Songs to Know #3: Froggie Went A-Courtin'
A song with over a 500 year history? This is where my "inner nerd" comes out! In fact 15 years ago, I spent a good part of a year researching all of the reasons for textual variation in the song "The Crabfish" and wrote a thesis on it. So if I had another year to research all of the versions of a 500 year song, it would be "Froggie Went a-Courting." The most beautiful part of folksongs is that they change, reflecting the people, their sense of humor, values, and geographic regions. They are "owned" by the people. "Froggie" has hundreds of variants, reflecting these changes found in oral tradition. The following shows a variety of different versions and performance styles. I encourage you to share these versions with your children as an example of how folksongs evolve and see which version they like the best.
This is the most well known version of "Froggie - one rendition by Burl Ives, the second by John Langstaff.
The next most common versions have the refrain of "King Kong Kitchie, Kitchie, Kimeo."
In this version, "The Frog Lived in the Spring" performed by John Langstaff, the "Kitchie Kimeo" is expanded to include a long set of nonsense lyrics.
From here "Froggie" gets even more nonsense lyrics added in, as sung by Jill Trinka!
Another name variant of "Froggie" is "A Frog He Would a -Wooing Go." This song like the previous version, has an entirely different tune.
And finally one of my favorite versions, learned from the Clancy Children, "The Frog in Well" has many similarities to "A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go"