Thursday, December 10, 2009

*In Folklorist Harry Smith’s House-"King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O" — "Chubby" Parker (1928)

Click on the title to link to a presentation of the song listed in the headline.

The year 2009 has turned into something a year of review of the folk revival of the 1960s. In November I featured a posting of many of the episodes (via “YouTube”) of Pete Seeger’s classic folk television show from the 1960s, “Rainbow Quest”. I propose to do the same here to end out the year with as many of the selections from Harry Smith’s seminal “Anthology Of American Folk Music,” in one place, as I was able to find material for, either lyrics or "YouTube" performances (not necessarily by the original performer). This is down at the roots, for sure.

“King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O” by Chubby Parker

Chubby Parker’s World

We have no idea how an artist that we don’t know much about today, could have been so popular in a certain time and place.In the 1920’s, for listeners of WLS, the Chicago-based radio station, Chubby Parker and his old-time banjo was a very popular act, entertaining the audience with his repertoire of funny songs, country songs and “negro” songs. Singing, strumming his five-string banjo, blowing his harmonica, whistling a bit, he was a much loved figure before going to oblivion in the depression era, like many others.

-On the last issue of The Old-Time Herald, there’s an article by Ken Russell. There’s a short excerpt on line here.

-Here’s 21 sides for your delight of Chubby Parker, old-time troubadour and clown, that will put a big smile on your face and move your feet (I hope…).


1.The Year Of jubilo

2.In Kansas

3.Get Away Old Maids Get Away

4.Bingo Was His Name O

5.Drill Ye Tarriers Drill

6.Grandfather’s Clock

7.I’m A Stern Old Bachelor

8.The Old Wooden Rocker

9.A Rovin Little Darkey

10.Whoa Mule Whoa

11.You’ll Hear The Bells In The Morning

12.Nickety Nackety Now Now Now

13.Davey Crockett

14.Kissing Song


16.King King Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O

17.And That Was Irish Too

18.The Irish Christening

19.See The Black Clouds A Breakin’ Over Yonder

20.Oh Susanna

21.Oh Dem Golden Slippers

The King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O Variations

Known better under the title “Frog went a-courtin”, this is a variant of one of the oldest and more popular british folk song of all times. It tells of the courtship that leads to the wedding between a frog and a mouse,the folk process adding along time many words and funny twists to it, like a non-sense chorus that changes depending on the traditions. Today, it’s still one of the most famous children song of the english-speaking world and it has been recorded a lot during this last century.

To go deeper in the study of this song and its many variants, i’ve found a few interesting links:

-First of all, this website is devoted to track down all the variants of the song. An impressive work

-On the Folk Den page, you have the lyrics of the Chubby Parker’s version and the Roger Mc Guinn performance of the song

-On this page, there’s many good informations

There’s so many good performances of this song that i decided to offer you two compilations of the ones that i like the best, a total of 32 tracks divided in two parts.

I always try to find some unusual versions to be included with my favorite ones, so here you’ll have, for example, a punk-rockabilly version by The Flat Duo Jets, a gospel one by The Golden gate Quartet, a blues one by Doctor Oakroot and an acapella version by Jim Nollman who made a very unusal record of music played with animals (issued in 1982 by Folkways records). Here, he’s singing the song with 300 turkeys!!

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