Snippets From the Mrs. Rollins Catalog

My elementary school music teacher was a bun-wearing, grey-haired lady named “Mrs. Rollins.” As much as many perceived her to be somewhat austere, I always kind of liked her because I dug music in general. She taught us a catalog of music, much of which sticks with me to this day. Here are a few snippets of the songs, posted for posterity, but also to see if anyone else recognizes any of these songs:

While I don’t recognize the verses of “The Keeper,” I certainly recognize the chorus, which goes:

Jackie boy! (Master!) Sing ye well! (Very well!)
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green, O
To my hey down down (To my ho down down )
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green, O

Another ditty was a popular Austrailian song:

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry, merry king of the bush is he,
Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be.

I have fond memories of a stick-exchange game that went with “Tongo.” I’m not sure the origin, but it was especially catchy.

Tongo (Tongo)
Jim-nee bye bye oh!
Tongo (Tongo)
Oom-bah, de kim bye oh
Ooh a lay
Mah le ka, a lo way

There was a fantastic song about FDR and the New Deal, but unfortunately, I was unable to find any reference to such a song. The below is the best I could remember the chorus

We’re getting a New Deal! A New Deal!
Everyone is ___ about the new deal!
Hitch your wagon to a star, ’cause FDR
is giving us all a brand new deal!

The two-part “Old Woman” was a song we sang when we were very young. Here are a few lines:

Old woman, old woman, Will you let me court you?
Speak a little louder, sir, I just begin to hear you.

Old woman, old woman, Don’t you want to marry me?
Lord have mercy on my soul, I think that now I hear you.

For whatever reason, in the pre-ultra-nationalism era, before we were so xenophobic, we sang “Rule Britannia” (but I recall it as “Hail Britannia!”)

Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
Britons never will be slaves

Lastly, I can’t leave out one of my favorites as a kid. Having just googled it, I can report for the first time in my life that it’s called “Violins Sing With a Joyful Ring” It was a multi-part harmony whose verses contain this bit:

The vi-o-lin singing with lovely ringing, the violin singing with lovely song.

The clarinet, the clarinet, goes doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle-det;
the clarinet, the clarinet, goes doodle-doodle-doodle-det.

I’m sure there are dozens of songs I’m forgetting, and eventually, I may post another installment of “Songs from the Mrs. Rollins Catalog”, but in the meantime, especially if you found this via Google, do any of these ring a bell? I’d realy like to know more about the FDR/New Deal song.

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25 thoughts on “Snippets From the Mrs. Rollins Catalog

  1. Bonnie says:

    Hi, I am a music teacher and that song is from the musical Annie!! You should be able to find it quite easily. Good luck!! AND–It is awesome that you remember your musical experiences so fondly–you are lucky to have had someone to give you such wonderful memories.


  2. Elkins says:

    Hi, there! Yes! I *did* find this site through Google when looking for more information about that FDR/New Deal song!

    It’s not from the musical Annie. I don’t know who wrote it (that was one of the pieces of information I was hoping to find, actually), but it was one of the songs in a pageant-style musical about US history, clearly written for kids, which my fifth grade class performed in 1975.

    The song that came right before it was, naturally, one about the ’20s, but frustratingly enough, I can only remember a few verses of that one. It was pretty much a call-and-response sort of number, nearly completely composed of Bright Young Thing slang and pop culture, interspersed with a most ominous chorus:

    “Al Jolson! Gotta go hear it!
    Lucky Lindy! That’s the spirit!
    No kind of coat but a raccoon coat!
    Stocks are going up, going up, going up….

    I’m a flag-pole sitter, how about you?
    I’m a dapper flapper! Boop boop bee do!
    I’ll be down to get you in a tin lizzie!
    Stocks are going up, going up, going up…

    Barny Google has googly eyes!
    Stocks are going up, going up, going up! Going up, up, up, up…”

    Of course, it ended with the big crash, which then led into the New Deal song. (I suppose you can guess why that particular number’s been on my mind lately, eh?)

    The only other song I remember from this pageant was one at the very beginning, about the founders of various of the thirteen colonies:

    Roger Williams, there was a man!
    In Rhode Island he began
    To make our country grow-o-o-o
    Make our country grow

    William Penn, there was a man!

    And so forth.

    The pageant ended with a song about the moon landing, so it was probably written some time in the sixties. Either that, or in the 70s, and they just didn’t want to talk about Vietnam. Heh.

    Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got. If you ever uncover more details about this pageant, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve been feeling curious about it too, lately.

    Thanks for the memories, and for reassuring me that I wasn’t just *imagining* the New Deal song!

    — Elkins

  3. Adam S says:

    I *know* the second song about the colonies! I remember it very clearly. Damn you internet for not having more info about this collection of songs!!

  4. Betsy says:

    I was just practicing the 13 colonies with my daughter and the song from the same pageant came to mind. The song had something about asking each colony if it wanted to persue happiness, life, liberty, etc. The only verse I remember went:
    “New York, New Hampshire and New Jersey, are you for the pursuit of happiness? For life and liberty and freedom?”
    “The three of us vote YES!”

    I was so excited to find and recall the song from the 20’s! Wasn’t there a song about all kinds of inventions, too? I’m also thinking that maybe American Pie was part of it? Hope more info can be found. Thanks for the memories……

    • ED says:

      Me too! I was in a bicentennial show in 1976 and we sang that song. “Connecticut are you for independence are you for the pursuit of happiness? For life and liberty and freedom, Connecticut votes yes!”. It went through all the states. I wish I could find all the lyrics.

  5. Judy says:

    I remember some of that New Deal song from a 5th grade play, too. It went, something like, To aid in the recovery will pass the NRA to help the banks we must declare a banking holiday, we have no fear but fear itself til’ this depression ends, so until things get better, I promise you my friends, you’re getting a New Deal, New Deal, everyone is going to get a New Deal, hitch you’re wagon to a star, ’cause FDR is giving us all a brand New Deal.

  6. Elkins says:

    Hey again!

    I found more information, a lot more lyrics (including those to the Inventors song), *plus* a link where you can download some of the songs, here:


  7. Adam S says:

    Elkins, thank you SOOOOOO much! I am so thankful to have finally placed these songs. The power of internet continues to amaze me nearly 20 years after I started using it!

  8. Elkins says:

    Haha, yes, the Internet is an awesome thing. I just spent the last hour or so listening to all of those songs again. I also found out that the musical was originally written by the songwriting team of Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz. Not that I’ve ever heard of them before, of course. They seem to have specialized in baseball songs, of all the crazy things.

    And look! You can even still order the thing for putting on your own classroom pageant:

    Anyway, that’s one years-old mystery solved! Thanks, Internet!

  9. Gina says:

    My 5th grade class did that musical in 1976. Each of had the entire score and the cover as I recall was titled My Country Tis of Thee. I remember one of my costumes was a white frilly shirt, red vest, blue knickers, white tights, black shoes with aluminum foil buckles to look like the colonial era. I can’t remember why I was dressed as a man and not a colonial woman. I loved doing that play, I was searching cause some facebook friends were recalling the same memory lol!

  10. BB says:

    we did this program in 5th grade at my elementary school in utah in 1989. i still love those songs to this day!

  11. Jenny says:

    I too found this site while researching the FDR song. I recall the pageant well as my 5th grade class did the whole thing. It was the centennial celebration (and yes I’m thinking of the FDR song for obvious reasons).

    The pageant was “America: of Thee We sing, adapted from the historical cantata by Ruth Roberts and William Katz” also called “Our Country tis of Thee”

    Here’s a link to get ya’ll started

    Nice to see some of the other lyrics. The song I remember most (and can still sing a lot of it) is the “Inventor’s Song”

  12. Jenny says:
    Here’s the New Deal song on this Ruth Roberts site

  13. Lillit says:

    We sang the new deal song as part of a 5th grade musical in 1993 at balboa elementary school in grands hills ca. Wish I could find lyrics to all the songs so I could teach my daughter.

  14. Violet says:

    The “New Deal” Song is from a play called “MY Country Tis of Thee”

  15. Christie says:

    The FDR Song:

    We’re getting a New Deal! A New Deal!
    Everybody’s gonna get a new deal!
    Hitch your wagon to a star, ’cause FDR
    is giving us all a brand new deal!

    To fight the ____recovery we’ll pass the NRA
    To help the banks we must declare a banking holiday
    We have no fear but fear itself til this depression ends

  16. Dave Salls says:

    Hello, For Christmas 1969 my sister bought my brother a stereo and 2 albums. Jesus Christ superstar and an album about American history in music. I know the first song on the back was Bye Bye Miss American pie by Don Mclean but there was another song I liked which is the one your referencing here. I do not remember it totally but I think it went something like “we’re getting a new deal, new deal, everybody’s gonna get a new deal. Hitch your wagon to a star cause its here, with FDR, we’re getting a new deal today. Because I am a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders, this song has been on my mind a lot so I goggled it and found your site. Sorry I cant be of more help.

  17. Kristen says:

    I’m so glad I found this thread… we also performed it in 5th grade in 1994 at Calahan Elementary in Northridge, CA. I was trying to sing some of it to my daughter just now and couldn’t remember it all… Google to the rescue! These lyrics bring back so many memories!

  18. Nancy says:

    We’re getting a new deal, new deal.
    Everybody’s getting a new deal.
    Hitch your wagon to a star, cause FDR, is giving us all a brand new deal.

    Our Mrs. Moore was a lot like your Mrs. Rollins. I just thought of that song this morning, went to Google and imagine my surprise at finding this.
    I remember kookaburra, sung as a round, and lots of others. Music class is great to look back on.

  19. Michelle P. says:

    FINALLY! The mystery is solved.

    “No kind of coat but a raccoon coat/Stocks are going up, going up, going up!”

    5th Grade Pageant, Kohler Elementary, North Highlands, California, 1982.

    That snippet of song has been stuck in my memory for over 35 years. Now I can put it to rest! No more raccoon coats for me!

  20. Lew Hulse says:

    Our 5th grade chorus performed “Our Country Tis of Thee” in 1975 at Union Grove Elementary School in Newburgh, NY. I worked with the Principal to paint the backdrop for the play. I kinda remember the Unknown Bugler song that went something like “there was an unknown bugler at Gettysburg that day, but did he die in Yankee blue or die in Southern grey. Wish the songs were available (or at least the lyrics) on the web. Memories!!!

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