Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Documenting Some Examples Of The "Mama's In The Kitchen" Verse From The Adult Only Songs "Doing The Dirty Boogie" & "Ala Boogie" In "Rockin Robin" ("Tweeleelee") Hand Clap Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Revision -November 29, 2018; previous title Documenting Some Examples Of A Verse From The Adult Only Songs "Doing The Dirty Boogie" & "Ala Boogie" In "Rockin Robin" ("Tweeleelee") Hand Clap Rhymes.

This pancocojams post documents a verse from the adult only bawdy (raunchy, nasty) songs "Doing The Dirty Boogie" and "Ala Boogie" that are often found in "Rockin Robin" ("Tweeleelee") hand clap rhymes.

Note [added November 29, 2018] I've coined the name "mama in the kitchen" for this verse. However, I don't mean to imply that every song, or chant, or children's rhyme that includes the words "mama's in the kitchen" is an example of or a variant form of this verse from the above mentioned bawdy songs or any other bawdy song.

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

WARNING: Some examples in this pancocojams post include sexually explicit references and/or profanity. The profanity is either given in spelling amended by the contributors or amended by this blog's editor.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
This post is a continuation of a two part pancocojams series on "Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee)" hand clap rhymes.

Click Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee) - Analysis, Performance Activity, & Text Examples" for Part 1 of that series. The link for Part 2 (which features several videos of that hand clap game) is given in Part I.

Also, click for the pancocojams post entitled Examples Of Black Fraternity Chants That Are Based On The "Mama's In The Kitchen" Verse From The Bawdy Song "Doing The Dirty Boogie"

This pancocojams post only quotes verses of these songs from these quotes that I consider to be not as dirty (bawdy, raunchy) as the other verses that are given in these quotes. Click the links that are given for the complete lyrics that are found in these quoted examples.

These examples are given in chronological order based on their internet publishing dates. Numbers are given for referencing purposes only>

Example #1
"I'm not sure of the title or how old this song is but I learned this much back in the 1930s.Does anyone have the rest of the lyrics or even heard it.All help really appreciated.This is what I remembered
Daddy's in the Whorehouse
Momma's in jail
Sis is on the corner
Hollering Boogie Woogie for sale
Boogie Woogie Boogie Woogie
Boogie Woogie for me Boogie Woogie for you
And I hope you're satisfied you rascal you
-Louie Roy 12 Sep - 10:47 AM, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"
This comment is quoted in its entirety.

Example #2
Songs of Raunch and Ill-Repute page 25 has something similar to the Boogie Woogie / Rockin' Robin:


Mom's in bed, Pop's on top,
Kid's in the cradle yellin', "Shove it to her, Pop."
Ala Boogy -- That's all I crave.

Mom's in bed, Pop's in jail,
Sis's in the corner yellin', "Pussy for sale."
Ala Boogy -- that's all I crave.

Mom's in the kitchen, Pop's locked up,
My hunchback brother has my sister knocked up.
Ala Boogy -- that's all I crave"


Haven't got a nickel, haven't got a dime,
House full of kids, and none of 'em's mine.
Ala Boogy -- that's all I crave.


I've done sung this song till I sweat,
Ain't anybody bought no Ala Boogy yet.
Ala Boogy -- that's all I crave.
Notes: It seems that the commercially successful 1958 "Rockin' Robin" song was a cleaned up version of the bawdy original. The text above is from May 1958

The "...tank full of gas ... hand full of ass" verse floats independently and has been used as a marching cadence (to the tune of "Sound Off (the Duckworth chant)". The first two verses also appear in other bawdy songs."
-and e, 22 Jul 08 - 11:30 AM, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"

Example #3

This dirty old boogie
It's taking this town
It h'aint no use
From the hips on down
When we done the dirty boogie
In the low down way
But the dirty old boogie
Drive you to your grave


Well Momma's in bed
And Dad's on top
Sister's in the corner
Hollerin', "Lay it to her pop!"


Now lay down Momma
Be careful how you lay
Daddy's going to get ya
In the family way


See that girl all dressed in green
She's got the biggest boogie
I've ever seen

Well there h'ain't no use
She's raising no hell
I know you've done the boogie
By the way you smell.”…

This is transcribed from a 1940's party record on YouTube. See here:
-and e, 23 Jul 08 - 04:22 AM, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"

Example #4
"Here is the version I learned (although I can't remember one line completely). It was sung pretty fast until you got the the "drive me to my grave" which was VERY slow.

...Mama in the kitchen, Papa in jail.
Sister on the corner singing "pussy for sale".
It's a dirty, dirty boogie that's what I crave.
Dirty, dirty boogie gonna drive me to my grave.
-GUEST,Bill, 26 Oct 11 - 07:43 AM, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"

Example #5
"My dad did a version of this but different lyrics
Mamas in the whorehouse daddy's in jail my sisters on the corner got pussy for sale. Do the dirty boogie!!! Lolol"
- "Doing the Dirty Boogie" Early Rock & Roll For Adults Only", comment posted by Vanessa Miner, 2012

This section only includes the verse in these rhymes that is the focus of this post. Click the link that is given for the complete version of this rhyme
Example #1:
"I don't know this song but FYI, I've collected a handclap rhyme called "Rockin Robin" [also known as "Tweedleelee"]from African American females in various United States communities.
That rhyme has a very similar verse:

Momma's in the kitchen cooking rice.
Daddy's at home shooting dice.
Brother's in jail raising bail [or pissin in the pail}
Sister's in the corner sellin
fruit cocktail. *


* From my observations of girls [in Pittsburgh, PA and surrounding areas from 1997 to date] and from comments that I received from women in Pittsburgh, PA area, Erie PA, Cleveland PA, Atlanta GA, and New York, City it seems clear from the accompanying movements that children recognize the sexual implications of the phrase "fruit cocktail". The girls pat down their hips to the beat and shake their hips from side to side to when they say "fruit cocktail".

I wonder if this "Boogie Woogie" song [whatever it is] contributed to this verse.
-: Azizi, 12 Sep 05 - 12:27 PM, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"
This quote is given with a corrected spelling of the word "observation".

Example #2
Motherf&&ker* let me get you straight
Your mother's in jail
your father's in hell
your sister's on the corner hollaring pussy for sail**
-mack, Jul 21, 2005 3:52 am, Location Snotlanta, "Childhood Chants/Songs/Clapping games.."
*This word is fully spelled out in this example.

**”Sail” is probably a typo for “sale”.

"Snotlanta" is a humorously coined nickname for Atlanta, Georgia

Example #3
"I don't remember how WE starated macks, but it went
Momma's in the Kitchen cooking fried chicken
daddy's in be half way dad
brother's in school acting like a fool
sister's on the corner selling fruit cocktail

(but we did touch our chest when we said fruit, our thighs when we said C*** and our butts when we said tail)"
-act up, hu Jul 21, 2005 3:05 pm, "Childhood Chants/Songs/Clapping games.."
“half way dad” is probably a typo for “half way dead”.

Example #4:
"I remember this one too, but our went:

Momma's in the kitchen cooking rice
Daddy's outside shooting dice
Brother's in jail raising hell
Sister's on the corner yelling pussy for sale.

(Rockin Robin...70's SE DC version)"
-Mint, Jul 21, 2005, "Childhood Chants/Songs/Clapping games.."

Example #5
"mama in he kitchen cookin fried rice
daddy oUt side shootin some dice
brothA in jail drinkin gingerale
sista roun te corner sellin FRUIT COCTAIL”...…
- j-mil; 3/19/2005 ; (African American male; Maryland), [This website is no longer active]

Example #6
..."mothers in the kitchen cooking rice,
poppa's in the bathroom shooting dice,
brothers in jail raising hell,
sister's in the corner selling fruit cocktail
rocking robin (some children sing other parts not to sure what they are, the words were the same since I was young but now they add things that relate to their time)"
-Guest KLC,(East Harlem, New York, New York, ; Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?; July 11, 2008; quoted in Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee) - Analysis, Performance Activity, & Text Examples

Example #7
Ha i heard of a handshake kinda simliar to this but I don't know the whole thing here it is (dont know if u looking for this)

Swing,Swing,Swing to the U S A Hey hey!
Momma's in the kitchen cooking fried chicken
Dad's in bed half way dead
Sisters at School Looking like a fool (or acting like a fool)
Brothers In Jail Drinking Ginger Ail
And i dont know the rest...”
- GUEST,Kjnnhh22, 17 Dec 10, "Lyr Req: Boogie Woogie ???????????????"

Example #8
..."momma's in the kitchen,cookin fried chicken,daddy's in bed,half-way dead,sister's in school acting all cool/like a fool,brother's in jail eating fruit cock tail.!!
-Larasgun3, 2011, "Rockin Robin"

Example #9
"Neat! The one in my school went: "Mama's in the kitchen cooking fried chicken, Daddy's in the hall playing basketball, brother's in school acting like a fool, sister's in bed, I think she's dead!"
-M1NAM1, 2015; "Rockin Robin", 2011 [WARNING: The end of this video contains a "f bomb" (profanity)]

Example #10
"I learned
“Mamas in the kitchen cooking fried chicken, daddy’s in bed halfway dead, brothers in school actin like a fool, sisters in jail tryna make bail”
-Dalton Z-Back Up, November 2018, "Rockin Robin", 2011

Example #11
Mine is:
I 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"
- Lania Ranae, 2016,

Example #12 [added November 29, 2018]





tweet baby tweet baby your breath stinks

she rocks in the tree top all day long huffing and a puffing and a singing that song all little birdies on jay bird street love to hear the robins go suck my feet rockin robin tweet tweet a leet rockin robin tweet tweet a leet mommy's in the kitchen cooking fried chicken daddys in bed half way dead brothers at school actin like a fool sisters on the corner selling fruitcock tail grandmas in the shower for an half an hour..........forgot the rest
- smootches87 [Location: US - Texas], Apr 25 2008, "Lil Girls .. Hand Games!"

Example #13 [added November 29, 2018]





ROCKIN ROBIN TWEET TWALEE (Location: New York),Apr 25 2008, "Lil Girls .. Hand Games!"

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  1. Here's an excerpt of a comment that I posted in a 2005 discussion thread about the bawdy song "Doing The Dirty Boogie" on the Mudcat folk music forum. This excerpt is given with corrected typos, and reformatted to enhance its readability.

    This comment provides information about one way that I collected examples of "Tweedleelee" and other children's rhymes, and also provides some specific information about children's and adult's attitudes about that "Rockin Robin" rhyme.

    ..."It's my opinion that next to "Miss Mary Mack", "Tweedleelee" {or some approximation of that word} is the most well known hand clap rhyme among African Americans in Pittsburgh, Pa area.

    I should digress and say that my primary sources for these rhymes were African American girls and boys 6-12 years old in the Pittsburgh PA area. The children were participants in ongoing cultural sessions or once a year outreach cultural presentations that I conducted on African American game songs & rhymes {1997-2004}. As a regular part of both of these programs, I would ask children if they knew any rhymes or cheers. In time, both girls and boys at the weekly sessions would readily volunteer to "do" a rhyme. However, at the once a year presentations, it was mostly girls who volunteered.

    In the weekly sessions while the children performed a rhyme, I would tape record it and write down its words, But in the more time sensitive presentation format, I would usually just tape record the rhymes, and transcribe them once I got home. However,sometimes at the presentations, as was the case with this particular rhyme, I was able to ask the children to repeat the rhyme more slowly without performing the hand clap routine and other children joining in the recitation so I could be reasonably sure I written it down correctly. Since in most case, these rhymes hadn't been written down before, the children didn't know the "correct" spelling for some of the words. Maybe there isn't any "correct" spelling. At any rate, sometimes I had to "guestimate" the spelling of a word or phrase or sound.

    With regard to "Tweedleelee" I should also mention that often the adult coordinators at the outreach sites didn't want the children to recite "Tweedleelee". Stay with me. You'll see why.

    I've also had adults {African American} from Pittsburgh recite a version of "Tweedleelee" from their memory of the 1970s. And I've had a woman from New York City {Brooklyn/Puerto Rican descent}; a woman from Norfolk, VA {Samoan/Filipino descent; and a woman from Erie, Pennsylvania {African American}send me a written copy of their version of "Tweedleelee". Admittedly this is a small sample, but I'm believe this rhyme is probably known elsewhere and probably crosses racial lines."

    1. Click for a pancocojams post entitled "Examples Of The "I Went Downtown To Get A Stick Of Butter" Verse In Rockin Robin (Tweleelee) Rhymes"

    2. Here's my distinct recollection of a cultural session on West African folktales that I facilitated around 2001 in the Northview Heights area of Pittsburgh (which is some distance from the East Liberty area where I lived/live and where I had already collected some examples of what the children called "Tweeleelee" or "Tweedleelee").

      I began my session on African folktales by talking about Black children's rhymes and other oral traditions in this country (the United States).

      As usual, when I asked the children assembled at this session which hand claps they knew, lots of children raised their hands and/or just called out the title to "Tweedleelee" hand clap rhyme. I recall that I picked four children to come up to the front of the room -three girls and one boy. (Unlike a number of other hand clap rhymes, boys LOVED to chant this rhyme, but in my experience, they didn't like to do the hand claps in public as much as the girls did.) Tweeleelee was and still is usually performed as a four person hand clap rhyme. My plan was to pick two sets of performers, but for the second set, one boy who I selected decided not to go to the front of the room, and so that group only had three players. But that was okay since "Tweeleelee" is often performed with three players.

      The children who were chosen and most of the other children enthusiastically chanted this rhyme. However, when the rhyme came to a certain point, one teenage girl (who I believe was an assistant at that community center) loudly yelled out "Squash!". All the children in the room -excerpt for one young girl-immediately stopped chanting. The teenager even more loudly said "SQUASH!" and the girl stopped chanting.

      At that time I didn't know why that teenager wanted the group to stop sharing that rhyme with me. I remember an adult working there saying something like "They shouldn't finish that." At the conclusion of my cultural session-which included me sharing my adaptation of a West African folk tale with a song- I privately went up to the teenage girl and asked her would she share the rest of the Tweeleelee rhyme with me, but she declined to do so.

      Some years later (around 2003-2004) I collected a version of "Tweeleelee" from some elementary school age girls in the East Liberty area of Pittsburgh that probably included that banned verse. Here's that verse:
      "I went downtown to get a stick of butter
      I saw James Brown sittin in the gutter
      He had a piece of glass
      Stickin in his butt
      I never saw a black man run so fast."

      Another time, one seven year old girl with a very strong personality told her two girl friends who were eight years old to say "butta" instead of saying "butt" in their version of "Tweleelee" that they were sharing with me (in response to my question did they know that rhyme". Here's their version:
      I went downtown to get a stick of butter.
      I saw James Brown laying in the gutter
      He had a piece of glass stickin in his butta
      I never saw a Black man run so fast."

      I asked why did she say "butter" and she said "because butt is a bad word".