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Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)

19 May 99 - 12:32 PM (#79842)
Subject: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Ewan McVicar

I'm researching Scottish children's songs. One which only occurs very rarely outside Scotland is One two three aleary (many possible continuations to this recurring first line.)

I have one 1978 printed account of the song being collected from kids in the USA. But just now while reading Count Basie's autobiography, GOOD MORNING BLUES, I was dumbstruck to read p248"One [1940 recording] was a little novelty for Jimmy [Rushing] called One-Two-Three O'Lairy". An Internet Search for Count Basie sites did not produce a lyrics site. Can anyone help with lyrics, or a site for obscure jazz lyrics? It occurs to me I should also try a search for Jimmy Rushing.


19 May 99 - 08:30 PM (#79945)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Barry Finn

I remember my sister & all the other girls in the hood singing this as they bounced a ball & threw a leg over the ball as it bounced, singing:
"One, two, three, O'Leary, my first name is Mary Don't you think that I look cute, in my mother's bathing suit".
Barry


19 May 99 - 08:31 PM (#79946)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Barry Finn

Sorry, should've said that would've been mid 1950's. Barry


19 May 99 - 09:23 PM (#79959)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: alison

Hi,

We used to play it as a ball game in Belfast in the 70's, so it made it across from Scotland.

1,2,3 O'Leary
4,5,6,O'Leary
7,8,9,O'Leary
10 O'Leary, oh.

There was another version too.....

1,2,3 O'Leary
I saw Mrs Cleary........
it got rude after this (well we thought it was rude at the time....), unfortunately I can't remember what happened next.

Slainte

alison


19 May 99 - 09:28 PM (#79962)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: alison

Ewan,

There is a great book of Belfast childrens songs, (quite a few of the street games variety), I'm sure many of them would have been in Scotland too. I remember being sung to sleep with Coulter's candy,..... definately Scottish.

The book is "Keep the Kettle Boiling, Rhymes from a Belfast childhood." by Maggi Kerr Peirce, published by Appletree Press 1983, (ISBN 0-86281-116-3).

Slainte

alison


19 May 99 - 10:08 PM (#79971)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Sandy Paton

Chicago, early 1940s:

One, two, three a'leary,
Four, five, six a'leary,
Seven, eight, nine a'leary,
Ten a'leary, USA! (Patriotic WWII times, those)

U.S. Midwest, 1940s:

One, two, three a'leary,
Four, five, six a'leary,
Seven, eight, nine a'leary,
Ten a'leary, POSTMAN! (unexplained, until we heard Dominic Behan sing, in London, 1958:

Open the door and let me in sir,
I am wet unto the skin, sir.
Open the door and let me in, sir,
All to post me letter.
One, two three a'lairy,
Four, five, six a'lairy,
Seven, eight, nine a'lairy,
Ten a'lairy, POSTMAN! (Dublin, ca. 1930s)


Vermont, early 1960s:

One, two, three o'leary,
My first name is Mary.
If you think it necessary,
Look it up in the dictionary.

Boston, early 1960s:

One, two, three o'lairy,
My first name is Mary.
Don't you think that I'd look cute
In my father's union suit? (That's how we heard it, Barry, from a woman who would be a bit older than your sisters could have been.)

And, finally, Jeannie Robertson, in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1958, sang for us:

One, two, three a'leery,
I saw Wallace Beery,
Sittin' on his bumble-eery,
Kissin' Shirley Temple.

Actually, we have found one more, but I can't think of it right now. Something about "Mistress Mary looking like a chocolate fairy..." Perhaps on her bumble-eery, too. I dunno. Maybe another Mudcatter can help.

By the way, Jean Redpath pointed out, as she was doing one of these ball-bouncing/leg-cross-over games, that there is a line in Piers Plowman about beggars sitting at the city gate, "Legs aleery." I'm not sure of the spelling, but the meaning was clear: they had their legs crossed, i.e.: sitting in what we call "Indian fashion." In the game, of course, the player crosses her leg (this is usually considered a girl's game) over the bouncing ball.

Hope this helps.

Sandy


19 May 99 - 10:12 PM (#79972)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Sandy Paton

Darn! I need Joe's magic cookie again. One line break omitted in the Dominic Behan rhyme. Can you fix it for me, lad? I'm trying to be better!
Sandy


19 May 99 - 10:34 PM (#79975)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: alison

Hi,

That was the "rude" bit, I had forgotten....

Sittin' on her bumble-eery,
Eating..........???????????

slainte

alison


19 May 99 - 11:48 PM (#79988)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Sandy Paton

Wow, if that's rude, I'm never going to post some of the other songs I know! (Just kidding, Alison.)

Thanks, Joe. You're a blinkin' marvel!

Cyber-klutz


20 May 99 - 10:35 AM (#80101)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: alison

Hi Sandy,

You have to remember I was very young in the 70's **grin** and it's slowly coming back to me I think she was "eating sugar / (or possibly chocolate) candy.")

slainte

alison


20 May 99 - 05:11 PM (#80207)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Ewan McVicar

Many thanks. Fascinating stuff all. The union / bathing suit verse is the only on new to me, and is I think American. There is also in a US version I saw Miss McClearie, sitting on a dromedary, eating chocolate babies, and a couple of other verses of the like. Jeannie Robertson's verse turns up a lot in Scotland, as do the 'Dublin' ones. There is also 1 2 3 Gibraltar, my boyfriend's name is Walter - dictionary and 1 2 3, aleerie, hold my top till I spin my peerie Oh, I canny spin my peerie, wish I was a lauddie And various verses for specific ball-bouncing actions. What tune/s was/were used in the US? In Scotland it is a Scots port a bheil Say o alo alachian (phonetic spelling) A tune also used for Hirum ho for Donald Don With all his tanterwallops on. The Piers Plowright reference is to 'sturdy beggers holding their legs alerie', ie ablebodied men pretending their legs are bent - as one bends one leg while lifting it to bounce the ball beneath. There was even a 1960s UK pop hit version sung by either Val Donnican or Matt Munro (I have a copy of the sheet music), but I'm still keen to find what Jimmy Rushing sung.


20 May 99 - 05:34 PM (#80218)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Penny S.

I heard, as a child, in the South East, "One two three a-lairy, my ball's in the airy". So it went with ball games. But as I was hopelessly clumsy with those games, and no-one would teach me them, that's all I know.


21 May 99 - 07:43 AM (#80419)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Ferrara

We (Washington DC, early 40's) sang more or less this version given by Sandy: U.S. Midwest, 1940s:
One, two, three a'leary,
Four, five, six a'leary,
Seven, eight, nine a'leary,
Ten a'leary, POSTMAN!

But I think we sang o'lairy, not a'leary, hard to tell now because I've heard it several ways. My memory may be playing tricks, but we may have bounced the ball hard on the ground twice on POSTMAN.


21 May 99 - 10:20 AM (#80456)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Roger the zimmer

I've followed this thread with interest. I remember this song from youthful playgrounds late'40s/early'50s, but Jimmy Rushing?? I can't hear it in his marvellous voice in my mind's ear, somehow! I've checked my Basie and Rushing recordings and haven't come across it. I'd be fascinated by the eventual answer!


21 May 99 - 05:49 PM (#80565)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Jo Taylor

One, two, three a'lairy
I saw sister Mary
Sitting in a basket chair-y
Eating jelly babies

That's just popped into my head from childhood (Devon, England). I think we skipped to it. Probably a polite version of Alison's!

Do you have jelly babies in the US? I s'pose they'd be bit squidgy seeing as your 'jelly' is our jam. Talking of jam, a friend of mine, visiting here in France went into a cafe last Friday and ordered himself 'un croissant avec preservatif' and got a very strange look from mademoiselle...
Jo, suffering from ill computer.


21 May 99 - 07:54 PM (#80603)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Susan of DT

Brooklyn in the 50s ball bouncing rhyme:
1, 2, 3 o'leary
4, 5, 6, o'leary
7, 8, 9, o'leary
10 o'leary, I made it

not very thrilling. I think we bounced the ball on the numbers and turned it under a leg on o'leary.


22 May 99 - 02:29 AM (#80684)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Sandy Paton

Perhaps I should confess that I recorded Jeannie Robertson's version in a cluster of kids' songs on my Elektra record of 1959. Fortunately, that record has long been out of print.

Sandy


22 May 99 - 04:02 AM (#80696)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Philippa

Jo, your story of the faux pas belongs on Art Thieme's infamous thread


22 May 99 - 12:00 PM (#80754)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Ewan McVicar

As always, child lore proves startling and confounding of expectations. Up till I started this thread I was so so confident about this song being almost exclusively Scots. Thanks to all who proved me wrong, and gave me a new interesting puzzle - if it was so widespread in the US of A, why does it turn up so rarely in print? (Or am I missing things here too?)
Re Jimmy Rushing - at that time there was a fashion for jazzers to 'jazz' up kids songs. Roy Eldridge did a medley called Schooldays. The best known was Mairsy Doats and Dozy Doats, by I do believe Nat King Cole. This is very old, as 'Mares eat oats and does eat oats'.


23 May 99 - 12:25 AM (#80908)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: alison

I think it's still in fashion..... Teletubbies still do it.... occasionally the program features a jazz group doing very snazzy renditions of Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill.

My kids love it.....

slainte

alison


23 May 99 - 01:17 AM (#80917)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Sandy Paton

Thanks for the corrected dope on those clever beggars with their "legs alerie." Now I'll have to go and actually look up the reference! Have you found the word used in any other context? Time for the OED and Chambers, if not my trusty old Century.

Sandy


23 May 99 - 07:52 AM (#80955)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: Ewan McVicar

Sandy, My information comes from Sail Away, put together by Eleanor Locke, Boosey & Hawkes, 1981/1988.

She gives 5 verses, collected in Calif in 1978, then quotes from Mary & Herbert Knapp, One Potato Two Potato, 1976. They in turn quote from "a 1370 ms of Piers Plowman. When Piers goesd to check on those who are helping him plow his half acre, he finds them loafing about, pretending to be crippled : Somme liede here leggie a-lery, as such losellis cunne. (Some made their legs crooked as such losers will.)" So no reference to beggars _ I invented that! Startling to find such a modern use of losers here too! Don't have OED to hand!

Ewan


26 May 99 - 07:28 AM (#81800)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: The Fat Boy (inactive)

Des O'Connor had a hit with 'one, two, three O'Leary ,games I played with Mary'.....yuhcck !!


26 May 99 - 08:12 AM (#81810)
Subject: RE: Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940
From: bassen

In the interests of completing the charting of cultural diffusion: in suburban LA in the early 50's we sang much the same as Sandy's Midwest 1940's version except we sang "o'leary" and we finished with the rhythmically succinct "10 o'leary MEN". I seem to recall that we sang up to 10 and then back down to 1: 10, 9, 8 o'leary, etc. finishing with "1 o'leary MAN"

bassen


25 Jun 09 - 02:32 PM (#2664563)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Ann J Scotland

round about 1966, i would play ball games againt a wall using 2 balls and sometimes only one hand!! (impressive!!)

i remember:-

one two three o'leery
four five six o'leery
seven eight nine o'leery
ten o'leery
out of it.


also;-

sonia heeney skates like this(spin round and catch the ball after spin)
skates like this
skates like this
sonia heeney skates like this
skates(spin) like(spin) this (spin)   !!!!!


braw fun!!!!!!
skates like


25 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM (#2664880)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Snuffy

One two three a-lairy
I saw Aunty Mary
Sitting on the lavatairy
[last line forgotten]


30 Oct 09 - 09:06 PM (#2756267)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Barbie Meyer

Mom's Chicago rendition, "one, two, three, O'Leary, four, five, six, O'Leary, seven, eight, nine, O'Leary, ten, O'Leary the postman." Leg circles over the ball on O'Leary. I use it with our senior's exercise class while seated in a chair.


30 Oct 09 - 09:39 PM (#2756296)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Fergie

One, two , three, O'Leary
I saw missus Cleary
Sitting on her bum-ba-leary
Eating chocolate soldiers.

Sung by the girls playing bouncy-ball on the northside of Dublin in the 1950's


30 Oct 09 - 09:54 PM (#2756310)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I have only every heard the Shirley Temple verse in a cut on a recording by The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell.

one two three o'leery
four five six o'leery
seven eight nine o'leery
ten o'leery, Over Ball

one two three o'leery
I saw Wallace Beery
Sittin' on his Bomboleery
Kissin' Shirley Temple.
ten o'leery

Don


31 Oct 09 - 02:31 AM (#2756370)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: MGM·Lion

Peter & Iona Opie give the WallaceBeery/ShirleyTemple version in The Lore & Language of Schoolchildren [1959], ch 7: attribd 'Edinburgh c1940; Girl, 14, Kirkcaldy, 1952, for ball-bouncing.'

They also give

One, two, three a-lairy,
My ball's down the airey,
Don't forget to give it to Mary,
Not to Charlie Chaplin.

'... heard recently in Camberwell and Hackney' [districts respectively of S & E London] '... reported as current in Montreal...'


31 Oct 09 - 02:36 AM (#2756371)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: MGM·Lion

Apologies - word at end of line 2 should be spelt 'airie'.


31 Oct 09 - 02:21 PM (#2756801)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Billy Weeks

'Airey' is a London child's pronunciation of 'area'. In the days when ball games could still be played in the street - and where the street happened to be one with houses with basements (as many in the East End were, before the Blitz) - a ball that went 'down the airey' had to be retrieved by opening the gate and going down the narrow steps, risking the wrath of the occupants.

MtheGM's version was the usual form when I was a child in the 1930s, but I don't hear it much now. The aireys have nearly all gone and so have the safe, car-free streets in which children's games could be played.


26 Dec 09 - 01:25 AM (#2796525)
Subject: Lyr Add: ONE TWO THREE O'LAIRY (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Chris Vening

For Ewan McVicar ten years ago, here are the lyrics to the Rushing song (my transcription from CD). It was recorded on 2 July 1941 by Count Basie and His Orchestra with Jimmy Rushing vocal and it's now widely available on CD. Apparently Vaughan Monroe also recorded it that year. The Basie band did at least five takes (see list at http://people.pwf.cam.ac.uk/djh1/lps/lp0030.html); some of them are on the French CD 'Count Basie - The Alternative Takes, Vol. 3: 1941' (see http://www.answers.com/topic/the-alternative-takes-vol-3-1941). The song was written by Don Reid and Max Chamitov in 1941; its full title is "One, two, three O'Lairy (Oh! My! Whoa! Mary!)". As you see, they took considerable licence with the old rhyme.

ONE TWO THREE O'LAIRY
(Count Basie, 1940)

One, two, three O'Lairy,
How the boys love Mary,
Cause they know when the lights are low
Oh my, whoa Mary!

One, two, three O'Lairy,
Though she's wise and wary,
Steal a kiss and steal a hug,
And then, whoa Mary!

Mary had a little lamb
But that was long ago.
Now I goes where Mary goes
No lamb could love her so.

Whoa!

One, two, three O'Lairy,
Though the boys love Mary
It's plain to see that she does love me,
Oh my, whoa Mary!

O'Lairy, two Lairy,
One Lairy, two Lairy,

Mary gonna marry me
[Ensemble]: What a bringdown!
[Spoken comment indecipherable]
Mary's gonna marry me.


12 Jan 10 - 06:32 PM (#2810425)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 19
From: GUEST,Mandy Brock

We learned as children in East London. It is a bouncing ball game and everytime one sings O'Leary one leg crosses over ball. It must be an old Irish game East London was full of Irish immigrants at one time. My mother played it as well.

We learned it as;

One, two, three O'Leary
Four, five, six O'Leary
Seven, eight, nine O'Leary
ten O'Leary drop the ball.

When you wanted to pass the ball to the player behind it was

One, two, three O'Leary
My balls down the aerie
Don't forget to give it to Mary
early in the morning.


12 Jan 10 - 06:39 PM (#2810433)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 19
From: GUEST,Mandy

Aerie is not "area" as described above but it is what the below street level suites were called. They were usually fenced (wrought iron) and gated with narrow stairs leading down to an apartment or room. I always assumed they were called aeries because they resembled bird cages. Even my Dad called them aeries and he was from North London.


15 Apr 10 - 11:44 PM (#2887658)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 19
From: GUEST

In the early 1950's in Kitchener, Ontario, the girls in my Lancaster Street neighbourhood played this ball bouncing game and sang:

One, two, three, a lairy
I spy sister Sairy
Sitting under a bungalairy
Eating choc'late candy.

If we could get away with it, we bounced our red, white and blue sponge rubber balls off the wide door of our next door neighbour's garage.

Helen


15 Apr 10 - 11:55 PM (#2887661)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: mousethief

When I was little (mid 1960s), my mom taught me the "postman" variant. I learned a lot of girly rhymes. I think she wanted a girl.


16 Apr 10 - 12:38 AM (#2887677)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Bert

Talking of Aireys

Dad used to sing....

While she was talking to a policeman
up agin the airey rails
she quite forgot the little baby in her arms
telling him some fairy tales.
She dropped the baby down the airey
Oh poor Mary Jane
and she didn't get it back
until she gave the word
that she wouldn't drop the baby down again.


03 Oct 10 - 06:49 PM (#2998994)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,michelle,

my granny from scotland used to sing

1.2.3 O'Leary
i saw paddy cleary
sitting on his bumaleary
ten a lady
policman


18 Jan 11 - 08:39 AM (#3077058)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,ettedanreb

My mum told me this rhyme for bouncing the ball and swinging your leg over it.
One, two, three O'Laire(pronounced O'Lairer)
Four, five, six O'Laire
Seven, eight, nine O'Laire
(don't remember the last line)
Mum was born in 1919, so assuming she played it when she was about ten years old, that makes it 1929. She lived in Cadishead near Irlam in Lancashire.


18 Jan 11 - 11:20 AM (#3077148)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: EBarnacle

When I was a kid in Hoboken, NJ, the rhyme was:
1, 2, 3, a-lairy,
I spy Mistress Mary,
Sitting on a bumbleairy...
Looking at Ewan's 1999 post suggests to me that a-lairy might be a corruption of all awry. Any other thoughts?


10 Apr 11 - 04:48 AM (#3132286)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Steve

ball bouncing song from belfast 1940,s so my mum remembers

123 o leary
456 o leary
789 o leary
10 o leary
over me


08 Sep 11 - 12:04 PM (#3220094)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Karen Teeling

OMG! This song comes in and out of my conscious world all the time. My brother-in-law taught it to my son 30 years ago, along with Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole and The Cat Began to Bubble. My brother-in-law is from Lanark! Thanks for the memories!!!


15 Nov 11 - 10:42 AM (#3257473)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST

One two three Olairy
I saw me Auntie Mary,
Sitting on a ?,
Eating chocolate candy.


15 Nov 11 - 05:15 PM (#3257700)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Jim McLean

One, two, three a leerie,
Haud ma ba' til ah spin ma peerie.

Translations: hold my ball while I spin my top.

We sang this as kids in Paisley


16 Nov 11 - 02:01 AM (#3257890)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Paul Burke

This was used as a two- ball rhyme by Salford (UK) girls in the late 50s. "A-laira" the pronunciation I remember.

I wonder if it was French influenced- "a l'heure" perhaps. Quite a few French words entered Scots usage, perhaps due to the presence of French troops in the 16th century, perhaps because of many Scots becoming mercenaries over the years, perhaps via sailors.


16 Nov 11 - 10:15 AM (#3258087)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: Mr Happy

It was 'O'Leary' round here.

Always thought 'twas an Irishman, like 'O'Grady says'


16 Nov 11 - 11:15 AM (#3258131)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST

I love the way variants of this keep coming.
And particular much belated thanks to Chris Vening for the Basie lyrics.
Ewan


30 Nov 11 - 05:51 PM (#3266358)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy (Count Basie 1940)
From: GUEST,Guest E.Morris

ONE TWO THREE-A-LEARY
I SAW WALLACE BEERIE
SITTING ON HIS BUMBALEERIE
EATING CHOCOLATE BISCUITS.


11 Dec 11 - 06:38 PM (#3272280)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Jane Ann Liston

Sought out this thread because I recognised the tune on the recent programme on the first part of 'The People's Post' on Radio 4 on Friday

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017x7g8

- two more parts to come, I think on 16th and 23rd Dec. The programme was using the 'open the door and let me in' verse and it was the instrumental part of the song which I recognised from Edinburgh in the 1960s as 'one, two three a-leerie' (that was the spelling I assumed was used, never having seen it written) finishing 'ten a-leerie , Postman', as mentioned earlier.


13 Mar 12 - 04:41 PM (#3322396)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

One two three o'leary
I saw Paddy Cleary
Sittin on his bumbeleeri
Eatin chocolate biscuits


07 May 12 - 02:40 PM (#3347877)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Guest

Skipping rope rhyme, Eugene, Oregon, 1954

One two three Alairy
I spy Isadairy
Sittin on a bumbelairy
One two three alairy.

I interpreted "bumbleairy" to mean bumblebee.


15 May 12 - 11:35 PM (#3351417)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,lrhertz

Late 1940's, White Lake, New York.

One, two, three alary,
I spy Madamsary,
Sitting on a pumpkinary,
Eating chocolate babies.


24 Jul 12 - 07:03 PM (#3381047)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Rose

In the early fifties we used to play two balls against a wall to:-

One, two, three alairy
My ball's down the airy
Don't forget to give it to Mary
And not to Charlie Chaplin.

The we knew the airy as the area down the steps outside the basements that housed the kitchens in Victorian houses.
I noticed recently in "Upstairs Downstairs" that several times they referred to this space as the area.
We always thought that Mary was a reference to Mary Pickford who started United Artists with Charlie Chaplin.


03 Sep 12 - 01:11 PM (#3399519)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

Taught to me by my grandmother, who would have learned it growing up north of Boston in the 1930's:

1,2,3 O'Leary
4,5,6 O'Leary
7,8,9 O'Leary
10 O'Leary, I made it

Then her version went on to "1,2,3 a basket" (make a hoop with your arms, have the ball bounce through) and "1,2,3 a puppy dog" (get down on one knee, holding your hands up like dog's ears, and up again in time with the ball).

THEN, for a bigger challenge, you moved on to doubles, starting with "1,2,3 O'Leary, O'Leary," where you passed both legs over the ball (one at a time of course!).

Anyone else do something like this, or was it just my grandmother's creative side?


03 Sep 12 - 02:11 PM (#3399542)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: Steve Gardham

50s Hull, Yorks, 2-ball rhyme

1, 2, 3, a lera
I saw sister Sarah
Sittin' on a pumpalera
eating chocolate babies.

I have a vague recollection that a pumpalera was the local word for a pouffe.

The derivation of olairy could be related to the name from the street organ player of pre-war Britain called the ting-o-lairy man.


21 Apr 13 - 01:42 AM (#3506433)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Diana

My mother used to sin:
1,2,3 O'Leary
I saw Sister Mary
Down by the Seminary
-

Ithink the last line started with 'Eating' so maybe it was chocolate babies?


21 Apr 13 - 08:10 AM (#3506542)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,cobber

Around 1952 as a small boy in Gosport, Hampshire, South of England, we all played in the street with all the other baby boomers. This was a skipping game to us and two kids would turn the rope while everyone else queued up and,one at a time, jumped in and skipped while everyone else sang the verse. At the end of the verse another skipper came in and the song might be changed but just as often, might not. Our words were another variation again which made little sense then or since.

One, two, three a-lairy
My ball's gone in the dairy
Serves you right for playing a-lairy
On a Sunday morning


21 Apr 13 - 01:58 PM (#3506688)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: Steve Gardham

That's an interesting variant, cobber. The reference to 'playing a-lairy' could relate to the playing of a 'ting-a-lairy' i.e., a street organ. But equally 'a-lairy' here could just mean the name of a ball game.


22 Apr 13 - 05:58 AM (#3506968)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Ian Ross

When I was a kid we had an LP of songs recorded by the ABC in the 1950s or early 1960s which included this one. Being an official recording, the words are probably a cleaned up version of the street songs but it went like this:

One two three a-lairy
I saw little Mary
Sitting on a dromedary
Eating chocolate fishes

One two three a-lairy
I saw little Mary
Sitting on a missionary
Eating jelly babies

One two three a-lairy
My ball's down the airy
Don't forget to give it to Mary
Not to Charlie Chaplin


15 May 13 - 12:56 AM (#3515174)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

When I was little, my grandma, whose mother and father were Italian (she must have learned it as a child in America), would play a patty-cake-like game with me and sing:

"1, 2, 3 O'Leary, my first name is Mary,
I received my confirmation on the day of Declaration!"


13 Mar 14 - 11:51 AM (#3609406)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Perstephane

My grandmother taught us:

"1, 2, 3 O'Lairy
My first name is Mary
My second name is Anna and
That's how you spell Mary Anna

1, 2, 3, O'Lairy
I spy mistress fairy
Sitting on a huckleberry
Reading the dictionary"

I don't actually remember if it was her who taught us the second verse, but that just came back to me as I was typing.

I always heard it as "alairy", but that's how she did it, always while bouncing her leg over the ball. We were actually just talking about it the other day.


17 Mar 14 - 07:41 PM (#3610430)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

123 a-laura 456 a-laura 789 a-laura 10 a-laura secord. Toronto Canada 1940's DDN


31 May 14 - 10:17 PM (#3629417)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Melanie

One two three a Leary, I saw Jock Mcleary sittin on his bumbaleery eatin chocolate biscuits.

Glasgow nursery rhyme. That's all I remember.


04 Mar 15 - 06:10 AM (#3691331)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

I


05 Mar 15 - 03:13 AM (#3691603)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: Thompson

In Eilis Brady's comprehensive book on Irish children's games, All In! All In!, she gives this for One Two Three O'Leary:

My mother said,
If she caught me playing with you,
She'd bring me upstairs and give me:

1, 2, 3, O'Leary,
4, 5, 6, O'Leary,
7, 8, 9, O'Leary,
Postman's knock.

Eilis Brady then goes on to write:

Sometimes the first three lines of the above rhyme are omitted altogether or instead of the numbers the following words are used:

1, 2, 3, O'Leary,
I spy Miss O'Leary,
Sitting on her bum O'Leary
Eating chocolate soldiers.

Eilis Brady continues:

The inventiveness of the children in substituting new words to suit new environment is shown in the following version of the above rhyme. The main road to and from the Corporation housing estate in Finglas passes the Merville Dairies where ice cream is made and where many of the tenants also work.

1, 2, 3, O'Leary,
I spy my Auntie Mary
Coming out of Merville Dairy,
Eating chocolate ice cream.

(Elis Brady is described in the 1975 book published by Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann, An Coláiste Ollscoile, as a member of staff preparing an Irish-English dictionary in the Department of Education, who has contributed a valuable collection of children's folklore to the Department of Irish Folklore in University College, Dublin. "Her awareness of the similarity between the traditional customs and social attitudes of Gaeltacht people and those of native Dubliners springs from her continued contact with Conamara since childhood. It has helped her to appreciate the importance and urgency of recording the lore and idiom of Dubliners".)

Most unfortunately, she doesn't seem ever to have done a similar book on Gaeltacht children's games.


05 Mar 15 - 04:49 PM (#3691763)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: RoyH (Burl)

AS a Cardiff schoolgirl in the 1940's my wife played the ball bouncing game to a chant of
'One, Two, Three Alaira
I saw my Auntie Sarah
Sitting on a German aira
Eating chocolate biscuits'


05 Mar 15 - 07:09 PM (#3691793)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Guest :Barbara

ONE TWO THREE-A-LEARY
I SAW WALLACE BEERIE
SITTING ON HIS BUMBALEERIE
EATING CHOCOLATE BISCUITS.
As post above, exactly as sung in Fife circa 1959


11 Mar 15 - 01:49 PM (#3693129)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Cath P

http://blog.oup.com/2007/04/one_two_three_alairy/


02 Apr 15 - 08:45 PM (#3699177)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Jill Springsteen

So happy to see this! My great aunt Kate ( Ricarda) taught me to play this when I was little. What a wonderful memory and miss her! I have always wondered about the origin? She was German. Thank you :)


29 Jul 15 - 05:07 PM (#3727028)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Morton Levin

We sang:
One,two, three O'Leary
I spy Mistress Mary
Sitting on a bumble leery
Just like a chocolate fairy!
We bounced a ball and sang
This in The Bronx circa 1930's


07 Jul 16 - 02:50 AM (#3799339)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST,Anon

I have this chant in my head going back to early childhood in the fifties. Probably from the playground and possibly misheard. I now use it as a rhyme to lull myself to sleep on the odd occasion.

One two three alera   [to rhyme with Sarah]
I saw my sister Sarah
Sitting on her bumbabara [to rhyme with Sarah]
Eating chocolate biscuit.


21 Jul 16 - 06:54 AM (#3801371)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: One Two Three O'Lairy (Count Basie, 1940)
From: GUEST

The version I recall - learned from my grandmother, I think, in 50s East London - went like this:

One, two, three, O'Leary
I saw my sister Mary
Sitting in the Maypole Dairy
Kissing Charlie Chaplin.

I was terrible at 'two-balls', but used it for skipping to, I believe.