Mudcat Café message #1489235 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81350   Message #1489235
Posted By: Azizi
20-May-05 - 12:04 PM
Thread Name: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
Subject: RE: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
Thanks for your examples, Abby.

I was taught 'Sticks and Stones' in the 1950s. I recall this rhyme being taught to children by adults who wanted to reduce the hurt that was likely to occur when children became the victims of name-calling {including racial slurs}. I don't remember children ever using in any exchange with peers.

And Abby, thank you also for the resources that you cited. I am interested in the questions that you raised about "the emotional content & force of the stuff. When is it serious and when is it clearly formulaic or just kidding?"

With regard to the song "Green Green Rocky Road", I remember 'being introduced' to the African American singer Odetta by way of a record she made that included this song. And one day a long time ago [1980s?]I caught the tail end of a Sesame Street segment that had African American children chanting this rhyme while performing a line game {2 verticle lines with an 'alley' in the middle like the 'The Soul Train Line"}.

The closest version of that song I have ever found is "Oh, Green Fields, Roxie". That song is included in "Step It Down" Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes' 1972 book on African American children's game songs & rhymes from the Georgia Sea Islands {published by theUniv. of Georgia Press, pps 74-75}. However, instead of 'Roxie", the word {actually the phrase} I thought I heard in the Odetta record and TV segment was was 'rocky road'.

Bess Lomax Hawes writes that this is an adaptation of British song "Green grow the rushes, oh". Though Hawes didn't say so, it appears that "Roxie" {a girl's personal nickname or name from "Roxanne"} and "Rocky Road" are examples of folk etymology.

BTW, I checked the DT under that title and also under 'Green Fields Roxie' and didn't get any hits.

While "Oh Green Field, Roxie" isn't a put-down rhyme and may actually 'belong' in the thread on African American secular folk songs, I don't have a problem with including the words to that children's game song in this thread.


"Step It Down",
Bessie Jones & Bess Lomax Hawes, pp. 74-75

Lead Singer               Group Voices
Oh green fields.          Roxie

Oh green fields.          Roxie

Tell me who you love,    Roxie

Tell me who you love,    Roxie

{Lead voice solo}

Ph Miss {Mabel}your
name is called,
Come take as seat right side
your love,
Shake his hand and let him go
Don't let him sit in that chair
no more.


Notes from book "..When accompanied by a solid offbeat clap, thiscan be the most jazzily rhythnic of all Mrs Jones' plays.

Form: Ring of children standing and clapping. In the middle of the ring is a chair with a player sitting in it. The 'caller' who leads the singing, stands by the chair.

[first line & second line] All players clap

[third line] caller leans over to player in the chair, who
             whisper the name of another player to the caller

Directions given for lead voice solo:
Caller sings the whispered name.
Player called struts to chair, shakes hands eith player in chair
and sits down. First player dances back to the ring and the game is repeated without pause."


As you can see the performance instruction for version of the song is much different than what I remember from the television segment that I saw.

FWIW, I don't recall this game at all from my childhood. And I have never seen it performed or mentioned among African American children in the Pittsburgh, Penn. area {1969-2005}.

Ms. Azizi