The most generic relevant image I could find.

The most generic relevant image I could find.

Yes, I know today’s Friday.

This may be in part inspired by my recent-ish reunions with former Torrens Park Cub Pack alumni Ben Glazier, Jeremy Cochran, and via t’internet, Alex Brooks.  Or maybe it’s the product of a mind desperately searching for stuff to make lists of.

In any case – here’s a list of 10 of my favourite songs that we’d sing at Cub camps.  Typically the campfire would be led by our Group Leader – initially Frank Brooks, then Terry Arnott – and the Torrens Park tradition seemed to include the erecting of a church hall-style overhead projector and screen so you could sing along with the words without the need to print out multiple song sheets.  Yes siree, environmental awareness in action!

I can’t decide if these are in order or not, so lets assume they are.

1. A Ram Sam Sam

This one’s in the list because I used to just find it really silly: the actions to accompany are when you sing “ram sam sam” you slap your open palms on your thighs, on “guli” you clap (once for each), and “a ra-fi” you stick your hands up in the air, spread your fingers out, and jiggle them side to side a bit.

A ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
A ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
A ra-fi, a ra-fi
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
A ra-fi, a ra-fi
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam

Latterly, this song has been rewritten with the words “A Pizza Hut, A Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut”.  Needless to say, I disapprove.

2013 UPDATE (and it’s not often you read *that* around here):

Following a recent-ish snow trip to Austria (home of some of the most ridiculous music you’ll ever hear, in the form of pounding Apres-Ski anthems), I was delighted/horrified/bemused to discover that thanks to an individual names Lorenz Büffel, this song of my childhood was now an Apres anthem – sung and bobbed along to with enthusiasm in many outdoor bars by europeans wearing bizarre and unfashionable outfits, as they drink liqueurs which by rights should have gone out of production the minute the 1970s ended.

Anyway, here’s the song.

We didn’t dress like that at Cub Scout Campfires.

2. Mules

On Mules we find two legs behind
And two we find before.
We stand behind before we find
What the two behind be for.

When we’re behind the two behind
We find what these be for,
So stand before the two behind
Behind the two before.

3. Show Me The Way To Go Home

Not the regular version, of course (remember, we still think this funny, because we’re 9 years old).

Indicate the way to my habitual abode
I’m fatigued and I’m eager to retire
I had a small refreshment 60 minutes ago
and it went straight to my cerebellum.
Wherever I may ambulate
On land or sea or agitated water
You can always hear me chanting this melody
Show me the way to my habitual abode

Equally amusing (to somebody, I guess – couldn’t quite work out who) was the locally-amended version:

Show me the way to go home
Said the girl on Semaphore Beach
I had a wetsuit about an hour ago
But it’s floated out of reach
And all I have on now is sand and sea and foam
So won’t you lend me a page of your Sunday Mail
And show me the way to go home.

4. Campfire’s Burning

This’d be the token sentimental one in the list – we’d always finish up the campfire sing with this, so it was the perennial “last song”.  Plus, nobody seemed able to tell us what “gloaming” was.

Campfire’s burning, campfire’s burning
Draw nearer, draw nearer
In the gloaming, in the gloaming
Come sing and be merry

5. Ging Gang Gooly

Apparently this is a British textbook slang mainstay used for hassling Boy Scouts with, but again – at the age of 9 or so it seemed pretty good fun to sing.

Ging gang gooly gooly gooly gooly wotcha,
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.
Ging gang gooly gooly gooly gooly wotcha,
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.
Hayla, hayla shayla, hayla shayla, shayla, ho-o,
Hayla, hayla shayla, hayla shayla, shayla, oh.
Shallawally shallawally shallawally shallawally,
Oompah, oompah, oompah, oompah. (this bit goes on, as you break into a round and the other team starts singing the first bit)

According to The Source Of All Internet Knowledge, this song courted controversy when a theory circulated that “goolie” was taken from the Hindi word meaning “ball”, and that this song was somehow a depraved ditty conjured up by Baden-Powell to get boys to sing about testicles.  Sounds like a load of bollocks to me.

6. The Quartermaster’s Store

Pretty simple this one – you cook up something that rhymes to stick in the first and third lines of the verse, and then go to the chorus.  It’s a participation one, so people get to make their own rhymes up, which is what makes it more interesting & fun.

There were gators, gators, eating the potatos,
at the store, at the store,
There were gators, gators, eating the potatos,
at the quartermaster’s store.

My eyes are dim, I cannot see
I have not brought my specs with me
I have… not… brought… my… specs… with… me

And a few verses in when the leaders get a little tired of it, the chorus changes to:

My eyes are dim, I cannot see
I left my specs in the lavatory,
I left… my… glasses… in the lav.. a… tree.

Hours of riotous fun.

7. My Breakfast Lies Over The Ocean

To the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”.  But it’s about spewing.  So a clear favourite.

My breakfast lies over the ocean,
My dinner lies over the sea,
My stomach is in a commotion,
Don’t mention my supper to me.

Bring back, bring back,
O bring back my bucket to me, to me.
Bring back, bring back,
O bring back my bucket to me.

I really felt rotten this morning,
They tell me I really looked pale,
My stomach gave adequate warning,
To lean far out over the rail.

The sound of a stomach in motion,
A murmuring noise inside me,
I looked down and there on the water,
Was breakfast and dinner and tea.

Bonus marks for making the “BRRRRR” in “Bring back” sound as authentically like retching up as possible.

8. She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She Comes

Quite repetetive, but broken up by the addition of the noises at the end of each line.  As the verses progress, you append each.

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes. (Toot Toot!)
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes. (Toot Toot!)
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain,
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain,
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes. (Toot Toot!)

She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes. (Whoa back!)
Oh, we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes. (Hi Jo! Hi Flo!)
Oh, we’ll kill the old red rooster when she comes. (hack hack!)
Oh, we’ll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes. (Yum Yum!)
She’ll be wearing pink pyjamas when she comes. (Wolf Whistle)
And we’ll wear our bright red woolies when she comes. (Scratch Scratch)

So in point of fact, the 5th verse would be:

Oh, we’ll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes. (Yum Yum, Hack! Hack! Hi Jo! Hi Flo! Whoa back! Toot Toot!)

9. Singing in the Rain

Another progressive song with participation – maybe I remember these fondly because it meant standing up doing stuff rather than sitting down reading song lyrics and singing about Gloaming.

Singin in the rain (what are we doing?)
Just siiiiingin in the rain (dollar! dollar!)
What a glorious feeling
I’m hap-hap-happy again
HOLD IT! (Hold it!)
THUMBS OUT! (Thumbs out!)
A-roo-cha-cha, a-roo-cha-cha, a-roo-cha-cha-CHA!
A-roo-cha-cha, a-roo-cha-cha, a-roo-cha-cha-CHA!

Singin in the rain, etc.

Wrists together
Elbows together
Knees together
Heels together
Bums out
Tongues out

So there you have it!  I realise that that’s not strictly 10 songs, but before the 10th the other thing I just remembered was that usually at the bottom of each overhead projector slide would be some kind of decorative row of characters to show that that was the last line.  Quite often whoever had typed the sheet up would add a centre-aligned:

*********

underneath the final line.  After years of thinking about it, I’ve realised that THIS was the source of my developing pedantry.  As a couple of the leaders from Hawthorn Scouts (who we used to sometimes do combined camps with) used to find it amusing to include that as a final song line.  Meaning you’d hear “So stand before the two behind, behind the two before.  Star star star star star star star star star”.  So there you go Mum – I’ve deduced that Hilding Hanna and Marten Schurmans are to blame.

10. The Sexual Life of a Camel

(It’s important to note that we didn’t sing this at Cub Camp.  I picked this one up many years later during my brief but spectacular tenure with the Flinders University Choral Society.  It remains, however, my all-time favourite campfire song.  Although not one I can put at the top of a list like this, clearly.)

The sexual life of the camel,
Is stranger than anyone thinks,
At the height of the mating season,
He tries to bugger the Sphinx,
But the Sphinx’s posterior orifice,
Has been blocked by the sands of the Nile,
Which accounts for the hump on the camel,
And the Sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

Singing: bum-titty-titty, bum-titty-titty, titty-bum.
Singing: bum-titty-titty, bum-titty-titty, wheeeeeeeeeee!
Singing: bum-titty-titty, bum-titty-titty, titty-bum.
Singing: bum-titty-titty, bum-titty-titty, whee.

In the process of civilization,
From anthropoid ape down to man,
It is generally held that the navy,
Has buggered whatever it can.
Yet recent extensive researches,
By Darwin and Huxley and Hall,
Have conclusively proven that the hedgehog,
Cannot be buggered at all.

We therefore believe our conclusion,
Is incontrovertibly shown,
That comparative safety on shipboard,
Is enjoyed by the hedgehog alone,
Why haven’t they done it a Spithead,
As they have at Harvard and Yale,
And also at Oxford and Cambridge,
By shaving the spines off the tail?

That’s all.