“I Don’t Know What You Been Told” – Military Cadence Songs

by Daniel Russ on December 2, 2013

 

It is the phenomenon of working songs that gave birth to military cadence songs. The call out and respond structure keeps a leader a band of people together in real time. Perhaps the comedy of the sings or the fact that they are sung together that bonds people. Perhaps they bond no one. They are still a part of US military history. Here are some examples in text and some recordings from YouTube.

 

 

 

They Say that in the Army

(Army Marching Cadence)

They say that in the Army the coffee’s mighty fine
It looks like muddy water and tastes like turpentine
Chorus:
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH!

They say that in the Army the chow is mighty fine
a chicken jumped off the table and started marking time
Chorus:
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH!

They say that in the Army the biscuits are mighty fine
one rolled off the table and killed a friend of mine
Chorus:
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH!

They say that in the Army the training’s might fine
last night there were ten of us, now there’s only nine
Chorus:
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH!

They say that in the Army the pay is mighty fine
they give you a hundred dollars and take back ninety-nine
Chorus:
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go

 

 

 

Old Lady

(Marine Running Cadence)

 

I saw an old lady walkin’ down the street.
She had a chute on her back, and jump boots on her feet.
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “I’m goin’ to the Army Airborne School.”
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, I think you’re too old;
You’d better leave that stuff to the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Listen, Sonny, I’m talking to you;
I’m an instructor at the Airborne School.”

I saw the same old lady walkin’ down the street.
She had a pack on her back, jungle boots on her feet.
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “I’m goin’ to Marine Corps Recon School.”
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, I think you’re too old;
You’d better leave that stuff to the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Listen, Sonny, I’m talking to you;
I’m an instructor at the Recon School.”

I saw the old lady walkin’ down the street.
She had a tank on her back, and fins on her feet.
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “I’m goin to the Navy Diving School.”
I said, “Hey, Old Lady, I think you’re too old;
You’d better leave that stuff to the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Listen, Sonny, I’m talking to you;
I’m an instructor at the Diving School.”

I turned to leave, and she spun me around;
She kicked me in the head, and threw me to the ground.
I looked up through my tears, and with a voice full of fear,
I begged, “Please, Old Lady, don’t kill me right here.”
She said, “Listen, Sonny, don’t you mess with me;
I’m Airborne, Recon, and UDT!”


Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH

 

 Source: http://www.army-cadence.com/Army-Marching-Cadences.php

 

 

Navy  PT

(Navy Running Cadence)

 

Early one morning in the pouring rain,
First Sergeant said it was time for pain,
grab your ruck and follow me!
Its time to do some PT.
We jogged nine miles and we ran three,
The Chief was  yelling follow me!
Then we walked two miles and ran eight!
Navy  PT sure is great!

 

 

 

HERE WE GO

(Navy Running Cadence)

 

Here we go again
Same old stuff again
Marching down the avenue
Few more days and we’ll be through
I won’t have to look at you
So, I’ll be glad and so will you

 

 

http://www.army-cadence.com/Army-Marching-Cadences.php

 

My Drill Instructor

The Army calls ’em drill sergeants,

The Navy calls ’em RDC’s,

The Air Force calls ’em their TI’s;

But mine is strictly a DI:

“Drill Instructor,” then his rank

Unless you want to play games,

Never “sir” or something more

Or my face is on the floor.

If I called him “Drill Sergeant,”

He’d take me out to the pit.

If I called him a TI,

He’d make me feel like I would die.

If I called him RDC,

He’d make an example out of me.

So make sure you get it right,

Or you’ll end up in his sights.

An example of one such call is the first stanza of Yellow Bird:

A yellow bird with a yellow bill

Was sittin’ on my window sill

I lured him in with a piece of bread

And then I smashed his little head[8]

 

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