maandag 7 september 2015

Ackabacka / Icka backa / Hooka Tooka / Green Green Rocky Road (1961)

"Green Rocky Road" is a song "written" (copyrighted) by Greenwich Village regulars Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman in 1961, but apparently has its origins in a black children’s folk song from Alabama.
In 1950 Harold Courlander, assisted by Ruby Pickens Tartt, recorded a group of children from Lilly's Chapel School in York, Alabama, singing this ring game song.

It was also contained on page 277 of Harold Courlander's songbook "Negro Folk Music U.S.A.", published in 1963 by Columbia Univ. Press,

"Negro Folk Music U.S.A."

Green, Green Rocky Road
Some Lady's green rocky road
Tell me who you love, rocky road
Tell me who you love, rocky road

Dear Miss Minnie your name's names been called
Come take a seat beside the wall
Give her a kiss & let her go
She'll never sit in that chair no more.

etc etc ...

Here are the liner-notes of that album

Listen here:

The song was previously collected by Ruby Pickens Tartt in the 1930's

But a dance song, published in 1922 in Thomas W. Talley's "Negro Folk Rhymes", may have been the source of "Green Green Rocky Road"

In 1961 Dave Van Ronk was working with poet Robert Kaufman, who sang a song to him. Dave couldn't make anything of it, but Len Chandler made an arrangement of the song.
And it was on July 29, 1961 that Dave Van Ronk was singing "Green Green Rocky Road" in Riverside Church in New York. This was broadcast on WRVR in New York ("Saturday Of Folk Music").

Listen here:

(c) Karen Dalton (1963) (as "Green Rocky Road")
Recorded March 1963 in Pine Street, Boulder, Colorado by Joe Loop;
Karen Dalton, voc, 12-str. g; bj;  Richard Tucker, g; Joe Loop. dr;
Probably the first recorded, officially released version of "Green Rocky Road", which she might have heard around 1961 while she was a Greenwich Village regular.

Sometime later "new" lyrics were added ("Hooka Tooka Soda Cracka") which is probably an adaptation of the UK children's counting out rhyme "Icka Backa Soda Cracker".

My mother, your mother live across the way.
Every night they have a fight and this is what they say:
'Icka backa soda cracker, icka backa boo.
Icka backa soda cracker, out goes you!'

(c) Goldcoast Singers (April 1963)  (as "Hooka Tooka")
Goldcoast Singers = Ed Rush and George Cromarty

(c) Judy Henske (1963)  (as "Hooka Tooka")
Henske's version has both the Hooka Tooka verses and the the Green Rocky Road verses.

Listen here:

(c) Paul Clayton (July 1963)  (as "Green Rocky Road")

(c) Dave Van Ronk (1963)  (as "Green Rocky Road")

On the album "In The Tradition" (Prestige Folklore ‎– FL 14001). Recorded July 11, 1963. Notes dated "August 1963". First reviewed as New Album in Billboard on page 26 of the Dec 7, 1963 issue.
This was in fact Van Ronk's first officially released version.
This version doesn't contain the Hooka Tooka verse, which Dave did incorporate in later recorded versions.

Listen here:

(c) Chubby Checker (October 1963)
Chubby Checker was smart enough to make his "own" arrangement of the song and  achieve a Top 20 US Hit. Checker's version has only the Hooka Tooka verses.
The other side of Chubby's 45 ("Loddy Lo") was also an arrangement of a children's song, which also became a US Top 20 Hit.

(c) Peter, Paul & Mary (1963)  (as "Rocky Road")
In 1963 Peter Yarrow and Noel (Paul) Stookey made their own arrangement of "Green Rocky Road" and included it on the In The Wind album.

(c) Casey Anderson (Nov 1963)  (as "Green Rocky Road")

(c) Terry Callier (1964)  (as "Promenade in Green")

Listen here:

(c) Len Chandler (1964)
The "author's" version

(c) Jim Helms (1964)  (as "Hooka Tooka")
Released on the album 5-String Banjo Greats, Liberty LST 7357

Listen to a sample here:

(c) Kathy & Carol 1965

(c) Highwaymen (1965) (as "Green Rocky Road")

(c) Tim Hardin (1966)  (as "Green Rocky Road")

(c) Fred Neil (1966)  (as "Green Rocky Road")

(c) Rick Nelson (1967) (as "Promenade In Green")

(c) Arlo Guthrie (1967) (as "Motorcycle Song")

Arlo reworked the "Green Rocky Road" to his "Motorcycle Song".

(c) Oscar Isaac (2013)  (as "Green Green Rocky Road")

Oscar sang this version in the movie "Inside Llewyn Davis". The soundtrack features folk music by Dave Van Ronk, the Greenwich Village folk artist whose story served as the basis for the movie.

Here's a clip from the movie:

And here's the soundtrack version by Oscar Isaac.

A version by Dave Van Ronk is also included on the soundtrack of the movie.

(c) Emmylou Harris & Kate & Anna McGarrigle (2010)

Listen here:

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Thanks for the history, very interesting. It does have a lilting, childlike quality to it, so not surprising it was originally a children's song.

    There's also a great electric version by 60's band The Daily Flash, which is where I first heard it.

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment, Chris.

    Joop greets