Monthly Archives: March 2014

Monkeying Around

monkey
The Aba Daba Honeymoon is a popular song written and published by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan in 1914. Known through its chorus, “Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab, Said the chimpie to the monk; Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab, Said the monkey to the chimp,” the first recording of Aba Daba Honeymoon was a number one hit in 1914 for Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan. (see below)

The song was featured in the 1950 movie, Two Weeks with Love, a romantic musical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was based on story by John Larkin who co-wrote the screenplay with Dorothy Kingsley. The story is set in the early 1900s, and focuses on the Robinson family. The Robinson family leaves their home in New York City to stay at “Kissimee in the Catskills,” a resort hotel in upstate New York, where love strikes both of the Robinson daughters, Patti and Melba.

The basic plot centers around seventeen-year-old Patti Robinson (Jane Powell), who feels that she is a bit too strait-laced to attract the male contingent, and dreams of being a “woman of the world.” Naturally, the principal object of her affections, dashing Demi Armendez (Ricardo Montalbán), prefers an old-fashioned girl, but Patti does not find that out until the last reel. The supporting cast is well served, especially Louis Calhern and Ann Harding as the daughters long-suffering parents, Phyllis Kirk as a bitchy coquette, and Debbie Reynolds as the other daughter, Melba.

Debbie Reynolds and Carlton Carpenter sing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in the motion picture, "Two Weeks With Love"

Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter sing Aba Daba Honeymoon in the motion picture, Two Weeks With Love


Stealing the film with break-out performances were relative newcomers Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter, who performed the delightful 1914 song, Aba Daba Honeymoon. Debbie Reynolds was just finding her way in Hollywood. She was singed under contract to Warner Brothers at age sixteen, appearing in two films (June Bride and The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady) before she was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Still working her way up the ladder, her role in Two Weeks With Love was a second-tier lead.

The lyrics of this cute novelty song tell of the love story “way down in the congo land” of a chimpanzee and a monkey, their wedding by a baboon, and their June honeymoon.

LYRICS
THE ABA DABA HONEYMOON (1914)
Words and music by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab
In monkey talk means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Way down in the congo land
Live a happy chimpanzee
She loved a monkey with a long tail
Lordy how she loved him
Each night he would find her there
Swingin’ in the coconut tree
And the monkey gay
At the break of day
Like to hear he chimpie say

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the chimpie to the monk
Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long they’d chatter away
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin’ and singin’ in their
Honky tonky way

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab in monkey talk
Means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

One night they were made man and wife
And now they cry this is the life
Since they came from their aba daba honeymoon

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the chimpie to the monk
Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long they’d chatter away
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin’ and singin’ in their
Honky tonky way

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab in monkey talk
Means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honey
Aba daba aba daba
Aba daba honeymoon…
Honeymoon

The hit recording of the song was cut by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter in 1950, reaching number three on the Billboard chart in 1951. In the same year, Richard Hayes and Kitty Kallen, Freddy Martin and his Orchestra with Merv Griffin, Cliff Steward, and Hoagy Carmichael and Cass Daley also succeeded with the song. The song has been featured in a Three Stooges movie, a Fritos commercial, and in an episode of Laverne and Shirley. Not too shabby for a 1914 song about monkeys and chimps!

THE RECORDINGS
Arthur Collins and Byron Harland The Aba Daba Honeymoon
Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter (George Stoll and the M-G-M Studio Orchestra and Chorus) Aba Daba Honeymoon
Richard Hayes and Kitty Kallen (George Siravo Orchestra) Aba Daba Honeymoon [From Two Weeks with Love]
Freddy Martin and his Orchestra (vocals by Merv Griffin and the ensemble) Aba Daba Honeymoon
Cliff Steward and The San Francisco Boys Aba Daba Honeymoon
Hoagy Carmichael and Cass Daley (Matty Matlock’s All Stars Orchestra) Aba Daba Honeymoon

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It’s As Easy As A-B-D

alphabet

Question: What happens when you eat alphabet soup while playing Scrabble?
Answer: You write acrostic songs.

Acrostic songs are songs that go through the alphabet, making each letter stand for something in the process. An example of an acrostic song was recorded in 1948 by the Buddy Kaye Quintet that reached the number twenty-seven position on the Billboard charts, and later by Perry Como and others, called “A” You’re Adorable (also known as The Alphabet Love Song). Here are the lyrics:

“A” YOU’RE ADORABLE (THE ALPHABET LOVE SONG) 1948
Words and music by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise, Sid Lippman
alphabet4

When Johnny Jones was serenading Mary
He sure could quote a lot of poetry
But he’d much rather tell ‘er what he learned in his speller
When they both attended PS 33

(A) you’re adorable
(B) you’re so beautiful
(C) you’re a cutie full of charms
(D) you’re a darling and
(E) you’re exciting
(F) you’re a feather in my arms

(G) you look good to me
(H) you’re so heavenly
(I) you’re the one I idolize
(J) we’re like Jack and Jill
(K) you’re so kissable
(L) is the love light in your eyes

M, N, O, P (you could go on all day)
Q ,R, S, T (alphabetically speaking, you’re OK)

(U) made my life complete
(V) means you’re very sweet
W, X, Y, Z
It’s fun to wander through
The alphabet with you
To tell (us what?) I mean (uh-huh?)
To tell you what you mean to me
(We love you alphabetically)

The hit version of the song was recorded by Perry Como, with The Fontane Sisters in 1949. The song was on the Billboard charts for fifteen weeks, reaching the number one position for two weeks.

Also in 1949, another recording by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae was also very popular. The recording was released by Capitol Records. The recording appeared on the Billboard charts, lasting fifteen weeks and peaking at position number four.

Still another popular recording was by the Tony Pastor Orchestra. The recording appeared on the Billboard charts, lasting eight weeks and peaking at position number twelve.
Some non-charting versions of the song were recorded by John Lithgow, Dean Martin, Mike Douglas, and Jimmy Dorsey.

THE RECORDINGS
Buddy Kaye Quintet (vocals by Artie Marvin) ”A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)
Perry Como with the Fontane Sisters, orchestra conducted by Mitchell Ayres ”A” You’re Adorable
Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae, with Paul Weston and his Orchestra A” You’re Adorable
Tony Pastor and his Orchestraa (vocals by Tony Pastor, The Clooney Sisters, and the Band) “A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)

OTHER NON-CHARTING VERSIONS
John Lithgow “A” You’re Adorable
Dean Martin “A” You’re Adorable” (Live!)
Mike Douglas “A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)
Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra (vocals by Dorothy Claire and the Band) “A” You’re Adorable

alphabet2

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Size Matters!

curvy4

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, the guy in the song Huggin’ And Chalkin’ must agree with that sentiment. While very amusing, and bringing smiles to faces, Huggin’ And Chalkin’ is a perfect example of validating plus size women and men as evidenced by the lyrics below.

Huggin’ And Chalkin’ (also known as A-Huggin’ And A-Chalkin’) was a hit novelty song in the mid-1940s for Hoagy Carmichael. The song is just one of many “nonsense songs” written during and after World War II to relieve stress, worry, and soften the pain of losses. The song was so characteristic of the style of other Carmichael songs that most people mistakenly thought that Carmichael wrote the song. But such was not the case.

That honor belongs to another person – Kansas-born Clancy Hayes, who grew up singing and playing both the piano and banjo in jazz bands around San Francisco. In 1946, he collaborated with New Yorker Kermit Goell on Huggin’ And Chalkin’, an upbeat novelty piece that sings the praises of a sweetheart by the name of Rosabelle McGee (some versions have the name as Rosabelle Malone), “who tips the scale at three-oh-three.”

Clancy Hayes

Clancy Hayes

Hayes recorded the song with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band sometime in the 1950s and while it did not make the Billboard charts, if Carmichael’s version had not been so successful, this would easily be the definitive version. Hayes’ light baritone singing is relaxed, unmannered and marked by a perfect sense of rhythm that allowed him to attack phrases at just the perfect instant. But Hoagy Carmichael’s version is the version to have of this song. Carmichael recorded the song for Decca with “The Chickadees” as backup singers and a band led by Vic Schoen. The recording was a hit and stayed on the Billboard charts for fifteen weeks, including two weeks at the number one spot.

Johnny Mercer also recorded the song about the same time for Capitol, backed by Paul Weston and his Orchestra. It, too, was very popular. Many people even thought that Mercer had written the song, perhaps in collaboration with Carmichael. To this day, there are people who still refuse to believe that neither Carmichael nor Mercer had any hand in creating Huggin’ And Chalkin’.

Other recordings that charted include versions by Kay Kyser and Herbie Fields.

THE LYRICS
HUGGIN’ AND CHALKIN’ (1946)
Words and Music by Clancy Hayes and Kermit Goell
I gotta gal that’s mighty sweet,
With blue eyes and tiny feet.
Her name is Rosabelle Magee,
and she tips the scales at three o three.

Oh! Gee – but ain’t it grand to have a girl so big and fat
That when you hug’er, you don’t know where you’re at
You have to take a piece of chalk in your hand
And hug a ways and chalk a mark to see where you began.

One day when I was a huggin’ and a chalkin’ and a chalkin’ and a huggin’
a way.
When I met another fella with some chalk in his hand,
Com-in’ around the other way – ’round the mountain.
Comin’ around the other way.

Nobody ever said I’m weak.
My bones don’t ache and my joints don’t creak.
But I grow absolutely limp,
Ev-‘ry time I kiss my baby blimp.

Oh! Gee – but ain’t it grand to have a gal so big and fat
That when you hug’er, you don’t know where you’re at
You have to take a piece of chalk in your hand
And hug a way and chalk a mark to see where you began.

One day – I had a yen for someone leaner,
She was meaner than a mink in a pen.
So I left her, now I’m happy as a fella could be
Huggin’ and chalkin’ once again ’round my Rosie,
Huggin’ and chalkin’ once again.

Oh! Gee but ain’t it grand to have a girl so big and fat
That when you go to hug ‘er
You don’t know where you’re at, you
Have to take a piece of chalk in your hand
And hug a way and chalk a mark to see where you began.

One day – I was a huggin’ and a chalkin’
And a beggin’ her to be my bride
When I met another fella with some chalk in his hand
Comin’ around the other side ’round the mountain,
Comin’ around the other side.

curvy2

THE RECORDINGS

Hoagy Carmichael (backing vocals: The Chickadees), Vic Schoen’s Orchestra Huggin’ And Chalkin’
Kay Kyser and his Orchestra (vocals by Jack Martin and the Campus Kids) Huggin’ and Chalkin’
Johnny Mercer, Paul Weston and his Orchestra Huggin’ And a-Chalkin’
Herbie Fields and his Orchestra (vocals: Herbie Fields) A Huggin’ and a Chalkin’
Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band, featuring Clancy Hayes Huggin’ And a Chalkin’

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