The Thingamajig

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I recently came across a funny little novelty song recorded by Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys called "The Thingamajig." It seemed just the song for a rainy day of fix-it projects. It's much in the spirit of "Rag Mop," an novelty number from 1949 that was a hit for Wills and, later, for the Ames Brothers.

Follow this link to hear "The Thingamajig" and "She Took" at a delightful blog called I'm Learning to Share.

"The Thingamajig" was written by prolific songwriter Cindy Walker. ("You Don't Know Me" and "Dream Baby" are perhaps her two best known songs.) It was recorded on Feb. 3, 1952, at the KVOO studios, for RCA. (Was KVOO still in the Philtower in '52?) Lead vocals by Julian "Curley" Lewis. Johnnie Lee Wills is asking the questions and singing on the trio part. Don Tolle on electric guitar, Tommy Elliott on steel guitar, Clarence Cagle on piano, Chuck Adams on bass, Waid Peeler on drums, Curley Lewis, Henry Boatman and James Guy "Cotton" Thompson on fiddle. Don Harlan played clarinet on this session, but I don't hear it on this song. He might be singing with the trio, along with Johnnie Lee Wills and Leon Huff, the band's usual vocalist.

Here, for the record, are the lyrics. (I'm not entirely sure about "bucket big" in the first verse, and "spring" in the chorus could be "sprig." UPDATE 2009/05/17 -- changed "bucket big" to "bug is big" on the advice of a commenter.)

What did I do with that thingamajig?

I gotta to find that thingamajig.
I gotta to have it to fix my rig
Tain't no bigger than a bug is big.
What did I do with that thingamajig?

Is it square?
No, it isn't square.
Does it flare?
No, it doesn't flare.
It ain't square, it don't flare,
It ain't shaped like a pear.
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

Is it round?
No, it isn't round.
Is it brown?
No, it isn't brown.
It ain't round, it ain't brown
It don't make any sound
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

It's just a doodad
With a thingamabob,
A doomaflitchet
That you twist like a knob,
A whatchamacallit
Fastened down with a spring.
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

Is it flat?
No, it isn't flat.
Like a mat?
No, not like no mat.
It ain't flat like a mat;
It's no bigger than that.
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

I gotta to find that thingamajig.
I gotta to have it to fix my rig.
Tain't no bigger than a bug is big.
What did I do with that thingamajig?

Is it brass?
No, it isn't brass.
Is it glass
No, it isn't glass.
It ain't brass, it ain't glass,
But alack and alas,
I've got to find that thingamajig.

Is it stone?
No, it isn't stone.
Like a hone?
No, not like no hone.
It ain't stone like a hone.
It ain't button or bone.
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

It's just a doodad
With a thingamabob,
A doomaflitchet
That you twist like a knob,
A whatchamacallit
Fastened down with a spring.
It's just a little ol' thingamajig.

Is it tin?
No, it isn't tin.
Do it spin?
No, it doesn't spin.
It ain't tin, it don't spin,
But if you are my friend,
Please help me find that thingamajig!

UPDATE 2009/05/18: Dad says he remembers the song from back then, and that Grandma (his mom) loved it.

UPDATE 2012/01/12: Uncle Allen says this was his dad's (my Grandpa Bates's) favorite. It makes sense, since he dealt with many thingamajigs, doomaflitchets, whatchamacallits, and doodads in his line of work (electronics repair and sales -- Johnny's Electronics in Nowata).

MORE: A commenter suggests that the lyric is "Tain't no bigger than a bug is big," which makes far more sense than "bucket big."

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I recently came across a funny little novelty song recorded by Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys called "The Thingamajig." It seemed just the song for a rainy day of fix-it projects. It's much in the spirit of "Rag Mop," an novelty number from 1949 that w... Read More

Second in our series documenting the international reach of western swing music and compiling an invite list for Tulsa's (purely hypothetical at this point) International Festival of Western Swing. From the Bananapeel Jazzclub in Ruiselede, Belgium, he... Read More

3 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

That reminded me immediately of Chuck Berry's old song, sans double entendre. I like the Thingamjig song much better.

aunk05 Author Profile Page said:

I think it's "T'ain't no bigger than a bug is big."

Cheers MD.

I think you're right! That makes way more sense.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 2, 2009 7:59 AM.

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