Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Best American Poetry 1928, Dept.

They don't write 'em like this any more. I think I can say that without fear of contradiction. I was introduced to this song via Cab Calloway's jumpin' rendition. He, however, grabs a few lines off the first chorus, then scats his way through the rest. So, it was only recently that I learned the lyrics as they were written by Mort Dixon. And what fine lyrics they are. Redolent of another age when we as Americans found foreigners considerably more amusing than we do today. Enjoy. Ideally with ukulele accompaniment.


Nagasaki
(Warren/Dixon)

Verse 1:

Fellows if you're on,
I will spin a yarn,
That was told to me by able seaman Jones.
Once he had the blues,
So he took a cruise
Far away from night clubs and from saxophones.
He said, "Yoho, I think I made a certain port,
And when you talk about real he-man sport."


Chorus 1:

Hot ginger and dynamite,
There's nothing but that at night,
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.

The way they can entertain
Would hurry a hurricane,
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.

Oh, Fujiyama,
You get a mommer,
And then your troubles increase;
In some pagoda
She orders soda,
The earth shakes milkshakes, ten cents a-piece.

They kiss-ee and hug-ee nice,
By jingo, it's worth the price,
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.


Patter:

With an ice cream cone and a bottle of tea,
You can rest all day by the hickory tree;
But when night comes 'round, oh, gosh, oh, gee!
Mother, mother, mother, pin a rose on me.

Chorus 2:

They give you a carriage free,
The horse is a Japanee.
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.

They sit you upon the floor,
No wonder your pants get sore,
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.

Oh, sweet Kimona,
I pulled a boner,
I kept it up at high speed;
I got rheumatics
And then sciatics
Of halitosis that's guaranteed.

You must have to act your age,
Or wind up inside a cage,
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.


Verse 2:

When the day is warm,
You can keep in form
With a bowl of rice beneath a parasol.
Ev'ry gentleman
Has to use a fan,
And they only wear suspenders in the fall.
That's where the gals
Don't think of rings and furs,
Gee, it's the grandest place that ever was:


[Chorus 1, Patter, Chorus 2]

The preceding is from a very good Harry Warren page, he being the composer of the ditty. I found another chorus on the web that may or may not be kosher but for completeness' sake, I'll include here:

Those pretty mamas
In pink pyjamas
They try to give you a kiss
Those torrid teases
In B.V.D.ses
Heaven help a sailor on a night like this!

Not too gentle and not too rough
But you've got to tell them when you've had enough
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky woo.


Now, some might try to read "bawdy" meaning into some of the lyrics of this song. To him or her, I would direct those time-honored words which have guided the behavior of the English people through the years: Honi soit qui mal y pense. Which, loosely translated from Old French, means: a nod is as good as a wink to a blind bat.

3 comments:

baikinange said...

I posted a great video of Don Redman's orchestra performing this song....
http://easydreamer.blogspot.com/2007/10/women-wicki-wacki-woo.html

baikinange said...

Crap, go here
http://easydreamer.blogspot.com
and search for "Nagasaki".

the sobsister said...

You read my mind. I'll be posting YouTube videos of "Nagasaki" later this weekend. Thanks for the links.