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Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away

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BABY-ROCKING MEDLEY (Rosalie Sorrels)


concon 13 Aug 02 - 12:40 PM
Mrrzy 13 Aug 02 - 01:02 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Aug 02 - 01:05 PM
Sorcha 13 Aug 02 - 01:05 PM
GUEST 13 Aug 02 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,robinia 13 Aug 02 - 02:37 PM
GUEST 13 Aug 02 - 05:36 PM
Bill D 13 Aug 02 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,robinia 13 Aug 02 - 07:00 PM
Bill D 13 Aug 02 - 07:10 PM
Harold W 13 Aug 02 - 11:18 PM
Deckman 13 Aug 02 - 11:54 PM
kytrad 14 Aug 02 - 08:41 PM
kytrad 14 Aug 02 - 08:53 PM
CapriUni 14 Aug 02 - 10:59 PM
Deckman 14 Aug 02 - 11:52 PM
CapriUni 15 Aug 02 - 12:56 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 02 - 02:39 AM
kytrad 15 Aug 02 - 08:21 PM
CapriUni 15 Aug 02 - 08:44 PM
GUEST 15 Aug 02 - 09:18 PM
Frivolous Sal 11 Nov 03 - 01:11 PM
Frivolous Sal 11 Nov 03 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 11 Nov 03 - 01:57 PM
Q 11 Nov 03 - 01:59 PM
Q 11 Nov 03 - 02:04 PM
Q 11 Nov 03 - 06:44 PM
LadyJean 12 Nov 03 - 12:53 AM
cetmst 12 Nov 03 - 06:55 AM
Celtaddict 12 Nov 03 - 08:19 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Nov 03 - 09:34 PM
Q 13 Nov 03 - 10:08 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 03 - 02:49 PM
Q 15 Nov 03 - 02:57 PM
Jenny Islander 16 Nov 03 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,T. Blair 30 Apr 04 - 10:36 PM
Q 30 Apr 04 - 11:11 PM
Little Robyn 01 May 04 - 05:37 PM
GUEST 21 Feb 06 - 12:13 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM
Mrrzy 21 Feb 06 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 22 Feb 06 - 01:06 AM
Stewie 22 Feb 06 - 03:00 AM
GUEST,Galley 20 Oct 06 - 11:20 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Oct 06 - 04:41 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Oct 06 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,degener 05 Jul 07 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 07 - 09:45 PM
GUEST,Jesse 25 Jul 07 - 08:41 PM
Y_Not 26 Jul 07 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Jack Kelley 16 Aug 07 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,bilwilk 05 Oct 07 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,ELKA 13 Nov 07 - 02:24 AM
Deckman 13 Nov 07 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Page 17 May 08 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,pennymac 01 Jun 08 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Peggy 14 Jun 08 - 09:56 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Jun 08 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Heather Morse Low 26 Aug 08 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Amber 28 Aug 08 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Amber 28 Aug 08 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,m harvey 07 Nov 08 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Bdaleday 15 Nov 08 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Marcus Hill 15 Dec 08 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,George Weinberg-Harter 23 Oct 09 - 10:57 AM
Susan A-R 23 Oct 09 - 04:16 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Dec 09 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Laura Waddell 27 Dec 09 - 10:40 AM
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Subject: today's the day we give babies away
From: concon
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 12:40 PM

There is an old Irish or Scotch or somewhere folk song that's about a housewife that's having a bad day. When the baby starts to cry, she picks it up, sits in a rocker and rocks furiously while singing:

"Today's the day we give babies away with half a loaf of bread."

I heard this song years ago on the radio and have no idea what it's name is or who sings it or where to find it. It has driven me crazy for years.

Have you ever heard of it?

Thanks, Connie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:02 PM

Yes, I have - but that is all I can say! Check some old Clancy Brothers record covers? Maybe the one where they sing Weela Walia?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:05 PM

See this entry in the DT: BABY-ROCKING MEDLEY (Rosalie Sorrels)

Unlikely to be Irish or Scottish; home-grown American most likely (though I can't speak for the tune, which I haven't heard).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:05 PM

I found a snippet with tea instead of bread, but not the whole song. See here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:41 PM

Steve Roud's folksong index lists it only in Combs' 'Folk-Songs of the Southern United States'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,robinia
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 02:37 PM

Yes, I remember "This is the day we give babies away" from an old Rosalie Sorrels (or Bonnie Dobson??) children's record. It had the two verses Malcolm cites (but not the lead-in complaint) and was paired with the "Island way out in the sea." It wasn't until I read the jacket notes, which said that the song was popular in Western bars, that I woke up to the spirit in which it could be sung ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 05:36 PM

Since the song is an infant lullaby, it doesn't need many verses. You just sing the same damn verses over and over until the baby falls asleep from boredom, or you fall asleep from exhaustion. However, I like to add the following (original) verse:

Oh this is the day we give babies away
With a half a pound of tea
If you've got the feeling you'd like some Darjeeling
We'll throw it in for free

Jacob (father of an infant who sleeps very well, thank God)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 06:35 PM

I was thought Rosalie wrote it...*shrug*...she made it temporarily famous 15-20 years ago...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,robinia
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 07:00 PM

"if you know any ladies who want any babies/ just send them around to me" -- now that does strike me as a unusually suggestive "infant lullaby," which is not to say it's inappropriate... I think babies appreciate just about anything you sing to them, especially if it has a good rousing rhythm, which "this is the day we give babies away" has; it also has a good tune that flows very naturally (the first six notes are the same) as "Island way out in the sea, where the babies they all grow on trees"...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 07:10 PM

babies are like dogs...if say it in a sweet, lulling tone, you can say anything ---and get out LOTS of hostility...*big grin*

"What will we do with the baby-o,
If he won't go to sleepy-o?"
Every time the baby cries,
Poke our finger in the baby's eyes"

"Come, stupid, worthless doggie...do your business, and let me get out of this rain!" (said in the MOST gentle manner!~)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Harold W
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 11:18 PM

Ah... you youngsters. I don't know if it was ever was a song, but an expression used back in the days of grocery stores when people did not have baby scales. On shopping days mothers used to take the babies in to the store and the clerk put the babies on the scale. Hence the expression is, "This is the day they give babies 'a weigh' with a half apound of tea."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 11:54 PM

I have a funny connection with this song: back in 1965, my wife and I put in for adoption. During the long interviewing process, we were visited at home by our "adoption caseworker." She turned out to be a really fun lady. Through subsequent visits, while she got to know us, and us her, I once grabbed my guitar and sang this song. My wife was horrified and I was indeed quite relieved when the caseworker burst into laughter. Something must have worked, as we received son Peter when he was 6 weeks old. He is now 37! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BABY TREE (Rosalie Sorrells)
From: kytrad
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 08:41 PM

Rosalie Sorrells wrote the song, "THE BABY TREE," and our company, Geordie Music Publishing Co., published it for her in 1970. A few years later, she formed her own publishing company and we assigned her songs to her (I believe her company is Grimes Music). I don't think she'd mind my setting down the words here- it's a charming song!

There's an island way out in the sea
Where the babies they all grow on trees,
And it's jolly good fun to swing in the sun
But you gotta watch out if you sneeze, sneeze,
You gotta watch out if you sneeze.

Yes you gotta watch out if you sneeze,
For swingin' up there in the trees
You're liable to cough-you might very well fall off
And tumble down flop on your knees, knees,
Tumble down flop on your knees.

(Occasional chorus-different tune)
O this is the day they give babies away
With a half a cup of tea-
If you know any ladies who want any babies
Just send 'em around to me...

Then when the stormy winds wail
And the breezes blow high in a gale,
There's a curious dropping and flopping and plopping
And fat little babies just hail, hail,
Fat little babies just hail!

And the babies lie there in a pile
And the grown-ups come after awhile,
And they always pass by all the babies that cry
And take only babies that smile, smile,
They take only babies that smile.
Even triplets and twins if they'll smile!
(Words & music by Rosale Sorrells Grimes Music)

I guess you'll have to find the tune on one of Rosalie's albums- it was on one of her early ones. Hope this clears up some wonder-ings for you! Jean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: kytrad
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 08:53 PM

Malcolm- Apologies; I hadn't clicked on your Baby-Rocking Medley, and didn't know you'd given the lyric already. One more thing. BillD, that's one of my "Baby-O" verses; I made up that one and the, "Pour a little moonshine in his mouth" one. Rosalie used to sing that version of "Baby-o" to sort of introduce her "Baby Tree" song.

And by the way, "Baby Tree" was recorded by Jefferson Airplane in the seventies, and Paul Kantner's "Blows Against the Empire" album.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 10:59 PM

According to my mother, this was the first advertising jingle, for the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P stores), and it was a sales gimmick; around the time that cameras were a newfangled thing, the store was giving away photos of babies to anyone who bought a half-pound of tea.

The lyrics were:

Today's the day
we give babies away
with half a pound of tea.
If you know any lady who wants a baby
Just send her 'round to me!

(also according to my mother, she sang this on the way to the hospital to deliver me!) ;-)

So naturally, I had to check this thread out -- it's my song!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Deckman
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 11:52 PM

CapriUni ... what a neat story! Thanks for sharing. Tell me please, what years? Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 12:56 AM

1964 was the year I was born... I forget the year Mom said the song was used as a jingle... 'Course, it could've been a folksong first, and got picked up and used by the store for an ad ...

If so, it certainly wouldn't be the last time...

BTW, I was born 9 weeks early, so I was a bit of a surprise!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 02:39 AM

From Bessie Fiddler, Linn, W.Va., who learned it from her mother. Collected by Carey Woofter, 1924.

To-day is the day we give babies away,
With a half a pound of tea;
If you see any ladies without any babies,
Just send them around to me.

Oh all you young ladies,
From near and from far;
Beware of the sailor
With the bright morning star.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: kytrad
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 08:21 PM

I seem to remember that Rosalie said she got the basis for the song from a poem by Olive Burt (not too sure about that name, and can't locate her book nor Rosalie's record, but I think that's right, that she started with that poem). I'll have to write to her...why doesn't everyone have email??? But I'd love to find out more about the ad, and which came first, the song (or poem) or the ad. Jean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 08:44 PM

.... Hmmm... I don't even know if it was ever an ad.

All I have is my mother's story, and I don't know where she got her information...

Hmmm...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 09:18 PM

Olive Wolley Burt, author of 'American Murder Ballads'. I've heard Rosalie sing some songs from that book, or directly from Olve Burt.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Frivolous Sal
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 01:11 PM

My mother also told me it was an ad, or a jingle based on the fact that at the time green stamps were a serious thing, and everyone used them. She would date the song as 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Frivolous Sal
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 01:35 PM

Ohhhh--Today is the day we give babies away
       with a half a pound of tea.
       Just open the lid
       and out pops a kid
       with a half a pound of tea.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 01:57 PM

In the thirties my father sang

All of you ladies who haven't got babies
Just come along with me
For this is the day that we give them away
With a half-a-pound of tea...

…but I had the idea that it came from earlier in the century; don't know why.

And I heard it was a send-up of the A&P's custom of giving away premiums with tea.

clint


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 01:59 PM

Today is the day they give babies away, with half a pound of tea,
You open the lid and out jumps a kid with half a pound of tea.

In notes on the Ragtime hit, "Yankee Bird," 1910, the piece is a march and wo-step based on "The gal I Left Behind Me," and "This is the Day They Give Babies Away."
http://www-kmadg.svf.stuba.sk/jmkollar/midi/primeline/midnot_s.htm# and scroll way down.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 02:04 PM

yankee bird

Got cut off- Listen to the midi (click on Return to hear)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 06:44 PM

I remember we used a fake cockney accent, day, away and tea all rhymed with die. Never having met a cockney, I'm sure that would make one cringe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: LadyJean
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 12:53 AM

My mother was a silver haired lady, who favored conservative clothes and sensible shoes. You have not idea how badly she shocked my friend Nils by singing "If you know any ladies who want any babies just send them around to me". Nils knew the sanitary version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: cetmst
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 06:55 AM

Sing Out v. 20, 1971, p.5, quotes Rosalie Sorrels "Actually I only wrote the music to this one. I got the words from Olive Burt, author of 'American Murder Ballads and Their Stories'. She learned it from her mother who found it in a book of children's poetry from the early 1800's". It is recorded on a Prestige album, 'Rosalie's Songbag'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Celtaddict
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 08:19 AM

My father, in the fifties, used to sing (not that it had much of a tune, more a chant), "Today is the day they give babies away, at four o'clock in the morning." Is this something different, or a bit of an amalgam?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 09:34 PM

From A Reader's Guide to William Gaddis's The Recognitions:
    "The Day They Gave Babies Away" is a story by Dale Eunson that appeared in the Christmas 1946 number of Cosmopolitan, their most successful Christmas story ever. It was published as a book the following year. Perhaps more to the point, there was a soldiers' ditty circulating in the 1940s that went "Today is the day they give babies away / with a half a pound of tea. / If you know any ladies who want any babies / Just send them round to me."
The William A. Graham Collection of Television Scripts at Yale University has a script called, "Today is the Day We Give Babies Away" -- an episode of a TV series called "The Eleventh Hour." It was written by Hilda Rolfe, and appeared in 1963.

"This Is the Day We Give Babies Away" by Priscilla T. Nagle, is an article in the book "The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories," edited by Susan Wadia-Ells, 1995.

The line "Today is the day we give babies away, with half a pound of tea..." is quoted in this Autobiography of Virginia Bradford (1900-1996) -- silent movie star. It comes from a passage where the actress is reminiscing about several songs she knew as a child before 1913.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 10:08 PM

Since part of a ragtime tune from 1910 is based on "This is the day they give babies away," we have to look before that date.
I have never found the adv. (anecdotal) about a brand of tea, nor can I find anything by an author or poet named Olive Burt (mentioned by Sorrels) in the proper time frame.
Origin still a mystery.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 02:49 PM

The Library of Congress lists Olive Woolley Burt, 1894-, as the author or editor of at least 54 books—mostly children's books about the West—between 1929 and 1980. One of them is "American murder ballads and their stories. Collected and edited by Olive Woolley Burt. New York, Oxford University Press, 1958." Note that Sorrells doesn't say that the song appears in any of Burt's writings.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 02:57 PM

There are several Olive Burt's. The author about the west is too late for the time frame. I couldn't find one who fit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jenny Islander
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:38 AM

They used to play this cut on my local public radio station in the '80s (I think), and the woman who sang it had an unmistakable voice, but I can't remember her name! It's live--you can hear the audience laughing--and she leads in with a little spiel about when to sing the song. Something like: "It's four o'clock in the morning. The baby is still crying. The paregoric is gone. It's gone because you drank it. That's when you take a deep breath, smile, pick that baby up in your arms, and, in your softest, kindest voice, sing 'The Hostile Baby-Rocking Song.' "

Oh, this is the day we give babies away
With a half a pound of tea.
If you know any ladies who want any babies,
Send 'em around to me.

Oh, this is the day we give babies away
With a half a pound of tea.
You open the lid and you take out the kid
With a written guarantee.

I think there's a third verse that slipped my memory.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,T. Blair
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 10:36 PM

I heard the ditty as:

Today's the day they give babies away,
with a half a pound of tea.
Just open the lid, examine the kid,
and there you'll find the guarantee.

My mother learned it from her mother.

I understood the ditty to have come from the early colonial days and that it was Irish in origin. At least that is what I was told by an elderly Irish nun.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Q
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 11:11 PM

All we know is that it is sometime before 1910, but probably not much before.
No evidence of the rhyme before its use in a 1910 ragtime lyric, as stated before.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Little Robyn
Date: 01 May 04 - 05:37 PM

I don't recall ever hearing the song but I do remember a stock phrase that was used when I was a kid - "give you away with half a pound of tea."
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 12:13 AM

My grandmother used to sing this to my father, and I've been trying to find a copy for his birthday, any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM

Please note that Rosalie Sorrells called her work BABY ROCKING MEDLEY. "Medley" implies more than one song, and probably more than one source. I think we may be barking up the wrong tree by assuming Olive Burt wrote the line "Today is the day we give babies away with a half a pound of tea," even if Sorrells did cite Burt as a source. Surely she meant a source rather than the source.

I don't have Rosalie's recording, and I don't know the tune(s). Someone who has it, please tell me: Can you tell if there's more than one tune in the medley? Can you identify where one tune ends and the next begins? (Please refer to the lyrics in the DT.) Can you identify any of the tunes?

I remember the tune that my ex-mother-in-law (now deceased) used when she sang "Today is the day…." I think it's the opening bars of a Sousa march, but I don't know its name. I'm hoping someone else will know. If not, I might try listening to several Sousa marches until I recognize it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 10:15 PM

??Where is the beginning of this thread? My first posting is (to me at least) obviously an answer to the original question... and I do remember not starting this one...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 01:06 AM

"There's an Island Way off in the sea" is one melody, and "This is the day we give babies away" is another--I have it on vinyl, but my turntable has not be operational for about six years--elsewise I'd convey you a copy--it is delightful and amusing, both on record, and live--


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 03:00 AM

Mrrzy, click on 'Printer Friendly' link at the top of the page and it should put the messages in proper order. Joe Offer gave this tip some time ago.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Galley
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 11:20 AM

In response to Q who dated the ditty "Today's the day they give babies away with half a pound of tea; open the lid and out jumps the kid with a written guarantee" to around 1910 or slightly earlier. Can you tell me the source for the information? I'm doing research on baby-farming in America during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and this sounds like a rhyme that might have been a social comment on the practice.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 04:41 PM

Google Book Search found a book with this description:
    Title: Sunset [volume XXVIII]
    Publisher: Passenger Dept., Southern Pacific Co.
    Author(s): Southern Pacific Company. Passenger Dept, Southern Pacific Company
    Publication Date: 1898
It contains a short story called "The Ten Thousand Dollar Baby," by Agnes Foster Buchanan, which contains this bit of dialogue:
    "Well, where's the baby?" ...
    "What baby? What are you talking about?" ...
    "The baby you're whistling about" returned the other lightly.
      "Oh, this is the day we give babies away
      With a half a pound of tea!"
    he sang as they entered the club together....
So not only the words, but also the tune was familiar by 1898.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 08:25 AM

Oops! I gave some wrong information about that last quote. (Google's information was a bit confusing.) The book (or magazine) I quoted from was one of a series that began in 1898, but this particular volume was published in 1912—as you can see by displaying the title page.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,degener
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 09:25 AM

my father used to sing a slightly different version - "Today is the day they give babies away for a half a keg of beer." I suspect it was a fraternity drinking song version of the more popular lyrics. Has anyone a comment on these lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 09:45 PM

Hi
My grandfather used to sing whn we were kids quite a long version of the song- that was what I was trying to find when I saw this thread.


todays the day we give babies away with half a pound of tea
You lift up the lid and there is a kid with a written guarantee

there were other verses that followed

isn't it a pity shes only one titty to feed the baby on. The poor litter bugger he couldn't play rugger ( i.e Rugby football) he's not sufficiently strong

tra la la la

then some verse about the queen of all the fairys (which sounds now that I hear it to be some reference to homosexuality- didn't pick up on it as a kid)

will ask my cousin- he used to know all the words and sing it all the time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Jesse
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 08:41 PM

Re: This Is The Day They Give Babies Away.

To the person who remembers a lady singer singing this song, I think it was Gracie Fields.

My mother remembers that during the 1930s in Vancouver, B.C. Canada it was regularly played on the radio by Billy Brown on his Breakfast Club which ran for years on radio station C J O R 600 Kc.

Gracie Fields also use to recite a little poem, as follows.

Don't throw stones at your mother,
She never threw stone at you,
Don't throw stones at your mother,
You'll be sorry if you do;
When you were just a little child,
She'd tuck you in your bed,
so, don't throw stones at your mother-
Throw rocks at your father instead:

Cheers

Jesse Oliver


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Y_Not
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 09:56 AM

There is a film from the 1950s "The Day they Gave Babies Away" starring Glynnis Jones, a real tear jerker.
I wonder if there is any link to the song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Jack Kelley
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 05:35 PM

I remember it this way:


    Today is the day we give babies away for a pound and a half
   
    of cheese. If you know any ladies who need any babies, la lala

    la lala la la


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,bilwilk
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:46 PM

My mother use to sing this song to me, back in the 1930's. She said it was from a tea company commercial (probably in the twenties or very early thirties) and that they packed a celluloid(?) doll in the top of the box of loose tea leaves.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,ELKA
Date: 13 Nov 07 - 02:24 AM

I learned it from my father, who learned it from his English mother, who was born at the beginning of the past century:
"Today's the day they give babies away with a half a pound of tea/just open the lid/and examine the kid/with a written guarantee."
So it may have just been transatlantic cultural tidbits, but someone in England in the 1910's and 1920's was saying this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Nov 07 - 04:08 AM

Back in 1965, my wife and I were in the "process" of adopting. The interviews and exams were many and long. During one of the adoption caseworker's visits, I sang her this song. We got the baby anyway! Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Page
Date: 17 May 08 - 01:16 PM

I'm seventy and I heard my grandmother sing this to "the babies". She was from the south so always thought it was a folksong or rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,pennymac
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 12:30 PM

I found myself starting to sing this song the other day and couldn't remember anything beyond the first line. Perhaps because we lived in Wisconsin, my mother sang this song in the early 1940s not using "tea" but "cheese"

I do believe that the second line as many have suggested was "If you know any ladies that want any babies, just send them 'round to me."

The tune sounds like a vaudeville number, but I have no knowledge of the song's origin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,GUEST, Peggy
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 09:56 PM

My vulgar grandparents always sang
Today is the day they give babies away
With a half a pound of cheese
The fatter the women the better the swimmin'
to dive between their knees"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 05:26 AM

So it's either

a) a nasty lullaby (like Rock-a-bye Baby)
b) an advertising jingle
c) a bluesy lament about women having to give their babies away
d) a bawdy soldiers' song about, er, 'giving' women babies
e) a rhyme about weighing babies

and it dates from no later than 1912!

c) and e) seem pretty unlikely to me. The advertising jingle is well-attested, but 1912 sounds awfully early for that kind of campaign - besides which, would an advertiser really write about giving babies away? I'd guess that it started as a genuine lullaby, was used in an ad campaign and was later adopted by soldiers. But there's basically no evidence for this theory.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Heather Morse Low
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 06:31 PM

My Grandmother, Mary Morse Low, born (1917?) and raised in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, used to sing it. When I was a kid I used to sing along and it wasn't until I was much older when I understood what I was singing...

Today is the day they give babies away
with a half a pound of tea
If you know any ladies that want to have babies
just send 'em 'round to me

I'll give 'em a smile, I'll give 'em a grin
Send 'em to me! I'll fill them with glee!
And send them on their way!
Oh! (and start singing again from beginning)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 12:11 PM

To Jenny Islander. I know this message is late but I was doing some research and wanted to answer your question. It was Roaslie Sorrels that sings that song. On my version it is 6:30 in the morning and the kid hasn't quit howling for six hours. Then comes the cereal, pb sandwiches and milk. But the milk has been forgotten. I know the youngest of her sons and most likely the howling one so this particular song is extra close to my heart. Just thought I would let you know from someone who knows her now. Thank you for listening, reading, and possibly wondering who the heck I am responding nearly 5 years later:) Amber


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 12:16 PM

To Pip. I dont think it is either. It is coming from a woman who raised five children on her own. Regardless of who you are, anyone can be tired and know what it is like to be up all night with a crying child. That is why she states in her spoken part that keeping all of that bottled up inside could make you get "strange and punch the baby in the mouth but you cant do that." So you sing the hostile baby rocking song to get out the frustrations w/o any ill intent. Well, that is what I get out of it at least. :) Ha ha, all this time for just a little tid bit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,m harvey
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 02:35 PM

My aunt remembers this song from a movie where the husband (Possibly
Rex Harrison ) she doesn't remember .. who sings this to his wife
who is in labour, she would like to know the title of the movie if
anyone else remembers ..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Bdaleday
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 05:19 PM

Call me wierd, but I am desparately trying to find a recording of the song. I'm old enough to remember fondly when Elsa Lanchester sang it on early TV, perhaps on the Milton Berle or other variety show. Can you send me a link to ANY recording?!?!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Marcus Hill
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:49 PM

Back when I was a sailor at Moffett Field, California in the early '70s I used to listen to a radio station, KFAT (the wide spot on your dial), out of Gilory, California (garlick capital of the world). Interesting station, they'd play just about anything you can think of.

Anyway they played the two songs "Today is the day.." and the "Baby Tree" sung by Mother Mary McCaslin. I don't recall if it was live in the studio (above the dentist's office if I recall correctly) or a recording but it stuck with me all these years. I'll have to see if it is on one of the tapes I made of that station way back when.

And then Jefferson Starship ( the Airplane with shuffled membership ) did it on their Blows Against the Empire album as noted previously in this thread, It was so out of character for that band, well done too with just a banjo if I remember right. I have it ripped from the record as an 18Mbyte wave file, I'm willing to share if it won't land me in jail.

Anyway if your are looking for a recording you might try tis Mother Mary McCaslin, She was still around as of last year.

Best regards,
Marcus Hill


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,George Weinberg-Harter
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 10:57 AM

My dad, who was born in 1910, used to sing it:
Today is the day they give babies away
With a half a pound of tea.
Open the box and out he pops
With a written guarantee.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Susan A-R
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 04:16 PM

I found myself humming this one as I walked by a sign for La Leche (sp?) League "Baby sale." The couple behind me on the street also exclaimed "Ooooh, a Baby sale!! Do we want any?"

My Dad used to sing it, and I didn't realize until quite recently what the offer of "sending them round to me" implied. And they say my generation has a risque sense of humor. . .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 08:15 AM

I finally recognized the tune to which my ex-mother-in-law sang "Today is the day they give babies away with a half a pound of tea...." It's the opening theme of BLAZE AWAY. I mistakenly called it a Sousa march above, but it's really by Abe Holzmann, from 1901. Here's a midi file. I believe the same tune is also used for "I love to go swimmin' with bowlegged [or "bare-naked"] women...."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Laura Waddell
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 10:40 AM

My mother-in-law always recited the first verse
Today is the day they give babies away
With every package of tea.

At work one day my husband recited the verse and the Scottish gentleman that sat in front of him told him to finish it. My husband said he didn't know any more than that and his mother recited it when he was a kid and it always stuck in his mind. His mother was born in l901 and loved all types of poetry from the time she was a child.

The old Scott finished it like this...

If you know any ladies who would like to have babies,
please send them to me!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Steve Lawrence
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 09:08 PM

Most of you folks have it correct with its regional variations.

Fred McMurray sings the first stanza to Claudette Colnert in the
opening scene of the movie the "Egg and I", a prelude to "Green Acres.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 10:27 AM

Fred MacMurray sings it this way

Today is the day they give babies away
With a half a pound of cheese,
Half a pound of cheese...
Half a pound of cheese...

Just open the lid, and out pops a kid
with a half a pound of cheese...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,agrisolia5gmail.com
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:24 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: and e
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 07:57 AM

Antedating of the phrase "This is the day they give babies away..." to Oct 18, 1904 in the google newspaper archive here:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19041018&id=ztcUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=trUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6873,3749932



.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Young Buchan
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 10:32 AM

And there is always the old song Christening the Baby which concludes:
...The parson held his hand out and demanded £sd
But none of us had got a bob to pay the christening fee.
The parson he got angry and demanded half a quid.
He said 'Who is going to pay me now for all the work I did?'
So just to save an argument we let him keep the kid
And we all went rolling home.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: Bettynh
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 11:15 AM

You can listen to Rosalie Sorrels here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: and e
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 05:09 PM

This song is found on the 1947 movie "The Egg and I". The tune used is "Blaze Away" the same tune used for "I love to go swimming with bowlegged women...".

See the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kthh7-OqoYU


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 02:11 AM

You can watch Rosalie Sorrels sing this song on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW_TtYN9Cjw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 02:54 PM

A Phi Delta Sigma fraternity version.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfkWh9Gm1L0


Can anyone give a name for the tune used?


.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,A Commerton
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 03:29 PM

As child in England I remember going to a musica hall performance where a man sang "Today is the day they give babies away with half a pound of tea, If you know any ladies who'd like to have babies just send them up to me." That's all I remember, but would like to know the rest.


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Subject: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,islander
Date: 03 May 12 - 10:36 AM

My mother, age 95, just recalled this ditty

Today is the day we give babies away
with half a pound of cheese.

So I googled it and it's a nursery rhyme!
Ain't the internet grand!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 11:33 AM

This is a fascinating thread! It appears that the original comment dates back 10 years ago and people are still discussing it. I found this conversation by googling "today is the day we give babies away".
I did that because I was thinking about my grandmother who used to sort of chant, not sing, the phrase. But it was always preceded by "It's a great day for the Irish". And then "Today is the day we give babies away with a pound and a half of tea". (as opposed to the half a pound of tea). She wasn't Irish but apparently her neighbor was (an Irish imigrant to New York city) who used to say this all the time in the 30's or 40's, and she just copied him.

It seems certainly possible that the phrase or poem or song dates back to some early time in Ireland, got transported to the U.S., was used by others to write songs or make jingles and so possibly originates as some traditional folklore- 1800's and now exists in many different forms? This is all just hypothesizing....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Mukraken
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 02:37 PM

When I was a toddler, in the early 1950s, my mother used to sing this to me:

This is the day they give babies away
with a sample box of tea;
Open the lid and examine the kid
and see what you can see...

That's all I recall of the lyrics. Our ethnic background is Scot-Irish.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: today's the day we give babies away
From: GUEST,Tina
Date: 15 Dec 13 - 11:28 AM

My grade 10 science teacher used to say "today is the day we give babies away and a half a pound of tea" and sometimes he'd say "today is the day we give chickens away and a half a pound of tea"
But that's all I've ever heard of it & it's clearly stuck with me after all this time. This thread is very interesting!


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