Our Singing Country

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Our Singing Country
Newell * says that the game played in England to the tune of "Itisket, Itasket" is called "Drop-Glove," also in some places "Lost Letter." He cites the following American version, presumably as sung by white children at play:
Itiskety Itaskety A green and yellow basket^
I sent a letter to my lovey And on my way I dropped it.
Edna Potter + in her collection of game songs for American children closes her version with
A little boy came along} And put it in his pocket.
In 1938 swing versions of the tune became popular under the title, "Atisket, Atasket." In these versions composers, singers, and arrangers used their ingenuity in setting down elaborate details about the finder of the letter as well as the desperate feelings of the loser. Though the children would not admit it, we suspected that these swing versions through the radio and the nickel-in-the-slot phonographs had influenced the east Texas group X of little Negro girls who sang as they played Drop-the-Handkerchief:
Atiskety Ataskety A green and yellow basket. I wrote a letter to my lovey And on the way I dropped it} I dropped it} I dropped ity Yes, on my way I dropped it. Sure, one of you have picked it up} And put it in your pocket. It's you, it's you, it's you, it's you!
On the other hand "Kitty, Kitty Casket," sung to us in Alabama in 1934, carries its own evidences of originality.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III