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Such a Getting Upstairs is believed to have been composed by Joe Blackburn in the early 1830s for blackface performers.[1]https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Getting_Upstairs_(1) The song then traveled to England with the American minstrel shows where it became attached to the English Morris Dance community between 1836 (when it is thought to have been first performed in London) and the early 20th century.[2]http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/such-getting-upstairs-history-of-song.html — comment by Billy Weeks on Mudcat, September 25, 2010, 10:46 am Such a Getting Upstairs is thought to refer to sexual activities that occurred on the floor above a tavern and then evolved into meaning `commotion’, `disturbance’, or `ruckus’ that was notable, exciting, and fun.[3]ibid., Mudcat: Getting Upstairs thread general consensus

Another theory for the origin of `Such a Getting Upstairs’ is from a comical flight upstairs caused by a flood in a small British town as reported in the Sherborne Journal (Dorset, England) October 23, 1839 and reprinted in The Times (London) October 26, 1839, p.6.[4]Unfortunately, I could not verify this article in the The Times or the earlier Sherborne Journal since they are behind a paywall. I believe the flood became attached to the tune because the tune was … Continue reading `Sich a Gittin Up Stars’ appears in George P. Knauff’s Virginia Reels, Vol 3 (1844, Baltimore) and `Such a Getting Up Stairs’ appears in Elias Howe’s Various Collections (1840-1861, Boston) firmly placing it in the American fiddling repertoire during the most active time of the Oregon Trail (c. 1846-1869).[5]Goertzen, Chris. Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling, p 73.

The Morris Dance lyrics collected from Headington, Oxfordshire, Cotswolds:

Some likes coffee,
Some likes tea,
Some likes a pretty girl, just like me;
Such a getting upstairs and a playing on the fiddle,
Such a getting upstairs I never did see.

Cecil Sharp included Such a Getting Upstairs in his collection, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, as Some Love Coffee, No 274 (sung by Mrs. Laurel Jones, Burnsville, NC, September 17th, 1918):

Some loves coffee, some loves tea,
Some loves money, but they don’t love me.
Singing in the lonesome cowboyee,
Singing in the lonesome sea.

Cecil Sharp’s `Some Love Coffee’ is in the play-party section of his collection. This `I love coffee, I love tea’ play-party song was a playground jump roping rhyme pre 1970s; post 1970s as a playground hand clapping rhyme in the same family as `Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa’ and `Down Down Baby’.[6]pancojams, op. cit. Comment by Azizi Powell, October 29, 2013, 9:11 pm. Yes, I very much remember doing hand clapping rhymes on the school playground with the lyrics `I love coffee, I love … Continue reading


Photo of morris dancers by Tim Green

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References

References
1 https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Getting_Upstairs_(1)
2 http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/such-getting-upstairs-history-of-song.html — comment by Billy Weeks on Mudcat, September 25, 2010, 10:46 am
3 ibid., Mudcat: Getting Upstairs thread general consensus
4 Unfortunately, I could not verify this article in the The Times or the earlier Sherborne Journal since they are behind a paywall. I believe the flood became attached to the tune because the tune was already popular, rather than the flood inspired the tune’s lyrics, but this may be more because of the personal bias that sexual relations are more worthy of song than floods (or just more fun).
5 Goertzen, Chris. Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling, p 73.
6 pancojams, op. cit. Comment by Azizi Powell, October 29, 2013, 9:11 pm. Yes, I very much remember doing hand clapping rhymes on the school playground with the lyrics `I love coffee, I love tea’, `Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa’, and `Down Down Baby’ in Massachusetts in the 1980s.

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