"Blues in All Flavors" Learning Activities
© Gaye Adegbalola
SONG #12: HAND JIVIN'
FLAVOR: STREET RHYTHM
- To create the rhythm in this song, you and a friend stand facing each other. 8 different beats are clapped:
- clap your own hands together
- clap each other's right hands together
- clap your own hands together again
- clap each other's left hands together
- clap your own hands together twice
- clap your own hands together twice again
- the backs of both of your hands slap the other person's back hands; then
- the fronts of both of your hands slap the other person's front hands; repeat.
Practice slow then speed up.
- See if you can make up a new clapping pattern -- maybe clap your hands together several times or clap your hands and then your thighs or slap your chest. Come up with a new pattern. You can use the same chants.
- Doing the HAMBONE is another way to do some hand jivin'.
Here's a video of NeBo singing and doing the hambone.
Here's a video of Derique McGhee doing the hambone sitting down. Notice the Bo Diddley beat.
When the hambone song is sung, usually the first line is "Hambone, Hambone where you been? 'Round the world and back again."
Big Les sings and hambones:
Diane Ferlatte tells a story about how the Hambone song came to be.
Now, see if you can Hambone!!
- Many of the chants in this song don't really make sense. "Eeeny-meeny" doesn't make sense."Here we go zoo-dee-oo" doesn't make sense. "To see the elephant jump the fence " doesn't make sense. Some of the lines in "Hambone" don't make sense. See if you can come up with a new, fun chant.
- This is a thinking exercise. When we sing the line "see the elephant jump the fence," we might think about how many animals can do real tricks -- like at a circus. Many times the animals are kept in cages -- like at the zoo -- and sometimes they are even whipped to make them learn. While it is fun to go to the circus and a learning experience to go to the zoo, how do you think the animals feel? Talk with your parent or teacher about the good of the learning experience compared to the treatment of the animals. Can you think of alternatives to the zoo?
- Hands are so precious. They are so useful. And, every person has hands unlike any one else in the world. This is why some detectives use fingerprints to catch criminals. Using a rubber stamp pad, cover your finger tips with ink. Press them onto a sheet of paper. Have someone else do the same thing. Use a magnifying glass to look at the differences.
- Now, just have fun with your magnifying glass -- look at some salt crystals, sugar, sand, bugs, different rocks, etc. It is interesting to see things close up.
JOHNNY OTIS & THE HAND JIVE
Johnny Otis wrote this song and it was a big hit for LITTLE WILLIE JOHN. In this version, however, you can see one pattern of hand jivin'. The song also has the Bo Diddley beat and maracas.