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'Hole in the Ground' question

28 Mar 01 - 10:10 AM (#427477)
Subject: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Vixen

D'Cats--

My partner Tim and I have been doing a kiddie song called "Hole in the Ground." It's one of those songs like "Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" and "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly".

"Once there was hole
I said there was a hole
Deepest hole
That you ever did see

Oh the hole in the ground and the green grass grows
all around and around and the green grass grows all around

Well in that hole
Was some Dirt
Richest Dirt
That you ever did see

Oh the dirt in the hole
and the hole in the ground
and the green grass grows all around and around
and the green grass grows all around
"

You get the idea, I'm sure....

Anyway, my first question is, WHO WROTE THIS SONG??? If possible, I'd like to know who wrote the lyrics and who wrote the tune...It's not in the digitrad, at least not as "Hole in the Ground," so I'm assuming it's got somebody's copyright on it.

I'd like to know, because we take all sorts of fun liberties with the song (for example, we played a gig at Big Bird's house, and put Big Bird in the egg in the nest on the branch on the limb on the tree on the roots in the dirt in the hole in the ground...

Which leads me to my second question...when does a song cross over from a "composed work" with copyright to a "folk process" song where people have added and changed and otherwise modified a piece beyond its original form and content?

As always, I eagerly await your input!

V


28 Mar 01 - 10:18 AM (#427488)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

All Music guide lists a version by Thom Parrott (assuming it's the same song) on a "Best of Broadside" compilation of the '60s, so if anyone has a set of Broadside and an index...It's yet a another song I'd forgotten but as soon as I read the thread it sprang into my old brain. I seem to remember it sung by a group but don't know its origin. Bet Joe O will know.
RtS


28 Mar 01 - 10:33 AM (#427505)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

BTW to avoid muddying the waters this is NOT the same as the Bernard Cribbins song of the same title about men digging up the road.
RtS


28 Mar 01 - 10:43 AM (#427521)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

If it is called "Green Grass grew all around" it has been recorded by Peter Seeger and Tex Ritter among others and is listed as "trad", but this may be another song.
RtS


28 Mar 01 - 11:02 AM (#427543)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Allan C.

I have absolutely no clue as to the answer to the question. I just want to say that it is good to see you here again!

Best wishes to Tim also,

Allan


28 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM (#427587)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: MMario

Disney lists it as traditional - so I would bet it is.


28 Mar 01 - 05:47 PM (#427914)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Bill D

this is one of those songs that mutate. The concept is easy, but memorizing all the details isn't...so people change it and tweak it over & over...I know several versions, each quite different, but obviously the same idea

and it is related to the old poem:

"Great fleas have smaller fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And these in turn have smaller still,
And so ad infinitum.

Small fleas have larger fleas
Beneath their feet to go on,
And these in turn have larger still,
And larger still, and so on."


28 Mar 01 - 05:56 PM (#427923)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Uncle_DaveO

A related song which I sing as an alternative to The Greeen Grass Grew Around" is "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea." Log in the hole, bump on the log, frog on the bump on the log, and so on. Kid audience LOVE these songs!

DAve Oesterreich


29 Mar 01 - 09:30 AM (#428332)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Mrrzy

These were old build-memory exercises from the days before writing, when you had to have a tremendous memory for the spoken word, since nobody could write their instructions down nor look them up again. Or so I've heard... The one I have by Ed McCurdy on his children's album is called The Green Grass Grew All Around, and it does have the hole in the ground, and the tree, the limb, the branch, the twig, the nest, the bird, the wing, the feather, the gnat, the eye, and the eyelash. No dirt, but I can add that in...


30 Mar 01 - 12:16 PM (#429304)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: LR Mole

Michael Cooney has a similar thing, about "Whoever has the good peanuts and giveth his neighbor none/He shall have none of my good peanuts when his good peanuts are gone (Refrain: Oh, won't it be joyful, joyful, joyful...when his good peanuts are gone.") Thus, the "memorizers" can follow the ever-more-technical and-desirable things that "whoever" has, and the littluns can join in on the "Oh, won't it be joyful" bit.On his family concert disc. (CD? Don't know.)


30 Mar 01 - 07:15 PM (#429638)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Bert

Wow, I first heard that one in 1944. It's a very close relative of (Or perhaps I should say a version of) "The Rattling Bog". I learned it from my aunt who learned it herself as a child. I would say it's traditional".


31 Mar 01 - 12:49 AM (#429803)
Subject: Green Grass Grew All Around
From: Joe Offer

Well, what I thought of first was the one that goes:
Well, I wish I was a hole in the ground,
Wish I was a hole in the ground
If I was a hole in the ground, well I'd...
...and than I remembered it was about a mole. (click) (also click here for fun)

But the song you're talking about, Vic, is definitely "Green Grass Grew All Around."
Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:
Rattling Bog, The

Rattling Bog, The

DESCRIPTION: Cumulative song about the "great chain of being." Sample: "On this branch there was a twig/Rare twig, a rattling twig/Twig on the branch and the branch on the tree and the tree in the bog/Bog down in the valley-o." Most versions complete a circle
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1877
KEYWORDS: ritual cumulative nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland) Wales US(MW,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Randolph 459, "The Green Grass Grew All Round" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 98, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 58, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 96, "An Wedhen War An Vre (The Tree on the Hill)" (1 Cornish text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 391, "The Green Grass Grew All Around" (1 text)
DT, RATLNBOG*

ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Green Grass Growing All Around
The Endless Circle
Notes: The Cornish words printed by Kennedy are by Talek, based on English texts with some Breton influence. - RBW
File: ShH98

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The Thom Parrot song called Hole in the Ground from the Best of Broadside collection has nothing to do with the song at hand, but it's a very powerful song about the Vietnam war. The American GI's befriend a Vietnamese kid who says his father lives in a "hole in the ground" (a bunker), and then the GI's blow up the bunker.
-Joe Offer-


31 Mar 01 - 01:05 AM (#429814)
Subject: ADD: Green Grass Grew All Around ^^
From: Joe Offer

If you search the database for @cumulative, you will find several songs of this type - (click here).
-Joe Offer-
THE GREEN GRASS GREW ALL AROUND
(traditional)

There was a hole (there was a hole)
in the middle of the ground (in the middle of the ground)
The prettiest hole (the prettiest hole)
that you ever did see (that you ever did see).
Well, the hole in the ground
And the green grass grew all around and around
And the green grass grew all around.

And in this hole there was a root...

And on this root there was tree...

And on this tree there was a branch...

And on this branch there was twig...

And on this twig there was a nest...

And in this nest there was an egg...

And in this egg there was a bird...

And on this bird there was a wing...

And on this wing, there was a feather...
The prettiest feather that you ever did see
Well the feather on the wing
And the wing on the bird
And the bird on the egg
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the twig
And the twig on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree on the root
And the root in the hole
And the hole in the ground
And the green grass grew all around and around
And the green grass grew all around.

@cumulative @kids
filename[ GRNGRASS
JRO VB
Apr01^^


05 May 08 - 08:20 PM (#2333700)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Joe_F

Josh White sang it too.


06 May 08 - 10:03 AM (#2334028)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: Abby Sale

The Traditional Ballad Index reference only alludes to it but I'd bet "The Everlasting Circle" predates the American versions. It's well-known in UK and still sung there. Only info I have in hand is from Marrow Bones which gives collected by Gardiner of Cornwall in 1905. I like it as one of the rarish truly circular songs. To me it's a religious statement re the Circle (as opposed to the Cycle) of life.

And it's slightly sexy.

Text is fairly identical to American verrsions (note that the "on the dust mote there was a microbe" types of verses were intended as silliness for people who already knew the song in the Revival)

but adding:

Now from this feather there came a bed

Now to this bed there came a maid

And to this maid there came a youth

Now by this youth was planted a seed

And from this seed there came a tree.


12 Aug 10 - 05:29 PM (#2963869)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: GUEST,lil momma n california

idk who originally sings it but my boyz love it thier 5 & 6 !


18 Dec 16 - 09:41 PM (#3827284)
Subject: RE: 'Hole in the Ground' question
From: GUEST,Thom Parrott

Thanks for the mention. Not the same song. Mine is about something that happened during the Vietnam War.