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July 30, 2002

Simple, yet moving
Posted by Teresa at 04:35 PM *

Rabbit Foo-Foo, Lord, Kumbaya,
Rabbit Foo-Foo, Lord, Kumbaya,
Rabbit Foo-Foo, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

Through the forest, Lord, Kumbaya,
Through the forest, Lord, Kumbaya,
Through the forest, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

Catching field mice, Lord, Kumbaya,
Catching field mice, Lord, Kumbaya,
Catching field mice, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

Bopping heads, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Bopping heads, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Bopping heads, my Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

The Good Fairy, Lord, Kumbaya,
The Good Fairy, Lord, Kumbaya,
The Good Fairy, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

Give three chances, Lord, Kumbaya,
Give three chances, Lord, Kumbaya,
Give three chances, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

Turn to goon, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Turn to goon, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Turn to goon, my Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.

(Story development here ad libitum.)
Moral is, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Hare today, my Lord, Kumbaya,
Goon tomorrow, Lord, Kumbaya,
O Lord, Kumbaya.
Copyright 2002 by James D. Macdonald
“Y’see, at Scout Camp last week they were singing Kumbaya with the hand gestures,” Jim said, “so I was inspired to add a few more.”
Comments on Simple, yet moving:
#1 ::: JS ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 09:27 PM:

Thanks for making me laugh.

#2 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 10:50 PM:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt just doesn't scan properly.... ;->

If you're out there, Yog, job well done!

#3 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 06:18 PM:

I haven't stopped laughing yet!!! Teresa, I'll be sending you the doctor's bills...

#4 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 01:30 AM:

I'm not sure that hanging Jim for that wouldn't insult the rope.

*aggggggggggg*

BTW, did you know that you can sing "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" to the tune of "The Mary Ellen Carter"? Among certain of my friends, it's the traditonal last verse.

Rise again, indeed.

(You can also sing a Hebrew hymn, Adon Olam, to the tune of "The Saints Go Marching In." And I have it on Best Authority that you can sing the Hebrew/Jewish Grace after meals (long version) to the tune of the theme from Gilligan's Island. In a word, oy.)

#5 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 11:48 AM:

Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island was a perennial favorite at my church camp. The leaders also taught us a line dance (dubbed The Camel Dance) for Istanbul. I've never quite figured out how they slipped They Might Be Giants past the church elders.

#6 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 12:53 PM:

I always like to sing House of the Rising Sun to the tune of Amazing Grace. And Clementine (and Mack the Knife and that Halls of Montezuma thing) to the Ode to Joy melody from B's #9.

And I like to vice those various versas. Clementine to Mack the Knife is particularly chilling.

#7 ::: Prentiss Riddle ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 03:30 PM:

My wife came up with the idea of singing "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" to the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and now that's the only way I can remember to sing it.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 05:15 PM:

Stephanie, They Might Be Giants didn't write "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"; it's copyright 1953 by Jimmy Kennedy (words) and Nat Simon (music). Great song either way.

As a general rule, lots of lyrics can be sung to lots of tunes. In some old hymnals they'd just print the lyrics, with little codes at the bottom indicating which tunes they could be sung to.

I'll see you and raise you on "Adon Olam" sung to "When the Saints Go Marching In": You can sing the Aeneid to "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris...), and Heinlein's Rhysling's "Grand Canal" and "Green Hills of Earth" to the Coke Song ("I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing").

The tale is told of some literary gathering or conference in New England where, late one night, some number of inebriated litterateurs drove out to Robert Frost's house and serenaded him with "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening", which they sang to the tune of "Fernando's Hideaway". Frost was reportedly Not Pleased.

And I have fond memories of the night we told Chip Delany that all of Emily Dickinson's poetry can be sung to "The Yellow Rose of Texas." At intervals throughout the rest of the evening you'd hear Chip quietly singing "I'm nobody who are you, are you ... no ...". Then, a little while later, you'd hear "Because I could not wait for death he ... no," as he tried and tried to find an example that wouldn't fit.

But my very favorite, which I heard from Scraps deSelby, is sung to the tune of the Underdog theme song. You know -- the one that goes


When in this world the headlines read
Of those whose hearts are filled with greed
Who rob and steal from those who need
To right this wrong with blinding speed
goes UNDERDOG!


What Scraps once left on my answering machine, sung to that tune, was:

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,a0
EXCELSIOR!


#9 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 06:17 PM:

Teresa, one minor correction: Hernando's Hideaway.

Peter Schickele did that on his radio program (Schickele Mix) last Sunday.

I call this pastime Wrongtuning. Looking for new ones is always fun. Hey, remember the time we were singing "The Walrus and the Carpenter" to Schubert's Die Forelle? I think it was at a Fanoclast at Stu Shiffman's.

#10 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 09:27 PM:

I'd give high-class imported chocolate to have seen Chip Delaney in action vis. Dickinson... how wonderful!

#11 ::: Yehudit ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2002, 03:03 AM:

"You can also sing a Hebrew hymn, Adon Olam, to the tune of "The Saints Go Marching In." "

Adon Olam is famous for being singable to almost ANY tune. I have sung Adon Olam to : Amazing Grace, I've Been Working on the Railroad, Shenandoah, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, and many more.

And you can sing Dror Yikra to Sloop John B.

#12 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2002, 08:50 AM:

And you can sing anything you want to Alice's Restuarant.

No, really, I saw a filk circle go a good hour late one night.

MKK

#13 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2002, 10:36 AM:

The "songs to the tune of other songs" thing came up at work some years back, and a colleague turned out to know how to sing the "Gilligan's Island" theme to the tune of the "Brady Bunch" theme, and vice versa.

He regarded this as the ultimate achievement in the field, given that both tunes use the same set of "Worthless Pop Culture" neurons. I'm not sure about that-- this Foo-Foo Kumbaya thing may have trumped it-- but it was really good for getting both tunes stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

In fact, just writing about it gets both tunes stuck in my head.

Aaarrrgh. Make it stop!

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2002, 03:15 PM:

It can be done, Grasshopper, but there is a price: You must sing "Waltzing Matilda".

#15 ::: Kip T. Williams ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2002, 06:30 PM:

Alas. Today I was walking around with a camera, and for some reason I got a bad variant in my head.

"Rabbit Foo-Foo, Lord, Kumbaya...
(...whack!)
Rabbit Foo-Foo, Lord, Kumbaya...
(...whack!)"

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2002, 08:21 PM:

Is there some way to say "That has one beat too many" without it sounding like a bad pun? You could make the thing work if you dropped the first three iterations of "Lord", though. The Latin's given for the sake of comparison:

Pie Iesu domine,
Rabbit Foo-Foo, Kumbaya,

(...whack!)

dona eis requiem.
Oh-h Lo-rd, Kumbaya.

(...whack!)

#17 ::: Kip T. Williams ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2002, 11:01 AM:

Well, of course you'd fix the meter if you were consciously making it (composition). I was merely hearing it as if from without (imposition) There was no change of tune; just the awfulness of inspiration. First line sung, my lord, kumbayah, then a pregnant pause and... whack! Second line, my lord, kumbayah, pause, and... whack!

I made a mental note of the brainworm (see _Animals Without Backbones_) but it wasn't really a problem. It went away after I noted it.

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