Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Song of the Week: Ring Around The Rosy Rag



According to Rise Up Singing, in 1968, after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, people in many cities expressed their grief and outrage in riots. Frank Rizzo, the Philadelphia police chief at that time, declared that any assembly of three or more people was a "riot." This particular "riot" about which Arlo Guthrie sings occured in Rittenberg Square.

I wish I could tell you that I grew up with this song because I listened to Alice's Restaurant when I was a little girl. In truth, my first exposure to both Ring Around a Rosy Rag (Track #3) and The Motorcyle Song (video!) was a children's paperback novel about the protagonist's friendship with a homeless girl in her class. It's called The Pickle Song, and it's by Barthe DeClements.

I transposed "Ring Around A Rosy Rag" from the key of C. Minh Le of Bottom Shelf Books is not going to like the B7 chord, but I didn't much care for the F chord. The chord progressions repeat for the chorus. The only thing that's slightly tricky is in the second verse, and I've rearranged two of the lines to indicate the rhythm.

RING AROUND THE ROSY RAG, by Arlo Guthrie

[G] I had a friend, a [B7] friend I could trust
[C] He went into the park and got busted
[G] Doing the [A] ring-a-round-a-rosy [D] rag
[G] Went in the park [B7] late at night
And he [C] put a lot of people over eighty up tight
He was [G] doing the [A] ring-a-round-a-[D] rosy [G] rag.

Chorus:
Ring around, ring around rose
Touch your nose and blow your toes and mind
Doing the ring-around-a-rosy rag (It really was a drag)
Ring around, ring-around-a-rose
Touch your nose and blow your toes and mind
Doing the ring-around-a-rosy rag.


[Insert instrumental fun here]

We ought to send Officer Joe Strange
To some Australian mountain range
So we all can do the ring-around-a-rosy rag-- would you
Like to put Philadelphia up tight, one mass
Ring-around-a-rosy in the middle of the night?
We all should do the ring-around-a-rosy rag.

Chorus

2 comments:

Minh Le said...

So B7, at last we meet again, for the first time, for the last time.

once i get my pinky to cooperate, you are mine.

B7 chord said...

Minh Le: I dare you to catch me! Then, we shall have a guitar duel a la "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."