Froggie Went a’ Courtin’

February 3, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Being a Dad, kids music, Music for You, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 release, The Seeger Sessions is a great CD for kids – try it some time. Recently Abe and I were listening to it as background music. “Froggie Went a Courtin'” came on – I’m sure you’ve heard it somewhere along the way, lots of kids singers have done very vanilla versions of the song, but not Bruce – not the BOSS. He does it like it ought to be done (of course), and Abe was groovin’ to the tune. If you’re familiar with the song, you know how it goes – Froggie goes a courtin,’ woos Miss Mousie, they have the wedding and then we get a list of all the guests…”First to come in was a flyin’ moth, she spread out the table cloth…” and so on.

big-black-snake.jpg
“Next to come in was a BIG BLACK SNAKE!”

I want to pause for a moment here – and say two things. First, our kids are pretty naive. I wish I could tell you it’s because we knew what we were doing. Truth is, it was because of inertia. When Isabel went to pre-school, we had never moved beyond Sesame Street – why would we when it worked so well? (OK, I do need to admit that it took me awhile to get over Baby Bear‘s speech impediment.) I’ll never forget ‘Daddy Pizza and Movie Night’ when we went to the pre-school with all the other kids and dads. The movie was “Finding Nemo,” and Isabel didn’t make it past the first scene (by the way, what’s Disney’s issues with Mom’s?) All the other kids wondered why my daughter was crying and saying “I want to go home…” At the time, I felt like saying, ‘It’s because the kid’s/fish’s mother was just killed – the biggest crisis she’s ever had to deal with on TV is Big Bird having trouble finding Ernie!!!’ I didn’t say that to all the jeering four and five year olds, though, I just picked up my crying little girl and left. The second thing I need to tell you is that Abe is a lyrics-hound. He listens intently and repeats lyrics to himself. He likes the sound of words. Sometimes, days after we see a movie, we’ll hear Abe repeating the lines…a little like the guy I hung out with in college who used to repeat Caddyshack lines…scary.

So, back to “Froggie Went a Courtin.’ As we made our way through the wedding, we eventually came to the line that Abe would repeat again and again. He’d listen to it with the same sort of glee that someone might go into a haunted house at an amusement park . The line is of course, “Next to come in was a Big Black Snake – chased them all into the lake…” Here it is, that line is, from Bruce, in all it’s glory – Springsteen Froggie Clip – For a coupe of weeks, that snake was the villain in our games, he woke up Abe (and, consequently Tonya and me) more than once in the middle of the night…to have the imagination of a child. Strangely, though, this song has intrigued a lot of people over the years…

Here’s one loyal Springsteen fan’s attept to list all the other recordings of the song – Versions of Froggie Went a Courtin’ . Another devotee of the song has listed the over 170 verses of the song that have been written or sung since it’s first printed incarnation in 1611 here – Froggie Verses . The song’s one drawback…it’s repetitive. Man, is this song repetitive – but that, of course, cuts both ways. It drives us adults crazy, but sucks our kids in – it’s probably the reason why this song has lasted so long, and probably why, 400 years after it was first written, it can still give a little boy the chills.

 

 

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