OK. One more.

For years I have had this song rattling around in my head. It would go something like this:


This wasn’t what you might call soothing. Here’s the meta information. I learned it in first grade. It’s a Halloween song, and it was one of the scary ones. We sang it in my elementary music classes every year until I went off to Junior High. I probably didn’t give it much thought for another twenty years. By that time my memory of it had eroded to that fragment up there.

Oooo-oooo-ooo-ooooo is not a particularly searchable term, thank you for nothing, google. Humming what I could remember of the tune was no help either. In the last couple of days I tried again, and found a message board of “what songs did you sing for Halloween as a kid?” Someone typed up the lyrics which pretty much triggered the flood (puddle, really) of memories of that song.

YouTube has clips of the song, with home-made animations. In my mind there must be another version floating around from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s which has a bit faster tempo and a stronger jump-line at the end. But for now, this is plenty satisfying.

Unsurprisingly, this song as I remember it is both an eroded and expanded version of a folk song. The song is called “There was an Old Woman of Skin and Bone,” which is itself a version of “Old Woman All Skin and Bones,” a folk song collected in Arkansas by Wolf in 1961. This is an eroded version of “There was a Lady All Skin and Bone,” an older English folk ballad. And special acknowledgement to Mama Lisa’s World for some of these pointers, and Windsor Peak Press forum for some others.


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