Mudcat Café message #1550647 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4300   Message #1550647
Posted By: Azizi
26-Aug-05 - 08:12 PM
Thread Name: Children's Street Songs
Subject: RE: Children's Street Songs
Hello Guest Kerry!

Once upon a time "I love coffee" [also called "Down Down Baby"} was used for jumping rope, but it nowadays it seems to be most often used for handclap rhymes.

Here are the standard words for that rhyme:

I love {or like} coffee
I love tea
I love the boys
and they love me


Or the jumper would give a specific boy's name
{I like Johnny and he likes me}

Or the jumper would say:
I like coffee
I like tea
I want _____ to come jump with me *
* the girl or girls who the jumper wanted to join her jumping

I have collected a number of contemporary versions of this rhyme from various United States cities, and on other Internet discussion forums. What is interesting to me is how "I love coffee" now includes references to race and violence [like the version you share]when it didn't do so before. I'm not sure why this is.


"Take a peach, take a plum etc" is very common floating verse that is found in at least two different sub-groups of children's handclap rhymes. Here are two examples of the two subgroups that I'm referring to:

1st sub-group: {trading rhymes-one item after the other is defective}

Shake, shake, shake
Eeny meany
That's a queeny
Ooh ba Thumblina
Ah cha ca che Liberace
Oh baby I love you
Yes I do
Take a peach
Take a plum
Take a piece of bubble gum
No peach
No plum
Just a piece of bubble gum
Ooshe ahshe
Ooshe ahshe
I want a piece of pie
The pie too sweet
I want a piece of meat
The meat too tough
I want to ride the bus
The bus too full
I want to ride the bull
The bull's too black
I want my money back
The money's too green
I want a diamond ring.

Barbara Michels & Bettye White "Apples On A Stick",p 17
                (Coward-McCann, New York, 1983) collected in
                Houston, Texas


2nd sub-group: "spying on your boyfriend" [often "caught you with your boyfriend" etc}

"Ziz Zag zag
take a piece take a plum
take a piece of bubble gum
do you like it?
do you love it?
do the alabama shake it
shake it up
shake it down
shake it all around
Spying on my boy friend - baby
didn't do the dishes - lazy
jumped out the window - crazy
and thats the facts of boys boys boys
                Octoblog; "Schoolyard games" posted by Miranda R.;
                December 5, 2004

[note that "take a peach" is changed to "take a piece". This could
be a typo but may actually be the way the rhyme is said]


I have also found an example of this rhyme that include verses from "I love coffee, I love tea":

take a piece, take a plum take a piece of bubble gum. no piece, no plum no piece of bubble gum. i like coffee, i like tea, i like the preety boy and he likes me so step back dumb boy, you dont shine, i'll meet you round the corner and beat your behind. last night, the night before, i met my boyfriend at the candy store. he bought me ice cream, he bought me cake, he bought me home with a stomach ache. i said "mama, mama, i feel sick. call the doctor QUICK,QUICK,QUICK! doctor, doctor before i die. i close my eyes and i count to five. 1..2..3,4,5 i'm alive." see that house on top of that hill? that's where me and my boyfriend live. cook that chicken, burn that rice. com on baby, lets shoot some dice!
Source: www.octopuseschaoticinsanity Octoblog; "Schoolyard games"
         posted by lesa at April 10, 2005



Azizi Powell