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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
rich r Lyr Req: Long John, Chineeman (7) RE: old song: 'Long John was a chi-neee man' 02 Aug 99

(Tune: Brigham Young - but it doesn't match the "Brigham Young" tunes I can find)

Big Long John was a Chineeman;
He came from the land of tea.
He peddled cigareets in the upper land,
Way out in Milwaukee;
Eat more hash at a free meal a day;
Never was late to his meals;
Had a long tail from the top of his head
That hung clear down to his heels.

Ching Ching Chow, Chingee ringee roo,
Chingeee roo was a Chineeman
He was a barber by birth and a butcher by trade.
I tell you he was oil from the can.

He went to San Francisco
For a Chinee girl to see.
Feelee very tired he lay down to sleep
In the shade of a huckleberry tree.
Feelee very tired he soon fell asleep
And laid his head on a plank.
Along came an Indian with a big tomahawk
And cut off a piece of his scalp.

And when he awoke he felt so bad
That he hollered with all his might;
Put his hand to his head and it made him so sick
That he died that very same night.
He was found next day at two P.M.
By the captain of the Hongkong crew,
And he wrote to his sweetheart Chum Chum Fee
That he died for the want of his queue.

As the Chinese arrived in America in the 19th century a number of songs were popular in the western US. Some of the early ones were derived from the comic music or minstrel type shows. These often "humorously" criticized the failure of the Chinese to adapt to western culture. As the Chinese became more numerous and started to seriously compete for jobs in the mines and on the railroads, the songs became more vicious. This song tells the tale of a Chinese man who was scalped of his long hair and died as a result. While the songs may be out of bounds and racist by today's standards, they are part of a strong tradition in some elements of society to attempt to elevate themselves by denegrating others. Through history the others have been blacks, American Indians, Irish, Germans, Italians etc. This text is printed in "Songs of the American West" by Lingenfelter, Dwyer and Cohen.. They also credit Lester Hubbard's "Ballads And Songs From Utah"

rich r

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