Play party songs

Here comes Sally

Hey, Betty Martin

Old brass wagon

Pig in the parlour

Sandy land

Weevily wheat


Last updated: 06/03/2016 17:07




The songs below are part ofAway we go’ Round and about

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear


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To listen to music from these songs click on title at O

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved


You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

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·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.



Here comes Sally O


Replace ‘Sally’ with ‘Ollie’ or the name of the lead child.


Listen to a lively version by John Langstaff:


Pairs facing each other in a class circle, one half of each couple on the outside, the others make an inner circle. Six or seven children wait in the centre of that circle. They choose a named leader.








































Here comes Sally down our alley,

Here comes Sally down our alley,

Here comes Sally down our alley,

Down in Alabama!




Hands on shoulders and promenade,

(All promenade with hands on your shoulders)

Hands on shoulders and promenade,

Hands on shoulders and promenade,

Down in Alabama!










Swing your partner round the cornfield,

Swing your partner round the cornfield,

Swing your partner round the cornfield,

Down in Alabama!



Children in the centre follow their leader and skip round the alley formed by those clapping in the circle.


The skippers steal a partner. Those left without a partner move to the centre where they choose a named leader.


Partners meanwhile promenade with right hands behind shoulder of the right partner and left hands in front of partner on left.










Hold hands (one crossed) and swing partner around.


Game begins again, with those in the centre skipping round the re-formed circle. ‘Here comes Dylan down our alley’ etc.


















Hey, Betty Martin O


Originally an English tune; ‘In Yorkshire I was born and bred..., about a canny country bumpkin not fooled by city folk. Later fifers and drummers played this tune in the Anglo-American war of 1812.


This game will give practice in taking and inviting others to take turns, while developing patience at the same time! It is also an opportunity to study pitch, use hands to demonstrate this, begin high and move lower on the first phrase.


Begin in a circle holding hands, with one child, Betty or Billy, on the inside. This child and subsequent partners together choose which action to make in the following verse. 


Watch at:  though this delightful version is much closer to the previous song ‘Weevily wheat’!



















Hey, Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe,

Hey, Betty Martin, tiptoe fine,

Hey, Betty Martin, tippy toe, tippy toe,

Hey, Betty Martin, please be mine!




Clap with me, and I’ll clap with you,

We’ll go clapping the whole day through.

Clap so good, clap so fine,

Clapping, clapping all the time.





Jump with me, and I’ll jump with you,

We’ll go jumping the whole day through.

Jump so good, jump so fine,

Jumping, jumping all the time.


Other suggestions

Hop, skip, bounce, stamp, march etc.

Tiptoe round to the left in a circle. The child in the middle tiptoes round in the opposite direction


‘Betty / Billy’ chooses a child to join her in the circle and both decide on an action e.g. clap.


Pair in the middle face each other and make a simple clapping pattern on each other’s hands.


Circle on tiptoes round to the left. The pair in the middle hold hands and tiptoe round in the opposite direction.


Pair in the middle each choose a partner to bring into the circle. Between them they choose then perform a new action. They then make a circle of four to tiptoe round to the right within the larger circle


The game continues as the four choose another four as partners, then eight choose eight (the outer circle will need to drop hands at this stage). On the last verse all the children have a partner and each pair can choose their own movement – the singing will be pretty lively!
























Old brass wagon O


Here is a singing game from the days when covered wagons rolled across the USA to the lands in the west. This ‘play party’ classic would have been sung in rural and frontier towns in many parts of the States from the mid1800s to around 1950. At this time there was often prejudice against dancing but singing games such as this one were deemed to be more socially acceptable.


Watch another version at:


Make a large circle standing in pairs holding hands.




Circle to the left the old brass wagon,

Circle to the left the old brass wagon,

Circle to the left the old brass wagon,

You’re the one, my darling.


Circle to the right the old brass wagon...


Everybody in / Everybody out...



Swing oh swing, the old brass wagon...



Do-si-do the old brass wagon...



Promenade home the old brass wagon...


1. Circle clockwise.





2. Circle anticlockwise.


3. Take four steps into circle and four steps out.


4. Swing right elbow for four counts then left.


5. With one forearm on top of the other walk, round partner and back without turning, twice.


6. Promenade round in ‘skating’ position.











































Pig in the parlour O


People would come from miles around by horseback or wagon on Saturday night, in places such as Missouri, USA, to attend a ‘play party’ where popular games like this were once played. Play parties were also a perfect chance to begin courtship.


This well known traditional tune is better known as ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ or ‘The bear went over the mountain’. The original refrain ‘And it is Irish too’ was a sensitive one, as it referred to the poverty of the Irish at that time with the need of the poor to keep livestock in the house.


Listen at:


Use other farm animal names e.g. ‘We’ve got a cow in the kitchen’


Practice the right hand / left hand manoeuvre well before attempting this dance. Stand in a circle next to a partner.































We’ve got a new pig in the parlour,

We’ve got a new pig in the parlour,

We’ve got a new pig in the parlour,

Its name is Toodle-oo. (or child’s name)


It’s the right hand to your partner,

Then the left hand to your neighbour,

The right hand to your partner,

Join hands and circle around.


And we’ll all promenade,

And we’ll all promenade,

We’ve got a new pig in the parlour,

(The same old pig’s in the parlour)

Its name is Toodle-oo.

Children join hands in a circle and walk / skip to the left. The ’pig’ skips round the inside of the circle in the opposite direction.


Partners face each other ready to move one clockwise and the other anti clockwise, first offering their right hand and then the left as they move in a weaving motion on to the next child round the circle (see above). They join hands with the next but one child, and swing round ready to promenade.


Join hands in skating position and promenade to the right.

During the weaving sequence the pig attempts to find a partner. The child that is left without a partner becomes the new pig. If the pig is not successful next time begin ‘The same old pig’s…’


















Sandy land O


‘Sandy land’, a singing game from Georgia U.S.A., works well as a partner song with ‘Skip to my Lou’.

Younger children would enjoy either miming the actions below or singing animal noises to the same tune; Moo, moo, moo, moo, moo, moo, moo, etc..

Each child stands next to a partner joining hands to make a large circle.
























Make my living in sandy land, x3 

Ladies fare you well.



Great bigtaters in sandy land, x3

Ladies fare you well.


Hop, come along, my pretty little miss, x3

I won’t be home till Sunday.


Shake that little foot, Sally Anne, x3

Ladies fare you well.


Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Anne,

Picking a banjo, Sally Anne?

Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Anne,

Ladies fare you well.

Take four steps into the centre with lifted hands, and then four steps back hands lowered. Repeat.


Hook right elbows with partner and

turn in place. Repeat with left elbows.


Skip in a circle first one way then the other.


Move round the circle offering first the right then the left hand as above ‘La chaine anglaise’.


With new partner hook right elbows and turn in place. Repeat with the left elbows.






Weevily wheat O


This early American square dance song was popular with those of English and Scottish descent and was possibly linked with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

In those days weevils in the wheat were a regular storage problem, keeping food pest free was a necessary preoccupation. ‘Weevily’ wheat would have been fed to the hens.


Make a square set with four pairs. Pair A and C stand facing each other as do B and D.


Listen at: 
















Don’t want your weevily wheat,

Don’t want your barley,

Want some flour and half an hour,

To bake a cake for Charlie.


Refrain play after each verse

Fly around my pretty little miss,

Fly around my daisy,

Fly around my pretty little miss,

You almost drive me crazy.


Over the river and through the trees,

Over the river to Charlie,

Over the river to feed my sheep,

On oatmeal cakes and barley.


It’s Charlie here and Charlie there,

And Charlie over the ocean,

And Charlie he’ll come back to me,

Whenever he takes the notion.

A and C pairs skip in a right handed star and back to place.


B and D pairs skip in a right hand star and return to place.


Promenade in skating position round square and back to place.

Swing partners.





Repeat pattern above










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