Crazy Words, Crazy Tune

Lyrics: Jack Yellen
Music: Milton Ager

Played by Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions but not subsequently by the Grateful Dead.

Washington at Valley Forge
Bitter cold but up spoke George
Said vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe

Crazy words, crazy tune
All that George could croon and swoon
Was vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe

On his ukulele, daily
He would strum
Beedle um bum
Dancing, prancing
And then he'd holler "Red Hot Mama"

Crazy words, crazy tune
All that George could croon and swoon
Was vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe

Washington at Valley Forge
Bitter cold but up spoke George
Said vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe

Crazy words, crazy tune
All that George could croon and swoon
Was vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe

Washington at Valley Forge
Freezing cold but up spoke George
Said vo-doe-de-o, vo-doe-de-o, doe
Vo-doe-de-o doe
Recordings
     Date Album
     1964 Mother Mcree's Uptown Jug Champions


Background
Mother McCree's version (with Jerry Garcia singing lead) follows very closely the version by Jim Kweskin's Jug Band - and that is almost certainly where they learnt the song from.

The original version of the song is much longer. Thanks to Bill Thomas's research for the following information:

"The song itself was written in 1926 by Jack Alger who also wrote Ain't She Sweet and Hard-Hearted Hannah, The Vamp Of Savannah. The earliest versions I have found were recorded October 29, 1926 by Irving Aaronson and the Commanders; and February 3, 1927 by The Varsity Eight (a pseudonym for the California Ramblers), including Tommy Dorsey on trombone. It has become a core song for jug bands around the world. Kweskin's version included only a blend of one verse from the original.

"Here are the complete lyrics as written.
There's a guy I'd like to kill
If he doesn't stop I will
He's got a ukulele, and a voice that's loud and shrill
'Cause he lives next door to me
And he keeps me up till three
With his ukulele and a funny melody

Crazy words, crazy tune
All that you'll ever hear him croon
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe
Vo-doe doe

Sits around, all night long
Sings the same words to every song
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe

His ukulele, daily
How he'll strum!
Bum bum bum!
Vampin' and stampin'
Then he hollers, "Black bottom!"

Crazy words, crazy tune
He'll be driving me crazy soon
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe

I have begged that guy to stop
I have even called a cop
Told my dog "Go sic him", but the durn dog wouldn't go
But tonight will be the end
Yes siree, 'cause I intend
To go up and kick him in the vo doe doe de oh doe

Napoleon marched his men
Turned around and he said to them
Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe
Washington, Valley Forge
Gee, 'twas cold but spoke George
Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe

Remember Patrick Henry
In That speech, famous speech
Cried, "Give me, give me
"Liberty or black bottom!"
You all heard yesterday
What did President Coolidge say
"Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe"

He's got to stop it, stop it
Yes he must, or I'll just
Kill him, I'll kill him
Then I'll do the black bottom
When I'm jailed, upon my need
To the jury and the judge I'll plead
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o doe

Now the minuet, quiet bliss
Calm and peaceful, it went like this
Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe
The Polka too was a treat
Your partner said if you tread on his feet
Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe

The gliding Foxtrot we've got
And the blues, if you choose
We've got the Charleston
And we'll soon have Black Bottom
Our vicar said, "Ah, me
Friends, our hymn for tonight will be
Vo doe de o doe doe doe de o doe

It's a rage, it's a craze
Everybody sings now-a-days
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de oh doe
Vo doe doe

Every goof, every sheik
Tunes his uke and begins to shriek
Vo doe de oh, vo doe doe de o doe
Go on the east side, the west side
Here or there, everywhere
They vo doe, vo doe doe
Then they holler, "Black bottom!"

Young or old, old or young
The guy that started it should be hung
Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe

Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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