Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Mother Hippletoe-Rural and urban children's songs

Here's an interesting lp that compiles recordings from The Library of Congress by the Lomaxes and others to present an overview of children's songs in both rural and urban America. Songs were collected from different ethnic groups,mostly blacks and whites from the South, but also Cajuns, Mexicans, native americans... Some performers are well-known to folk music fans: Almeda Riddle, E.C Ball, Uncle Alec Dunford, Bessie Jones from the Georgia Sea islands singers, Vera Hall...In reading the liner notes (included as a pdf file) we understand that children's songs are a very important part of a folk tradition, one where spontanious creativity is best represented and also a strong link to the adult's world. A good part of the material on the record is in fact sung by adult singers who remember songs from childhood.
Enjoy and happy new year...
DOWNLOAD HERE (zip file including pdf of the liner notes)


Azizi Powell said...

Somewhere around 2001, while browsing for treasure in a library book sale, I happened upon this gold mine of a recording.

Since I didn't have a turn table, I started not to purchase this vinyl record. But then I noticed the record notes written by Kate Rinzler. Those record notes include lyrics and folkloric type information about the featured songs. As a song/rhyme collector that closed the deal for me. I took the record home, and then listened to it on a friend's record player.

While I like most of the songs on this record, what interested me most about "Old Mother Hippletoe" then & what still interests me the most now are the 4 examples of cheers on Band 3. Those school girl cheers, collected in Washington D.C. in the early
1970s, mark the earliest recording or print documentation that I have of a new style of children's recreational chanting and performance activity that I have termed "foot stomping cheers".

What is remarkable is how widely known the cheers featured on that Old Mother Hippletoe record seem to have been particularly, among African American girls. I have observed similar variants of those cheers featured in that recording performed in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from the 1980s to date. I have also received multiple examples of those cheers from persons throughout the USA who remember then and, in some cases, still perform them and other cheers like them.

For those interesting in more information about this, visit

(My thanks to Mysha on for letting me know about this Times ain't like they used to be blog entry)

Gadaya said...

Thank you Azizi for your informations...

mrb394ever said...

Thank you! This is the sort of sharing that makes the internet look good!

It will be a while before I digest 42 pages of liner notes, but am looking forward to it.

Jay Schleidt said...

!!!!! Finally someone put this record online! I used to own it years ago, and let a friend borrow it, never to be seen again. Being such an amazing collection it is hard not to share it with friends. Once a year or so I search the web for reference to it, and now.. ! THANK YOU.

David Shea said...

I thank you for sharing this recording too. The LP record with its extensive documentation was at my local public library years ago. I borrowed it often and fondly recall those untrained but lovely, lively voices. It is indeed a treasure for many of the reasons cited here and elsewhere. Like the Harry Smith collections and stuff of that ilk, it is wonderfully edited and presented. The songs' joy and passion invite us to get out our ukulele or penny whistle and make music, plain and simple.
Thanks again.