example of "I Love Coffee" as a jump rope rhyme was in 29 June 1869, Port Jervis (NY) Evening Gazette, pg. 2, col. 3 "a little eight-year-old girl... in one of the schools of Oswego, a few days ago. (...) I love coffee I love tea I love you if you love me" [Reposted from http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/i_love_coffee_i_love_tea_java_jive/.
It's interesting to notice that partner hand claps are a large part of the performance activities that are done by Morris troupes who perform "Getting Upstairs".
Click http://cocojams.com/content/handclap-jump-rope-and-elastics-rhymes for contemporary American examples of I Love (Like) Coffee I Love (Like) Tea".
In my comment to this post I share additional observations about similarities and differences between the performance of "I Love Coffee" hand games and the "Getting Upstairs" Morris dance.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to those featured in these videos & to the publishers of these videos.
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