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Samuel’s Musicians Of The Week

January 13th, 2008 at 10:35pm

This week’s award has a bit of a story to go with it.

I first heard this song when I was about ten years old. I was in year four at Ainslie Primary School and Julie Mayhew, the music teacher, was away. Her replacement was Mrs. Patricia Williams. Mrs. Williams was very interested in the music of the 1920s and 1930s and probably the related decades, and on this particular day (the first time I met her) she brought in her dancing wooden doll and taught us “Crazy Words–Crazy Tune” by Irving Aaronson & the Victor Commanders.

For one reason or another I thought this was the most boring music class I had ever attended, so I wasn’t particularly co-operative…I did, however, like the song. I’m fairly certain that we were only taught the chorus, and a modified, primary-school-friendly version at that, but I liked the song anyway. The version of the lyrics as I recall them:

Sits around, all day long
Sings the same words to every song
“Vo do de o, vo doe doe de o, doe.”
His ukulele, daily
How he’ll strum!
Vum vum vum!
Dancin’ and Prancin’
Then he’ll holler, “I’ve got it!”
(and repeat ad-nauseam)

Despite liking the song, I did not like Mrs. Williams. I don’t really know why any more, I just recall that I didn’t like her.

A few weeks later, Mr. Busch, my general year four teacher sent a note to the parents of all the students in his class to inform them that he was going to take a few weeks of long service leave and that Patricia Williams would be filling in for him. I did not make the connection between the person on the piece of paper and the music teacher at that time, possibly because I thought “Pat-rick-ee-a” was a very strange name.

Skip forward a couple weeks and Mr. Bush went on long service leave. By this time I had completely forgotten that he was going away. Before I got in to the classroom that morning, I was informed that “She’s here” by one of my classmates…once I recognised Mrs. Williams I became quite un-cooperative as I had previously decided that I didn’t like her.

Around 10am, possibly 10:30 (it as definitely before recess), Mrs. Williams pulled me aside for a conversation to find out why I was being so difficult. I informed her that I didn’t like her, to which she naturally asked “why?”, however the best explanation I could come up with at the time was “I just don’t”. She suggested that I should give her another chance, which I begrudgingly did, and by the end of the day I thought she was a wonderful teacher.

Over the remaining two and a bit years of my time at primary school Mrs. Williams filled in for various teachers, including an extended stint filling in for Julie Mayhew (the aforementioned music teacher) while I was in year six, and a time in the last week or so of year five where she filled in for one of the year two teachers and asked the deputy principal (Lindy Beeley) if I could join that class for a few days…Mrs Beeley asked me if I would like to spend a few days in Mrs. Williams’ class, an offer I wasn’t about to refuse, and so I did. Unfortunately I don’t remember much of that class, except one day where we had to find the longest word in the English language. According to Mrs. Williams it was “antidisestablishmentarianism”, although I’m not sure if that is still accurate.

Mrs. Williams and I were friends, and I remember introducing her to Mum one day when we bumped in to her in Civic (I’ll clarify that…I was walking with Mum, Mrs. Williams was walking in the other direction), and I remember Mrs. Williams was present on the day I graduated from primary school, I was in tears on that day because I didn’t want to leave primary school, I don’t remember what Mrs. Williams said to me except that it made me feel better.

I haven’t seen her or heard anything about her since. She was a very good teacher and I hope she is well.

Incidentally, whilst checking if Mrs. Beeley’s name has the third “e” in it or not, I found out that she is now a fully-fledged school principal at Florey Primary, a feat she deserves to be congratulated for. I wonder if she was the principal there in 2006…I worked for Belconnen Community Service for a couple months in 2006 and fixed a few computers in the After School Centre at Florey Primary. If I had known Mrs. Beeley was working there, I would have said hello.

Anyway, the winners of the Musicians Of The Week award this week are Irving Aaronson & the Victor Commanders, and the feature song is “Crazy Words–Crazy Tune”. As this song was published in 1926 the copyright has expired in Australia. I thank the Virginia University for their restoration of the music.

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Crazy words, crazy tune,
All that I ever hear him croon
“Vo do de o, vo doe doe de o, doe–doe doe doe.”
Sits around, all night long
Sings the same words to every song
“Vo do de o, vo doe doe de o, doe.”
His ukulele, daily
How he’ll strum!
Bum bum bum!
Vampin’ and stampin’
Then he’ll holler, “Black bottom!”
Crazy words, crazy tune,
He’ll be driving me crazy soon
“Vo do de o, vo doe doe de o, doe.”

Napoleon
Marched his men
To Waterloo
What did he say to them?
“Vo do de o, vo doe doe de o, doe.”
Oh, is that so?

Washington
At Valley Forge
‘Twas bitter cold and up spoke George
“Vo do do, vo doe doe de o, doe.”
No–you don’t say?

And Simon Legree
In Uncle Tom’s Cabin
What did he say to Uncle Tom?
I’ll tell you what he said,
He took his whip and said to Uncle Tom–
“C’mon, Charleston!”

And in the Senate
The other day
What did our President Coolidge say?
“Vo do do, vo doe doe de o, doe.”

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Samuel's Musician(s) Of The Week

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