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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Alabama Gal" (Play-Party Song) videos and lyrics

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides lyrics & performance instructions for the play party song "Alabama Gal"* (also known as "Alabama Girl" and other titles.) Three videos of this play party song are also showcased in this post.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unknown original composers of this song, and thanks to those who collected examples of this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

Note: I believe that Alabama Gal is an example of an American play party song that has African American sources/influences. Click for more information and a partial listing of American play party songs with African American sources/influences.

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LYRICS AND PERFORMANCE INSTRUCTIONS: "ALABAMA GAL"
(These two examples are presented in no order of preference or determination as to which version is closest to the "original" way this play party song was played.)

Example #1
From http://www.ecrs.org/ofplayandplayfulness/play_parties.html
1. Come thru in a hurry (3 times), Alabama girl
2. You don't know how, how, (3 times). Alabama girl.
3. I've showed you how, how (3 times). Alabama girl.
4. Ain't I rock candy, (3 times). Alabama girl.

Formation:
To play this game, the men stand in a single line and the women in another, facing each other and about six feet apart, partners opposite. The head of the set is the end of the lines to the left of the men.

Action:
(1) All the players sing. At the first word of the song the head couple steps out and dances down between the lines toward the foot of the set. This advance down between the lines occupies eight steps. During the singing of the remaining two lines of the verse, this couple retraces their steps to the head of lines, reversing position without releasing each other's hands.

(2) Reel: On the last word of the verse, the couple, having reached the head of the lines, release each other's hands and pass each other to the opposite side. The man joins left hands with the woman, who is now head of her line, and the woman joins left hands with the man who is now head of his line. This joining of hands comes exactly on the first accented syllable of the second verse of the song, and is also exactly at the same time that the left foot strikes the floor in a forward swing that turns this new couple entirely around counter-clockwise in four steps, to just one line of the song. They then release, leaving the new member of each couple back in line, and the original couple joins right hands exactly on the first accented beat of the next line, performing another complete turn in the opposite direction, clockwise. Then the left hands are presented to the next in line, and so on until the foot of the set is reached, when the two take their places in their respective lines at the foot of the set. The couple left at the head becomes the leading couple for a fresh performance of the whole game. Not more than eight couples should be used in a set.
- Reprinted from Handy Play Party Book. Copyright 1982, World Around Songs, Inc."

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Example #2
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=21232 "GO THROUGH AND HURRY" From: Jacob B; Date: 10 May 00 - 12:11 PM

"GO THROUGH AND HURRY

Four couple longways sets

(First couple sashay down) Go through and hurry, go through and hurry
(First couple sashay back) Go through and hurry, my Alabama gal
(1st couple allemande R once and a half) You don't know how, girl. You don't know how, girl.
(1st couple allem. L twice with 2nd couple) You don't know how, girl, my Alabama gal
(1st couple allem. R twice around) I'll show you how, girl. I'll show you how, girl.
(1st couple allem. L twice with 3rd couple) I'll show you how, girl, my Alabama gal
(1st couple allem. R twice around) Ain't I rock candy, ain't I rock candy.
(1st couple allem. L twice with 4th couple) Ain't I rock candy, my Alabama gal
(Original top couple retires to their own side of set,
new top couple starts the dance)

I have also seen this dance described as being done in longways sets for as many as will, with the top couple doing an elbow reel all the way down, and the new top couple starting the dance when "Go through and hurry" comes around in the lyrics, even though there are other couples who are still in the process of doing the elbow reel."

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Explanation of lyrics:
"Ain't I rock candy" = Aren't I as sweet as candy. In the United States, "rock candy" is commonly referred to as "hard candy".

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Explanation of terms:
From http://users.fred.net/tds/contra-the-short.answer/glossary.htm
Contra Dance Terms

"Set: The overall arrangement of couples for a given dance, such as a big circle, square formation, longways, etc.

Longways Set: Two lines, usually made up of partners facing each other in the opposite line. Used for contras and reels."

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FEATURED VIDEOS
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates or the date of the recording with the oldest examples given first.

Example #1: Alabama Gal



Laurie Rocconi, Uploaded on Mar 27, 2009

school dance
-snip-
Here's a comment from this video's viewer comment thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29OtTyHZrSM
Shanalikefergie. 2009o
"Aw this is cute! I did this in 4th grade. Ha ha me and one boy were the only ones who understood the dance. Hahaha. Run through the hurry, Run through the hurry. Run through the hurry, Alabama Gal. I dont know how how I dont know how how I dont know how how Alabama Gal. I'll show you how how, I'll show you how how. I'll show you how how Alabama Gal..."

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Example #2: Mountain Folk Festival, 1993 Alabama Gal



John M Ramsay, Uploaded on Feb 12, 2011

Alabama Gal is an American playparty game or dance. It is a traditional dance form which, in the old days, was popular among teenagers. The dancers supply their own music.

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Example #3: Alabama Gal



Vincent Bates, Published on Apr 5, 2012

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