Translate

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Four Examples Of "Grandma Grandma Sick In Bed" (Also known as "Down Down Baby" & "The Grandma Rap")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about and four examples of the children's rhyme that is known as "Grandma Grandma Sick In Bed".

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 featured in these videos and thanks to all those who published these videos on YouTube.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/05/get-up-grandma-you-aint-sick-all-you.html for a related pancocojams post: "Get up Grandma you Ain't Sick, All You Need Is A Hickory Stick" Lines In Children's Rhymes.

****
SHOWCASE VIDEOS
Example #1: Sesame Street: Handclapping Chants



Sesame Street Uploaded on Mar 27, 2009

If you're watching videos with your preschooler and would like to do so in a safe, child-friendly environment, please join us at http://www.sesamestreet.org
-snip-
This version of "Down Down Baby" (also known as "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Puff" and similar sounding words) combines that rhyme with the "Grandma Grandma Sick In Bed" rhyme. Both of these rhymes are of African American origin and and both could be recited by themselves, but (I believe) either or both of them are more often combined with certain other rhymes (such as "I Love Coffee I Love Tea").

Here are the words to this now iconic 1986 Sesame Street video (given without mimed (pantomined) actions)

Down down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby
I'll never let you go.

Shimmy Shimmy Coco Puff
Shimmy shimmy pow!
Shimmy Shimmy Coco Puff
Shimmy shimmy pow!

Grandma Grandma sick in bed
She called the doctor and the doctor said
Let's get the rhythm of the head
ding dong
Let's get the rhythm of the head
ding dong
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands
clap, clap
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands
clap, clap
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet
stomp, stomp
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet
(stomp, stomp)
Let’s get the rhythm of the
ha-ot dog
let’s get the rhythm of the
ha-ot dog
Put it all together and what do you get
ding dong
(clap, clap)
(stomp, stomp)
hot dog!
put it all together and what do you get
ding dong
(clap, clap)
(stomp, stomp)
Ha-ot dog!
-snip-
Note that the Rock & Roll record "Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop" by Little Anthony and the Imperials (1959) and Nelly's 2000 Hip Hop record "Country Grammar" (This Hip Hop record, in my opinion, isn't suitable for children) both contain elements of this "Down Down Baby"/"Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pa" rhyme. [I keep using the words "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pa" instead of "Cocoa Puff" because those are the words that I remember chanting during my childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey (1950s) although I can't recall doing any actions while chanting it).

****
That "Down Down Baby" ("Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pa") is of African American origin is documented by the racial demographics for the performers of the earliest collected examples. The African American origin of this rhyme is also reflected in the structure, vernacular English language, word pronunciation, some of the topical references, and some other content of those examples as well as in the rhymes' performance activities.

I recall reading [source unknown] that the earliest versions of this rhyme documented the lack of doctors for enslaved Black people in the USA. Instead of having access to medical care, when any person "grandma or not" was sick in bed, the doctor said "grandma, grandma, you're not sick/ all you need is a hickory stick". (A "hickory stick" is a a thick branch from a hickory tree that was used to give beatings.)
-snip-
ADDED: May 5, 2017:
I now believe that I read an example of a rhyme/song in "all you need is a hickory stick" in Dorothy Scarborough's 1925 book On The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs. I've included that example in the pancocojams post "pancocojams post: "Get up Grandma you Ain't Sick, All You Need Is A Hickory Stick" Lines In Children's Rhymes" whose link is given above. However, that source doesn't confirm my belief about the meaning of that song/rhyme which is titled "Old Aunt Dinah".
-end of Update-
-
According to commenter "minor muppetz, in Jan 13, 2010 on http://www.muppetcentral.com/forum/threads/question-about-down-down-baby-rhyme-clapping-game.40490/ this particular clip was "from the 1980s [and] was nominated in the sites [Sesame Street's] 40th anniversary "greatest clip of all-time" voting section."

ADDED May 5, 2017
Here's an example of the "grandma sick in bed/"all you need is a hickory stick" form of this rhyme that documents its age:
From https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26718450
"Diannah Hillsman Farrar Pruitt Whaley
Birth: May 19, 1806
Carnesville
Franklin County
Georgia, USA
Death: Jan. 16, 1894
Fox
Carter County
Oklahoma, USA

[...]

"ONE OF GRANDMA WHALEY'S POEMS / SONGS:

An old poem handed down in the Pruitt family:

"Old Aunt Dinnah, sick in the bed
Sent for the Doctor
And the Doctor said,

Old Aunt Dinnah, you ain't sick
All you need is
A Hickory stick." "
-snip-
I found this online this morning. This isn't the source that I've forgotten for the "hickory stick" line that I remember coming across some time ago.

Note that Diannah Hillsman Farrar Pruitt Whaley was White (as surmised from that genealogy report.)

****
Example #2: Grandma Rap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqH9LbmlFyc
Published on Sep 11, 2015

Embedding disabled and comments disabled by request

Vocal Strategy, Grandma Rap
-snip-
Suitable for KS2 (small group, whole class, encouraging boys' vocal work)
-snip-
My guess from these children's accents is that they are from the United Kingdom.
Instead of doing group hand claps while chanting (as performed in the video given as Example #1), these children mime actions that fit key words that they say.

Read the captions that are given in the video presented as Example #3 below for the words to this version of this rhyme.

****
Example #3: Grandma rap



Sing Up, Published on Nov 28, 2012

A rap can be one of the hardest things to sign but this example is not too hard once you have established the pulse and exactly where the signs fit the music. It is a song of two halves: the first is signed and most of the second is actions. The last line is fast so get your fingers working!
-snip-
I think that this is the United Kingdom's version of sign language. That version differs somewhat from American Sign Language (ASL).

The words that are given as captions in this video:
Grandma, Grandma sick in bed.
Called the doctor and the doctor said
Grandma, Grandma, you ain't sick
All you need is a walking stick!
And an up, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake,
And a down, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake,
And an up, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake,
And a down, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake,
To the back to the front to the s-s side,
To the back to the front to the s-s side,
She never went to college, she never went to school
But I bet your bottom dollar she can wiggle like a fool!

(repeat the entire "rap" from the beginning)
-snip-
In this version, Grandma Grandma Sick In Bed" is combined with the African American children's rhyme "She Never Went To College".

Note that "walking stick" is a more recent "socially correct" substitution for the earlier term "hickory stick". Or perhaps "walking stick was substituted for "hickory stick" because that type of stick was/is unknown to more contemporary (and perhaps also more urban children - and children who may have not ever been beaten with any stick-which I believe is a good thing.

"Peppermint stick" is another (I believe even more recent) substitution for "hickory stick" or "walking stick".
-Correction May 5, 2017
When I published this post, I wrote that "peppermint stick" referred to a stick of peppermint flavored chewing gum. But it occurs to me that "peppermint stick" probably refers to a stick of peppermint candy- what we in the United States call "candy canes", but without the curved cane shape. "Peppermint sticks" are still being sold in the USA throughout the year, but "candy canes" are mostly only sold around Christmas time. Of the two, candy canes are much more popular than peppermint sticks, which may be the reason why I didn't think of them when I initially published this post.
-end of correction-

**
"Hands up, hands down/shake it, shake it, shake it" and "Front, back, side to side" are the directional words that are combined with a number of 20th century (or earlier) African American children's hand clap/movement rhymes. The words "And an up, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake,/ And a down, shake, shake, shake, shakerdy shake" and "To the back to the front to the s-s side" can be considered "corrupted" or folk etymology forms of those earlier words. This doesn't mean that these words are wrong. But it does mean that the words are different than the text of the documented forms of these rhymes that were sung "early on".

**
"Wiggle like a fool" means to dance very good (to dance without concerns about any social prohibitions).
-snip-

****
A TEXT VERSION OF "GRANDMA GRANDMA SICK IN BED"
"Grandma Moses sick in bed
Called for the doctor
And the doctor said
Grandma Moses, you're not sick
All you need is a peppermint stick.
Clap your hands, turn around (* Jumper mimes actions *)
touch the ground.

Old man Moses sick in bed
Called for the doctor
And this is what he said
Take two steps forward (* Jumper mimes actions *)
Turn around
Do the bugaloo
And get out of town. (* Jumper exits *)"


From http://mudcat.org/jumprope/jumprope_display.cfm?rhyme_number=94

Source [given on that page]: Hastings (1990)
-snip
"Do the bugaloo" = do a certain type of R&B/Latin dance.

****
SOME PANCOCOJAMS POSTS OF RELATED CHILDREN'S RHYMES
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/05/examples-of-ive-never-been-to-college.html Examples of "I've Never Been To College" & "I've Never Been To Frisco" Verses in Children's Rhymes

**
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/sources-of-big-movie-rap-shimmy-shimmy.html Sources Of The Movie Big's Rap Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop

**
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/02/front-back-side-to-side-in-childrens.html
Front, Back, Side To Side In Children's Rhymes

**
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/05/ladies-and-gentlemen-children-to Ladies And Gentlemen, Children Too

**
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/08/aunt-jenny-died-childrens-playground Aunt Jenny Died- Children's Playground Rhymes

****
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

4 comments:

  1. On May 4, 2017 the Republicans in the United States won their long sought after vote to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but which they call "Obamacare" and replace it with "Trumpcare".

    This post is my comment about that highly regressive action.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In my comments about the children's group version/ the man's sign language version of this rhyme/chant (Examples #2 & #3 which are titled "Grandma's Rap", I noted how the words to some of the rhyme/chant differ from earlier documented examples. I also shared that that didn't mean that those examples were "wrong", but they are "corrupted".

    To expand on that, I believe that children's recreational rhymes (and singing games and cheers) are folk compositions. Just like there can be multiple versions of a particular folk song, there can be multiple examples of a particular children's rhyme. However, I believe that for the folkloric, historical, and socio-cultural record, it's important to try to find and document the earliest known version of any folk song or folk rhyme, and also document how the lyrics and performance activities (and sometimes even the tune and tempo) changes over time or within the same time with the same populations and different populations.

    I'm not a fundamentalist about folk songs or folk rhymes (i.e. someone who believes that a song or rhyme must be performed the same way or close to the same way as their earliest known example/s). But I think that songs and rhymes that depart too much from their cultural origin (in language, content, and/or structure) need to be "called out" i.e. for instance, by noting "for the record" as I have done here that changes have been made to that composition.

    Also, the farther you get from the earliest or earlier examples of a folk song or folk rhyme, the "muddier" the composition's "original intent" and/or message gets, to the point that people just think that these songs or rhymes were just performed "for fun" and nothing else.

    With regard to the "Grandma Grandma sick in bed" rhyme, I "stand by" my belief that this rhyme was originally a code way of complaining about the lack of medical care that enslaved Black people in the USA (or poor Black people after slavery ended) had.

    That historical context is completely removed by changing "hickory stick" to "walking stick" or "peppermint stick".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to clarify that I remember chanting "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pa/Shimmy Shimmy Pa" verse which I sung as part of the "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" rhyme when I was growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey (1950s). I remember the "Let's get the rhythm of the hands etc. part of that rhyme, but I
      don't remember the "Grandma Grandma sick in bed" lines. Perhaps, those lines were a part of that rhyme but it's interesting that I've forgotten them but remember the other part of that rhyme.

      **
      Here's an excerpt of a comment on this subject that I wrote in 2009 on a Mudcat folk music forum discussion thread about another children's rhyme in which someone is sick and a doctor is called on her behalf:

      Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sally Weaver/Oh Dear Doctor
      From: Azizi
      Date: 14 Mar 09 - 08:08 PM

      ..."I don't know this rhyme, though it seems likely to me that it's related to "Water Water Wallflower"...

      I have heard this verse in "Down Down Baby' ("I Love Coffee I Love Tea"* hand clap rhymes and I have found it online in a number of contemporary versions of that "Down Down Baby" rhyme:

      Doctor doctor will I die?
      Close your eyes and count to five
      1-2-3-4-5
      I'm alive!

      [sometimes this is added-"And on channel 5!"]

      "An older version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" has the verse
      Grandma Grandma sick in bed
      called the doctor and the doctor said
      Get up Grandma You aint sick.
      All you need is a hickory stick.

      -snip-

      I knew a version of "I Love Coffee..." in my childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey (1950s). But we didn't say either the "doctor doctor will I die" or the "grandma sick in bed" verse. I've never heard any African American girls in Pittsburgh, PA (my 'primary' face to face rhyme collection sources) say the "grandma sick in bed" verse. But, they "doctor doctor will I die/close your eyes and count to five" verse is a standard verse for that rhyme."

      http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=111636

      Note: "they" in that last sentence is a typo for "the".

      Delete
    2. I mentioned in an earlier comment that I remember the "Let's get the rhythm of the hands" verse but not the "grandma grandma sick in bed" verse.

      For the record, a contemporary version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" from Virginia is given as the first example in this mudcat folk music thread: http://awe.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=102055&messages=68 Folklore: Play Ground Hand Jives
      From: GUEST,Natasha Woods
      Date: 30 May 07 - 03:59 PM
      -snip-
      Natasha Woods refers to these examples as "handjives".

      That example of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" differs from the one that I remember by its inclusion of racial references i.e. "I like a color boy and he likes me/so step back white boy..."). But it's probably the same as the version that I recited in New Jersey in the 1950s in that it has the "let's get the rhythm of the hands" etc. verse, but not the "grandma sick in bed" verse.


      Delete