Cantankerous Jemima

Cantankerous Jemima

katpiercemusic's picture
Artist Favorite



Liner Notes: 

Not at all happy with the recording quality of this one (but I REALLY like the song itself). My voice levels are off, but I have a long drive tomorrow and I'm not spending any more time on it now.

This is part of my local history series. Cantankerous Jemima was a real person (Jemima Smith) and she's buried in the Old Dutch Cemetery of Sleepy Hollow. She did lock her husband in his study on Sunday to keep him from delivering services. She was also known to snore loudly from the first pew and to parade outside the chapel on a horse making as much ruckus as she could. Her husband was much beloved by his congregation but she would say if they had to live with him they would be a little mad too.


Cantankerous Jemima is my name
The people in the town say I'm insane
I like to rant and rave and act like I'm depraved
I like the reputation I have gained
I run through the dead of night, whoopsie diddledee dandy
And dance beneath the full moonlight, whoopsie diddledee doo
I make myself a hawthorn crown, whoopsie diddledee dandy
To shock the people in the town, whoopsie diddledee doo

Whoopsie diddledee dandy diddledee die de diddledee dandy
If you were me then you would see insanity can be hand
Whoopsie diddledee dandy diddledee die de diddledee doo
If you were me then you would be a little crazy too

I married young to please my family,
To a preacher from the Old Dutch ministry
I cared not for the life of a pious preacher's wife
I turned to mischief and debauchery
I locked my husband in his room...
So Sunday mass could not resume...
I danced upon the wooden pews...
Sang dirty words to hymnal tunes...


Now I sleep more soundly in my bed
A stone to mark my two bare feet and head
No scolding for my sins. On my face a toothy grin.
Life's more entertaining when you're dead... it's true!
I shriek and moan and shake my bones...
I dance upon the old tombstones...
I fly above the mourners heads...
And them quake in mortal dread...


Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


metalfoot's picture

Rollicking accordion and a great bit of storytelling. I learn interesting stuff from your songs!

billwhite51's picture

this is magnificent in so many ways. the long droning melody onthe frst part of the verses, then the swagger into dance culminating in the wild Whoopsie diddledee dandy diddledee die de diddledee dandy chorus. the verses both tell stories and create aa lively, vivid character portrait. keep these historical songs coming. this is our folklore,

MarkG's picture

What a gal that Jemima was. I get a charge how you have her continuing her disrespect from beyond the grave. The droning sound fits the song so well.

doglatin's picture

Love the accordion, and everything else about this too. Epic storytelling, mid-1900s ballet material!

kahlo2013's picture

Wow! Impressive. Love the accordion/melodica and the rich depth it creates to set the stage for this awesome folk story. Your deliciously dark lyric is so beautifully delivered with your vocals.

crisp1's picture

One of the most fun songs I've heard this 50/90. Love how the verses are dirge-like and the chorus just explodes gleefully. Lots of great external and internal rhymes and great music. You must have enjoyed yourself, ahem, like crazy doing this one!

atitlan's picture

Love it! That's such a hook-y chorus - even more so following from the slow verses.

OdilonGreen's picture

Nice character-tale; your really embody this person with gusto, and the sense of fun and mischief is contagious. I bet this would really raise the roof played life at the pub! Biggrin

Klaus's picture

Great title. Lovely and funny lyrics, even a bit spooky at places. I really like how the music has so strong contrasts and the catchy chorus is really bonza. Inspired performance too. I can understand why you really like this so. Everybody else like it too. It's that good! Smile

3tdoan's picture

What a great character and story! I like the contrasts in the sections from the drone-like bits and then some unexpected movements in the madcap bits. So much fun Biggrin

tcelliott's picture

the folk feel is perfect for this lyric/melody. I love the diddledee bits quite a bit.

lowhum's picture

I like the slightly Ibsen-ish heroine and the pirate-fairy ambience. Enjoyed the musical accents and contrasts which enliven the naughty postmortem plot.

aricate's picture

What a gal!! I love this Jemima person. You did such a great job of bringing her image to life. It's like a sea shanty, especially with the accordion rhythm. I love the diddleedee parts.