Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Wish I Was Single Again ...

I love music, but I can not sing. Most of the time there is music playing while I work and almost always there is music running through my head - a tune stuck on replay often for days until replaced by another one. A song I’ve been hearing over and over is one I associate with my mother. I have no idea how old I was when I first heard this song, but it is among my earliest childhood memories.

My mother had a good singing voice, but she confined her singing mainly to church. The one song that I remember her singing was “I Wish I Was Single Again. If I was Single, My Pockets Would Jingle.” After hearing the music in my mind for days on end, I did a Google search to learn more about the song.

It appears variations of the lyrics have been around since the early 1900s and it has been recorded by many different artists. One version of the song goes like this:

When I was single, oh then, oh then,
When I was single, oh then.
When I was single, my pockets would jingle,
And I wisht I was single again.

I married me a wife, oh then, oh then.
I married me a wife, oh then.
I married me a wife, and she’s joy of my life,
And I wisht I was single again.

My wife died, oh then, oh then.
My wife died, oh then.
My wife died, and I laughed and I cried
To think I was single again.

I married me another, oh then, oh then.
I married me another, oh then.
I married me another, and she’s the Devil’s grandmother,
And I wisht I was single again.

She beat me, she banged me, oh then, oh then.
She beat me, she banged me, oh then.
She beat me, she banged me, and threatened to hang me,
And I wisht I was single again.

The last verse is a bit violent and if Mother sang it, I don't remember it.

Mother may have heard the song when she was growing up, but I suspect she also heard it during the 1930s and 1940s, when it was made popular by Frank Luther. Although known mainly for his recordings for children, he was known also as an American cowboy music singer. I talked to my mother’s sister, who also knew part of the verses and remembers hearing it on the radio.

So, a little mystery has been solved. Now maybe that song in my head will be replaced with another one.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your article about the song, but I recall the lyrics a little differently. Also, I remember a few additional verses. I've typed them out and will attempt to copy and paste them here. As a young boy I remember playing our old upright piano and singing from an old 1903 or 04 song book that was in the bench seat when we got the used piano. I sang that song almost daily. As I read your article, the lyrics came flooding back to me as if it were yesterday. Thank you, here's the lyrics as I remember them.

I wish I was single, again, again,
I wish I single, again.
When I was single, my pockets would jingle,
I wish I was single again.

I married me a wife, oh then, oh then.
I married me a wife, oh then.
I married me a wife, she ruined of my life,
I wish I was single again.

She binged me, and banged me, oh then, oh then.
She binged me, and banged me, oh then.
She binged me, and banged me, I thought she would hang me,
I wish I was single again.

My wife she died, oh then, oh then.
My wife she died, oh then.
My wife she died, I laughed till I cried
To think I was single again.

I went to the funeral oh then, oh then,
I went to the funeral oh then.
I went to the funeral, and danced Yankee Doodle,
To think I was single again.

I went for the crowd oh then, oh then,
I went for the crowd oh then.
I went for the crowd, and walked very proud,
To think I was single again.

I married me another, oh then, oh then.
I married me another, oh then.
I married me another, the Devil’s grandmother,
I wish I was single again, again!

Jack Schraven
jackschraven@cox.net

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

Thank you for responding and sending the variation of lyrics. You are the first person who recognized this little jingle.

Unknown said...

I was reminded of "When I was single, my pockets would jingle.." a ditty my dad sang when he wanted to 'get' my mother. As a kid, I knew that fireworks would follow. I googled the ditty & came up with lyrics fr: THE FIERY FURNACES - SINGLE AGAIN LYRICS http://www.metrolyrics.com/
The lyrics on your blog are slightly different & I think more what my dad sang to my mother - but still incendiary to my mother!

Kathryn's Jewelry Designs said...

Love it!! When my husband and sons would drive me nuts, I would sing the chorus all around the house. Don't remember where I heard it and even if I had known the other words, I would NEVER have sung those. My dad had a bunch of old Frank Luther records when I was a kid. Maybe I heard it there. I had forgotten about Frank Luther until I read your post! Fun reminder! Thanks.