Miss Susie

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Occupation: Students
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2019
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

[Assorted singing] (Wait, start over, I have to transcribe this) [A and B singing over each other]

 

Miss Susie had a steamboat,

the steamboat had a bell,

Miss Susie went to Heaven,

the steamboat went to–

 

–Hello operator,

I’m caller number nine

and if you disconnect me

I’ll chop off your be–

 

’hind the ’’fridgerator,

There was a piece of glass

Miss Susie sat upon it

And broke her little–

 

–ask, me no more questions,

tell me no more lies.

The boys are in the bathroom

zipping up their–

 

–flies are in the meadows,

bees are in the park

Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the

D-A-R-K,

D-A-R-K,

Dark, dark, dark,

 

Darker than the ocean,

darker than the sea

Darker than the underwear my mommy puts on me

 

My mommy is Godzilla

my daddy is King Kong,

my brother is the jerk that made me sing this song

 

A: is that a thing? Miss Susie went to heaven–

B: Camp songs! Camp songs are a thing. Baby shark.

[more overlapping talking] (So do y’all have any other camp songs or is that it?)

A: We went to different camps.

B: …bazooka zooka bubblegum! Bazooka zooka bubblegum!

(So how did y’all learn these?)
A: Camp counselors.

[rousing chorus of Camp Grenada]

B: They sample a classical piece for that song.

 

 

Context & Analysis: This piece was shared by my informants H and N at an informal house gathering. Myself, N, H, and one other were sharing pizza and talking. They started telling stories, and I immediately wanted to record some. It was difficult to get H and N to explain their camp songs to me as I believe they were distracted by how much fun they were having. I did some research into this piece because I remembered learning a slightly different version, and found there are in fact significant regional oikotypal changes, proving that as the song traveled and was passed from camp counselor to camper, the lyrics changed according to whatever the people in the area found the funniest or most clever.