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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE BELL WITCH

THE BELL WITCH, OF SUPERNATURAL ORIGIN, IS SAID TO HAVE
EXISTED IN ROBERTSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE ABOUT 75 YEARS
AGO. SHE STARTED OUT WITH GOOD INTENTIONS BUT, AFTER
ATTENDING TWO CHURCH SERVICES AT THE SAME TIME, SHE
TURNED BAD. HER MAIN INTENT SEEMED TO BE TO INFLICT
SUFFERING, PARTICULARLY UPON JOHN BELL. SHE TORMENTED
HIM TO HIS DEATH.
ANDREW JACKSON, AMONG MANY OTHERS, IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE
SEEN THE BELL WITCH.
THE LATE CHARLES BRYAN, FORMER MEMBER OF THE PEABODY
COLLEGE SCHOOL OF MUSIC, WROTE A CANTATA CALLED "THE
BELL WITCH CANTATA."

Where learned: DORM ; NASHVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): MUSICAL COMPOSITION ; PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 05-09-1969

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THE LAIRD OF LENOX

A VERY THIN MAN WITH WHITE, SIGHTLESS EYES, RED SKINNED,
AND DRESSED IN STUART-TARTAN, EKED OUT A LIVING BY
BLOWING ON A BIG TIN WHISTLE. NOBODY EVER KNEW THE
TUNES THAT THE "LAIRD" PLAYED, BUT ALWAYS BEFORE
BEGINNING HIS RECITAL, HE WOULD REMARK: "WHO GAVE
ME THIS LONESOME WHISTLE?" "AH, I MIND NOO! THE
LAIRD OF LENNOX."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MUSICIAN, FLUTE BLIND MAN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

Date learned: 01-28-1971

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THE LAIRD OF LENOX

A VERY THIN MAN WITH WHITE, SIGHTLESS EYES, RED SKINNED,
AND DRESSED IN STUART-TARTAN, EKED OUT A LIVING BY
BLOWING ON A BIG TIN WHISTLE. NOBODY EVER KNEW THE
TUNES THAT THE "LAIRD" PLAYED, BUT ALWAYS BEFORE
BEGINNING HIS RECITAL, HE WOULD REMARK: "WHO GAVE
ME THIS LONESOME WHISTLE?" "AH, I MIND NOO! THE
LAIRD OF LENNOX."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MUSICIAN, FLUTE BLIND MAN STUART: ALTERNATE SPELLING: STEWART

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

Date learned: 01-28-1971

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SINGING GERMANS

THE THREE THINGS GERMANS SING ABOUT ARE: LOVE, DRINKING
AND THE FATHERLAND.

Submitter comment: I ONCE HEARD A GERMAN FOLK SINGING GROUP WHICH INTRODUCED
ITSELF WITH THIS PROVERB.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MUSIC

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 02-10-1970

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WHEN A LITTLE GIRL WHISTLES, THE DEVIL DANCES.

Submitter comment: THIS SAYING WAS USED FREQUENTLY BY THE INFORMANT'S GRANDMOTHER.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HELL MUSIC CHILDREN

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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NOTES ON A MUSICAL STAFF

TO LEARN THE LETTERS OF THE NOTES ON THE LINE WE MEMORIZED
A LITTLE FORMULA. F-A-C-E SPELLED FACE, AND E-G-B-D-F STOOD
FOR "EVERY GOOD BOY DOES FINE". THIS WAS THE TRICK TO
LEARN BY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MUSIC

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 04-01-1971

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Mnemonic Device

Musical Mnemonic Device:

To remember the line notes of the Treble Clef Scale (E-G-B-D-F) just remember the phrase "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): MEMORY ; MNEMONIC ; MUSIC ; Notes ; Scale

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Memory
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

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Mnemonic Device

Musical Mnemonic Device:

To remember the line notes on the Bass Clef Scale (G-B-D-F-A) just remember the phrase "Good Boys Do Fine Always."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): MEMORY ; MNEMONIC ; Musical ; Notes ; Scale

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Memory
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

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Mnemonic Device

Musical Mnemonic Device:

To remember the space between notes of the Treble Clef Scale (F-A-C-E), just remember the word FACE.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): MEMORY ; MNEMONIC ; MUSIC ; Musical ; Notes ; Scale

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Memory
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

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Mnemonic Device

Musical Mnemonic Device:

To remember the space the notes [sic] on the Bass Clef Scale (A-C-E-G) just remember the phrase "All Cows Eat Grass," or "All Cars Eat Gas."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): MEMORY ; MNEMONIC ; MUSIC ; Musical ; Notes ; Scale

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Memory
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

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Custom

Wedding Custom:

Before the bride leaves the reception the band plays a slow song and the bride removes her veil and places it on the head of her maid-of-honor.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): Bride ; CUSTOM ; Fashion ; Maid-of-Honor ; MARRIAGE ; MUSIC ; Reception ; Veil ; WEDDING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

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Custom

Wedding Custom:

Before the bride leaves the reception the band plays a slow song and the bride removes her veil and places it on the head of her maid-of-honor.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): Bride ; CUSTOM ; Fashion ; Maid-of-Honor ; MARRIAGE ; MUSIC ; Reception ; Veil ; WEDDING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

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Ethnic: Russian

Wedding Custom:

When the bride is preparing for her wedding (getting dressed and ready to leave for church) a violin player and an accordian player play a special tune.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Written on bottom left of the card: [ Ethnic? Russian Orthodox, says collector.]

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Accordion ; Bride ; CUSTOM ; DRESS ; Fashion ; MARRIAGE ; MUSIC ; violin ; WEDDING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

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Retort

Unwanted Singer:

If someone is singing (person B) and someone else (person A) wants to shut him up or put him down:

A) What did you do with the money?

B) What money?

A) The money your mother gave you to take music lessons!

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; Lessons ; MONEY ; MUSIC ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; SINGING ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Song: Parody

FOUND A PEANUT
FOUND A PEANUT
FOUND A PEANUT JUST NOW
JUST NOW I FOUND A PEANUT
FOUND A PEANUT JUST NOW.

CRACKED IT OPEN
CRACKED IT OPEN
CRACKED IT OPEN JUST NOW
JUST NOW CRACKED IT OPEN
CRACKED IT OPEN JUST NOW.

FOUND IT ROTTEN
FOUND IT ROTTEN
FOUND IT ROTTEN JUST NOW
JUST NOW FOUND IT ROTTEN
FOUND IT ROTTEN JUST NOW.

ATE IT ANYWAY
ATE IT ANYWAY
ATE IT ANYWAY JUST NOW
JUST NOW I ATE IT ANYWAY
ATE IT ANYWAY JUST NOW

GOT SICK
GOT SICK
GOT SICK JUST NOW
JUST NOW I GOT SICK
GOT SICK JUST NOW.

CALLED A DOCTOR
CALLED A DOCTOR
CALLED A DOCTOR JUST NOW
JUST NOW I CALLED A DOCTOR
CALLED A DOCTOR JUST NOW.

SAID I WOULDN'T DIE
SAID I WOULDN'T DIE
SAID I WOULD'T DIE JUST NOW
JUST NOW HE SAID I WOULDN'T DIE
SAID I WOULDN'T DIE JUST NOW.

DIED ANYWAY
DIED ANYWAY
DIED ANYWAY JUST NOW
JUST NOW I DIED
DIED ANYWAY JUST NOW.

WENT TO HEAVEN
WENT TO HEAVEN
WENT TO HEAVEN JUST NOW
JUST NOW I WENT TO HEAVEN
WENT TO HEAVEN JUST NOW.

PLAYED THE HARP
PLAYED THE HARP
PLAYED THE HARP JUST NOW
JUST NOW I PLAYED THE HARP
PLAYED THE HARP JUST NOW.

BROKE A STRING
BROKE A STRING
BROKE A STRING JUST NOW
JUST NOW I BROKE A STRING
BROKE A STRING JUST NOW.

WENT DOWN
WENT DOWN
WENT DOWN JUST NOW
JUST NOW I WENT DOWN
WENT DOWN JUST NOW

SHOVELED COAL
SHOVELED COAL
SHOVELED COAL JUST NOW
JUST NOW I SHOVELED COAL
SHOVELED COAL JUST NOW.

BURNT MY FINGER
BURNT MY FINGER
BURNT MY FINGER JUST NOW
JUST NOW I BURNT MY FINGER
BURNT MY FINGER JUST NOW.
THE END

Data entry tech comment:

PROBABLY TO THE TUNE OF " MY DARLING CLEMENTINE "

Updated / 02-24-2011 / TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; STERLING

Keyword(s): CHIASMUS ; COAL ; DEATH ; Doctors ; FOOD ; HARP ; HEAVEN ; HELL ; MUSIC ; NUT ; Peanut ; REPETITION ; SATIRE ; SHOVELING

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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Entertainment: Song

Song:

I gave my love a cherry that had no stone.
I gave my love a chicken that had no bone.
I gave my love a ring that had no end.
I gave my love a baby with no crying.

How can there be a cherry that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken that has no bone?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby with no crying?

A cherry when it's bloomin', has no stone.

A chicken when it's pippin', it has no bone.

A ring when it's rollin', it has no end.

A baby when it's sleeping, has no crying.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): BABY ; Blooming ; Bone ; Cherry ; Chicken ; CRYING ; Entertainment ; Folksong ; MUSIC ; Pippin ; RHYME ; RING ; Rolling ; Sleeping ; SONG ; STONE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Love

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Music

The article studies three historical traditions of the banjo, the folk, minstrel popular, and classical.

Traditions of the banjo are characterized by:

a) The ways in which knowledge of the banjo was transmitted.

b) Closeness of the performer or craftsman to his audience or clientele

c) Self-perceived relation between the craftsman or musician to other crafstmen or musicians.

Exact origins of banjo unknown. Possible from West Africa with slaves.

Earliest banjo was made from a gourd.

Frets introduced in the 1860's and 70's

Peak of development (quality) in 1920's

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: ; The Physical Development of the Banjo ; New York Folklore Quarterly

Keyword(s): Audience ; Banjo ; Classical ; Craftsman ; Folk ; Fret ; GOURD ; HISTORY ; Instrument ; Minstrel ; MUSIC ; Origin ; Performer ; Slaves

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Wood Gourd
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Musical instrument

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Verse

The Tutor:

A tutor who tooted the flute
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot;
said the two to the tutor,
"Is it harder to toot, or
To tutor two tooters to toot?"

Submitter comment:

Origin: Grandmother: Sarah Lipchinsky, New York City

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Verse?

Where learned: Bagley School

Keyword(s): ALLITERATION ; Flute ; Language ; MUSIC ; PLAY ON WORDS ; PUN ; RHYME ; Teach ; TONGUE TWISTER ; Toot ; Tutor ; Youngster

James Callow Keyword(s): TONGUE TWISTER

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Language

Tongue Twister:

 A tooter who tutored the flute tried to tutor two tooters to toot.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Verse?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ALLITERATION ; Flute ; Language ; MUSIC ; PLAY ON WORDS ; PUN ; RHYME ; TONGUE TWISTER ; Toot ; Tutor ; WORDPLAY

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Entertainment: Song

Way down South when I was born
They raised the cotton and the corn

Ke-mo ky-mo dar-o whack
Hike ta-mo Hoke ta-mo

Ring dum pop-a-didle
In step sally winkle

Nip cat penny winkle
Sing a song of kitchi-katchi ky-me-oh

Submitter comment:

Source: my grandmother who says it is a family song learned in 1880.

Data entry tech comment:

Entry by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; BEDFORD COUNTY

Keyword(s): Entertainment ; MUSIC ; RHYME ; Slave ; SONG ; South ; WORK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Song

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