The Old Sow

Dad’s entry about stories, and his interest in genealogy, got me remembering this video we took of Uncle Jim singing an old song that he and his family used to sing. It’s probably best left unexplained and just enjoyed. I have only found one mention of a song similar to it anywhere on the Internet, and that was a guy asking for help remembering the lyrics, back in 1996, so this is truly historical. I hope you enjoy the video and the song.

This ought to auto-load and auto-play (though it may take a while; the file is 821 K). If it doesn’t, you may need to download the movie file itself to see what your computer does with it when you double click on it.

We should plan a family reunion and get out the tape recorder or video camera and tell stories and learn about our ancestors. What a great opportunity to speak with Uncle Jim and Aunt Rita! And somebody get Aunt Helen a copy of the “Panis Angelicus” CD while we’re at it!

PatrickHistories/Movies02/21/03 3 comments


Dad • 02/22/03 3:26 PM:

Uncle Jim has many other songs that could probably be coaxed out of him. I’m thinking of another obscure balad (as in long story, like the Ballad of Davy Crockett) where the refrain is: “I must have lost 60 pounds on that hot desert grounds, and I’d lose that many more.” Before that, “It was dawn when I reached safety, my legs were certainly sore…” And somewhere in there, “I left my tent, ‘cause I know what it meant, and I swore I’d never more roam.”

Another song comes to mind that my dad and uncle Jim used to harmonize on, called, “Underneath the Bamboo.” I did my share of singing and harmonizing on it through the years too.

Underneath the bamboo,
Underneath the bamboo tree,
Big enough for two, my honey,
Big enough for three.
(alt. words: big enough for you… big enough for me.)
After we’re married,
a-happy we will be,
underneath the smiling, honey,
smiling bamboo tree.

Then came the “afterword” by Dad and Jim that went,

Wa dah d’n doe.
Wa dah d’n doe.
Wa dah d’n doe, doe,
Wa dah d’n doe, chh.

I can still visualize the first time I heard them sing this added phrase at a “party” one holiday weekend, I think at our house. I had heard the bamboo song many times before, but never the added little “Wa dah d’n doe” bit. These two “middle-aged” men (no doubt younger then than I am now) suddenly became boys again. And here’s a little bonus reflection. Whenever someone talks about a “twinkle in their eye” I think of that event; two brothers, eyes “a-twinkling” creating music and joy for themselves and for anyone within earshot.

Carole • 08/13/03 12:04 PM:

The Bamboo Tree lyrics come from elongated versions of the Cannibal King song. I can send you full lyrics if you like!

Dad • 08/13/03 11:13 PM:

Yes, Carole, send me the lyrics, and tell me more of the Cannibal King and your interest in these songs. By the way, who are you?

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