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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Multiple Examples Of The Children's Rhyme "I Went Downtown" (To See Charlie Brown )

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides multiple examples of the children's jump rope/hand clap rhyme "I Went Downtown". I added the words "to see Charlie Brown" in parenthesis because it appears from my online research that this is the title that is most often used for these rhymes since at least the beginning of 2000.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

DISCLAIMER:
This collection is meant to provide a limited number of examples of this rhyme. All of these examples were retrieved from online websites, videos, or blogs from 2004 to date.

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EDITOR'S COMMENTS [slightly revised January 4, 2017]
It appears from my online retrieval of rhyme examples that most contemporary (2000s to date) examples of this rhyme have the first line/title "I Went Downtown To See [or "to meet"] Charlie Brown". However, instead of the name "Charlie Brown", earlier examples of this rhyme use the name "Mrs. Brown" or "Miss Brown", and some contemporary examples use the name "James Brown".

It's self-evident to me that the last name "Brown" was chosen because it rhymes with the word "town" and later "downtown". It also seems likely that the name "Charlie Brown" replaced the earlier names "Mrs. Brown" or "Miss Brown" by at least the mid 20th century because of the growing popularity of the Peanuts comic strip/animated movie character "Charlie Brown". It also is self-evident to me that in those rhymes that use the name "James Brown" instead of some other "Brown" name, "James Brown" refers to the R&B superstar. That said, all children who recite "I Went Downtown" rhymes may not connect the person named in those rhymes with the Peanuts character or with the R&B singer/composer.

I believe that the composer of this rhyme and the earliest date for this rhyme are unknown. Although pancocojams focuses on Black cultures throughout the world, by no means is this post meant to convey or imply that this rhyme is of Black origin or that any or all of these rhymes were composed by Black people.

No racial or ethnic information (and very little other demographic information) was cited for any of the examples that are featured in this post. That said, I think it's very likely that some of the children who have chanted "I Went Downtown" rhymes are Black. And, the inclusion of the term "black power" in the example given as #20 below, might imply that that chanter is Black. That said, the inclusion of that term and the rhyme verse from which it comes could just mean that the chanter isn't Black but knows that particular rhyme and knows the other African American originated rhyme that ends that particular version of "I Went Downtown".*

*The end lines in that version come from the hand clap rhyme "Tweeleelee" or a similar sounding title.

**
Examples Of Precursor Rhymes?
I think that it's likely that these earlier* "Brown/town" rhymes may have been precursors for the "I Went Downtown To See Charlie Brown" rhymes:

"There was a wee man from china town
His name was Mr. chic-a-lack brown
his head was big and his feet was small
and the poor wee man couldn't walk at all
(chorus)

They took him up to the top of the hill
and they rolled him down on a beechams pill
but a beechams pill was far too small
so they rolled him down on a tennis ball
(chorus)

The chorus after each verse was a childrens nonsense rhyme which went something like this:-

chic-a lack a-chic-a-lack chi-chic-a-lorum
chi-chic-a-lorum wally wally whack
oko boko cinnamon and cocoa
ichi-co ichi-co ee ii oo"
-zeebeedee, http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1487.30 http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1487.30, Re: Songs we sang as kids, February 04, 2007,
-snip-
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/in-china-there-lives-great-man-sources.html for a pancocojams post about this rhyme.

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Aint Jane Brown, went to town, riding a billy goat and leading a hound, hound barked, billy goat jumped and threw aint Jane right astride a stump
-Mary Jane, 2014, https://www.buyjumpropes.net/resources/jump-rope-rhymes-songs-buyjumpropesnet/
-snip-
"Aint'+ "Aunt"
* I'm aware from my folkloric research that these examples are earlier than the "I Went Downtown" rhymes that are the focus of this collection. However, I'm not making any attempt to date these examples in this post.

It's likely that there are other earlier examples of "Brown/town" rhymes besides those from these two rhyme "families". Additions are welcome.

**
Changes In This Rhymes' Structure
Comparisons of the earlier examples (before the mid 1990s?) examples of "I Went Downtown" rhymes with later rhymes: the earlier rhymes use what I call a "defective exchange structure"* in which one thing is exchanged for another because that thing is defective or no longer suits the person, but each new item proves to also be defective. It also appears to me that many of the older [oldest?] rhymes that use this structure end in words that compel the chanter/jumper to jump faster or jump out of the rope.

The more contemporary compositions of "I Went Downtown" are made by combining standard verses of that rhyme with verses from another stand alone (independent) playground rhyme or more than one other playground rhyme.

Contemporary examples of "I Went Downtown" are performed as partner hand claps with unison chanting. Older examples of these rhymes were performed while playing jump rope. Given these performance activities, it's likely that mostly girls around five to 12 or 13 years of age perform/performed these rhymes.

*In this 2013 pancocojams post, I referred to "defective exchange" rhymes as "trading" rhymes: http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/06/aunt-maria-jumped-in-fire-there-was-man.html Aunt Maria Jumped In The Fire, There Was A Man & He Was Mad, & Other Trading Rhymes

Changes In Rhyme Content
Although certain playground rhymes have had decidedly risque words, that wasn't the case with "I Went Downtown..." rhymes prior to the ones that I found online prior to about a couple of years ago. But some of these rhymes are definitely sexual nowadays: "a boy kissed u he took u to the movies and un dressed u"...

In one video's viewer discussion thread one commenter accused another commenter of changing the words to her (or his) version because this is a children's rhyme. But the commenter replied that that was how she was taught the rhyme from her cousins in California [Yeah- blame liberal California ;o)]

I wondered if that commenter had made up that line about a boy undressing a girl he had taken to the movies-until I read a number of other similar examples of that version in that discussion thread and in another video's discussion thread. So I guess it's authentic...

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PANCOCOJAMS' "I WENT DOWNTOWN" RHYME COLLECTION
These examples are given in relative chronological order, with what I believe are the earliest compositions [that I've found online] given in the beginning of this collection, except for some of the examples that are given in a particular website/blog, or video comment thread.

Undated examples -such as those from Wikipedia- are given at the end of this collection.

Hyperlinks, videos, poster's name and date/posting site and performance activity are included with those examples.

I've assigned numbers to these examples for referencing purposes only.

Additional examples are welcome and can be posted in the comment section below (hopefully with performance activity and demographic information.)

From The James T. Callow Folklore Archive https://research.udmercy.edu/find/special_collections/digital/cfa/index.php?term=Jump&field=keyword&start=180
[information about that archive from https://research.udmercy.edu/find/special_collections/digital/cfa/index.php"
"The University of Detroit Mercy Digital Folklore Archive, founded in 1964 by Professors Frank M. Paulsen and James T. Callow was donated to the University of Detroit Mercy Libraries / Instructional Design Studio in 2009. The Archive is comprised at this point of over 42,000 folklore traditions taken from field notes gathered by UDM (formerly University of Detroit) students as part of their course work in "Introduction to Folklore," Studies in Folklore," "Folk Groups," and "Folklore Archiving. The Folklore Archive covers traditions gathered between 1964 and 1993. Included in the Archive is the Peabody field note collection containing approximately 12,000 entries from Tennessee and the Southeast"...
-snip-
These examples were written in capitol letters. I changed that writing mostly to conform with the how other examples are presented in this post, but left all other spelling and punctuation as is.

1. I went downtown to meet Miss Brown./ She gave me a nickel, I bought pickle. The pickle was sour, I bought a flower, the flower was yello I gave it to my fellow.

Keyword(s): Plain Jump

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2. I went downtown to see Mrs. Brown/ She gave me a nickel to buy a pick
The pickel was sour, She gave me a flower. The flower was red, She
gave me a pin, The pin was sharp, She gave me a harp and the harp
played Salt, Mustard, and Pepper.

Keyword(s): Speed-Jump

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3. I went downtown to meet Miss Brown/ She gave me a nickle, I bought a
pickle, The pickle was sour, I bought a flower/ The flower was dead,
Bought a bed, The bed was thin, I bought a pin. The pin was sharp, I
bought a harp and the harp began to sing: High, Low, Medium, Wavy,
Walky, Talky, Turn Around Pepper).

Keyword(s): Speed-Jump

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4. I went downtown to meet Miss Brown/ She gave me a nickle to buy a
pickle. The pickle was sour. She gave me a flower. The flower was red
She gave me some thread. The thread was thin. She gave me a pin. The
pin was sharp. She gave me a harp. And the harp played: Salt, Mustard And Pepper.

Keyword(s): Speed-Jump

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5. I went downtown to see Mrs. Brown. She gave me a nickel to buy a pick
the pickle was sour, I bought a flower. The flower was yellow, I
gave it to my fellow.

Keyword(s): Plain Jump

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6. From Ellen Mason, AACS Music Teacher, https://www.buyjumpropes.net/resources/jump-rope-rhymes-songs-buyjumpropesnet/
I WENT DOWNTOWN
I went downtown
To see Ms. Brown,
She gave me a nickel
To buy a pickle,
The pickle was sour,
So I bought a flower.
The flower was dead, she gave me a tack.
The tack was sharp, she gave me a harp.
The harp was broke, she gave me a cloak.
The cloak was tight, she gave me a kite.
The kite away flew, and I did too.
(Player runs out at too)

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7. From https://www.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf00premium/06/0439438306_e043.pdf
I WENT DOWNTOWN
-anonymous
I went downtown
To see Mrs. Brown

She gave me a nickel
To buy a pickle.

The pickle was sour
She gave me a flower

The flower was dead
She gave me a thread

The thread was thin
She gave me a pin

The pin was sharp
She gave me a harp

She gave me a harp
And the harp began to sing
Minnie and a minnie
And a ha ha ha!

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8. From Sarah, Octoblog, Schoolyard games; 7/17/2005 [blog no longer active]
I WENT DOWNTOWN TO MEET CHARLIE BROWN
heres one that me and my friends do:
i Went down town to meet charlie brown
he gave me a nickle that bought me a pickle
the pickle was sour so he bought me a flower
the flower was dead so this is what he said:
down down baby down by the rollercoaster
sweet sweet baby never wana let you go
just because i kissed you doesnt mean i love you
shimmy shimmy coco puffs
shimmy shimmy pow
shimmy shimmy coco puffs
shimmy shimmy pow
My momy your momy live across the street
18,19 Alligator street
Boom Bang Choo Choo Train
wind me up i do my thang
( hit the person beside you)
Oops i'm Sorry!"

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9. From bettingonalice, Octoblog, Schoolyard games; 1/1/2007 [blog no longer active]
I WENT DOWNTOWN TO SEE JAMES BROWN
I went downtown to see James Brown
I gave him a nickel to buy me a pickle
The pickle was sour, so he gave me a shower
The shower was cold, so he gave me a bowl
The bowl was cracked, so he gave me a snack
Now I want my money back, Jack

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10. From https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080323122038AA6gzqe bunnycrazy751, 2007
I went downtown to see Charlie Brown
He gave me a nickle to buy me a pickle
The pickle was sour so he gave me a flower
The flower was dead and this is what he said said said!
Down down baby. Down by the river.
Peaches on the table, Picture on the floor.
Stand back baby I don't love you anymore.


Hope this helped. I love this poem/song.

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11. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080323122038AA6gzqe, darwineann , 2007
I went down town, to see Miss Brown. She gave me a nickel, to buy a pickle. The pickle was sour so she gave me a flower. The flower was black so she gave me a smack. The smack was hard so she gave me a card. And on the card it said: Little Spanish dancer turn around(turn around) . Little Spanish dancer touch the ground( and then you touch the ground) . Little Spanish dancer tie your shoe (jump on one leg, pretend to tie shoe). Little Spanish dancer sixty four ski doo .

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12. From https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080323122038AA6gzqe, Ryleigh, 2014
I went down town to see charlie brown,
He gave me nickel, so i bought me a pickle,
the pickle was sour so i got me a flower,
the flower was dead so this is what he said,
Down Down Baby Down By The Rive,
Sweet Sweet Baby Mama Never Let You Go!
I Caught You With Ur Boyfriend Naughty Naughty!
Doin the dishes, LAZY LAZY
Jump out the window! CRAZY CRAZY!
Itzy bitzy soda pop... Izy bityz boo! Itzy Bitzy Soda Pop! A Boy Likes (Hate Love, ECT...) You!

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13. From https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080323122038AA6gzqe, unknown013, 2007
I went downtown
To see Ms. Brown,
She gave me a nickel
To buy a pickle,
The pickle was sour,
So I bought a flower.
The flower was dead, she gave me a tack.
The tack was sharp, she gave me a harp.
The harp was broke, she gave me a cloak.
The cloak was tight, she gave me a kite.
The kite away flew, and I did too.

Source(s):
http://clatterymachinery.wordpress.com/category/lyrics/

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14. From -macdaddyeo1 on Feb 9, 2010 , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY1r5Mr-XmM&feature=related (transcribed from video by Azizi Powell) [video no longer available]
I WENT DOWNTOWN TO MEET CHARLIE BROWN
i went down town to meet Charlie Brown
He gave me a nickle so i got a pickle
The pickle was sour so he gave me a flower
The flower was dead and this is what he said
Down down baby up on the rollercoaster,
Sweet sweet baby never should i let you go,
Just because I kissed you doesn't mean I love you.
Shimmy shimmy coconut I know karate.
Shimmy shimmy coconut, Oops I'm sorry.
That's not funny. I'm tellin mommy
Mommy!

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15. I went downtown to see charlie Brown



balance massage therapy, Published on Sep 30, 2012

A rhyme to help kids with eye hand co-ordination and sequencing.
-snip-
Here's my transcription of this rhyme:

I went downtown to meet Charlie Brown
He gave me a nickel so I got a pickle
The pickle was sour so I bought a flower
The flower was dead so this is what I said
Down down baby
Do the rollercoaster
Sweet sweet baby
Never washed the dishes
Naughty naughty baby
Jumpin out the window
Itchy itchy soda pop you are out
Itchy itchy soda pop you are out
Itchy itchy soda pop you are out
[one girl says -It just goes for forever
-snip-
Examples from this video's discussion thread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvWPLzT4ZRs
16. The Midnight Moonie, 2014
This is what me and my friends do i went downtown to see charlie brown.he gave me a nickle to by me a pickle .the pickle was sowr so he gave me a flower. The flower was dead so this is what he said peaka peaka moniki peaka paeka chew peaka peaka moniki he kissed you he took you to the movies and he undressed you

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17. Hanna Orlando, 2015
This is how it goes...
I went downtown to see Charlie Brown He gave me a nickel to buy a pickle The pickle was sour so he gave me a flower The flower was dead so this is what he said Icky Icky soda pop icky icky doo icky icky soda pop a boy likes you He took you to the movies and undressed you Is that true Red and Blue

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18. Mollie Sowel, 2015
that's not how it goes it goes I went downtown to see Charlie Brown he gave me a nickel and bought me a pickle the pickle was sour sour so he gave me a flower the flower was dead so this is what he said icky icky soda pop icky icky icky icky soda pop a boy likes you

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19. It's Kimmy, 2016
No it's:I went Downtown to see Charlie Brown he gave me a nickle to buy me a pickel the pickel was sour so he gave me a flower the flower was dead so this is what he said pica pica monica a boy kissed u he took u to the movies and un dressed u

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20. Lania Ranae, 2016
Mine is:
Went downtown and saw James brown he gave me a nickel so I bought me a pickle the pickle was sour so I bought me a flower the flower was old and it say black power black power yo momma need a shower don't laugh haha don't laugh haha yo daddy need a bath haha.. Momma in the kitchen stirring that rice, daddy's in the corner shooting that dice brothers in jail coming his hair and sisters in the corner saying fruit cocktail

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21. Charlie Brown clapping song.



Halle Nielsen, Published on Jun 12, 2014

Clapping song
-snip-
Here's my transcription of this video:
[girls singing in unison and performing partner hand clapping]
I went downtown to see Charlie Brown
He gave me a nickel to buy a pickle
The pickle was sour so I bought a flower
The flower was dead so I just said

[girls change to chanting and miming]
Down down baby do the rollercoaster
Sweet sweet honey just because I kissed you
Doesn’t mean I love you
Shimmy Shimmy co co pop
Show off your body and FREEZE
-snip-
Here are two comments from this video's discussion thread https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu-fm43SsqE
22. Ruby Hernandez, 2016
A10 goes a little bit like this I went downtown to see Charlie Brown he gave me a nickel to buy a pickle with the flu so he gave me a flower but the flower was dead so this is what he said red white blue A boy kissed you could take you to the movies with it with his arms around you that's how it goes okay

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23. Ruby Hernandez, 2016
I meant to say I want downtown to see Charlie Brown he gave me a nickel to buy a pickle but the pickle was Sour so flower but the flower was dead so this is what he said red white blue a boy kiss you with his arms around you that's how it goes bye bye Sia

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24 & 25. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AClapping_game/Examples

Charlie Brown Went Downtown
I went downtown to see james Brown, he gave me a nickel, to buy a pickle, but the pickle was sour, so he gave me a flower, the flower was dead so this is what he said "Down down baby, down by the rollercoaster, sweet sweet baby, never going to let you go, Shimmee shimmee cocoa pop, shimmee shimmee pow. he gave me a bowl the bowl was crap so he gave me a smack

A Slightly Different Version of Charlie Brown:
I went downtown to see Charlie Brown.
He gave me a nickel so I bought myself a pickel.
The pickle was sour so I bought myself a flower.
The flower was dead so I said,
"Down, down, baby, down by the roller coaster."
Just because I kissed ya, doesn't mean I love ya."
Sugar, sugar cocoa puff! Sugar, sugar pow wow!"
Sugar, sugar cocoa puff! Sugar, sugar pow wow!"

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26. From http://funclapping.com/song-list/charlie-brown/
I went downtown

To see Charlie Brown,

She gave me a nickel

To buy a pickle,

The pickle was sour,

So I bought a flower.

The flower was dead, so he said.

Down Down baby, do the roller coaster.

Sweet sweet honey (lick your fingers), No No No.

Just because I kissed (kiss hand)

Doesn’t mean that I love you (pat heart)

Shimmy Cocopops show off your body

(stand in model pose and jump)

and Freeze.


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