> Tim Hart and Friends > Songs > Nick Nack Paddy Wack

My Old Man / Nick Nack Paddy Wack

[ Roud 3550 ; Ballad Index FSWB390C ; trad.]

George Spicer sang My Old Man at his home in Selsfield, Sussex, 1973. This recording made by Mike Yates was included in 2001 on the Muscial Traditions anthology Up in the North and Down in the South. Mike Yates commented in the accompanying booklet:

According to Frank Kidson, this was originally a children's singing game (although, as a child, I remember it more as a song used to raise flagging morale on long country walks). Certainly, there must have been a popular recording of it for the song to have been so widely known in fifties England.

The early folksong scholar Anne Gilchrist learnt a fragment of it, called Jack Jingle, from her Welsh nursemaid Elizabeth Piercy, whilst Cecil Sharp collected a version in 1911 from ‘children’ in East Dereham, Norfolk. In the 1950s Mervyn Plunkett noted it from George's one-time singing companion Pop Maynard—who called it Old Joe Nigalock. Other titles include Old Joe Padlock, in Canada, and Old Tommy Kendall, in Newfoundland. I suspect that George may have confused verses 7 and 11, which should probably be swapped around i.e. Seven / down in Devon, and, Eleven / up in Heaven.

Tim Hart sang Nick Nack Paddy Wack in 1981 on Tim Hart and Friends' album My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record. This track was later included on their compilation CD Favourite Nursery Rhymes and Other Children's Songs.

Lyrics

George Spicer sings My Old Man Tim Hart sings Nick Nack Paddy Wack

My old man, he played one,
He played nig-a-nog on his tongue.

Chorus (after each verse):
With a nig-a-nog, pud-a-log,
Give a dog a bone,
My old man came rolling home.
(or: Kicking up a song,
My old man came rolling along.)

This old man, he played one,
He played nick nack on my drum

Chorus (after each verse):
With a nick nack paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

My old man, he played two,
He played nig-a-nog on his shoe.

This old man, he played two,
He played nick nack on my shoe.

My old man, he played three,
He played nig-a-nog along with me.

This old man, he played three,
He played nick nack on my tree.

My old man, he played four,
He played nig-a-nog on the door.

This old man, he played four,
He played nick nack on my door.

My old man, he played five,
He played nig-a-nog with his knife.

This old man, he played five,
He played nick nack on my hive.

My old man, he played six,
He played nig-a-nog with some sticks.

This old man, he played six,
He played nick nack on my sticks.

My old man, he played seven,
He played nig-a-nog up in Heaven.

This old man, he played seven,
He played nick nack down in Devon.

My old man, he played eight,
He played nig-a-nog on his plate.

This old man, he played eight,
He played nick nack on my gate.

My old man, he played nine,
He played nig-a-nog with the time.

This old man, he played nine,
He played nick nack on my line.

My old man, he played ten,
He played nig-a-nog with a fat hen.

This old man, he played ten,
He played nick nack on my hen.

My old man, he played eleven,
He played nig-a-nog down in Devon.

My old man, he played twelve,
He played nig-a-nog down in Hell.