Saturday, November 8, 2014

African American Singing Games & Movement Rhymes (M-Z)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series that features selected examples of African American singing games & movement rhymes. These examples include ring (circle) games, line games, play party songs, and other movement rhymes. These examples either originated with African Americans or are African American versions of those rhymes that originated with non-African Americans.

This post showcases a sample of children's rhymes whose titles (first words) begin with the letters "M-Z. This post also includes a quote about African American ring games and as well as my general comments about these rhymes.

Click for Part I of this sries. Part I features examples "A"-"L".

DISCLAIMER: This collection isn't meant to be a comprehensive listing of examples in these category. Nor is this collection meant to imply that African Americans are the only ones to chant or sing these rings or similar rhymes. Note: In this series all of these examples are referred to as "rhymes".

This series don't mean to imply that only African American children play these games.

These examples are posted for folkloric and recreational purposes.

Thanks to all who have contributed these rhyme examples.

With considerable regret, I have disabled the comment feature on cocojams2 blogs (and on my other blogs except for, because of the large number of spam comments that I received on those blogs.

Comments for those blogs can be sent to my email address azizip17 dot com at yahoo dot com for possible inclusion in a specific post on those blogs.

(From Notes to the vinyl album Mother Hippletoe: Rural and Urban Children's Songs, written by Kate Rinzler* (album published by New World Records, NW 291 MONO, 1978
..."In ring games the players may sit on the ground, stand in place, or move. They may remain in a ring or weave, add to a group in the center, or add to a line until there is no ring. Thee ring may be empty or have a leeader in the center or outside. The players may hold hands, clap hands, or not touch. They may or may not mime a text. They may skip, slide, walk, chase, fall down, or stand still. They may take turns or be eliminated one by one. In the United States the games derive from British and African traditions, the result of the interaction of children from two cultures."
That excerpt is from the notes to Band 2, Items 1, 2, 6, and 7 Ring Games: Sally Died; Ronald McDonald; Zoodiac; Zing-Zing-Zing Washington, D.C., schoolgirls, vocals.
Recorded 1976 at Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife, Washington, D.C.
Given the demographics of Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s, "Washington, D.C. schoolgirls" meant "Black school girls".

MY COMMENTS ABOUT THIS QUOTE AND THESE EXAMPLES Kate Rinzler wrote that "In the United States the [ring] games derive from British and African traditions, the result of the interacton of children from two cultures". My friendly amendment is that the interaction is between British and African traditions, and not necessarily any direct interaction between British and African traditions. (Besides, British people can be of African descent and vice versa).

Reading the notes that Kate Rinzler wrote in 1978 about the performance directions for the ring games (and the jump rope rings) that are featured in that Mother Hippletoe album points out the fact that performance directions can and often have changed over time in the same (racial & national) population, and can also be different within that same or multiple populations in the same time.

The term "ring games" usually is defined as "circle games". However, Kate Rinzler wrote that "ring games are not necessarily played in rings".

One overarching characteristic of most of the African American singing games and movement rhymes (those showcased in this cocojams2 series and others) is that they provide opportunities for their performers to move, with "dancing" being the preeminent movements. Notice that many of the ring games direct the person in the middle to "show me your motion", followed by the rest of the group declaring "we can do your motion." Also, notice that a number of the featured movement rhymes include the verse that exhorts the chanters to move "to the front/to the back/to the side, side, side. Not just the words, but the uptempo, percussive tunes of these rhymes and singing games also encouraged their chanters and their singers to move, and to dance their worries away. It's no wonder that a number of Rhythm & Blues records and records from other genres of African American include titles and verses from these children's singing games and rhymes.

These examples are published in alphabetical order based on their titles or on the first few words of their first line. Multiple versions of specific rhymes are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date online, their (book) publishing date, or the date that I directly collected them. The oldest dated examples are presented first. The rhyme category of the example is noted in parenthesis after the example's "title". A limited number of videos are included in this post.

M , N
MY MAMA'S CALLING ME (singing game)
Leader: My Mama's calling me.
Chorus: (You can't get out of here.) My Mama's calling me.
(You can't get out of here.)
What shall I do?
(Pat your ones to your knees.)
What shall I do?
(Pat your twos to your knees.
What shall I do?
(Pat your threes to your knees.
Pat your all.)

-Cheryl Warren Mattox, Shake It To The One That You Love The Best: Play Songs and Lullabies From Black Musical Traditions (JTG of Nashville, 1989, p. 13) Here are the notes from that book about "My Mama's Calling Me":>br> "Description: African American ring game.

"Call and response" is a form of music widely heard throughout Black cultures. This song provides a simple example of the "call and response" technique, which is an exchange between a leader (soloist) and the group (chorus). The child in the center of the ring is the leader and sings the "call". The other players sng the "response". During the game action thee leader tries to break out of the ring but the other players attempt to keep her in. Whoever lets her out becomes "it" and goes to the center of the ring."
My guess is that "ones", "twos", "threes", and "your all" refer to body patting (pattin' Juba), with "ones and twos" meaning "one hand and two hands"; "threes" meaning your two hands and your head, and "pat your all" means your whole body. Here's a video of the song (without the game movements)

my mama's callin me continental elementary

nancywarren Uploaded on May 14, 2009
Continental Elementary, Green Valley AZ K-1 featuring a group of girls singing in "My Mama's Callin' Me", an African/American Circle Game that the children really enjoyed playing so we incorporated it into our concert. Circle games are a great way for teachers to pick out potential soloists, because the person in the middle gets to sing a solo, and they don't even realize it!!!

(singing game) From Old Mother Hippletoe vinyl ablum:
Like “Catfish,” “Mister Rabbit” is from the large animal-song repertoire. In one widely used formula the rabbit is asked numerous questions, which he answers in rhyme, in call-and-response fashion, as in the following examples:
“Your coat’s mighty gray”
“’Twas made that way”
“Your feet’s mighty red.”
“I’m almost dead.”
“Your tail’s mighty white.”
“And I’m getting’ out o’ sight.”

The collector’s notes state that this is a ring game in which pairs of children clap hands and an odd man out steals a partner.

Call: So go, rabbit
Response: Rabbit, rabbit.
Leader: Mr. Rabbit, what makes your ears so thin?
Rabbit: Always hopping right in the wind.
Call: So go, rabbit,
Response: Rabbit, rabbit
Rabbit, rabbit.
-Susie Miller and two boys, vocals.
Recorded 1939 in Vicksburg, Miss., by Herbert Halpert. Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song AFS 3074 B1. Ruth Crawford Seeger, Animal Folk Songs for Children.; found in
"Mister Rabbbit" was popularized by Anglo-American folk singer Burl Ives who included it in his 1950s record 'Little White Duck' and other Children's Favorites". A number of children's music books and websites include the Burl Ives' version of that song's lyrics, usually without any mention of its African American singing game roots. Click for those song lyrics and for a sound file of Burl Ives' rendition of "Mister Rabbit".

OLD GRANDPAW YET (play party)
From notes written by Kate Rinzler, Old Mother Hippletoe... record
“Old Grandpaw Yet” seems to be a game with a loner sitting in a chair in the center of a ring."

Old Grandpaw Yet,
Not a soul can he get,
And he’s tired of living here alone, here alone,
And he’s tired of living here alone.

Some of you young girls,
Take pity on his case,
And make him a wife of his own, of his own,
And make him a wife of his own.

You can rise to your feet
And kiss the first you meet,
For there’s plenty all around the chair, chair, chair
There’s plenty all around the chair.

Old Grandma Yet,
Not a soul can she get,
And she’s tired of living here alone, here alone,
And she’s tired of living here alone.

Some you young men,
Take pity on here case,
And make her a husband of her own, of her own,
And make her a husband of her own.

You can rise to your feet
And kiss the first you meet,
For there’s plenty all around the chair, chair, chair,
There’s plenty all around the chair
-Old Mother Hippletoe,,

OLD JOHN THE RABBIT "According to Herbert Halpert, the ring game “Old John the Rabbit” was played by a circle of children with a lead singer in the center. The tune and response are the response are the same as those that Bessie Jones teaches for “Shoo, Turkey.”

At the end of her game, a line of children sit on their haunches and, to the refrain “Shoo, turkey, shoo, shoo,” hop in the fashion children also use to imitate rabbits. In tradition, games frequently change. They are added to and subtracted from as the aesthetics and knowledge of games vary from group to group. One can easily imagine “Old John the Rabbit” acquiring a rabbit hop from the “Shoo, turkey, shoo” of the game with identical vocal form. As other words are found with this tune, so other tunes are found with these words.

In American Negro Rhymes, Wise and Otherwise (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1968 (reprint of 1922 edition), pp. 263-71), Thomas Talley gives a glimpse of the process of floating texts from one game to another. A game like “Old John the Rabbit,” played by young and old alike, [This song] Commonly went on continuously for a quarter of an hour or more...It was accomplishment for a leader to be able to sing “calls” for so long a time…and still a greater accomplishment to sing the calls both in rhyme and with meaning.

Call: Old John the rabbit
Response: Yes, ma’am.
Got a mighty bad habit,
Going in my garden,
Cutting down my cabbage.
My name is Mary.
Got sweet potatoes.
And if I live
To see next fall,
I ain’t gonna pick
No cotton at all
-Four girls, vocals. Recorded 1939 in Amory, Miss., by Herbert Halpert. Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song AFS 2975 A3.,i>Old Mother Hippletoe,


Old lady Sally wants to jumpty-jump
Jumpty-jump, jumpty-jump
Old lady Sally wants to jumpty-jump
And old lady wants to bow.

Throw that hook in the middle in the pond
* Catch that girl with the red dress on.
Go on, gal, ain't you shame? Shamed of what? Wearing your dress in the latest style.

Many fishes in the brook.
Papa catch 'em with a hook.
Mama fried them in a pan.
Baby ate 'em like a ma.

Preacher in the pulpit.
Preaching like a man.
Tryin to get to Heaven on a 'lectric fan
Do your best, pappy daddy do your best.
-Recorded at Lily's Chapel School, York, Alabama (1950s),
*Given in Shake It To The One That You Love The Best (Cheryl Warren Mattox) as "Thrown that fish in the middle of the pond/Catch that girl with the red dress on".
Directions (from the Smithsonian Folkways record):
The children stand in two lines facing each other. They all sing. Both rows jump back and forth, each child with his feet together.** On the last line "Old Lady Sally wants to bow", the lines jump forward and each child bows to the one opposite him**. This is all sung and acted out very rapidly. Ordinarily, the children clap their hands. In June, however, after a day of chopping cotton, jumping back and forth was enough.

Old Lady Sally is an old woman still trying to get a man. She goes "jumpty-jump" to appear young and she wears a red dress in the latest style to "catch one of the many fish in the brook". The children think that she should be ashamed of herself for not acting like an old woman should.

Click for other comments about the performance directions and meanings of this song's lyrics.


"Way Down Yonder In The Paw Paw Patch" (singing game)
Where, oh where is dear little Susie? *
Where, oh where is dear little Susie?
Where, oh where is dear little Susie?
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin up paw paws puttin em in the basket
Pickin up paw paws puttin em in the basket
Pickin up paw paws puttin em in the basket
Way down yonder in the paw paw patch
-Azizi Powell, childhood memories (Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the 1950s.)
* The name given is changed to the name or nickname of the person hiding from the rest of the group in the designated "paw paw patch").

I remember "Way Down Yonder In The Paw Paw Patch" as a movement game. I probably learned it from teachers at summer my Baptist church's Vacation Bible school or camp. I also remember learning "Zoodio" and "In the River On The Bank" at that same summer school or camp. "In the River On The Bank" is a competitive movement line game of Caribbean or African American origin. The leader tries to get people in the group to jump the wrong way when he (or she) says "in the river" or "on the back". The last person remaining is the winner.

Examples of "Zoodio" are found below. Click for a link to a video of "In The River On The Bank" that is played by fencing students.

PEEP SQUIRREL [line game and other activities]
Peep squirrel
Ya di da di deedy um
Peep squirrel
Ya di da di deedy um

Hop squirrel,
Ya di da di deedy um
Hop squirrel,
Ya di da di deedy um

(Each line is repeated as above.)

Run squirrel.
Ya di da di deedy um

Come here squirrel,
Ya di da di deedy um

Whoa mule,
I can't get the saddle on.

Hold that mule,
I can't get the saddle on.

Go that squirrel,
I can't get the saddle on.

Go that squirrel,
I can't get the saddle on.

Ya di da di deedy um-a
Ya di da di deedy um-dum!
-Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes, Step It Down, p. 214
Here's a quote from book: [This is] "one of Mrs. [Bessie] Jones' songs that she says is especially for children. You can sing "Peep Squirrel" whil the children dance, or while you're bouncing a child on your knee, or at a slower pace, it makes a fine song for a tired baby and a warm lap and rocking chair."

A shorter version of "Peep Squirrel" is included in Cheryl Warren Mattox's book Shake It To The One That You Love Thee Best, page 36. "Peep Squirrel" is described in that book as a line game. "Players stand very still in two lines pretending to be trees. One child plays the part of the squirrel peeping, hopping and running around the "trees". On the verse "catch the squirrel", the race is on and whoever catches the "squirrel" takes over that role. "Yaddle-da-di deeedle-dum" represents the soft, fluttery sound of a squirrel scurrying through leaves."

PIZZA PIZZA DADDY-O (Version #1) [movement rhyme]
Mary had a baby (Tanya, Sherry, etc.)
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
How you know it?
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Cause she told me
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
What's his name
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Jessie James
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
What's special?
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Toilet tissue
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's jerk it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's swim it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's skate it,
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's freak it,
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's twine it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's bat it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's fan it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o
Let's spin it
Pizza Pizza daddy-o.
-From the DVD- The Films of Bess Lomax Hawes,
Here's a video clip of this film:

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O

John Melville Bishop, Uploaded on Dec 12, 2009
Another clip of this film briefly shows an even shorter segment of "Pizza Pizza Daddy-O" as well as other singing games. That video's summary statement indicates that "Pizza Pizza Daddy-O" is "A 1967 film by Bob Eberlein and Bess Lomax Hawes that looks at continuity and change in girls' playground games at a Los Angeles school".

"The Jerk" and "Twine" are names of 1960s R&B dances.
Click for the pancocojams post "Annie Had A Boyfriend: The R&B Roots Of Pizza Pizza Daddy-O".

PIZZA PIZZA MIGHTY MOE [movement rhyme]
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
Well, have you seen her?
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
She's got a wooden leg
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
But can she use it?
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
Oh, yes, she can use it.
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
Well, do she 'buse it?
I know she use it.
Well, can she ball it?
Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe,
I say ball it!
-Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes, Step It Down... (originally published in 1972), p. 63
Here's an excerpt from that book's comments about "Pizza Pizza Mighty Moe":
They [Bessie Jones and other people from the Georgia Sea Islands who were the contributors to this book saw] "a remarkable play [performance of the rhyme] presented by the children of Brunswick, Georgia elementary school a few years ago....apparently "Pizza" has caught on among the Island children as well as Los Angeles...."
I believe that "Pizza Pizza Mighty Moe" is about a girl (whose name is Moe ?) who can really dance (in spite of her wooden leg.) The line "Well, do she 'buse it?" means "Can she really dance well" [To "abuse" something in this sense is a compliment.]. The line "Well, can she ball it? and "I say ball it!", "ball" means to dance really fast and/or "dance really good". That meaning comes from the phrase "balling the jack".

PIZZA PIZZA DADDY-O (Version #3) (movement rhyme)
(Jimmy) is having a birthday party.
Pizza, pizza, daddy-o!
How do you know?
Pizza, pizza, daddy-o!
Cause I saw it!
Pizza, Pizza, daddy-o!
Let’s jump it!
Jump it, Jump it daddy-o!
Let’s shake it!
Shake it, shake it, daddy-o!
Let’s hop it!
Hop it, hop it, daddy-o!
Let’s twist it!
Twist it, twist it daddy-o!
Let’s monkey it!
Monkey it, monkey it, daddy-o!
Let’s boogie it!
Boogie it, boogie it, daddy-o!
-Linda Gross and Marian E. Barnes, Talk That Talk, (New York, 1989; Simon & Schuster, pp. 444-445, from the Philadelphia (PA) School at 25th and Lombard in South Philadelphia).
This singing game appears to provide an excuse for the girls to show off their dancing ability. While the commands "let's jump it!", "let's shake it", and "let's boogie it" refer to dancing movements, "the twist" and "the monkey" are actual names of R&B dances.

PUNCHANELLA [ring game]
} Hi, I was checking out this site and got so excited reading all of these cheers. It is so cool to see the cheers I did as a child in Birmingham, AL and see how differently they are done in different parts of the county. I am 26 and I try to pass down as many cheers as I can remember to my nieces and my daughter (8,6,and 2). Here's one:

Look who's here punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella
Look who's here punch-a-nella in the shoe
Oh what can you do, punch-a-nell, punch-a-nella
What can you do, punch-a-nella in the shoe

We can do it too, punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella
We can do it too, punch-a-nella in the shoe

Now choose your partner, punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella

Choose your partner, punch-a-nella in the shoe

We would all stand in a circle and one person would be in the middle and we would clap and stomp. The person in the middle would perform a dance during the line "oh what can you do...", then the group would imitate that dance on the next line. Then the person in the middle would cover their eyes and spin around during the line "now choose your partner...." and whomever they landed on at the end of the rhyme went into the circle next.
-Joi,; 3/23/2008

Q, R
RABBIT(singing games)
""Rabbit”‘s rhythm and tune are reminiscent of marching calls and auctioneering. In black country schools, Bessie Jones recalls, children were taught “drills”-chanting, marching, and changing formations. Such drills, and games that sound like drills, may have originated in the teachers and children expressing their pride in the military training of black troops who figured decisively in the Civil War.

The sentiment expressed in the text, that a a rabbit would make a good pot of stew, probably derives from the fact that farmers cooked many wild animals. Bessie Jones recalls that she and her childhood friends sometimes shot small birds and cleaned, cooked, and ate them, just like grown-ups.

In American Ballads and Folk Songs (New York: Macmillan, 1934), Alan and John Lomax give a game text with variations of lines of this song, to be accompanied with “hambone” percussion-clapping hands and slapping thighs and face.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,
See that rabbit sticking in the sand,
I wish I had him in my pan.
Ol’ rabbit skipped,
Ol’ rabbit hopped,
Ol’ rabbit jumped
Right in my pot.
-Four girls, vocals. Recorded 1939 in Amory, Miss., by Herbert Halpert. Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song AFS 2975 A4. [from Old Mother Hippletoe]

RABBIT IN THE PEA PATCH (singing game)
Rabbit In The Pea Patch
Rabbit in the pea-patch, shoo-lye-love [sing sentence 5x]
Shoo-lye love, my darling

You love Miss Sally [substitute another name [5x]
Shoo-lye-love, my darling

You stole my partner, shoo-lye love [5x]
Shoo-lye-love, my darling

But I’ll get another one, shoo-lye-love [5x]
Shoo-lye-love, my darling

Pretty as the other one, shoo-lye-love [5x]
Shoo-lye-love, my darling
-Old Mother Hippletoe record
A “pea patch” is a small garden where peas are grown. This song doesn’t tell any story. It is actually just an excuse for dancing. Another name for couple dance songs such as these is “play party” songs. Some African American and Anglo-American religious groups that were opposed to couples dancing permitted couples to hop and skip around to songs such as this one, because they could consider it a game instead of a dance.

According to Kate Rinzer, author of the Old Mother Hippletoe record’s notes, this song was sung in unison by people who were watching the game being played. Boy and girl couples performed this “play party game” by skipping hand in hand around a lone boy. The boy would eventually “steal” a girl of his choice from one of the couples. The person who is now alone becomes the new “rabbit in the pea-patch”.

RONALD MCDONALD [ring or line game]
Ronald McDonald lo-o-o-oves a french fry! (Twice)
Ooh, s-s-wah-wah!
A french fry!
I found my lover.
A french fry!
He's so sweet,
A french fry!
Just like a cherry treat.
A french fry!

Additional stanzas may be about a hamburger, a milk shake, and so on, or the game may be expanded to include such nonedibles as the Jackson Five.

--Old Mother Hippletoe record
"The Jackson Five" is the R&B sibling singing group that starred a young Michael Jackson.

Here are that record's notes about this song:
"Ronald McDonald” is played in a ring, in couples, or in lines (ring games are not necessarily played in rings). Each child claps her partner’s hands with right palm down and left palm up. On the refrain they make a motion symbolizing the food mentioned."

Other examples of "Ronald McDonald" are included in cocojams2's Hand Clap & Jump Rope Rhyme post.
S, T
SALLY DIED [ring game]
CALL: Sally died! (Girl in center chants)
RESPONSE: How did she die? (Girls in circle chant)
CALL: Oh, she died like this! (Leader strikes death pose)
RESPONSE: Oh, she died like this! (Circle mimics)
CALL: Sally died!
RESPONSE: How did she die?
CALL: Oh, she died like this! (New death pose)
RESPONSE: Oh, she died like this (Circle mimics)
CALL: Sally's living!
RESPONSE: Where's she live?
Double time; unison
Oh, she lives in a country called Tennesee! (Scissors jump)
She wears short, short dresses up above her knee!
She can shake that thing wherever she goes! (Satirical dance motion)
She can shake that thing wherever she goes!
Hands up, tussie, tussie, tussie, tus! (Raise hands)
Hands down, tussie, tussie, tussie, tus! (Hands ankle height)
Turn around, tussie, tussie, tussie, tus! (Full turn jump)
Touch the ground, tussie, tussie, tussie, tus! (Touch ground with jump)
Oh, she never went to college!
(Circle chants while leader whirls in place with hand covering eyes, other arm extended)
She never went to school!
But I found out
She was an educated fool!

The girl in the center stops abruptly on “fool,” pointing to the new leader.
- Old Mother Hippletoe..., Band 2, Items 1, 2, 6, and 7 Ring Games: Sally Died; Ronald McDonald; Zoodiac; Zing-Zing-Zing Washington, D.C., schoolgirls, vocals. Recorded 1976 at Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife, Washington, D.C.
Here's the note written by Kate Rinzler for this game:
“Sally Died” is played with a leader in the center who chooses her replacement."
Note that the girl in the middle doesn't close her eyes and put her left hand over her eyes before turning around to arbitrarily pick a new middle person. Closing your eyes to chose the next middle person is the custom that I'm familiar with (from my childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s), and my observations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [1969- to date] of how a new middle person is picked. That said, I think that the custom of the middle person purposely picking her or his replacement predates the custom of arbitrarily picking her or his replacement.

Read the entry for "Aunt Jenny Died" in Part I of this series.

SATISFIED [ring game]
I'm goin up north
And I would tell you
Lord I am
Some people up there
Goin' to bring you back
Aint noth-in' up there
What you can do
Mama cooked a cow
Have to get all the girls [boys]
Their bel-lies full!

[repeat from the beginning, substituting another thing that Mama cooks, such as
"Mama cooked a chicken
Have to get all the girls etc.]" -Harold Courlander, Negro Folk Music, USA,{Example 18} p. 152
Here are Courlander's notes about this example:
"In the Negro ring game sone shown in Example 18, recorded in Alabama, there are the usual fun-inspired lines without any special significance, but there is an interspersed ironic theme about people who migrate north to better themselves, only to find that their lot has not been improved. This tyype of social allusion is characteristic of adult songs of critical comment, and is found in numerous Negro ring game lyrics. The responsive form of the song is comparable to that of cetain kind of religious or [prison chain]gang singing. The leader sings everything but the last word of each line, which is reserved for the chorus [the rest of the singers]:

"Another ring game {Example 19} with the same response "satisfied" deals with another subject, but like the previous song {Example 18} the social complaint has a theme somewhat beyond the experience of participating children.

Beginning with the line "See see rider" {a phrase appearing in a number of blues songs, sometimes written as C.C. Rider}, there is a kind of generalized blues statement of discontent, followed by specific criticism:

See see rider,
What's the matter?
I got to work,
I am tired,
And I can't eat,
Satisfied Lord,

After other lines of nonsense variety, the song admonishes the older generation, seemingly for its double standards:

Mamma Mamma,
Leave me alone.
When you were young,
were you in the wrong?

Papa Papa,
You the same.
You the one,
Give Mamma's name,
-Harold Courlander, Negro Folk Music, USA,{Example 18} p. 152
This example and the preceding one are included with lyrical transcriptions in the "Ring Games and Play Party Songs" chapter of Negro Folk Music, USA.

SEVEN ELEVEN [movement rhyme]
7-11 and ah 42.
How many pop-ups
can you do?
Wiiith ah 1- 2- 3- 4
(The word “with” is spoken with emphasis and drawn out)
7-11 and ah 42.

7-11 and ah 42.
How many bongos
can you do?
Wiiith ah 1, 2, 3, 4.
5, 6,7, 8.
7-11 and ah 42.

7-11 and ah 42.
How many jumping jacks
can you do?
Wiith ah 1, 2, 3, 4.
5, 6,7, 8.
7-11 and ah 42.

Repeat the rhyme as many times as you wish, each time substituting a new movement and doing the movements starting from “1” to the count of “8” {or any number you wish to end with.
-African American girls & boys, about 8-12 years, Ammon Recreational Center; Pittsburgh, PA} Collected by Azizi Powell, 1999
I collected this rhyme from children during a cultural presentation that my associates and I did as part of our "Alafia [ah-LAH-fee-ah] Cultural Services game song groups. Those special programming events were held throughout the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in mostly African American neighborhoods.

The children stood in a line and recited this rhyme in unison. I didn't ask the children who showed me this fast paced game what "7 11 and ah 42 mean. “7-11” is the name of a chain of all-night convenience stores in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Those stores are open from 7 o’clock in the morning to 11 o’clock at night. But I'm not sure that this has anything at all to do with this rhyme. It's possible that the number "42" was used because the #2 rhymes with the word "do". In that case, any number ending in two could have been used. Maybe the words don’t mean anything but just sound good together.

“Pop-ups” was the children’s term for the exercise commonly called “sit-ups”.
“Bongos” was the children’s term for a rhythmical side-to-side hip shaking motion.
“Jumping Jacks” is commonly used term for an exercise that combines clapping your hands above your head while you jump with your feet apart and then together.

It seems to me that "7-11" could also be played as a "show me your motion" game. In that formation, the group would form a circle with one person in the middle. The middle person would call out which movement to do, and the others would exactly imitate that movement or be "out". Also, another rule could be that if the person in the middle repeated the movement that a previous person had called out, he or she had to remain n the middle. That "ring game" style of playing that game would have to also include a "Who do you choose" verse in order to pick a new middle person.

T, U, V
THIS A WAY VALERIE (also known as "Strut Miss Lucy") (line game)
This-A-Way Valerie
This-a-way, Valerie
Valerie, Valerie,
This-a-way, Valerie
All day long.

Oh, strut, Miss Lizzie
Lizzie, Lizzie
Strut Miss Lizzie
All day long.

Oh, here come another one
Just like the other one,
Here come another one
All day long.

Visit for another example of this singing game.

TIDEO (singing game)
Pass one window, Tideo.
Pass two windows, Tideo.
Pass three windows, Tideo.

Jingle at the window, Tideo
Tideo! Tideo!
Jingle at the window, Tideo
- as sung in
I believe that the word "Tideo" in this song is used as a name or nickname, Maybe it came from the name "Matilda" (Tilda)" but that's just a guess. This "Tideo" song is documented as coming from the Southern USA & my guess is that it is of African American origin.

It's possible that earlier versions of this game song substituted other names instead of always singing "Tideo". However, the word (or name) "Tideo" probably came from the word "dideo". That word is found in earlier (19th century) dance songs from the USA such as "Sail Away Lady" and "Lead A Man". My sense is that dideo was just an imitation of music notes. However, I believe that in later versions of "Sail Away Lady", "dideo" became "daddy o".

Here's that video:

3rd Grade Music - Singing Game Tideo (Fairmont Anaheim Hills Campus)

Fairmont Schools, Uploaded on Jun 16, 2011
...In this music activity, students experience 16th note rhythms in 4/4 meter, they sing in tune to a wide-range melody, and they work as a team.

At Fairmont Private Schools, Anaheim Hills Campus [California], students come to music twice a week. They enjoy our sound-proof studio complete with a dance floor and African drums. Students participate in singing, dancing, instrument playing, and creating music!

W, X
WATERFLOWER (Also known as "Wallflower")[ring game]
Water-flower, water-flower,
Growing up so tall,
All the young ladies must surely, surely die;
All except Miss 'Lindy Watkins,
She is everywhere,-
The white folks say, the white folks say,
Turn your back and tell your beau's name.

Doctor, Doctor can you tell
What will make poor 'Lindy well?
She is sick and 'bout to die,
That will make poor Johnnie cry!

Marry, marry, marry, quick!
'Lindy, you are just love sick!

Johnnie is a ver' nice man,
Comes to the door with hat in hand,
Pulls off his gloves and show his rings,
'Morrow is the wedding-day.
-Altona Trent John,Playsongs of the Deep South, published in 1944.
This is a co-ed ring game with one person in the center is from .

his is an African American version of the British singing game "Waterflowers".

Y, Z
This game is a form of the "Concentration" listing game. As such it is included in cocojams2's handclap rhyme post U-Z.

"Zoodio" is also found as "Here We Go Zoodio", "Zudio" and "Zodiac" and similar titles

HERE WE GO ZOODIO (Version #1 (line game]
Here we go Zoodio Zoodio Zoodio
Here we go Zudio all night long

Step back Sally Sally Sally
Step back Sally all night long

Walkin down the alley alley alley
Walkin down the alley all night long
-Azizi Powell, childhood memories, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s
I learned this singing game when I was around eight years old from an African American woman taught at our church's vacation Bible school. She said she sung learned it when she was a child in Georgia.

Here's how I taught this game to children in the early 2000s as part of my Alafia Childrens Ensemble game song groups:
1. Children chose a partner.

2. The partners stand facing each other.

3. The partners crossed their hands and held their partner's hand in a criss cross manner.

4. While singing the first lines "Here we go Zoodio, Zoodio, Zoodio/Here we go Zoodio all night long", the partners swing their crossed hands back and forth to the beat. And, while standing still, they also move their slightly bent knees up & down to the same beat.

5. On the words, "Step back sally", the partners jump back and forth, first away from, and then toward their partner.

6. On the words, "Walking through the alley", the partners strut to another partner.

7. The song begins again and continues in this pattern.

ZOODIO (Version #2) [line game]
Here we go zoodiac, zoodiac,
Here we go zoodiac, all night long!
Oh, step back, Sally, Sally, Sally,
Step back, Sally, all night long!
Oh, a-walkin' down the alley,
alley, alley.
A-walkin' down the alley, all night long!
Oh, what did I see
I saw a big fat man from Tennessee!
I bet you five dollars I can beat that man!
To the front. to the back, to the si'-si'-si'. (Twice)
I called the doctor, and the doctor said
I got a pain in my si', oooo-chi-ah!
I got a pain in my si’ [side]
- Old Mother Hippletoe...
"si’" = side
Here's the album note for this game: “Zoodiac” is generally played in two lines. It ends with the children “walking down the alley” by ones or in couples between the lines."

HERE COMES ZODIAC (Version #3) [line game]
ok the zodiac thing I did at camp but it had more words.

Here comes zodiac zodiac zodiac here comes zodiac all night long
here comes sally walking down the alley here comes sally all night long
here comes another one just like the other one here comes another one all night long.
I looked out yonder and what do I see? A big fat man from tennesse. I bet ya five dollars that ya can't do this, I bet ya five dollars that ya can't do that.
to the front to the back to the side side side. to the front to the back to the side side side. You lean wayyyyyy back, you got a hump on your back, you lean way back you got a hump on your back. Do the camel walk.

and I think it repeated. We did it as a square dance. I'm not sure if the first part is quite right but the rest should be. Has anyone heard of this?
-Guest,'s Singing Games 2/28/2006;
Click this link for a post from my zumalayah blog about the camel walk dance:
Here's a video of people playing "Here We Go Zoodio" at a family gathering:


Lotties Flock, Uploaded on Aug 2, 2009

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