Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens

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"Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens"
Single by Louis Jordan
B-side "Let the Good Times Roll"
Released 1946 (1946)
Genre Jazz
Writer(s) Joan Whitney Kramer and Alex Kramer

"Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" is a 1946 song, with music and lyrics by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney. It was recorded by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. The single hit number one on the US Billboard Rhythm and blues Juke Box chart and number six on the pop chart.[1][2] The B-side, "Let the Good Times Roll", peaked at number two on the R&B Juke Box chart.

The song was featured on the soundtrack for L.A. Noire, and was then included on a remixed version of the soundtrack with production by DJ Premier.

Gonzo the Great and various Muppet characters performed this song on an episode of The Muppet Show.

Origin of the phrase[edit]

This song is sometimes cited as the origin of the phrase, but the phrase is older.[2] Its first known appearance, a reader-submitted anecdote in Everybody's Magazine in 1908,[3] was a racially charged joke regarding a chicken thief, formulated as, "'Deed, sah, dey ain't nobody hyah 'ceptin' us chickens."

That background is retained in the 1931 Our Gang episode "Little Daddy", in which Farina and Stymie crawl inside an empty chicken coop to hide from a social worker who has come to take Stymie to the orphanage. Farina makes rooster noises to fool the social worker, but when the man asks, "Who's in there?", Stymie replies, "Just us chickens!"

By 1939 the phrase, having evolved to a form more closely resembling the one crystallized in the Kramer/Jordan song of 1946, appears in the cartoon feature Gulliver's Travels as, "Nobody here but just us... chickens!"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 265. 
  2. ^ a b Quinion, Michael (15 March 2014). "Wordface". WORLD WIDE WORDS NEWSLETTER (873). World Wide Words. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Everybody's Magazine, Vol 19 (July-Dec 1908), p. 717
Preceded by
"Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
Billboard Most-Played Juke Box Race Records number-one single
January 4, 1947
May 10, 1947
Succeeded by
"Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
"I Want to Be Loved (But Only by You)" by Savannah Churchill and The Sentimentals