Mudcat Café message #3349710 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53292   Message #3349710
Posted By: Steve Gardham
11-May-12 - 05:22 PM
Thread Name: Kemo Kimo info
Subject: RE: Kemo Kimo info
Couldn't find it myself on any of the above threads so I'll repost it here. It certainly proves the long tongue twister chorus is a lot older than the 19thc, and was widely known and utilised in 18thc England. The likelihood is that is where it originated, but we can't say this for definite of course.

The earliest usage I have found so far is on The Camp Garland, printed by John Thornton c1722. My copy comes from the ECCO compilation of 18thc stall copies. These are from various sources, BL, NLS etc and my copy didn't indicate the sources. The tune is given as 'Gameorum' and here is the verse and chorus.

Milkmaid going out of late,
With a rigdum for a little Game.
To see the camp it was her fate,
With a rigdum for a little game.
    Gameorum wildum gorum, game wildum game,
    Can you net a Flumerum, a Rigdum Bolleram
    Rigdum for a little game.

And I've just remembered where I posted it. It was on a thread discussing the meaning of 'Rigdum'. I seem to remember the terms in the chorus here are all cant terms of the period and have something to do with girls ensnaring the soldiers with their 'game'

Of course the rhythm and form could be based on something earlier.

By 1780 the nonsense chorus form was being used in musicals which is probably where that variant of 'froggy' picked it up. Here's the first verse of 'The Old English Baron' from the musical comedy 'The Baron' of which I have several 18thc copies; one not necessarily the earliest is dated 1781.

In days of yore, as I've been told,
With a humdrum woundy length of line-o,
There liv'd a Baron bluff and bold,
With a strim-stram very little coin-o;
    Means I grant ye
    Rather scanty,
But great store of line-o;
Strim-stram, pamma diddle, lara bona, ring tang,
    ring tang, very little coin-o.

In the 'Modern Syren' printed in 1791 by S Hodgson of Newcastle at p181 is a medley containing the following bit of 'Froggy'

There was a frog liv'd in a well
    With a rigdum boni cimi,
    rigdum boni, boni rigdum,
    rigdum boni cimi;
There was a frog liv'd in a well
    With a rigdum boni cimi.

All this really demonstrates is that the tune and form were being recycled all through the 18th and 19th centuries, pretty similar to 'The Keeper' which has a very distinct form, tune and chorus which were constantly recycled in the same way, although we have even earlier versions of this.