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Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N

DigiTrad:
CHICKEN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown (45)
Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (from J Warner & J Davis) (13)


Brad Sondahl 08 Apr 99 - 12:19 AM
Liam's Brother 08 Apr 99 - 06:16 AM
Bruce O. 08 Apr 99 - 06:34 PM
Brad 09 Apr 99 - 11:13 AM
Bruce O. 09 Apr 99 - 03:11 PM
Allan S 31 Jul 02 - 09:08 AM
Jeri 31 Jul 02 - 09:28 AM
artbrooks 31 Jul 02 - 09:35 AM
Dan Schatz 31 Jul 02 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 31 Jul 02 - 11:12 AM
MMario 31 Jul 02 - 11:20 AM
John MacKenzie 31 Jul 02 - 11:31 AM
Joe Offer 31 Jul 02 - 12:48 PM
Allan S 31 Jul 02 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Don 31 Jul 02 - 02:46 PM
Allan S 01 Aug 02 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Don 02 Aug 02 - 10:47 AM
Stewie 02 Aug 02 - 11:32 PM
khandu 02 Aug 02 - 11:41 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 02 - 11:40 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Nov 02 - 06:36 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Nov 02 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Geust 13 May 04 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Geust 13 May 04 - 06:25 PM
Seamus Kennedy 14 May 04 - 12:14 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 May 04 - 06:21 AM
Cool Beans 14 May 04 - 04:45 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Apr 05 - 12:15 AM
NormanD 17 Apr 05 - 03:26 AM
PoppaGator 29 Jul 05 - 05:20 PM
PoppaGator 01 Aug 05 - 09:43 AM
NormanD 15 Aug 05 - 03:31 AM
PoppaGator 15 Aug 05 - 06:07 PM
NormanD 16 Aug 05 - 12:27 PM
PoppaGator 22 Aug 05 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,Miscreant 22 Apr 06 - 09:54 PM
Stewie 22 Apr 06 - 10:55 PM
Stewie 22 Apr 06 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Pelrad 23 Apr 06 - 11:25 PM
GUEST,Sam 15 Jun 07 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Eric K 26 Sep 08 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 08 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Uncle Jaque 28 Sep 08 - 12:52 AM
Joe Offer 28 Sep 08 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Sep 08 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,hg 29 Sep 08 - 08:10 PM
PoppaGator 30 Sep 08 - 02:02 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 09 - 12:37 PM
PoppaGator 20 Apr 09 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 21 Apr 09 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 21 Apr 09 - 07:15 AM
GUEST 11 May 10 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Albert 14 Dec 10 - 05:55 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 11 - 09:48 AM
Mudslide Mike 08 Mar 11 - 12:40 PM
Geoff the Duck 08 Mar 11 - 01:18 PM
Joe Offer 08 Mar 11 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Max 18 Oct 11 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Gresh 04 Dec 11 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,Lila2004 02 Feb 12 - 04:02 AM
GUEST 24 May 13 - 05:38 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 13 - 08:34 PM
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Subject: Rufus Rastus and C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Brad Sondahl
Date: 08 Apr 99 - 12:19 AM

You probably know Miss. John Hurt's C-h-i-c-k-e-n
I played it once for a friend who'd heard another short song at camp that went in a medley, or both at once, with the lyrics:
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you gonna do when the rent comes down,
What you gonna do, what you gonna say,
Better be ready for the judgement day,
Oh you know I know rent means dough,
Or the landlord'll kick you out in the snow,
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you gonna do when the rent comes down?
Oh C, is the way it begins,
H, the next letter in,
I am the third,
C what a seasonly bird
K is to fill him in
E I'm near the N
C h i c k e n, that's the way you spell chicken.

I'm interested in the origin of both songs: I imagine Rufus Rastus emerged from the Harlem Renaissance rent parties.
Any one got any info?


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Subject: RE: Rufus Rastus and C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 08 Apr 99 - 06:16 AM

Hi Brad!

Many years ago, on a lark, I bought a phonograph cylinder of "Rufus." It's the only cylinder I own and I don't own a cylinder player which, of course, is just as well. Perhaps this info can help you establish an "earlier than" date for the song (e.g. before rent parties).

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Rufus Rastus and C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Bruce O.
Date: 08 Apr 99 - 06:34 PM

Rufus Rastus... "Harry Von Tilzer's Great Room Rent Song" (click), two copies of 1905 in Levy sheet music collection (Mudcat's Links).


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Subject: RE: Rufus Rastus and C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Brad
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 11:13 AM

That was nifty, but the site promised more than it delivers--like it doesn't actually produce the sheet music (Perhaps it's not P.D.) Does resolve the origin issue--wish I could see the original lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Rufus Rastus and C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Bruce O.
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 03:11 PM

The look-up algorithm gets stumped on the 'a' for box 150a. I can't find anything in that box. Even on a direct address to the file, the 'a' got lost, i.e.,

levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/display.pl?record=150a.018.001&pages=4

turned up that in Box 150, item 018, page 1, not that in Box 150a.
click here


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Subject: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Allan S
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 09:08 AM

Please Help. I desperately need the words to the song that goes Chicken chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N I will be singing this at a summer camp complete with a rubber chicken If I am correct the tune is am old Jazz song that goes Jatta Jatta da da da da da Not sure about that tho. Dont let me down mudcatters THanks Allan

Click for related thread


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 09:28 AM

This one? (click) ("Chicken" in Digital Tradition)


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: artbrooks
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 09:35 AM

Jenn says:

Hi. My Mom sings a song that goes: "C am the way you begin; H am the next letter in; I, that is the third, C am the seasoning of the bird; K, that old letter's my friend; E, now we're nearing the end, C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that am the way you spell Chicken." You sing this in tandem (Tridem?) with two other songs, "The Spanish Cavalier", and "Lindy, Lindy, Sweet as the sugar cane". Sure sounds like something out of the minstrel tradition, huh? I think she learned it (all) in high school in the Pittsburgh vicinity in the late 1920's.

Is this the one you're looking for?


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 10:28 AM

John Hurt recorded this - I think it's on the "Essential Mississippi John Hurt" double record set. He sings it basically the way printed above, but more grammatical -

C is the way to begin

H, the next letter in

I am the third

C for to season the bird

K, the next letter in

E, right near the end

C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that's the way you spell chicken.

I always liked "I am the third." Clever.

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 11:12 AM

The version my mother would sing began differently

In a little country school house, where the little darkies go

There was a pick-a-ninny by the name of Rag-Time Joe.

I believe the sheet music is in my collection, when the tempo of life slows down in a few weeks, I will check.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: Tune Add: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: MMario
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 11:20 AM

X:1
T:CHICKEN
N:from a midi sent by Lin in Kansas
I:abc2nwc
Q:1/4=140
M:2/2
L:1/8
K:D
z6A A|d d3d2d2|d2A2-A2AA|B2B2B3B|B4z2B2|
c3c c c3|c A3-A A2A|d2dd d d3|d4z2A2|A3A A A3|
A3A A2A2|BBBB B B2B|B4z3B|c2cc-cccc|cA3A3A|d2d2d3d|
d4z2AA|AA A2-A2A2|A2A2A3A|B2B2B2BB-|B4z2B2|
c c3c2cc-|c2AA- AAAA|d3d d2dd-|d6z2|A4z2AA|
A A2A A2z2|B4z2BB|B2BB B2z2|c4z2c2|c2c2c2z2|
d4z4|dddd d2z2|A4z4|A A2A A2z2|B4z2BB|B3B B4|
d d2d- d2d2|f f2d- d4|A A2A AB c2|e d3-d2z2
w:In a lit-le coun-try school-house_ where the chil-dren used to go,There went a lit-tle red-haired_ boy by the name of Rag-time Joe.One day the tea-cher called on the class to spell a cer-tain kind of bird,The kind of bird_ it was a chick-en, and they could not spell that word.So the tea-cher called_ on Rag-time Joe to spell that word for them,_He did not hes-i-tate_ a bit,_ this is the way that he be-gan:_C that's the way to be-ginH that's the next let-ter inI that is the thirdC time to season the birdK I'm fit-ting inE get-ting near the "N"C H I_ C K E N_That is the way to spell chick-en._


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 11:31 AM

Chick chick chick chicken
Lay a little egg for me
Chick chick chick chicken
I want one for my tea

Believe this is part of a song from WW2......Giok


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 12:48 PM

Apparently, this song is often sung as a medley with "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown, what'cha gonna do when the rent comes 'round." If you use the filter and check for rufus and c-h-i-c-k, you'll find 'em. Up in the first message here, I crosslinked to the main thread on c-h-i-c-k-e-n. The "Chicken" song in the Digital Tradition was harvested from that thgread.
But Allan, is that the song you want? I can't tell from the original message if we've found the right song for Allan.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Allan S
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 12:56 PM

THanks everyone. Yes I am sure this the one.... Will be off to camp complete w/ the rubber C-H-I-C-K-E-N
Hope it doesn't lay an egg... Allan S.


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 02:46 PM

There is a song that my daughter (6 yrs. old) has on one of her music tapes - "Kidsongs Jubilee", I believe it is, issued by the Klutz people. I can't remember the name of the woman who sings it. Anyway, the song is called "Chicken" and the melody of at least the opening lines has some similarity to the old standard "Jada" (whereas, to my ear, the abc posted above by MMario doesn't sound anything like "Jada"). I don't know how to do line breaks in this Mudcat "Reply to Thread" box, but here is what I remember of some of the lyrics:

Chicken, Chicken, you can't cluck too much for me.

Chicken, Chicken, now come down off of that tree.

Chicken, Chicken, Chicken, you can't cluck too much for me.

C - is for the little chick

H - is for the mama hen

I - 'cause I love that bird

C - for the cluck, cluck, cluck

K - for the kackle, kackle, kackle*

E, and the little N

C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that's the way to spell chicken

C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that's my friend the chicken

*of course, "cackle" is spelled with an initial "c", but the song is what the song is!

If this is the song you are looking for,Allan S, I could get the song book that came with the tape and tell you the author, etc. Can't do it now because the song book is at home.


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Allan S
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 09:41 AM

Thanks Don I think this could be the one that I first heard 50 Plus years ago. Just add the info to this thread and I will pick up on it. THevening went well w/ the counslers doing the song complete with a rubber chicken Allan S


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 10:47 AM

The audio tape/songbook I referred to above is "KidSongs Jubilee", performed by Nancy Cassidy and published by Klutz Press. Copyright 1990 by Nancy and John Cassidy.

The "Chicken" song is listed as "Traditional", but also says "Additional lyrics: Nancy Cassidy". I'm guessing that this may be a "G-Rated" version of the lyrics described by other posters above.

The words are almost exactly as I gave above. I was going to post an abc version of the music (which is given in the songbook), but I don't want to run afoul of the copyright. The first couple of lines, as I said, sound like the old standard "Jada".

By the way, if you have small children, I recommend this and any of the other "KidSongs" tapes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: C-H-I-C-K-E-N SPELLS CHICKEN (McGee)
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 11:32 PM

The first recording of this was by the McGee Brothers in 1927. Like someone in the linked thread, I had it in my mind that Uncle Dave had recorded it, but I cannot find any reference to it in his discography. Charles Wolfe noted in his 'A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry' p 196 that it was one of the McGee Brothers most popular records. It was a Tin Pan Alley song from 1902 that the brothers had learned aurally from a Franklin barbershop quartet who sang it as a comic 1920s song. Wolfe writes: 'Even though the McGees later dropped it out of their repertoire because of its racial overtones, dozens of young folk revival bands picked it up in the 1960s and 1970s'. The 1902 reference is probably to Sidney Perrin/Bob Slater [Meade, Spottswood, Meade biblio-discography].

Here is my attempted transcription. Corrections welcomed to my likely mondegreens.

C-H-I-C-K-E-N

In the little country schoolhouse, where the darkies used to go
There lived a little nigger by the name of Ragtime Joe
One day the teacher called his class to spell one sort of a bird
That kind of bird was a chicken, and they could not spell the word.
So the teacher called on Ragtime Joe to spell out a word to them
He did not hesitate a bit, this (is) the way that he began
C am the way to begin
H that's the next letter in
I that am the third
C am the seasong of the bird
K am a-filling in
E am nearing the N
C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that am the way to spell chicken

Bob Johnson give a concert in the old church house one night
Hired himself a lot of talent(s) that could sing and could recite
Now, when they pulled the curtain, everything went wrong, you know
Until one dark(ie) did loudly yell, 'Let's hear from Ragtime Joe'
He sang a ragtime new coon song, but it did not take so well
He says, 'I went across on that (?) so I guess I'll have to spell
And then he told the audience he had taught (?) a chicken song
And when he spelled those words (sic) to them, he took the house by storm
C am the way to begin
H that's the next letter in
I that am the third
C am the seasoning of the bird
K am a-fillin' in
E am nearing the N
C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that am the way to spell chicken

Instrumental

C am the way to begin
H that's the next letter in
I that am the third
C am the seasoning of the bird
K am a-fillin' in
E am nearing the N
C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that am the way to spell chicken

Source: transcription of Sam and Kirk McGee 'C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken' Vocalion Vo 5150, recorded 11 May 1927 in NYC. Reissued on Various Artists 'The Early Stars of the Grand Ole Opry' Catfish KATCD203.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: khandu
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 11:41 PM

MJH sings, "You don't roost too high for me"

Also, it seems that he says "C-butter seasons the bird", as well as "C-for to season the bird" in another version.

I have also heard "C- for two C's in the bird".

khandu


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 11:40 PM

C - is where it begins
H - is the second letter in, oh
I - I am the third
C - is the fourth letter in that bird, oh
K - I'm fillin' in
E - I'm near the end, oh
C-H-I-C-K-E-N
That's the way you spell chicken!


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Subject: RE: HELP-Chicken Chicken C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 06:36 PM

The McGee version was called "C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken", and it appears on collection "Sam McGee Complete Works 1926-1934" CD Document 8036, 1999. You can hear a sample at CDNOW.

It was also recorded by Mississippi John Hurt (as "C-H-I-C-K-E-N Blues"), the Red Clay Ramblers, Tom Paxton, and Van Dyke Parks.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT COMES
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 10:29 PM

Transcribed from the sheet music at The Lester S. Levy Collection

"WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT COMES 'ROUND?"
(RUFUS RASTUS JOHNSON BROWN)
Words by Andrew B. Sterling
Music by Harry Von Tilzer
Copyright 1905

VERSE 1: Who dat a-knockin' at the door below?
Who dat a-shiv'rin in the hail and snow?
I can hear you grumblin', Mister Rufus Brown.
Just keep on a-knockin', babe. I won't come down.
I wants to tell you that you can't get in.
Have you been a-gamblin', honey? Did you win?
What's that you tell me, coon? You lost your breath?
I hopes you freezes to death!

CHORUS: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?
What you goin' to say? How you goin' to pay?
You'll never have a bit of sense till judgment day.
You know, I know, rent means dough.
Landlord's goin' to put us out in the snow.
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
What you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?

VERSE 2: Keep on a-bangin' on the old front door.
In just a minute, babe, you'll hear me snore.
If I goes to bed without a bite or sup,
You will be an icicle when I wakes up.
Where's all the money that you said you'd bring?
Melted all away just like the snow last spring.
Rufus, I loves you, but this serves you right.
Guess that's sufficient. Good night! CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Geust
Date: 13 May 04 - 06:18 PM

Hey. Thats song.... My uncle, John Herrick created it. The one that starts like "in a little country schoolhouse" Yah, made by the Red Clay Ramblers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Geust
Date: 13 May 04 - 06:25 PM

Well.. He redid it, at least. Not created it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 14 May 04 - 12:14 AM

John Herald did it with the Greebriar Boys in the '60s as well.
He de-racified it, though
Still a cute song.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 May 04 - 06:21 AM

I think your original enquirer thought that this song was sung to the tune of Ja Da, Ja Da. Is he confusing with the song
S-C-R-O-T-U-M,? This is definately sung to that tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Cool Beans
Date: 14 May 04 - 04:45 PM

So, um, how does S-C-R-O-T-U-M go?

I know "Matches,'' to the tune of "Ja Da''

Matches, matches, M-A-T-C-H-E-S.
Matches, matches, M-A-T-C-H-E-S.
You can strike 'em on wood, you can strike 'em on glass.
I knew a guy who could strike 'em on his foot.
Matches, matches, M-A-T-C-H-E-S.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DAT'S DE WAY TO SPELL CHICKEN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:15 AM

From Indiana University Sheet Music Collections :

DAT'S DE WAY TO SPELL CHICKEN
(Sidney L. Perrin and Bob Slater, 1902.)
"Sung with great success by Larkins and Patterson, the Smiling Coon and the Octoroon, in 'A Trip to the Jungles.' "

1. In the little country schoolhouse, where de little darkies go,
There is a little picanninny by de name of Ragtime Joe.
Now, when it comes to spelling, his ragtime brain works fast.
He's de only well learned scholar dat holds down his own class.
One day de teacher call his class to spell one sort of bird.
Dat kind of bird was chickens, and they could not spell de word;
So de teacher called on Ragtime Joe to spell dat word to them.
He didn't hesitate a bit. This is how he began:

CHORUS: C, dat's de way to begin.
H, dat's de next letter in.
I, dat am de third.
C, dat's to season de word.
K, dat's a-filling in.
E, I'm near de end.
C-H-I-C-K-E-N,
Dat's de way to spell chicken.

2. Parson Johnson gave a concert in de old church-house one night.
He hired himself a lots of talent dat could sing and could recite;
And when they pulled de curtain, ev'rything went wrong, you know,
Till one darkey loudly yelled, "Let's hear from Ragtime Joe."
He sang a ragtime new coon song, but it did not take so well.
He said, "I've went afrost on dat. I guess I'll have to spell."
Then he told the audience dat he had composed a chicken song,
And when he spelled these words to them, he took de house by storm. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Music Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: NormanD
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 03:26 AM

This is an old thread, but none of the postings has covered the music.
Does anyone know the chords of this song? I'm thinking of the Mississippi John Hurt version, as recently revived by Geoff Muldaur.
What would be helpful are the chords, and if there are any guitarists who know it, also the picking pattern.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:20 PM

I play it in G, which I think is the way John Hurt plays it on his recording that includes the chorus only. The other recoding that includes a verse ("Chicken, don't you roost too high for me") sounds more like C to me. (Not by pitch, but by the sounds of the riffs, bass runs, etc. ~ could be in any key, as per a capo and/or MJH's tuning practices, but I think the two versions use key-of-G and key-of-C chord shapes, respectively.)

I'm not gonna tab out every note, but here's an outline including enough of the chord-shape variations to cover most of the fingerpicked melody notes. (I'm working from memory, at my desk at work, without a guitar, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes):

G (320003x/3200030)

C ~ is the way to begin

C (x32010/x32013)

H ~ second letter in

G (320003/320030)

I ~ am the third

G (32003x/320030)

C ~ for to season the bird

C (x32010/x32013)

K ~ third from the end

G (32003x/320030/320003)

C - H - I - C - K - E - N

G (32003x/320030/320003)

That's the way...

(xxxxx7)

...ya spell...

D(x54035)

...Chic-

G (320003)

ken!
Hope this helps!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Aug 05 - 09:43 AM

Correction, on that final line:

G (32003x/320030/320003)

That's the way...

(xxxxx7)

...ya spell...

D(x54035)

...Chic-

G (320003)

ken!
    I tried to incorporated these changes in the post above. Did I do it right?
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: NormanD
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 03:31 AM

Thanks for these!
It looks as though the corrected last part is the same as the part you replaced, or am I missing something?

Also, would you play this in standard guitar tuning (I'm not sure of the tunings John Hurt commonly used).

Regards
Norman


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 06:07 PM

Joe, corrections seem perfect, which is apparently what got Norman confused. (I'd've been confused, too!)

Norman, the tuning is straight-up standard, and the chords shown above are G, C, and D, with a few treble-string variations for fingerpicking the melody line.

I've worked up the entire tab for this piece in the "Randytab" program, which can be played back in MIDI format. (Makes it real easy to learn a piece, since you can see finger-placement and hear each note as it's played, and can stop and repeat as needed.) Anyone who has downloaded Randytab and would like my tabs, shoot me a PM with your email address and I'll send you file attachments.

For those who might be interested, here is the Randytab Home Page ~ click "software" for the FREE program download, and click "tablature" for the archive of transcriptions submitted by users. Look under "M" for "Mississippi John Hurt" to find a nice collection of pieces tabbed by Frank Delaney. I just sent them "C-H-I-C-K-E-N in G" and "Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me," but they have not appeared on the site yet ~ they should eventually appear there along with Frank's.

Mudcatter Khandu is also working in Randytab, and has done a nice transcription of the longer key-of-C version of "C-H-I-C-K-E-N, including the verse with the "Jadda Jadda" melody, and also a really excellent version of "Louis Collins."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: NormanD
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 12:27 PM

Hi Pops
I'd misread your posting and hadn't realised that you had corrected the first posting, hence my confusion. Re-reading and singing it through I think you've missed out one of the letters: "E - I'm near the end" (or equivalent). Or am I still confused.

Now I know what that old song by The Rivingtons is about: "Bird's the word....the bird's the word...."

Norman


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Subject: TAB ADD: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 10:21 PM

Here's my tablature for the short version, key of G, Mississippi John Hurt "C-H-I-C-K-E-N":

   C             is   the way to begin,             H                second
|----------------0-------|-0-----0----------------|-0-----------------3--0-|
|-3--------------------3-|----3-----3-------------|------------------------|
|------------------------|------------------------|------------------------|
|-------0-----------0----|------------------------|-------2-----------2----|
|------------------------|-------------0-----2----|-3----------------------|
|-3-----------3----------|-3-----3----------------|-------------3----------|


letter    in,             I                      am the   third,
|-3--5-----3-------------|-3----------------------|-3—-0-------------------|
|------------------------|----------------0-------|----------3-------------|
|------------------------|----------------------0-|------------------------|
|-------2----------------|-------0-----------0----|-------0-----------0----|
|-3-----------------2----|------------------------|------------------------|
|-------------3----------|-3-----------3----------|-3-----------3----------|



C                fuh to season thebird            K             third
|-------------------0----|-0-----0----------------|-0--------------3-------|
|-3--------------------3-|----3-----3-------------|----------------------0-|
|------------------------|------------------------|------------------------|
|-------0-----------0----|-------0----------------|-------2-----------2----|
|-------------2----------|-------------0-----2----|-3----------------------|
|-3----------------------|-3----------------------|-------------3----------|


   from the end,            C H    I    C    K      E       N,
|-3—-5-----3-------------|----0-----3-----5-----3-|----0-------------------|
|------------------------|-3----------------------|-------------3----------|
|------------------------|------------------------|------------------------|
|-------2-----------2----|-------0-----------0----|-------2-----------0----|
|-3----------------------|-------------2----------|-3----------------------|
|-------------3----------|-3----------------------|-------------3----------|


That's the way you spell Chick-      ken!
|-------0--3-----7-------|-5-----------3----------||
|-3----------------------|-3-----------0----------||
|-------------------0----|------------------------||
|-------0----------------|-------4-----------0----||
|-------------2----------|-5----------------------||
|-3----------------------|-------------3----------||

Each three spaces/characters = one eighth note, and the bottom three strings are played with the thumb, all bass notes (and mostly alternating bass notes) and all on the beat.

To hear this very tab in MIDI, go to the Randytrab link (two posts above this one), download the software, and then see if my tab has been posted in the tab archives yet. (Look under "M" for Mississippi John Hurt; you'll see a bunch of submissions from Frank Delaney, which should be of interest, and ~ coming soon, already submitted ~ a couple from me.) If this hasn't yet been posted when you look, drop me a PM with your email address and I'll send you a copy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Miscreant
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 09:54 PM

Van Dyke Parks (fairly recent) recording of it credits it (verbally) to Uncle Dave Macon. It appears on a few Uncle Dave compilations it seems (credited 'with the mcghee brothers'). But the guy was at least 70 by the times it was recorded in 1924.

As to the "Sidney L. Perrin and Bob Slater" I am not sure.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:55 PM

Miscreant, can you cite these 'Uncle Dave' compilations? As I pointed out earlier in this thread, from a perusal of the Bear Family discography, Russell's discography and Meade's discography, Uncle Dave never recorded C-H-I-C-K-E-N. The only commercial old-time recordings indicated in these discographies were by the McGee Brothers (1927), Kirk McGee (1927), Asa Martin (1933 under the title 'Ragtime Chicken Joe' and Tobacco Tags (1939 under the title 'De Way to Spell Chicken'.

In 1924, Uncle Dave would have been 52, not 70.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:59 PM

My apologies, a correction to my previous post: Uncle Dave would have been 54 in 1924. He was born in 1870.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST,Pelrad
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 11:25 PM

Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis recorded that song on their album, Two Little Boys, if anyone can find a copy of it.

For any chicken song buffs out there, particularly instrumentalists, Bob Webb (of Bath, Maine - who will be at the Mystic Sea Music Festival in June) recorded an album comprised entirely of chicken songs, to commemmorate the centennial of the Rhode Island Red breed of chicken. The album is titled Cluck, Old Hen.

Also, Tom Paxton recently recorded a completely new and different (spelling) chicken song on his album, Your Shoes, My Shoes. It's got a very catchy tune, and the lyrics are as follows:

The hen said, "Buck buck! You are out of luck
If you wanted scrambled eggs upon your plate,
Because the eggs hatched chickens and they ran like the dickens.
If you want scrambled eggs you'll have to wait."

Ch: C H I C K E N
If you can't spell chicken then we'll try it once again.
C H I C K E N
Spells chicken, chicken, chicken every time.

The rooster crowed by the side of the road
Saying, "Cockadoodle, cockadoodle-doo!
I crow so loud 'cause I'm so proud
And if you were a rooster so would you."

CHORUS

The chicks said, "Peep! Peep! We don't wanna sleep
'Cause there's always something funny going on.
And we'll all stick together 'til fuzz turns to feather,
And we'll all be chickens when we're grown."

CHORUS

The rooster and the hen and the little chicks then
Would not be satisfied
Till they tippy-tippy-toed all the way across the road
Just to get to the other side.


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Subject: The Right Way
From: GUEST,Sam
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 06:14 PM

I go to a music class and the song goes:

Rufus Rustas Johnson Brown

Oh whatcha goin to do when the rain comes down

Whatcha goin do and whatcha goin say if you can't pay the rent till the rain goes away

You know and I know everyone knows

That you can't pay the rent if you aint got the dough

Rufus Rustas Johnson Brown

Oh whatcha goin do when the rain come down



C- thats the way it begins
H- thats the next letter in
I- your in the middle of the word
C- you've already heard
K- now your nearing the end
E- now your rounding the bend
C-H-I-C-K-E-N Oh thats the way you spell (clap clap) CHICKEN!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Eric K
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 06:04 PM

Michelle Shocked does it on her album, Arkansas Traveler, but it's the newer version of the CD that includes some live tracks. Listen to the last track, Introducing Dollar Bill, where she sings with her father.


http://www.amazon.com/Arkansas-Traveler-Michelle-Shocked/dp/B0002VGRE0/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1222466225&sr=8-2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 07:03 PM

Oh, darn. I have the original version of theat Michelle Shocked album, and I referred to it here just yesterday. There are RealPlayer recordings of the extra songs here (click).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: TUNE Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Uncle Jaque
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 12:52 AM

I just found a reference to "CHICKEN" on an old broadside for KEMP's Original Colored Minstrel Troupe out of Leeds, Maine (odd place for Minstrels to be operating out of, but there's a story behind that...)
Don't know exactly when they were playing, but I'd guess that it was sometime between 1870 and 1900.

Have a feeling that this one goes back a ways and has it's roots in the Minstrel tradition. None of the links to sound files of the tune in this thread seem to be active any more - any updated ones available?

I'd probably be doing it on the Ab "Low Bass" tuned gut strung minstrel banjo using the old "Stroke" style.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 01:11 AM

Uncle Jaque, the only online recording I can find is the RealPlayer cut from the Michelle Shocked album, but it's some guy singing. The cut takes a while to load before it starts playing, but it's a good 'un.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 10:37 PM

RE: when the tempo of life slows down in a few weeks,..."

Sorry, the tampon on the tempo is more compressed than it was six years ago.

However, the good news is...my uncle singing this...
And the score are now readily available throughout the net.

See you after current the Holiday

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

THANKS FOR KEEPING A LIGHT ON


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 08:10 PM

garg, I thought you were dead! Where have you been?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 02:02 PM

I somehow missed the earlier reference to the song "S-C-R-O-T-U-M" when reading and posting to this thread three years ago. (I just noticed that my last post was 8/22/05, one week to the day before Hurricane Katrina hit our neighborhood and the subsequent levee failures forced us into exile for several months.)

I've heard "Scrotum" sung by Wammo of the Asylum Street Spankers, and assumed that he wrote it as a parody of John Hurt's "Chicken." It definitely uses the same "Jadda Jadda" melody. (It could be someone else's creation, of course, but it's very much in the same vein as Wammo's other work.)

I don't think a person could possibly be a member of the wacky-but-traditionally-grounded Spankers without knowing the MJH canon pretty thoroughly.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 12:37 PM

C- thats the way it begins
H- thats the next letter in
I- your in the middle of the word
C- you've already heard
K- now your nearing the end
E- now your rounding the bend
C-H-I-C-K-E-N Oh thats the way you spell (clap clap) CHICKEN!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 04:41 PM

thanks, guest. I've been singing the version that omits the last two letters (E and N), you have a versino that omits only one.

I know that there are folks who really wish they had lyrics all the way through N, even though it causes an odd number of lines...


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Subject: ADD Version: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (Perrin & Slater)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 07:10 AM

Following a couple prolific poster's recent suggestion.

Warning the following may be offensive to those of a more tender and sensitive PC sheltered nature - Continue At Your Own Risk - boots may be required - BUT I LOVE IT !

OK - I am NOT completely NUTS ! ! !

The version I know, and had sung to me is from 1902 - a copy is found on-line in the UCLA collection: (unfortunately, it Lacks the GREAT cover illustration
http://digital.library.ucla.edu/apam/librarian?ITEMID=NSO003003

Dat's De Way to Spell "Chicken."
by Sidney L. Perrin and Bob Slater
1902 M Witmark and Sons, New York

In a little country school-house where de little darkies go
There is a little pic-an-niny by de name of Rag-time Joe.
Now when it comes to spelling his ragtime brain works fast
He's de only well learned scholar dat holds down his own class.

One day de teacher call his class to spell one sort of bird
Dat kind of bird was chickens and they could not spell de word
So de teacher call on Ragtime Joe to spell dat waord to them
He didn't heitate a bit this is how he began.

Parson Johnson gave a concert in de old church house one night
He hired himself a lots of talent dat could sing and could recite.
And when they pulled de curtain ev'ry thing went wrong you know
Till one darkey loudly yelled - let's hear from Ragtime Joe

He sang a ragtime new coon song but it did not take so well.
He said I've went a-frost on dat I guess I'll have to spell
The he told de audience dat he had composed a chicken song
When he spell these words to them he took de house by storm.

C, dot's de way to begin,
H, dat's de next letter in,
I, dat am de third
C, dat's to ceason de word. (I heard this from mother as "dar's two C's in de word" or from father "dat's to season de bird")
K, dat's a filling in
E, I'm near de end
C-H-I-C-K-E-N

Dat's de way to spell chicken, chicken.
(family version - a third "chicken - and repeat of "Dat's de way to spell chicken.")

Some other recorded versions available on line:

CHICKEN
Artist/Composer: Mississippi John Hurt
.........archive.org/details/MississippiJohnHurtChicken

C-H-I-C-K-E-N, dat's de way to spell chicken (1903) -by - Len Spencer
.........archive.org/details/C-h-i-c-k-e-nDatsDeWayToSpellChicken1903

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 07:15 AM

Asking my friend Ivan (1963)- "At what age do they stop calling little negro children pickaninnies?" His responce - "As soon as they are old enough to fight."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: ADD Version: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 11 May 10 - 09:23 PM

I learned this song at girl scout camp in the late 70s.

C-H-I-C-K-E-N

C that's the way it begins
H I'm the second letter in
I I am the third letter
C I 'm the fourth letter in that word, oh
K I'm moving in
E I'm near the N
Oh C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that is the way you spell Chicken.

Oh Rufus Rastus Jonathan Brown, what you gonna do when the rent comes round?
What you gonna say? What you gonna play? What you gonna do on Judgment Day?
Oh, you know, I know, we know so. Landlord through you out in the snow.
Oh Rufus Rastus Jonathan Brown, what you gonna do when the rent comes round? Oh,

C......(repeat)


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Subject: Lindy, sweet as the sugar cane - ukulele chords
From: GUEST,GUEST, Albert
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 05:55 AM

Hi people,
I have the words for Lindy, ... a song sung by a couple of now-deceased elderly aunts. I wonder if anybody can help with chords for the uke?
Thanks,
Albert


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 09:48 AM

the way i learned it was i choir as a practice it went like this:

rufus rustus johnson-brown
oh,whatcha gonna do when the rain comes down
whatcha gonna do and whatcha gonna say if you cant pay the rent
til' the rain goes away?
oh, you know and i know and everbody knows that you cant pay the    rent if you aint got the dough      
so, rufus rustus johnson-brown wathca gonna do when the rian comes down?


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Subject: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Mudslide Mike
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 12:40 PM

Mississipi John Hurt sang a song called Chicken, in which he spells it out. Does anyone have the lyrics for this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 01:18 PM

I'm pretty sure there are previous threads discussing the song. Try putting your thread title in the Filter box on the main page and select Age: All in the dropdown box and click Refresh. See what comes up.
Alternatively wait until someone who knows arrives on this thread.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: C-H-I-C-K-E-N (from J Warner & J Davis)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 01:23 PM

Hi, Mike-
I moved you over here, so we can build on the existing discussion and not re-invent the chicken...

-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Max
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 04:08 PM

Hi, I learned this in music class so here it goes


C- Thats the way it begins and
H- thats the next letter in
I- were in the middle of the word now
C- you ve already heard
K- Now where neain' the end
E- now where roundin' the bend
C-H-I-C-K-E-N oh thats the way we spell (clap clap) chicken

and this is how we learned Rufus Rustas Johnson Brown

Rufus rustas johnson brown oh
whatcha' gunna do when the rain comes down?
whatcha' gunna do and whatcha' gunna say
If you can't pay the rent till the rain gos away
'cause you know and I know and everybody knows that
you can't pay the rent if you ain't got the dough
rufus rustas johnson brown oh
whatcha' gunna do when the rain comes down?

yeah, I have to learn that tune on my flute AND I have to sing it :( oh well


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Gresh
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 09:12 PM

My father used to sing this song all the time. I remember it like this:

There was a country schoolhouse, where all the darkies go
There was a pica-ninny by the name of Rag Time Joe
Now, the teacher called on Joe, to spell a kinda bird
Joe didn't know how to spell the word, but this is what he said,
C-That's the way to begin, and the
H- is the next letter in, and
I - that am the third, and the
C – salt and pepper is the seasoning for the bird, well
K- That's the fillin in, and the
E– well that's next to the
N
Well C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that am the way you spell Chicken.

I still love it!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST,Lila2004
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 04:02 AM

My version, learned in Girl Scouts in the mid-1970s, goes like this:

C -- is the way we begin, and
H -- is the second letter in, and
I -- is the middle of the word, and
C -- you've already heard, and
K -- is a kind of a hen, and
E -- you are nearing the
N.

C-H-I-C-K-E-N, that's the way you spell it, chicken!

Oh, Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
whatcha gonna do when the rent comes around?
Whatcha gonna do and whatcha gonna say
when you can't pay the rent at the break of day?
Oh, you know, I know, everybody knows
that you can't pay the rent if you ain't got the dough.
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
whatcha gonna do when the rent comes around?


I've looked at all the other version and mine seems to be the only one that uses the lines 'K -- is a kind of a hen' (which may just be a mishearing on my part, I admit) and 'when you can't pay the rent at the break of day'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 13 - 05:38 PM

A-B7-D7-A


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Subject: RE: Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 08:34 PM

this will be considered racist but this is how I learned it: In a little country schoolhouse where all the darkies go, there was a little pickaninney by the name of ragtime joe, and when it came to spelling everyone did po you know til one little darkie yelled out loud lets hear from ragtime joe. C thats the way to begin, H and the next letter am an I I know I love you, c am to season the bird k, now I'm just fillin in E and the last letter N   C H I C K E N, that am the way to spell chicken


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