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Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two

Related threads:
Tune Add: Noah's Ark (7)
(origins) Origins: 'Lookin' For A Home' - Noah (8)
Open up the window, Noah (9)
Lyr Req: 'Old Man Noah' (17)


GUEST,Bob Coltman 08 Dec 07 - 07:08 PM
Peace 08 Dec 07 - 08:23 PM
Charley Noble 08 Dec 07 - 08:27 PM
Joe Offer 08 Dec 07 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 08 Dec 07 - 09:27 PM
Charley Noble 08 Dec 07 - 09:53 PM
Joe Offer 08 Dec 07 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Torger 24 Jun 09 - 10:43 AM
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Subject: ADD: Old Man Noah
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 07:08 PM

I first heard this old chestnut, popular with glee clubs, back in high school chorus practice I think.

The first verse and chorus have been cited in the DT before. But this seems to be the first time the whole song has been quoted.

Web sources are mum about its origin. I can't find any author or composer cited. The usual attribution is to Robert Wadsworth and Fred Bock, but these are always credited as arrangers, not authors.

Can anyone trace it? Who's the author? When was it written?

Thanks,

Bob

OLD MAN NOAH

Away way back in the ages dark
(away back in the ages dark),
Old man Noah built a sea-going ark
(old man Noah built a sea-going ark),   
Old man Noah had his nervous spells,
When he had to listen to the animals' yells,   
But when anything was doing he was there with bells,
He was a grand old sailor.   

CHO:   
Old man Noah knew a thing or two,
He made them all play ball,   
Old man Noah knew a thing or two,   
Because he knew a thing or two, he thought he knew it all,   
Some say he was an also ran,
He was the original sailor man,   
Old man Noah knew a thing or two,   
He was a grand old man.

Said old man Noah to his wife one day
(said old man Noah to his wife one day),
There's a big storm comin' on the first of May
(there's a big storm comin' on the first of May),
So he gathered all his family and made this remark:
The sky's getting cloudy and it's getting rather dark,
So gather all the animals, and beat it to the ark,
It's gonna rain tomorrow, CHO

The rain came down in showers cryin'
(the rain came down in showers cryin'),
The ark made it out on a scheduled time
(the ark made it out on a scheduled time),
And every day at half past three,
Noah played poker with the chimpanzee,
Cried the ring-tailed monkey, I sadly agree,
Noah's got a full house up his sleeve, CHO

When Noah got the animals out to sea
(when Noah got the animals out to sea),
They organized a regular jubilee
(they organized a regular jubilee),
In the middle of the night the elephant said,
There's a couple of snakes crawled into my bed,
Shut up, said Noah, you're drunk instead,
Now I'm gonna lose my license, CHO


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: Peace
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 08:23 PM

http://nelsonworks.net/Preface.html

That site titles it 'an old American glee club song'. This is gonna be one for the books if we can find it. YO, GUYS, GALS . . . .


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 08:27 PM

Bob-

That's a very interesting song and I hope you're successful in teasing out a few more verses.

Sorry I can't help.

Cheerily,
Charley noble


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 08:56 PM

Well, it's in the 1934 Songs of Yale songbook, also in a songbook with the clumsy title, MUSIC AMERICANS SING.
Still looking...
There's a nice (free) download here (click). I like free downloads.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 09:27 PM

Wow ... found it after hours of crazy search running down one rabbit hole after another.

The song is "Noah Knew a Thing Or Two," sometimes abbreviated "Noah," but never called "Old Man Noah" until about 1929 when it was recorded as an oldie on Brunswick by the Ritz Quartet.

It was written as one of the nine featured songs in "Marrying Mary," a 1906 Broadway show, by Benjamin Hapgood Burt (lyrics) and Silvio Hein (music).

Titled "Noah Knew a Thing or Two," it was the final song in Act 1, sung by the characters "Willie Drinkwater and Guests."

Hein was then a young man and beginning to make a name. He would marry in 1908 and his career as a Broadway composer would last until roughly 1922.

Among Hein's other songs folkies know is "Joshua Ebeneezer (sic) Frye."

So I take it the song could be P.D.?? That might explain why the songwriters' names seem never to appear.

No lyric archive I know of has a copy except Univ. of New Hampshire, where the sheet music is not net-accessible. So seeing a copy via the net still seems not possible, pending further lucky breaks.

It would be good to see a copy of the original, since the vigorous, facetious glee club arrangement may have changed the song quite a bit.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 09:53 PM

Bob-

Seems as if you have a hot lead.

Err, what did you mean by saying:

"So I take it the song could be P.D."

The answer is probably obvious but not to me.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 11:12 PM

In the U.S., songs published before 1923 are in the public domain. It used to be, when songs were 75 years old, they went into public domain. The Sonny Bono Corporate Copyright Giveaway Act of 1998 stopped that nonsense, and ensured that no more songs will come into the public domain for a good long time.
Most of us will be dead by then.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Man Noah Knew a Thing or Two
From: GUEST,Torger
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:43 AM

Sang this piece at Lehigh University, 1960-64. Lyrics, music scores may be available from the University during the time when Robert Cutler was the glee club director.


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