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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Song Sources For The Children's Rhymes Verse "I Wish I Had A Nickel; I Wish I Had A Dime"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post identifies a particular floating verse in 19th century American fiddle songs as sources for the line "I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" that is found in some children's jump rope rhymes or hand clap rhymes.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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19th CENTURY SONG SOURCES FOR "I WISH I HAD A NICKEL, I WISH I HAD A DIME"
Pancocojams Editor:
These excerpts are given in random order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

Excerpt #1:
From http://www.ceolas.org/cgi-bin/ht2/ht2-fc2/file=/tunes/fc2/fc.html&style=&refer=&abstract=&ftpstyle=&grab=&linemode=&max=250?old+joe+clark
"Result of search for "old joe clark":

FINGER RING. AKA and see "I Wish't I Had a New Five Cents," "New Five Cents." Old-Time, Breakdown/ Song. USA, Oklahoma. D Major. ADAE. AABB. Originally from African-American tradition. Source for notated version: R.E. Perkins (Sequoyah County, Oklahoma) [Thede].

I would not have a yeller gal, I'll tell you the reason why,
She'd blow her nose on yeller corn bread and call it pumpkin pie.

Refrain
Wish't I had a finger ring (or, new five cents),
Wish't I had a dime;
Wish't I had a finger ring (new five cents),
To give that gal of mine."...

(See "Old Joe Clark," "Old Dan Tucker" for similar floating verses, also the song "Raise a Ruckus (Roughhouse) Tonight")
Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; pg. 67."
-snip-
"yeller" (yellow) girl = light skinned Black female

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Excerpt #2:
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=25394#298581
"Subject: Lyr Add: OLD JOE CLARK (from Bradley Kincaid)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 00 - 07:23 AM

OLD JOE CLARK
from Bradley Kincaid's Favorite Old-Time Songs and Mountain Ballads, Book 3, 1930
Now I've got no money
Got no place to stay
I've got no place to lay my head
And the chickens a crowin' for day

Chorus:
Fare you well, old Joe Clark,
Fare you well I say
Fare you well, old Joe Clark,
I'm goin' away to stay.

I wish I had a nickel
I wish I had a dime
I wish I had a pretty little girl
To kiss her and call her mine.

[...]

Old Joe Clark's a mighty man
What will it take to please him
A good old bottle of apple jack
And Betty Brown to squeeze him.

[...]

Quote from the book: "Old Joe Clark," who is immortalized in one of the ballads in this collection, was a notorious character in Clay county, Kentucky. As with many mountain ballads, the song tells something of his character. they will tell you in Manchester that he was a hard, rough-and-ready bully, who was shot to death by his own son, in a fight over some hogs. the boy was exonerated by the jury--and commended by the community where he still lives. When the fiddlers strike up "Old Joe Clark," every foot in Manchester beats time."...

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Excerpt #3
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_(folk_song)
"Cindy" ("Cindy, Cindy") is a popular American folk song. According to John Lomax, the song originated in North Carolina.[citation needed] In the early and middle 20th century, "Cindy" was included in the songbooks used in many elementary school music programs as an example of folk music. One of the earliest versions of "Cindy" is found in Anne Virginia Culbertson's collection of Negro folktales (At the Big House, where Aunt Nancy and Aunt 'Phrony Held Forth on the Animal Folks, Bobbs-Merrill, 1904) where one of her characters, Tim, "sang a plantation song named 'Cindy Ann'...

As with many folk songs, each singer was free to add verses, and many did. In addition, as Byron Arnold and Bob Halli noted in An Alabama Songbook, performers could swap verses with those of other songs, including "Old Joe Clark" and "Boil Them Cabbage Down".[2]

The tune is taken from the spiritual The Gospel Train, also known as "Get on Board Little Children"....

Some of the folk song verses

You ought to see my Cindy
She lives way down South
And she's so sweet the honey bees
All swarm around her mouth

°Refrain:°
Git along home Cindy, Cindy
Git along home Cindy, Cindy
Git along home Cindy, Cindy
I'll marry you some day

[...]

I wish I had a nickel
I wish I had a dime
I wish I had my Cindy gal
To love me all the time

(Refrain)"

[...]

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Excerpt #4:
From http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/233654
ARCHIVED TOPIC: Help Me With These Lyrics

HughG - Posted - 04/12/2012
"I've had a song swirling in my head but have forgotten the title, etc. Some of the words are "wish I had a nickel, wish I had a dime, I wish I had 10 dollars, I'd love you all the time Won't you come and go, won't you come and go." Some other words I remember are "shoes and stockings by the door, little bare feet on the floor. Won't you come and go", etc.

I'm new at the banjo but think I can get it so it's fun to play."

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Jim Yates - Posted - 04/13/2012
"These sound like some generic verses to songs like Old Joe Clark or Get Along Home Cindy or Shady Grove.

Wish I Had a nickel, Wish I had a dime, Wish I had a pretty little gal, I'd kiss her all the time.
Went to see my (Cindy/ Shady Grove), She was standin' in the door. Shoes and stockings in her hands, Her little bare feet on the floor."...

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John Gribble - Posted - 04/13/2012
..."Some people call these verses "floaters." This type of verse is really common in blues music, too. They are one of the many things I like about traditional songs. It is as if they are all part of one great big song."

**
carlb - Posted - 04/13/2012
"From Uncle Dave Macon

49. Going Across the Sea Vo 15192

[...]

Wouldn't you give a nickel, wouldn't you give a dime,
Wouldn't you give one dollar bill, call your name and mine.”...

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A FEW CONTEMPORARY EXAMPLES OF CHILDREN'S RHYMES THAT INCLUDE THE LINE "I WISH I HAD A NICKEL; I WISH I HAD A DIME"
"I Wish I Had A Nickel. I Wish I Had A Dime" is sometimes found as the beginning line in stand alone (independent rhymes), i.e. rhymes that are chanted by themselves without adding verses or lines from other children's rhymes or other sources.

"I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" is also sometimes found as the beginning line in a verse that is part of a combination rhyme. By "combination rhymes" I mean chanted verses that are made up of two or more rhymes that could be recited by themselves, but instead are combined together. Many contemporary (post 1960s) children's rhymes in the United States are combination rhymes. To date, the only children's rhyme that I've found a verse that begins with "I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" are a few long form versions of "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat". And all of the examples that I have found to date of these "I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" rhymes include a reference to the Frankenstein monster.

I'm not sure when this subset of children's jump rope or hand clap rhymes was first chanted, but I think it was probably in the late 20th century.

The first example of these rhymes in this post appears to be a stand alone rhyme. The other three examples are combination rhymes.

Please add in the comment section below additional versions of that rhyme or other rhymes that you know. Thanks!

I've used italics to highlight the verse/s in combination rhymes that begin with "I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" and continues that portion of the rhyme.

Example #1:

I wish I had a nickle,

I wish I had a dime,

I wish I had a boyfriend

to kiss me all the time.

My mom gave me a nickle,

my dad gave me a dime,

my sister gave me a boyfriend

to kiss me all the time.

My mom took back the nickle,

my dad took back the dime,

but no one took the boyfriend

who looked like Frankenstein. [Thanks to Rifter.]


Source: http://nz-home-schooling.blogspot.com/2006/05/chants-and-clapping-games.html#NICKLE
Saturday, May 13, 2006; Chants and Clapping Games

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Example #2:
Miss Susie had a steamboat,
The steamboat had a bell,
The steamboat went to heaven,
Miss Susie went to
Hell-o operator, Give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me,
I'll chop off your,
Behind- the refrigerator,
There was a piece of glass,
Miss Suzie sat upon it,
And cut her little,
Ass-k me any question,
I tell no lies,
The boys are in the girl's bathroom,
Zipping down their,
Flies- are in the city,
Bees are in the park,
(Friend's name) and her(his) boy(girl)friend,
Are kissing in the, D-a-r-k,
D-a-r-k, D-a-r-k, Dark dark dark,
The dark is like the movies,
The movies like the show,
The show is like the TV set,
And that is all I know,
I know I know my ma,
I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister,
With the forty acre bra,
My mother is Godzilla,
My father is King Kong,
My brother is the stupid one,
Who taught me this song,
My mother gave me a nickel,
My father gave me a dime,
My sister gave me her old boyfriend,
His name was Frankenstein,

He made me do the dishes,
He made me wash the floors,
He made me clean his underwear,
So I kicked him out the door,
I kicked him over London,
I kicked him over France,
I kicked him over Hawaii
where he learned the hula dance,
He swam across the ocean,
He swam across the sea,
He swam across the tub,
Just to get to me,
I flushed him down the tub,
I drained the water good,
I kicked him out
just like my mama said I should,
In Hawaii he met the good girls,
In Hawaii he met the bad,
Half way through Hawaii
he ran into my dad,
The good girls go to heaven,
So the bad girls go to,
Hell-o operator,
Give me number ten,
And if you disconnect me, I'll sing this song again!
-Elle F., Cocojams, 11/18/2006
-snip-
This is an example from my voluntarily deactivated cocojams.com website. I've re-published most of the children's rhyme content that was on that site (along with additional examples) on my cocojams2 blog http://cocojams2.blogspot.com/2014/10/hand-clap-jump-rope-rhymes-m-n.html.

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Example #3:
Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
(toot toot)
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to...

Hello operator
give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from...

Behind the frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And hurt her big fat...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The cow are in the meadow
making chocolate pies

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the hive
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the...

D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark dark

Dark is like a movie
A movie's like a show
A show is like a T.V. set
And that is all ...

I Know I know my ma,
I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister,
With the forty acre bra.

I wish I had a nickel
I wish I had a dime
I wish I had a boyfriend
who kissed me all the time

My Ma gave me a nickel
my Pa gave me a dime
my Sister gave me a boyfriend
Who'd kiss me all the time

My Ma took back the nickel
my Pa took back the dime
my Sister took back her boyfriend
and gave me Frankenstein


He made me wash the dishes
He made me wash the floors
He made me wash his underwear
So I kicked him out the door

I kicked him over London
I kicked him over France
I kicked him to Hawaii
where he learned to Hula dance!

Source: unknown, September 18, 2011; https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111004183624AAEFyX2

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Example #4
"I'm not sure that was ever a song, but I know it as a jump rope chant from long ago.
In it's entirety it goes like this:

Ms. Suzie Had a Steamboat

Ms. Suzie had a steamboat,
The steamboat had a bell, (ding-ding)
Ms. Suzie went to heaven and the steamboat went to-
hello operator,
please give me number nine,
and if you disconnect me I will chop off your-
behind the fridgerator,
there was a piece of glass,
miss suzie sat upon it and it went straight up her-
ask me no more questions,
please tell me no more lies,
the boys are in the bathroom,
zipping up their-
flies are in the courtyard,
bees are in the park,
the boys and girls are kissing in the D-A-R-K dark dark dark!

The dark is like a movie,
a movie’s like a show,
a show is like my TV set and that’s not all
I know I know my ma,
I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister with the alligator bra!
My mom gave me a nickel,
my dad gave me a dime,
my sis gave me her boyfriend,
who hit me all the time!
I gave mom back the nickel,
I gave dad back the dime,
I traded back the boyfriend,
Instead got frankenstein!
He made me wash the dishes,
he made me scrub the floor!
He made me call him “your highness”
and more and more and more!


Notice all the politically and socially incorrectness of the original words! You won't be hearing THAT on a schoolyard anywhere. Of course, I doubt if kids jump rope anymore, either.

Source: claudiacake, 2008, https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081205222059AAgR6lR

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RELATED LINK
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/similarities-differences-between-bang.html for the related pancocojams post "Similarities & Differences Between "Bang Bang Lulu" & "Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat."

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Visitor comments are welcome.

2 comments:

  1. Here's a somewhat more risque variant form of "I wish I had a nickel, I wish I had a dime children's rhyme:
    "r in the meadow the bees r in the park, Miss susy's with her bf, kissing in the D-A-R-K(X2) dark(X3). darker than the ocean, darker than the sea, darker than the underwear my mama gave to me, I kno I kno my mom, I kno I kno my dad, I kno I kno my sister with the porterican bra, my mom gave me a quarter, my dad gave me a dime, my sister gave me a boyfriend, his name is frankenstein, he made me wash the dishes, he made me wash the walls, he made me wash his underwear I kicked him in the balls."

    Source: buttercup2u, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXsN73k8wUw Miss susie had a steamboat, and ANDREA CANT STOP LAUGHING
    -snip-
    r= are
    bf = boyfriend

    I had to read this a couple of times before I realized that "porterican bra" meant "Puerto Rican bra".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here's an example of an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. [AKA] chant that I found which prompted me to do this research on the line "I wish I had a nickel, I wish I had a dime" in songs and rhymes:

    U wish u had a nickel
    U wish u had a dime
    U wish u had an AKA
    To love U all the time
    U wish u had a quarter
    U wish u had a dollar
    U wish u had an AKA
    To Make u scream and Holla

    Source: http://www.aka.uwa.edu/chants.htm
    -snip-
    "Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc." is a historically Black Greek letter sorority.

    This chant clearly has its source in the "I wish I had a nickel; I wish I had a dime" line in jump rope/hand clap rhymes. And those rhymes have their source in floaters from such African American origin fiddle songs as "Cindy" and "Old Joe Clark".

    ReplyDelete