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’

1 Comment

Filed under Pop Music

One response to “Size Matters!

  1. Sherry Padavich

    Fun to read these Roger! Love you! Happy St. Pattys Day. Thinking of the ole Irishman today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s