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Q: Children's Poem/Rhyme ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Children's Poem/Rhyme
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: cdcmike-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 02 Jul 2002 19:59 PDT
Expires: 01 Aug 2002 19:59 PDT
Question ID: 36083
"What will you do when the meat runs out?
Stand in the corner with your lip stuck out?".......
Would like to know full poem/rhyme by this title or remainder of poem
with the above lines in it. Author's name would be a plus. Rhyme
believed to be pre-1930s
Subject: Re: Children's Poem/Rhyme
Answered By: grimace-ga on 12 Jul 2002 11:47 PDT

This song seems to be a variant of 'The Crawdad Hole', a Southern folk
song. It's also called "What Kin' o Pants Does the Gambler Wear"; "The
Crow-Fish Man" or "Sweet Thing". As with all folk songs, the lyrics
are subject to change, and it exists in countless versions. As with
all folk songs, it doesn't have an 'author' as such. Folklore, by its
very nature, has many authors, and its origins are near impossible to
trace. In recent years it became something of a blues and country and
western standard, as well as being recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis and
Harry Belafonte among many others.

The closest version to yours I've found on line is this one:

Well, what you gonna do when the meat gives out, baby
What you gonna do when the meat gives out, honey
What you gonna do when the meat gives out
Stand on the house with your eye poked out
Honey, baby, mine

You get a line and I'll get a pole, baby
You get a line and I'll get a pole, baby
You get a line and I'll get a pole
We goin' down the crawdad hole
Honey, baby, mine

Delta Sound Blues: Sonny Terry and Browie Mcghee

You can find other variants of the song here:

The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection (includes a sound file)

Bluegrass Messenger (4 different versions)

Harry Belafonte: The Crawdad Song

This site has an annoying midi version playing in the background.
Don't ask me why!

America 2000 Challenge: Math

Here's an interview with bluesman Bobby Rush talking about the
influence the song had on his childhood:

"I was the kind of child who, when I heard a song, if I liked the
song, I put myself in the song. I could see myself with a fishin' pole
-- which I learnt later, he wasn't talkin' 'bout a fishin' pole -- but
to me as a child, I know about fishin', I know about the pole, I know
about the crawdad hole, and the crawfish and mud and what have you. I
related to it in that way. I found out when I got grown, he wasn't
talkin' about fishin' at all. But as a child, you relate to what you
know about."

from Blues Access

Okay - hope this helps somewhat.


PS 'Old Joe Broke His Toe' sounds like a skipping game. If you post
another question, I'd be happy to look into it for you.
Subject: Re: Children's Poem/Rhyme
From: rmg-ga on 06 Jul 2002 01:42 PDT
The Allman Brothers Band had a song, "Everybody's Got A Mountain To
Climb", which contained the following lyrics:

So, hey let me tell you what I'm talkin' about,
You can't go around with your lip stuck out. 

Obviously we're not talking about the same time frame! But so far,
it's the only verse--spoken or sung--that I've found that has any
resemblance to yours.

Do you remember reading the verse, or is it something you heard? What
is its connection to the 1930's era?
Subject: Re: Children's Poem/Rhyme
From: cdcmike-ga on 06 Jul 2002 09:10 PDT
This piece of doggerel is one of several I can remember from my
childhood that my father taught me from HIS childhood.  I was born in
1945.  I must have been about 5; ergo 1930 (l950-20=1930) Could have
been 40s I guess? I have never seen this written so it could be
completely undocumented. Another I remember from the same time period

Old Joe broke his toe
On the way to Mexico
And on the way back
He broke his back
Sliding down the RR track.......
Subject: Re: Children's Poem/Rhyme
From: cdcmike-ga on 06 Jul 2002 09:15 PDT
More accurately, the first line would be:

Whatja gonna do when the meat ......
Subject: Re: Children's Poem/Rhyme
From: simonsez-ga on 08 Jul 2002 08:56 PDT
I think these maybe the lyrics from "Whatcha gonna do when the meat
gives out"  by Folk Musician Josh White circa 1931. MCA Records
re-released his music in 1983 on vinyl LP.

Title of the album: The legendary Josh White
Tract Number: Five 
Publisher MCA Records 
Catalog Number: MCA2-4170 

Check your local library or use the inter-library loan system to get a


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